Posted in In The Kitchen

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.




Posted in In The Kitchen, With The Kids

Professor Party (includes recipes!)

The Professor had his first birthday party yesterday. I know, I got out the calendar to make sure he was really one! It didn’t seem like it was time for this just yet. The Pastor assures me he was, indeed, born in June and is, in fact, a year old. He doesn’t seem like he’s a year old. I threw together a little shin-dig for his birthday. Old man themed, of course. The above is the invitation. (I took pictures, edited them on PicMonkey, uploaded them to Shutterfly, and then had them printed at the local drug store. Cost me all of $4 for all his invitations.) Cute, huh?

I read on this blog about turning Frappuccino bottles into glass milk bottles. (Removing the labels and date stamps.) It was pretty easy to get them nice and pretty. I found the paper straw on Amazon. I found the candy cigarettes at a small gas station in south Mississippi when we were coming back from a week at the beach. I made the little chalkboards myself. I painted my red, white, and blue party jugs to match. You can sort of see the stamp on the paper in one of the pictures above. I had it made for Ransom by Asspocket Productions. If you don’t have your own book stamp or family book stamp, you need to contact Asspocket and let Stacey make you one. I plan to get one for each child in addition to the family one we already have from her.

I made a few burlap bows. I was hoping to find burlap ribbon, which does exist, but the store I went to did not have. Instead, I bought 3 yards of burlap and cut it into 3″-4″ strips. I then used those strips to make the bows. This bow is one strip (3″ x 3 yards) with a small piece cut to tie the center. I made bigger bows for the door and mailbox. (Our neighbor decided to have a yard sale the same day as the party. They marked their mailbox with balloons. We had more than one yard saler coming up our driveway only to realize ours was not the yard sale. Fun times.)

Now, for the recipes. I decided I wanted something different than cupcakes. I’m a horrible cake decorator. Perhaps I’ll take a class one day and get better at that, but currently I’m the person who makes great tasting cakes that look terrible. I usually stick to cupcakes for that reason. I decided the party theme leant itself to something a little different. I opted to make mini bundt cakes! I got two different mini bundt pans. One from Target (made by Nordic Ware), that didn’t have deep holes and the pan really, really browned the little cakes. The other from Joann’s (made by Wilton) that made the perfect  mini bundt with a hole almost completely through. The cakes are Blue Ribbon PoundCake with Chocolate Ganache. They were tasty.

Blue Ribbon Pound Cake

2 cups butter

6 eggs

1 t baking powder

1 cup milk

1 t nutmeg

3 cups sugar

4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla or lemon extract

I figure you know what to do with that. Mine made about 2.5 dozen mini-bundt cakes per batch. I used vanilla, but next time I make this, I’ll be using Fiori de Sicilia.

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

3-4 bars of good dark chocolate

The trick to great ganache is great chocolate. If you use cheap chocolate, you’ll get ugh ganache. Use great chocolate for impressive ganache. I used SweetRiot 70% chocolate bars.  Chop the chocolate into smallish pieces, heat the cream in a pan, stir in the chocolate small amounts at a time. NEVER STOP STIRRING! You cannot multi-task while making ganache. You have to give it all your attention for the few minutes it takes to make. Funnel it into a squirt bottle and then use the squirt bottle to squirt it onto your cakes, cookies, whatever.

I got cute little mustache cookie cutters and made these adorable little cookies.I also found a sugar, chocolate, and coffee bean grinder at Trader Joe’s to top these simple chocolate cookies. I edited a recipe that I had for chocolate cookie dough with less baking powder to create less lift so the shape would stay in these cookies. I am usually a tea cake kind of girl, but I went with a classic chocolate cookie for this one.

Chocolate Cookie Cutter Cookies

2.25 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1 cup butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 T vanilla extract

1 small bar of dark chocolate, shaved

You can shave the chocolate with a cheese grate or you can put it in your blender or food processor and chop the devil out of it. Either way works. You just don’t want chunks of it in your cookies. Just shavings. You know how to mix this. Add the cocoa as your first dry ingredient. Roll them out of some flour or cocoa and use your cookie cutters to cut them out. If you want the sugar to really stick, take the white of one egg, beat it, then brush it over the top of each cookie before sprinkling with sugar. (And sugar before baking.)