icing

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.

How to Pipe Icing Roses

As you may know, I love to make cupcakes. I have my trusty vegan cupcake cookbook, which honestly contains the tastiest recipes I’ve encountered. They are so good, and I’ve never come across someone who wasn’t flabbergasted to hear that they were vegan. You would never know it by eating them! They are delicious, moist, and the book is full of flavour combos that I love.

Prior to this year, my cupcakes were topped with a big smudge of icing, and maybe sprinkled with some pretty sprinkles if they were lucky. I didn’t have a piping bag, and I definitely didn’t know how to use one. But then, for some reason, I caught the “domestic goddess bug” (I blame this blog) and promptly stumbled on to the idea of piping bags, pretty piles of icing and food colouring. I’m still getting the hang of it.

One method that always left me in awe was icing roses. Golly gee, let me tell you – pictures of that technique blew me away. It looked like the most complicated thing on the planet, but boy were they pretty. Then I learned something amazing! The whole process hinged on just one jumbo icing tip!! Aha! Suddenly the complications seemed to fall away, and icing roses were in my grasp.

Little did I know how difficult it would be to find a Wilton 1M tip with which to pipe. Granted, I could have bought it online, but I decided to check every cooking shop in the surrounding area first. Finally I located one at the local Bulk Barn when I was home for the holidays. (Montreal doesn’t have Bulk Barns, and it pains me greatly.) That night, I whipped up a batch of plain vanilla cupcakes and buttercream icing, and my Mom and I learned how to pipe icing roses like pros!

Black & White Marble Cupcakes

Did I stress bake again? This is getting out of hand. Let’s pretend it’s NOT stress baking. Instead, this is celebration baking. 

What am I celebrating today?

  • Today, November 30th, is the day I finish my first novel! 1320 words to go!
  • After today, I will have only 17 days until I get to go home for the holidays!
  • Tomorrow is December 1st, the start of the most wonderful month of the year!
  • The pain in my teeth has finally started to subside, and the antibiotics will start kicking in soon – yay!
  • I’m nearly done the paper that has been causing me grief for a while
  • I’ve got all sorts of exciting ideas for hand-made Christmas gifts planned!
What are you celebrating today?
Yesterday, on a brief hiatus from the editing/re-writing of that darned paper, I took a moment to indulge my Top Chef: Just Desserts side (a show that I discovered a few days ago, to great delight!!). This is also little bit of a tribute to my experience at NaNoWriMo. The black-and-white swirls and stripes is in honour of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, because I found out this month that she wrote it during NaNoWriMo a few years ago! That inspiring tidbit has been getting me through my month. I was so impressed that such a wonderful novel could come out of that speed-writing experience.

Vegan Cookies n’ Cream Cake

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It’s birthday season, am I right? I don’t know if it’s just in my personal circle or what, but there seems to be a high-traffic period of birthdays that starts mid-March, and peaks during the first week of April. I could be biased, because my birthday is today (!), but I know more than a dozen people born this week alone – and almost five (and counting) born on my birthday itself!

Whatever the reason (parents getting busy in August, what?), this phenomenon only means one thing: a whole freakin’ lot of cake. A couple weeks ago, I had the great privilege of making Deb’s Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Glaze. Mouthful, much? Mouthful of awesome. Here’s a couple pictures of that big huge mound of radical perfection:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I outdid myself. I made a vegan Cookies n’ Cream cake.

It seduced me. It drew me in with its crumbled cookie perfection, and took me down with its resulting sugar coma. Mostly, I ended up depressed that I don’t have a cake stand (have you guys seen Bakerella’s latest post!!?!?! Jealous death..) but I somehow managed to be okay with just the cake. Sigh, my life is so hard sometimes.

First of all, since I know y’all are going to be asking: yes, Oreos are vegan! No really, they are. I just went and checked the ever-dwindling package that is residing in my pantry. They just have a lot of coconut oil and vegetable shortening. And FYI people, this is the unhealthy type of vegan food, so don’t be jumping on the bandwagon just because Oreos and french fries qualify, okay?

You wanna know how to make it? Do ya?

 

Cookies n’ Cream Cupcakes

Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

For two 8-inch cakes, we must make a double batch of cupcakes! Want to see how I figured that one out?

..It was hard. It took a lot of Google searches. On a related note: how did anyone survive without the Internet?

For two 8-inch cakes: (I’m so nice, I pre-doubled the recipe for you guys!)

  • 2 cups plain soy milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond/chocolate/more vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos (I accidentally omitted them from the cakes!)

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Becel Vegan margarine)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk
  • 1/2 cup crushed Oreos

Since we’re not using eggs, we need a good binding agent. So the base of the cake is made up of  soy milk and apple cider vinegar: mix them together, and let them curdle for a few minutes. Curdle = awesome word.

Then mix in the sugar, oil and vanilla + other extract and beat the concoction into submission (read: frothy).

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & powder and salt. Doesn’t it look a bit like a mountain experiencing global warming? All the snow is melting! How sad and dirty!

Okay..I ‘m probably the only one who sees that.

Add dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until there aren’t any more big lumps. Speaking of lumps. So unnecessary. Don’t click that link.

Spray some cooking spray into your pans and divide the batter evenly between them. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. It actually took me much longer to cook them all the way through, so I’d recommend checking them at 20 minutes, and then every 5-10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Go to your Cognition lecture. Come back and make dangerously sweet icing. Onward!

Beat together the shortening & margarine until they are fluffy as a cloud. Add the sugar, and beat for a long time, until your arm threatens to fall off. Give up trying to properly combine them, and add the vanilla and soy milk. Then the cookie crumbs that you mashed up using a plastic bag and a lot of cojones. Then beat that until it is fluffy and delicious. AMAZING.

Once you’ve let the cakes cool and the icing is at room temperature, we can begin decorating!

I cut a semi-circle out of a piece of tinfoil and put the cakes on top, so that it would be easy to remove after, and would keep the plate clean and pristine. Aren’t I industrious?

Cool story, bro.

And finally..we get the finished product. Ta-da!!

How beautiful is that? And trust me, it tastes as wonderful as it looks. The icing is richly sinful and the cake is moist. It’s so easy to cut into, not too crumbly, and fluffy as all get out. If you have an Oreo lover in your life (as I certainly do), make this cake for their birthday!

Okay everyone, wishing you all my birthday love, why don’t you have an awesome day today? It is the best day of the year, after all! (Heehee).

All my sugary love,


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