Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

A slice of self-sufficiency (with a dash of Baileys).

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Generally, I’m a happy gal.

But sometimes, things upset me. I’m not a robot.

Animal cruelty. That upsets me.

Driving below the speed limit on the freeway. That upsets me. (I’m talking to you, dude from earlier today!)

Crocs. Crocs definitely upset me.

When someone implies that being independent is a bad thing. This upset me…just a few days ago.

I believe that being independent means that I know what I want, I will do what it takes to get it, and then I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that am responsible for my success.

Is that so wrong? I think not.

However, I will admit that there is a sliver of bitterness that comes with this independence. I like to think of myself as a strong person, but even the Hulk is let down occasionally. If you get hurt, you get stronger.
Kate smash!

But this toughness doesn’t go down to my core. Sometimes I can be a huge mush ball. Seriously. It’s embarrassing. Hulk-ish outside. Care Bear inside. What kind of messed-up genetic mutation is that? And here’s a secret…my Care Bear inside seeps through a lot. (Don’t tell.)

Ironically, the day before I was “accused” of being Miss Independent I had a long talk with my grandma about this very thing. Allow me to quote her:

“Of course you care about other people. But take care of yourself first, because how you feel about yourself directly affects the people you care about. And on top of that, be who you want to be. Who you are is beautiful. If someone doesn’t like it, who gives a sh*t anyway. You’re the one who has to live with yourself for the rest of your life.”

I’ve said this before, but that woman is my hero.

She’s spot on, though. I take care of myself because I want to take care of you! And I think I take care of you very well……

Enter: Baileys Cheesecake. *angels sing*

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I made this especially for you. I know that you love cheesecake as much as I do, and I took a wild guess that you, too, hold a special place in your heart for Baileys Irish Cream.

The airy cheesecake filling is sandwiched between an Oreo crust and an espresso whipped cream.

Holy boozy baking, Batman. This is good stuff.

I encourage you to be independent and make this cake on your own. When you bite into it for the first time, I guarantee you’ll get that feeling of self-satisfaction I’ve been ranting about.

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Baileys Cheesecake with Espresso Whipped Cream Topping

Crust:

2 1/2 cups crushed Oreos
7 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

3. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

4. Bake for 7-11 minutes. Set aside.

Filling:

24oz whipped cream cheese
1 2/3 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 tbsp vanilla

1. Beat cream cheese on high until smooth.

2. Gradually add sugar.

3. Add eggs, one at a time.

4. Add Baileys and vanilla.

5. Once completed blended, pour mixture on top of crust.

6. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack to keep the cheesecake moist.

The cheesecake will rise, but once it starts to cool it will fall. If it cracks, no need to worry, because you’re about to cover it with whipped cream.

Espresso Whipped Cream:

1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

1. Beat whipping cream on high until it starts to thicken.

2. Add sugar and vanilla.

3. Once blended, add espresso powder.

4. Top the completely cooled cheesecake with the whipped cream. Drizzle with chocolate and chocolate shavings.

5. Eat the shiznit out of the cake.

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Bon Appétit!

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Dark-chocolate resolutions for a bright 2013

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Welcome to the time of year where you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to pack your gut that you worked so hard to flatten for the summer, with butter, sugar, and booze. There’s a time-limit to this moment, though. It ends the moment you wake up on January 1st (for most people, anyway).

That’s right, I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions. Dun dun DUNNNN!

I took the liberty of looking up the most popular “commitments” people make at the beginning of each year.

Of course, the most faddish resolution is to “get in shape” and lose those elusive 15 pounds that seemed to creep out of nowhere and attached themselves to your innocent thighs. I’ve tried this resolution, and if I remember correctly, I ended up gaining weight because all I could think about was food that brings those pounds out of their hidden cave. Then I stuffed my face. That, and the fact that I write a baking blog. Um, duh.

Another popular resolution? Eat healthier. See above.

A third? Drink less alcohol. I think I always say this on the 1st. I blame the 31st.

One of the lists I read included “learn something new.” What? That’s ridiculous. If you’re not learning at least ONE thing every single day, you’re not awake. You’re probably dead. And I think I speak for the rest of the world when I say that we’re not quite ready for the zombie apocalypse yet. So wake up, and learn something, you scary, scary robot.

Am I talking about robots or zombies? Wait…what?

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What I’m getting at, is that these resolutions are so impersonal. I’ve made a short list of things I will commit to for 2013. Want to see? If you don’t…boo on you. Because I want to hear about yours.

1. Take more pictures. I feel like a lot of people say this. This doesn’t mean pictures of me and my friends, although I love those. I mean taking pictures of things I find beautiful around me — meaningful things that catch my attention. Trees do that for me. Call me weird, I don’t mind. This might even mean investing in a camera! Ooh, hello, idea lightbulb.

2. Get a piece of art for my apartment. My walls are bare. It’s kind of sad.

3. Take a trip with my roommate. We decided we wanted to go on a cruise. I fully support this idea, and I have every intention of executing it.

4. Drink a little less coffee. I’m not going to cut it out, but maybe ration myself to two cups a day. Or leave one shot of espresso out of my Americano. I should probably be more decisive on this.

5. Be more decisive about the coffee situation.

6. Bake more. I bake a lot, obviously, but I have a zillion ideas in my head that I need to make reality, like, NOW.

7. Tell you about these chocolate cupcakes.

Okay, the 7th item on the list is happening in 2012, but hey, nothing wrong with being ahead of the game, right?

These cupcakes would make Count Chocula blush. It’s serious business. I took my chocolate cake recipe, tweaked it a little, made my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe, tweaked that a little, and the next thing I know I have these chocolate cupcakes that are so rich, they make Donald Trump look like an orphan.

What did I do differently? More of the onyx cocoa powder, and more sugar. I intentionally made the buttercream slightly salty. It cuts the sweetness a little. Maybe next time I’ll add caramel.

Wait, did I just accidentally make a potential salted-caramel cupcake (also known as one of my all-time favorites)?!?

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Ohhhh 2013 is going to be good.

Salty-Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes:

3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp onyx cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. Sift cocoa powders, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat eggs and vanilla until slightly fluffy, about 45 seconds.

4. Add dry mix, beat for 30 seconds.

5. Add oil and beat until combined.

6. Add cream in two portions, waiting until the first addition is blended in.

7. Add warm water and beat until smooth.

8. Fill liners 1/2 full and bake for 20 minutes.

Salted Chocolate Buttercream:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp onyx cocoa powder
1 packet instant hot chocolate powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat butter and cocoa powders, and hot chocolate mix on high until thick.

2. Add salt and vanilla. Beat until combined, and then beat on medium for an additional 30 seconds.

3. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream alternatively in 3 additions, starting with the heavy cream, beating well between each addition.

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Bon appétit!

 

Busy busy as a bee? Cake scraps are your remedy!

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Change is good. But at the same time, change is bad.

Okay, maybe not bad, but difficult…no, challenging. (I’m sometimes indecisive.)

I haven’t updated my blog for awhile, if you haven’t noticed. Life has been nothing short of crazy. I had a birthday, then I got sick. Then…

…I made margarita cupcakes, which were incredible. I’d share the recipe with you, but oh wait, that’s right, I lost my recipe. It disappeared into the universe. Sad.

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I made a wedding cake. I got PAID. Someone paid little ol’ me to make their wedding cake! That was huge step in the right direction. 🙂

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I moved into a cute little two-bedroom apartment in Huntington Beach. Another huge step in the right direction.

I baked 120 cupcakes for a 100th birthday party. Again, I got paid! Surreal. Yet another step in the right direction.

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My life’s GPS is seriously on point lately.

I did mention that change is difficult, though. That wedding cake? Yeah, for three days I barely slept, had a few breakdowns, and was covered head-to-toe in flour.

The apartment: Our move-in date was changed 3 times, we had a constant battle with the leasing office, and we still don’t have a couch or internet…almost a month later.

The cupcakes. 120 really wasn’t that much, but in a kitchen that is an appropriate size for a Keebler elf, it felt like I was being buried alive in red velvet.

I needed something simple. Something that I could make with the simplest ingredients (because let’s face it…I’m broke and didn’t have any fancy ingredients.) Cake scraps. But that seems so…barbaric. So I made cookies! Cake scrap cookies.

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They aren’t pretty. They aren’t fancy. They’re simple. And you can totally get away with eating a few without feeling like a free-loading, bottom-feeding, sweet-toothed creep. It works out.

Well with all of those challenges, what is a little baketress to do?! Well, I took a shower and washed off the flour. I moved into the apartment with an awesome roommate. I settle with watching Friends on the living room floor (for now), and I’m writing this blog directly from my iPhone (thank goodness for 3G!) And then I utilized every square inch of space to make the cupcakes work. I powered through. I conquered!

Mwahaha, watch out world, I’m taking over! And it only gets better from here.

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Cake Scrap Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 sugar
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp onyx cocoa powder (serious stuff)
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup cream cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and both cocoas in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.

4. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time until blended.

5. Beat in cream cheese until smooth.

6. Add flour mixture in three parts, beating on medium high until just blended each time. Once the final portion is added, beat for 30 seconds.

7. Place 1-1 1/2 tbsp globs of dough on a prepared cookie sheet.

8. Bake for 11 minutes. Let the cookies set for 1-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

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Bon appetit!

P.S. As I mentioned, this is coming straight from my iPhone…so if the pictures don’t look quite right, or something else is funky, just…ignore it. Well don’t ignore it. Read it, make some cookies, and take some pictures of your own! 😉

Saturday mornings: cartoons, PJs, and a pancake for one.

Ahh, Saturday morning.

As a kid, it was all about Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and that show with the sharks? Does anyone know what show I’m talking about? It was that show about 4 guys who were transformed into sharks…and they like, fought crime, or were criminals, or something…?

Okay well that’s going to bother me all day, but for the sake of this blog (and your time) I’ll move on.

My point is, cartoons were the bees knees during childhood. They represented the glory of what is Saturday morning. You could sleep in, stay in your jammies til noon, and then jump on your bike and ride to your friend’s house to see if they could play. Or in my case, run next door where your best friend lives and basically just assume she’s available to play house, or go to the pool, or Rollerblade, or whatever the heck else we did as kids to keep ourselves occupied.

Jessica and I had so much fun. Aww, memories. ❤

But what I’m really leaving out (and what is one of the most important parts of Saturday morning) is breakfast! Duhhh.

Weekdays are about quick, on-the-go breakfasts: Pop-Tarts, a bowl of cereal, toast — things that don’t take a long time to eat. There isn’t an opportunity to really enjoy the meal.

Enter: Saturday morning breakfast! Homemade breakfast. Come on, that’s a highlight of life. You can’t deny that.

Now, please note that I do not like breakfast foods at breakfast time. I’m not sure why. I just don’t. I’d rather have a waffle for dinner than a bowl of pasta any day of the week. But every once in a while, there’s an exception. For example, this morning.

My Saturdays aren’t what they used to be. I have this thing now, where I provide labor in exchange for money. Also known as a job. And I usually work the PM shift on weekends. Therefore, Saturday mornings are incredibly precious to me. When I got home this morning, I had the house to myself. I love having the house to myself. The TV is mine. The couch is mine. And most importantly, the kitchen is mine.

Well I still have to share the house with Kitten, but she’s feel exceptionally lazy today.

So in the midst of this wonderful solitude, I decided today was a breakfast day. And I wanted a pancake.

One giant pancake. Singular. Uno.

So that’s what I made! It’s inspired by Joy the Baker’s “Single Lady Pancake,” but the recipe is all my own. (I love the title of her recipe! So cute.) I’m not considered a “single lady” anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a little selfish “me” time with a pancake and cup of coffee, while watching the episode of New Girl I missed last Tuesday. (Which, by the way…was not funny. I was very disappointed.)

I used to make variations of this for myself last year when I lived in the apartment. It’s a delicious, wonderful, simple way to start the day. I highly recommend it.

I don’t even have a lot of pictures to show you, because I wanted to eat it ASAP.

I dislike cold pancakes. Gnarly.

But on the realz, this hits the spot. It’s like, good for the soul or something. Your inner pancake soul.

It’s a thing. I swear.

Be selfish. Make a pancake.

Pancake for Me, Myself, and I
a Sugar Therapy original – yay!

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons apple cinnamon instant oatmeal, uncooked (or plain oats)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tsp vanilla extract

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together. That’s flour, oats, sugars, baking powder/soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, vanilla, and oil together.

3. Add orange juice and whisk until combined.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, whisking until just combined. The batter should be pretty thick.

5. Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat. (That’s a strange sentence…but just do it.)

6. Pour batter onto the pan and allow the pancake to cook until you see some bubbles form on the top. Flip the pancake. Hopefully it’s a beautiful golden brown. That’s the goal.

Note: I am the WORST pancake flipper in the history of pancake flippers. I get nervous. Sometimes I burn my pancakes because I’m too hesitant. Don’t be like me. Just flip it, you can do it!

7. Add syrup. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Spread some jelly on there. Or be like me, and keep it simple and spread a light layer of non-dairy butter on there. So. good.

The best part about this recipe is you can add and subtract. Not a fan of orange juice? I’d try some apple instead. Want banana pancakes? I like the way you think. Want some crunch? Add walnuts! And of course, you can never go wrong with a handful of blueberries.

Be innovative. Be selfish. Enjoy your Saturday morning.

And let me know if you can remember the name of that shark cartoon.

Bon appétit!

Doughnut be sad any longer, I’m back!

Dear Baking Mojo,

You have been a bit of a biotch lately. It has really annoyed me.

It annoys me almost as much as this spellcheck wanting to correct “biotch” to “biotech.”

Really though, what was your issue? You disappeared for a long time. I tried to use you several times, but whatever I made came out so…un-Sugar-Therapyish. You would show your face for a second, but when I would start to whip up some cookies, you were nowhere to be found, and therefore, neither were the cookies. What the eff, man? Even Thanksgiving pies were mediocre at best, thanks to you.

Now, I realize I’m being a little harsh, Mojo. I know we’re not in the amazing kitchen we used to bake in. The oven we loved to hate so much isn’t with us anymore. All the counterspace? Yeah, a pipe dream. My collection of salt and pepper shakers that cheerily graced us as we sang along to whatever playlist I chose aren’t out anymore. That kitchen was mine ours, and I’m just as bummed as you are that I can’t buy dish towels or display my favorite cookie jar.

But you know what, my darling? We need to get over it. Stop hiding behind those cotton candy clouds, and join me in the bright, buttercream world we used to live in. The blog is called Sugar Therapy…hellooooo. I can’t live my life effectively without you! And let’s be honest, you can’t live without me either, because, well, you’re my baking mojo.

You really came through for me yesterday. I mean, we made doughnuts for the first time, and it was wildly successful! When I opened that deep fryer from Santa this past Christmas, I had doughnuts on the mind, hardcore. You seemed pretty hesitant, but the other day I was in such a good mood that I made you comply…and look at what came out of it! Delicious, cakey, yeasty doughnuts.

Let’s keep it up.

Sincerely,

Me

P.S. If you ever disappear like that again, I might have to replace you with basket-weaving.

P.P.S. Just kidding, I would never basket-weave. But seriously don’t ever f&%*$#@ leave me again.

…xoxo.

Homemade Doughnuts
Recipe closely followed from Pioneer Woman.

1 1/4 cup whole milk, warm
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (also known as one package)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan. Make sure it is not too hot.

2. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

3. Pour the dry yeast into a medium-small bowl, and pour the milk mixture over it.

4. Stir it gently, but then walk away! Don’t touch it for 10 minutes and watch how gross it starts to look.

5. In a separate bowl, melt the butter. You may do this in the microwave in small increments of 10-15 seconds. You don’t want the butter to melt all the way, because it will be too hot for the next step. Instead, melt it about 80% of the way and stir it until it melts down. It works the same way that melting chocolate does.

6. Add the eggs to the butter and stir to combine.

I must interject. My beautiful stand mixer was faulty. One day it started sparking, and I feared for my life, so I turned it off. Saddest story of my life. 😦 So I had to use a hand mixer. It is a WORKOUT, so if you have a stand mixer…I beg of you…use it! Because my right arm is comparable to that of Hulk Hogan’s.

7. Set either a stand mixer (wahh) or a hand mixer with a dough hook attachment to medium, and beat the butter/egg mixture while slowly pouring in the yeast mixture.

8. Keep the mixer going for a few minutes until the ingredients are combined.

9. Add the flour in 1/2 cup increments, combining well after each addition.

10. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, and then beat the dough for 5 minutes.

11. If needed, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl, then beat again for about 30 seconds.

12. Set the bowl of dough aside for 10 minutes. Don’t mess with it, let it be.

13. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours, or if you prefer/if it makes it easier, overnight.

Have some wine, take a breath, and pat yourself on the back for using that wimpy hand mixer for this project.

The next day…..

14. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness.

15. Using a handy-dandy doughnut cutter, cut circles in the dough, and transfer them to a lightly floured baking sheet. Put the doughnut holes on there, too.

16. When you reach the point where you cannot possibly cut another circle, cover the baking sheets with a dish towel and store them in a warm place.

Since this kitchen is a bit of an igloo, I turned the oven on for about 2 minutes, turned it off, let it cool slightly, and placed the sheets in there. Worked perfectly.

17. Allow the doughnuts to rise for an hour. Don’t touch them. Again, just let it be.

Now, like I said, I used a deep fryer. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a large pot. But make sure you keep track of the temperature!!

18. Once the oil has reached 375 degrees, gently place the doughnuts, about 3 at a time, in the oil. They cook extremely quickly. It should only take about 45 seconds to a minute for each side.

19. Remove the doughnuts from the hot oil with a slotted spoon, allowing oil to drip off. Place the doughnuts on several layers of paper towels, wait a few seconds, and flip over to a dry part of the towel. You’re just getting rid of the oil that you definitely don’t want in your doughnuts.

20. Continue until all of your doughnuts are fried. Fry the doughnut holes, too, but be aware that they require about half the time to cook.

Now, while these are so good warm and plain, you better do something with them. Powdered sugar? Chocolate? Cinnamon-sugar? Sprinkles? Nuts? Whatever!

If you plan on going the cinnamon-sugar route that I did, put the sugar mixture in a ziplock bag. Place a few slightly warm doughnuts in the bag, and shake. Boom. Instant deliciousness.

If you plan to go the glazed doughnut route, make a simple glaze with confectioners’ sugar, milk, some vanilla, and a sprinkle of salt. Submerge the doughnut in the glaze, and set on a wire rack to set.

The possibilities are endless. They’re freaking doughnuts, for Pete’s sake. Just eat some and pretend your thighs don’t care.

Bon appétit!