Rainbow Cupcakes

Happy Pride!

Growing up in San Francisco, I have gone to the Pride parade every year. I couldn’t make it this year, so instead, I decided to make rainbow cupcakes in celebration!

Disclaimer: this recipe was not from scratch. For me, the point was to make something in spirit of Pride and all of the recipes for rainbow cakes from scratch were insanely complicated.

Can you believe that Walgreens didn’t have vanilla cake, frosting or food coloring?

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So, I had to go to Whole Foods and the ingredients above were all they had. Slim pickins!

I mixed eggs with oil then added the cake mix to it.

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The cake batter was really dry and I knew that wouldn’t work with the plan I had for rainbow cupcakes so I added a little milk to moisten it.

I then split the batter into 6 different bowls and added food coloring to each.

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The yellow, orange, and green seemed really similar to me and I was worried that once baked they would all blend together.

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I prepped the cupcake pan and began to pour the batter into each cup one by one starting with purple.

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I put them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

When they came out, I thought they looked pretty cute! In the original recipe, each color was an entire layer. That didn’t happen for me, which wasn’t entirely surprising, but I liked the way they looked anyway.

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While the cupcakes cooled, I mixed the Whole Foods frosting together.

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I took a bite to taste the outcome and to see how the rainbow inside turned out.

Color wise, I thought the cupcakes were pretty but they were definitely pastel – not quite what I wanted for today, but still nice.

Taste wise – sorry Whole Foods, but …. homemade is better! Maybe it was because the only option they had was gluten free? Or maybe I’m just used to homemade now, but I wasn’t entirely convinced with their mix. Regardless, I had fun making these and will definitely try something similar again.

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I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and happy Pride weekend!

Sweetly,

Simona

Whole Wheat Zebra Cake

Happy Friday!

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I decided to try my hand at a Zebra cake!

I gathered my ingredients but as I was doing so, I realized that we were suddenly out of milk. The boyfriend chugs milk by the tall glass and had apparently gone to town on the milk =P

I researched and found that I could mix 1/2 cup condensed milk and 1/2 cup water to make a milk substitute. Because of how sweet condensed milk is though, I took 6 tablespoons of sugar out from the recipe.

 First, I mixed the sugar and eggs until they became fluffy then added the vanilla, oil, and “milk”.

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In a separate bowl, I mixed the whole wheat flour and baking powder then added the dry ingredients to the egg mixture.

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I then split the batter in two and added cocoa powder to one of the bowls.

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I greased a cake pan with olive oil and flour and began to pour in the batter. The recipe said to pour the plain batter into the center of the pan followed by the chocolate and so on and so on.

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I thought this was going to be easy but because the two batters became different consistencies when the cocoa powder was added.

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Even though I struggled, I kept going with the “zebra stripes”.

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My layers were veering to one side and I was running out of chocolate batter faster than plain batter so, once the bottom of the pan was covered, I decided to pour the plain batter over the top. Half of me thought, “whatever, I just want this to be done” and the other half of me thought, “maybe this will still work”.

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I popped it into the oven at 350 degrees F and set a timer for 45 minutes. When the timer went off, the cake had beautifully risen and was cooked all the way through.

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I let it cool and took a slice. It was moist and though it didn’t look quite like zebra stripes, the chocolate had formed a cool swirl design. Whole wheat swirl cake!

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Sweetly,

Simona

This entry was posted in Cakes.

Chili Chocolate Brownies

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! 

I made brownies today! I wanted to try something a bit more unusual so I went with Chili Chocolate Brownies. I loosely followed the Tastemade recipe for them but made a few changes.

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The recipe said to grease a pan and put parchment paper in as liner. Since that didn’t work so well for me with the Nutella Brownies, I decided to grease the pan with butter and then coat it with cocoa power instead.

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Next, I melted the butter with the dark chocolate. The ingredient list on Tastemade was a bit vague and didn’t seem 100% correct so I followed it as best as I could and then went with my gut based on previous recipes I had made.

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I set the melted butter mixture aside to cool then mixed the dry ingredients together with the eggs.

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Once combined, I added the the melted butter mixture and topped it with the orange zest. The milk chocolate chips were next and I mixed it all together before pouring it into the pan.

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This was when I added more chili powder. I tasted the batter and I could no longer taste it and I didn’t want it to go unnoticed.

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The recipe said to bake it at 320 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes but that was nowhere near enough time so I left it in for 35 minutes.

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These not only smelled like rich, chocolate brownies, but you could also smell the chili. I tasted a little bit that crumbled off the side and you could definitely taste the  chili, which I was really happy about. It wasn’t overpowering but it was noticeable.

I ran out of pastry packaging recently and had to improvise to wrap these up. I gave some to my step-dad Gino and some to Sam (Simon & Keaton’s dad) as a Father’s Day treat!

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Sweetly,

Simona

Justine’s Windsor Bars

I love inspiring other people to bake more!

Over the weekend, my good friend Justine texted me that she was going to make Congo Bars. She sent me picture updates and it made me so happy to follow along! So, when she was done, I asked her to send me her recipe. I think that her recipe was my favorite part of this process because “ish” was used as a central measurement scale.

She has since renamed her Congo Bars, “Windsor Bars”.

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For some reason, I had trouble finding chia seeds and coconut flakes at the store so those were substituted out for flaxseed and dried cranberries.

I started by mixing the eggs and brown sugar.

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Once the salt, baking powder and vanilla were added, I put the oats in.

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The last ingredients to go into the batter were the chocolate chips, flaxseed, and dried cranberries. I stirred it all up and placed it into a greased baking dish.

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After 50 minutes baking, I took the bars out of the oven. It had risen, was browned and smelled really good.

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It seems like I’m on a roll with having my baked goods crumble into a million pieces…. When I tried to transfer these to the plate, they collapsed. Like Justine had said in her texts, she thought the bars needed more than 50 minutes and she was definitely right.

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Oops! In the spirit of not letting anything go to waste and making the best of things, I transformed the bars into a crumble that I served in ramekins with a spoon!

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It’s like nothing ever happened!

Though I didn’t taste the version with coconut flakes that Justine made, I really liked the dried cranberries because they added a nice chewiness and offset the chocolate chips nicely. I would definitely make these again and cook them for at least an hour!

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Sweetly,

Simona

Collapsed Chocolate Loaf Cake

It’s been a long week…

and my Chocolate Loaf Cake tonight really epitomizes it.

I got home from work and thought that I’d love to have a homemade dessert / breakfast for tomorrow so I decided to make this Chocolate Loaf Bread.

The recipe called for either coconut oil or butter and I chose to go with coconut oil as a change of pace.

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Knowing how tired I was, I prepped all my ingredients before beginning to bake.

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I then melted my dark chocolate. In my laziness, I microwaved it to melt instead of melting it over the stove.

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I started to brew the cup of coffee needed for the loaf. I got this Cuisnart Perfec Temp Coffeemaker  for Christmas last year and love it so much! I’ve always made my coffee in a Bialetti Moka Express and still do, but I also wanted to have a coffeemaker that could make a lot at once and that could keep it warm.

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Anyway, while the coffee brewed, I greased and floured the bread tin and began to mix the ingredients.

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I creamed the coconut oil and sugar, added the eggs, cocoa powder and melted chocolate.

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At this point, I began to alternate adding the hot coffee and flour. The coffee I used was one that I bought while in Wyoming from the Cowboy Coffee Co.

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Obviously, I tasted the batter at this point and it was delicious. It reminded me so much of this coffee/toffee candy that my uncle used to give me when I was little. I wish I could remember the name of it.

I poured the batter into the bread tin and stuck it in the oven for 45 minutes.

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When my timer went off, I noticed that the loaf had risen A LOT but when I stuck it with a toothpick it still wasn’t done so I let it cook for 5 more minutes, checked it again, and let it go for another 5. Upon my third toothpick check, it seemed fine and I took it out of the oven.

As soon as I took it out though, it collapsed a bit in the center.

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After it had cooled, I took it out of it’s tin and everything fell apart. Literally.

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Obviously the chunk that fell out of the center of the loaf was not all the way cooked and that was my problem there.

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The rest of it was cooked through though. I was a little frustrated by this since I had let it cook for 10 more minutes than required and it still wasn’t right.

I cut it so that I could taste a piece and the flavor was pretty good. The coconut oil definitely added it’s own distinct taste that I wasn’t 100% convinced on but it was different, in a good way. I think I may try to make this again with butter and I’ll let it bake for even longer!

TGIF 🙂

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Sweetly,

Simona