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S’mores Cake

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There is something about the combination of graham crackers, toasted marshmallow, and chocolate that speaks to me.  While I enjoy their combined taste, I find I am compelled towards them also because of positive associations I have with the idea of a s’mores and youthfulness and frivolity.  S’mores are a carefree snack that oftentimes reminds people of their childhood even if they never made s’mores growing up.

It is also one of the few quintessentially American foods, and I think anyone who considers themselves American needs to have had a s’more at least once.  If I were running the show, during the swearing ceremony for U.S. citizenship, it would be mandatory to eat a s’more.

(Don’t worry, there would be imitation s’mores available for those unable to eat an authentic s’more because of dietary restrictions.)

Anyway, it was my brother’s birthday recently and when I asked him what kind of cake/pie/dessert I should make to celebrate it did not take him long to decide he wanted a s’mores cake (I also suggested cookies and cream cake and plain chocolate cake, but he was most into s’mores pitch).

I looked online for a while trying to find a recipe for a s’mores cake.  I found some, but none that really delivered exactly what I was looking for.  Some were more along the lines of a s’mores pie, while others featured graham cracker flavored cake (why would you want this over chocolate cake base?), and I found the use of marshmallow fluff over actual marshmallows to be in bad taste.

Long story short: I came up with my own game-plan.  I found a chocolate cake recipe and added graham cracker pieces to it.  Then I put a layer of toasted marshmallows in between two layers of cake and covered the top with melted Hershey’s bars.  Along the sides I ‘glued’ on graham crackers with toasted marshmallows.

It turned out ok (my brother loved it) but it definitely took on that ‘homespun’ sorta look.  ‘Lop-sided’ is a word I might use in describing it.  But hey, it was from da heart people…

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Reduced Calorie Cinnamon-Walnut Coffee Cake

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INTRO

A few months ago I received a pile of cooking magazines from a family friend.  By a “pile” I mean 2 large cardboard boxes of hundreds of issues of stuff like Bon Appétit and Cooking Light.  After meticulously going through eat magazine, I removed all of the recipes that I wanted to someday try.  With these I assembled my own custom cookbook.

This recipe was from an old issue of cooking light, which is why it is a reduced calorie coffee cake.  The recipe says it is about 250 calories for a serving (and it yields 16 servings).  My cake came out even lighter than the original though, as I opted to use unsweetened almond milk in place of buttermilk–simply because I didn’t have buttermilk or any lemon juice to make faux buttermilk with.  Also I really like almond milk!

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Coconut Bread

Freshly baked coconut bread with Trader Joe’s Mango Butter, the perfect tropical compliment.

Hey everyone!  Or who ever it is that reads this.  I have not abandoned this blog, though it would appear that way.  I cannot believe my last post was from the beginning of July!  Man, how times flies.  I have just been so busy with life that I kept putting this blog on the back burner.  Aside from taking a few trips and working, I have also started culinary school!  I am now on track to become a pastry chef, and I could not be more excited!

But I am glad to be returning to this blog finally, it is about time.

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Banana Nut Mini-Donuts/Cakes (VEGAN)

I don’t like waste, and in the food service industry it is not uncommon to see food go to waste, as not everything always sells before it becomes unsalable.

This was the case with some bananas that were in our fruit basket.  They had simply become too ripe.  The were headed for the trash can, unless someone wanted them.  They did not seem to be in high demand amongst my fellow employees, so I volunteered to find a higher purpose for them than the landfill.

And thus I created this vegan (I still have a whole box of egg replacer!!) banana bread.  You could bake it into a load like a typical bread, or you could follow my lead and make petit muffins or mini-donuts.

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Baked Mini Vegan Spice-cake Donuts

There is something very darling about a mini donut pan.  For a while I worked in a store that sold them, and I always thought to myself, “One day I shall possess one of this charming pans.”

I love donuts.  I mean most people like donuts, they just don’t like getting fat.  That is why baked vegan mini donuts are a great option.  No, it won’t taste like a Krispy Kreme, freshly glazed, off the conveyor belt, but I’m not Harry Potter and magic isn’t real.  If you want something to taste high in fat but not be high in fat, then you are outta luck.

But these vegan donuts are a tasty alternative and will satisfy your sweet tooth without burdening your belly.

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Apfelkuchen

INTRO

Over the summer I read a book called “Confections of a Closet Master Baker” by Gesine Bullock Prado–the sister of the acclaimed actress Sandra Bullock.

The book (which is memoir) focuses on Gesine’s transition from a career as a producer in Hollywood to leaving it all behind in order to open a bakery in a small town in Vermont.  Each chapter in the book starts with a recipe of a baked good that either is a personal favorite of Gesine’s, or something that is a popular item at her bakery.

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One of the recipes that jumped out to me was the recipe for her German grandmother’s apfelkuchen (apple cake).  Gesine’s mother was a German opera singer (her dad is American), and as her mother was from Germany, she naturally had ties to the country and spent a lot of time their as a small child, and then later as a young adult.

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Rainbow Cookies (a.k.a. 7 Layer Cookies/Neapolitan Cookies)

INTRO

When I was a little kid (and I still lived in the northeast), I remember going to various bakeries with my mom (Swiss, German, Italian bakeries all served rainbow cookies, only the French ones didn’t, as they offered petit-fours, which I guess is like a French rainbow cookie in a way).  And during every bakery visit, I always headed straight for the rainbow cookies.

As I stood surrounded by the dark wood-paneled (sometimes Bavarian stylized) bakery walls, admiring those colorful little rectangles behind the glittering glass pastry case, and smelling the aroma of warm sugar, all I could think about was how magical it all seemed.

It was through those early bakery trips that I came to fall in love with rainbow cookies.

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