Baked Sunday Mornings: Whiskey Peach Upside-Down Cake

This recipe was made for summer in Texas. There is nothing better than a ripe, local peach this time of year. The ones I chose were a bit firm when I bought them because I wasn’t sure how soon I would be making my cake.

Well, they ripened up at warp speed on my counter so I had to hurry up and use them. I can’t believe it, but I had never made an upside-down cake before. I was really excited to make this cake.

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Luckily the peaches were the only thing I had to buy, I had everything else on hand. The cake mixed up quickly and I had it in the oven in no time.

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I didn’t overload the cake with the peaches, even though it was tempting to. Even still, I had to put a pan under the cake to catch some excess juices. I am used to underbaking my cakes and cookies a bit, so letting it go as dark as I did gave me a bit of anxiety. I let it cool overnight while I pondered my options for toppings.

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I ended up skipping the whipped cream–it turns out my husband doesn’t like whipped cream (I’m just finding this out four years in??! πŸ˜‰ and so I made a second batch of whiskey caramel to pour on top. I was kind of hoping that cooking the whiskey would burn off the alcohol and the kiddos could help us eat the cake, but the second I tasted it I knew that was not an option.

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The cake was still very, very boozy and so the eating duties fell to the grownups. My husband really liked the cake a lot and didn’t seem to mind. I really did like it too and will make it again, but I have to say: I don’t think it needed the extra topping and I don’t know that I would bother with it next time. I really loved the cake and the peaches on their own: I loved the soft almond flavor and lovely texture.

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All in all, another great Baked recipe–and I had enough peaches leftover to make a yummy smoothie for my boys for breakfast the next morning.

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Go see how my fellow bakers did!
Next up: Mile-High Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream!!! (This is going to be a doozy, I need to get myself invited to a dinner party so I don’t have to eat a whole cake alone!)

8/8 Cupcakes

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I am so grateful to have a good kitchen this year. Last year for my boys’ birthday I made some pain-in-the butt cupcakes in ice cream cones for school.

My kitchen then was small and cramped and making over 40 cupcakes was in exercise in masochism. I made chocolate cupcakes for their actual party last year and I loved the recipe so much that I decided to use it again this year. It makes a moist, springy cupcake and a rich, delicious cake.

Normally I take a million pictures when I bake, but somehow (exhaustion!) I skipped that this time. I chose to make owl cupcakes because that is their school mascot, and whooooo doesn’t like owls??!

Here was my inspiration:

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And here was my finished cupcake. I used Reese’s pieces instead of M&M’s because they are all the colors I needed and I wouldn’t have to worry about not having enough brown or orange. (Luckily we don’t have any classmates with peanut allergies this year!)

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The kids seemed to like the end-of-day sugar rush but by then all I could think of was getting out of the heat and into some jammies. Luckily when my husband came home he made me this:

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I skipped the ganache this time and went with a basic chocolate buttercream but I highly recommend using the ganache if you are making this as a cake. It is tasty and shiny and beautiful. It also works for cupcakes, but in this case I wanted the Oreos to stick to the buttercream. I was afraid that once the ganache dried it would be hard to smoosh the Oreos into.

Perfect Chocolate Cake:

(Makes two 9β€³ rounds, one bundt or 18 cupcakes)

Cake:

2 eggs
2c. sugar
2c. all purpose flour
1/4tsp. salt
1/4 c. buttermilk (or 1/2 c. milk+1tbsp. white vinegar–I’ve done both and they both are fine, but this time I used actual buttermilk)
1tsp. vanilla
1c. butter, softened
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. boiling water

Ganache:

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (baking chocolate or chocolate chips)
1c. heavy cream
6 tblspn. light corn syrup
1c. heavy cream

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda (skip this if you used vinegar and instead add to finished batter just before baking unless you want a volcano science experiment) In a medium-sized heavy saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in cocoa powder until combine. Add boiling water and stir well. Pour over flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add buttermilk mixture over and stir until well combined but don’t overmix.

Spray cupcake tins or bundt pan with cooking spray, fill 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes and 40 minutes respectively. Butter 9β€³ rounds and line with parchment paper. Pour equal parts batter in each and bake for 30 minutes or until fork inserted comes out clean. Cool completely on a baking rack.

Ganache:

Heat heavy cream and corn syrup until it reaches a simmer. Pour over chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Pour over bundt cake or dip the tops of each cupcake. For layer cakes, pour over first layer, add second layer and pour the rest on top, smoothing the sides. Let cool and dry before serving.

I have a feeling I’ll probably use this recipe again for G’s upcoming birthday. I used it last year for his birthday too. Not for him, he got a sugar-free hippie cake for his 1st birthday, but for the grown-ups and big brothers who were helping him celebrate.

Do you have a go-to birthday cake recipe?
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Baked Sunday Mornings: Oopsy Daisy Cake

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I loved this cake, but it came at a weird time. It really is a special cake, and would be perfect for a birthday. But it wasn’t anyone’s birthday and our A/C hasn’t been being freezing up so the house was a little warm-ish and I was baking and sweating and it wasn’t awesome. But I did have help:

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The name made me giggle every time I looked at it, I couldn’t help but think of this.

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The cake was a classic Baked cake, but with two layers instead of the three I’m used to with the other cakes I’ve made. (Sweet & Salty, Lemon Drop) I used local coffee and local organic chocolate (that was on clearance! I may have bought 4 bars, don’t judge) and the cakes baked up intensely dark and fragrant although they did seem to sink in the middle a bit.

That didn’t matter at all once I filled and frosted them. I always bake the cakes one evening and then frost the next day and that is what I did this time. I finished up the cakes at around 1am and for some reason after I added the chocolate and peanut toppings it just seemed like it needed to be a peace sign. I think I may have been delirious.

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The cake was well-received at home:

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and my kid-testers approved:

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I would definitely make the cake again, but it would have to be for a special occasion.

Go see what my fellow bakers made! Next up: Lime Tarragon Cookies with White Chocolate Lime Topping. (Yum!!)

Baked Sunday Mornings: Malted Vanilla Milkshakes

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I was excited to make these because I LOVE vanilla malts. I love all things malt in general, really–who am I kidding?

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I do love Whoppers, and that is what I used. Whole Foods carries these amazing chocolate peanut butter malted milk balls that I wanted to use, I was just too lazy to make the extra trip. (I was already at Target)

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I love my KitchenAid ice cream attachment and I have made lots of different types: custard bases, infused cereal milk, eggless stovetop method…but I wanted to try vegan ice cream because my husband is sensitive to dairy and feels yucky after eating my yummy homemade confections. There is no sadder thing for a baker than to hurt people with their treats! I thought it would be a pain, or wouldn’t taste that good but I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

I did a quick google search and realized it was way easier than I could have imagined to whip up a quick non-dairy treat using coconut milk as the base.

I had a can on hand so the first time I tried it, I just tossed it in the fridge and let it chill overnight. That’s right! If you pre-chill the coconut milk then all you need to do to make vanilla ice cream instantly is to mix it up with a sweetener and some vanilla. If you want to get more creative, that’s easy to do as well. I know having to chill my base before freezing can be kind of a drag.

The next morning I added 2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste (obsessed with it!) and sugar to taste. (I used about 1/4 cup I think) There are lots of alternative sweeteners that would work great, but that’s what I grabbed.

I was amazed at how delicious and creamy it was so when it came time to make these shakes I did the same thing but used three cans and right before it was the perfect consistency I added the Whoppers directly to the ice cream maker to finish freezing.

When it was all set I blended with a bit of almond milk in the food processor to make the ice cream into shakes and garnished with more Whoppers.

Holy moly it was good!!

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And the best part was that I had ice cream leftovers for later!!!

Head on over and see how my fellow bakers ice cream makers fared!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Banana Mousse Parfait

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The banana mousse we made this time was quick, easy and yummy. A great treat for the summer.

I really lagged on making it because I wasn’t sure whether I was going to use vanilla bean paste (would have to purchase) or substitute regular vanilla extract ( had on hand.)

In the end I decided to buy the vanilla bean paste because it came in a good-sized ( 4oz.) jar so I will definitely use it for when I want that iconic vanilla bean-speckled appearance. (scones, ice cream)

I waited so long to make this that my original bananas got a little too ripe:

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Oops!

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I used my shiny new food processor instead of my old cranky blender to blend the bananas, milk, sugar and vanilla bean paste. The heavy cream whipped up fast in the stand mixer–I chilled the bowl over night. Folding in the whipped cream was quick and the finished product was swirly and speckle-y–very pretty.

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I keep pint glasses in the deep freeze for summertime iced tea and lemonade so I used four of those for the mousse. I was curious to see what it tasted like on it’s own so I just put the mousse by itself in the glasses and chilled for most of the evening.

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I let my boys (judges of all desserts in our house) each have one after dinner. My Monkey wanted cookies on top of his:

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But the other two boys ate theirs as is:

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Everyone really liked it!

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This was a good, quick way to make an ice-cream like dessert without dragging out the ice cream attachment. The flavors were perfectly balanced and it wasn’t too sweet.

It would also be great frozen into popsicles, which is what I think I will do next time.

Go over and see what everyone else did with the recipe!!

Next up: (for July 7) Malted Vanilla Milkshakes–yum!!

Baked Sunday Mornings: Cream Cheese Chocolate Snacking Cookies

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It’s a miracle these cookies ended up in the oven– the dough was so smooth and tasty on it’s own. Almost like pudding.

And if you know me at all, you know that chocolate pudding is one of my huge weaknesses.

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But they did get baked and I was very happy with the final product. Soft and chewy cookie, perfect size. They taste even better as they cool. I used a medium scoop and got about 30 cookies.

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We have friends coming over for dinner tonight and my sweetie suggested I make homemade chocolate malt ice cream sandwiches for the dessert.

I was planning on making these cookies for them but loved CCCSCs so much that I made a second batch of dough just for the sandwiches. (without chocolate chips)

The original batch of cookies I am definitely keeping for snacking. πŸ™‚

I had a ladies’ clothing swap to go to and took a bag of cookies with me. Otherwise I know I would have single-handedly eaten them all!

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Since I had to throw out more than half of my Mississippi Mud Pie, I was happy to share the cookies with friends. We made a valiant effort, but it was just too much pie for two people to handle. A batch of cookies is much easier to finish off!

I’ll include the outcome of the ice cream sandwiches in a separate post, it was my first time making chocolate malt ice cream and I can’t wait to let you know how it turned out!

In the meantime head over and see how my Baked Sunday Mornings friends’ cookies turned out!

Next up: (in two weeks) Banana Mousse Parfaits! Can’t Wait!

Baked Sunday Mornings Next Up: Cream Cheese Chocolate Snacking Cookies

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I wrote my last Baked Sunday Mornings post in a hurry. I didn’t write it before I went out of town and was too tired on Saturday when I returned. I wrote it before work on Sunday and forgot to mention what we were baking next!

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We are working from the Baked Elements book and this weeks’ recipe is cream cheese chocolate snacking cookies.

The name is funny to me because in my world every cookie is great for snacking, but I am especially excited about this recipe because I don’t believe I’ve ever put cream cheese in a cookie before. Also, it has the word chocolate in it so I’m in!

I also have to admit that I do not yet own the Elements book, so in between work appointments I am going to stop by the book store and grab it. I saw from another blogger that these cookies are hard to photograph…and the pictures are not my strong point in the first place, so I’ll have to look for a cute plate or something while I’m out!

What’s going on in your kitchen this week?

Baked Sunday Mornings: Mississippi Mud Pie (A), aka Coffee Ice Cream Tart

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I have never made (or eaten?!) a Mississippi Mud Pie before and was a little unsure how to approach it. I wasn’t 100% sure what a chocolate wafer cookie was, and the cookie aisle at my local grocery store is not usually one I usually spend a lot of time on. I briefly considered my store bought options then began to think about my homemade ones.

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I realized this could be the perfect time to combine the recipes and techniques of some of my favorite pastry chefs. I was a bit baffled by the crumb section of the Milk Bar cookbook initially but after making a few of the recipes I realized how great it is. You can eat the chunky crumbs alone by the handful, sprinkle them on ice cream, mix them into bars or cookies, use them to plate desserts or make a pie crust with them.

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I’ve been flipping through the Bouchon cookbook again and saw their take on Oreos and that is what I decided to make my crust with.

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It was really quick to mix up the dough in the food processor. I scooped it out when it was still a bit clumpy/crumbly and sprinkled it on a cookie sheet and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the crumbles felt dry and firm but not rock-hard.

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Once I had my crumbs the crust was all set, one batch of TKO dough was too much, but I plan on using the leftovers for something else later. If I had planned on making just the crust I could have halved it and had plenty.

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I loved how deep and dark the dough was–it was barely sweet and rich and a bit salty. I personally love the addition of a good amount of salt in sweet desserts, especially since I knew this one would end up being really sweet with all the other layers.

But if someone didn’t like that then this cookie would definitely be too salty for them. I let the crust chill overnight and made the fudge the next day.

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While the fudge layer chilled I made the coffee ice cream. I was getting anxious to try the pie already so I was tempted to just go buy a pint of coffee ice cream.

But I’ve never made coffee ice cream before and Matt’s recipe looked straightforward and I had all the ingredients so I made up the custard and chilled it for an hour in the fridge then an hour in the freezer instead of four hours in the fridge.

Four hours is a long time to wait when you are trying to get to the eating part of a tasty pie!

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The recipe made the perfect amount for the pie. I was a little bummed to not have any leftover (to sprinkle cookies on?) πŸ˜‰ but it was pretty satisfying to see all the ice cream hanging out in the pie, ready for the pecans and the final layer of boozy fudge.

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I didn’t toast the pecans first, I just used them straight out of the bag. I had the oven pre-heating then figured I’d just jump to the topping instead and tossed the chopped pecans on top of the ice cream and smooshed them in slightly with the back of a wooden spoon.

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I was really excited about the pie and couldn’t wait to taste it. After all the layers I had made over several days I wasn’t too concerned with how my final product looked. When I cut it the first time the ice cream was a bit soft, but I kind of like it better that way.

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Of course the next day when I had a piece it was firm and easier to cut. (the top picture was from day 2)

I will definitely make this again! It would be the perfect thing to make for a summer birthday for a grownup friend. I did give my boys a bite, but even though they have a summer birthday they always request cake instead of pie.

Go by and see how all my fellow bakers’ pies look!!

Flourless Chocolate Cake With Buttermilk Ganache

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We have friends coming over for dinner tonight and I was lagging a bit with the dessert-making. I really had no idea what I was going to make.

That problem was solved when my sweet husband received a text letting him know that our guest thinks he might be gluten intolerant. C was making brisket tacos so corn tortilla, no big deal.

Since I hadn’t made anything yet I decided to make a flourless chocolate cake so our friend wouldn’t leave feeling stabby pains in his tummy. I think his wife will thank me later. πŸ˜‰

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I had a nice bar of chocolate on hand so the cake was all set. I got to use an 8″ springform pan that my sweetie bought me when we first met, that I had yet to use for some reason. The batter came together well and went off into the oven while I put G down for a nap.

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I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I realized I had used all the chocolate and had no heavy cream. So where did that leave me in terms of the topping for the cake? Determined to not be ganache-less I scrambled to find a solution.

I still had buttermilk from last week’s cornmeal griddle cakes so I could use a recipe I found on the King Arthur website, no problem. That just left the chocolate. I thought I had read that 3 tbsp. of cocoa powder plus 1 tbsp. of shortening= 1 oz. of chocolate. That sounded gross to me, but I mixed it up, added sugar to taste and poured the heated buttermilk over it then mixed in the butter.

It looked shiny and as ganache-y as any ganache I’ve ever made and it tasted good, no weird mouthfeel like I had feared. It thickened a bit as it cooled so I frosted the cake while it was still a bit warm.

One of my favorite things about ganache is you just pour it over and it hardens to a shiny, beautiful finish. That didn’t really happen here, as it cooled it lost it’s sheen but if it ends up tasting good then that works for me.

I sprinkled some crystal-flaked salt on top and threw it on my cake stand. I’ll let you know later what the verdict was. πŸ™‚

*adapted from the King Arthur buttermilk ganache recipe:

3 ounces (by weight) buttermilk (I used about 1/2 c)
7 ounces (by weight) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
**since I didn’t have chocolate I used 21 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 7 tbsp shortening and 1/3 c of sugar
1/2 tablespoon butter, cut into 1/8″ pieces and chilled

INSTRUCTIONS:

Ganache is traditionally made with cream, but this works and has an interesting tang to it.

Heat the buttermilk until it just starts to boil, stirring occasionally, then add the chocolate and stir until fully melted.

Add the butter pieces and stir slowly.

Strain through a fine sieve and allow to cool. (The buttermilk will curdle a bit, this removes the lumps.)

^Mine didn’t seem curdly or lumpy so I didn’t strain. Plus, I didn’t feel like it. ^

**The verdict:

I was so pleasantly surprised to find that this cake turned out amazing. I was impressed with how yummy a flour-free dessert could be. The flakey salt on top was a MUST. A tiny piece each was plenty, it was so rich and chocolately. All the kids loved it too. This is a keeper, especially for gluten-free guests. I won’t use the shortening/cocoa powder thing next time, but in a pinch it works very, very well.

Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Malted Madeleines

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When my last baby was first born my husband got a job as the executive chef for a French restaurant. I helped him choose desserts for the initial menu even though, to be perfectly honest French baking intimidates me. (stop staring at me, Bouchon Bakery coobook!)

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I always intended to buy a madeleine pan and give them a shot– I love their soft, spongey texture and delicate seashell scallops–but until this week I never got around to picking one up.

I found a mini madeleine pan at the Home Goods store near my house. I love malt and was really excited about this recipe.

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I started baking these while my boys had friends over for a play date. I figured I would make them a batch of regular basic chocolate chunk cookies while they played. The madeleine batter needs to rest for an hour so that time seemed like the perfect opportunity to whip up some kid-friendly treats.

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I completely discounted the fact that I normally use my weekly baking time as sort of a tasty meditation and having a houseful of kids underfoot in a thunderstorm is maybe not the most relaxing of environments.

But regardless, I was able to shove cookies into the hands of all the littles so I could check on my madeleine batter and get them in the oven. Since I had never made them before I definitely overfilled the pan on the first batch.

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They looked more like chocolate pillows than delicate seaside collectibles so I scaled wayyy back on the batter for the second batch. But the texture was right so I was still excited about them, and guess who doesn’t care about the shape of a cookie? Kids. They didn’t even glance at them before shoving them in their mouths.

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I got the batter amount right the second time and they came out of the oven looking cute and delicate.

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They looked even better when I dusted them with cocoa and malt powder. Despite the chaos going on at my house while I baked this week, I was really happy with the way these turned out.

And now that I have a pan I can try out some classic madeleines. My boys will be decidedly less excited about those since they are on a weird lemon-hating kick right now, but that’s ok. I’m happy to eat them up test them out.

After baking these I did some internet roaming and noticed that there is quite a bit of strong opinion about what constitutes the perfect madeleine.

The ‘hump’ is quite important and it seems you achieve this by first chilling the batter and/or the pans. I had remembered reading about chilling the pans in the Bouchon cookbook but I had no idea it was such a big deal. Interesting.

Side note: Had my middle boy been a girl his name would have been Madeleine. πŸ™‚

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Go see how all my fellow bakers’ yummy tiny cakes turned out!

Next up: Mississippi Mud Pie aka Coffee Ice Cream Tart!!!