Tag Archives: cake slice bakers

csb january 2014: a pound in

26 Jan

Truth: I have, in my possession, a pound cake recipe that will knock your socks off.

Truth #2: This month’s Cake Slice recipe is not that recipe.

It’s not that the Old Fashioned Pound Cake that was the January 2013 recipe was bad, per se. It just wasn’t…spectacular.

And the recipe I have, given to me long ago by one of my best college girlfriends, is spectacular. It uses mounds of butter and has a sugary, chewy, crackly top that makes you want to snarfle it down as fast as you can, and land a left uppercut on anyone who tries to get in your way.


This recipe? It’s nice. I wouldn’t punch someone in the face for it, but I might give him a strong hug.

I will note, however, that this pound cake is better warm than it is at room temperature. So either serve it fresh out of the oven, or throw it in the microwave for about 45 seconds before eating. If you happen to slather it with homemade apple pie jam that your sister made for you, all the better. If it’s not -45 degrees outside and you have access to a grill, I might also recommend grilling the pound cake, along with some pineapple slices. Not that I’ve tried the latter with this specific pound cake, but I’ve done that with other pound cakes to delicious results.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s start at the very beginning. As Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp sang, it’s a very good place to start.

And it starts with lining a loaf pan with parchment paper.

And Lo! In surveying my cabinets, I found I actually! had! parchment paper! No idea when I purchased it. But there it was, happy as a clam, hanging out in my cabinet. Glorious. I quickly tore off a piece I approximated would fit in the pan, and set about trying to then, you know, get it in the pan.



It’s not perfect, but that’s cool. Neither am I. I wasn’t about to judge the parchment paper for its lack of rigidity.

I turned to the mixer, silently rolling my eyes as I read over the directions about mixing times (ridiculous, as per usual, and dropping in the sugar one grain at a time (double eye roll). To be quite honest, at this point I’ve given up following Walton’s directions about the mixing and the this and the that. I turned back to grab a spoon off the counter next to the loaf pan, only to find this:


I tried again to shove it down and make the paper stay in place, but it wanted to stay put about as much as my control-top opaque tights want to stay in place and not bunch and twist awkwardly around my hips. Which is to say, not much. So instead of struggling with the paper and the pan (and my tights for that matter), I said fuck it, chucked the paper in the garbage and sprayed the hell out of the pan with non-stick spray.

(As for my tights, I had a serious talk with myself about why the shit I was wearing tights anyway. Everyone knows that when you walk in the front door of your home you should immediately strip off whatever clothes you are wearing and put on your pajammies.)

Except for the clouds of flour dust that poofed up when I dumped in the cake flour and made my eyes water slightly, this cake came together pretty easily. I went for the straight version, though the book gives variations for “spirited” and “nutty” and “chocolate chip” pound cakes. I know, you’re probably very surprised that I didn’t fall for the “spirited” pound cake, and frankly, so am I. I suspect it may have made this cake that much better, and given it the oomph it needed to compete with the spectacular recipe that my gal pal gave me many moons ago.


Alright, Ms. Walton, it’s time to step up to the plate and impress me. Of the three recipes I’ve baked from this book, I’ve only really liked one of them. Not good odds in your favor, but I have high hopes that next month fall on the right side of the tasty line.

Bake on, friends.

Poundcake 2

csb october: yes, I do actually still bake, or, surprisingly there were no surprises, except when there were

21 Oct

October is the last month for we Cake Slice Bakers are baking from Vintage Cakes, a book, frankly, I will be glad to be done with.

Okay, that’s a little harsh. The cakes I have actually made (admittedly few) (What? We bought a condo, I moved, I have to live with cats now, and I’m lucky I can find my underwear some days. Life has been a little hectic. Don’t hassle the Hoff.), have been terrific, particularly the red velvet with mascarpone cream cheese frosting. And the banana cake was damn tasty, too.  As was the cake I made this month, which was a Blogger’s Choice, if you will, meaning that we could pick whatever cake we wanted to, and bake the crap out of it.

And in all honesty, my issue with this book stems from the fact that I’m still angry about the frosting debacle from the last cake I made which was just ridiculous. A candy thermometer? To make buttercream? WTF? Can we all just agree that making frosting does not have to be that hard?


Well, that’s a different story.

IMHO, anyway.

(But for you, dear Interwebers, I pledge that in this next year of baking I will become the Master!—the MASTER!*—of Frosting Cakes!)

Where was I?

October’s cake!


So, this month, I chose to make the cake I was supposed to make for January. Which, obviously, if you read this blog at all, I did not do in January. But now I have! So there you go! Cross it off the list and call it a day! Put your feet up and fire up a cigar! We’re going to celebrate that I Actually Got Something Crossed Off My To Do List.

It was a banner day.

It was a “classic” cake—vanilla, not quite yellow, not full-on white—and it was delicious. Right before you dump it into the pan (or in my case, cupcake foils, see above mentioned and well-documented issues with me frosting cakes), you fold in whipped cream, which gives it a really great light texture.


So light and fluffy, however, that you should not, should definitely not, overfill the muffin foils, otherwise the cupcakes puff up and over and stick to your pan, and then when you try to take them out of the pan they start to tear and then the next thing you know you’ve torn three cupcakes which obviously can’t be frosted because they’re broken and since one of your pet peeves is wasting food it’s probably just best if you just eat the broken cupcakes and save everyone the anguish of knowing that you got a little heavy handed with the cupcake foil filling and thus broke three cupcakes and then maybe start typing this sentence on a sugar high from which you may never come down.


No, it’s much better to fill them a sane amount, and avoid all of that above-mentioned rigmarole.


There were no surprises in making this cake, and the outcome—like a couple cakes I’ve experienced with this book—was quite delectable, with the sticky, chewy, baked rims around the cupcakes where they may have cooked slightly faster than the rest of the cake.

The only surprise that happened into the kitchen was in the making of the frosting—a blessedly simple recipe by comparison to the others in this book—when I discovered, SURPRISE! I only had 12 ounces of chocolate chips in my pantry, instead of a pound. But SURPRISE! I did have cinnamon chips, and after a brief debate in my head, threw them in the bowl with the heavy cream and brown sugar. And then, SURPRISE! I threw in some melting chocolate discs I found (I am constantly surprised by what I find in my cabinets sometimes. Did you know I have a whole bag of flaxseed? You did? Because I sure as shit did not.) And NOT SURPRISE!, the cinnamon-chocolate frosting concoction was amazing. Predominantly chocolate, with just a hint of cinnamon. Simply terrific. Unless, of course, you don’t like cinnamon, in which case this entire paragraph has probably made you vomit a little in your mouth.

But trust me. It was delicious.


And there you have it, Interwebers. The last cake with the CSB for this year’s book, Vintage Cakes. Next month I’ll be back with the first recipe out of the new book. I can’t tell you what those are (it’s a secret!), and I haven’t made next month’s cake yet, but I can tell you this: From the looks of it, it’s entirely possible it is Fall in a cake pan. And better yet, no frosting is involved.


*Mistress, anyway. I shall have a torrid affair with frosting cakes. Under the cover of darkness and etc, etc, while wearing velvet dresses. Because I feel like if you’re going to have an affair with something, it should involve a velvet dress. It just makes sense in my head. 

csb february: this is beautiful, is this velvet?

20 Feb

Anyone remember that Alannah Myles song Black Velvet? She’s all lusty and 1990s, singing about Elvis. Or should I say….VELVIS?

Seriously, you guys. This is what makes this world great—hit songs about Velvet Elvises. And if you think I haven’t karaoked the crap out of this song, you are so, so wrong.

Anyway, this is all to say that February’s Cake Slice Bakers selection was red velvet with mascarpone cream cheese frosting from the Vintage Cakes cookbook.

(See what I did there? Black velvet? Red velvet? Eh? Eh? No? Oh well. I like it.)

I have to confess something, you guys. I have always been a little intimidated to try baking a red velvet cake, so I never made the attempt. My intimidation has a little to do with the ready availability of Red! Velvet! Everywhere!, in bakeries and grocery stores, and hell, even the gas station, and a lot to do with people being Very. Particular. about their red velvet taste preferences. Frankly, I didn’t want to offend or disappoint anyone with any red velvet I might offer.

But this recipe?

Oh my.

Worry no more, my friends. Worry. No. More.


After biting into one of these beauties, Swede and I both proclaimed that this red velvet cupcake? This batch right here? This might be the best thing I’ve ever baked. Ever. Or at least in a really, really long time.

The cake was spongy, and had the perfect amount of light chocolate flavor to it. The frosting was creamy and dreamy and I don’t know why I don’t add mascarpone cheese to….everything. It might be my new ranch dressing, re: it makes everything better.

Yes, it’s a bit odd to add a tablespoon of red dye to your cake batter because that’s a solid dose of chemicals I’m dumping into the bowl and eschewing the organic free range cake route, but whatever. I figure that dye is just going to party on with all the other food chemicals I’ve consumed over the years and hence why I will be perfectly preserved until I’m well into my 90s. Sister #2 and I will have a grand old time being little old ladies together, as she has decided to preserve her person by pickling herself from the inside out via a selection of red and white wines.


In other news, mayhaps the other reason I was so nervous baking this cake (or in my case, cupcakes) was because I was doing so while watching the Superbowl. And the Ravens—for whom I never thought I would root, for myriad reasons—were playing, and damn if I didn’t find myself in a tizzy hoping they would come out on top. (I don’t really have anything against the ‘Niners, but I hold a special place in my heart for anyone who beats the Patriots because OMG I DESPISE THE PATRIOTS WITH THE FIERY PASSION OF 1,000 BURNING SUNS. And the Ravens beat the Patsies to make the Superbowl, hence the Ravens earned my love for the evening.) It was touch and go there for a while (thank you, Superdome blackout), but in the end the Ravens were victorious, and Swede and I had delicious cake. Win-win all around if you ask me.

So, my dear Interwebers, the moral of this blog post is this: Don’t fear the red velvet. And stress baking during the Superbowl is completely fine if not highly encouraged. Also, I’m really hoping 2013 is the year of an Alannah Myles comeback. I’m thinking a cooking show, maybe titled “Red Velvet, If You Please.”


csb august: monkey bread

29 Aug

You guys.

It’s like a miracle. A Baking! Miracle!

Okay, not really.

But I’ve got to say, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself that I was able to sack up and make cakes up two months in a row.

Even if I wasn’t able to get them posted on the appropriate date.



So a few weeks back, on a lovely Sunday morning (or it was possibly Saturday. I don’t really know, honestly. Nor do I care OH GET ON WITH THE STORY ALREADY, LADY.), I stumbled downstairs and gathered the ingredients for this month’s cake, which is lovingly known as monkey bread.

Later, after eating a healthy portion of the bread, Dad was curious to know why I called it monkey bread, he’d always heard it called pecan rolls or something, I can’t really recall because I’d tuned him out by that point.

What? Oh, right, like you listen to every word YOUR dad says.

Anyshoes, I gave him a vague answer about monkeys needing things that they could peel apart easily with their feet and then yelled, “IT’S BANANAS, DAD!” and wandered away to get a Diet Pepsi.*

So! On to the cake. I won’t lie to you, Interwebers—after linking up all of the cake escapades I’ve had this year and realizing that I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded, I fully expected this baking adventure to make like Katy Perry’s last Friday night and need a ginger ale to recover from the epic fail.

But surprisingly? It was not an epic fail. EVEN WITH THE MODIFICATIONS I MADE!

Modification #1: I don’t care for raisins in my baked goods. So I left them out.

Modification #2: I don’t really like walnuts in my baked goods, either. So I used almonds. AND LIFE WAS GOOD.

That being said, in full disclosure I should also add that I think it wasn’t a complete success, either. Much of which might have to do with the fact that I was using the baking ingredients at my parents’ house.

Some of which have been there since the 1990s.

Which, in case you’re not good at math, was a long time ago.

So I can’t really speak to their effectiveness.

But on the plus side—nothing exploded, so there’s that.

On the minus side, nothing seemed to rise very much. And I don’t know if it was just the size of the ice cream scoop I was using, or if I shortchanged the quantities of the flour, sugar, et al, but I barely got two rows of dough balls (heh. BALLS!) out of the batter. In fact, it was more like 1.5 rows.

Also, I’m thinking that toasting the almonds before sprinkling them over the dough balls (BALLS! Heh.) would have been a good idea, because you know what’s not delicious? Raw almonds. They’re kind of…chewy. Even when they’ve been baked with dough.

So, you know. Good things to keep in mind.

If you’re not too busy shoving your face with this cake.


I won’t judge you. I mean, come on, have you been reading these cake posts AT ALL? There is no room for judging over here at McPolish.

So just be quiet and have another slice.

You’re welcome.

*I didn’t actually do any of that. But were you to ask my father, he’d most likely agree that it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that I’d do something like that.


Monkey Bread—From Cake Keeper Cakes

For the topping:

1/2 cup (4oz/ 113g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3/4 cup light brown sugar

For the cake:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

9 tbsp (4.5 oz) unsalted butter, chilled

3 cups plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk, plus more if necessary

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup raisins


1. Make the topping: Whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar.  Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease a non-stick 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour.

3. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a zipper-top bag.  Cut the butter into 1/4-inch dice.  Place the butter in a small bowl and set it in the freezer while you gather together the rest of the cake ingredients.

4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the chilled butter pieces and, with an electric mixer, mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the buttermilk until the mixture just comes together, adding an extra tbsp or two if the mixture is too dry.

5. Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to scoop up balls of dough and transfer them to the zipper-top bag.  Shake the bag to coat the balls with cinnamon sugar.

6. Place the coated balls of dough in the prepared pan, sprinkling walnuts and raisins over them as you go.  Pour the melted butter mixture over the cake.  Bake until the cake is firm and well risen and the caramel is melted, 35 to 40 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a serving platter and serve immediately.

7. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to a day.

photo friday: belated cake

4 Mar

Coffee is The Swede’s domain. I’m not actually a fan. (But Heath bars we can both get behind.)

Offer me a Diet Pepsi instead, and I’ll love you forever.

For what it’s worth, though, this cake was pretty good.

Favorite of mine? No, unfortunately, this cake is not my favorite that we’ve had so far.

Everyone else at the game night—where I took the cake to feed the masses—seemed to like it though.

Egads! Another recipe that called for a springform pan!


Happily (for me, anyway), World Market is only a metro stop away from my office, and they have wonderfully awesome bakeware for cheap. So I got me a springform pan.

Ergo, everyone wins—I get a new kitchen toy, others get delicious cake.

Assholes. They never even thanked me for making the cake.

Totally kidding. Everyone at game night was much appreciative.



Bluntly speaking, this cake was pretty easy to throw together.

Although I had an incident with the springform pan when it went into the oven.

Really? Are you surprised? When do I not have an incident while baking? It’s my MO. At least I didn’t swear up a g-d storm. As much as usual, anyway.


Closing the latch around the base of the pan? Not so secure as I thought.

Resulting in some batter leakage into the oven.

Ungodly burning smell.

Not pleasant, is it? The smell of charred coffee batter.

Close second, in my book, to patchouli.

Hippies. Fucking hippies.

Crunchiness was at about a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Which is probably a good thing. No one wants their cake to be to crunchy.

Although Rice Krispie treats, on the other hand, now those you want to have some crunch.

Krispie treats…mmm… but! We’re not talking about those! We’re talking about this crunch cake! If you like coffee flavor, give it a whirl. It wasn’t my cup of tea, personally, but for the coffee lover in your life, it’ll be divine.

End. The.

February’s Cake: Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)

Makes one 9 inch round cake

For the Cake
1½ cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk

For the Streusel
1 cup/4 Heath bars (1.4ounces each), chopped *(see below)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp butter, softened

Method – Streusel
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9inch round springform pan.
Combine the Heath bars, brown sugar, flour and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles large crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Method – Cake
Combine the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture and then half the milk, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Repeat, alternating the flour and milk, ending with the flour.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with a spatula. Scatter the streusel onto the batter, distributing it evenly over the cake.
Bake the cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Release the sides of the pan and use a large spatula to slide the cake from the pan bottom to onto a wire rack. Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

csb cake january: chocolate chip snacking cake, or: a list of dos and don’ts

20 Jan

DO make sure you have all the ingredients on hand to make this cake. Just trust me on this one. It’s easier when you have ingredients on hand, and it means you drop F-bombs a lot less.

DO improvise when it says crush the graham crackers in a food processor, because you don’t actually have a food processor. I used my hands to get them to this stage.

DON’T worry. My hands were clean.


DO use an immersion blender to get the crumbs the rest of the way crumbled.

DON’T be alarmed when the crumbs top out at 2 cups, and the recipe only calls for a cup.

DO be careful when using the immersion blender, and expect a spray of crumbs to fly out.

Ta-da! Immersion blender + graham crackers = one cup.

DO remember to take the butter out early, so it can soften. Don’t be an asshat and forget to take it out LIKE SOME PEOPLE I KNOW ANDYESIMEANMYELF.

DON’T try to “soften” it in the microwave. It’ll just end up melted. Trust me. I’ve tried this numerous times, expecting a different outcome every time.

What’s the definition of crazy?

McPolish, apparently.

DO mix together the ingredients.

(DO work on your lighting techniques if your photos are sucky because you are baking in a shoebox.)

DO flagrantly disregard the stated quantity of chocolate chips in favor of adding the whole damn bag.

DON’T skimp on the chocolate chips.

Just DON’T.

DO get excited when you see that the frosting involves marshmallow fluff.

DO reminisce about the days when you ate fluffernutter sandwiches for lunch.

DON’T wonder what your mother was thinking when she let you eat that for lunch. Moms DO let their kids have fun foods sometimes, you know.

DON’T be disappointed when I tell you I have no photos of the frosting-making.

DO know that I wasn’t a fan of the frosting. Too much butter, not enough fluff.

DON’T be alarmed—I never thought I’d say there was too much butter in anything, either.

DON’T bother with the frosting. Or maybe make a different frosting. Maybe just some fresh whipped cream.

DON’T take pictures of a slice of the cake, because you brought it to a friend’s house for dessert and forgot to bring you camera.


DO make this cake. It’s delicious. And ridiculously easy.

January’s Cake: Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Snacking Cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)

For the Cake
8 whole graham crackers, finely ground (about 1 cup) *
¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp (¾ stick) butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup milk
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup marshmallow fluff *

Method – Cake
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8inch square baking pan and dust it with flour, knocking out any extra. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat until smooth.
With the mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture, then half of the milk, stirring until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, ending with the flour. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up to cool completely.

Method – Frosting
Place the butter in a medium mixing bowl and beat until creamy. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the vanilla and the marshmallow fluff and beat until smooth. Use immediately or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Cut the cake into squares and serve each one with a dollop of frosting on top. (Bring the frosting back to room temperature first if it has been stored in the fridge). Store any uneaten cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


csb december: cranberry cake

20 Dec

Sadly, this month’s baking adventure does not feature the orange mixer. It does, however, feature the million dollar question of why I bought a brick of cream cheese when this recipe does not in any way, shape, or form call for cream cheese?

Hard to say.

Let me start out by noting that I had to borrow a springform pan from my friend Ashley in order to make this cake, because hey, turns out I don’t own one. There are a lot of baking items I don’t own, and you know, that’s okay, because I don’t think there’s any room in my shoebox kitchen for any more pots, pans, or for that matter, breathing.  As it was, I had very little counter space to work with while making this cake, seeing as how I’d had the girls over the night before for a Tuesday Night Dinner (pasta with tomato, butter, and onion sauce and a Tuscan pork tenderloin), and had to essentially use, then wash, every pot and pan that I own. And at the time of baking, all of said pots, pans, dishes, etc, were drying, seeing as how the only dishwasher I own is me.

Wait—have I ever shown you the exact smallness of my kitchen? Let me show you, so you can have a better visual of what This Girl was working with:

That’s one counter, there on the left. And those are some of the dishes. I had to put others away so I could perch my laptop on the counter (thankfully not precariously like last month), and thought mightily how handy an iPad would be in this situation. Or maybe replacing the ink in my printer so I could print out the recipe. No, I think just getting an iPad would be easier. Yes. Yes, indeed.

This is the other counter, and that small space in front of the coffee pot (which is not there for me, it’s there for The Swede, since, TRUTH: I don’t like coffee. I know! It’s amazing The Swede and I have lasted so long.) is the space I had to work with. You’re probably thinking, “Molly, that’s stupid. You should have used the other counter where your laptop is.” Oh, dear Interweber, YOU WOULD THINK. Unfortunately for This Girl, the electrical outlet is on this tiny counter, tucked behind the microwave and coffee pot, and since I had to plug in the mixer…well, you get the idea.

And if you don’t get the idea, let’s put it this way: Hot. Mess.

I should probably just move.

It would make my baking and cooking life so much easier, to have a kitchen that is bigger where I can fit stuff because I’m too lazy to work with the space I have and move things around.

Yes. Moving is the answer.

Since the directions of this cake are pretty self-explanatory, I won’t bore you with a step-by-step, but I will say that I can’t help but love any cake that starts off with butter, almonds, and brown sugar.

Oh yes. And it just gets better from there, my Interweb friends. I think it’s because there’s so much f-ing butter in this recipe.

Are we sure Paula Deen didn’t put this one together? Huh. No, there’s not a pound of cheese or any bacon in it anywhere, so I guess Paula stayed out of this one. I’VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU, PAULA.

To be honest, while I liked the streusel, I wasn’t sure on the overall cake. I prefer my cranberries in jellied form with can-shaped ridges on the side, thank you very much. But in making the cake, and lopping it all into the pan, I will fully admit that it’s a beautiful looking cake.

And the batter was delicious.

I may have sampled some.

I have no regrets.

TRUTH: The springform pan I borrowed from Ashley was 9 inches rather than the requested 10 inches. I vaguely wondered if this would have a large affect on the cake, but dismissed the thought since I A) was still wondering where the cream cheese fit in at this point, 2) realized in folding in the flour that I’d only measured out a cup rather than two cups, then when folding it in lost track of how much I’d put in and just sort of guesstimated and crossed my fingers that the cake would turn out fine, and III) was kind of nervous working with a springform pan. I feel I’m rather prolific in the kitchen, but I’d never used one of these pans before, and for some reason always viewed them as somewhat intimidating. Like if I popped the latch on the pan too soon the cake would come flying at me like a goddamned jack-in-the-box. Or spew forth like a pressure cooker. Which, if you know more than I do (which isn’t hard, really) you know is just not…even…possible. At all. But there you have it, a glimpse into my overactive imagination.

In the end, I increased the baking time to about an hour and 35 minutes, because the knife came out still goopy at an hour and 10 minutes. Whether the inch less made a difference (a thicker cake, longer to bake) or I’m just an ass is again, hard to say.

Seriously, we could go either way on this one.

When I finally took the cake out of the oven, it looked divine, if I do say so myself. And since this is my blog, I will say so: The cake looked divine, with the streusel browned and crunchy, the cake moist (sorry, I hate that word too, but there’s really no other word to describe it). And while I didn’t have to do battle with frosting for this cake, the worries crept in that I might have to do battle with that instead. Which did not excite me, because it’s one thing to go head to head with heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. It’s entirely another to face off with a metal ring. Literally.

I let the cake cool as directed , then carefully popped the latch. Nothing popped out at me. Nothing spewed forth. The metal ring slid off easily, leaving me with a cake that I now had to somehow get from the metal bottom to a glass plate. I mean, I guess I could have left the cake on the metal bottom, but Ashley would probably be upset if I only returned half of her baking instrument to her with a cheery note saying, “’K great, thx! Will bring back the rest of the pan when I’m done stuffing my face and no, I didn’t save  a slice for you ‘K byeeee!” Plus, Mom gave me a couple lovely serving platters at Thanksgiving after I writhed around on the floor for awhile lamenting my lack of serving trays. She claimed she didn’t use the trays very often, but I think she really just wanted to shut me up. And no, I don’t blame her.

If ever you’ve seen me make pancakes or fried eggs (which is kind of weird, because hi, were you spying on me through the window? Ew.), you know that while I can pretty much handle anything a recipe throws at me (and if I can’t I have no qualms about making shit up as I go along), my skills at maneuvering a spatula in order to flip or dish out a serving of something can sometimes be lacking.

So it was with slow, careful movements—which was not easy to do considering I had a potholder on one hand since the metal bottom was still quite warm—I successfully transferred the cake from baking bottom to platter.


And then I promptly did NOT follow those bullshit directions of “letting the cake cool completely” before slicing a piece off for myself.

I mean, I waited a good, like hour or so, and I think that’s good enough. Well, maybe not good enough if you’re talking how nicely the slice stayed together at the tip, but whatever.

Nobody’s perfect.

Happy holidays, you delicious saucy (but not like that) (yes, I mean in the deliciously naughty way, not like, the Thanksgiving way) (what?) cranberries, you.  Cream cheese…well, happy holidays to you, too, even though you had nothing to do with this recipe. I still love you and will eat of your creamy cheese goodness heartily. Just…not right now, apparently.

December’s Cake: Cranberry Cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)

Makes one 10-inch round cake

For the Streusel
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp light brown sugar

For the Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries

Method – Streusel
Heat the oven to 300F. Grease a 10inch round springform pan.
Combine the butter, almonds and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Work the mixture between your fingers to form large crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Method – Cake
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the eggs and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high speed until the mixture is lightened and increased in volume, about 5 minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter in a slow stream. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for another 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.
Gently but thoroughly fold in the flour mixture, half a cup at a time. Then stir in the cranberries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1hour 10minutes.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Release the sides of the pan and use a large spatula to slide the cake from the pan bottom onto the wire rack. Cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

csb november: cinnamon pudding cake

1 Dec

**Hi! I’m super late with this post! Please don’t hate me!**


Welcome to more adventures of Orange Mixer!

This month, Orange Mixer is joined by his trusty sidekick, Gin!

Wait…gin wasn’t one of the ingredients in this month’s cake? Are you sure?


Well that might explain quite a lot, actually.

I’m not going to lie to you, Interwebers, and I’m going to forewarn you: this month’s baking adventure did not go as well as I’d hoped, ergo you may encounter me dropping a lot of F-bombs in this post

Like I said, you’ve been warned.

It all started off fine and good. I sprayed the shit out of the pan with some butter-flavored Crisco spray, and gathered up all my ingredients, noting that the one thing I did not have.


Also, in addition to gin and a possible gratuitous use of the F-word, I am blaming this baking failure on lack of vanilla. Even though the recipe only calls for barely any of that ever-present-in-baked-goods liquid.

But still!

It all seemed so easy to put together, this pudding cake. Plus, I was jazzed at the concept of “pudding” and “cake” all in one.

I do so love pudding.



Right! The cake! So like I said, it all seemed very easy, and I was on a good start, what with the Crisco, and the pan, and the ingredients. I had my laptop perched so I could have the recipe in full view, with The Biggest Loser playing in the background. Because let’s face it, nothing says Time To Bake like listening to an episode. Not that watching episodes aren’t fun as well, but if I’m being honest, I only care to watch the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes, so I can see how much weight everyone lost that week, who gets kicked off, and what they look like now.

In any case, it’s good background baking noise. Just trust me on this one.

I melted the sugar and butter and water down just fine.

I threw all the ingredients in Orange Mixer and let it whir away, dumping the mess into my lovingly greased pan.

Pouring the caramel on top, I thought to myself, “Fuckin’ A! This is awesomely easy! And it’s smells so cinnamony!”




I carefully, as instructed, put the cake in the oven, set the timer, and went about my business finding out who fell below the yellow line this week.


And that’s when the motherfucking pudding wheels fell off the motherfucking pudding cake.

I don’t know if I let it bake too long, if the oven isn’t calibrated correctly, a combination of both, or I did something completely wrong (fucking vanilla), but that cake. GAH! That! CAKE!

Looks pretty nice, doesn’t it?


I let it sit in the pan for a bit as directed, then put a plate on top and inverted.

Nothing happened.

I reverted and ran a knife around the edges, pulling and dragging it through spots where the fucking caramel had attached itself like a barnacle to the side of the pan. I put the plate back on top and inverted again.

To no avail.

It was at this point that the longest string of expletives known to man flew out of my mouth, as I proceeded to try and cut a piece out of the pan.

And by cut I mean claw with knife and fork.

I lamented about the disaster cake to The Swede whose response was, “Cover it in egg nog! Everything’s better with egg nog!”

Sadly, even this cake could not be saved by nog.

Not that I tried it, because actually that would be kind of gross, all soupy, soppy cake and whatnot. And I don’t think downing a quart of heavily spiked egg nog would make this better, either.

Sad, cinnamon pudding cake panda.

But when I did manage to tear some of the cake out of the pan, I did see what the caramel bits were supposed to look like.

Sort of.


On to next month’s cake. And more gin.

Not that there’s gin in next month’s cake, either, but you know, maybe if I drink more of it the cake will turn out better.

Or at least I won’t give a shit if it’s another disaster.


csb cake october: pumpkin chocolate chip poundcake

20 Oct

I totally fell off the baking loop the last half of the most recent season of the Cake Slice Bakers.

I’m sorry.

I don’t know what got into me, really. It wasn’t just the CSB, there was a dearth of baking all around. Trust me, I know. I was the one doing the non-baking. I was the one who had to listen to The Swede lament the fact that there was a lot of non-baking going on.

But I’m happy to tell you that the next season of CSB is premiering…right now.

We’ve got a new book, new recipes, and I’ve got a new attitude toward the oven. Particularly because it’s fall an—with the exception of a few days recently—not ungodly hot out. Plus, this recipe involved pumpkin, and let’s face it, pumpkin = fall. Don’t try and disagree with me. It won’t work. I’m right on this one. I know it.

And what better way to get back on the CSB lineup than with a cake that DOES NOT REQUIRE FROSTING? I know it’s been awhile, but need I remind you about my frosting issues?

I know!

I peed in my chonies a little in excitement over no frosting, too!

Now, I’m not saying it’s imperative, but to kick of this season of baking, I’m just saying you might want to seriously consider matching your Kitchenaid mixer to whatever it is you’re baking. Ergo, I used an orange one for this pumpkin chocolate chip poundcake recipe, and I think that little touch really added something to the final product.

Or, you know, The Swede just happens to have a Texas-orange mixer that I like to use any chance I get.


I’d give you a step-by-step overview of how I made this poundcake, but let me tell you something: A) You’re all smart people, and you can read for yourselves the instructions at the end of this post. 2) It’s not that freaking hard. To be honest, I’m pretty sure that if you took all the ingredients and dumped them in at the same time and mixed it all around then dumped it in a pan and threw it in the oven it would come out just the same.

I say this because I actually made this poundcake twice, and the second time I pretty much went the “Toss it all in willy-nilly!” route and it was quite tasty.

Though I did forget to add the milk.

And I pulled it out of the oven before it was finished baking because I thought it had finished baking and the top was starting to get a little too crispy for my liking and the knife came out pretty clean. Using my powers of deduction, this would make for a done cake.

Am the poundcake whisperer!

Except that when I sliced into half the goddamned cake oozed out the middle.

So I yelled ‘fuck’ a lot then quickly scooped up the two halves and arranged them back in the loaf pan and shoved the lot back in the oven.

And when I pulled the cake out again it was baked through. THANKFULLY. It was not what you would call sliceable, but neither I nor The Swede have ever had any problem eating poundcake in chunk and glob form.

And it tasted just as good as the much-neater first version.

Though now that I think about it, that one got a little too brown on top for my liking as well.

And it didn’t slice up very easily, either.

But that may have had something to do with the fact that neither The Swede nor I waited until the poundcake was what one might call “completely cooled.”

I mean, we weren’t scalding our tongues on hot, melted chocolate chips or anything, but the loaf was definitely still warm.

Are you supposed to eat poundcake any other way? When it’s not warm? Is that wrong?

If I’m wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Because it was delicious.

Here’s the recipe, which I highly recommend trying.

*Note: I left out the walnuts on both loaves, because, well, I don’t really like walnuts. And if I don’t want to add nuts to my cake, then I’m not going to, dammit! Ha haaaaa! I said nuts!

October’s Cake: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake
(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)
1¾ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
Pinch nutmeg
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 350F. Coat the inside of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
With the mixer on medium low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Stir in the milk.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.


*See how other CSBers fared by checking out their blogs!


csb cake june: shenandoah valley blueberry cake

20 Jun



Do you KNOW how MUCH I LOVED making this CAKE for June?


Do you know WHY?

No. Frosting. Involved.

Which, though, when you think about it, is kind of sacrilegious when it comes to cake. I mean, let’s face it. Who makes a cake without frosting? As much as I clearly am horrible with the frosting techniques, I do believe the frosting is an essential part of the cake.

So while I was shocked and pleased in reading this month’s recipe to learn that there was no frosting involved, I couldn’t just let it be…plain. Fanciness is my middle name.

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s Veronica.

So I fancied it up a little at the end. You’ll see what I mean shortly.

But first, Interwebers, I have a secret to tell you.

I really, really dig blueberries.

And I live within a short drive to the Shenandoah Valley. Not that I went there to collect blueberries, because I actually went to a local farmers market, but whatever, I could have if I wanted to.

And this was probably the easiest freaking cake I’ve ever made. And it’s like it was tailor made just for me.

So that was actually multiple secrets. Sorry. I just get on a roll sometimes. I’d be a horrible secret agent. (“Do you like my lipstick? It’s really a camera! I’m taking photos of your nefarious deeds right now!”)

Now, the directions tell you to mix all this stuff together like you would any normal cake, and dump it in a pan and throw it in the oven, easy-peasy and you’re done. And while I’m all for easy-peasy, the thoughts crossing through my mind…well, I was kind of feeling the same way I was about the frosting. Like, “Ril-lay? I’m off the hook?

So I decided to make it a little more complicated for myself than it really needed to be.

Because if you know me at all, you know that I am the queen of making shit more complicated than it needs to be.

I’m lucky that way.

But it gave me an excuse to use my mini-bundt pans! And I luuuurv my mini-bundt pans! They are the wave of the future!

I was a little worried that I’d somehow cock up the end product, as when I filled the bundt pans, the cake batter was quite thick, and not terribly spready and loose like a cake batter you’d get from a box mix. I should know by now to just trust the recipes, but instead I fretted and set about wringing my hands for awhile after I put the cakes in the oven, worrying that they wouldn’t bake well, that they wouldn’t fluff up, that they just wouldn’t…wouldn’t.

I needn’t have worried.


They even turned out of the pans easily, which is I guess what happens when you coat the ever loving shit out of pans with cooking spray.

I have to tell you. I may be the smartest girl on the planet. Not that you’re not smart as well, Interwebers, because you are, and I am mad jealous of your brilliance, but in this particular instance I was certainly the most smartest ever. Because this mini-bundt cake version of the cake, well, it was simply ideal. The girls were coming over that night for dinner, and throwing the cake into mini-bundt pans meant that we each got to have our own little cake. And FYI, this recipe perfectly divvies up into six mini-bundt pans. And since there are only five of us, well, you do the math. (1+1+2+1+17, carry the B, minus 12 = The Swede got to have the leftover mini-bundt, even though he is not, by TND law, allowed to participate in TNDs. But I was nice enough to save it in some Tupperware for him.)

Now, as I previously mentioned, this is a cake sans frosting, and that just wouldn’t do. So as the girls sat in the other room chitchatting and talking smack about various and sundry things, as you do at dinner parties, I whipped some heavy whipping cream into a frenzy with a little almond extract (because I couldn’t find the vanilla) (which, actually, I don’t recommend the almond, because it gave the whipped cream a somewhat strange edge, and not that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t my favorite).

And voila!

A dollop for all.

I’d like you all to note a couple of things:

A)    There were no mishaps or missing ingredients for this go-round of cake baking

2) I don’t think I used the word fuck once in this summary of the experience

III) And, errrm….yeah. The above two are incredibly huge for me. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back and promise you that next time, I guarantee something will go wrong. Perhaps some sort of splattering incident that will lose me the security deposit return on my apartment if I ever move out.

Clearly it’s the dawn of a new baking day.

June’s Cake: Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake

Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake

(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)


1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1/3 cup butter, softened

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)


Heat the oven to 375F and generously grease a 9 inch square or round pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and stir with a fork to mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer at high speed until well combined. Add the egg and beat well for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl until the mixture is smooth and light.

Stir in half the flour mixture then half the milk, mixing just enough to keep the batter fairly smooth and well combined. Add the remaining flour, then the rest of the milk, mixing gently. Stir in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden, springs back when touched gently in the centre and is pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Serve a square of cake right from the pan, warm or at room temperature. If its round, let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack or folded kitchen towel for 10 minutes and then turn it out to cool, top side up.