Tag Archives: Cake

How I Unwind – Man About Cake

We all have those things we love to do when we’re world weary and in need of something fun and inspiring. A few months ago, Andy introduced me to a show called Man About Cake hosted by the delightful Joshua John Russel, and it has been at the top of my YouTube watch list ever since. Now before you click away thinking “well I don’t want to make big fancy cakes so this isn’t for me”, hold on – if you bake at all, there are great tips to be picked up. For instance, using powdered fruit to flavor your frostings so you get maximum fruit flavor without the added liquid. I’ve also picked up some decorating tips that can be scaled down for cupcakes and smaller single tier cakes, like gilded blackberries and using bubble tea straws to hold your multi layer cakes steady. Here are a few of my favorite episodes:

Impressive, right? JJR and the crew put out new videos on their channel every Tuesday. This month the focus is on wedding cakes, so there should be some really great cakes.


Black Cherry Disaronno Cupcakes

I like making cupcakes, and I am always looking for an excuse. One of the things I’ve been doing consistently for the last few years is sending cupcakes to work with Andy for Valentine’s Day. Let’s face it, even if you’re in a relationship, the holiday can be a bit intense, and what better way to brighten someone’s day than with a cupcake? I gotta make sure my diligent taste-testers are taken care of, right? In the past, I’ve done some more traditional flavors – chocolate, chocolate-covered strawberry, strawberry, white chocolate, etc. – so this year I wanted to do something a little less expected. I liked the idea of going a little darker and more mature with the flavor profile, but I still wanted a little holiday “cheese” so I decided to pair black cherries and Disaronno. So good! Plus the cherries really did bake up almost black, which made things interesting from an aesthetic stand point.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 Box Betty Crocker White Cake Mix
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 veggie oil
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cherry puree
  • 4 tbsp Disaronno

Frosting:

  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe here)
  • 4 tbsp cherry puree
  • 4 tbsp Disaronno

Directions:
Cake:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Combine cake mix, egg whites, oil and water and mix thoroughly. Mix in Disaronno.
  3. Put two cups of mix into a separate bowl and mix in cherry puree.
  4. Fill cupcake wrapper 1/2 full of regular mix, top off to 2/3 full with cherry mixture. Swirl together with toothpick or skewer to create a marbled effect.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. While cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.
  7. Add cherry puree and Disaronno to completed frosting and combine thoroughly.
  8. Frost cooled cupcakes and enjoy!.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Slow Cooker Cake

I did a thing. I found this recipe video online, and it seemed too easy to be real. I mean slow cooker baking? This sounds like a crazy Pinterest thing that you pin, but never ever make. Which it was until we had a really shitty week at the office and I knew we needed to do something to boost morale. Cake makes people happy, I’m too tired to make it at home, and it could get a blog post out of it, so… here we are.


The moment when I realized that I should have brought a whisk from home. Salad tongs and spaghetti scoops for days, but not a single whisk or whisk like object to be found. So I kicked it old school and used a fork. 
Ingredients blended and set to bake. Fortunately, my office is near the break room because even though the video said to leave for 4 hours, things started smelling a little singed around 2.5 hours in.Slight burning on the edge, but it was easily trimmed off and the other 90% of the cake was saved. This was about the time people started poking their heads into the kitchen to see what I was doing and how much longer they had to wait for their cake. 
Some frosting magic and TADA! 
Oddly shaped, but sure enough this crazy thing actually came out looking more or less like a cake and even more surprisingly tasted like a pretty decent cake. 

I had two coworkers ask me to write down the recipe so they could go home and make it for their families.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Moist Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • chocolate syrup

Frosting

  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Reese’s cups

Directions:

  1. Grease inside of the slow cooker.
  2. Combine the first five cake ingredients and mix thoroughly. Take out 2/3 cup of mix and then add a generous squirt of chocolate syrup and mix together. Swirl together batter in slow cooker.
  3. Bake on high for 2-4 hours. The video said four and mine was a bit singed after two and a half so just keep an eye on it the first time you make it.
  4. Combine the first three frosting ingredients and whisk together with a fork until smooth.
  5. Top the cake with frosting, extra chocolate syrup and chopped Reese’s cups.

Notes:

  • Holy shit, guys, this works! It works! It works! It works! And you know what? It’s pretty good! It was all gone less than three hours after we frosted it. I will so make it again, and you bet your ass I will be baking more in my slow cooker.

Buttercream Artistry

When Andy and I were planning our wedding, one of the things  we surprisingly didn’t agree on was the cake. I thought a cupcake tower would be a fun idea, but Andy had a rare diva moment and proclaimed that cupcakes weren’t an acceptable option, he wanted a cake, a three tier cake to be specific. I let him have his way, largely because I didn’t care about the cake, but I had one stipulation, I did not want something covered in that ever popular substance, fondant. It makes for some truly gorgeous cakes, but it doesn’t taste good and flavor is infinitely more important to me than style, which ended up being a good thing since (I think) our cake turned out hideous, but it tasted great. One of the excuses the baking staff gave for the monstrosity was that the floral accents we’d selected were simply impossible to create with mere frosting. Well, I am calling bullshit on that. I saw this article on Bored Panda about artist Atelier Soo and the gorgeous buttercream creations coming out of the Seoul based bakery.

Insane, right? I’ve seen some sugar paste blossoms that couldn’t even come close to this!   I’m not even sure it should be legal to eat these creations. They’re so painstakingly crafted and meticulously detailed, it breaks my heart that their one clumsy fork swipe away from being destroyed.   

I apologize for all the pictures; there were just so many beautiful creations, and I had the damnedest time narrowing them down. Now I am not saying that the bakery here in Tally dropped the ball, or that I’d expect this level of mastery for your average cake decorator, but I am saying if I ever find myself in that situation again I am going to be a lot less accommodating when they try to sell the “gum paste stamp” idea to me again. And for the record, dogwood blossom and cherry blossoms do not look exactly the same. Clearly, I’m not bitter about this at all, right?

 

Images from here


Im a Happy Happy Fat Kid

I’ve been in this town long enough to know about all of the great local places to find sweet treats, and I enjoy sharing my finds with pretty much anyone remotely interested. Consequently sometimes people assume that my delight in local means that I must also have a disdain for chains. Not true; well, not entirely true. I respect quality, and while I do try to help support local businesses, if it’s after hours or a day that there shop is closed? You better believe my chubby butt isn’t going to let that get in my way.

Recently, a new chain called Nothing Bundt Cakes opened up near a couple of the restaurants Andy and I frequent. Unfortunately for Andy, I found out it was open while I was out a dinner with a friend, and she and I hit it up before parting ways. Don’t feel too bad for him, though; I, of course, softened the blow of my betrayal by bringing him a mini cinnamon bundt.

This shop is undeniably cute; I mean, it is pretty much tailor made for baby showers. They have nine different flavors of cake all topped with their signature cream cheese “frosting” and are available in a couple different sizes.

I thought it was pretty cool that they had a tiered option (see above) it was something I hadn’t really considered with bundt cakes.

In addition to cakes, this shop also offers cute party supplies and kitchen items. I had a brief, but very real moment when I saw the Kate Spade display where I wanted to just throw my credit card at the cashier and buy ALL the things. Things I don’t even need, but I love Kate Spade so much and those lemons were just like  this gorgeous pair of wedges she had last year (which legit almost bought). Ultimately, I decided I wouldn’t get a lot of use out of lemon print wedges; stupid practicality, stupid.

Yes, my husband is in a tank top. It pains me, but he was on the tail end of a skin allergy flare and was doing his best to keep cool. This did not keep me from mocking him, though. I also gave him his bundt cake first, so the cats would swarm him and I could eat in peace.

Not entirely effective as you can see. Stanley figured out my game and might have gotten the teeniest bit of frosting from mommy. He ended up with most of it on his nose which led to me having to chase him down and wipe it off. I live a charmed life.

If you’re interested, three flavors have been tried so far; the double chocolate, cinnamon and pecan bundt cakes all get a big thumbs up from us. Be prepared though; it took me two sittings to make it through mine, those things are rich!