Monday, June 28, 2010

Inspiring Breakfast

One morning last week, I got up at 7 am, like I usually do every day, got ready for work and had some time to spare. I figured with this extra time, I would do something nice and make my boyfriend some french toast for breakfast instead of sending him out the door with the usual Mountain Dew and cold slice of pizza. While whisking my eggs and milk together I had and idea pop into my head about incorporating my french toast recipe into cupcake form and adding some dried figs recently purchased at an Organic food co-op that I love to visit in Grass Valley. Of course it would have been ideal to use fresh juicy figs in this cupcake creation, however, it just isn't the season for figs and finding them fresh has become quite the task.

After work that day I practically ran through the door, situating myself right in front of some mixing bowls. Because I have never seen a recipe for french toast cupcakes, I was baking completely from scratch on this one, adding more flour when I thought needed, or an extra splash of milk if the flour made the batter too thick :) It is for this reason that I am afraid I can not share a totally accurate recipe for this cupcake, but I will try and get as close to the original as possible.

All in all, this has potential to be a really great cupcake recipe. I topped these treats with a homemade maple, cream cheese frosting and turbinado sugar sprinkles for sparkle. I also added chopped chocolate pieces which I would suggest leaving out of the recipe in the future. Another lesson I learned while baking these cupcakes was to always write the date of when you buy your baking sodas and powders onto the box the day you buy them. What most people don't realize is how quickly these two things go bad and ultimately become useless to your baked goods. Unfortunately, the baking soda I had used in these cupcakes was dead and left my Figgy French Toast creations pretty dense. Better luck next time I suppose!

For the Cakes:

Preheat oven to 375 F

~ 2 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
~ 1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 eggs
~ 3/4 Cup milk
~ 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
Bar of Hershey Baking Chocolate
~ Cup of chopped figs
~ 2 tsp cinnamon
~ a drizzle of clover honey
pinch of salt

First, I melt the butter in the microwave and then slowly added half of the Hershey bar in the hot butter to make a buttery chocolate mixture. Next, I combine all of the dry ingredients into one bowl and set aside. I then combine the wet ingredients into another bowl, slowlyyyy adding the butter mixture to the eggs, whisking quickly while doing so in order to keep the eggs from scrambling. Right before combining the wet and the dry, I chopped up the figs and the other half of the chocolate bar, incorporating them into the dry mixture.

Next, I combine the wet and the dry to create a cohesive batter and filled prepared cupcake tins 3/4s of the way full. I let them bake for about 25 minutes before pulling them out and letting cool on the counter.

For the icing, I mixed together 1 brick of soft cream cheese with approx 1/2 cup of real maple syrup and 3/4 cup powder sugar. You may just have to add and subtract where you feel it is necessary, like I said before, there was not much measuring being done here. When the icing was mixed smooth, I placed it in a makeshift icing bag (zip lock with the corner cut out), and make a pretty swirl design on top of the cakes. Finishing the cupcakes with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar.

I had to place my cupcakes in the fridge to keep the icing from melting, but heating them in the morning for breakfast was a real success!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Experimenting With the Classics

While I am working in this internship here in beautiful North Cali, I am staying with my boyfriend and his family. His brother, recently received a free ice cream maker from work and needless to say, we got pretty enthusiastic about making homemade ice cream. Without proper research, we ventured to the store and bought all of the ingredients usually found in ice cream, including what seemed to be a pallet of sweetened condensed milk. Come to find out, only one of our ice cream creations called for the ingredient, meaning that we were left with a lot of unused cans. I took it upon myself to take full advantage of this little purchasing error, and started brainstorming.

After a bit of thinking it occurred to me that the summertime classic, Key Lime Pie, uses sweetened condensed milk in most recipes and that was all the inspiration I needed. I decided that instead of the normal pie, I would instead make a torte with a pecan, graham cracker, sea salt and turbinado sugar crust. Of course I combined these ingredients with butter and a little bit of honey to form the crust, baking at 375 for a little over 10 minutes.

Next, I combine one 14oz can sweetened condensed milk, 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 3 large egg yolks beaten, the grated peel of one key lime, 1/2 a cup of caramel and a pinch of salt, mixing until smooth. I then baked the torte for 20 minutes, transferring straight to the refrigerator when done and cooling for close to 3 hours. You can decorate this torte with anything, whether some kind of whipped topping or even a caramel sauce drizzle, but I went for simplicity, cutting a lime into wedges and placing into a pretty pattern on top :)

This torte seemed to be a real crowd pleaser and was gone within a mere 48 hours. I must admit, this was my first time experimenting with key lime anything, but I will certainly keep this one in the books for a go to summer time treat!

Ps. My picture taking skills are not quite as good as my baking skills. Apologies for the bad picture :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome to PeaceLove&Cake!

So for those of you who read through my profile already, much of this will be a repeat of information and for that I apologize!

My name is Sarah Goble and I LOVE to bake! I am currently working in an internship with an all Organic farm and garden supply company called, Peaceful Valley, located in Grass Valley, California. In the fall I will be starting my last year of college, working towards a degree in public relations. Although I do love communication and this field of study, my true passion lies with baking. Nothing helps me unwind more than standing in front of my stand mixer and working on my next creation.

I didn't discover my love for baking until about my senior year in high school when my grandmother passed away. My grandma was the matriarch of the family and was known for her delicious dessert contributions made around holiday gatherings. After she passed, I took it upon myself to continue in her footsteps and bake the family favorites from then on. After I began baking on holidays, I couldn't get enough. I wanted to bake more than just occasionally, and I wanted to start experimenting with recipes of my own. It was this path that led me to where I am now.

My plan until I finish school is to begin with this blog and hopefully get my name out there. I will continue to post photos of my delicious and beautiful creations as well as recipes and fun stories about my baking experiences. The next step is to start my website where I can actually begin selling my baked goods and eventually discover the perfect location for my bakery, PeaceLove&Cake!

So now, the only thing left to do is for me to ask one simple question! What can I make for you today?!