Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apples to Apples!

Over this past holiday break, my family played the game Apples to Apples, which is one of the best games ever in my book.  My brother and sister-in-law got me this new cookbook called "What's New, Cupcake?" and I was dying to try something in there.  This book specializes in, shocker I know, cupcakes and teaches you how to decorate all of these amazing looking cupcakes from rubber duckies to walruses.  In honor of the game Apples to Apples, I decided to try to make the cupcakes that look like this great fruit.

Apple Cupcakes

Cupcake Recipe
1 Box White Cake Mix
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
Red Cupcake Liners

This is one of the simplest recipes ever.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a box combine all of the ingredients and mix on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Place the red cupcake liners in the cupcake tin, and fill each cupcake up 2/3 full.   Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool in tin for 5 minutes before transfering the cupcakes onto a wire rake.

Apple Decorating Tools

Chocolate covered Mini Doughnuts
1 Can of Vanilla Frosting
Red Food Coloring (the gel is better than the liquid!)
Red Decorating Sugar (at least a cup)
Tootsie Rolls
Green Taffy (you can use anything that you can shape into leaves)

First, you need to add the food coloring to the Vanilla frosting until it is to your desired color of red.  Set this aside, and take the doughnuts and cut the bottom part of the doughnut off so that it is even.  Next, take the cooled cupcakes (these must be cooled completely through!!!) and cut off the top most rounded part of the cupcake so that it is leveled out as well (don't level the cupcake with the liner though).  Take a dollop of the red frosting, and put it on the cupcake and smooth over the top of each cupcake.  Take the doughnuts and place them on top.  Next, frost the cupcakes completely until each one is fully covered by the frosting and smoothed out (use a frosting spatula to make it easier!).

Once you have frosted the cupcakes, pour your red decorating sugar into a bowl, and you can either roll the cupcakes into the frosting to cover them all or you can sprinkle the sugar on top.  I like the rolling technique because it gives you a very even distribution of the sugar as well as helping to smooth out the frosting.  Set the cupcakes aside.

Now it is time to get the leaves and stems ready.  For the stems, take the Tootsie Rolls and cut them in half.  Take each half and roll out until they are smooth and form them into a stem shape.  For the leaves, roll out the green taffy into flat pieces, cut out leaf shapes, and bend them until you have the shape you want (I didn't have many options for green taffy candy where I was at, so I bough the multi-colored sugared fruit slices, and used the green ones by cuting out small shapes). 

Take the stems and place them directly into the center of the cupcakes.  Take the leaves and place them as you like using two on some cupcakes and one on others.

Overall, this recipe is super easy and it makes for an awesome looking gift.  I brought these over to my Grandparent's house as well as to my aunt, uncle and cousins, and they were amazed by how pretty they were.  Want to boost the presentation?  Get a picnic basket and put down a checkered cloth in it and place the apples inside.  I really wish this "apple" was what the doctor was talking about with that old saying.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nothing says the Holidays quite like Pecan Pie!

The holiday season is officially upon us.  All of us New Yorkers can tell this by a few indicators:  you can't leave your apartment without bundling up, we have already seen our first few flurries, and every single store front in Manhattan has been advertising their Holiday Sale since after Halloween.  My office is having our official "Non-Denominational Winter Month" Celebration (when you work for the government, it's all about being politically correct) complete with a turkey, different side dishes, and of course desserts.  I know it probably comes as a huge shocker that I requested to make a dessert, and there is no better dessert to make than a Pecan Pie.  Our party isn't until next Friday, but it being a little chilly outside, I decided to stay in and do a dry run.  I realized that the last Pecan Pie I made was before I left for Peace Corps over 4 years ago.  What does this mean?  It's been a long time let's get started!

Dough Ingredients:

1 1/4 C. Flour
2 tsp. Sugar
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 stick Butter (cold), diced
1 Egg, lightly beaten
Flour, for rolling the dough

5 tbsp. Butter
1 C. Light Brown Sugar, packed
3/4 C. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 C. Chopped Pecans
1-2 tbsp. Bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 Eggs, lightly beaten

So, start with the crust.  You are going to make the dough by hand with no mixer involved.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  With your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow cornmeal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter.  If the mixture gets too warm, just put in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so to keep it cool.  Add the egg and stir the dough together with a for (or by hand if you want) in the bowl.  If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon of cold water over the mixture.

Take the mixture and form it into a disk, wrapping it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (about an hour).

On the counter, flour the surface lightly and roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12" circle about 1/8" thick.  Transfer the dough to a 9" pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge.  Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge even with the rim of the pan.  Put the pie shell in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Take the pie shell out of the freezer and using a fork, poke holes over the bottom of the pan (this helps the dough from bubbling up while baking).  Bake the pie shell until it is golden brown, about 9-11 minutes.  Take the shell out and set aside and turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

Now it is time for the filling: in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Bring to a boil over a medium heat, and while you stir constantly, let this boil for a minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts, bourbon, and the vanilla.  Set the mixture aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth, and then with the pie shell on a cookie sheet, pour the mixture into the pie shell and place it in the oven.  Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges are set but the center is still slightly loose (this should be about 40 minutes).  Cool on a rack and then serve it up!

This recipe is one of the better ones out there.  It is really simple to make and the flavor is amazing.  I over baked my pie by about 5 minutes (I baked it for 45 minutes), and so I will make sure to adjust this for my holiday party.  I am probably going to have to make 2 pies to make sure everyone gets a piece!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sugar Cookies...Just in time for the Holidays!

With Thanksgiving coming up, it reminds all of us the things we have in our lives that we are thankful for.  No matter how much loss a person experiences, there are always things in life that you can appreciate.  So, with this in mind, I am making sugar cookies with different colored vanilla buttercream frosting for my awesome coworkers.  They make coming to work every single day something that I actually look forward to (how many people can say that?).  But there is a twist to these cookies I am making for them....we are doing a cookie decorating contest with the winner receiving an awesome prize.  I found a recipe for Chewy Sugar Cookies that promise to be soft and, of course, delicious.  We shall see.....

Chewy Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 C. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 C. Butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 C. White Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 to 4 tbs. Buttermilk

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and baking powder) and set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together the soften butter and sugar for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Next, gradually blend in the dry ingredients.  After this, add the buttermilk to moisten the dough until it is soft, not wet (I recommend 3 tbs. of buttermilk).

Take rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  With your fingers, moisten the top of each cookie with the remaining buttermilk and slightly flatten the top of each cookie.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, maybe a few minutes longer depending on how big you have made the cookies, until slightly golden around the edge.  Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to cool on a rack.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3 C. Powdered Sugar
1 C. Butter (room temperature)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 to 2 tbs. Whipping Cream
Food coloring of choice (I am doing all of the primary colors so they can mix and match)

In a bowl, mix together sugar and butter with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended, and then beat for another 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and the cream and continue to beat on medium speed, adding more cream if needed for consistency.  Separate the frosting into different bowls and add food coloring to create all the different colors you want.

This was so much fun!  The winner of the competition was Shari!  She created a dragon cookie sculture:

I officially work with some of the most creative people ever.  We had so much fun decorating!  Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Chocolate and Peanut there anything better?

My friend Becca gave me this amazing cook book recently, and I have been dying to try all of the recipes.  The cook book is made by the individuals who own Alice's Tea Cup here in New York City, and let's just say they know what they are doing.  There are so many amazing recipes, but I wanted to start off with just a simple cookie recipe.  I don't think there is anything better than chocolate and peanut butter together, and so when I came across the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, I knew we had a winner.  I brought all of my equipment over to my friend's apartment so that I could bake, and so the ladies (and gentleman) who came over for Family Night got a special treat!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 C. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 sticks Butter (room temperature)
1 C. White Sugar
1 C. Dark Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
2 Eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 C. Creamy Peanut Butter
2 C. Chocolate Chips (I used milk chocolate, but semi-sweet would be delicious too!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degree.  To start, you want to combine all of the dry ingredients.  In a bowl pour in the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Next comes the wet ingredients.  Use a mixer to cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl (this is the key to any good cookie, so make sure to cream these together for at least 3 minutes!).  Add the eggs, mixing them into the mixture one at a time, and then add the vanilla and beat until smooth.  Add in the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing as you go until everything is incorporated.  Add the peanut butter and mix until it is creamy.  Next, stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon.

Depending on how large you want to make the cookies will dictate the cook time.  I usually take some dough into my palm and create a ball that fits into my palm, and then flatten them out into thick discs.  With this size cookie, I baked them at 12 minutes because I don't like overly done cookies, but you can bake them up to 14 minutes if you want them crispier.  With this cookie, you want to pull them out of the oven and let them cool directly on the baking sheet so that they don't crack and crumble. 

This cookie was really good:  it had a delicious flavor and was  soft and moist as well.  The only way to make this cookie even better is to make sure that you eat them with a cold glass of milk!  The best part about this recipe is that if you want just plain peanut butter cookies, you just don't add the chocolate chips!  I've said it once and I will say it again....peanut butter and chocolate is the world's best combination.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Get Baked NYC goes RAW!!!

The time has come to go outside of my comfort zone and tackle something unheard of for an avid baker like myself....I am about to make my first RAW DESSERT. My amazing colleague, Denia, has intrigued me with her Raw Food Diet. Wikipedia describes Raw foodism (or rawism) as "a lifestyle promoting the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet." Now, as a die hard baker, the first thought that came to mind was "how can you make a delicious dessert without the oven?" She assured me it was possible. Then, to prove it, she brought me a piece of Raw Key Lime Pie. As I stared at the slice of what appeared to be pie, I was skeptical. My thoughts swam with images of apple pies, fresh baked cookies, and warm chocolate cake out of the oven. But I took a bite anyway. And guess what? It tasted quite similar to the last key lime pie I ate. It was sweet yet tart, and the crust had a good texture and taste. So the gauntlet had been thrown down so to speak. Denia gave me a basic recipe to start off with, so here it goes. Come along for the ride...if you dare!

3 Cups Almond Flour
4-5 Mejool Dates (make sure to take out the seeds!)
2 Tbl. Organic Coconut Oil (the "oil" has a consistency more so of vegetable shortening)
1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 1/4 Cup Key Lime Juice, freshly squeezed (regular limes are fine; I used about 8 limes total)
2 Ripe Avocados (yes, it does use avocados)
1/2 Cup Mango Slices
1 Banana
1/4-1/2 Cup Agave Nectar (Add to taste)
1/3 Cup Organic Coconut Oil

First, preheat your oven....just kidding. Leave the oven alone this time. Lets make the crust first. In a food processor, take the dates and coconut oil and process until smooth. Next, add the 3 cups of almond flour and process until thoroughly incorporated. Put this mixture into a spring form pan, and press into the bottom. If you don't have a spring form pan, don't worry! You can see that I just used a basic cake pan, but a normal pie dish would work all depends on if you want to take it out of the pan for aesthetic reasons.

Next, lets make the filling. Take all of the ingredients, except for the agave nectar, and put them into a blender and puree until smooth. Take the agave nectar, starting with 1/4 cup, and add it to the mixture, working your way up to another 1/4 if needed. Once you have achieved the right sweetness for your taste, pour the mixture into the pan, and put it into the freezer. It should stay there for anywhere from 4-6 hours. If you want to spruce up your presentation, sprinkle over some raw shredded coconut or maybe even mango slices....the possibilities are endless, just as long as it's raw!

The question I was asking myself as I was looking at this recipe was "where do I find these products?" Luckily, living in NYC does have its perks. This city is a foodies paradise, and you can find ANYTHING. The place where I found the goods was Whole Foods, but buyer beware: the products are pretty expensive. As each item beeped across the scanner, my jaw dropped a little further to the ground. Another place to try (which I will most likely try next time!) is Trader Joe's. They are really great about having products for everyone (vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, and even omnivores like me!) but also at prices that the populous can afford. The good news is that I have enough agave nectar and coconut oil to last me awhile, so I looked at it more as an "investment."

So....what's the verdict? Has this hard core baker gone raw for good? Sorry, but no. As delicious as this recipe truly is, I most likely won't be converting to Rawism anytime soon. Part of the reason that I bake is that smell of something baking in the oven which brings on a sense of accomplishment. There truly is nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven in my opinion. Will I try another raw recipe in the future? Absolutely. But, for now, I am sticking with my oven. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go preheat her to 350 degree....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday Peace Corps! This Cupcake is for you!

At 2:00 a.m. on October 14, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy addressed students on the steps of the University of Michigan Union. In his speech, he challenged the students to give two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer myself, it is a very exciting time to be part of the Peace Corps community. So, in honor of the 200,000+ volunteers who have served or are currently serving, this recipe is for you!

It is autumn in NYC…finally. The leaves are falling from the trees, the air has that cool, crisp bite to it, and you can see pumpkins being sold at all of the markets and kiosks around the city. With this in mind, I am making a Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcake with a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting for my coworkers tomorrow. This cupcake is a perfect balance of all things delicious, and a great way to honor Peace Corps!

Pumpkin Peace Cupcakes

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or you can buy this in the spice aisle not fresh)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Start of by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line muffin tins with paper liners. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Once the butter is brown, skim the foam from the top, and remove from heat. So not to burn the butter, next pour it into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind and let cool (I recommend using a strainer of some sort to get rid of any burnt sediment that may have been left).

In one bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves until thoroughly combined. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add the dry mixture, and stir until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full and put them in the oven. While baking, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes depending on the oven. Transfer the tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (see below for recipe).

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

First, beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes and reduce the speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then cinnamon and vanilla. Keep mixing until smooth.

This cupcake smells absolutely amazing when it is baking. The spices mix together and it is all you can do to not eat them right out of the oven (not that doing that would be a bad thing....). Enjoy the smells AND the taste!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Have questions, recommendations, or comments for Get Baked NYC?

Get Baked NYC has a new way for you to get connected! I am always looking for new tips, techniques, and recipes, so I wanted to make it easier for everyone to drop me a line with a new email address! Feel free to email me at anytime with any questions or suggestions:

Get Baked and get connected!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweet Potato Cinnamon will never look at a sweet potato the same way again.

Autumn has officially arrived, even if the temperatures outside say otherwise. I came across a recipe online the other day which incorporated one of my favorite side dishes and breakfast foods, sweet potatoes and cinnamon rolls.

This is an excellent recipe and gives you delicious, fluffy cinnamon rolls that are gooey and will leave you wanting more. If you are wondering if they taste like mashed sweet potatoes, the answer is...not even slightly. These have a great flavor and remain moist.

Here are the ingredients:

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup melted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Extra Melted Butter, set aside (about 1/4 cup)

2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Take the yeast, warm water, and sugar and stir together until bubbles being to form. Let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, pour the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup flour, and mix together with electric mixer. Add mashed potatoes, egg, buttermilk, sugar, butter, orange zest, cinnamon, salt, and soda, and mix together with mixer. Next, using a large spoon, incorporate 4 cups flour to the mixture, and stir until dough forms, coming together to hold a shape. Dough will be very sticky.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover with a damp towel and either place in refrigerator overnight to rise or let stand in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in bulk.

While dough is rising, mix all of the ingredients for the filling together until well blended.

Flour surface of a large area of counter top, and with dough still in the bowl, punch down. Turn dough out onto the well floured surface; roll into an 18- x 10-inch rectangle. Next, take the extra melted butter that you sat aside and spread it evenly onto the dough. Next, spread evenly with the filling leaving a 1-inch border. Roll up the dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Cut into 1 1/2-inch slices, and arrange in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Bake rolls at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Allow rolls to cool slightly. While rolls are cooling, this is the perfect time to make the icing. In a bowl, combine powdered sugar and the vanilla extract, gradually add the milk a teaspoon at a time until icing is to a pouring consistency. Once the rolls have cooled, drizzle the icing over the top.

This recipe is a little more involved than the others and does take awhile to finish. But, trust me on this is definitely WORTH the wait!! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Annie Lou Unleashed in the City....

Since this blog is still so new, I figured it would be a great time to unleash my special recipe upon the bustling metropolis that is NYC. Are you ready to get baked, NYC? Buckle your seat belts.

Truth be told, this cookie isn't all that special, it is your normal chocolate chip cookie with a few twists. However, when you taste it, you will understand how amazing this is. I started making these about 6 years ago in college after doing a little trial and error baking, and have never looked back. I really liked to make these for my dad when he was still alive. He would take them hunting so that he would have a delicious treat when he was out in the cold. Dad...this one is for you.

The "Annie Lou" Cookie

2 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Ground Oats (this is the gives the cookie a richer flavor than flour alone!)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
2 Sticks Butter (this should be at room temperature!)
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs (these too need to be at room temperature...and this goes for whenever you're baking!)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 package of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 package Toffee Bits

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Take the dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and mix them together in a bowl and set aside. Next, you need to take the butter and whip the butter until it is smooth with a mixer set on medium. Next, take the sugars and cream together with the mixer on medium for about 3 minutes, scraping the sides as needed (Note: the key to any cookie recipe is to really cream the butter and sugars together for a longer period of time than you think necessary, so always do this for at least 3 minutes!). After that, crack open the eggs and throw those in the bowl along with the vanilla, and mix again until it is all thoroughly incorporated. Take the bowl with the dry ingredients and start to pour in a little bit of the mixture at a time, beating it on medium, until everything is mixed together well. Next, dump in the chocolate chips and toffee bits into the bowl and with a large spoon, stir the dough until the chips and bits are evenly distributed throughout. Spoon (or, if you are meet, wash your hands and use them instead!) the dough out onto your cookie sheets, and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on how soft or crunchy you want them to be). Lastly, and cerntainly not least......EAT!!!!!!

I love making double batches and then putting the dough in the freezer. This is a great way to do the same amount of work, but have the ability to have freshly baked cookies whenever you want to. I just take wax paper, plop down the remainder of the dough and form it into long logs (like the shape of the tubes of slice and bake cookies), roll it up in the paper, and then throw the bags in the freezer. When you need it, you take it out, slice it off, and bake it like normal.

Is this recipe that much different than a normal chocolate chip cookie? Nope, but the taste really is amazing. The best part about this cookie is that you can dress it up how you like. Like milk chocolate chips and peanut butter chips? Go for it! You want nuts? Do it! But, just make sure you have a glass of milk to wash it all down with.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Death by Chocolate? It was worth it.

It is officially my first baked good since creating this blog. What did I choose? CHOCOLATE CAKE. Why? My friend Ashley's birthday is today, and she is so awesome that she deserves being the reason for my first blog entry. Plus, there is nothing quite like a delicious, rich chocolate cake. Here are the ingredients for the cake:

Butter (for greasing the pans)
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 C. sugar
3/4 C. Cocoa Powder (I am using Hershey's)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. Buttermilk (remember to shake the carton to mix up the milk!)
1/2 C. Veggie Oil
2 Egg (at room temperature of course!)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extra
1 C. Freshly Brewed Coffee (this doesn't make it a mocha flavor, promise!)

This cake is really simple. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You are going to next grease your cake pans (8-inch) with a big of butter until the surface is covered and then flour them (just coat the flour with a fine dusting and tap out any excess).

Basically you mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and all of the wet ingredients. In a larger bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Take an electric mixer (on low) and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Next, add the coffee and stir until it is all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and then back 35-40 minutes (I have a gas oven, so I baked it for 35 minutes). To test, just stick a toothpick in and take out the cakes when the toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan (about 20 minutes or so) and then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Now for the frosting.....

6 oz. Semisweet Chocolate (I am using Hershey's baking chocolate)
2 Sticks Butter (this reciped called for unsalted, but I am using salted...I like the flavor better)
1 Egg Yolk (room temperature)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

First, chop up the chocolate up and put it into a double boiler (put a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of bowling water). Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Next, in a bowl, beat the butter on medium-high with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating another 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, and then add slowly the powdered sugar, then turn it up to medium, scraping sides constantly, until smooth. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 tsp. of hot water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the mixture and mix until blended.

Once you are finished with the frosting, place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second later on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

This last step, the easiest, should be done in moderation: EAT!!! Then again, who has the willpower for moderation? It is CHOCOLATE after all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Preparing to "Get Baked"

Truth be told....I'm not a blogger. I am horrible at keeping journals and hardly ever feel the need to write. However, I do enjoy baking. Pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes....they are all fun. I enjoy trying new recipes and tweaking them to my preferences. So, in the spirit of sharing (and remembering which recipes work and don't work), I decided to create this site to document my way through cups of flour, teaspoons of vanilla, and mountains of chocolate chips. Try the recipes and feel free to leave helpful feedback. So let's go NYC.... let's all "Get Baked."