Baked Sunday Mornings: Twice Baked

IMG_5474.JPG

I had decided to go rogue this time around so I could make the Wintermint Cake. I had already bought all the ingredients before and I really wanted to get rid of those candy canes while I still could. I decided to make Wintermint cupcakes┬áto take to our friends’ house for New Year’s Eve.

I made them the same day and decided to skip the ganache because I didn’t have the time or the desire to both dip and frost my cupcakes, but next time I will make the recipe as a cake and will make the ganache too.

IMG_5506.JPG

It was fun to crush up my remaining candy canes to top the cupcakes with and even though I normally don’t like mint and chocolate together, I really liked the subtle fluffy buttercream paired with the delicate chocolate cake.

IMG_5512.JPG

I had no plans to make this week’s recipe, Hair of the Dog Cake. I just don’t dig alcohol with desserts and while this post contains two combos I usually don’t like–I’m really not that picky. There are not too many foods I don’t like: mint/chocolate, alcohol in desserts and mushrooms. That pretty much covers it.

But when one of my fellow bakers mentioned skipping the booze and making the cake as a vanilla cake I decided to give it a shot. I had most of the ingredients and I was curious about the boiled frosting. I didn’t want to run to the store to get the remaining ingredients so I tossed in some shortening a bit of sour cream to compensate for the egg and half a stick of butter I was missing and hoped for the best.

IMG_5511.JPG

The cake baked up beautifully, but I was still a bit confused by the boiled frosting. I pulled the cake when it turned bubbly, worried that I was going to overbroil and burn the cake, but I’m not quite sure I took it out at the right time.

The finished cake was delicious, though and we really enjoyed it. I loved the rich vanilla cake and the warm brown sugar/vanilla frosting and fluffy whipped cream. I’m glad I decided to make it as well.

image

Go here to see how everyone else liked it! (and if they all kept or ditched the rum)

Next up: Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar!

Cold Weather Survival Tips: Cherry Pillow

IMG_5241.JPG

Winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. When night falls and the temperature dips in your house, it’s tempting to crank up the heater. But once you are asleep you body temperature should stabilize. There’s nothing worse than waking up parched and sweating in the middle of the night because you overestimated your heating needs.

Overnight is when your skin regenerates and regulates oil production. If you lose surface moisture, that will cause your skin to pump out more oil, and excess heat will dry your skin, leading to clogged pores and overall congestion.

I love hot water bottles and have two that I like to put under my blankets before I get into bed: one at the foot of the bed and one at the head. I have covers on them so they don’t get clammy when they cool down. I do get nervous at the idea of falling asleep with them, so I try to kick them out of bed before I fall asleep. I’ve always been paranoid that I will roll over and somehow puncture one, flooding my bed. (hasn’t happened yet, thankfully!)

I’m always happy for it to be cool enough to pull out my cherry pillow.

The cover is made from organic cotton and it is filled with cherry pits leftover from making cherry liqueur. Three minutes in the microwave gives me the perfect amount of heat to warm up and fall asleep. I also like putting it in my lap when I’m feeling chilly but no one else is–when I am messing around online, or watching a movie or reading a book.

I’ve had my pillow for thirteen years and it still looks great, and I love the way the cherry pits smell when they heat up.