Carrot Cake

I was thoroughly psyched to see that my bookstore finally had a copy of the Joy the Baker Cookbook. Perhaps my incessant questions about when it would be in stock (due to my horrible laziness and reluctance when it comes to online shopping) paid off! Perhaps not. Either way, there were two copies, and one was automatically mine. My father, in town for a week, offered to subsidize the purchase, and we were in business! (Thanks, Dad.)

The book is beautiful. It’s full of all-new recipes that haven’t yet been on her blog. The photos are gorgeous, and just about every single recipe now has a post-it note on it, because I want to bake absolutely everything inside. When a friend of mine, Isabelle, decided to come visit me two weeks before her birthday, I knew I had my in! An excuse to bake (and eat!) cake for a great friend? Sold.

This is a beautifully *cringe* moist cake, thanks to the pineapple chunks and fresh carrot. So moist, in fact, that despite our aversion to that word, my friend who helped me bake this cake and I used it several times over to describe it. Yikes. Someone help us!

The frosting is a huge selling point – Joy goes into great detail about how to make a successful cream cheese icing. Mine turned out as well as can be expected considering I was finishing it up in the half-hour I had before having to meet Isabelle at the train! I was late! I had a mighty good excuse though.

We enjoyed huge slices of the cake on pretty colored plates, then went about our days. Only problem? I have over half of this cake going stale in my fridge. Who wants to help me find it a good home!?

This is the first in many Joy the Baker Cookbook creations that will be marching out of my kitchen in the coming months. I love her recipes, her voice, and her slang language. Did I mention that she and Shutterbean have a hilarious podcast? Put that in your ears! I’m a huge Joy fan, and I hope after this cake, you will be too.

You can find the recipe in her cookbook, or right here!

Delish! Enjoy.

Cinnamon Buns

In order to prepare fully to write this post, it was necessary for me to eat yet another of the buns in question, smothered with cream cheese frosting. Necessary. For research purposes, you understand? A necessary evil that comes with blogging about food. Such is the life of hardships that I lead. (Not.)

I have enjoyed every second of the creation (and subsequent consumption) of these buns. They re-affirmed the fact that, apparently, I actually love working with yeast/kneading dough? I love it. For a potluck over the weekend, I made another loaf of X bread, which turned out better than the first time and was a giant hit. I love that I had the skills to do that. Soon, I’m hoping to set a bread-baking goal that is a little loftier than 4 loaves! I’ve conquered my fear of yeast, now I just need to practice.

The dough for these buns is sweet, stretchy, and very fun to work with. The icing is amazing, perfect, delicious, incredible. Make these, and your house will smell like a Cinnabon. Your friends will love you when you bring them a hot one on a paper towel. You’ll make new friends if you wrap one up in tinfoil for their roadtrip home (Hi Adam!). You’ll feel like Martha Stewart when you bring a plate over to someone’s house. You’ll feel like you’re building a home that smells like cinnamon. These are all awesome feelings.

Welcome to my crazy crazy kitchen life.

So who what where when how?

Who: Sweetapolita’s recipe is perfection. Very easy to follow, clear, and gets great results.

What: Cinnabon-Style Gourmet Cinnamon Buns

Where: HERE.

When: NOW.  

How: It’s simple! Make the dough, let it rise. Roll it out. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up, slice, let rise again. Bake. Make the icing, eat only a small amount of it, GLAZE. Eat. Sigh of contentment.

Chow time? Chow time. Happy nomming.

By the way: this is the fourth and last bread for my 2012 bread goal! I’m so excited. But who knows? Maybe I’ll tackle a few more. See the rest of the breads here.

Honey Cornbread Muffins

We’re having a drop-dead gorgeous day today. The weather is spectacular. It’s the first time in months that I’ve enjoyed my quasi-daily walk outdoors – in fact, Monday’s walk so brutal I considered turning back after less than a block. I spent much of my time outside just revelling in the warm (ish) breeze, really just enjoying every second of it. It’s amazing what weather and sunshine can do for my psyche. Best medicine. If you’ve been cooped up all day, RUN, don’t walk to your nearest exit and get out into that beautiful fresh air.

Now to business. Muffin business. Does that sound risqué? No? Okay, I guess it’s just me then. Maybe it’s because I’ve eaten approximately 4 of them in less than 24 hours (sorry I’m not sorry), so I know that they really are risqué, and sinfully good. I used a heaping teaspoon of coarse sea salt, and it was the best idea I’ve had all week. I used the full amount of sugar and honey. I’ve been spreading them with butter, and dipping them in cheese-strewn minestrone soup. I also ate one for breakfast. I also ate one as a snack. Such is the blessing and the curse of living alone.

I first spotted these on Elise’s blog, and when I felt like baking something quickly last night they were the perfect recipe to make. I haven’t baked since I was home over reading week, and I actually got a little tingle of happiness when I pulled out my brightly coloured bowls and old wooden spoons. I can’t explain my love for baking. It runs in my family.

These muffins are really delicious. The sugar and salt probably help with that a lot, but their texture is really nice as well. I remember growing up our cornbread would always be crumbly (and I like it that way too!) but in the muffin form it holds up pretty well.

The original recipe is here.

PS. I’m not counting this toward my 2012 bread goal, because it doesn’t use yeast.

One Hour Bread

As you may or may not remember, one of my New Year’s goals is to learn how to use yeast, and make 4 “bread-like” things from scratch. This is #2 (see #1 here!). And guess what? I am rapidly becoming a domestic goddess, making productive use of my spare time, and tricking people into being friends with me via temptation of freshly-baked goods. It’s a win-win-win scenario. Everyone is happy.

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