Friday, June 25, 2010

Avocado Cake

Not the most delicious looking photo ever - I forgot to take one when it finished baking and I didn't have any cooking spray so I had to use butter and flour to keep it from sticking. Still tasted good though!

I am living with my boyfriend this summer, and that boyfriend has an obsession with Costco. Due to this obsession, we seem to frequently end up with way too much of something that is perishable. One week, our excess was avocados. Now, I love guacamole as much as the next person, but I can only eat so much of it. A college friend had tried CakeSpy's Avocado Cake and said it was really good, so I decided to give it a try. Verdict: It's pretty good. It also go better the longer it sat out and bonus point - it's vegan if you make it with oil!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Engagement Party S'More Cupcakes

I am officially at the phase in my life where everyone I know it getting engaged. I have had at least 3 law school classmates get engaged over the summer break - I will surely find out about more when I go back to school in the fall!

I made these cupcakes for the engagement party of a dear high school friend's older sister. In all fairness, she didn't ask me to bring anything, I just had a baking urge and the engagement party seemed like an excellent opportunity to pawn off some of my baked goods!

I am a big fan of S'mores. But S'mores aren't a food I get much opportunity to eat these days, as I am what might be described as...indoorsy. No bonfires in my recent past or foreseeable future, that's for sure.

However, I think I came up with a delicious S'more Cupcake recipe after using an amalgamation of many other recipes.


Cupcakes - Adapted from Our Best Bites and Bakerella
2 C Flour
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder

1.5 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 C granulated sugar

1 C firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 C (1 stick) uns
alted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1 C luke warm water

1/2 C buttermilk

1/4 C Graham Cracker Crumbs

Toasted Marshmallow Creme
(Regular will work just fine, but the toasted is a fun touch!)

Our Best Bites'
Chocolate Frosting
Follow their directions, as this was the first time I made it and it worked out perfectly!

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl.

2. Cream the butter and the sugars together with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy and well incorporated. Add in eggs, one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Add in vanilla and continue to mix until smooth.
3. Mix together buttermilk and water. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk/water mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and alternate with the flour mixture. This is going to look a little weird - don't worry. It will work itself out.
4. Divide the batter in half - there should be about 6 cups total. If you mess it up, you just won't end up with equally chocolately and graham crackery cupcakes. Not the end of the world.
5. To one of batters, add the cocoa. To the other batter, add the graham cracker crumbs. Mix both until well incorporated.
6. Add your cupcake liners to your muffin tin. I used foil to evoke camping, but part of what's really cool about these cupcakes is the two color thing - that's not visible if you use foil!
7. For each cupcake, add two tablespoons of the graham cracker batter and top with two tablespoons of the cocoa batter.
8. Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes. I wish I could be more definite, but my summer oven is a weird one and I pretty much have to watch everything and don't think it provides much indication of what others' ovens might do.
9. After cupcakes have cooled, fill the cupcakes with the marshmallow fluff. Don't go overboard, as it's really sweet.
10. Frost cupcakes with the chocolate frosting. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the frosting and top it all off with a marshmallow!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flan & How to Carmelize Sugar

Hello Friends! Sorry I've been out of commission. My computer fan bit it slightly after finals and work/journal/moving has absorbed lots of time.

I made flan for one of my study groups during finals, and never did get it up here. So, here you are!

Flan (adapted from Food Network)
- 1 1/2 c white sugar
- 2 standard sized cans of sweet and condensed milk (I am a big off-brand shopper, but you can really taste the difference in this. I'd go with Eagle or Carnation for this)
- Milk to fill each of the cans
- 8 Eggs (It's a custard, what do you expect?)
- 1 Tbsp almond extract (I probably actually use more than this, but I'm an almondoholic)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325. Caramelize the white sugar over medium heat. If you've never done this, I highly recommend this video. The first time I made this, it took me 4 tries to get it to work. Caramelizing sugar is a skill, you should have it! Here are some photos to walk you through the process.
Sugar in the saucepan
The sugar will start to clump up. This is the sugar starting to melt and it sticking to itself.
Then it gets really clumpy and starts to turn color. Almost there.
Ta Daa! Caramel!

2. Pour the caramel in the bottom of your dish. I use at 8" x 8" Pyrex for a nice, thick flan. If I had a prettier dish, I'd use that. Do this quickly, and be sure to tilt the dish so that the caramel spreads around evenly.
3. Whip the eggs until smooth. Then pour in the two cans of sweet and condensed milk. This stuff is weird, if you've never used it - you'll probably need a spatula to get it all out. Mix the sweet and condensed milk into the eggs - the s & c will try to sink to the bottom, but try your best to blend them together.
4. Fill the cans up with regular milk and pour that milk into the mixture.
5. Add in the almond, vanilla, and salt and stir until totally blended.
6. Pour the mixture through a strainer (to remove weird extraneous egg stuff) and into the baking container.

That weird texture on the surface? That's me forgetting to strain the mixture before putting it in the Pyrex.
7. Bake in a water bath. I usually use my 9" X 13" Pyrex for this. Place your baking dish in a larger, oven safe container. Fill outer container with warm water so that the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
8. Bake covered with aluminum foil 90 minutes or until center is firm.
9. Chill until serving. To serve, invert the flan onto a serving dish and let sit for a moment while the caramel pulls away before removing the baking dish.