Tag Archives: csb

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.

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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.

What?

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.”

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return of the csb. which is kind of like return of the mack, but without the sensual 90s groove.

23 Jan

Contrary to popular belief, I do still enjoy baking. So much so that when the call went out last fall that the Cake Slice Bakers would be starting a new baking book, I enthusiastically threw my sugar-covered hat into the ring and was all, “LET’S BAKE SOME THINGS, YO!” I hurriedly ordered the book—Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson—and thumbed through it excitedly upon receipt.

And then, THEN!, the first recipe was voted on for November, and I got all pumped to make it, because it sounded tasty. A shoo-fly cake! Amirite? Delicious.

It was a disaster. A tasteless, dry, disaster that got pitched in the garbage. It’s entirely possible that it’s all because I didn’t have ginger. Yeah, that’s it. It was a disaster cake because I didn’t have the ginger. Ginger is my new vanilla. Kind of. Maybe.

You know what? I don’t want to even talk about the November cake, which I didn’t even make until December anyway. And then there was the December cake, which was supposed to be some sort of Mississippi Mud concoction with homemade marshmallow fluff or some stuff and nonsense. I shall spare you the suspense: I didn’t make the cake. I didn’t even attempt to make it.

There. I said it.

And I don’t regret it.

(Lie. I totally do. I’ll have to make it latertimes. I hear it’s full of deliciousness.)

But when January rolled around, I girded my loins and declared that BY GEORGE* I AM GOING TO MAKE THIS MONTH’S CAKE.

And you guys.

I totally did.

And I don’t regret it.

(Totally not a lie.)

But of course I had to do it my way. See, the original recipe, Banana Cake with Coffee Walnut Buttercream, called for two round layers.

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Can I be honest with you?…Yes? Thanks, much appreciated. A big cake like that, where you slice it off piece by piece, while lovely and wonderful, is not really my bag. Big cakes like that, in my world, tend to sit around for a week or more, I assume because people are way too lazy to take out a knife and a plate and slice off a hunk.

And by people I mean me.

And by assume I mean I’m correct. I am lazy.

So big cakes like that? Go stale in my world.

Which is why cupcakes, in all their over-exposed glory, are still wonderful. People are more apt to grab a cupcake to snarfle down and not think twice.

And by people, I yes, again, mean me.

Though I did share the deliciousness with my coworkers. (You’re welcome, Corporate America! Who loves ya, baby!)

Second, as mentioned, this recipe called for a banana cake (yum) with a coffee walnut buttercream (ew). Not being a coffee drinker, and for the love of all that is holy I don’t even like tiramisu all that much because of the espresso, I did what any good banana-lover would do and paired the cupcakes with chocolate buttercream instead. And instead of frosting the cupcakes like one normally would, I went instead with my more favored stuffedcake technique.

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It’s how I do.

The result was terrific, simply terrific, and I, who am a salty-potato-chip-loving freak, had to stop myself from eating more than two of these sweet treats in one go. The flavor wasn’t overly banana-y, and the cake itself was soft and a little spongy, with just that hint of…stickiness? Is that the word I’m looking for? Sure, let’s go with stickiness. You know what I’m talking about—where the cake gets almost a little caramelized around the edges. It’s my favorite part. And the chocolate buttercream was a wise decision, if I do say so myself. And I do.

It’s good to be back on the baking train, good to not have a disaster in the kitchen. (Though there was almost a powdered sugar incident when making the frosting, but whatever you do, guys, DON’T FREAK OUT. EVERYTHING IS OKAY. THE FROSTING  IS OKAY. IT IS UNHARMED.) (Also? Almost a cupcake liner incident.) (I don’t want to talk about it.)

Bake on, people.

*Can someone explain me: WHO THE F IS GEORGE? I don’t know anyone named George, nor do I generally do things by him. But maybe I should? 

csb catch up: fresh strawberry cake, or, yet another awesome failure in the kitchen isweari’mnotasdumbasilook

25 Jul

Because of recent events, like moving and starting a new job, I totally fell off the motherfucking baking train.

(You didn’t know there was a baking train, did you? Well there is. And it smells like vanilla and pumpkin pie and unicorns. Ta daaa!)

Which is kind of a huge disappointment to me, because though I never expressed it on paper, in my head  I really wanted to achieve the goal of baking all 12 months of the Cake Slice Bakers this year. And I was on a pretty good track (here, here, here, here and here—WOW, there have been some epic failures) and then SPLAT. I moved. And am a bit vagabondish, without a kitchen to call my own.

But a few weekends ago I decided I could just as easily call someone else’s kitchen my own (NOBODY HAS TO KNOW! EXCEPT NOW YOU DO!). The Swede and I were watching the Chicken Nugget for the weekend, and on Saturday night, while Chicken Nugget snoozed soundly and The Swede jaunted off to the Mad Hatter’s Ball with a friend, I pulled out my sister’s Kitchenaid and various and sundry ingredients, and set to work to catch up on the cakes I’ve missed.

Erm, well, at least one cake I’ve missed.

Full disclosure: Post-goodnighting the Chicken Nugget and pre-departure for the ball, The Swede, His Pal Dave and I may have partaken of this, which The Swede and His Pal Dave picked up on their earlier afternoon outing to a local distillery:

Stand back! Wild turkey's a-foot!

I regret nothing. (Also, for the record, I only partook of the gin.) (WHAT?)

Though it may explain the phenomenal shitshow of a cake that would come later.

So anyway, I set about my merry baking way for the fresh strawberry cake with white chocolate chips which was the chosen cake for June. I scooped, I whisked, I sliced, I threw shit in a bowl, vaguely looking at the directions and measurements. Because it was Saturday night! I was living it up! F YOU, 2 teaspoons of vanilla! I can’t find you, SO I’M LEAVING YOU OUT!* One cup of white chocolate chips MY ASS! WE’RE ADDING THE WHOLE BAG! AND SOME GIN! FOR GOOD MEASURE! WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT THE MIXER? STOP YELLING AT THE MIXER OR YOU’LL WAKE THAT BABY UP. AND THAT WILL PUT A SERIOUS CRAMP IN YOUR BAKING. AND GIN. BECAUSE YOU KNOW HE’LL WANT TO SHARE.

And after all of that, I ended up with an oozy, falling apart hot mess that once again had to go BACK into the oven to finish baking, and even then it was served up was STILL a hot messandItotallyforgottotakepicturesofitIblamethegin. So instead you can have a picture of the luscious strawberries that went into the cake.


Surprisingly, it tasted pretty good. The Swede had some for breakfast the next morning, as did the Chicken Nugget.**

(Yes, I let him eat cake for breakfast. THERE WAS FRUIT IN IT. What are aunts for? Cake with a side of veggie sausage patties is a perfectly fine breakfast.)

But then again, that kid will eat anything, so I don’t really trust his judgment.

But here, have a picture of him anyway to make up for my lack of cake picture. He’s so disappointed in Aunt Molly and her shoddy cake-making skills as of late. Whatever, kid. Have another veggie patty, buck-o.

WTF, woman? Where's The Swede? There's got to be at least one responsible adult around here.

*Seriously, why can I never find/am always out of vanilla?

**Don’t worry, I didn’t actually put gin in the cake. We don’t start our kids on liquor-soaked baked goods until they’re at least three years old, so he’s still got another year to go.