Saturday, July 30, 2011

Monkeying Around

Please pardon the holiday reference, but I stated this post a while ago and never finished it.

I have the greatest hubby in the world, and this weekend I just felt like doing something sweet for him. Though he loves my baking, there is one thing that I will allow him to have from a bakery. I found this little spot by accident one day and I went in just to get him a doughnut. He loves old fashioned bakery doughnuts. Instead of a doughnut I found something I had never heard of, Monkey Bread. It was kind of doughnutty in that it had a glaze on it so I took it home a started an obsession.

He hadn't had it in while so I thought I'd treat him to one. Little did I know the bakery was closed for the July 4th holiday weekend. Of course I had already told him I would be bringing home a treat. Now what??? Bake it myself???  As much as I bake, I've never baked bread. I must say that I was also sightly intimidated by the fact that he already loves theirs. I don't think I could handle if he said the bakery's version was better than mine.

After a little research and the hard swallowing of my pride, I decided to try it. I went out to buy yeast. As I searched online for a recipe I came across a million recipes that used a roll of refrigerated biscuit dough. I don't think so! That is one shortcut I will not be taking! Finally, I found the perfect recipe. Alton Brown's Overnight Monkey Bread. Once I got started I realized I had nothing to be afraid of. Bread is easy peasy! Well that breat at least. The process was long, but the next morning it made a great breakfast accessory right out of the oven. Here is the end result. Let's just say I may have gotten myself into something. He really liked it!
This little monkey tried to steal a taste of Daddy's bread and I caught him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Big Flop Cupcake...

It was inevitable that one day I would have a customer request a giant cupcake. Especially with that darn Big Top Cupcake commercial on every five minutes. Everyone knows that I don't make cakes. I hate cakes actually. I hate how long they take to bake, I hate icing them, and I absolutely despise fondant...YUCK!! So when people ask I always tell them cupcakes and only cupcakes, well cookies too, but you know what I mean.

This weekend I had a beautiful bride who wanted a giant cupcake to top her cupcake tree. You can't say no to a bride. So off I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up this stupid cupcake pan. So let's back track, one thing you should know about me... I don't like shortcuts. My dad always told me never take the easy way out. So when I see something like the Big Top Cupcake contraption I feel like that's being lazy and taking the easy way out. Nonetheless, I purchased my pan and went on my way. I Googled and Googled until I could Google no more to get ideas of how I was going to do this and make as uncheesy as possible. All of the pics I found looked...well... cheezy, not to mention juvenile. I got my creative juices flowing and put together a plan of action.

Friday night I whipped up a batch of my strawberry cake and popped it in the Big Top thingy and baked as I normally would. 35 minutes go by... not done. 45 minutes go by... not done. I baked that cake for an hour and 10 minutes took it out of the oven and don't you know if fell. Sunk right in in the middle. It looked like it was hit by a meteor. I was so engrevascent! (That's a word we use in my family. My daugther made it up when she was 3. It means very angry, LOL) I didn't event attempt to figure out the problem. I just popped it out of that silicone mold thing right into the trash. That's exactly why I hate shortcuts. Needless to say I couldn't sleep thinking about how I was going to make this cupcake happen for my bride. Then it came to a dream. Not really!

The next morning I got up extra early whipped up a batch of red velvet split it between two of my 6 inch round cake pans and the cupcake top from the Big Top thingy, and baked. 35 minutes later I had a perfectly baked red velvet cupcake cake puzzle. After I whipped up my faboo cream cheese icing i put it together making a three layered red velvet cupcake. I accordion folded some coordinating scrapbook paper and wrapped that puppy up, and VIOLA!!! I had my own gigantic cupcake and it was too cute.

Now, one of these days I am going to take the time to photo document each step that I so eloquently described above. But for now, the after pics will have to do.

 I could have cut my wrapper just a wee bit shorter. My cupcake is looking like an ice cream sundae in a bowl.