Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kitchen is closed!

That's right, folks. You read that title correctly (take a few seconds to breathe deeply and calm down...everything will be okay). Barring any unforseen and/or spontaneous cake-requiring events, my oven is going on hiatus. That is, until the week of August 16th--when I'll be firing it up again to churn out ridiculous piles of baked goods for the Games of Acadiana Bake Sale to benefit the Miles Perret Center. Make plans to bring your little ones to Game Day at the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA on August 16th for a fun-filled day of family-friendly activities. Until then I'll be hanging up my oven mitts and dreaming up what delicious little lovelies I'll be bringing :) See ya next month!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I just discovered Wordle!

While browsing the I Heart Cuppycakes blog a few days ago I was introduced what I would consider quite possibly one of the neatest sites I've ever seen. Go find yourself a big block of text to copy and paste, then check out to generate your own "Wordle" graphic. You can switch up fonts, layouts, and color schemes to your liking, and they're even smart enough to allow you the option of excluding common words (so your Wordle won't be full of "the", "a", "of", etc.). I generated one using the text of my recent post on vegan chocolate cupcakes. Small things such as these bring so much sunshine and happiness to my day!

Miss American Cupcake Contest: Update

Many thanks to all my friends and family members who voted for me and my cupcake entry entitled "Petits Gateaux de Sirop" in the Miss American Cupcake Contest. The polls have closed and the results are out. Alas--no love for me, despite all my charms, good looks, and pleas for votes. :) Better luck next time, eh?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vegan brownies? Yes, please.

I don't know what it is about these brownies, but they are unbelieveably good. I'm talking best-ever brownies that have come out of my oven, and that's saying a lot because I've tried many, many recipes on my quest for the perfect brownie. Vegan or not, these are the hands-down winner. I love them so much I want you to go make some for yourself and try them out. Yes, the recipe calls for tofu, but it's cleverly disguised beneath all that sugar and chocolatey goodness. Think of it as covert soy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vegan cupcakes are taking over my oven...

Does that chocolate cupcake not look like it's packed full of awesomeness? 'Cause it is, and it's vegan too! The recipe came from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and if you don't already own a copy you should go buy one. Seriously. Any unsuspecting omnivore would mistake this delightfully tender and light cupcake for a standard boxed cupcake. Don't get me wrong, I love me some cake mix cakes, but these were so easy to make and boast the addition of soy milk and canola oil--healthier substitutes for milk, butter, and eggs. Next time I might even fill them with a little Twinkie-type filling and top them with ganache and a little white squiggle. Mmmm...tasty.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's not easy being green (cake).

My sister and I have been on a cake ball kick lately, and I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at making Bakerella's original Cupcake Bites. These are similar to the ones I previously made, but without the peanut butter cup-like bottom. We couldn't find the correct size of flower-shaped cookie cutter that was called for in the tutorial, until Diana happened upon some in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby. Go figure. I actually did find the cutters at Williams-Sonoma, but the set was...pricey.

I made a minty green cake by adding mint extract and green food coloring to a box of white cake mix, which I naively assumed would stay the same beautiful green color when baked. Well lo and behold, the exterior of the cake baked up a wonderful, beautiful shade of...golden brown. Which is all fine and dandy until I started crumbling the cake. The resulting pile looked like a dirty speckled mess of green and brown. Yuk. It was nothing few more drops of food coloring couldn't remedy though. Make that tons more drops. Making these required quite a bit of a time commitment, but as I have no life and my weekends are pretty much free I didn't mind it so much. The minty flavor is subtle, which most people seemed to enjoy. I however am more partial to a more pronounced minty punch in the mouth, but overall I am quite pleased with the cuteness of the final product. Kinda like mini mugs of root beer. Which isn't such a horrible idea at all considering the number of root beer flavored cupcakes I've seen floating around the interweb...

I also made a three layered carrot cake, slathered in cream cheese icing and covered in chopped pecans. It was both beautiful and delicious, yet for some reason I did not think to take a picture of it :(

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Arrrgh Matey!

Enter the Rum Raisin Cupcake (aka "Pirate Cupcake"), which has been on my "to bake" list for two weeks now. Sweet and innocent looking, these little cuties pack a quadruple punch of rummy goodness: rum-soaked raisins, rum in the batter, rum glaze, and rum flavored frosting. It's a veritable rum lover's heaven! Now before you go on thinking that you can get tipsy from these, you should know that the alcohol is probably mostly cooked out from the cake, and is definitely cooked out in the glaze, which I sent a-boilin' for about 5 minutes. It's the flavor I'm after. Sorry, alcoholphiles. (Is that even a word?)

This is my second venture into the world of vegan baking, and I have to say I'm quite happy with the results. My first attempt was a chocolate flavored "Wacky Cake," and I was less than thrilled with its flavor and texture. I wasn't willing to give up yet, since I find the concept of vegan baking rather intriguing and worth pursuing. Baking without eggs and dairy means I can whip up a batch of yum-yums at the drop of a hat, because finding a stock of eggs, butter, and milk in my fridge is always a gamble. You can find the Rum Raisin Cupcake recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, easily purchased at your local bookstore or from an online vendor. I really like that the recipes in VCTOTW make a neat dozen... small enough batches to do some experimenting with! The red velvet, vanilla, chocolate, chai latte, cappuccino, and coconut ones are next on my list (in no particular order), so be on the lookout in the future for these posts.

Friday, July 4, 2008

It's the Fourth of July!

Cake + Fruit + Jell-O + Cheesecake = YUM!

This delightful concoction by Kraft Foods entitled "Wave Your Flag Cheesecake" has been in my repertoire for several years now. It's one of those cleverly devised recipes that calls for multiple brand name products, but I of course went the generic/store brand route just to fly in the face of Kraft Foods. While it may seem odd at first to top a pound cake with gelatin and a cheesecake-like mixture, one bite will have you aching for more. Finish reading this post, then run to the store and buy the ingredients. There's no baking involved, so you have no excuse not to make one.

The holiday weekend has me itchin' to fire up my oven and do some baking, but that might have to wait till Sunday. In case you're curious, here's a sneak peek at what I have planned...