BWD: Big Bill’s Carrot Cupcakes

Pretty?  No.  Amazingly delicious?  Yes!  I opted to cut the recipe in half and make cupcakes as I knew a big three layer cake would go to waste in our house.  I LOVED these, although next time (because there will most certainly be a next time), I will make the cake rather than the cupcakes.  The cupcakes turned out wonderfully, but they sunk in the middle and poofed out on the sides, making a pretty icing job a bit difficult.  The cake is chalk full of carrots, coconut and walnuts (should have raisins too…forgot to buy them at the store!), and is so moist and flavorful.  The cream cheese icing was the best I’ve ever had…the hint of lemon flavor really took it over the edge.

To get the recipe for this fantastic cake, check out Rebecca’s blog, beurrista.  You can also find it on page 254 of Dorie’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.  Thanks, Rebecca, for such a great pick!  Check out the BWD blogroll to see how everyone else enjoyed these.  Up next, Great Grains Muffins.  YUM!

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BWD: Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

I was very excited to pick today’s Baking with Dorie recipe for Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes.  I am a big fan of chocolate cake, and mini desserts, so this was perfect for me!  Thankfully I was feeling well enough today to tackle this recipe and make a big batch of homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs.  Quite the productive day for a change!

We had one of my very best friends and her daughter over for dinner tonight to enjoy the spaghetti and the mini bundts.  Dinner of course was comical with a 2-year old and 6-year old chowing down on pasta and cracking each other up.  When it was time for dessert, the kids opted for yogurt, so that left the cakes for us adults!  So while the kiddos chased each other in circles around my house, we sat in the dining room enjoying these divine little cakes.  Rather than make the chocolate glaze for the cakes, I topped mine with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some strawberries.  YUM!  We all especially loved the nuts that are baked in the middle of the cakes.  These were a hit with the husband, my friend, and even my picky-as-of-late palate.  I would definitely make these again…they are so cute, and so delicious!

Check out the Baking with Dorie blogroll to see how the other fabulous bakers did with these cakes.  Thanks everyone for baking along with me!  You can find this recipe on pages 188-189 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours, or keep scrolling down.  The recipe for September 13th are the Chocolate Chunkers on pages 70-71.  Can’t wait for those…they look amazing!

Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes

For the swirl:

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp sugar

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
7 ounces premium-quality milk chocolate, melted and cooled

For the glaze:

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tsp light corn syrup
1 Tbsp chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)

Getting Ready:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter a 6-mold mini Bundt pan.

To Make the Swirl:  Toss the nuts, cocoa, and sugar together in a small bowl.

To Make the Cake:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more, then beat in the vanilla.  Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled – it will smooth out soon.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until incorporated.  Add the milk, and when it is blended into the batter, add the remaining flour mixture, again mixing just to incorporate.  Finally, add the melted chocolate and mix to blend.

Fill each of the mini Bundt molds with a little batter, then divide the swirl ingredients evenly among the molds and top off the Bundts with the remaining batter.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the cakes to rest for 5 minutes, then invert them onto the rack and let them cool to room temperature.

To Make the Glaze:  Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water on or in the microwave oven (which I think is more convenient for such a small quantity of chocolate).  Stir in the corn syrup.  Using a small offset spatula or a table knife, spread the shiny glaze over the tops of the Bundts, then scatter the nuts, if you’re using them, over the glaze.  Let the glaze set at room temperature; it will take about 15 minutes.

BWD: Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

Today’s Baking with Dorie recipe for Brown Sugar Bundt Cake was chosen by Chaya of Chaya’s Comfy Cook Blog.  Check out her blog for the recipe for this cake, or you can find it on page 179 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

For as much as I enjoy cake decorating, I do not enjoy frosting at all as it is way too sweet for me.  I’m the girl who always asks for the middle piece of the cake to avoid the frosting.  So, I was really excited about this frostingless cake!  And, as is normal with Dorie’s recipes, I absolutely loved it!  The recipe as written called for pears and prunes, but since the husband and I are not fans of either, I substituted apples and raisins.  This was very simple to throw together…the most tedious part was cutting up the apples.  The cake was so moist and the brown sugar flavor is divine.  I will most certainly make this again!

This is the second recipe I’ve made with Chaya in the last several days (she also chose the Sloppy Joes recipe I made last week), and once again, she chose a winner!  To see how the other BWD bakers did with this, check out the blogroll.  In two weeks, we’ll be making the Milk Chocolate Mini-Bundt Cakes, which was chosen by yours truly!  I cannot wait to try it!

BWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sorry for posting this a day late…things have been VERY crazy here at The Rookie Baker house for the last week or so.  We’re finally settling down and I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen!

This week’s Baking with Dorie recipe was for Blueberry Crumb Cake and was chosen by Tina at My Domestic Bliss.  Check out her post for the recipe and some great pictures of this cake!  You can also find the recipe on pages 192-193 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Every Tuesday, my firm has a cookout where the company provides the main dish, and then we sign up to bring an appetizer, dessert, or side dish.  I almost always sign up for dessert because, well, I love dessert!  I normally go with a tried and true recipe, but decided to go out on a limb this week and bring this cake.  I finished baking it at 11:30 last night, and really wanted to start eating it right away!  It looked so delicious right out of the oven.

This cake was a huge hit at work, and at home!  It was bursting with blueberries, and the crumb topping really took this over the edge.  I will definitely be making this again!

To see what the other bakers did with this recipe, you can check out the blogroll here.  Our August 16th recipe is for Brown Sugar Bundt Cake…YUM!

BWD: Caramel-Peanut Topped Brownie Cake

This week’s BWD recipe is the Caramel-Peanut Topped Brownie Cake and was chosen by our group’s founder, Grapefruit.  You can find the recipe, along with some mouth-watering pictures, on her blog or on pages 264-265 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Because we’ve eaten so many sweets lately between my cake classes and 4th of July weekend, I opted to half the cake recipe, but make the whole recipe for the caramel (since Dorie recommends not cutting the recipe in half).  I found a cute little 4″ springform pan at the local craft store, so I used that to bake the cake.  The cake itself came together very easily, and I happily filled my cute little pan.  After 40 minutes of baking, I checked on my cake to find this:

I’m not sure how the pan overflowed when I cut the recipe in half, but the cake was cooked perfectly and looked great once I fixed it up a bit.  I finally had a chance to make the caramel-peanut sauce tonight.  Another thing I’ve never done is make caramel from scratch.  I am happy to report that it went very well and tasted delicious!  The husband and I both agreed that the caramel was the best part of the cake…we were a bit lukewarm about the brownie cake.  

On another note, if anyone has any tips on how to take better pictures with a point and shoot camera, I would appreciate it!  I seem to have the baking/cooking part of this blog down, but would like to take more appetizing looking pictures!

To see how the other BWD bakers did this week, check out the blogroll here.  Next up, Creamiest Lime Meringue Pie!  And I am hoping I won’t be so last minute on that one!