November 15, 2020

German Chocolate Bundt Cake

 

Did you know November 15th is National Bundt Day?  Any holiday that celebrates bundt cakes is alright in my books.   Serendipitously I recently bought Martha Stewart's latest tome, Martha Stewart's Cake Perfection, and the first recipe I wanted to make was the German Chocolate Bundt Cake.  From the shiny ganache frosting to the decadent coconut pecan filling it was just screaming, "Make Me!"  It was also the perfect excuse (as if I needed one) to buy Nordicware Fleur De Lis Bundt pan.

I diverted slightly from the recipe by using buttermilk, instead of whole milk and white vinegar, because that's what I had on hand and I think it makes for a moister crumb.  The best part of the cake is really the coconut pecan filling; it is absolutely delicious and not too sweet.  I couldn't help but sneak samples of it as I was making the cake batter.  One tip: the instructions say to fill the cake pan with all the batter and then dollop the filling on top,  but I  found the filling didn't sink to the bottom of the pan as the instructions stated.  Next time I'll spread half the cake batter, then add the filling and finally the remaining cake batter.   

The cake baked up beautifully and tasted fantastic.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate National Bundt Day!

October 31, 2020

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

 
Yep, it's another pumpkin recipe coming at you and I offer no apologies because I just love baking with it at this time of year.  Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies so when I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Snickerdoodles on Dessert for Two's Instagram there was no question if I was going to make them.  What's also appealing about Christina's recipe is that it's small batch so there's just enough to satisfy a craving.
 
You never know how well pumpkin will integrate into a recipe but there was no doubt of it when I tasted this cookie.  The pumpkin flavor was distinct, yet subtle, if that makes sense.   Trust me when I say it's delicious!  

October 10, 2020

Pumpkin-Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake

Fall baking is now upon us and I, for one, love it!  I can't seem to get enough of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove this time of year.  Pumpkin bread is a perennial favorite throughout the season and I was immediately intrigued when I saw this recipe from Real Simple for pumpkin chocolate cupcakes.  
 

 
Never would I have thought to combine chocolate with pumpkin. What a great idea! I knew I wanted to make it but I couldn't be bothered making cupcakes (because I'm lazy) so I went with a much easier variation which I'm calling Pumpkin-Chocolate Marble Loaf.  

The vanilla batter is divided into two portions: one is flavored with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice while unsweetened cocoa and milk are mixed to the other.  I wasn't sure if there was enough batter to bake the cake in a traditional 8.5" x 4.5" loaf pan so I ended up using a 3" x 9.5" pan I bought at my local Daiso (for those that aren't familiar it's like a Japanese Target!) many years ago.  Even with the smaller pan there was a little bit of overflow when the cake was baking so next time I'll take some of the batter and make 1-2 cupcakes.  If you don't have a smaller loaf pan then I would just use the normal size you already have.

Rather than topping the cake with chocolate buttercream I made a really easy and quick ganache using heavy cream and bittersweet chocolate chips.  There couldn't be a simpler glaze to make, plus I love the look of the ganache dripping down the sides of the loaf.  One slice of the cake and I was totally converted.  The pumpkin and chocolate flavors shine through individually but complement each other wonderfully.   I will definitely be making this cake again.

October 1, 2020

Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

 

I've noticed there's been a trend lately in small batch baking.  I, for one, definitely welcome this because as someone who lives by myself I just don't need a dozen of this or that.  Normally I would just give my bakes away to family and friends, and I'll still do that, but with small batch bakes I don't have to!

This recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins from Hummingbird High caught my attention because of their exceptionally tall tops, just like ones you'd find at a bakery à la Levain.  Remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine was obsessed with just the muffin tops?  That's what these muffins reminded me of!  You can bet that Elaine would be coveting these beauties.

You get four very generously sized muffins with this recipe which was the perfect amount for me to test and also enjoy.   One thing I noticed right off the bat was the intense, but not overpowering, lemon flavor in the muffin.  This comes from rubbing the fresh lemon zest with the granulated sugar, as well as the addition of fresh lemon juice and lemon oil.  The key to getting that beautiful rise on the muffins is to make sure your ingredients are at room temperature so that the batter is well mixed.  

As soon as the muffins came out of the oven I had to have a taste and I was definitely not disappointed.  They were delicious, moist, fluffy and above all, not too sweet!  I highly recommend giving this recipe a try.

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