Archive for the 'cake' Category

Orange Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake

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I’m not sure how it happened so fast, but during the week we were in Atlanta, every single tree in this town grew all its leaves back. It is so pretty and bright green everywhere right now! (Of course that means it’s Spring which means it’s going to get hot which means the hills are about to turn brown, but for now it is so beautiful outside I don’t really know what to do with myself).

Suddenly there are only 4 weeks until Wildlfower, and only 10 weeks until summer vacation, and only 9 days until my sister’s birthday, and less than a month until I turn 29… bring on the cliches about time going to fast because they all apply to me right now. But it’s spring and it’s green and I love it.

After pretty much slacking off completely the entire time we were gone, I jumped back into training right away this weekend. The night we got home Mike and I ran 5 miles at sub-8 pace. The next morning I had myself all talked into going to Masters for the first time ever…got to the pool and (sad trombone) there was no practice. So I did 2300 meters on my own. Saturday was a group ride (50 miles, half of which was in the drizzle), and Sunday was a stroller 10K in Golden Gate Park.

I did a 2 mile warm up and my legs felt completely dead, so I figured it would just be a total suck-fest. But somehow, when the gun went off, I felt good! Surprisingly good, especially with the first 3 miles being pretty much completely uphill. Ellie was eating some snacks, I was actually passing people, and my legs felt great.

After the turnaround, I knew the hardest part was over because it was all downhill to the finish. With two miles left to go, I had moved from 10th woman to 7th, but Ellie was pretty much over the stroller and started fussing quite a bit. I kept trying to hand her things to keep her entertained, and pointed out things like squirrels, dogs, and babies (her favorites), but she wasn’t into it. I picked up the pace quite a bit just trying to finish as fast as possible so she could get out and play.

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I saw Naomi with about a mile and a half to go, and that gave me a pretty good boost. I kicked it in to finish as the 5th female with a time of 46:26. I immediately took Ellie out of the stroller and she had a blast running around and watching other finishers. She was also super excited about our yellow 5th place ribbon, so I think she forgives me for those unpleasant minutes in the stroller.

My parents came over for dinner Sunday night for homemade banh mi and this pound cake. I know orange season is almost over and I didn’t want to let it go without baking something like this.

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(from Joy the Baker)

Crumb Cake

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I have been slacking SO much in the running department.  If it weren’t for early morning runs with Aron, I’d probably only run once a week.  I think I’ve just gotten so into cycling and swimming that running has lost some of its appeal.

With a trail half marathon coming up NEXT WEEKEND, I figured I should probably try and do at least one double digit run to get myself ready.  Alyssa mapped a route, I made crumb cake for afterwards, and Mike agreed to hang with Ellie at the beach while we ran through Golden Gate Park and the Presidio.  It was perfect. (FYI, running quickly regains appeal when there are good friends, food, and coffee involved).

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Overall this week of training was pretty perfect.  I jumped into a 12 week plan which seems totally manageable.  There will be a little bit of re-arranging workouts, but I think this is going to help me be strong and ready to go on race day (less than 11 weeks away!)

I’ve now been using Training Peaks for a couple of months and I LOVE it. It’s super straightforward and you can see everything in list form, on a spreadsheet, or as a pie chart, and entering data is really simple.  Nobody is paying me to say any of this, but I’m going to make myself an unofficial Training Peaks ambassador.

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Week one: 9 hours and 50 minutes of fun!

I FINALLY did my first brick! (Well, first since 2008).  I ended up doing 2 hours on my trainer so I could finish really early in the morning, and then I headed outside to run for 15 minutes.  I was shocked how good my legs felt.  I am also quite ready for today’s rest day.

This cake is just a nice simple breakfast treat, easy to make with things most people keep on hand all the time.  I halved the recipe and put it in an 8″ square pan, but the recipe as written will make a 13 x 9 pan and feed a decent crowd.

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Recipe from Martha Stewart via Baked Bree

 

Momofuku Birthday Cake

In spite of the fact that the compost cookies completely flopped, I am completely in love with the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook.  When Mike decided he wanted his birthday cake to be THE birthday cake from the book, I was super stoked….until I realized that I didn’t have any acetate sheets or clear vanilla extract.  But I can assure you that even with regular old vanilla extract, this beats any other homemade funfetti cake by a mile (and I’ve tried a few).  Plus, you can buy acetate sheets (overhead transparencies) from the print-shop section of an office supply store for about a dollar a sheet (I used 2 sheets for the cake) and just tape them together.

Thanks to my less than stellar reading comprehension skills (an affliction that worsens when I’m overly excited about trying a new recipe), I started baking only about 8 hours before we wanted to eat.  The recipe tells you to put the cake in the freezer for at least 12, and then thaw in the fridge for 3, but 3 hours in the freezer was plenty.

This cookbook is what initially sold me on baking by weight (The Bread Baker’s Apprentice recommends it as well, but I couldn’t be bothered until sweets were involved), so I HIGHLY recommend using a kitchen scale for this.  I am listing the weights because I didn’t measure by volume, except for liquids and little stuff like baking powder.  The directions say to bake it in a quarter sheet pan and then use cake rings to make 6″ round layers.  I just divided the batter in thirds and baked it in 6″ round pans and it worked perfectly.

My parents, Mike and I all agreed that this cake was HEAVENLY.  It’s very sweet, but the frosting is like no other homemade frosting I’ve ever had; a perfect hybrid of buttercream and cream cheese frosting.  The crumbs between each layer are a must because of the unexpected contrast they provide.  I know the recipe looks like a major production, but it’s a lot of fun to put together!

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(from Momofuku Milk Bar)

Cherry Vanilla Loaf Cake

I feel like I completely missed out on cherry season.  When we went to our (new) town’s farmers market a couple weeks ago, the handful of places that had cherries posted big signs saying “last week for cherries.” What?! It was the first cherries I’d had all year!  Fortunately Whole Foods still had some in stock the other day, and I just so happened to have a brand new cherry pitter waiting at home.

(Thank you, OXO!)

Ellie was already perusing my baking books, so I joined her and decided to make a basic loaf cake with vanilla bean glaze.

I think she was a little frustrated that I took some cherries for baking because I’m pretty sure she would have eaten the entire bag herself in a matter of minutes if I’d let her.

This is a super simple cake (butter, sugar, flour, eggs…) with some quartered cherries folded in.  The glaze is just milk, powdered sugar, and half a vanilla bean.  What are you waiting for?

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Chocolate Malt Cake

My parents just got back from 5 weeks in Bhutan (my dad was doing doctor stuff and my mom was teaching 5th grade English), it was their 33rd wedding anniversary, AND Ellie turned 9 months old.

Cake was definitely in order.

My parents both love chocolate and malt, so it was a natural choice.  My sister baked the cake, I made the frosting, and we all ate big slices (except Ellie).   The cake itself is incredibly chocolatey and moist, and the frosting is very rich.  No matter what you’re celebrating, this is a great cake for it.

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(cake from My Baking Addiction, frosting inspired by Martha Stewart)

Peanut Butter Cake

The last few days have been completely taken over by math.  Matrices haunt my dreams, I’m constantly running through proofs and derivations, and I’m sort of accepting the fact that number theory is way over my head.  This stupid test is in two weeks and I can’t wait to have my life back.

When I wasn’t studying this week, I was out with the fam.  We went to a LOT of restaurants, and kept Ellie out past her bedtime more than once.  Oops.

Good thing she inherited my ability to sleep just about anywhere.

Having family around means that desserts don’t last long (and that’s a good thing), so I jumped at the chance to try a cake Mike had been eyeing in Joy the Baker’s cookbook.

I was a tiny bit hesitant about this cake.  The last time I tried to bake with peanut butter (making something other than cookies), it was a big fat fail.  I tried to make a peanut butter banana bread but it was dense and gritty and unpleasant.   That was three years ago.  Ever since then I figured baking with peanut butter should be left to cookies.  I should have known Joy wouldn’t mess it up, though.  This cake has a nice, light crumb with the perfect amount of peanut butter flavor.

I frosted it with a basic peanut butter buttercream, and it was divine.  I think the only thing that might have made it better would be some sliced bananas in between the cake layers.  I’m definitely going to do that next time.  Maybe to celebrate being done with my ridiculous math test!

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Vanilla Latte Cupcakes

It’s Friday! Have a cupcake.

I actually made these a few weeks ago, but I really wish I could be eating one right now. These days, I’m not drinking much coffee. Okay, kind of a lie. I’m not drinking much caffeinated coffee.

But I made an exception for the coffee in these.

I’d like to take a minute and show off my new favorite grocery store, Rainbow Grocery (and I promise this does tie in with these cupcakes…wait for it).

First of all, you can get pretty much ANYTHING in bulk. Any dried fruit you may want:

A billion kinds of legumes, including a bunch of beans I have never heard of but now am obsessed with finding recipes for so I can buy them because they’re so pretty.

More kinds of rice than I ever knew existed.

And then there’s the chocolate-covered section. It’s a dangerous place. However, the beauty of it is you can buy the exact number of chocolate-covered espresso beans you need for these cupcakes, so you won’t eat a ton of leftovers and get your baby so caffeinated she doesn’t sleep.

Another perk? They give you 5 cents off for every single container you bring! We usually get at least a dollar off every visit!

Anyway, cupcakes. I feel that there are two camps when frosting is concerned. There’s the “dainty not-too-sweet meringue buttercream” camp, and then there’s the “extra sweet is extra good” camp. I fall into the latter, so I made a basic powdered sugar and butter frosting that, yes, is very sweet (just how I like it). If you’re more of a Swiss Meringue Buttercream fan, follow Josie’s lead.

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(adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop via Pink Parsley)