Monday, March 31, 2008
Yet again, I broke my rule for bringing baked goods to work. I normally bring only tried and true recipes to the office, but for my boss's birthday, I wanted to do something special. I decided on a big, old-fashioned coconut cake. This is not something I wanted to practice beforehand because it's expensive to produce and makes a BIG cake. I dorkily recorded the process of putting the cake together, just in case you want to be bored.
Here's the first layer, on top of a foil wrapped cardboard cake round. The cake smelled so good because of the coconut mixed into the batter and it was hard not to cut a piece for myself. I had to be satisfied with the bit I cut off of the bottom to make the layer level.
Then came a layer of cream cheese frosting, which was surprisingly not too sweet. The problem I ran into while frosting was trying to figure out how much was enough. I didn't want to put in too much, because the top layer's weight might make it ooze out the sides, and at the same time, I didn't want to have a lot of leftover frosting.
And there's the top layer in place. It looks like a gigantic whoopie pie.
The cake isn't naked anymore! Turns out I could've put some more frosting in the middle because I had a lot of frosting left over.
I didn't want to make that big a mess or risk dropping the cake, so I gently pressed shredded coconut onto the sides. I probably could've gone with a heavier application, but I figured I was already dropping enough coconut.
It was a little taller than 4", so I had some problems with my cake box, which is 10 x 10 x 4. I just smushed the top icing down a little and put parchment between it and the box top. Thankfully, the cake was a huge success and fed 20 people! I'm definitely making this cake again.
Monday, March 24, 2008
After tasting Julie's banana bread last week, I couldn't stop thinking about making some of my own. I got a copy of Julie's banana bread recipe, which comes from the Silver Palate Cookbook and bought a couple loaf pans (long overdue in my kitchen). So I made the loaf pictured above last week and then figured the next time, I could make some adjustments. Not that it wasn't good already, of course. The next time I made it, I added cinnamon (I was surprised there wasn't any cinnamon in the recipe) and a teensy bit of vanilla bean paste (not sure if it made a difference).
I've put Nutella on it, and when I ran out of Nutella, I put a little butter on with a swirl of honey. Yum!
Monday, March 17, 2008
Last Friday, I left NY for a weekend mini break in Chapel Hill, NC, visiting Jennie and Julie!
Their new home town is so pretty and quaint. I suppose it helps that UNC was on spring break, so everything seemed really peaceful. I really appreciated the relatively TV-free weekend, as we watched only the UNC basketball games, and left the set off when we were home. In my apartment, if Josh is home, the TV is always on, even if there's nothing on.
I had some genuine southern barbecue at Mama Dip's and the biggest, fluffiest, tastiest biscuit EVER at Sunday brunch. Julie also baked a delicious banana bread while Jennie and I were out shopping for books that we really don't need. But we really do. We tried a used bookstore that even Jennie hadn't visited yet, and it had a romance section (lots of used bookstores are too high in the instep to stock romance) and a gentle giant of a boxer dog.
It took me forever to get home on Sunday evening though, with my original arrival time in NY scheduled for 8:00, my flight was delayed so boarding didn't start until 8:00. Add the backed up flights at JFK, and I didn't get off the plane until 11:00. I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world who waited for 1 1/2 hours and didn't even get mad about it.
People at work who hear my description of the weekend (books, no TV, reading, and playing cards) probably think it was terribly boring, but it was just right for me.
Thanks for having me over, ladies. I can't wait for my next visit!