From the Mad Scientist’s Desk: I melted down Peeps candies into a sugar syrup and used it to make Italian buttercream. The result? This cute and super delicious Peeps Buttercream Jelly Roll for Easter. Enjoy! How I Came Up with Peeps Buttercream I have been ruminating on how to get some Peeps into my Easter […]
Today I have a lovely traditional red velvet cake recipe for you. I call it traditional because I frosted it with ermine frosting. Many sources say ermine frosting is the original frosting for red velvet cake and not cream cheese frosting. Let’s get to it, shall we? What’s Ermine Frosting, Anyway? As far as I […]
I’m glad you’ve stopped in to learn how to make my Fudgy Black Forest Cake. If you’d like, you can go straight to the recipe. The Beloved and I were in Saxapahaw a couple of weekends ago, and we stopped by the new-ish Haw River Farmhouse Ales to have a flight. They’re putting out some really […]
All product links (except the Black Onyx Cocoa Powder) are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting PCO! For a veganized version of this cake, see my Vegan Chococlate Christmas Cake. It’s pictured at the bottom of this post. Halloween is my favorite. I always have visions of coolly elegant, creepily sophisticated costumes, but I usually […]
I met a pastry guy on twitter a couple of weeks ago. One of my fans made my oatmeal beer bread into rolls in her Dutch oven, and I tweeted the photo she sent me. And that’s when I met the pastry guy. He responded that the rolls looked great. Then I said that I love it when folks make my recipes. Then he said that he does too. And then somehow, I found myself accepting a pastry challenge from Ryan Kurr, pastry dude and author in Chicago. He just self-published Sugar Burn: The Not So Hot Side of the Sweet Kitchen, his account of working in acclaimed pastry kitchens in Chicago and what he learned from those experiences. If you want to know what it’s like to work in a professional kitchen–the unvarnished, non Food Network truth–check out his book!
Anyway, that’s how I found myself sending a virtual stranger (now virtual friend!) my post for Pumpkin Caramel Latte Flan and receiving an email with his recipe for carrot cake. This isn’t just any carrot cake either. This is a browned butter-coconut oil carrot cake. One made with a braising liquid. No, you don’t braise the cake. You braise an orange in some spiced simple syrup and then use that liquid in the cake.
I have not always been a good baker. I was, for a long time, a barely competent baker who followed a recipe down to the sixteenth teaspoon of fairy tears called for. I would search high and low for fairy tears, and if I couldn’t find them, I’d try and find a reasonable substitute. One time I needed 1/4 cup of creme fraiche for something or other. These days, I’d either make my own or not sweat it and use cream or sour cream. Or yogurt. But back then, I pounded up and down the linoleum tiles in front of the dairy section searching for the stuff until I wore a groove in the floor. I finally asked a grown up wearing an official shirt about what to use as a substitute. He conferred with another grown up, and they decided that my best bet was to combine cream cheese, cream and sour cream. So I bought those items so I could use about a tablespoon of each. Lord.
Years ago, when I still lived in a little crack house duplex, I decided I would make a buche de Noel for our family’s Christmas dessert. Of course, I knew we’d also be having plum pudding and trifle, but I wanted to contribute, and I thought I knew what I was doing. I was wrong.
Two crumbled chocolate “jelly roll” cakes later, I decided to throw in the towel and just make a Yule Stump with regular layers. This posed another problem. The cake recipe told me to use what I now know to be the two-stage mixing method. I did a terrible job with the mixing, partly because I didn’t understand how the method worked and sort of thought that the folks who wrote it needed a good smack for not having me “cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.” Two peaked, stupid chocolate rounds later, I found a different recipe that asked me to cream things together and made that. Around 3am on Christmas day. I iced that bad boy with some chocolate frosting and drew some of it out to look like roots, spread custard on the top for the wood part and made a thin spiral of chocolate for the rings. I tucked in some plastic holly and some cocoa-dusted meringue mushrooms and slapped it defiantly on our Christmas table. I swear I looked like I had lived through The Lost Weekend. The cake tasted like desperation, but damn was it festive.
Last week, I was chatting with some friends on Google+, trying to help someone figure out a caramel filling for chocolate eggs that would be the perfect texture: not too runny; not too hard. I suggested taking a can of sweetened condensed milk and submerging it in boiling water for an hour or two, making […]