Sunday, January 31, 2010

Culinary Couture

Bet you thought I had fallen off the baking wagon, huh? No such luck. I took a little last minute trip this weekend and was unable to perform my baking and blogging duties. I have returned more prepared than ever to face what lies ahead. Thanks to Bolete's Things I am the ridiculously proud owner of my very first apron!

Just before we left on Friday, the envelope arrived. When I opened it I was reminded that my friend Angela is abnormally creative. The packaging looked so good I didn't want to open it.

A little hand written note told of a surprise hidden in the pocket of my apron. I had to figure out what she had up her sleeve. She went the extra mile and then some. As I began unwrapping, I was so impressed that it turned out even better than I imagined. Not only an amazing custom apron for myself... but a matching mini apron for my daughter! *Impromptu Photoshoot*

I can't wait to deflect the debris of my baking insanity with this incredible piece of Culinary Couture!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Sweetheart

We had guests over tonight. I was needing redemption after my Martha mishap last night. Thankfully, I didn't ice the entire batch of cupcakes so I decided to give the buttercream frosting recipe that I had eyed on the back of the confectioners sugar a try.

3 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter or margerine softened
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

When I creamed the butter and sugar things were really looking up. It was the perfect consistency. But when I added the milk and vanilla everything liquified. I hoped that mixing it for a few minutes would fluff it back to life... but to my dismay I had a great tasting vanilla soup. I stuck it in the fridge hoping it would thicken by the time we were ready for dessert. It helped a little but it was about as bad as trying to keep ice cream in the cone on a warm summer day. Maybe it would have worked better if I would have added the milk in small increments mixing in between. It's such a guessing game. I don't consider it a complete failure because it tasted great!

I wanted another cupcake but couldn't bear the thought of braving another dripfest... so I thought I would carve a whole in the middle and fill it with icing. When I reached in the drawer to grab a spoon this heart shaped cookie cutter caught my eye and I knew it was destiny! I drizzled in the "frosting" and thought it turned out pretty good. I'll call this one The Sweetheart.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Martha, Martha, Martha

I had a little buttermilk left over from the pancakes I made recently. I hate letting things go to waste and I remembered that I had seen a buttermilk cake recipe. I looked online last night and found several different recipes and equally mixed reviews. I figured, you can't go wrong with Martha Stewart. I found this Cocoa Buttermilk Cake recipe and when I realized I had all of the other ingredients on hand, I thought I would give it a whirl.

I of course made cupcakes because I think they are the perfect sampling size. And given the amount of cake coming out of my kitchen these days, I can only afford to sample! The batter was so thick that my arm literally started getting sore even using the electric mixer! That explains why the cake was brownie like with a thick inside and crusty top. I'm not sure if the texture would have been different if I had done it in a sheet or round pan.

The icing was a different story. The ingredient list was daunting to say the least. I momentarily eyed the simple recipe on the back of the confectioners sugar but I thought, Martha knows best! Surprisingly, I was still working on the frosting when the cupcakes were ready to come out of the oven. One hand on the mixer, one mitt in the oven 'cause that's how I roll! I didn't have quite enough sour cream, but I figured I'd still get the general idea. Mixy, mix. Stir, scrape, stir. Mix. And voila!

I iced one for Jody one for me and poured two cups of milk. Let the sampling begin. I was initially surprised by the crusty top, but I could live with that. I was disappointed in the frosting. I guess my expectations were over the top with the long list of ingredients. It was a runny, semi-sweet chocolate, cheesecake frosting. Not bad but it didn't blow me away like I had imagined. As I formed my own opinions I wondered if Jody would offer any input. I hesitated to ask but when I did he shared my brownie like sentiments. He said he really liked the consistency. However, he said, "There's some kind of weird sour cream taste." The frosting was definitely potent. We tried the cake unfrosted and decided... Cake stays. Frosting goes.

Maybe it was just poor execution on my part? Who knows... but at the risk of committing baking blasphemy I shake my head and say, "Martha, Martha, Martha."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Ever CrumpyCakes Original!

I'm so very encouraged by all the positive feedback I'm getting. I am honestly amazed that you guys are interested in what I'm doing and take the time to encourage me. THANK YOU!!!! You guys rock.

Remember the cake cones that I made for my birthday cake-o-rama? While they looked fun, the cone was soggy and I just wasn't very happy with the result. In thinking of ways to improve it, we came up with our own little concoction and may have started a very beautiful thing. It's a refined version of the cake cone. A little more complex but not necessarily complicated. I'd call it "Crumplicated." (Yes I just said that... I'm allowed... it's my blog!) Here's a step by step of my first attempt.

The Cone

The Mousse

The Cake* (see ridiculously long explanation below)

The Frost

The Grand Finale

So now, I just need to come up with a name for it... I thought of "The Bullwinkle" He was a Chocolate Moose! But I'm open to ideas as well!

*I made the cake from scratch. The batter was AMAZING. I always set my timer a little early because I'm a certified over-done-a-phobe. I watched the batter rise in silken perfection. At 15 minutes I decided at least another 5 minutes was needed. That's where I made a mistake. {Prepare for storyline derailment} My oven timer drives me mad. I rarely use it because while it counts down the time you program, it shuts off when the time is reached. Because of this I usually set the timer on my microwave instead. {Story back in session} I must have been distracted because I used the OVEN timer when I put the cupcakes in. Then when I decided to add 5 minutes I set the MICROWAVE timer. So, guess what? The oven wasn't on. When I checked them at 20 minutes in... I thought it was crazy that they needed more time but set the MICROWAVE timer for another 7 minutes. Still not being done at 27 min in... I realized my error. I turned the oven back on and set the MICROWAVE timer for 5 min. "Beep Beep Beep." With great hope and anticipation I made my way through the kitchen. When I arrived at the scene, the once beautiful rounded mounds of golden cupcake had turned flat and brown. I raised my fist to the air and swore in my best Scarlett O'Hara voice, "As God is my witness, I'll never use this timer again!" (Ok, that really didn't happen, but my teeth were gritted.) It was salvageable but unintendedly reminiscent of the "Ugly Gooey Cake" recipe.

This was the first scratch cake that made me want to abandon cake mixes! I found it on the back of my cake flour box. Here's the recipe. I've never made mousse before, so that was it's own adventure. It was really good. I found this recipe online.

I was a little hesitant to blog about this one. But, I decided that I was "man enough" to laugh at myself and my ugly cake. It's all part of the process and I figured you'd enjoy it. I'll work on a better aesthetic for it soon! I had originally hoped to use a sugar cone, but to be honest the mousse is so rich that the regular cone was a much more balanced compliment. I had this pink cone left over from my birthday. Use what you got! I layered the mousse and cake down in the cone like you would do in a trifle and then pressed a cupcake down into the cone before topping with mousse.

Special thanks to my husband for helping me with this idea. All in all, a thumbs up experience for my first ever CrumpyCakes original!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Bake Sale for Haiti results are in...

Thank you to friends who showed up yesterday to support the cause. And thank you to all who have offered a word of encouragement online! I know it's a small contribution to such an endless need, but I'm so happy to be able to use what I have to feel like I made a difference.

I am so thankful to Lacey who coordinated the Bake Sale for Haiti at Crema. She emailed this morning with the final results:

Okay everyone, we raised about $530 for Partners in Health! It was such a great turn out for such a last minute event. Thank you so much for spreading the word and for contributing such great goodies! Somehow News Channel 4 got wind of it and people heard about it on the news yesterday morning, too!

Just so you know, my friend Joy had a great idea to take the left overs to a local Catholic church called Holy Name, which is on Woodland St on the eastside. Their priest is Haitian and actually lost a brother in the earthquake... His congregation is hosting a Haitian mass tonight at 5:30 and are having a social afterwards so we were able to donate the rest of the baked goods to them for their event.

Just wanted to let you guys know how it turned out. Thanks again for all your work in pulling it off so well!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ugly Gooey Cake

Let's just say that if you were setting this cake up on a date you'd first say, "I know this cake. It has a GREAT personality. I'd love to introduce you sometime." Not every cake can be fortunate enough to have a name like Red Velvet Cake. Sometimes you just have to use the adjectives that first come to mind. I don't know who named it but it's not too hard to figure out why it was named that. And so I present to you "Ugly Gooey Cake".

Don't be fooled. What it lacks in beauty and fame, it makes up for in taste and originality. This recipe has been sitting in my cookbook for about 5 years now. Someone at work brought it to one of those potluck lunches and I had to have the recipe. It's almost like a chess pie cake or blondie cheesecake brownie cake... but maybe that's why they just went with ugly gooey cake.

1 box yellow cake mix (No Pudding)
1 stick of butter
3 eggs
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
16 oz powdered sugar

In a large bowl combine cake mix, butter and 1 egg.
Press into a greased 9"x13"pan
In a separate bowl beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 2 eggs.
Pour mixture over crust and bake for 30-35 min.

The top of the cake will be be puffy and "ugly" golden brown when you remove it from the oven. As it cools it will fall considerably and/or crater.

It's one of those cakes you can only eat a little at a time. It's just a lot of sugar. I mean it's good. But it's a cake made out of cake. As if cake isn't enough. It seems so Seinfeld. "How did you make this cake?" "Well, I used a boxed cake mix and then added more stuff to it." "You made a cake out of cake?" "What?" "What?" (None of that will make sense if you aren't into the show... but where else can I ramble on and on but in my head and my own blog?)

Jody ate a piece with some coffee and gave it an "It's good. Good with Coffee." I think that's like a 4 star rating maybe on a scale somewhere. And I give it a solid B. Not a B- or a B+. solid B. I had mine with milk and then thought he's right... coffee would be good with this. So that's our serving suggestion.

Just so you can see what you're getting into, here's a close up of the ugly gooey cake.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eat a treat, Save a life.

I have to say I am really proud! I hope these look & taste so good that people will buy them up so we can raise lots of money for Haiti. I'll try to post the numbers as soon as I found out how it goes.

Here are the petite cakes I made for the bake sale. Was pretty pleased with how they turned out!


After (front)

After (back)

Here are the cake balls I made for the bake sale. I was surprised that a little drizzle covers a multitude of misshapen sin!

All dressed up and ready to go out

Back of packaging

This has been a really exciting adventure. It's been so fun to post and I have been really encouraged by your feedback and thoughts. Who knows what is next, but I am so happy to be a tiny little part of helping Haiti by doing something I really love. I'm hoping that there is an amazing turnout at Crema tomorrow 12-5p. Eat a treat, Save a life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Test Run Results.

Hey everybody, I'm guessing you are sick of seeing the words "Haitian Cake." Just bear with me another day or so as I finish up this bake sale stuff! I am really happy with how everything is shaping up. I feel like I'm turning in my science fair project where I have diligently followed the correct steps of the scientific method. Now let's hope I don't drop it on my way to the gym to set it up. (Remember those days?)

I decided to go with mini pound cake loaves and cake balls. I also decided on using the following recipe which I am proud to say has given me consistently good results!

Haitian Cake adapted from
“Gateau au Beurre”

Traditional Butter Recipe Cake. A yummy all occasion dessert that will become an instant favorite.

2 cups Softened Butter
2 cups Sugar
8 Eggs, yolks seperated from whites, whites stiffly beaten
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Rum (optional)

4 cups All - Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Lemon Zest

1 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 350 F

Cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat egg yolks in a bowl,and add gradually to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir in Vanilla and Rum.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients.

Add the milk, alternately with the sifted dry ingredients to the mixture.

Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Turn the batter into a cake pan that has been buttered and floured. Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan a few minutes, and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Bon Appetit!!!

I bought the Wilton petite loaf pans yesterday at a craft store and did a test run last night. They turned out great. The perfect individual serving size! *Permit me to be girly... and SO ADORABLY CUTE! My only complaint was that it was a little awkward to grease and flour because there were so many slots. But apparently foreseeing this problem, the kind folks at Wilton (Marketing geniuses that they are) advertised on the back of the packaging that they also offer petite loaf cups (which are pretty much like the baking cups you put in a muffin pan, just loaf shaped). After scouring the aisles of another craft store today, I felt like I won the lottery when I found them tucked away on one tiny little hook amid the smorgasbord of cake decorating accessories. I never knew that there were so many tools available. It's really a bit overwhelming and exciting! They came in a pack of 50 which I thought was really cool because there were some really cool looking recipes on the pan packaging that I'm hoping to try soon... and who wants to spend all their time greasing, flouring, scrubbing, and scraping anyway? And best of all... they were on SALE which I didn't know until I checked out. SCORE!

I used the cakes from last night to form the cake balls which are now in the freezer eagerly awaiting a chocolate bath later tonight. I think I'm going to try my hand at decorating them with drizzled chocolate as well. I'm telling you... it just keeps getting better and better here at CrumpyCakes!

I spent some time last night playing around with packaging ideas. I think I've almost got that figured out just need a few final touches. I'll post pictures of course! I'm crossing my fingers that tonight will be smooth sailing as I wrap all of this up. It's been a lot of work, but I am FINALLY pleased with my test run results.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I leaped blindly into this baking bonanza and frankly, I've got questions. I'm compiling a checklist to help me navigate through this colossal cake crusade. How's that for some alliteration?

So far I've learned that I've got a lot to learn about the science of cooking, the mathematics of measurements, and a little thing they call "technique." I'm afraid that's just the tip of the iceberg. Thankfully, there is a wealth of free knowledge available if you dig a little. I heart Google & The Library! I'm guessing you might have a tip or two to share with me as well. Why don't you go ahead and leave me a little comment if so.

Let's start with the basics. Why is baking so messy? Is there some type of standardized system that I need to know about? I feel like I'm turning circles hunting for that ingredient I forgot to set out. Nevermind the intermittent handwashing if I get things out of order. I just feel like there must be a better way. I've always heard about the "Kitchen Work Triangle." But I don't think my kitchen is set up that way. I'm just winging it... but DEFINITELY open to suggestions on how you do it! Those cooking shows just make it look so so easy... they never show the person fighting the flour bag to put exactly 2 cups of flour in the measuring cup. They just magically have that cute little cup sitting off to the side and daintily add it in at just the right time.

I've quickly learned that aprons are more than a fashion statement... and I need one. I've only been at this for a couple weeks but I am sick and tired of being splashed, splattered, floured, and WORST of all... finding stow away crumbs in my unmentionables. I'm VERY happy to report that I won't have to suffer much longer. I had no idea but, my amazing friend at Bolete's Things makes really cool aprons! She is a ridiculously gifted artist and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw she'd been sewing aprons. I had to order one right away and I am beyond excited... may I even say GIDDY to receive it!

Baby steps... baby steps. If you have any suggestions, tips, or snide remarks about simplifying, organizing, sanitizing, etc... leave me a comment. Please, help me build my checklist!

Monday, January 18, 2010

So waffle-y good.

I should have mentioned that the pancake recipe is thick enough to be used as waffle batter.

When I decided I should share that with you it reminded me that I recently found a video recipe for making brownies in a waffle iron. Being such the cake rebel that I am, I had to try it. But, is a brownie considered a cake? I wasn't sure. So what could I do but (say it with me now) GOOGLE IT! It's much like the tomato conundrum. Fruit vs. Vegetable. All I'm saying is I'm going to be mad if someone tries to serve me tomatoes in my cereal. You know? I'll admit, from my short stint of internet research there is much debate and it leans towards the "bar cookie" family. But I implore you to keep an open mind. I found several holes in the different arguments. For your consideration: #1) Supposedly all cookies actually belong in the cake family anyway. #2) It's believed that the brownie was invented when a woman accidentally forgot to add the baking powder in the chocolate cake recipe and served it anyway in flat bar slices. And most convincing #3) Wikipedia, the foremost reliable source of all information (*sarcasm), clearly defines it as a cake. You must research these things for yourself and come to your own conclusions about what you personally believe a brownie to be. (Click through the links to read up on the information I found.) I welcome your feedback. Based on my belief and maternal instinct that we are dealing with cake I present to you:

The Waffle Brownie aka "the Waffnie" or "Browffle" ... you decide!

For This recipe You'll need:

Waffle Iron
Sauce Pan
at least 3 more people to eat the other pieces

1/2 c butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp instant coffee grounds OR 2 tbsp brewed coffee
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

In sauce pan, melt butter and chocolate over medium low heat stirring until evenly melted.
Remove from heat, set aside until mixture comes to a warm room temperature.
In a medium bowl add eggs, sugar, water, and coffee. Beat until combined.
Mix in the cooled chocolate and butter.
Then add flour and salt. Mix until all white streaks have disappeared.

preheat iron and liberally apply non-stick cooking spray each time.

spoon onto iron
cook 3-4 min
remove w/ fork
top as desired

Makes 4 brownies.

I went wild and crazy with mine and tried Ice cream with caramel and chocolate sauce. Jody went plain Jane as pictured above.
Call us lightweights, but we both ate only a quarter of our brownies. So be ready to store or share. I think a build your own brownie sundae buffet would be fun for a party! It would be so waffle-y good!

Bake Sale for Haiti this Saturday!

Well, looks like great minds think alike. Over the weekend a friend let me know that one of the local coffee shops was hosting a bake sale for Haiti and was looking for bakers. I contacted them right away and I'm so excited to participate! If you want to bake something contact Lacey at Crema. If you want to eat a tasty treat the sale is from 12-5p this Saturday Jan 23rd.

All proceeds are going to support Partners In Health. Ironically, our pediatrician was signed up to leave this week on medical mission to Haiti through the same organization. This is an annual visit for her and was planned long before the earthquake. Her trip has been indefinitely postponed until commercial flights are allowed back in. But I know our much needed support will go a long way in aiding the work that is all ready happening there right now.

I made Haitian Cake balls using the cake recipe and mixed it with Lemon Frosting. I dipped some in Chocolate and some in Vanilla.

I preferred the vanilla. My husband preferred neither. haha... I must admit the lemon flavor was a bit overwhelming in the bite size cake balls. So, I think for the final recipe, I'll just go with The Haitian Cake with Chocolate frosting dipped in white Chocolate. That settles it. Why be all fancy? Just go with what you know.

Don't tell my New Year's Resolution but I've been sneaking bites of "Gateau au Beurre" (the second Haitian Cake recipe I found). It is REALLY good. It's not very rummy (In fact you wouldn't even know it was there) and after 3 days isn't dry at all. I'm thinking of doing it in mini pound cakes for the bake sale. I was thinking I might be able to use a perfect brownie or mini loaf pan- neither of which I currently own. But, I think it might work well! Trying to think along the lines of things that will be easy to package individually for a bake sale. Really looking forward to it.

I'm also thinking of holding another bake sale in another month or so like I had originally planned. Right now the Girl Scouts are holding residency in grocery store lobbies (making it difficult for me to find a high traffic location). I was thinking maybe around Valentine's day I could make up baskets or bouquets. Presents with a purpose. I think once they've gone through this initial rescue phase, we'll start to understand the rebuilding needs and there will be a lot of needs still to be met. I hope you guys will consider having a sale and letting me know how it goes!!! For now I can't wait to do my part in our bake sale for Haiti this Saturday!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Who says you can't eat cake for breakfast?

Well, to be honest I am feeling a little baked out. So I took a break from trying to conquer the Haitian Cake recipe and pulled out an oldie but a goodie. The top secret IHOP pancake recipe! As you know I love all kinds of cake... and this is definitely a favorite.

My sister in law Tiffany introduced me to this last year. You see our husbands (who are brothers) suffer from a rare and absurd disorder in which they do not like to eat breakfast. They specifically do not like pancakes. Thanks to her special efforts in searching for a solution they are now reforming their prejudiced ways.

IHOPe you like yummy PanCAKES!
(Recipe adaptation from Top Secret Recipes & my lovely sister in-law Tiffany)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Use a pan with a nonstick surface or apply a little nonstick spray.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Combine buttermilk and oil in a small bowl. Beat in egg until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla and then combine with dry ingredients
in a large bowl just until moist. Batter should be thick and lumpy. (see picture below)

3. Laddle approximately 1/3 cup of the batter into the hot skillet, forming 5-inch circles.

4. When the edges appear to harden, after a minute or two, flip the pancakes. They should be golden brown.

5. Cook pancakes on the other side for same amount of time, until golden brown.

Makes 8 to 10 pancakes.

MMMMMMMMM.... good! Who say's you can't eat CAKE for breakfast?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Third Time's A Charm?

I ate a bite of the cake from yesterday and nearly choked because it had become very dense and dry overnight. Betty Crocker, your boxed super moist recipe has shamed me. But you haven't heard the last of me!

So, I decided I had to take one more day to work on the Haitian Cake recipe. I added a little oil in hopes of softening it up. Thankfully, it turned out the best so far. I even felt wild and crazy and made 3 cupcakes with some of the batter to see if that would work. So far so good. No custard texture or egg taste at all. But I'm curious about how it will taste tomorrow. Here you go... one for you, one for me. Don't eat it now though... we have to wait until tomorrow!

I also tried another recipe I found for Haitian Cake or as they called it "Gateau au Beurre." It was VERY similar but had some of the measurements were slightly off and this cake called for a little rum & lime zest. It seemed like a pound cake type desert from the picture so I baked it in a loaf pan. It was VERY good. Again, I'm anxious to see how it fairs overnight.

*** NOTE that both recipes leave out the steps to adding in the flavorings (i.e. vanilla /rum). I'm not sure how they were missed... but I have been adding them after the egg is mixed in. The consistency of the batter for both recipes is so thick. It's more like a cookie dough. So if the cake is still not working for me tomorrow I might try making COOKIES! Going back to the original recipe, I decided I might try Haitian Cake balls... so here they are right before I put them in the freezer.

I mixed the cake with lemon icing and am debating whether to dip them in chocolate or vanilla tomorrow. I just don't know if lemon and chocolate are a good combo. Let me know if you have any thoughts on that.

Anyway, feeling more and more confident that I can conquer this from scratch recipe... Third time's a charm, right?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haitian Cake Take 2!!!

I'll say it before you think it, "Someone needs to send that girl to a Wilton class!" Don't be jealous of my decorating skills. ha!

I made this again today and it was MUCH better.

Here are the changes I made:

- I hand mixed everything with a wooden spoon. (Now I don't have to work out tonight!)
- I used all purpose flour NOT cake flour
- I only used 3 eggs
- I added in the vanilla that they forgot to write into the instructions. (It was listed as an
ingredient but omitted in the preparation directions.)
- I poured it in the round pans as instructed instead of cupcakes
- I baked it for 40 min

And VOILA... much better... I guess it was all my wild improvisatory ideas... Stick with the program, Lani!!!

Then came the icing test. Coconut Pecan, Lemon, White, or Chocolate? So far the results are unanimous... however... There were only 3 of us voting! And the winner is... Drum roll please...


I'm not sure why this combo works so well. In fact the three of us don't consider ourselves "lemony" people. But we all agreed it was best with chocolate close behind! I'm going to make the cake again tomorrow to work up my final recipe. Can't wait!

I just found out a local coffee shop is wanting bakers to coordinate a bake sale for Haiti relief. That's amazing. My goal for the weekend was to find somewhere to do this. I'll keep you posted! I've found a few places online that are doing matching donations as well. So, I'm hoping my little contribution will actually go a long long way! I've challenged friends to consider holding there own bake sale. So far people across the country are jumping in. Stay tuned for more details!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haitian Cake Recipe Revisions?

Hello all!

In my eagerness to aid Haiti one treat at a time I posted a recipe without trying it. Bad idea. I took the ingredients for the Haitian Cake to our standing Thursday night get together. We all kind of pitched in and eagerly anticipated the outcome.

I attempted it in cupcake form so I could pick from several different icings. That may have been mistake #1. (Notice I began a numbering sequence.) Mistake #2 not having soft enough butter. I had a few tiny clumps in the batter and when they baked out, it was a grease fest! Mistake #3 was guessing at the cook time for cupcakes vs. large rounds. The sides were beginning to brown but there was still liquid bubbling up so I didn't think they were ready. When I did the toothpick test, I was surprised that they were done and that the pick was meeting a good bit of spongy resistance. From all of this, I have deduced that using 5 eggs for a cupcake recipe is probably not the best idea. The result was a very eggy, custardy, quiche-esque cupcake! It wasn't horrible but it wasn't repeatable either.

Some of you more experienced bakers may have some input here... I wondered a few things

- Would it have had a different consistency if I would have baked it in 9" rounds?
- I used cake flour which is supposed to be much finer than regular flour. Would that have made it more "quiche-esque?"
- Did I over mix it? I used my friend's amazing Kitchen Aid stand mixer for the first time. So exciting, but much more thorough than I am used to!

At any rate, I knew we were in trouble when someone thought it would be really good with some bacon and served for breakfast... I might try again tomorrow with less egg-age. If you have any revision suggestions let me know.

It did cross my mind that I have no idea what Haitian cuisine is supposed to taste like and it might have been spot on. I guess I just decided that if I was going to sell this to raise money, I would have to doctor it up a bit to meet the sweetness standards of our Western palate.

I will say that I suggest a coconut pecan frosting. It was a really good combo. And to be honest, I don't even like either one of those separately. But, it really worked.

More soon... for now, here's the pitiful picture from tonight :)

Oreo Cheesecake Minis

One word. Scrum-diddle-li-umptious. (We should be playing scrabble... with a multi-syllabic word like that I would be dominating!) I was in the grocery store the other day and when in my peripheral vision what grabbed my eye? Why this wondrous book... and how could it not?

I quickly perused the pages and discovered that Oreos and Cheesecake had been wedded in cupcake-tial bliss. I believe this is the single most reason Martha Stewart is a household name. Don't quote me on that. But, in my mind it's fact!

I debuted them at our Thursday night get together and was so happy to hear a "That's the devil!" among other compliments. As I said before... that is a measure of success for me. I give them a 9 out of 1o. The cheesecake was a great consistency and sweetness. My only complaint was that the oreo was a little soft at the bottom. But overall these ROCK! Here's the recipe...

42 cream-filled sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

2. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

Bake Sale for Haiti

Hey fellow cakers...

Last night as I was posting I felt an overwhelming sadness for the situation in Haiti. Feeling bummed that I couldn't help out in a more tangible way, it hit me... Use what you've got! Why not turn this renewed passion for baking into something that could really make a difference?

I found this recipe and thought it would be perfect to bake up and sell to raise funds and donate. Would you consider joining me?

*** UPDATE *** After trying this recipe once, I would suggest less egg!!! It was VERY custardy in the eggy sense. Not really up to our sweet-tooth standards. I did try it with coconut pecan icing and it was VERY good.

Haitian Cake


  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk (boil a cup of milk with several sticks of cinnamon and let reduce to 3/4 cup, and let cool, and discard the cinnamon sticks)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 8 1/2 round pans.
  2. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Mix until the mixture is light, fluffy and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. With the machine running, add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture at a time, gradually add milk. Mix well. Pour the filling into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the center is firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Use any flavor of icing.

I'm still forming this idea and want some help!

- Thought of coming up with something specifically related to Haiti... maybe cupcakes with their flag?

- Maybe setting up a table outside a store this weekend?

- Maybe taking them to work, school, church, etc... and setting out a donation cup?

- Set up a blog and have people posts their earnings and make one big donation?

Let's do this! Need your suggestions...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Wanted to post the recipes from my Birthday Cake-o-rama in case you want to have your own wild and crazy weekend! Just follow the links below...

Cake Balls
Cupcake Cones

A few people told me about Bakerella's cake pops. I'm hoping to try some of her recipes soon! Got a few more up my sleeve first though... Here's a sneak peek for tomorrows recipe...

It's an overnighter... and I think we are off to a good start! Send me your Recipes!

Cake Scratch Fever

Well, Well... Wouldn't you know my ambition is all ready being overshadowed by my lack of knowledge... but I guess it's all trial, error, and google! I REALLY wanted to try finding a simple cake recipe from scratch. Realizing that I had all of the ingredients on hand for this recipe, I decided to give it a whirl. That should've been my first hint... the ingredients seemed a bizarre combination... but hey, who was I to judge? I'd never made a cake from scratch. Trust your instincts, Lani. My first hiccup came when the instructions said to "sift the flour." That seems like a reasonable thing to do while baking except, I don't own a sifter. Enter the lap top stage left. "how do you sift flour without a sifter?" I scoured through a couple google offerings and decided that I could just whisk my flour and baking soda for now and add a sifter to my shopping list and an apron. Maybe that would have made all the difference... but I doubt it. Just after putting the cake in the oven, I sampled a bit of the batter. It wasn't bad. It wasn't good. It just was. I thought maybe something magical wood happen inside the oven.

After cooling, Jody and I grabbed some chocolate icing and milk and headed warily towards the cake. We took a bite. I waited on his response before saying anything. We agreed that although not overcooked, it was a bit crunchy. Dense. It was sweet. But not the buttery kind of taste from a box cake. It seemed alot like cornbread to me. Alas, he did not whisk me into his arms and sing my praises. That's the kind recipe I'm looking for. If you have it, let me know. I've got the fever. I've got it bad... Cake Scratch Fever!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birthday Cake-o-rama

Happy Birthday to me!

A week ago I turned 30. To celebrate what else could I do but BAKE CAKE?
Instead of going traditional I got a little wild and crazy.

Top Left: chocolate cupcakes with custom dyed frosting
Top Right: white confetti cake balls dipped in chocolate
Bottom Left: chocolate cupcake cones
Bottom Right: strawberry pops cake cookies w/ cream cheese frosting

On a scale of 1-10....

Cupcakes (8) moist, fluffy and fun... even made a 2 year old cry when she couldn't have more.

Cake Balls (9) friends endearingly called them "the Devil" for their ridiculous addictive-ness.
Still need to figure out my dipping technique so they can be consistently "pretty."

Cones (3) the cones absorbed all the moisture out of the cake which made the cake dry and
the cones soggy. FAIL. Kiddos didn't seem to mind though.

Pops (6) TASTY but overscaled and unevenly cooked. Next time... smaller cookies & sticks

Fun (11)


Welcome to my little experiment in cakery.

Allow me to explain my motivation. A few years ago someone brought "cakies" into the office. They were simply chocolate chip cookies using a yellow cake mix as the dough. A-mazing! I begged for the recipe and have since concocted several flavor combinations. Last year, I was introduced to "cake balls" at a fancy schmancy party. A cake filled truffle. Need I say more? After finding a recipe online, I eagerly awaited the chance to debut my version at our Christmas party. Then came my first attempt at making a rum cake. Maybe it was just the lingering alcohol content, but it sure seemed to make our season bright! We all know that the devil is bad... but it's so good to hear it said that my treats are "The Devil".

So here's the idea. I love baking. I have a renewed interest in cake specifically. But here's where my thoughts veer from the Reality Cake Show path. Hold the fondant! May I be so bold to suggest that we are unaware of the versatile nature of cake? Let us not be so quick to profile it into round, square, tiers, or cups. But let us strive for a social awareness of the unending potential of all things cake-ish!