Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BAKED: Seth's Caramel Apple Birthday Cake

For my husband Seth's birthday, I decided to make the Caramel Apple Cake from BAKED. I was so excited to make it, and even made my own homemade applesauce to use in the apple cake!

The homemade applesauce was surprisingly EASY, and it was so delicious. I wasn't sure how many apples I'd need, so I went overboard and used 12, which was about double what I really needed, so we had lots of leftover! I used a variety--gala, pink lady, tart green, red delicious, etc. because in apple pie a variety is the most delicious, so I figured it would be the same for applesauce. Boy, that was a great assumption, because it was DE-licious! I don't think I'll ever want store-bought applesauce again.

The buttercream came together really well, too! I haven't ever made a cooked-with-flour-buttercream before, and I was really pleased with the consistency and taste.

The cake was definitely hearty, and someone called out when eating it that it tasted like a gingerbread cake...which might be kind of accurate. It would be a great fall cake, it's pretty...fallish. Seth liked it a lot, and that's what really matters, since he's not a cake guy!

*Thanks to Holly Badurek for the pictures!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday Cookies

I was so excited to find this post from Sisters Cafe on Secrets to the perfect Chocolate Chip cookie. Lets face it, we've had some good cookies and some bad cookies, sometimes from the same recipe! Their tips are excellent, and with a recipe to accompany their tips, how could I resist making some for Fat Tuesday?

It helped that my amazing baking friend Emily encouraged me after I shared the post on google Buzz. She is a gourmet, and we decided to get together and bake them so that we could see if they were really perfect, and Emily surprised me and baked some of her favorite recipe too so we'd have a comparison!

Photo credit goes to David Goodberg, who not only is a great photographer, but also has a book out on the market that is hitting B&N bookstores across the country! Keep an eye out for it, it's a good one!

I have to shamefully admit that I didn't have enough bread flour to add in the recipe, so I substituted some whole wheat pastry flour, which I think made them flatter than they would have been. The first taste I felt a little "Meh" about, but after coming home and eating half of a cooled cookie, I was hooked! Great texture, perfect chocolate disk addition, and some good vanilla flavor that shines through! The salt sprinkled on the top really hits the spot, too!

Emily's cookies are the perfect chewy cookie! They used all bread flour, so they had the perfect rise and fluff to them, and the texture shone through with might! (Forgot to have D take pictures of hers, oops!) If you're interested, I'll see if I can post her recipe, too!

On a side-note, I am going to be observing Lent this year by sacrificing Sugar. This might make my BAKED posts a little hard, as the temptation to eat BAKED creations is strong! I am going to be experimenting with Sugar Subsitutes (Powdered Honey, Xylitol, Agave, Honey, Stevia...) so I'll either post some subsitute reviews or we might take a break for a few weeks! (Fair warning!)