Friday, February 27, 2009

Another year gone.

My boss's birthday was last week so I decided to make her a cake. She absolutely loves dense chocolate cakes but doesn't like all the fluffy frosting. So I decided something with chocolate would be in order. Unfortunately, we only have 4 people working in the lab now so I didn't want to make a 9" cake and have half of it uneaten. So I decided to try Dorie Greenspan's "Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake with Tangy Chocolate Frosting".

The batter for this cake is extremely dense and bakes up just like banana or zuchini bread. I split it into three layers and then smothered each layer with raspberry jam. The frosting is a satiny, sour cream chocolate frosting. Very smooth and very tangy.

Although the frosting was very shiny, I thought it was a little boring for a birthday cake. So I used some of my cake dust and made it sparkle. It was pretty cute (although it's hard to see in the picture). Most importantly, it was dense and chocolaty. My boss loved it.

Chia Bust

For Christmas I got a Chia Herb garden. I was so excited to grow my own garden. It came with 6 different kinds of seeds: Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Marjoram, Chives, and Thyme. I decided to try the Basil and Cilantro first.
I very carefully "planted" the seeds in the Chia soil mixture.
I put them on my stove to keep them warm. And even gave them plastic bag hats to give them a little green house affect.
The basil was the first to sprout.
But the cilantro wasn't too far behind.
The basil also started to grow first.
But once the cilantro got started it grew like a weed.
I was so careful to water them regularly.
I moved them to the kitchen in the mornings so they could get sunlight during the day. And then moved them into my bedroom at night so they wouldn't freeze.
But they stopped growing. This was as tall as they got.
The basil was the first to die but the cilantro wasn't far behind. Personally I think they froze to death because my house is so cold!!! I am so sad! Maybe I will have to try again in the Spring when things get a bit warmer.

A bit o' baking.

I haven't done a ton of baking in the last few months. Just a few things here and there. This is a Banana-Chocolate Chip loaf cake. It was very moist!

I had a craving to make a coffee cake with crumb topping and filling last month. In my never ending search for good recipes I found a recipe in Baking Illustrated for Coffeecake Muffins! The recipe was supposed to make 12 regular sized muffins but I decided to make mini-muffins and take them to church. I figured it would make about 24 minis but boy was I wrong. These muffins just kept coming and coming. I think I ended up with at least 40! Luckily, they were super yummy and so they were easily devoured by all of the starving college student at church.

Last year (2007) around Christmas time, my Dad and I were at Costco and I saw a beautiful bundt pan for sale. I saw the design for this "Norwegian" style pan a few years ago and have wanted it ever since! Well, evidently my Dad bought the pan for me as a Christmas gift a few days later but forgot to give it to me (hope it's not Alzheimer's setting in!)

A few months ago (December 2008), my Dad called and said that he had a Christmas present from last year that he had forgotten to give me. He told me to remind him for this Christmas (2008) so he didn't forget again! How funny! Well here it is. After years and years of waiting I finally have my own Norwegian Bundt. Isn't the design beautiful?!

To test it out, I used a simple vanilla box cake. I reserved about 1 cup of the batter and added a few tablespoons of unsweetened chocolate powder. After pouring the vanilla batter into the pan, I dolloped the chocolate better on top and then swirled up and down with a knife. The pattern turned out so cool! Thanks Dad!

Tortillas and....?

I just remembered that I took this picture when I was in the midst of writing my thesis. I was so busy that I had very little time to do the anything other than read and write. At one point I had essentially no food. So what did I eat? See the yellow package on the second shelf? Those are tortillas. I lived on tortillas with peanut butter for a few days! Yummy!