And when things get tough. This is what you should do. Make good art.
Or in my case, make good pie.
Pie is nurturing. From rolling out the crust, to the buttery aroma, to the end result of golden brown perfection.
So when you’re an emotional train wreck, make pie.
With Comrade recently out of the picture I was walking around work looking like I stumbled out of a mental institution. A conversation with Macaroni Rascal went like this:
“Yo, what’s wrong with you?” “Nothing… I look pretty…” “No, man, you look fucking miserable.”
Oh, okay. THANKS.
To make matters worse, it’s Pam’s last day. Now who’s going to advise me on what shoes to wear? Or what restaurants to eat at? Or how to dress like a House Head?
Anyway, her departure is the the real reason I made this pie.
So, when you think about it, this is probably the saddest pie ever made. Conceived in sadness. Devoured in sadness. But goddamn, it was delicious. I combined a classic crumble with ground almonds and peanuts to give it a nutty kick and sprinkled it with slivered almonds for an addicting crunch.
Apple Filling 8-10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick 2/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Almond Peanut Crumble 2/3 cup all purpose flour 1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, chopped 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup roasted whole almonds 1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, plus extra 2 tbs chopped 1/3 cup flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl. Fill your chilled pie shell with the mixture, mounding in the middle.
Cover pie completely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the crumble. Combine flour, butter, and brown sugar until it resembles course cornmeal. Pulse roasted almonds and peanuts in a food processor and add to crumble.
Take your pie our of the oven and remove foil. Cover with crumble. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and chopped peanuts. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 40 minutes more.
When I first met Comrade he told me that he “Didn’t like sweets.”
1. That’s not a thing. 2. I’m a pretty open minded girl, but I gotta draw the line somewhere. (I have a baking blog for God’s sakes! I have pastry flour on all my clothes. I spend my money on unsalted butter over toilet paper. I’d rather get an offset spatula for my birthday than jewellery!) 3. Challenge accepted. (What can I say? I liked his face).
Was this foreshadowing some kind of incompatibility? Nope. Turns out we’re quite the dynamic duo in the kitchen. Comrade is an inspiring chef. Let him loose in the grocery store and he’ll put together flavour combos for a meal that will blow your mind. Then I’ll serve a sugar-butter delight for a one-two punch that will leave you in food coma for days. That’s my definition of a power couple.
You’d think having two people in a tiny mid-town kitchen with no counter space would result in someone getting stabbed with a fork. This is easily avoidable if you: clean as you go, drink wine, play catchy tunes, and grab a handful of ass whenever you can.
We were making dinner for his sister, her husband, and their two adorable babies, whose little angelic faces had a tendency of blooming up at me and melting my heart. (I made these yogurt banana pops for the babies. Babies fucking love sprinkles.) It was my first time meeting his sister. I don’t know if she liked me. But she liked my cheesecake and that’s close enough.
And by the way, my pie totally won over Comrade.
…Or… maybe Comrade won over my pie?
Either way, make this cheesecake and you can win over your friends and family at your next shindig.
MINI CHEESECAKE WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE
Graham Cracker Crust 1 cup graham cracker crumbs or crushed digestive biscuits 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar 55-65 grams butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling 2 - 8 ounce packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature 2/3 cup ) granulated white sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
Raspberry Sauce 1/4 cup of water 6oz raspberries 2 tsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place oven rack in the centre of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press a heaping tablespoon of crumbs onto the bottoms of the 12 muffin cups. Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, and yogurt and beat until incorporated. Remove the crusts from the refrigerator and evenly divide the filling among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes or until firm but the centres of the cheesecakes still wobble a little. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or even overnight.
To make raspberry sauce add raspberries, water, and sugar to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, reserving a few raspberries for garnish. Bring to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes or until it starts to thicken. Place in refrigerator to cool completely.
To serve, gently peel off the paper liners and place on your serving plate. Serve with raspberry sauce and fresh berries. These cheesecakes can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for several days.
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.
If you want to bake an authentic Irish dessert for St. Patty’s day, look no further. These cookies are made with Guinness.
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, that’s not authentic. That’s a racist stereotype.”
And to that I will say, “So? these cookies are fucking delicious. And racist stereotypes are funny.”
Can’t argue with that.
Just like buying a guy a pint at the pub, these cookies are going to make you a lot of friends. They have three different types of chocolate chips AND and beer. That’s a combination that will win anybody over.
Ever since I went to Hip and Urban Girl’s Cookies + Champagne party (which I haven’t written about yet because I’m lazy) I’ve been obsessed with cookies. I just want cookies… all the time.
I also want beer all the time, which makes these cookies such a wonderful invention.
Now, if you’re an Irish girl like me, pouring two tall can of Guinness into a pot and boiling it until it’s reduced to only 1/3 cup of syrup will probably break your heart.
But don’t worry. Getting drunk off the fumes and biting into one of these warm cookies will definitely start the healing process.
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE GUINNESS COOKIES makes about 3 dozen cookies
Guinness Syrup 2 (12-ounce) bottles of Guinness extra stout 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Triple Chocolate Cookies 2 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon espresso powder 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 2 extra large eggs 1 extra large egg yolk 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 cups white chocolate chips 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce the Guinness and the brown sugar, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until thick and syrupy and measures 1/3 cup, about 30-45 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add the cooled beer syrup, mixing until combined. Gradually add the dry mixture until no flour is visible. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours, preferably overnight. Well wrapped or stored in an airtight container, dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To freeze, scoop the dough into portions and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then place in a freezer safe plastic bag for up to one month.
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out portions of the cookie dough with a 1/8 measuring cup (2 table spoons) onto the prepared baking sheet spaced 3 inches apart. Bake the cookies until the edges are set, about 15-17 minutes (a minute or two more if frozen). Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Why? Why would you put something so ridiculous on something so beautiful? I understand leaving something to the imagination or bringing emphasis to a sexual body part, but they’re just so… silly.
Pasties are okay.
So for Valentine’s Day my Comrade took me to a burlesque show at the Gladstone. Beer, chocolate hearts, fake German accents, and a brief glimpse of a ball sack? I couldn’t ask for a more romantic evening.
The performance was done by Skin Tight Outta Sight and it was fantastic. I highly recommend going to one of their shows. So entertaining. So funny. So many nipple tassels!
Afterwards we did tequila shots and danced to swing tunes. I also took Comrade for some Chinese food around 2am.
WHICH HE HAD NEVER DONE BEFORE.
How can that be?
It’s such an important part of the drunken ritual.
He was very curious (entertained? confused? offended?) by how a late night Chinese joint turns into a zoo for women in slut gear after they’ve stumbled out of da clubs in their four-inch stilettos.
Funny enough, we were eating a place called New King Hos.
Anyway, the point is, that for Valentine’s Day I made a Valentine’s Day themed pie! I tried out a new crust recipe from my new book The Pie and Pastry Bible. It’s was a much more time consuming affair than my usual recipe but I was really happy with it.
The pie filling and crust design was inspired by from Martha Stewart’s Pie and Tarts. It’s a striking pear and raspberry combination and it is fucking delicious.
Man Rating: I just ate your pie and orgasmed. Your skills are cockblocking you.
PEAR-RASPBERRY HEART PIE
Flaky Pie Pastry 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold 1 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 tablespoons pastry flour or 1 1/2 cups (dip and sweep method) bleached all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt (for savory recipes, use 1 1/2 times the salt) 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar Optional 1/8 teaspoon baking powder (if not using, double the salt)
Pear-Raspberry Filling 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 pounds (about 6) ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, core removed, and cut into 1/4-inch slices 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) raspberries 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 large egg yolk 1 tablespoon water, plus more for brushing Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third. 3 ounces and 1.5 ounces (or 6 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons)
Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap, refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Place a medium mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.
Use a pastry cutter or rub the mixture between your fingers to blend the larger portion of the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.
Spoon the mixture, together with the cold butter, into a resealable gallon-size freezer bag. Expel any air from the bag and close it. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into flakes. Place the bag in the freezer for at least 10 minutes or until the butter is very firm.
Transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl, scraping the sides of the bag. Set the bag aside. Sprinkle the ice water and vinegar onto the mixture, tossing it lightly with a rubber spatula. Spoon the loose mixture back into the plastic bag.
Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into or discs— in a ratio of two thirds:one third — use about 9.5 ounces for the shell and the rest for the heart top, flattening the smaller part into a rectangle— and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack on the lowest third.
Whisk together granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add pears, raspberries, and lemon juice, and toss to coat. Spoon mixture into pie shell, piling high in the centre. Dot with butter.
Tuck overhang under dough so edges are flush with rim. Brush lightly with water. Arrange hearts around edge of pie: Press hearts gently on edge, alternating direction and overlapping slightly. (To help hearts stick, lightly brush each with water as needed.)
Whisk yolk and water in a small bowl. Lightly brush entire pie crust with egg wash, then sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until crust turns light gold, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake, rotating halfway through, until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour and 25 minutes.
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO POUND CAKE CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
The other night my Comrade came over promising we could could bake cupcakes and get white girl trashed. In my opinion alcohol and baking are the perfect combination. They just go together. Like Bert and Ernie. So, we had vodka and beer for dinner and licked the batter off of spoons while being serenaded by euro trash from my shitty macbook speakers.
I don’t have real speakers, because mine caught fire a few months ago. (Serves me right for listening to 99.9 Virgin radio?)
Comrade wasn’t too shabby in the kitchen either. I put him in charge of the hand mixer, since men love power tools, and he pipped the frosting. Don’t they look wonderful, everybody?
Most cupcakes are airy and fluffy, but this recipe is adapted from the recipe of a pound cake, so they’re very dense and rich with a cookie-like texture. The frosting is made with cream cheese (the king of all frostings), so you know, even before you bite into it, that they’re going to be undeniably delightful. (And they were.) I also picked up some chocolate covered coffee beans and ground them up to dust the tops and help marry the flavours of the frosting with the espresso flavours in the cake. Winning.
Did we pig out on cupcakes? Not even. We only ended up sharing, like, half of one. All that time and work, but we were too full from our liquid dinner. It happens.
I sent him on his marry way with a dozen or so and he told me later that he would have attracted less attention if he was naked on the subway than with cupcakes. Well of course! I’ve mentioned this before, if you’re carrying baked goods you will get checked out twice as much, if not more. It’s a scientific fact. Trust me. I’ve done a lot of field research.
So I guess ya’ll can expect more cupcakes. Because I can’t wait to try a recipe from the book. Especially the peanut butter and jam cupcake! That’s right. The most amazing sandwich in the world has finally transformed into the most amazing dessert in the world. (Does that make it a breakfast food?) Sounds fantastic. Although I should probably post all my Christmas baking first… I’m a slacker.
3 ½ tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder 1 tsp instant coffee powder or espresso powder ¼ cup boiling water 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 3 large eggs 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour ¾ cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar ¾ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ¾ cup + 1 tbsp (184 gr) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk to combine the cocoa powders, coffee powder, and boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.
Once the chocolate mixture is cool, whisk in the vanilla and eggs until combined and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.
Add the softened butter and half of the chocolate mixture to the flour. Mix on low until the flour is moistened and then increase speed to medium and beat for one minute to aerate.
Add the remaining chocolate mixture to the batter in two additions, beating for twenty seconds after each addition. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips.
Divide the batter amongst the paper cupcake moulds, filling each about 3/4 of the way.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
½ stick butter, at room temperature ½ tsp vanilla extract 2 ½ cups powdered sugar 8 oz. cream cheese, cold
Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Beat in the powdered sugar.Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition.
I stayed up till 3am decorating these little bastards.
I’m not usually a fan of decorating. Pipping, sprinkles, fondant flowers… it’s not for me. Maybe I’m too impatient. Maybe I just suck at it. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because I’m a pie girl. I don’t think there’s anything prettier or more elegant or more romantic than a pie.
Sugar Cookies are different. Sugar cookies I can decorated for hours. Simple and childlike, it’s like baking a colouring book. There’s something really soothing about that.
But back to business. When baking sugar cookies, it’s best to be overprotective. They’re only in the oven for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size, so keep an eye on them and when the edges start to brown, yank ‘em out. Or the bottoms will burn and you’ll be sad.
I was carrying this pie on the TTC this morning and thought to myself, “Does this pie look delicious or does it look like someone hurled into a pie shell?”
Maybe it’s a pie only a mother could love, but it all ends up the same in the end, right? Besides, it tastes phenomenal.
This is like Pecan Pie for the distinguished gentlemen. Grandpa taste buds only. A classic with a sturdy upgrade. It’s spiked with dark rum and made with crystallized ginger, which is such an unexpected ingredient; chewy like dried fruit, seriously potent, and covered in sugar.
This pie was for the Macaroni Rascal’s 35th birthday, who goes nuts for pecans and sugar goo. But I was almost embarrassed to bring it in because I burnt the crust. (It’s not my fault! My oven is haunted. I can’t wait for the day that I can buy myself a big glorious kitchen.) It was so dry and flaky that Abrubipityboo asked, “Why’d you make your pie with a phyllo pastry?” Ugh, just take away my 50’s style apron, I don’t deserve it. But, in the end, it was a success, because this baby was gone by lunch time.
Also, I’m officially declaring a new meal of the day: Breakfast dessert.
Wake up in the morning, eat your cheerios, drink your coffee, and once the most important meal of the day is out of the way, help yourself to breakfast dessert. That’s how you start the day off right, motherfuckers.
PECAN PIE WITH RUM AND CANDIED GINGER
2 cups pecan halves (7 ounces) All-purpose flour, for dusting 1/2 recipe Pâte Brisée 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar 1/4 cup light corn syrup 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons rum 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch glass pie dish and gently press it into the pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch. Tuck the edge of the dough under itself and crimp decoratively. Line the dough with foil, shiny side down, and prick all over with a fork, piercing the foil and pie dough. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Fill the pie with pie weights or dried beans and bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and weights. Return the crust to the oven and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water and whisk in the eggs 1 at a time. Cook, whisking gently, until the filling is warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and whisk in the rum.
Arrange the pecans in the pie shell and scatter the crystallized ginger on top. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the filling is jiggly but not cracked; cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking to prevent over-browning. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.
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.
COFFEE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES with BAILEYS IRISH CREAM FROSTING
Last night I bought a cupcake out of a truck.
It was Nuit Blanche. I was intoxicated. I was freezing. I was pretentious. I was being my usual self, when I saw, to my delight, Curbside Bliss Cupcakes. There’s something about a bakery that’s so damn charming and romantic I can barely stand it. And this one was on wheels!
Okay, so the fact that it’s a truck takes away some of the whimsy, but whatever. I was down to cupcake.
(DTC.That’s what the kids say.)
Long story short: it sucked. You could taste the sugar particles in the frosting. The chocolate cake was bland. I’ve eaten more glamorous cupcakes made from a box mix. (That’s right. I went there. BOX MIX.)
So, why don’t I have truck?
Because I made these cupcakes and they were bad ass. The chocolate cake was moist and fluffy, and the frosting was so sweet, and bursting with so much Baileys flavour, it could stop your heart.
I bring up the baking biz because these cupcakes were actually commissioned for a coworker. My first time baking for pay! But as it turns out, baking for money has an extremely low, if any, profit margin.
So why don’t I have a truck? Um, probably because I don’t know how to make 60 cupcakes in 11 minutes?
But I’m pretty sure mine are actually worth $2.75 each.
COFFEE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 cup buttermilk 6 heaping tbsp cocoa powder 1 cup unsalted butter 1 cup coffee 2 cups sugar 2 cups flower 1/2 tsp salt 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl dissolve baking soda in buttermilk and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter and cocoa powder at a low temperature, stirring occasionally. When smooth, add coffee.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. With a hand mixer on low speed, beat in the cocoa mixture and egg. Add buttermilk mixture and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Is it odd that I treat myself by baking something new? Buying life supplies has really gotten in the way of buying baking supplies. Socks or cream cheese? Shampoo or semi-sweet chocolate? Tampons or unsalted butter? When you’re an independent woman you’ve got to prioritize.
Anyway, we had a company barbeque this week. It was thrown by Italians, so instead of hamburgers, there was pasta. It also rained that day, so instead of socializing in a backyard, we just had free food and beer at the office.
…So, it was like every other night!
The point is, it was an excuse to bake something.
At first I was overwhelmed. What to bake? What to bake! I have a never ending to-do-list and I wanted to splurge on ingredients.
Then I realized my hand mixer is broken. Which meant whatever I was going to bake had to be made completely by hand.
(By the way, I’ve been pulling 14 hours at the office and didn’t have any time to make this pie and ended up whipping it together over my lunch break. No big deal.)
So, I wanted to try something a little different than a basic pie. This recipe really jumped out at me. It’s a little more time consuming, but worth it. The flavours are complex, warm, and so delicious. (Although, I realized, even though it’s an unexpected combination of ingredients, all pies look the same with a lid. Dang.)
As I was scooping pie onto the Polish Prince’s plate he said, “Not so much, what if I don’t like it?”
Oh how I laughed and laughed.
PEAR, FIG & WALNUT PIE 1 recipe Pâte Brisée 3/4 cup Marsala wine 6 black figs, stemmed and quartered 3 stars of anise 3 lbs (about 6) barlett pears 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted 1 lime, juiced 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 tsp salt 3 tbsp. cornstarch 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 egg yolk 1 tbsp. heavy cream Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
Bring wine, figs, and stars of anise to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer figs to a large bowl. Cook reserved liquid over medium-high heat until reduced to a syrup, about 3 minutes. Discard stars of anise. Pour syrup over figs.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc of dough to a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Roll out second disc to a 13-inch round. Lay dough round on a sheet pan and refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
Peel and core pears, slice into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Add pears, walnuts, lemon juice, granulated sugar, salt, and cornstarch to figs and syrup and stir until combined. Spoon into dough-lined pie plate, piling high in centre. Dot with butter, and lightly brush the edge of the dough with water. Drape second disc of dough over rolling pin, centre over the filling, and gently press the dough around the filling to fit. Trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top crust under the bottom one, and crimp to seal. Combine yolk and cream together. Brush mixer all over the dough, and sprinkle the pie generously with sanding sugar. Freeze the pie until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, with rack on lower level.
Transfer pie plate to a parchment or foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, and bake until just golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F. Bake until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, about 1 hour (if edges brown too quickly, cover with foil). Let pie cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.
What do you do when a man gives you peaches? You make peach pie, of course. And you tell a lot of dirty peach jokes.
So, it was a Monday morning when the Polish Prince waltz into the office wearing cobalt skinny jeans and carrying three litres of peaches plucked from a tree in his backyard (Hipsters everywhere bow before this man and make him your king!) And who were the peaches for? Little ol’ me. Did the Polish Prince just want pie for breakfast? Probably. But for a baker it’s like getting a dozen long stem roses. (Except better? Because you can’t eat roses. Well, you shouldn’t). Talk about knowing the way to my heart.
When I took the TTC home that eve, some crotchety old man in a scooter puttered by while I fussed through my ridiculous purse looking for my metropass. The man stopped. Reversed. And then tried to steal a peach out of my carton! When I made a very impressive “What the fuck, crotchety old man?” expression, he scoffed, “I’m just teasing you!”
Um. No thank you, sir. I did not give you permission to tease my peach.
PEACH CRUMBLE PIE 1/2 Pâte Brisée recipe 3 pounds peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (8 cups) 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
BROWN SUGAR CRUMBLE 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and levelled) 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface and roll out dough to a 12-inch round. Place in a 9-inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges.
In a large bowl, toss together peaches, brown sugar, and flour until combined.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, and oats; using your hands, work in butter until large clumps form.
Transfer peach filling to pie shell, then sprinkle crumble evenly over top. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack 1 1/2 hours before serving.