Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm A Southern Girl...

I may have recently relocated to Oregon, but I was born & raised in the indoor foliage capital of the world... A place where "mudding", "hunting", and "monster trucks" are part of every day vocabulary. There were obvious ups and downs to my hometown... and the food it is a definite up.

For Retro Roundup #9 I decided to make a long time favorite of mine, Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. It was a cherished recipe in my household. My stepmom had it made for her birthdays growing up (so it's definitely older then 1984!), and made it for my birthday as well. It's an incredible moist, dark cake. Not too sweet, and really mellow. I thought it was a cherished recipe in most homes... imagine my surprise when I'd discuss the cake and people would look at me like I was crazy! A little googling on the idea and I've learned it is yet another "southern thing".

Now, let me be the first to say, I HATE Mayo. It smells gross, it looks gross, and it has been banned in all forms from my car. That being said, this cake does not taste like Mayonnaise! The Mayo replaces the eggs and butter from traditional recipes and allows for a moist but airy cake.

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I decided to make the recipe in cupcake form. Cupcakes bake faster and I was in a bit of a time crunch today. I have also been on the search for the perfect butter cream. My search for the perfect wedding cake revolved solely on the flavor of the butter cream icing... but my escapades in the kitchen have left me disappointed. I used this search as a quest for the perfect butter cream-- meaning I called my grandma!

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What goes best with chocolate? Carmel. I adjusted a basic butter cream recipe to be a Salted Carmel Butter cream. It is to die for. I could seriously eat it by the spoonful!

On to the recipes! This is straight from my stepmom's recipe card so it's pretty straight forward!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake:
(as always all ingredients organic [and local when possible] unless otherwise noted)

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa (I used a lightly sweetened bakers cocoa)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients & Cream together remaining. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture a little at a time, hand wisk until smooth. Bake at 350 (since i was doing cupcakes it took about 25 minutes, there is no time listed on the recipe [i guess we all should just be born with that knowledge huh?] but i assume 35-40 minutes for a cake pan).

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I filled the tin almost to the top (I also greased and powdered the pan with cocoa to prevent sticking as I did not want to use cupcake liners).

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Salted Carmel Butter Cream:

(I basically came up with this on my own, my grandmother told me to take 6 eggs whites and 1/2 cup sugar over a double boiler... then she went on and on forever but I had already had my vision)

1 package caramels
1 1/2- 2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound butter

Melt the carmels over medium heat. I melted half the bag first before adding the rest. I wanted some carmel to burn because I LOVE that smokey flavor. The carmel begins to get tough. At this point add the cream and salt (if desired).

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Stir caramels and cream until fully combined and smooth

From this:
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To this:
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WARNING: I almost melted my cheap plastic spatula so please make sure yours can handle high heat, or just use a spoon!

Set aside carmel to cool.

In a heat resident bowl combine egg whites and sugar. Place this bowl over simmering water and stir until sugar has melted. Remove bowl from water and use mixer on Medium High until stiff peaks form:
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Add butter in a little at a time. At this point all of my butter creams have failed. They get goopy and lumpy-- this one was not exception, but I kept on to it. Add the caramel in two batches (the frosting began to smooth out at this point) and mix with electric mixer until smooth (took longer then I expected, but well worth it). I mixed it until smooth, but not fully combined in order to acive this look:
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mmmm swirl!

Finished product:
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ENJOY FALL! It's beautiful here in Corvallis... we definitely didn't have fall in Apopka FL!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Two in One For Ya...

My future hubby...
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[pictured here]

was craving Bread Pudding. I didn't have the time to be bothered with making an egg custard and slaving over a stove (bad wifey, I know). So I threw one together from a Blueberry & Coconut Coffee Cake I had made a few days before...

From This:
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To This:
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In just a few simple steps...
(Recipe modified from this recipe here.)

2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon true vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Tear up coffee cake (or egg bread, or anything else you see fit-- I used a about 2/3 the loaf) and place into loaf pan. Pour melted butter over the cake.

Combine eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix well, but don't allow to thicken. Pour mixture over coffee cake crumbs (I sprinkled more coconut on the top at this point). Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done.

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Straight from the oven...
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It was incredible good, the custard-y parts were perfect!

We went to a mushroom festival this weekend (My fiance studies mycology) and I took some great pictures I'll post soon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

kicking it old school...

i made peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.

they're totally better then anything my mom ever packed me for lunch!

my cat even wanted them, which is a rave review by my standards!

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ahh sugar and butter, my favorite part of any cupcake recipe.

here are some pictures. mind you my camera isn't up to "food porn" standards... nor is the lighting (or lack there of) in my new apartment!

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i tried the frosting two ways. something about a hand frosted cupcake just makes me happy

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the cake itself actually turns a bluish grey color after baking, im sure adding food color would stop this from happening and give you a true "grape" color.

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on to the recipie (all ingredients organic unless otherwise noted, not that that would make a difference in the baking)!

grape jelly cupcake:

1 Cup Unsalted, Sweet Cream Butter (softened)
1 Cup Sugar
3 large eggs (I normally use 4 eggs but because of the addition of fruit juice cut one out)
2 Cups all purpose flour (i normally bake with wheat flour but went with white for the color of the cupcake)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup grape juice (I used RW Knudsen "Just Concord" Unsweetened, it is 100% pure grape juice, no sugars or sweeteners added)
1 cup almond milk (this is like soy milk but from almonds haha, regular milk can be substituted, I used almond milk to bring out a nutty flavor in the cupcake-- worked great)

Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs adding eggs one at a time to blend. Sift dry ingredients together (flour, sodas, powders, salt). Combine juice and milk. Add 1/4 flour mixture to creamed mixture, combine. Add 1/3 juice mixture to creamed mixture, combine. Alternate between flour and juice mixture until all is combined a smooth.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes (22 minutes was perfect time for me and my 20 cupcakes)

Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter + 1 tablespoon (i used jarred, normally i get that fresh squeezed stuff but decided jarred would probably be a bit sweeter for this recipe)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
3 cups powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream (plus a little extra)

Combine and cream ingredients. I originally only used 1/4 cup peanut butter but the frosting was too sweet. I added an additional tablespoon and a splash more of the cream-- and the icing has gotten rave reviews.

I think I found my cupcake round up recipe.

I'll post the revised tomato soup recipe soon... they were a hit though I know it's strange combo!

Monday, October 1, 2007

i had a phone interview for our local co-op.
i want this job so bad!
to celebrate i went to the kitchen!
i had an idea so i made a batch of cupcakes...
it needs a little work but i think it's definitely an idea i may submit to chockylit's cupcake roundup.

i'm also working on a few other old favorites (ie peanut butter and jelly... waffle... haha i have ideas!)

my camera is being finicky today. maybe its the lighting in the new apartment, either way i've gotta work on taking some better pictures of these cupcakes
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(this one was taken with my i-mac camera haha)

heres what was in the cupcakes...

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*drum roll*

it's a tomato soup cupcake! (with peppered brie and thyme "icing" and a candied tomato slice)

i didn't count the oil that was in the tomato soup. so i definitely used too much butter-- not enough that it takes away from the taste, but enough to feel a little greasy. but its definitely a cupcake (not a muffin). i was worried about the flavor being too "muffin-y" because i used whole wheat flour, it was definitely the right choice for this cupcake- its still sweet and light & fluffy. i like these a whole lot more then i thought i would. i can barely keep ian from gobbling them all up-- which is fine by me since i definitely don't need to be eating them!

ill keep working on it and let you know how it goes! we have a bbq to go to on weds. to meet all of his fellow classmates, i hope to have it perfected by then.


I'm new to this whole bakey-bloggy thing but here goes.

I'm Shannon, Shannie to basically anyone I've known longer then a few years, and I love to eat. Specifically sweets, especially cupcakes.

This is my refrigerator
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I'm an organic baker-- food tastes better when it's organic, that's the long and short of it.

My profession is "seeking employment" currently-- my partner and I just moved across the country from Orlando, Florida to Corvallis, Oregon. He is getting his PHd in Conservation Biology/Botany at OSU. I graduated with my BA in English Lit and a love for cooking and baking.

All this free time has given me so many creative spurts as far as my baking goes... but the lack of funds for super high quality ingredients is lame. Not to mention that we don't even have an electric mixer of any kind currently.

We're getting married in December and hopefully I get lots of baking goodies off my registry. Otherwise I'll have to start splurging on myself.

I started a blog because I want to begin submitting recipes and pictures for cupcake round ups and all the fun stuff "daring bakers" do.

So here I am. Right now I'm focusing on Chockylit's cupcake round up. I'm also excited for Quirky Cupcakes' Cupcake Hero and I want to start getting involved with Daring Bakers... I'll have to get started!

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