Friday, May 27, 2011


It happens to the best of us.

I'm not "the best of us," but I fail sometimes, and this is especially true of angel food cake. I've only ever made it twice, and both times have been horrific.

Yesterday, it was lovely and summery, so I decided to make up a bountiful batch of batter, with which to formulate some fantastic angel food cupcakes, and then the following happened:
  • I looked at the wrong recipe in the cookbook, and measured out an incorrect amount of flour, salt, and I even added some baking powder. (Thankfully, I realized the mistake, tossed the flour, and started again.)
  • I knew that the cakes would stick to the muffin tin, so I made little circles of parchment paper that would cover the bottom, making it easy to remove, while the batter could still climb the sides. 
  • I forgot the vanilla, and only noticed after I had put the pans in the oven.
  • Not having enough parchment circles, I decided to pour the rest of the cake into a loaf pan. It collapsed, leaving a disgusting mush of uncooked egg foam in the bottom of the loaf.
  • Some of the cupcakes burned. I named one "Bernie."
  • It was messy.
However, some of the cupcakes were actually pretty tasty, and I managed to get one nice picture.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fun-Sized Bread!


Please, don't call it "short" bread- It's actually very sensitive about its height, and would appreciate it if you chose a different term to describe it. But fun-sized bread is very polite, and won't say anything if you  decide to ignore it. I whipped up a batch this afternoon, and the results were fantastic! This cookie is ever so classy, and goes great with a cup of iced tea, coffee, or all by itself. And luckily, with only three ingredients, it's a snap to remember, even for people like me who forget someone's name moments after they tell me.

Scottish shortbread recipie:
I borrowed this one from a favorite cookbook of mine, highlighted in the sidebar.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened, plus a pinch of salt if you're using unsalted
Now, a word on butter. I've seen one cookbook after another passionately persist in their point that it's positively crucial to use unsalted butter, since the amount of salt in salted butter varies widely. But if you want my opinion, (and I hope that you do) it just doesn't matter, unless you're making clarified butter, or something else where it plays a staring role. Use whatever butter you have on hand.
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
You will also need:
  • Stand mixer with paddle attatchment
  • Rolling pins
  • Cookie cutters/biscuit cutters/pastry rings (Mine were 2.5 inches in diameter)
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Wire cooling rack
  1. Line one aluminum sheet pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees (162.78 for Celsius folks)
  2. Using the stand mixer, whip the butter on highest speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, and pour the sugar in a stream into the butter. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, return to high speed and allow to beat for 10 minutes. Yes, 10 minutes- it's the most important part of the whole process. You can tell because I used italics! Italics is for serious business.
  4. Once all of the sugar and butter has been whipped, reduce the mixer speed to slow, and incorporate the flour a little bit at a time, until it is just absorbed. The dough will toughen if you over mix, so while you should be sure to incorporate it all, don't mix unnecessarily.
  5. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured countertop, and roll into a sheet that it 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once the timer hits the 15 minute mark, be very, very careful (there's those italics again) to check on the cookies, as you do NOT want them to be browned.
  6. Remove to a wire rack to cool, and serve with jam and iced tea. Speaking in a British accent and pretending to be all classy is optional, but if no one's there to judge you.... I'll leave that choice up to you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Cake is A Lie

Four of my best buddies are celebrating one more trip around the sun in the next few weeks, meaning that there's a huge potential for overexcited birthday chaos, presents, and, 


I don't know about you, but I find the concept of birthday cake to be pretty darned scary! Mostly, that's because we've cannibalized the poor pastry, and left it to languish in grocery store bargain bins, smothered in horrendously artificial frosting. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the incredible, crazy, four-foot works of art that cake baking experts crank out daily for hundreds of dollars, and are completely impossible to fabricate in the average home kitchen. My mission? To find a middle ground. A cake which perfectly balances flavor, texture, fantastic frosting, and good old homemade charm. Have I found it?

Nope. Not yet.

But I don't know anyone who's ever been overly critical of free food, especially cake, so I expect all to go well with the first of four birthday treats!

The hardest part of this little guy's assembly was actually deciding how to decorate it- I toyed around with the idea of making it My Little Pony themed, (the buddy for which this dish is made is a huge MLP fan) but ultimately decided to go with something easier, and only slightly more mature- a video game!
The design in the middle of the cake is the logo of the fictional company Aperture Science, in orange and blue instead of the usual gray, and the circles on each corner are portals, working their weird magic on a perfectly innocent birthday candle. The cake is all vanilla; vanilla cake, vanilla frosting, and vanilla fondant. For me, this was basically an excuse to have a fondant adventure, as I hadn't touched the stuff before yesterday, and the results were pleasantly surprising. The taste wasn't spectacular though, so I plan to use the much tastier marshmallow-based alternative from now on. 

A much larger photo of the cake can be found here: Much larger.

Since it's been months since my last real post, you can expect some minor changes in my writing style, as well as a few big things being moved around in terms of the site format. Just bear with me, and I promise everything will iron itself out soon. <3

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

*wipes away the cobwebs*

Oh no! I haven't blogged since July, and it made the doctor cry! O___O

Might as well start this old thing back up again, and get it nice and presentable.

I'll be back tomorrow, with a portal-themed cake, alright?