Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday Night Cake: Club Baked

I'm really glad I joined Club Baked.  I like knowing that on or around the 1st and the 15th of the month, I'm going to be baking something, and it's likely something I haven't made before, even though I've owned the book we are baking from, Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, since it was published.  I also enjoy the glee in my kids' eyes when they ask, "Is this for us?"  Because I'm a cake decorating teacher, I often have to bake cakes or cupcakes to take to class to help me illustrate the decorating techniques I'm teaching, and I also bake treats for various meetings and things I attend.  Ryan's and Katie's eyes light up when they realize a baked treat isn't leaving the's all for us.

This time, the Club Baked selection was hosted by Julie of Little Bit of Everything and we baked Sunday Night Cake.  My husband Dave teased me because I was supposedly being conformist by actually baking the cake on a Sunday night.  (I was not in the mood for such teasing and told him that because of his sarcasm, he wasn't getting any cake!)

Sunday Night Cake is a pretty simple cake lightly flavored with cinnamon, topped with a pudding-like chocolate frosting.  The cake is very simple to make; the frosting requires a little more work, but the end result is a wonderful cake that's perfect for family dinners, potlucks, etc.

After mixing the cake ingredients together, I had a wonderful, smooth and silky batter.  The scent reminded me a lot of oatmeal cookie dough, probably because of the cinnamon.

I filled my square cake pan with batter.  (Oops, looks like I got a little bit on the island!)

While the cake was baking in the oven, the kitchen was filled with a wonderful aroma, which was soon overpowered by the chocolate aroma when I made the frosting, which begins similar to a pudding cooked over the stove, then gets whipped with a mixer and butter is added to it.  I probably whipped my frosting a little longer than needed, because I wanted a lighter, less pudding-like frosting.

The end result was a light spice cake topped with rich chocolate frosting.  When I read the recipe, I wasn't sure about this cake, because I am not a huge fan of combining the flavors of cinnamon and chocolate.  Still, I enjoyed this cake.  (So did Ryan and Katie.  I believe they both said OMG when they took their first bites.)  I think the next time I make this, I will follow a suggestion in the recipe and top the cake with powdered sugar instead of the chocolate frosting.  Even better, I think it would be good with the Honey Buttercream featured in another recipe in this cookbook, or with a cream cheese frosting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies

It's time for another edition of Club Baked!  Yes, I am baking my way through one of my favorite cookbooks, Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, along with my new blogger friends, fellow baker/bloggers in Club Baked.  This time we made Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies and our host was Jamie of Random Acts of Food.  Thanks, Jamie!

I was ready for some baking therapy this week after learning that a telephone job interview I had lined up for a job I was really excited about was cancelled.  Yuck!  Sometimes when I get in a funky/depressed/my life sucks kind of mood the only way out is to BAKE (and, of course, consume!)  I got out my ingredients for the cookies and started.

I chopped my chocolate and melted it along with the Andes candies bits, and it looked silky, shiny, luscious, like this:
Then I got my other cookie ingredients together, including two wonderful sticks of butter:

The butter and other ingredients were mixed together in my mixer (which I sometimes call my Boyfriend):

And the cookie dough was thick, sticky and fudgy looking, almost like thick brownie batter:

I have a tendency to not be very precise when it comes to measuring dough into equal balls, as the recipe indicated, so I used a tablespoon to measure it out, then roll it into a ball and roll it in coarse sugar.  Then I used the back of a teaspoon to create the little hollow, or thumprint, of the cookie.  The unbaked cookie shells looked like this:

After my cookies had baked and cooled, I filled them with the wonderful filling, which is made up of cream, white chocolate and peppermint extract.  My filled cookies looked like this:
We ate some of the cookies soon after they were filled, not waiting for the filling to set.  I then put them in a container in the refrigerator, and I must say that I do prefer the taste of the cookies when they are chilled.  The recipe says they can be served at room temperature or chilled, but I think the mint flavor comes through better when they are cold.  Even though they are chilled, the cookies don't become rock hard and are still nice and chewy.

I'm really glad we made this recipe for Club Baked , because I may have otherwise overlooked this great recipe, thinking it would be too complicated.  They were rather easy to make and quite delicious!

Thanks for stopping by to read!