Thursday, 15 October 2009

MSC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

I was so excited to finally try a baked good involving pumpkin - being an Aussie, it's not something I'd ever come across, but after reading about 1,000,000 food blog entries raving about delicious pumpkin goodies, I was definitely interested to try this recipe out! Huge thanks to Kim for choosing this month.

I halved the recipe, and made 12 cupcakes and 4 mini-loaves. I iced the cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting, and topped the loaves with some granola before baking. They all baked up really easily, and I have to admit that I loved how easy this was to pull together.

So, as you can see in the above photo... my cream cheese icing was a flop (literally). Regardless, I was still interested to try the pumpkin cupcakes, especially after adding in all those yummy spices. I definitely need some more inspiration and tips from all the fab MSC'ers!!

Sadly, I wasn't crazy about these.. not sure what it was, perhaps I need to get used to pumpkin baked goods. I was tempted to double the spices, and wish I had done that. Hubby loved them though, and all are long gone now!

As always, thanks ladies for the fun challenge and inspiration :)

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Fudgey, chewy brownies...

As a food blog addict devotee, I have been reading about various people's quest for The Perfect Choc Chip Cookie. This is a worthy search, and I feel a bit like a cheat for reading all this and then only using the recipe that was deemed to be the best (courtesy of New York Times and Jacques Torres). I know it is getting a bit repetitive, but these really are great cookies. I tend to bake them a bit smaller, as 1/3cup per cookie seems excessive, even to me! Having given them to girlfriends, workmates and neighbours, I can attest to the universal appeal of these beauties. Many have asked for the recipe, and some have recommended these be sold at the markets. As a side note, the dough balls freeze really well. What could be better than fresh, warm, home-cooked choc chip biscuits on demand?! I will admit though, it's a little dangerous to have them in the house.

So, having found a reliable go-to choc-chip recipe (without having to do the work), I decided it was time to find a standy-by brownie recipe. For years I have been using Chocolate & Zucchini's Melt-in-your-mouth Chocolate Cake as a psuedo-brownie stand-in. It has worked remarkably well with all the variations I've tried (orange, raspberry, walnut, macadamia, caramel peanut), and has become a favourite of my family.

Despite this, I decided to carry on with the search. Having purchased Baked earlier this year, and reading that even Oprah loves their brownies, it seemed a good place to start.

And this is where the wheels fell off.... I made a batch the night before heading to Ireland to visit friends, as a thankyou gift for having us to stay. When I went to package them up I discovered that I had undercooked the middle. Undercooked it so dramatically that it was completely gooey and unusable. No matter, all but the middle third was boxed up and taken away. I froze the rest, figuring inspiration would strike at some stage.

The brownies were delicious and oh-so-rich, especially with the toffee drizzle I added. All were devoured by our lovely Irish friends.

Fast forward to take 2.. I've been reading some positive reviews of the King Arthur Flour Fudge Brownie Recipe. After seeing various comments suggesting that the best way to melt the butter/sugar combo was in a saucepan, this is what I did. Being careful to cook this batch thoroughly (duh), I was really happy with the results. A very rich, fudgey and chewy brownie. This made a full pan plus 12 mini brownie bites, which I iced with chocolate ganache. Yum!

In short, I think the KAF brownie is definitely a winner. I'll make them again, however I'll be sure to make the Baked version again too - as it was entirely my error that caused the earlier disappointment. It all worked out anyway, as the gooey bits are now the star of some vanilla-brownie icecream.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

MSC: Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

I was so excited to start baking along with Betty and the rest of the MSC group that I whipped these up a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, once I got started I realised that I didn't have enough zucchinis in the house.. so I improvised and threw a carrot in instead. The mix really reminded me of the Dorie Carrot Cake recipe (except with zucchini). I possibly overcooked them a little, as they were a little muffin-like. I'll be interested to see if any other bakers had this trouble!

The end result was really tasty. The icing really set the cupcakes off well, I put heaps of extra orange zest in and it was deeee-lish! Hubby and I enjoyed one each, and our colleagues appreciated the rest!!
(obviously the photography needs work!!)

**Edited to add that the fabulous Tracey chose this month's recipe, and you'll find it on page 44 of the book!

Monday, 31 August 2009

Martha Stewart Cupcakes

SO excited that my copy of Martha Stewart Cupcakes has turned up! The wonderful and very talented Betty has started a MSC baking club that I am thrilled to be part of.

Time to catch up on the delicious looking Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes!!

The plan is to gift the monthly bounty of cupcake tastiness to work colleagues to avoid the infamous 'Heathrow Injection'...

Dorie's Devil's food white-out cake...

In the last few months (ok, year..) I have become hopelessly addicted to Google Reader and all the delicious food blogs it connects me to. So you can imagine that after discovering the Tuesdays with Dorie, Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours was at the very top of my wishlist.

I finally got it a couple of months ago, and have since made 2 delicious cakes (Perfect Party Cake, and Big Bill's Carrot Cake)... both were very tasty, and the recipes are easy to follow.

For hubby's birthday, he requested the Devil's Food White-Out Cake (from the cover), so as we are lucky enough to have a bank holiday today, I set about making it last night/this morning.

There were a few steps, but the instructions were clear and thankfully it all worked out well!

We shared a piece, then packed up the rest for hubby's workmates to enjoy. The cake was very brownie-esque, and the icing was so light and fluffy. I would definitely make this again - thankyou Dorie!

Monday, 17 August 2009

hello world!

Finally, this baking tragic has her own food blog after developing a worrying addiction to many others!

... stay tuned for reports of my baking endeavours!