Birthday Cake

Today marks 8 days since my first, and only, C-section. Lots of emotions in that sentence. 8 years later, I’m still mad about the whole thing. I have come to have a gratefulness about the whole situation, it lead me to where I am today and brought new friends into my life I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It opened my eyes. But it was still painful. And it still sucked. And it is that bring glaring example of how messed up our system really is. Doctors making decisions based on malpractice insurance coverage rather than individual patient care. Not that my doctor wouldn’t have done the same even if her insurance had let her. She wasn’t skilled in breech birth. We both knew that. So, maybe she put the blame on her malpractice insurance company when the reality was that it was a skill she didn’t possess. And few do- because no one is teaching them- because no one is doing them- because of those insurance companies. I really wish I had never been cut. But I was and that is my reality. I have a scar. I was left without choices. Funny how that “woman’s right to choose” bit only applies to whether you will or will not continue a pregnancy.

aidan 6

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I let my kids pick their own cake each year. We don’t have birthday parties every year. But cake is a birthday necessity. I don’t care how much sugar, butter, lard, whatever is in there. On your birthday you get cake! Or pie. Whichever you’re into. So, I have one kid who wants grocery store cakes. Those super sugary, questionably decorated, cakes. Cookie cakes on occasion. The rest of my kids usually want mama made cake. Well, there was that one year one of them made me get a cake made with his picture on it of him as a zombie complete with frosting pumpkins- and his birthday is in July. You get looks at the store for that one. But usually, they want something homemade from mom. I am a decent baker. Terrible decorator, but decent baker.

aidan

Aidan and the cupcake

My new 8 year old poured over my cook books trying to find the perfect cake. He had plenty to choose from. I have quite the collection of cookbooks (I’ll post links below). Unlike his younger brother who simply requests banana cake every year, he is a little more adventurous. He wants a unique and fun cake each year. What does he choose? Grasshopper Cake.

mr. bean

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So, here I sit, thinking about this day 8 years ago when I briefly considered just getting lunch instead of heading to the L&D unit for my C-section. Sitting here thinking about how unprepared we were for that outcome. Thinking about my little baby born and having to wait 5 days to hold him. Remembering the panic and fear and pain that came along with his birth. Sitting here now while he runs around the neighborhood with friends while I bake some weird mint cake thing because he thinks it is cool. Laughing at the memory of him being born male parts first, after I was 100% convinced I was having a girl. My second baby. My first son. Eight. Time has healed most wounds with the help of God and friends. I don’t feel forsaken like I did on this day eight years ago. Today, I feel blessed.

Aidan Butt Face

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My Baking Cookbooks:

Baked (this is where the Grasshopper cake is from)

Sweet Chic

Bell’s Best

The Treat’s Truck Baking Book (this is where the favorite Banana Cake is from)

Milk & Cookies

Desserts in Jars

Splendid Spoonful

Perfect Bundt Cakes

kitchen ljI love baking. I have tried recipe after recipe in pan after pan. I find that some recipes aren’t quite large enough for a layer cake while other recipes could easily make a triple layer cake. I like making Bundt cakes. I like a cake that doesn’t require icing. And they are so easy to serve! Today, I am giving you my two favorite Bundt cake recipes.

Amazing Banana Cake

1 stick butter (I always, always use unsalted)

2 eggs

3 or 4 very ripe bananas

1 teaspoon rum, bourbon, or Southern Comfort (My favorite rum to cook with is Kraken.) (Just pick whichever liquor you have or want.)

3/4 cup white flour

3/4 cup wheat flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend butter, bananas, and sugar. Add rum, bourbon, or Southern Comfort and eggs. Mix in all dry ingredients.

Spray your Bundt pan like a crazy woman. I wish I could tell you that there is some all natural, cheap alternative to cooking spray but I can’t. Just buy the spray. (Pam for Baking is my favorite. Baker’s Friend is my runner-up-if-it-is-on-sale choice.)

Pour batter in. Bake at 325. It is done when it smells done. What? You can’t smell a done cake? Okay. It is going to be about 30 minutes, use a toothpick to check if you need to.

(This recipe is also awesome in mini bundt pans and mini loaf pans.

chocolate cakeChocolate Cake

Now, this one is the most awesome chocolate cake ever. Be warned. If you’re wanting a layered cake, double this. If you’re wanting to do a bunch of cupcakes, double it. This recipe is just enough for a Bundt.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup grape seed oil (You could also use vegetable oil.)

1 cup hot coffee (No, this cake does not taste like coffee. Yes, it needs to be hot.)

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon rum (I use rum instead of vanilla extract. It is cheaper and has the same flavor. If you’re buying, Kraken or Tattoo by Captain Morgan are the best rums for baking.)

Blend in this order: flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, sugar, vegetable oil, coffee, milk, eggs, and rum.

Spray your pan like a crazy woman. (See above on banana cake about spray.) Pour batter into the pan. Bake at 325 until it smells done. Okay… about 30 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if you need to.

You can serve this hot out of the oven or cooled down. I prefer it cooled down.

Chocolate Ganache

It only sounds fancy, but it is unbelievable easy. Heat about half a cup of heavy cream in a small sauce pan. When it is hot (not boiling) stir in about 4 oz. of chocolate. (Chips or chopped bar.) When it is mixed. you’ve got ganache. Spoon it over your Bundt cake. The better your chocolate, the better your ganache.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pecan Spice Cupcakes with Rum Icing

I decided to make these cupcakes for the Faith Methodist Church Christmas party. Let me tell you, they are yummy! I think these are my new favorite cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:

2 and 3/4 cups AP flour

1 and 1/2 t baking soda

1 and 1/2 t baking powder

1 T ground cinnamon

2 t ground nutmeg

1 t ground ginger

1 t salt

1 and 1/2 sticks butter

1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I used light)

3 large eggs

1 T vanilla

1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk (buttermilk for cupcakes makes them so light and fluffy!)

1 cup roughly chopped pecans

In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. I use a whisk to make sure they are well mixed. Set this bowl aside.

Beat butter until it is light and fluffy. Add brown sugar to the butter and mix until smooth. Once butter and brown sugar are well mixed, add one egg at a time. Once eggs are well mixed, add about half the flour mixture. Mix until well combined.  Add vanilla and buttermilk- mix until well combined. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until well combined. Add in the pecans and mix them in.

Spoon your batter into cupcake cups. (Will make between 2 and 3 dozen cupcakes, depending on how full you make your cups.) Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Now the rum icing! Yep, I said rum! Yum! So, I was sitting there thinking, “What kind of icing will go with pecan spice cupcakes?” My usual cream cheese icing has a bit of a citrus taste, which I didn’t want. I come up with the idea to make cream cheese rum icing. It turned out so yummy! Here’s what you need:

3 blocks of cream cheese

3 sticks of butter

powdered sugar (amount is up to you- probably between half a cup and 2 cups)

rum (use what you’ve got. Don’t have any? This Tattoo rum by Captain Morgan is on the sweet side- perfect for desserts.)

You can scale this recipe down. I find that 2 blocks/2 sticks is not quite enough for 2 dozen generously iced cupcakes, so I use 3/3 and have a bit of icing left over. (Which The Pastor eats with graham crackers for a midnight snack.) If you don’t like a lot of icing on your cupcakes, 2 blocks/2sticks will be enough.

Set out the cream cheese and the butter while you’re working on your cupcakes. They’ll be room temperature by the time you get around to making the icing.

Mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Add a few T of rum. Blend well. Taste. (I keep plenty of spoons on hand when making icing because I taste quite often.) Add more powdered sugar as you see fit. (Some folks like super sweet icing. Others like not overly sweet icing. I fall in between. I use about a cup of powdered sugar.) Add more rum to taste. I used about 1/4 cup of rum. I didn’t want it too rummy. But you may want it more rum tasting, so add more if you like!

Once your icing is mixed to your liking, spoon the icing into a gallon size freezer bag and place in the fridge. When your cupcakes have completely cooled and you’re ready to ice, knead the bag of icing a bit, cut off one corner of the bag, squirt icing onto cupcakes. Top the icing with a pecan. Eat and enjoy!

(You can also drizzle a little rum over each cupcake before serving. Adds a little extra zip to it!)

Big Foot Cannot Hide From Me!

Bugaboo Creek left us. I know! So sad. I began thinking about their menu and what exactly I’d miss. Wedge salad? I can get that elsewhere. Steak? On every corner. Big foot cookie? Oh. My. Milk. Where on earth am I going to get a big foot cookie?!

What? You don’t know what a big foot cookie is? Giant chocolate chip cookie cooked and served in an iron skillet and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now you see my panic! Now you are going crazy trying to figure out how you’ll ever have one of these awesome treats! Calm down. I figured it out. (With the help of The Pastor. That man can cook!) Now you can have a big foot cookie at home! (Send your waistline my apologies!)

Sorry that I couldn’t stop myself in time to get a picture of my cookie uneaten. I got too excited!

Get your iron skillet. We have a huge one and a not so huge one. (Very specific, huh?) Our not so huge skillet is bigger than the ones Bugaboo had, but what can you do? Rub butter all over the inside surface of your skillet. Sprinkle in crushed graham crackers in the bottom. (If you don’t have graham crackers, which I didn’t, use wheat germ and a pinch of brown sugar.) (I know. It is probably weird that I had wheat germ on hand but not graham crackers. That’s just how it is around the parsonage.) Take chocolate chip cookie dough and make a “pancake” out of it roughly the size of your skillet and about half the thickness of your skillet. Put it in the oven (on a typical 350 – 375 cookie baking temp) and wait! (It takes a good 40 minutes or so to bake, depending on your skillet size.) Once your cookie looks done (same eye you use for regular cookies- brown edges, golden top) take it out to cool. Don’t let it cool completely! Big foot cookies are best eaten hot! (Just not so hot you get 3rd degree burns in your mouth.) Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream straight on top of the cookie in the skillet, grab a spoon, an dig in! (You can share if you are so inclined.)

My Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe:

– 2.25 c all-purpose flour

– 1 t baking soda

– 1/4 t salt

– 1 c butter

– 3/4 c sugar

– 3/4 c brown sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 8 oz. chocolate chips of choice