Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf – TWD

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Cornmeal is one (of the many) ingredients that I NEVER bought before I started baking regularly. I never made my own cornbread, or pizza, or the many things you can used cornmeal for.

Never.

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Oh, how the times have changed. I can’t imagine not having it on hand. Mainly because I have a few stashes of homemade pizza dough in the freezer for emergencies. But let’s not dwell on tiny details.

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With the name of this loaf beginning with ‘cornmeal’ I immediately thought gritty, with a texture and flavor likened to cornbread. But mine didn’t turn out that way. Instead, it was a pretty standard fruit loaf that had a little extra something that you couldn’t quite put your finger on (unless you made it ;P). Honestly, I can’t remember what I omitted and whether or not I subbed ingredients but mine is pretty plain: just apples. And it was tasty and came together rather quickly.

Thanks to Caitlin of Engineer Baker for choosing this. Head on over to her blog for the recipe.

Carrot Spice Muffins – TWD

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Have you ever tried to grate up a million and three mini carrots to make muffins?

I have. And either I’m extra clumsy or just prone to bad luck, but it seems I grated my own fingers more than the dang carrots.

Scrapes aside, once the carrots were grated, these muffins were very simple to make. I didn’t even use any machinery. Just a whisk and a rubber spatula.

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Mix, pour, bake. Simple, simple, simple.

I really should make muffins more often.

Don’t expect these to be like carrot cake (unless you slop a heaping of cream cheese frosting on top) the flavor profile is similar but not exact. But these are a tasty treat either way.

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Thank you to the lovely Nancy for choosing these muffins. They made a bunch of hard workers have a bit of a better morning :) Head on over to her blog for the recipe (or click here to be taken directly to it.)

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Chocolate Chunk Muffins – TWD

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Dorie certainly has it right when she says to embrace every opportunity to call chocolate breakfast. I agree x 57.

Chocolate is delicious. Especially as muffins. Even more so for breakfast :)

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Make these! They are tender, chocolatey, chunkity and a perfect Tuesday morning pick-me-up with a cup of hot coffee or cold milk.

Go on, be a kid. Have chocolate for breakfast!

Thank you to Bridget for choosing these!! Click here for the recipe!

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Independence Day Cake – Red White and Blue Vanilla Cake

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Happy Fourth of July!!

Happy Birthday America!!

How are you celebrating? Fireworks? BBQ? Family fun in the sun? How about with cake?

Not just any cake will do. How about a cake that is a silent stunner? Plain and simple on the outside, but once you cut into it… BAM!! American flag flying high!!

Yes, yes I think this will do nicely. Bold and proud just like America!

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Independence Day Cake

Ingredients:

3 cups sugar
4 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
3 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, soft (18 TBSP)
1 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons milk, at room temperature
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs

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To Make The Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour three 9″ round cake pans. Set Aside.

1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

2) Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy.

3) In a measuring cup, combine the milk and vanilla and add, all at once to the sandy flour mixture. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds until it looks just combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 25 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.

4) In the measuring cup that you used for the milk/vanilla, add all eggs and gently whisk together. With the mixer running at medium speed, slowly add eggs in three batches mixing until almost incorporated. Scrape the bowl once more, then beat at medium-high speed for 20 more seconds.

5) Separate the cake mix into three medium bowls (or 4-cup measuring cups to be as accurate as possible) and color one bowl red, one blue and leave the last white. Mix the dye thoroughly and transfer the batter to the prepared pans and smooth out the tops. c

6) Bake for 30 minutes until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached and the layers begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.

7) Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool before removing it from the pan.

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To Prep The Cake:

Using a serrated knife or cake leveler, slice the red and white layers horizontally in half. You’ll end up with a blue layer (2″), two red layers (each 1″), and two white layers (each 1″). Set one white and one red layer aside, those will be the bottom two stripes of the flag.

You only want a square of blue in each slice, not an entire layer. Stack the blue layer, white layer, and red layer on top of each other. Using a serrated knife, cut a large circle through all three layers. I used a bowl as a guide. Now you have a ring of blue (2″), a ring of white (1″), a ring of red (1″), and three inner circles in each color (the blue is 2″ and the other two are both 1″). Set aside the inner circle of blue and eat the outer rings of red and white. ;)

To Assemble The Cake: (see below for the frosting recipe I used)

Frost the bottom two layers together – set the uncut white layer on a plate and spread with frosting. Top with the uncut red layer. Spread the uncut red layer with frosting, then set the blue ring on top. Use a spatula to spread a very, very thin layer of frosting around the inside edge of the blue ring. This will help keep the blue layer and the two top stripes together.

Frost the white inner circle and place the red inner circle on top of it. Place both frosted inner layers inside the ring of blue. Frost the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting; don’t worry about perfecting it as this is just the crumb coat. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes to let the crumb coat set and harden. Remove cake from refrigerator and add final coat of frosting to entire cake.

In a small bowl, crumble the blue inner circle of cake you set aside earlier and sprinkle it on top of the cake. Slice and serve and watch the oohs and aahs roll in.

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Vanilla Buttercream:

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb confectioners sugar
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:
In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk. Beat at high speed until fluffy, adding an additional 1 tablespoon milk if necessary.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake Cookies – TWD

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Have you tried greek yogurt yet?

It’s quite a phenomenon. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I couldn’t STAND it the first few times I tried it. I felt like I must be missing something. I begged for someone to LET ME IN ON THE SECRET!! It was sour and not sweet at ALL. So naturally I was turned off immediately. I tried it a few more times convinced that there was something about this yogurt that I wasn’t appreciating.

But I got creative this time: adding granola, dark chocolate chips, fresh cut strawberries (or any other berries) maple syrup, even raw honey. And that was it. That was my answer. My gateway drug, if you will. Honey. It really was as simple as finding that ONE thing that blew my taste buds away. And now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

I top my salads with it, put a dollop in my tacos, even bake it into things now. Like these cookies.

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They were supposed to be made with sour cream rather than greek yogurt but I didn’t have any on hand so I made a last minute substitution. I also doubled the cinnamon in these cookies. But you already knew that didn’t you?

They are cakey (hence being called CAKE cookies) so don’t expect a chewy cookie with a crisp outside. I am not really a fan of ‘cakey’ anything unless it’s, well… cake. So I wasn’t too excited about these but they weren’t a total loss. You could easily use these as ice cream sandwich cookies or even as whoopie pies, just smear whatever you want on one side and sandwich them together and enjoy!

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Thanks to Spike of Spike Bakes for choosing this and hosting. Click here for the recipe.

Classic Banana Bundt Cake – TWD (Rewind)

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I know, I know. This isn’t what you came to see.

It’s Monday night and I finally remember the impending TWD. I quickly consult my lovely Blackberry Memo clearly marked “Baking (TWD)” and find that I don’t have everything that I need and let’s face it, I’m not going out. I’m lazy, see? So instead I become as resourceful as I can, grab the bible…erm book and flip through it looking for great recipes that I previously missed out on, telling myself it’s ok to miss a recipe once in a while.

My intentions are good, cross my heart. As long as I’m virtually feeding you SOMETHING delicious, I get a free pass… right?

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So instead of this week’s TWD pick you get to hear about the black bananas I found in the back of my fridge (that I’m almost certain have been there for a month) and see this beautiful mini bundt instead of the caramel pots de creme you came to see. Let’s pretend it’s a fair trade. :)

I halved the recipe, used greek yogurt (which may explain the thickness of the batter) and baked in a 6 cup bundt pan.  This bundt cake is dense and tender. It comes together like a dream! You mash your bananas and everything else is toss in and mix. Dorie says to rap the pan against your counter to release some of the bubbles and to even the batter but my cake batter was so thick and heavy (think: a thick muffin batter) that it was impossible and unnecessary to do so. I leveled it off with my spatula, popped it in the oven, said a mini prayer and baked it up. It baked up beautifully golden brown and smelled amazing. The cake is delicious on its own but I just couldn’t stop myself from adding some honey glaze all over it! Sue me. But I did forget the ceremonious chocolate chunks. Sadness.

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For the honey glaze I whisked together 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of honey and a light splash of heavy cream until uniform. If it’s too thick to pour add a small bit more cream.

For the recipe to this fab cake, click here.

If you love banana, try this one. I bet it would be great baked up in a square pan topped with cream cheese frosting, caramel drizzle, or even a peanut butter buttercream. Then served right out of the pan to friends with forks in hand.

Picture 122 copyFor the caramel pots de creme, head on over to Peggy the Baker for the recipe. I’ll be making it soon. But I’m sunburnt. And lazy. End excuses.

 

 

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

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This bundt is deceiving.

It looks simple, plain… unspecial. (Is unspecial a word? Probably not. I make up my own words. That’s how I roll.)

This cake is anything BUT. It is SO tender and soft and fluffy. The flavor is perfect. And you can customize it to best fit you. Keep it plain to let the brown sugar shine, add chocolate chips to make it as close to a chocolate chip cookie as possible, or do it Dorie’s way and add pears and prunes and nuts and all sorts of other good stuff.

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Me? I went with a heaping 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon into the dry ingredients.  And I do not regret my decision.

Not one bit. I didn’t regret it so much that I added some caramel to my plate. Love is a warm slice of cake.

For the recipe head on over to Peggy from Pantry Revisited.

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This is a keeper!!