I Cannot Lie


… I like big bundts and I cannot lie…


I just hate photographing them.  In fact, I gave up photographing both of these cakes, both primarily because I kind of hate the shape of my bundt pan.

It’s great for making a dramatic cake without needing layers, but I can’t get the knack of photographing them.

They’re so… large and in charge.  Sometimes I feel awkward taking photos of them.

Like that maple bacon cake above and below?  I couldn’t get a single photo to not look lurid, so I threw in the towel, put in on a plain white floordrop, and took 3 photos of it.  Screw it. It’s not very attractive anyways.

The ginger-peach-lemon cake, I had 5 minutes to take photos of before needing to go to yoga.  It was still steaming, but the light was fading and I didn’t have my new (!!!!) lighting setup just yet.

So, I put it on a wood board next to a window and took 5 photos of it.  Screw it.


 Bundt cakes are meh fun.  They’re quick and easy, and if made correctly, they’re quite delicious.

However, I have had (and made) many a dense, rock-like bundt cake.

The peach-ginger-lemon bundt cake was quite the opposite.  It was fluffy, moist, and flavorful.

However, now that peaches are out of season, I’m going to instead share the recipe for the maple-bacon-brown butter bundt cake that I Jackson-Pollacked for my brother’s birthday.

It might very well have been dense… I couldn’t exactly slice into it and eat a piece before shipping it down to D.C. for his birfday.  That’s bad form.
To be honest, I also think it’s ugly.  So let’s pray that it tasted good…

The recipe came from Martha, though, and lord knows I trust her.

Here goes:

IMG_3065Maple Brown Butter Bacon Bundt
adapted from Martha Stewart
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, browned
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a bundt pan.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
Whisk the butter, brown sugar, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla together.
Whisk the flour and buttermilk into the maple syrup mixture, alternating between dry and wet.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Top with glaze and glazed bacon.

for the glazed bacon:
4 ounces bacon, cut into little lardons
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Cook bacon until crispy.
Drain fat and reserve for use in the glaze.
Return bacon to pan and add in the brown sugar.
Heat just until sugar melts, then spread out onto a piece of wax or parchment paper and allow to cool completely.

for the glaze:
6 tablespoons butter
fat rendered from 4 ounces of bacon (sub 1 1/2 tablespoons butter)
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or as needed
Brown butter in a saucepan.
Once brown, dump in the sugar and bacon fat and whisk, creating what I like to call a “sugar roux”.
Once a creamy paste has formed, add in the maple syrup and powdered milk and stir.
Stir in extra maple syrup, as needed, to create a pourable but thick glaze.


Catz Rule Everything Around Me.
I have a love/hate relationship with these two nasty little buggers.
See, Sasha and Kasha were both rescues of sorts- both rescued from dirty, teenage-boy apartments.
Sasha was a farm kitty who was bought on a whim by my older brother and his roommates.  
They brought her back to NYC and she promptly (and tragically) fell out of a four story window.
She survived with just a tiny cut on her chin…  She now has 8 lives left.
She’s the nicer of the two cats, but certainly lacks in the beauty department.
She also has a bad habit of escaping outdoors when you’re least expecting it (our cats are firmly indoor cats), and then manages to evade recapture for ages.  
She lets you get in very close, almost as if to catch her, then sprints away.
That little ratfink.  
Kasha was just a little kitten “rescued” from my friends’ apartment last summer.
They had initially rescued her from a field.
She is truly a feral cat… Raised among teenage boys, what else could one expect?
She’s a pretty one, covered in stripes and spots, but she’s very small.
I don’t expect she’ll grow much more.  We call her Peewee.  (More often than we use her real name!  She’s such a dinky little thing.)
Kasha is not very friendly, and doesn’t like to be held or pet.  Real lovely personality.
She eats like a starved and crazed animal, which she is not.
She’s even got a tiny pudgy little belly. 
If you even come near her eating her food, she will make a strange, high pitched gurgling/growling noise and proceed to try to fit everything in her bowl in her mouth.
It’s grotesque.  Seriously nauseous eating habits.
Also, Kasha tends not to purr.  Or meow.  She beeps.
She sounds like a bird mixed with a telephone.
I don’t know where this is going.
But basically, all I do is take photos of my cats and food.
And all I talk about are my cats.  I don’t even like them that much.
Welcome to my life, I guess.
It’s very exciting and instagram-worthy.
I don’t have a recipe for these cookies.  
I dumped a bunch of things in a bowl and hoped for the best.
When I experiment like that (which is very often), I always make notes on a post-it.
Trouble is, I have so many damn post-its that I can’t remember what they mean!
Also, I can only find two- I don’t know where the others go.
Somehow, I still have notes for an orange-olive oil cake, and I swear I’ve thrown this very one out three times.
It keeps coming back.
But alas, the search for the maple-bacon-brown butter-brown sugar cookie post-it has been in vain.  I will update this if I find it!
Be back soon… With ice cream!

Did Someone Say…

…donuts?!? (er… doughnuts?)
Why, yes, I done did.  
Three types of donuts, in fact: brown-butter maple bacon, Vietnamese coffee (cinnamon+coffee), and cherry-chocolate.

Now, I’ve always been leery of frying.  It’s a lot of hot, burbling oil, which makes me nervous.
I’ve sustained many burns in the kitchen over the years, and ones from oil splatters are the second worse, trumped only by sugar burns.
But… and this is an important but… I’ve wanted to make real donuts for ages.  
I finally decided to man up and get down with deep frying, with my dearest stomach readers in mind.
These donuts are miraculously puffy and soft little pillows of dough wrapped in just-barely crispy edges and sweet, sticky glaze.  
I decided to make a decidedly clichéd maple-bacon donut, using my absolute favorite glaze of all-time… brown-butter/maple/cider.  Ohmagah.  Once all the donuts were glazed, I couldn’t help myself.  Sneak a dip, lick, repeat.  Until the bowl was almost gone and my teeth were beginning to ache.  So worth it, people.  So worth it.
The second type I made was a chocolate-crémeux filled, cherry-glazed and pink heart adorned donut.  I wanted it to be pink and include chocolate because, well, firstly, who doesn’t love cherry-chocolate, and secondly, for a Valentine’s baking article for my school newspaper.  
I couldn’t just leave the poor little donut holes wallow in their teeny-tininess, could I?  So I fried those lil guys up and chucked them into a bowl of coffee glaze and from there, a bowl of crunchy cinnamon sugar.
A successful morning, I’d say.  I made the dough the night before and stuck it in my fridge, and the alluring smell of donuts filled my entire house by 11:00 the next morning, rousing any and all late sleepers.  They were all gone by the next morning.
Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
recipe from the wonderfully decadent Pioneer Woman, Ree
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk, warmed to 110 degrees F
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon (1/2 a regular package) yeast
1 egg
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil or shortening, for frying
Add sugar and yeast to warm milk and allow to proof for 5 minutes.  Whisk the egg and butter together quickly to ensure that the egg doesn’t scramble.  Add the egg/butter mixture and the yeast/milk mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer (with a dough hook) and mix together.  Once mixed, add the flour in in 1/4 cup increments until all the flour is gone; add the salt sometime in the middle of adding the flour (not at the very beginning or the very end).  Knead the dough on medium-low speed for 5 minutes, then turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and turn the mixer on medium-high for 30 seconds.  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then place it in a lightly oiled bowl, toss to coat, and press plastic wrap directly onto its surface.  Place in the fridge overnight (or 8 hours).  
The next morning, take the dough out and place it on a lightly floured surface.  Roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness, and working quickly, cut out as many rounds as you can.  If the dough gets too warm and begins to shrink back, stick it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.  Cut holes out of the rounds, unless you want to fill the donuts.  Place all your rounds and holes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, cover lightly with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the doughnuts are visibly puffy and look fluffy.
Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy, large pot (I used my dutch oven) until it reaches 375 degrees F.  
Gently place the donuts in the oil and cook for 1 minute on each side.  Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels, and dab/blot/roll the donut around to remove as much oil as possible.  Let cool slightly before glazing. 
Remember to keep checking your oil’s temperature; do not let it get over 380 or below 365.  375 is the ideal temperature.
I used this glaze for the maple-bacon donuts, and topped them off with freshly cooked bacon.
For the Vietnamese Coffee donuts:
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch salt
splash of vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon instant espresso
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed to thin
3/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, for rolling
Dissolve the espresso into the milk.  Stir in the vanilla and salt, then whisk in the powdered sugar.  If the glaze is too thick, thin it with more milk.  As your donuts (or donut holes) cool, dunk them in the glaze, then quickly roll them in the cinnamon sugar.  You may want to wait for a few minutes after glazing to roll in the sugar, if your glaze is thin and drippy.  


Soft snowflakes are floating down outside my window as I type this, landing gently on vibrant evergreens and vivid red berries.
Something is stirring in me as I take in the peaceful scene outside…
By Jove, I think it’s the Christmas spirit.

My stomach is still bloated has barely regained its balance from Thanksgiving, and I’ve already got the next holiday on the brain.  
Exactly one month!

I gots problems, people.
Why, just last weekend, I spent an entire day raking with my family, greedily anticipating Thanksgiving, and appreciating the beautiful fall weather.
How quickly times change, no?

I had a very beautiful, very long, very poetic post written to go along with this.  

Only problem?  I wrote it using the blogger app on my phone.  What a Big Mistake that was…  (Picture me shaking my fist at the blogging gods right now.)

I’m sorry that I’ve been away from the blog for some time.  Thanksgiving really took it out of me, as I decided to undertake the prep and cooking of the entire meal myself.  


The last few weeks, in terms of Thanksgiving prep, have gone something like this:

I ordered the turkey (no, I don’t eat meat, but my family does).
I went to my local butcher at an ungodly hour in the morning, to make sure I got my hands on some good local meat products: fresh bacon, fresh cranberry-sage sausages, and freshly-rendered lard.
I went grocery shopping (by meself) after a long basketball practice; I spent a ridiculous amount of money and could hardly push the cart, and I’m no weakling.  I must have purchased 200 pounds of food that day.

I went and got the turkey from the farm, a trek that ended up being far harder than me going out and hunting a damn turkey myself.  As it turns out, there are multiple “Creamery” Roads, complete with “ninety-degree turns” right near house number 200s in the nearby Slaterville Springs.  Can you guess who went to the wrong one?  What turned out to be the completely wrong one?  Yes, me.  And don’t laugh.  I had to drive 5 miles in a state forest OFF-ROAD in my Volvo to get to the wrong farm, only to discover that the house numbers went from 194 to 204.  What the…?!?  Yes, I went 45 minutes past the correct Creamery Road.  Upon this realization, I cursed, cried, and punched my steering wheel, à la Shit Girlfriends Say (go to 2:07).  I’m kidding.  But I did wheel my car around and speed back through the forest as fast as I could, suspension be damned.  

I cooked.  A lot.  The menu?

Sourdough bread, gluten-free cheese crackers, cheeses, and grapes 
Roasted squash, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, and sweet potatoes
Roasted lemony brussels sprouts with cranberries, roasted garlic, and maple-balsalmic glaze
Quince and brown-butter basted turkey
Smashed fingerling potatoes with scallions and bacon
(Gluten-free) Cornbread stuffing with sausage, apples, onions, and sage
Apple cider cranberry sauce
(Healthy) Pumpkin pie in an almond-date crust
Salted caramel apple thyme pie in a cheddar cheese and lard crust with maple whipped cream
Maple crème fraîche tart 
Copious amounts of Prosecco, Champagne, and wine

It was all delicious; I was very happy.  And exhausted.  Still am.

The night before Thanksgiving, we celebrated my oldest brother’s birthday.  I made him a French toast cake, which consisted of a brown sugar, brown butter cake filled with cinnamon cream cheese, frosted with a brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream, topped with a maple caramel glaze, and finished with candied bacon.  Yowza.

I’ll be around more often; I promise.  After all, I have some serious holiday baking calling my name.  
P.S. I’m thankful for you guys!  It seriously awes me that I even have readers.  Love y’all.

French Toast Cake
for the cake:
3 sticks unsalted butter, browned
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks (save the whites)
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup, topped off with buttermilk to equal 1 1/4 cups
Let the butter cool until barely warm to touch.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a half sheet pan.  Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla to the butter and beat until combined. Add in the eggs and egg yolks and mix to combine.  Add in the maple syrup-buttermilk mixture and mix to combine.  Dump in the flour and baking powder and beat until homogeneous.  Spread into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch.
for the bacon:
2 strips bacon
brown sugar, as needed
in a preheated oven, bake bacon, covered in brown sugar, until crispy, about 15 minutes; flip halfway through and coat with more brown sugar.
for the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
big pinch cinnamon and nutmeg
big pinch salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream, or as needed
Beat all ingredients together until fluffy.
for the frosting:
4 ounces egg whites
4 ounces brown sugar
big pinch salt
12.8 ounces butter, room temp
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix egg whites, salt, and sugar together.  Heat over a pan of steaming water until the egg whites reach 145 degrees F, whisking all the while.  Remove from heat, and beat until stiff meringue forms and bowl is cool to the touch.  Slowly add in the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, and continue to beat until the buttercream is fluffy and smooth.
for the caramel:
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
big pinch salt
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons cream
Melt butter together with salt, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup maple syrup over medium heat and cook until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in cream and last tablespoon maple syrup.  Use immediately or refrigerate and reheat and recook until smooth before use.