Thursday, June 28, 2012

Boston Cake Experiment: Sangria!

As I mentioned on Saturday, this past Sunday I participated in a real live baking contest! The Brooklyn Breweries and Food Experiment hosted Boston Cake Experiment took place Sunday evening in the basement of a bar.

About 17 teams designed, baked and served about 200-300 little servings of cake. Entries ranged from sweet to savory and from fairly traditional to downright strange — one cake even involved Spam!

I came up with the idea to make Sangria Cupcakes by adding my own lovingly crafted sangria into the batter and frosting, and "painting" more sangria on top of each cake so they would really soak up the alcohol flavor.

Here's my roommate and I getting ready for the crowd Sunday evening:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Heating up the Kitchen, Cooling down with Sangria

Just last week, my roommate made me aware of a cake competition — for tomorrow!

I've since played around online with recipes, debated over whether or not I have what it takes to design and bake nearly 300 servings of a cake in about a day and a half — all the allotted time I'd have considering my full-time job during the week, and made the somewhat rash decision to go ahead and enter.

I decided that I wanted to make Mini Sangria Cupcakes because they sounded like they would be boozy, fruity and delicious and because I couldn't find anything quite like what I was envisioning on the Internet – at least not that I could find during my frantic searches each evening.

Fresh idea = Fresh start!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

80 Years of Chocolate Chips

To celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday (Happy Birthday Grandma!), the whole family is gathered in Philadelphia for a party.

Unable to show up empty handed (duh!), I brought something that would grab even the most calorie-conscious of my family's attention — the secret, irresistible ingredient for this family? Chocolate chips!

Most years, for as long as I can remember we've celebrated my dad's and my grandma's birthdays with Chocolate Chip Cake, using a recipe that's withstood the test of time. It's a recipe that — believe it or not — I've never attempted. My brave mom made it years ago for my dad's birthday, only to be informed that "his mom makes it better."

Don't kid yourself into thinking, I'm intimidated by the famous chocolate chip cake — quite the opposite. I didn't have the recipe and knew someone else in the family would be showing up with cake. Instead, I brought in some somewhat healthy chocolate chip scones and traded the batch for the chocolate chip cake recipe and a handful of others. Next year, maybe I'll spruce up the cake with some Young Idealistic Baker decor!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Back and Baking!

After climbing the Great Wall of China
Yes, this Young Idealistic Baker has returned from a long hiatus… much longer than intended. My apologies.

Since my last post in early May, I have traveled to 5 very new and exciting countries, packed up all my belongings to move yet again to a new apartment — this time for a full year — and then proceeded to move loads and loads of heavy things up two flights of stairs to make this apartment a place to call home.

Somewhere between battling jet lag, returning to my fast-paced work environment and moving to my new home, I did find time to bake… once. Twice if you count the first failed attempt… but I don’t.

Last weekend, as I was first beginning to move things into my new digs, I thought it would be fun to make a batch of treats so my new roommate and I would have something to reward ourselves with after carrying all our belongings up so many stairs.

However, after a week of work, I was too tired to bake. After a day of moving things, I was too tired to bake. Anxious to avoid starting a trend, I set out to bake some mini muffins last Sunday, and man was that a good idea!