Doesn’t that sound depressing? Well it wasn’t. Not even a little. It was madly delicious.
For my birthday I wanted all my favourite flavours to come together in a sweet and salty showstopper. That meant pretzels. That meant chocolate. That meant peanut butter. That meant heaven on a cake stand.
I couldn’t even find the cake of my dreams on the internet, so I invented my own, and unveiled the rich and decadent manifestation of pure pleasure at my birthday party.
At first I thought I would invite everyone out to [super awesome hipster bar] to drink an obnoxious amount. But then I thought, “No. I want to throw a dinner party.” Dinner parties are a very important part of white people culture, after all. So I invited everyone over to get obnoxiously drunk in my itty-bitty apartment instead.
I asked my Comrade, “Are you nervous to meet all my friends? All at once? In a really tiny space where there’s no escape?”
He said, “No. I’m excited”
I was surprised, “Really?”
“Do you want me to be nervous?”
“I’m more concerned about what we’re going to put on the menu.”
It took ALL day. I learned that Comrade is a really slow chopper. He learned that I will spaz the fuck out if we don’t follow a recipe exactly. In conclusion, turns out that wine and handsome Russian men are really good at curbing my stress levels in the kitchen.
And by the way, he admitted that if the friend situation got hairy, he’d jump off the balcony. We’re only on the fifth floor after all. And he’s a strong man.
PEANUT BUTTER FILLING 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup chunky peanut butter 1/2 cup sugar 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup well-chilled heavy cream 3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped Kosher salt
CHOCOLATE TOPPING 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 1/2 cup heavy cream
GARNISH Crushed pretzel and peanuts
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a 20cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper. Place pretzels in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared tin, pressing tightly into an even layer. Bake for 10 mins or until just going golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the peanut butter, sugar and vanilla extract until blended. In another large bowl, using the same beaters, whip the chilled cream until firm. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to loosen it, then fold in the remaining whipped cream and 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts. Spoon the filling into the crust, smoothing the surface. Sprinkle lightly with salt and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
Place a heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water, combine the chocolate with the heavy cream stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the cream is hot. Remove from heat and allow to cool, stirring occasionally until barely warm.
Spread the chocolate topping over the peanut butter filling and refrigerate until just firm, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts and pretzels around the edge of the pie. Carefully run a thin knife around the pie crust to loosen it, then remove the springform ring. Using a sharp knife, cut the pie into wedges. Run the knife under hot water and dry it between each cut.
Make Ahead The pie can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Garnish with the chopped peanuts before serving. Serve the pie chilled or slightly cooler than room temperature.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Well, you won’t after you eat this cake, because all your teeth are gonna fall out.
This masterpiece is made with two pounds of butter and more than 6 cups of sugar. It’s got rum, it’s got corn syrup, it’s got whipping cream, it’s got diabetes written all over it. And damn, diabetes, you’re delicious.
I don’t have a stand mixer so I made this cake completely by hand, (with the assistance of a sad hand mixer that I thought was going to die on me) and it was exhausting! I don’t recommend it unless you’re a badass. Although… I am developing a sweet baker’s bicep.
Also, I carried this cake around on the TTC for an hour. It’s like 5 pounds! I need a nap, now.
So, I made this cake for Bossman’s 40th birthday. He’s a butterscotch guy. He told me a story once about how his favourite flavour is butterscotch (some tart tried to sell him caramel ice cream instead of butterscotch. No dice, sweetheart. It’s not the same!) and I stored it away in my baker’s brain. You’ve got to know your audience: Dad is cheesecake, Mom is strawberry rhubarb and classic pies, Sarah is lemon, Macaroni Rascal is pecan pie and other corn syrup relatives, Abrubipityboo is chocolate and peanut butter, and of course Polish Prince is pumpkin.
Bossman was so excited when he saw his cake that, when he hugged me, he nearly broke my ribs. And this cake is SO good. I almost skimped out on the pecans, but I’m really glad I didn’t, they add an excellent dimension to the dense cake and super sweet butterscotch buttercream. I highly recommend that you make this sugarbomb showstopper for your next big soiree.
Man Rating: Marry me.
CAKE 1 1/4 cups butter, softened 2 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed 2 tablespoons canola oil 4 large eggs 2 tablespoons dark rum 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 4 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 cups sour cream 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 325F degrees and grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter and flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in the oil until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the rum and the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the batter in two additions, alternating with the sour cream. Mix in the chopped pecans until combined.
Divide the cake batter among the pans, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until it is golden brown and a cake tester inserted emerges clean. Transfer both the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
BUTTERSCOTCH BUTTERCREAM 1 pound butter, softened 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoons dark rum 2-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it turns deep golden brown and fragrant, about 6 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, cream, and salt, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for 3 minutes longer.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat it at high speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch, 8-10 minutes.
Beat in the rum.
With the mixer running on medium speed, add the remaining butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until incorporated. Continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Add enough confectioner’s sugar to the mixture to achieve a thick and spreadable consistency. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE 3/4 cup dark brown sugar 6 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup heavy cream
Place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves.
Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the cream. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook for 2 minutes more; let cool to lukewarm.
Once everything is completely cooled, place a layer of frosting on one top of a cake, followed by a thin layer of the butterscotch sauce. Place the other cake layer on top, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Refrigerate for at least one hour (this will help “glue” crumbs down and serve as a nice, smooth canvas for you to apply the “real” frosting later.) Once set, finish frosting the cake. Drizzle with butterscotch sauce and garnish with extra pecans.
Farewell cake for the Polish Price, who left to start his new gig at Sid Lee and made me cry. Complete with copywriter typesetting!
1¼ cups granulated sugar 1 cup heavy cream 5 ounces 99% Cacao Unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes.
Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.
Let the frosting cool while you bake the cake, whisking gently from time to time. Don’t over whip or you’ll create air bubbles.
2 cups granulated sugar 1¾ cups all-purpose flour ¾ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder 1 teaspoon salt 1½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoons baking soda 2 large eggs, lightly beaten ½ cup canola oil 1 cup whole milk 1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk.
Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.
When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.
I baked this amazing pumpkin cheesecake on Thanksgiving for my family. A total waste, it would seem, because I’m related to people who “don’t really like pumpkin.” Still, I peer pressured the pumpkin unbelievers into taking a bite and they were all pleasantly surprised. They liked it!
This can only be explained by the cream cheese factor.
I’m pretty sure you could bake any flavour with cream cheese and people would still love it. Are you thinking of a disgusting flavour? Go on, don’t be shy. Let your imagination run through the gutter and back. Now take all that repulsive, raunchy, vile favour and mix it up in some creamy cream cheese mousse heaven. What do you got? Well, you’ve got a delicious dessert, mister.
Okay, the Strawberry Cranberry Pie (blog coming soon) still disappeared much faster. So, I guess that’s why I don’t mind making this delight again for the Polish Prince, a true pumpkin connoisseur, so it can be properly appreciated.
More pictures and a Man Rating to follow.
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 1/2 cup crushed ginger cookies 1 tbsp white sugar 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177degrees C) and place the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan.
In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, crushed ginger cookies, sugar, and melted butter. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared spring form pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Let cool while you make the cheesecake
PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE 2/3 cup light brown sugar 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground ginger 1/8 tsp ground cloves 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp salt 2-8 ounce packages full fat cream cheese, room temperature 3 large eggs, room temperature 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth (about 2 minutes). Gradually add the sugar mixture and beat until creamy and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.
Pour the filling over the crust and place the spring form pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Place a cake pan, filled halfway with hot water, on the bottom shelf of your oven to moisten the air. Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees C and continue to bake the cheesecake for another 10 - 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cheesecake are puffed but the centre is still a little wet and jiggles when you gently shake the pan. Total baking time 40 - 60 minutes.
CREAM CHEESE TOPPING 1 cup sour cream, room temperature 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup white sugar
Whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return the cheesecake to the oven and bake about 8 minutes to set the topping. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Loosen the cake from the pan by running a sharp knife around the inside edge (this will help prevent the cake from cracking). Then place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pan so the cheesecake will cool slowly. When completely cooled, cover and refrigerate at least eight hours, preferably overnight, before serving.
It began as a lovely Hungover Sunday. I defiantly refused to shower or wear a bra and decided to spend the day baking and doing other domestic chores. What was on the menu? Doughnuts! Of the pumpkin variety, of course. So, I scampered off to Kitchen Stuff Plus, which is like a candy store for bakers, where I bought a doughnut pan. (I also bought a little lemon juicer! It was only $4 and made me ridiculously happy. I’m pretty easy to please.)
Kitchen Stuff Plus is right on Young and Eligible, and on this particular day, the intersection was dotted with women holding placards sporting pro-life messages, statements like “abortion hurts women.” They didn’t interact with the people on the street, they were just joined together to deliver their message. Which is there right. Still, I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable it made me. They were bundled up in warm clothes, completely silent, and I still felt the subtle presence of what can only be described as a threat. Then, as I crossed the street, distracted by thoughts on sexual autonomy, a man, in the most slithery, licentious whisper imaginable, brushes up against me and says, “Oh yeah, you are so sexy,” followed by an aggressive, “GOD DAMN.”
What. The. Fuck.
I just wanted to bake some damn doughnuts. All of a sudden my lady parts are under attack from all angles.
So, I ran home to my kitchen.
Anyway, this story has a very happy ending. These doughnuts were fantastic. You can’t take a bite without uttering an “oh my god.” The Macaroni Rascal said they made him want to do back flips and The Bossman made the executive decision to lock me in the photography studio kitchen so I could bake all day. (Actually, that’s not the first time a man has plotted to kidnap me for baking purposes.)
I made two different kinds: Cinnamon Sugar and Maple Glaze. I took a vote and the Maple Glaze was the clear winner. You will not regret baking these.
Although, if you’re going out into the world, try to keep your lady parts safe from the hags and creepers.
PUMPKIN CAKE DOUGHNUTS ½ cup vegetable oil 3 large eggs 1 ½ cups granulated sugar 1 ½ cups pumpkin purée (canned pumpkin) 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger 1 ½ tsp salt 1 ½ tsp baking powder 1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two doughnut pans.
Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.
Fill the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well.
Bake the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of one comes out clean. Remove the doughnuts from the oven, and after about 5 minutes, loosen their edges, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for several days.
Yields 12-15 doughnuts
CINNAMON SUGAR ½ cup sugar ¾ tbsp cinnamon
Mix together sugar and cinnamon together in a ziplock bag. While the doughnuts are still warm, put them in the zip lock bag one by one, and gently shake until they are fully coated.
MAPLE GLAZE 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar ½ tsp maple extract 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp maple syrup 2 tbsp milk
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. When doughnuts are completely cooled, dip them one by one into the glaze. Return the doughnuts to a wire rack and allow the glaze to dry. When dry, dip again for a second coating.
Baking is so much better with company. I invited Kathrine over to drink vodka* while I hopped around the kitchen. She filled out lesson plans, I frosted cupcakes, and we listened to shitty music while talking about cock. You know, gal time.
I usually sample what I bake, but I skipped this one. I tasted as I went along (because then the calories don’t count?) and everything was stellar. So, even though I can’t vouch for the end product, I can tell you that they’ll make you very, very popular.
Protip: Always take the decorating tip shape into consideration. The first time I pipped the frosting onto these cupcakes I used a round tip and they all ended up looking like little piles of dog poopie. Fail.
Rating: These are the best cupcakes of my life!
CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 cups white sugar ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp baking soda ½ tsp kosher salt 1 eggs ½ cup milk ½ cup water ½ cup vegetable oil ½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375ºF and line muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs, milk, water, oil and vanilla. Mix well. Fill each muffin cup half-full of batter.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
CREAM FILLING ⅛ cup butter ⅛ cup shortening 1 cups confectioners’ sugar pinch kosher salt 1 ½ tbsp milk ½ tsp vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening together until smooth. Blend in confectioners’ sugar and pinch of salt. Gradually beat in milk and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Fill a pastry bag with a small tip. Push tip into the top of each cupcake and fill until the tip is forced out.
CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped ⅔ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 ⅓ cups confectioners sugar 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).
This is an encore. I made this cake a few weeks ago for my sister’s birthday. I sent a slice over to my grandparents house and my papa called me later that day to tell me he wanted the exact same cake for his birthday (he turned 79!).
I did not want to make this cake again. It’s undeniable. And if it’s in the house, I will eat an unconscionable amount.
After we filled him with wine, steak, and cake my papa gave me some advice: quit being a copywriter, open a bakery, go on the Dragon’s Den and ask them for some money.
Since no one cares about her dessert preferences, whenever there’s a holiday, and the people demand chocolate, my mom will always buy her a single serving sized cheesecake from Metro. It’s little. And it usually has a gooey strawberry on top. It’s kind of sad.
So, she’s always thrilled when she gets to choose the dessert. This year for her birthday she only had one preference: lemon cake. Not lemon frosting. Not lemon filling. Lemon cake.
This cake tastes like dense, moist sunshine. It’s smothered in a velvety cream cheese frosting, but, unlike other cream cheese frosting, it uses Mascarpone, which makes it less tangy and seriously addictive.
Now it’s haunting me from the fridge.
Man Rating: I can’t believe we wasted all that money on tuition. You should have been a baker.
LEMON CAKE 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp lemon zest 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 large eggs 3 large egg yolks 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 cup low-fat buttermilk 1 tsp yellow food colouring
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in lemon juice and food colouring. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 8 ounce Mascarpone cheese, room temperature 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup confectioner’s sugar 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency
It’s hard working with designers. They’re so judgmental! “Take better pictures of your food. Why did you choose that photo? Why can’t you blur properly? The lightening is wrong. That table is ugly. Do it on an angle. Get closer. Blah blah blah.”
I adore them so much. One day I’ll make them proud. One day.
Sometimes if I bring food into work our photographer will take a fancy photo for me (see above). My voice will go high-pitched and I’ll do a little dance on the spot and say, “Mattheeeeeew, will you please take a picture of my cake (WITHDEPTHOFFIELD)?” And he’ll bark at me, “Oh god, really? Maybe. If I have time. And if you go away.” (Which means “yes” in grumpy Italian.)
So, we had “International Food Day” at work. It’s pretty self explanatory, our mission was to make a dish from an international cuisine. Some highlights included: Veal Parmesan, Latka, Pancit, Pierogi, and Kraft Dinner.
Instead of making a legitimate dish, I decided to play off offensive stereotypes. I chose Ireland. And I made a Guinness cake.
My Papa, born and raised in Belfast, drove me to work that morning because my Beetle broke down the night before. I had the cake with me and told him all about it. He said, “Why does everyone think that all we do is drink?” And I said, “Papa, put that beer down. It’s 8am. And you’re driving.”
This cake was great. It’s like a brownie and a cheesecake had a baby. A delicious, delicious, baby. (Cake babies are the only babies I endorse eating.) The sign in the second picture reads, “Guinness beer is good. Guinness cake is better.” There’s only a cup of beer in this recipe, but you do get a hint of it.
I recommend drinking Guinness while baking this cake.
And drinking Guinness while eating it.
And then drinking some more.
Also, please enjoy a picture of my puppy.
Man Rating: This is one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten. Like top ten.
CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE 1 cup Guinness 1 cup unsalted butter ⅓ cup cocoa 2 cups caster sugar ½ cup sour cream 2 eggs 1 tbsp vanilla extract 2 ⅕ cups all-purpose flour 2 ½ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and line a 9 inch springform tin.
Pour the Guinness into a medium saucepan. Add the butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter is melted. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar.
In a large bowl beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla. Add your brown, buttery, beery mixture. Whisk in the flour and baking soda.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Cool completely.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING 8 oz cream cheese 1 ¼ confectioner’s sugar ½ cups whipping cream
Whip the cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until well combined.
Add the whipping cream and beat again until frosting is thick. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.
Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.
DEVIL’S FOOD CUPCAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING March is birthday month. There are so many March birthdays in my family I feel like I’m indefinitely in the kitchen. What happens in July that gets everyone so rowdy? How do I get in on it?
Consequently, there are a lot of Pisces wondering around. Too many. It’s unhealthy. We’re infamous for our (over) sensitivity. Which can often be perceived as weak, or at the very least incredibly irritating.
My mother told me a story once. She works in a daycare and there was a boy in her class named Michel. Michel was very sensitive, and it often cause problems because if his feelings were hurt, he’d lash out at other children, say mean things, become aggressive. His hurt would erupt.
At the same time, his sensitivity was one of his most admirable qualities. It could be beautiful.
There was another child in the class, a Russian boy, who didn’t speak English and whose mother recently died. Michel could tell the Russian boy was sad. He didn’t know why and he couldn’t communicate with him. Still, he sat with the Russian boy, made funny faces until he laughed, played with him wordlessly. What he did was such a basic, yet uncommon, display of human kindness.
Sensitivity is usually a double-edge sword. It can make you a maniac or a sweetheart.
Anyway, I’m really sensitive, so that story made me cry.
…Cue smooth transition back to cupcakes.
These cupcakes use the same Devil’s Food Cupcake recipe used in my last blog, but have a cream cheese frosting. People go crazy for cream cheese. If you have to bake something, and you really want people to mouth orgasm, do something with cream cheese. It works every time. It’s a human truth.
Man Rating: Delicious!
(By the way, there’s nothing more endearing than a grown man with cupcake all over his face.)
DEVIL’S FOOD CUPCAKES 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 3/4 cup hot water 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 2 1/4 cups sugar 4 large eggs, room temperature 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 32 cupcakes
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 2/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.
Makes 12 cupcakes
On the Bright Side: Imaginative and sensitive Compassionate and kind Selfless and unworldly Intuitive and sympathetic
On the Dark Side: Escapist and idealistic Secretive and vague Weak-willed and easily led
Likes: Solitude to dream in Mystery in all its guises Anything discarded to stay discarded The ridiculous To get ‘lost’
Dislikes: The obvious Being criticized Know-It-Alls Pedantry
It’s not. This sugarbomb will give you a tummy ache and make your teeth fall out. It’s awesome.
Whose birthday was it? Mine! Yeah, I made my own birthday cake. Whatever. I make awesome cakes.
So, I brought this cake into the office and gave everyone a crippling sugar high. My boss said, “Steph, if you ever make that cake again, I will sue you.” I was flattered.
Shout out to our awesome photographer Matthew who took the main photo. So pretty. Swoon.
Man Rating: Oh god. I can’t feel my left side.
BIRTHDAY CAKE CRUMBS 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar 3/4 cup cake and pastry flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp kosher salt 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles 1/4 cup grapeseed oil 1 tbsp clear vanilla extrac
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles. Mix on low speed until well combined.
Add the oil and vanilla. Continue beating until the ingredients clump and form small clusters.
Spread the crumbs in a thin layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
BIRTHDAY CAKE 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature 1/3 cup vegetable shortening 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 3 tbsp light brown sugar 3 large eggs 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/3 cup grapeseed oil 2 tsp clear vanilla extract 2 cups cake flour 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles 2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 350°F.Spray a quarter sheet pan with Pam and cover with a sheet of parchment. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.Add the eggs and beat on medium-high for another 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the buttermilk, grapeseed oil, and vanilla. Beat for another 4 to 6 minutes. The mixture will double in size and appear light and fluffy. There will be no trace of oil left.
With the mixer on low, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup of sprinkles and mix for another minute until the ingredients are all combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan, spreading it out into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining rainbow sprinkles.
Bake for 30–35 minutes until the cake bounces back slightly when gently pressed in the corner. Cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening, and the cream cheese for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the glucose, corn syrup, and vanilla, and beat the mixture on medium-high again, for 2 to 3 minutes until smooth and glossy. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients and incorporate them on low speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium–high and beat the frosting until it is creamy and fluffy.
ASSEMBLE THAT BITCH 2 strips of acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long 1 6-inch cake ring, 3 inches high
Using your cake ring, stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are the two top layers of the cake. The remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer.Place the cake ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Use one strip of the acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
Put the cake scraps in the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
Use a pastry brush to bathe the layer with half the birthday cake soak.
Use the back of a spoon to spread one-fifth of the frosting in an even layer over the cake. Sprinkle with one-third of the birthday cake crumbs, pressing them gently into the frosting. Top with another one-fifth of the frosting.
Set a cake round on top of the frosting and repeat the processes for layer one. Put the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the first acetate strip. Top with the last cake round and spread the remaining frosting. Top with the remaining cake crumbs.
Put that sucker in the freezer for 12 hours.Take the cake out of the freezer. Gently push the cake through the ring and pull off the acetate.
Let the cake defrost in the fridge 3 hours before serving. It can stay in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to five days.