Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chestnut Chocolate Cake

Today is my dad's birthday! Ever since I started baking, he's been asking for a chestnut and chocolate cake. He's an excellent, excellent chef and really knows his flavors. This year, I knew that a simple chocolate or vanilla layer cake would definitely not be enough; I wanted something interesting, multi-dimensional, and delicious. My mind turned back to that chestnut and chocolate cake he's been craving, and I decided to surprise him with it.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caramel Apple Génoise

It's funny how things work out sometimes. Like the fact that my friend P's mom's birthday was on Thanksgiving this year, and that we happened to be having the holiday meal with their family. P and I made this surprise birthday cake for her and served it as a Thanksgiving dessert. It felt great to make my first fondant cake, but it felt even better presenting it after dinner and seeing her mom's look of surprise and happiness.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marhsmallow Fondant Tutorial

Hooray! I said I would do it and here it is. Let's get right down to it, then.


Sonya's Cake: Angel Food Cake with "Lobster Tail" Cream and Sautéed Apples

So, this is not the prettiest cake I've ever made. Admitted. But it does have a story behind it, and it is one of the tastiest cakes I've ever turned out. And that alone makes it worth posting about.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

The whoopie pie trend has been calling my name for a while now, and I've caved. I made this pumpkin version of the cookies for a party at a friend's house last night, and if I hadn't been counting on bringing them along, I'd have eaten the whole batch. They're that good.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010


My friend, cool guy to end all cool guys, recently had a birthday party. After seeing the Pokémon cupcakes I made for another friend's birthday, he requested that I make his birthday cake. The order was very specific: it had to be chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, and it had to be the cake from a video game called Portal. Long story short? My friends are dorks.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Picture this: a quiet fall morning, fresh pumpkin gently simmering away on the stove, jugs of milk and cream on the counter, the smell of nutmeg, cinnamon, and home-ground cloves filling the kitchen. Farm-fresh eggs resting on the table and the scent of brown sugar warming the air.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chocolate Skellies

I know. I know I know I know. I haven't posted in over a month. But I finally have the time and the baked goods to share! I made these adorable chocolate skeletons for a Halloween celebration at my school on Friday. They were a big hit, as they really are very cute and taste fabulous. Plus, they went with my costume...


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baked & Glazed Donuts

Good morning.
*Holds out a tray of delicious glazed donuts and a pot of coffee*
Life is good, isn't it?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Bizcocho Borracho": Fresh Plum Cake with Orange-Brandy Syrup

Things have been pretty hectic around this household lately. The first semester of senior year is, I'm learning, a killer: I'm swimming in college applications right now, and even though I got started decently early, I'm still afraid I'm barely keeping my head above water. This week has seen a lot of apps, a lot of homework, and a lot of very long schooldays. Last night I decided to ignore my phone, my friends, and Facebook, and come straight home. Sometimes a girl just needs some baking therapy.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peaches 'n Cream Cupcakes

Last night, my friend had a bunch of people over for wings. Taking any excuse to bake, I decided that what the party really needed was cupcakes, and lots of them. Having a bunch of peaches lying around the fruit drawer of our refrigerator, I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate those into the cupcakes in some way. And so I came up with these nummy little guys: cream cheese cake, peach mousse filling, peach glaze, and peach cream cheese frosting. Peaches (and more peaches) 'n cream. Delicious.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pokémon Cupcakes

My friend had a birthday party yesterday, and rather than a gift, he asked for cupcakes (seeing as a. everyone knows I'll take any excuse to bake and b. he thinks "Kitchen" is a hilarious nickname for me). We'd been at another friend's house the night before, where the boys were playing Pokémon video games, which, you may be interested to know, I suck at. I thought it would be cute if the cupcakes I made for his birthday were Pokémon themed, so I baked a batch of devil's food cake cupcakes, iced them with cream cheese chocolate frosting, and set to work making teensy fondant Pokeballs for each one.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quadruple Chocolate Cookies

Some boys are very, very spoiled.

I've been working at a food pantry/soup kitchen/men's shelter all this summer with a group of other teens. It's been one of the best experiences of my life, and I've had a wonderful time working in the kitchen, bagging produce, and getting to know everyone there. I'm definitely going back next summer (before leaving for college...*gulp*) because I feel like I've done some genuinely good work, and I've met a lot of great people, both from the shelter itself and from the volunteer program. Now, some of those fellow volunteers demanded cookies this year after figuring out that I'm a little bit nuts about baking. Because I'm a horrible pushover, I agreed to make them some. And because I'm an even more horrible pushover, I agreed to make what they requested: quadruple chocolate cookies.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baroque Birthday Cake - I'm Seventeen!

It was my birthday recently, and besides going out to a wonderful restaurant with my family and a friend to celebrate (peach-mascarpone cannoli for dessert...I must attempt this at home), I made my own birthday cake. My mindset while planning and baking this was "It's my birthday. Now is the time to put everything that I love and shouldn't be eating in a cake." That's why this cake is now known in our family as the Baroque Cake - it's rich, complicated, over-the-top, and combines more flavors than are really necessary in a dessert. The only way a birthday cake should be done.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Double Whammy: Rainbow Cupcakes and Macarons

You read it right. The blogosphere's two favorite food trends in one shamelessly cutesy and (squee!) rainbow post. I made these for an art show a wonderful classmate of mine put on to showcase student talent in our city. I blogged about it when it was canceled in January due to snowstorms, but this time everything went according to plan. I made cupcakes and macarons in rainbow colors, as that was the show's theme, and because they're two baked goods that always seem to be a hit.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

Hello all! I'm back from my ten-day trip to Madrid (with one day dedicated to Toledo). It was so much fun and we had a great time, but now it's back to business: the making and eating of delicious desserts. And blogging about them. This is actually something I made a little while ago, before going to Spain, that I never got around to sharing. That's a shame, though, because it's pretty fantastic. This chocolate mousse is smooth, fluffy, and has the perfect chocolaty flavor.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cherry Apple and Nutella Macarons

Let me begin this post by saying:



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Marcona Almond and Nutella Macarons

First off, I owe some serious apologies. I haven't posted since...June 12th! My God. On a blog, that's like a year, isn't it? Well I'm going to ask your forgiveness, because it's been sort of impossible to get on here in the past month. With school ending, there have been graduation parties, a summer job to start, and lots of catching up to do with friends. We also had friends come in from Spain and stay with us for a few days, so that was hectic (though wonderful). On top of it all, my computer is broken, and anytime I have it on for more than a few minutes, it looks like the screen is throwing up. So it's been a little hectic around here. But! I come bearing gifts to make up for my laziness/business/computer brokenness, in the form of marcona almond and nutella macarons.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vanilla Bean Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

Finals week. My head head hurts, my desk looks like my locker threw up on it, and r=sin3theta, my chronological list of presidents of the United States, and the equations for determining potential and kinetic energy are all starting to run together. It's been a horrid week for everyone in my year, and I can't tell you how many times my cramming has led to nervous breakdowns over the past few days. On Friday, though I was supposed to go to a friend's birthday party, I came home and did my best to calm down by working on this fruity, chocolaty, delicious ice cream. It tastes so much like summer that I think it made me forget about school and finals and De Moivre's nth powers theorem. At least for a little bit.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Caramel Cherry Mini Tartlets

Let me begin this post by saying that I hate living in the North. Not a very positive way to start a post, but hear me out. I can't stand the cold (the temperature drops below sixty degrees and I automatically catch a cold), the short days and long nights, or the fact that winter up here last for five months at the least. However, some of the few wonderful things about the North that I grudgingly admit to appreciating are the berries. Blackberries, mulberries, raspberries (my favorite!), and cherries all grow if not in our neighborhood, then close to us throughout the city and its outskirts. We're actually lucky enough to have a massive cherry tree in our backyard, which this year is absolutely loaded down with fruit. You'll often see me picking around the yard for ripe cherries that the birds haven't gotten to yet. With the abundance of fruit this year, I made some wonderful caramel and cherry mini tartlets.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sour Cream Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Sour cream cake + dulce de leche + buttercream = yeah, I'm proud of this one.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

2010 Patanegra Tapas Competition Winner: "Magdalenas de la Mancha": Honey Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream and Marzipan Bulls

Here it is! I'm just a few weeks late, but I promised a post on the tapas competition for which I won best dessert and best presentation (though they could only give me the prize for best presentation, since I won in two categories...harumph), and I'm finally getting it up. My entry consisted of "Magdalenas de la Mancha": honey cupcakes with almond buttercream and handmade marzipan bulls.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Prom Pancakes

It's hard to believe that last night was my junior prom. It seems like yesterday that I was in middle school vowing that I would never be silly enough to wear an evening gown and let a boy tie a corsage around my wrist. But my mind has certainly changed since then, and this year, being a junior, I attended our school's prom. Afterwards, a bunch of friends slept over. I woke everyone with a delicious chocolate chip pancake breakfast after our approximated four hours of sleep.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Where the Wild Things Are" Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

My really close friend's birthday was on Friday. Now, this boy loves Reese's cups, to the point where one of our friends just gave him a bag of king-sized packs of the candy for his present and he was overjoyed about it. Another thing he loves is the children's book Where the Wild Things Are, and I knew that putting the character Max, wearing his pajamas and jumping about in his "wild rumpus," on a chocolate and peanut butter cake would make him smile.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

2010 Concurso Tapas Patanegra WINNER: Best Dessert and Best Presentation

Last night I won for "Best Presentation" and "Best Dessert" at the annual Patanegra Tapas Competition! The full story, recipes, and lots of pictures as soon as I get them off of everybody else's cameras!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Orange Sherbet

Orange sherbet has become a tradition in our house on Mother's Day. We all have our own fond memories of eating it from hollowed-out orange peels in Spain, where these treats (and their lemon counterparts) are sold in nearly every restaurant, café, and bar. They're a sweet and sophisticated dessert that we all love, one that's nostalgic but that makes new memories every year.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chocolate and Salted Butter Caramel Macarons

Guess who just got through the SATs? That's right. Yours truly just endured 3 hours and 45 minutes of testing to prove that she can write a cohesive sentence and identify the unknown angles of a triangle. The whole test is so hyped up and our teachers tell us so much that we should be terrified of it that by the time I actually had to sit it, I was quaking. Last night, to keep myself from thinking about it (and giving myself a little panic attack), I made some lovely chocolate macarons filled with salted butter caramel sauce. I can say that I hardly worried about the test last night; they're certainly distracting. Deliciously so.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Clementine Cream Filling and Honey Whipped Cream

So I ended up in the emergency room last week with bronchitis. I didn't have a chance to bake until this Saturday, mostly because my mother would have had my head if she had caught me sick and anywhere near the kitchen. I'd been feeling baking-starved all week, so when I was finally able to find the time and permission to go near the oven, I wanted to go all-out. These little cupcakes are the result of that pent-up creative energy, a surplus of clementines, and the need to practice for a very special cake order that's come up.

Also, in an attempt to spread my love of good music, I'm going to start including what albums I've been listening to in the kitchen on each post. Look at the end of this one for your baking soundtrack for making these cupcakes!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Now that it's looking like spring (more or less), I'm spending as much time outside as possible. I've realized how lucky I am that we have a nice, big backyard, fire pit included. Last week I thought that we should start putting that fire pit to good use again, and made up a big batch of marshmallows for roasting.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Cupcakes

I've been meaning to get this post up for a while, but with grades closing and that beautiful spring weather beckoning to me, I've been a little distracted. I made these cupcakes for a bake sale at school, and they turned out wonderfully. I wanted desperately to do something springy, cute, and somehow involving adorable little chicks, and I finally had the nerve to go for really elaborate cupcakes. They taste delicious and I'm so happy with how they came out, so now I'm sharing them and hope that you enjoy them as much as I did (and as much as the kids at the bake sale did).


Saturday, April 3, 2010


Perhaps this post should be titled "Why Dorie Greenspan is a Genius," because these little, unassuming cookies floored me. Quite simply, they're shortbread; tender, sandy, wonderfully buttery and painted around the edges with egg yolk and sugar for a sweet, crunchy contrast to the center. The perfect thing to bring to an egg-dyeing party, and capable of being completely devoured before the night was over.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Macarons With Guest Baker Anna

Today my very talented friend Anna came over. Anna will be going off to Johnson and Wales next year, so the girl is serious about baking. It was so great to bake with a friend that is genuinely as nuts about food as I am, and we tried a recipe that requires patience, dedication, and a honest-to-God love of baking: macarons. I've had success with macarons before in my Macarons For Beginners post, but Anna had never gotten them to work. I'm glad to say that our macarons were beautiful, and surprisingly delicious.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pear Cake

This is the cake I wrote about in my Mexican Brunch post, the one that's listed there as All-Purpose Vegetable Cake. There, I made it with mashed up corn, and this time around, I used some sweet, juicy pears for a uniquely flavored, wonderfully satisfying cake.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inverted Black Bottom Cupcakes

This week my friend, who's just been through surgery and won't be back at school for a week or two, suggested (though "suggested" implies some subtlety...) that I make her cupcakes when she comes back. She wanted chocolate cake with a mint frosting, and I started thinking of icings I could use. Not seven-minute frosting, as peppermint extract will prevent egg whites from whipping up, and not buttercream, as frankly, I wanted to branch out a little bit. Then I thought of cream cheese frosting, which I've never tried making before and seemed like a perfect experiment. Then I remembered some delicious black bottom cupcakes I made last year, with a chocolate cake base and a cream cheese filling. I got to thinking, why not use the great cake from that recipe but dress the cupcakes up with a cream cheese frosting rather than a filling?

Also, I'll admit that I'm a little addicted to piping.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Project Cupcake Part Deux

It's safe to say that the birthday party cupcakes were a success. Everything (well, almost everything) went smoothly, the cupcakes looked great, the frosting was delicious, and by the end of it all we had 270 prettily iced little cakes for the party (we lost a couple to taste checks along the way).


Friday, March 19, 2010

Chococolate Cake Truffles

This week, I had a cake order for an office going-away party. The only specifications were that the cake should have layers and include chocolate; lots and lots of chocolate. Of course, being me, I decided to use a chocolate cake recipe I'd never tried before. Not surprisingly, the cake didn't work out as I had hoped. While delicious and rich and chocolatey, it was too moist to cut well and stack. So what do you do when life gives you a whole chocolate sheet cake? You make it into cake balls.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Project Cupcake

272 cupcakes. 3 hours. 1 very happy baker.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Pink Seven Minute Frosting: Trial Run

So, remember how in the recent chocolate buttercream post I said that my teacher asked me to make the 250 cupcakes for her daughter's birthday party? Well, of course I said yes! Since the theme of the party is gold and pink (in varying shades), I think it will be perfect to make gold cake cupcakes with two different types of frosting, tinted all different shades of pink. I already know that I want to make the successful "Crazy Good" buttercream that I love so much, but I had to decide on a new one. I set my little heart on seven-minute frosting after experimenting with soft-centered meringues (something about whipping up egg whites is just magic to me). The thing is, the last time I tried this kind of icing it was far, far too sweet, and I did something wrong with the syrup and the whites and it just didn't fluff up. So I decided to plan ahead a bit and give it a test run at home before preparing the actual party cupcakes.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Cultured Salted Butter Caramels

Junior year.  My weekends have become a mad dash to see my friends, finish all my homework, and do all the baking I've been deprived of during the week.  With so little time to do everything I want, I'm starting to enjoy my time in the kitchen even more.  When I have a day off, I start it at the breakfast table with a cup of tea and a patient excitement for the day ahead that can only mean one thing.

I'm spending the entire day in the kitchen.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

French Bread

Mmm, bread.  Nourishing, wholesome, comforting.  The staff of life and all that good stuff.  If I could, I might make whole meals just out of really good bread.  Or spread it with some hummus.  Or tapenade.  Or a slice of cheese.  Or make it into a chorizo sandwich.  Whatever you like, this bread is perfect.  It's delightfully soft, has a good flavor on its own, and works beautifully with spreads or as a sandwich bread.  The lovely golden color just screams "homemade goodness," and I (really really) suggest taking it to work or school with you for lunch so that you can casually pull out a crusty, golden brown sandwich and casually mention that you made it yourself.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eight Yolk Mini Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream

Both of my parents are professors, so I think I've always had a good appreciation for teachers. I hate when my friends complain that a teacher is "out to get them" or try to take advantage of a teacher who is more benevolent with their class. But this past weekend, I really discovered how important teachers are in my life.

I was recently selected as a finalist for a poetry recitation contest, and this weekend was the competition. I didn't win, but two of my teachers coached me for weeks beforehand, put immense effort into preparing me for the reading, and took time out of their own Saturdays to come and support me at the competition. They were wonderful every step of the way, and I realized that without them, I probably wouldn't even have been selected as a finalist in the first place.

Since I show appreciation and affection the best way I know how, with food, these cupcakes were to thank them.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Merengues Suaves de Café

No one in my family is crazy about meringues. Or, I should say, no one in my family is crazy about typical meringue cookies. We all find them too dry and kind of boring. But my mom does remember a kind of meringue from her childhood in Madrid that she loved. The meringues she describes weren't really cookies, nor were they pavlova or a soft meringue topping. They were very typical goodies found in nearly every Spanish pastry shop, and they were soft and gooey on the inside, with a crisp outer shell. Which sounds awfully promising.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Macarons For Beginners

So, macarons. Those notoriously tricky footed French cookies. Everyone agrees that they're moody, difficult, and often refuse to cooperate.

Knowing this, guess what I've been fixating on for the past few weeks.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yankee Cornbread

When I was in elementary school, I never bought lunch.  My mother, suspicious of the school lunches (and rightly so - they were horrible) would pack me a lunch every day before I got up.  But there was one item on the menu I would go for: cornbread.

All of my first grade class looked forward to what were unofficially known as Cornbread Fridays.  Our teacher, Doctor V, was a very kind and very patient instructor, but she was known as the strictest of the elementary teachers.  She always wore a blue button-down shirt monogrammed with her initials, with the starched collar turned up.  Everything had its place, and everything had its certain way of being done in her classroom.  But there was one thing Doctor V went wild for, and that was Cornbread Friday.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How To Make Marzipan Hearts

Come visit me on Flickr at SteelCityFlan!

We didn't have school yesterday.  We don't have school today.  And we won't have school tomorrow.

I'm loving all this time off, but I think I'm getting a little cabin fever from not being able to leave the house/neighborhood at all.  So what have I been doing?  I've been filling up our fridge with fattening baked goods.  Yesterday I made some teeny tiny almond paste hearts, smaller than the ones from the last post.  I'm planning to use them on mini vanilla versions of the Haiti bake sale cupcakes.  They're about the size of lentils, and they're so, so cute.

And lucky you, you get a tutorial on how to make them!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bake Sale For Haiti: Chocolate Cupcakes With Buttercream Frosting and Marzipan Hearts

My school is hosting a bake sale for the earthquake victims in Haiti this week.  When I first saw the posters for it around school, I knew I was making something.  I already had some Valentine's Day cupcakes planned for my class, and I thought that I would make another batch for the bake sale.  I firmly believe that cutesie colors and tiny hearts are appropriate at any time of the year, and even more so when they're for a good cause.

Plus, my mom let me back in the kitchen seeing as these are going to charity.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chocolate Shortbread Hearts


I've been banned from my kitchen until Valentine's Day.

It's gotten to the point where I have to ask permission before baking, because if not I'd be filling the fridge with fattening foods all day.  So I've requested permission to make cupcakes for Valentine's Day, and that means this will be a quick post with a recipe I made a few months ago.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cowboy Cookies


It's finals week at my school, and it's incredibly stressful on everyone - teachers included.  I have had several teachers this year that have been simply wonderful, and I wanted to make them something to show that we students really do notice and appreciate all their hard work.  The first is my health teacher.  She has a great sense of humor and always keeps our classes entertaining, but she also very clearly cares about all her students and is extremely understanding and willing to help with whatever she can.  The second is my physics teacher, who has been absurdly patient with our class this year; we're pretty noisy, to say the least.  However, he has walked us through every conceivable type of problem, tutored us in the morning, delayed tests, and helped with homework, all without once freaking out at us.  Which definitely deserves a batch of cookies, if not a medal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mexican Brunch

I don't remember what inspired the Mexican Brunch. My family had just come back from a three-week vacation and there was still a good month and a half until school started again. I had plenty of time to bake and scheme and scheme about baking, and somehow I ended up with my heart set on having a big Mexican-themed brunch.

I really don't know why I was so crazy about it being Mexican. That's not my heritage, though God knows I hear a lot of all-in-good-fun Mexican jokes at school, being the only Latina in my year. But I do love Mexican food, and the brunch didn't disappoint. The day dawned warm and sunny; we all woke up bright-eyed and ready for some serious cooking; and the food was, of course, amazing.