Archive for the ‘Baked Goods’ Category

This weekend I made my first cheesecake. It was a gorgeous day for a Saturday in December and I’d been itching to bake all week. Smitten Kitchen’s most recent post was a decadent looking cheesecake featuring all my favorite things…Oreos, Kahlua and espresso. So why not? My friend Megan had the morning free so we spent the afternoon baking this bad boy and catching up. Perfect Saturday. 

 You can find the recipe here: Everything taste wise went off without a hitch. The only issue was after baking the cheesecake contracted a good 1/2″ on all sides of the crust resulting in a gap between the “cake” and the “crust”. Does anybody know why this happens, or how to avoid it? It was initially unsightly, but I was able to pipe frosting to camouflage the gap. Other than that, it was perfect. 







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I got to spend Thanksgiving afternoon with my sister helping her bake a recipe she found in Bon Appetit. The recipe taunted “Cupcakes for Thanksgiving? Why not?”. It made complete sense to us so we decided to give it a whirl.

I was pretty nervous making these (honestly, I think I watched more than I contributed). The biggest concern I had was the caramel. I’ve never worked with it and have been intimidated by a process that I perceived to be extremely difficult . I was pleasantly suprised to discover that it’s not that bad – just keep a close eye. The caramel we made could not have been any better. Rich, dark and creamy, off set by the slight tang of salt and butter. It’s a winner.

Brown Sugar-Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting
From Bon Appetit – Makes 12


Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans


Put rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray; line with muffin cups.

Whisk both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped pecans. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed just to blend. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.


Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil until syrup turns deep amber, swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat; add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir over low heat until caramel bits dissolve. Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl. Very gradually whisk hot caramel into yolks. Cool to room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and salt in large bowl until smooth. Beat in caramel. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Let stand at room temperature until thick enough to spread, about 1 hour.

Spread frosting over cupcakes. Place pecans on plate. Roll edges of cupcakes in nuts. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

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This is the first time I can remember ever making cupcakes. No joke.  I’ve never been much of a baker (except for cinnamon rolls and the occasional cookie). In fact, I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of cakes I’ve made in my life. I feel I set the bar pretty high to start out.

My friend and mentor Diane of Tastefully Yours gave me this recipe several months ago. She described it as “beyond belief.” Any recipe that comes highly recommended from her immediately makes it to the front of my queue- the concept behind these cupcakes only furthered my excitement. S’mores. Yes, s’mores.

Graham cracker crust. Gooey chocolate cupcake. Toasted homemade marshmallow. Need I say more?

My friend Mallori and I had a blast making these. A quick heads up though on necessary equipment for this recipe: You definately need a powerful mixer for the marshmellow. Because I’m not married and therefore have not had the opportunity to politely ask friends to buy me a KitchenAid, I don’t have a mixer.  I tried using the whisk attachment on my immersion blender and it was going terribly until my roommate, who is moving out tomorrow, was kind enough to search through boxes of packed goods to dig out his hand mixer for us to use. God bless him- total life saver. Also, I recently acquired a butane torch. Nice to have for this recipe, although I’m sure careful use of the broiler could accomplish the same effect on the marshmellow.

Here’s the link to the recipe. And be sure to check out Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle, the geniuses behind this creation.


“First ya take the mallow…….”

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