fat bottom

fat bottom

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

thanksgiving day memories past and present

ahh... i love this time of year... i get all dreamy eyed just thinking about the holidays... the sights, the sounds, and oh yea... the smells...

cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin, peppermint, all the sweet and all the spicy goodness overflowing and tickling the senses... enough to make anyone fall into a happy, eyes half closed, silly grin coma...


so here's what i love most about thanksgiving time...

as a child it was getting up and staying in our pj's till noon, during which time we ate a yummy breakfast, watched the parade (couldn't wait to see santa!), and then watching Lorel and Hardy's movie "march of the wooden soldiers"... classic...

as i got into high school and college it was all about the wednesday night fun and frolicking at the bars on staten island's forest avenue... meeting up with old elementary school and high school friends (you are always running into people, whether you like it or not, ahh the drunken drama... love it!) then there's the getting up early the next morning to take the ferry into the city to see the parade with the family...the hot chocolate and doughnut always cured the hangover... then coming back to mom and dads to the sweet aromas that have taken over the house... relaxing on the couch with my brother and sister until the feast was ready, and then... YOU STUFF!
now that i'm older, its all about spending time together... having my husband and my son, soon to be 2 sons actually, and going to my parents house to a dinner and day i look forward to all year long... my parents are both amazing cooks, but my dad and i both share a love for cooking for the family, but i agree with my mom that sometimes a nice glass of wine and some grapes, cheese and crackers is satisfying enough... this year my husband and i decided to drive up thanksgiving morning, so i spent all day wednesday in my kitchen baking, about 60 regular sized cupcakes, and little to-go packages of mini cupcakes for all my relatives that would be coming by my parents house for dessert, little parting gifts you might say.

well it being turkey time, i opted to go for a pumpkin cupcake with lots of sweet spices topped with a cinnamon butter cream

i used a pumpkin cake recipe from martha stewart, but i beefed up the spice, adding more cinnamon, some fresh grated ginger, a solid punch of nutmeg, some real good quality irish butter, a little extra brown sugar and all natural maple syrup... i made a classic vanilla buttercream with a nice amount of cinnamon, and i let it sit and combine for a while, so the flavors would meld nicely... the result was a deliciously moist and buttery cake with a sweet spicy kick... DROOL... it was the crowd favorite... defiantly a keeper!

i also made a yummy caramel cake with a vanilla bean buttercream topped with toffee bits

i found the caramel cake recipe on a fellow bloggers site... actually a wonderful group of bakers used it this month as their "challenge"... i used a homemade salt caramel sauce to add to the cake, instead of using a store bought carmel syrup... and i think it was a great addition...

caramel cake recipe:

dry ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp coarse salt (i use my homemade vanillabean sea salt for this)

wet/fat ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup homemade salt caramel

1 cup whole milk

2 lrg. eggs


1. preheat your oven to 375, and prep your cupcake tins

2. in mixer, beat butter until creamy and gradually add 1 cup of the sugar to the butter, and beat until well combined and fluffy

3. add the caramel and beat well

4. combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl

5. gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk to the butter mixture (start with the dry and end with the dry)

6. in a small bowl whisk the eggs until foamy, then add in the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar to them, and whisk until thickened

7. stir eggs into the batter until well combined, and then fill cupcake tins about 2/3 way full and bake 16-18 minutes

and finally i made a yummy rich chocolate cake (recipe in a previous post) with vanilla and chocolate kahlua buttercreams and topped with a coffee flavored malt ball

and here's some pictures of all the minis

all in all it was a wonderful day at mom and dad's... we had a amazing dinner, great conversation, followed by great company when a ton of the family showed up for dessert... and then when everyone left mom broke out the turkey, stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce and made us all sandwiches... now that's my favorite part of the day...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a rainy day, chocolate cupcakes and a happy 3 year old

ahh... a rainy day... a rainy saturday to be exact... not much to do down here in tourist town when its raining... PLUS, the hubby's working a 24... so it's just me and the little man... no doubt the toy box will be emptied out all over the living room, and we'll be watching some pixar movies, and probably some spongebob too... and of course, i'll bake something...

it's a bit of a routine when the hubby works an overnight... i'll bake something and load it up and bring it to him and the other gals and fellas he's working with... not only does it mean i get to test out some new recipes on some eager taste testers, but it also means i won't have all these goodies hanging around the house begging me to eat them! even though i'm preggers, i don't use that as an excuse to eat a batch of cupcakes or cookies... would i? could i? hell yes... but i resist!

anyways... before the hubby left for work i asked him to give me a challenge... something i haven't baked yet but have been dying to try... after a few moments of thinking he replied, "how about just a chocolate cupcake with some vanilla bean cream cheese frosting"... umm... BORING... delicious yes, but i've been there done that... but hey, it does give me a chance to tweak this chocolate cake recipe i've been working on... so i will abide... well, maybe i'll stray a little on the frosting (insert devil-ish laugh)...

so my afternoon starts... i've got my pandora radio on (if you dont know what this is, your missing out!) and its on the Queen station... it plays quite the mix of awesome music ... but anyways... i have my tunes, my ingredients all organized on the counter, jacks hanging out watching a movie, and i'm ready to go...

i love this chocolate cake recipe... i cannot for the life of me remember where i first stumbled across it, i would love to give credit for whoever's it is, cause its an awesome recipe... the only real difference from the original recipe is i add 2 more ounces of chocolate, and a few little things here and there... this recipe gives a killer chocolate cake, moist with a soft crumb, and loaded with chocolate and coffee flavor... LOVE IT!!

chocolate cake:

dry ingredients:

3 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups a.p. flour

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (i use 1 cup cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder)

2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/4 coarse seasalt (i make my own vanilla seasalt, just for that added vanilla kick... i place the seasalt in a mason jar, along with a split vanilla bean and shake it up a bit... after a few days the salt has a subtle vanilla undertone... and it looks pretty all speckled with the vanilla)

wet/fat ingredients:

3 eggs

3/4 cup veg. oil

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

6 ozs. chopped good quality bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups strong brewed hot coffee

1. preheat oven to 325 and prep your cupcake tins with liners
2. chop the bittersweet chocolate, place it in a lrg. glass measuring cup, and pour the hot coffee on top. let sit for about 5 minutes, then stir to make sure it is all melted and smooth
3. sift together all of the dry ingredients in a lrg. mixing bowl
4. in stand mixer on medium, beat the eggs until slightly thickened and lemon colored, 3 minutes
5. add the buttermilk, the veg. oil and the vanilla to the egg and beat until combined
6. slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, and mix until combined
7. turn mixer down to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary, and mix until combined
8. fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick come out clean

now for the fun part... the frosting!

i made a classic vanilla bean creamcheese frosting... slightly tangy on the sweet... yum! also, i was in a peanutbuttery mood so i also made a whipped peanutbutter cream... i mean come on, peanutbutter and chocolate... need i say more... well hopefully the hubby and his coworkers enjoyed them... i know me and jack did... and i think ben liked them too, he kicked me a bunch after i finished eating... he's already developed good taste!

as you can see jack could hardly wait for me to finish before he dived mouth first into them... thats my boy!

here's a few more of the little man devouring his cupcake

Friday, November 14, 2008

So... hello to everyone or anyone who is reading this... my name is becky (or rebecca if i'm feeling sophisticated)... i'm new to this whole blogging scene... but i've been a "lurker" for quite some time, getting ideas and inspiration from some amazing food (especially dessert) bloggers. i guess getting started will be the hardest part... i have so many ideas and i figured this would be a good outlet.

right now i'm a stay at home mom living down on the beach in cape may, nj... i have three year old son, named jack, and my husband and i are expecting our second son, ben, in less then 10 weeks... i'm lucky to be able to spend so much time with my family and also in my kitchen... baking is my passion!

so thats a little bit about me to start... i'm sure as my posts go on, i'll get into more about who i am and what i do...

well... lets begin...

that's my son jack on his 3rd birthday... and as in typical becky fashion i went so overboard with the dessert... i made over 100 cupcakes... i couldn't decide what what flavors i wanted to go with, and jack is pretty much a fan of anything, so i made quite the variety... as you can see...

i made two varieties of cake, vanilla-vanilla buttercake, and a chocolate buttermilk cake... for the frosting varieties i went with a vanilla bean buttercream, fresh strawberry infused buttercream, chocolate fudge, peanutbutter buttercream with chocolate honey, oreo cookie cream and kahlua chip (with plenty of kahlua)... my family is a big fan of the booze-infused cupcakes... what can i say, we like to party!

and this is what makes it all worth while... i mean come on... look at that face... adorable!