Mar 25 2012

rainbow cake (and a giveaway!)

Rainbow Cake

When my friend Michelle from Creative Food asked if I would make a rainbow cake for her daughter Eliana’s fourth birthday party, I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure about it. All those layers! But I just couldn’t resist the pull of all those beautiful, bright colors. Mostly though, I just couldn’t disappoint Eliana.

Weighing Batter on OXO Scale

Bowls of Rainbow Batter for Rainbow Cake

Eliana had asked for a rainbow birthday party and wanted a rainbow cake. I decided, hey, why not, and delved right in. And you know what? It turns out the cake actually isn’t all that hard to make, although it is a little time consuming. It’s just one big cake recipe that is then divided into six bowls and dyed with gel food coloring. And I totally took the easy way out and made a very simple white frosting from America’s Test Kitchen rather than buttercream. As much as I prefer buttercream, the idea of making a six layer cake and standing over the stove whipping up two batches of buttercream was just too much for me.

Crumb Frosting Layer on Rainbow Cake

Frosting Rainbow Cake

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Mar 17 2012

irish coffee

Irish Coffee

My sister sent me an article from the New York Times the other day that lamented the “disreputable image of a mongrel” that Irish coffee has earned itself. What? Irish coffee, a mongrel? Really? I have only the highest respect for Irish coffee, and this was news to me. I figured the very least I could do in the name of Irish coffee was to profess my love for it here and spread the word for this simple but tasty after dinner drink (or mid-afternoon or morning, or whenever you like to drink your coffee and whiskey).

Brown Sugar for Irish Coffee

Whiskey and Brown Sugar for Irish Coffee

I’m not sure why, but I was a little skeptical when my sister and brother-in-law first served me an Irish coffee a few years ago. Any doubt I had vanished after my first sip. Even though I wasn’t really a coffee drinker, the concoction of coffee, whiskey, the slightest bit of brown sugar, and whipped cream was more than enough to win me over.

Irish Coffee

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Mar 12 2012

chocolate stout cupcakes with whiskey ganache filling and irish cream frosting

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Ganache Filling and Irish Cream Frosting

I first made these cupcakes a couple of years ago when my sister and brother-in-law visited around St. Paddy’s day (Tip: don’t be a daft eejit and say St. Patty’s Day). I figured there was no better way to celebrate than with stout, whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish cream, all baked into one little cupcake. The baking of the cupcakes became quite the event and everyone, even my brother-in-law – no, especially my brother-in-law – pitched in to help. It’s amazing how some extra booze in the kitchen suddenly turns everyone into a helping hand and somehow there’s always an empty glass that needs filling.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Ganache Filling and Irish Cream Frosting

That night remains one of my fondest memories with the four of us all together. Baking, chocolate, whiskey, beer, and family. What else do you need? So when my sister called up a couple of weeks ago to tell me she was coming the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, I knew I had to make these again.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Ganache Filling and Irish Cream Frosting

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Mar 5 2012

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

Can I let you in on a little secret? Baking brings out the perfectionist in me. I have very high standards for how things look, especially if it’s going to end up on my blog. And it was especially important to me that this cake look perfect. Why? Because this is one of my favorite cakes, right up there with the chocolate raspberry cake.

making the ultimate chocolate peanut butter cake

The first time I made this cake, way before I started blogging, it looked perfect. Just gorgeous. And then when I made it for the blog last week, well, it was ok, but it wasn’t up to my standards. I let the chocolate ganache topping cool too much (what can I say, our apartment is sadly a refrigerator in the winter) before pouring it on the cake and ended up having to spread it rather than letting it drip down the sides. Did it change how the cake tasted? No, not at all. But it mattered to me. I wanted the cake to look perfect. I need everything I can to get you to get into your kitchen to start making this because I’m convinced the world would be a much happier place if everyone could just get a slice or two of this cake. It is that good.

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