Wednesday, October 1, 2008

movin on up

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

operation baking GALS - 1st round's finally here! the sending period of my first round in operation baking gals! i've been waiting and waiting to bake for my soldier and i finally was able to. i really wanted to go plain and simple, will something that he would almost definitely enjoy [even if he got multiples of the same kind] so i went with chocolate chip and peanut butter.

just to mix it up a little bit, i opted to do baking blonde's brown sugar chocolate chip recipe. they turned out good...i didn't really notice that big of a difference except that they were softer and a little less buttery. i think i'd stick to my normal chocolate chip cookies from now on, but i'm glad i tried them.

for the peanut butter cookies, i decided to try out delightful delicacies' "incredibly easy pb cookies" and hey, she wasn't lying. by far the easiest cookies ever...and they came out wonderfully. will definitely use again.

i wanted to toss in something a bit different so i made some chocolate whopper cookies. for the chocolate base, i used cookie madness' "jessica's marshmallow clouds" with two boxes of whoppers in lieu of the chocolate chips. i didn't chop them up and they turned out fine.

that's a lot of cookies! too bad i still don't have my box to ship it in! oh well, i'll take care of that tomorrow.

brown sugar chocolate chip cookies
[from bakingblonde]

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix just to blend. Gently fold in chips.

Place dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet using a scooper. Bake 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies and your oven) or until cookies are pale brown.

Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack until cooled completely. Serve or store in airtight container.

incredibly easy pb cookies
[from delightful delicacies]

1 cup peanut butter; organic is fabulous
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ c. chocolate chips; optional, of course

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients, except chocolate chips, with a wooden spoon. Then when it’s mixed well, add the chocolate chips.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls (or tablespoonfuls;) on an ungreased cookie sheet. Don’t flatten them.

Bake for about 9 minutes or until puffed and golden. The cookies will be very soft, cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes; then take cookies from sheets to cool completely.

chocolate whopper cookies
[based on jessica's marshmallow clouds]

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter (soft)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 boxes Whoppers

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until blended. When ready to bake, mix in the Whoppers.

Place dough balls on cookie sheets, spacing about 2 ½ inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. They firm up a bit as they cool.

Makes about 3 ½ dozen

UPDATE: the chocolate chip ones wouldn't fit in the box :[ and i'm an idiot and forgot to put in the postcard i wrote for my soldier. i guess i'll have to mail that separately. i can just imagine him getting the postcard first and being like "whatchu talkin bout lady?" all confused and whatnot. oh well, cookies are cookies...even if they are confused cookies. hey, i kinda like that name. i'm going to come up with something that is worthy of that title. stay tuned.

the sweet 100

i got this from cakespy [another one of my favorite bloggers!]

1) Copy this list into your site, including the instructions!
2) Bold all of the sweets you've eaten!
3) Cross out any of them that you'd never ever eat.
4) Consider anything that is not bold or crossed out your "To Do" List.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and white cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca "pearls") [we call this boba tea in cali]
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavlova
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon / mille-fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake / Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Crème brûlée
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An "upside down" dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S'mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire's Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

thanks to this list i think i'll be making some buckeyes purdy soon :]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

grapefruits, dolphins, and whales! oh my!

have you ever had one of those days when it seems like everything just keeps going wrong? i had a day like that yesterday. i should have taken a cue and just known that it was not my day...but no, i decided to give the pink grapefruit cookies a try. they were for this month's cookie carnival and i gotta say, when i first heard that they were the recipe chosen, i was kinda bummed. don't get me wrong, i love grapefruit...but i didn't really understand how that would translate into a cookie. and they were a lot of work! at least a lot more than i would have wanted to put in knowing that there was a pretty big chance i wasn't going to like them. plus, i didn't have a lot of the ingredients on hand so i had to spend money on that aaand i had to get a rolling pin. for a broke college student, that kinda sucks. to me, the recipe just seemed really random. so i decided to embrace the random and use the random cookie cutters my mom sent me and make them marine animal shaped!

so far so good right? well then i had to deal with the stupid dorm basement oven. so get this...recipe says 18 min at 350. i did 15 at 325 and this is how they turned out:

poo! so for the second one i decided to check them after 8 minutes (and i reduced the heat again to 300). and they still got a little burnt!

so i had to scrap what couldn't be used and make do with what was still edible.

sad, burnt tails. poor little sea creatures :[

not exactly what i had in mind. not too pleased. and for the taste? i'm not a fan. the initial flavor was just okay, but then the citrusy aftertaste was kind of nauseating. however, my roommates enjoyed them, which kinda surprised me. that's why i love them...they will eat my food even if it is ugly. i actually kinda liked the filling but that might just be because i barely had any grapefruit juice left over so there was really just a splash in there. i wouldn't make the cookies again but i saved the extra filling to try on some other type of baked good. maybe i can salvage something from this disaster. looking forward to find out what next month's recipe will be though :]

even though i didn't really care for this month's recipe, i'm really glad i gave it a shot. it's always nice to try new things every now and then. if you want to join the carnival, check out the clean plate club.

pink grapefruit cookies
[from martha stewart]

Grated zest of 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeezed juice
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
Pink Grapefruit Cream Filling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, combine zest with 1 tablespoon sugar; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg yolks, and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in reserved zest-sugar mixture. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the juice, and beat to combine.
3. Turn out dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out disk to 1/8 inch thick using a lightly floured rolling pin. Using a lightly floured 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds and place about 1 inch apart on prepared sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes. Transfer parchment paper and cookies to rack to cool completely.

5. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 tablespoon filling onto flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping flat sides down. Once filled, cookies can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

pink grapefruit cream filling
[also from martha stewart]

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in honey. Add juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until filling holds together and is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and set aside until ready to use.

UPDATE: the roommates and i thought that the filling might go really well with chocolate. we had a floor meeting and our ra provided us with some chocolate cupcakes that we took back to our room with us and yes, the filling compliments the chocolate very well. or the other way around? i guess it depends on your chocolate-to-frosting ratio. either way...yumm :]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

pretend like it's the weekend now...

i'm getting really good at making ugly pancakes. this morning i got up bright an early to make banana bread pancakes for my roommates and myself. the last time i attempted to make pancakes whilst in the dorms, they came out hideous. i kinda chalked it up to the mix i used, but now that my second attempt came out hideous and i'm the common denominator here...i think it's just me. i used to be able to make them normal looking [when i had the proper equipment in my house], but i can't seem to overcome the elements of dorm basement cooking. at least these ones tasted good though!

so i'm not including pictures for two reasons: (a) they were ugly, duh (b) my camera is broken. which leads me to amazing news...

i'm getting a new camera! sooo excited! i'm kinda putting off baking/cooking until it gets here...but i have a lot of stuff that will be going down once i finally get it. it's a casio ex s10 and it's BLUE :]

isn't it pretty? okay, i'm off to make lasagna at alex's.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

calories don't count on your birthday

it's kira's 20th birthday! so i surprised her with coconut shortbread and a cupcake from sweet and sassy in the morning.

and it turned out amazing! best shortbread i've ever made hands down. nice and soft with an initial burst of butter flavor, followed by the sweetness of the coconut...everything just melts in your mouth. the only way i think you could improve these would be to toast the coconut to make that flavor come through stronger. just to show you how good these were, this is what they looked like a mere 7 hours later:

and theeeen i surprised her with a chocolate chip cookie cake [3 layers frosted with chocolate ganache]. kira, chelsea and i all really enjoyed it and i think this is going to be my new go to for birthdays :] chelsea even said that the first bite was " omg this is good". now that's the reaction i was looking for. i really liked the thin layer of ganache on this because it added a creamyness to the otherwise chewy cookie.

i love birthdays. people should have them more often.

coconut shortbread
[from baking bites]

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut (unsweetened is fine, too)

Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, or with aluminum foil.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, blend flour, sugar and salt together. Mix in butter at low speed until dough is crumbly, but starting to come together. Stir in coconut and continue to mix until dough resembles wet sand; there should be large and fine clumps of dough in the mixing bowl.

Pour shortbread dough into prepared pan and press it firmly down into a single, even layer. Score shortbread lightly to make it easier to slice later

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are golden and top is very lightly browned. Middle of shortbread will be set, but not firm.

Cool shortbread for 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 18 bars. Cool shortbread entirely in pan.

When cooled, remove shortbread from baking pan and store in an airtight container.

Makes 18 large shortbread fingers, or 24 smaller bars.

chocolate chip cookie birthday cake
[adapted from nestle toll house]

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup chocolate chips [i used the semi-sweet and white chocolate swirled kind]

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread a thick, even layer into whatever cake pan you are using.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets on wire racks for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Repeat for however many layers you like and use the rest of the batter to make regular cookies. Melt any remaining chips or chopped chocolate with a little heavy cream, then spread a thin layer over each cookie, stacking as you go.

Monday, September 15, 2008

impromptu cake

i'm officially on the roster for operation baking gals.

"Operation Baking GALS will be supporting our troops every month, once a month, and instead of our soldiers getting deodorant and soap, they'll be getting the one thing they can't get from the canteen - Homemade goodies made with LOVE. We will be assigning a different soldier to certain sub-groups of bakers each month so that we spread the love, and that way, a homesick troop will have a package with HIS name on it, filled with goodies to share. Now, doesn't that sound like something you could get into??"

i'm so excited! my soldier's name is zach and he is from ohio. he's only 19 so i can only imagine how homesick he is. i have no idea what i'm going to bake yet but i want to send him some comfort food. if you'd like to join operation baking gals, just email

in my previous post, i mentioned celebrating alex's friend's birthday. well, he didn't really tell me that it was andy's b-day till the night before, so i didn't have much time to make him a little present. however, i was able to pull together a little somethin somethin and made him a mini devil's food cake with chocolate buttercream frosting :]

because it was a personal-sized cake, i had batter left i made cupcakes!

alex, who isn't a huge fan of sweets, let alone chocolate, actually ate like 3 of them. i got to taste one and while i liked the cake, the frosting wasn't extraordinary. i will definitely use a different one next time.

speaking of next time...tomorrow is kira's birthday!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

apples and banaynays

wow...i'm really getting busy this year. between senior fellows, schoolwork and classes, swing, the boyfriend and friends...i've got a lot on my to speak. yesterday was nice though because i got to hang out with alex all day. we visited with some of his friends for a while [more on that later], went to the first football game of the year, and just hung out watching some hbo. and today we're going to milburn orchards to pick apples! last year alex took me there on a surprise date and we had a really great time. so much so that i actually decided to organize an off-campus program [sponsored by the senior fellows] to take people apple picking. i talked with the people who run it and they gave us a really great discount [5 pounds for $5] and because the honors program was so impressed with the discount, they are going to cover the transportation cost. we've already had a few people sign up so i have high hopes that we can get a lot of people out there.

but anyway. back to the baking stuff. what do you do when you let bananas get a little bit too ripe? make banana bread of course! i lovelovelove this recipe from whole foods not only because it's healthy and tastes amazing, but by just adding some milk [or soymilk, if that's your preference] to the batter, you can make pancakes! two of my favorite things in the world: bread and pancakes. if you check out the whole foods website, they have a video where they show how to make both.

light and luscious banana bread
[from whole foods]

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground flax meal
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup fat free or low fat plain yogurt
3 very ripe bananas, smashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch x 4-inch metal loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Whisk together both flours, baking soda, flax meal, 2 teaspoons of the ground cinnamon and salt; set aside.

Cream together butter with sugar using a mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in yogurt, bananas and vanilla. Fold in flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Spoon batter into loaf pan.

Stir together turbinado sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the banana bread. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then remove from baking pan.

Chef’s Tip: If using a glass baking pan, decrease cooking time by 5 to 10 minutes.

[for pancakes, add 1 1/2 cups milk]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

time to get naked

if you've never been to, you should really get on that. this site "provides reviews of foods marketed as healthy and diet friendly options." each review touches on the nutritional information, cost, and [of course] taste. it's a great place to check out before you go wasting your money on something that is healthy, but tastes awful...or worse, something that claims to be healthy but is really diet trash.

another reason why you should check it out? i'm now a contributor! check out my first review here. it is on naked juice's peach mangosteen bliss. more to come soon!

any suggestions for what i can review next?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

pimp my brownies

we had a great turnout at our second "community builder". lots and lots of people came to pimp their doorstops, even some people from other buildings that weren't technically supposed to be there. more guys showed up than expected [possibly because the title of the event had the word "pimp" in it] so we were pleasantly surprised.

and i was in charge of bringing cookies.

so i saved a few of the peanut butter brownies i made for swing so that i could make brownie chunk peanut butter cookies! they kinda look like plain ol' chocolate chip cookies but no no...don't be fooled, my friend, they are so much more. i kinda am starting to figure out that screwy oven and was able to save them before they burnt. they were nice and chewy on the inside with a light peanut butter flavor and just a hint of soft chocolatelyness.

kira tried one and decided they were "really good. really really good." at one point, the co-curricular coordinator came in and told me that she heard someone in the hall say "man, it's too crowded in there...but they have damn good cookies!" yay :]

brownie chunk peanut butter cookies
[from baking bites]

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter [i used creamy]
1 - 1 1/2 cup brownie chunks, in 1/4-inch pieces [i used pb brownies]

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, followed by the vanilla and chunky peanut butter. Gradually blend in dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in brownie chunks. Brownies will break up somewhat when stirred in.

Shape batter into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden around the edges. Cool for 3-5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

time to sign up for fitness classes

classes have barely started and already i'm getting really really busy. i'm planning my first program for senior fellows and i'm taking a risk by making an off-campus one. we're going apple picking at milburn orchards on october 4th and it should be a lot of fun, but there is a lot of planning that goes into it. also, we are doing two community builders this year. this first is tonight ["sundaes on sunday" - free ice cream] and the second is on tuesday ["pimp my doorstop" - a doorstop decorating party].

the first swing dance of the semester was on friday and it was soo much fun. i can't believe how much i missed it. like, seriously, i had nightmares over the summer that i forgot how to swing and i'd jump out of bed and do the lindy basic steps myself just to make sure. and i missed my swing friends sooo much! it was great to see them. plus, we had a HUGE more than i had ever seen. i hope everyone enjoyed themselves and comes back next friday.

i wanted to be nice and let everyone know how much i missed them so i made peanut butter chocolate brownies :]

even though i didn't like them as much as my new classic brownies, i still got a lot of compliments on them. working with that stupid, crazy oven in the basement is annoying, but i'll just have to get used to it. it's so fussy...i have to keep checking on it every five minutes which is lame considering i live on the second floor. ugh.

peanut butter chocolate brownies
[from baking bites]

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup all pupose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9×9-in square pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth, then beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

In a small bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Mix in to peanut butter mixture at a low speed, stopping when just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and scrape batter into pan, spreading into an even layer.

Bake for 26-29 minutes, until set. Edges should feel slightly firm and the center should not look wet or jiggly.

Cool on a wire rack and lit brownies out with the foil when ready to slice. Makes 16 brownies.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"cookies for everyone"

ok i lied. well, i didn't lie, but i accidentally didn't tell the truth. i do have a kitchen, but it's in the basement so you can forgive me for not knowing it was there.

considering how our first floor meeting is tonight, i decided to bake a little sumthin sumthin. something simple, quick, easy to give out, and that everyone will like. cookies!

i don't have too many ingredients with me so i decided to go with these flourless peanut butter cookies from baking bites. i went with chocolate truffle kisses instead of plain ones. sounds great in theory, but actually this was the first time one of baking bite's recipes didn't work out for me. the dough was super crumbly and crazy hard to work with. my first sheet burned way quickly [when i ran up to my room to get something] so i had to throw that out. i still made the second tray but didn't even bother topping them with kisses. i decided to save them for my next batch which i really really didn't want to screw up so i went with supersimple cake mix cookies. so they weren't interesting...oh well. life goes on. at least they taste good :)

edit: i was wrong about those pb ones. yes, the dough was hard to work with but somehow my attempt and packing it together into small globular cookies actually worked out. i had to wait until they cooled completely [they were very breakable when warm] to move them but then they stayed together when handled gently. i kind of disregarded them yesterday because i was pressed for time and had to make the chocolate ones, but after my roommates and i have had time to taste them, the verdict is in: they are super yummy. while they were crispy and crumbly on the outside, they packed a lot of peanut butter flavor. kira said that she doesn't really like pb cookies but really loved these ones because they were "different". she liked how they were moist and dense on the inside, which was due to my extreme packing of the dough. i actually found myself craving them today, something that is kind of rare for me. i ended up being really happy i made them along with chocolate ones because i love the choc/pb combination but it left options for those who don't.

not many people came by for free cookies so we were gunna name the pb ones "unloved cookies" but considering how much we enjoyed them, we changed the name to "partially-loved cookies". the others were also nice with a bit lighter texture and a fudgyness on the inside. the truffle kisses were perfect because they were so soft and gooey. we decided to name these ones "chocolate delights." i am posting baking bite's version of the recipe. i used more natural peanut butter than the recipe called for (along with about 2 tbsp water) in my attempt to try to make the dough less crumbly. also, i used chocolate truffle kisses so i think any kind of kisses, or chocolate candies, would work here. like i mentioned before, i packed the dough into my cookie scoop, which yielded more moist, dense cookies that cooked in about 8 minutes.

flourless peanut butter cookies
aka "partially-loved cookies"
[from baking bites]

1 cup smooth, “natural” nut butter (cashew, almond, peanut, etc.)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
24 hershey’s Kisses

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together all ingredients, excluding hershey’s Kisses, until smooth.

Shape into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Leave about 2-inches between each cookie so that they don’t spread together. Top each with a Kiss.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes at 350 F, until golden brown at the edges. Cool on pan for a few minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


yeah yeah, it's been forever since my last post. that would be because alex and i went to the delaware beaches monday-thursday and then i had to move in. it took waaay longer than i thought it would and i just finished last night. granted, i was in senior fellow meetings from 9-4 on friday, but still. that's a lot of moving in.

and the worst part is that i cannot find a kitchen in our building! i don't think it has one and now i'm sad :[. thank goodness alex has a house. i saw it for the first time the other day and man oh man, you can definitely tell four guys live there. looks like i'm going to have to play maid before i can play chef.

ok, let's rewind. remember how i did that post about paciugo gelato? well they saw it! elyse and i went in there last saturday and they started calling us their "favorite bloggers". i have no idea how they found it, but i'm really excited that they did :] we got to talk to brittny, the manager [who is totally sweet, but also delightfully spunky], and her mom and when they found out i was leaving for school, they hooked it up and gave me a paciugo t-shirt [which i am currently wearing]. they also let me special request a flavor for the next day! [i chose s'mores, and they also made my favorite: mediterranean sea salt caramel].

on our way out, we saw alonzo bodden, the winner of last comic standing season 3. i introduced myself and offered to buy him a gelato and he accepted! so we went back in to paciugo for the 3rd time that night and bought him a coffee. he hung out for a little and we talked with the lovely paciugo ladies. then we took some pictures and i got an autograph. it was a really great night :]

so as a "thank you" to paciugo for all their generosity, i baked some cappuccino biscotti and brought it in along with some jam. in return, i got a free gelato. yay!

cappuccino biscotti
[from joy of baking]

3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Toast hazelnuts for 10 - 15 minutes or until the skins start to blister. Remove from oven and place hazelnuts in a clean towel and let steam for about 5 minutes. Then briskly rub the towel back and forth to remove the skins of the hazelnuts. Let cool and then coarsely chop. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices, and espresso powder until combined. Gradually add the egg mixture and beat until a dough forms, adding the chopped nuts and chocolate chips about halfway through. With floured hands divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface roll each half of dough into a log about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Transfer logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch (logs will spread during baking). Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

On a cutting board, with a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise, on the diagonal, into 3/4 inch slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake another 10 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 24 biscotti.

we ended up going back again that same day and i got the cioccolata con gelato ["rich and silky, italian-style hot chocolate infused with your favorite gelato flavors"] with the peanut butter chocolate swirl. it was amaaaazing and a perfect end to my last night in california.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

the jam plan

MONICA: I needed a plan, a plan to get over my man. What's the opposite of man? Jam.
-Friends (The One with the Jam)

yesterday was the best day ever. woke up all early and hit up the farmer's market for some fresh california fruit...the kind that i won't be able to find in delaware. the plan? to make it last all winter. and make everyone jealous of my exclusive fruit stock. it's the jam plan.

what's a fruit you can't find in delaware? pluots! the lovechild of a plum and an apricot, the pluot has a variation of flavors, all with really cute names. cotton candy. flavorosa. sweet treat. watermelon. i ended up getting flavor king and dapple dandy [which i thought was called apple dandy...which i like better, so i'm going to pretend i put that on the labels on purpose].

you can't rep california's summer fruit selection without strawberries and peaches :]

even though i've never done jam before, i kinda ignored the directions i found because a) i only wanted a couple jars of each kind [who needs 9 jars of strawberry jam?! honestly] and b) there were no instructions for pluot jam. so i decided to pioneer this feat on my own. i mean, seriously, what's the worst that could happen? if it was too thick, i'd use it for baking. if it was too soupy? pour it on pancakes! that's my kind of mistake ;]

so here's what i ended up doing...sweet and simple. [ps: i don't like lemons, so i used lime juice instead. it made the jam slightly sweeter, which is how i like it.]

pluot jam

3 cup pitted and sliced pluots
3-4 cups Splenda [or sugar, if you like it like that]
2 Tbsp lime juice [or lemon, if you're normal]
1/2 packet of pectin [2 Tbsp i think]

1. Place a small bowl in the freezer.

2. Wash the jars in the dishwasher to sterilize or boil for 10 min in a large pot with a couple inches of water above the top of the jars. The jars should be placed on a little rack inside the jar (or some jar bands tied together) to keep them from direct heat. Keep the jars hot until ready to use.

3. Cover lids with a couple inches of water in a small saucepan and heat, without boiling while you prepare the jam.

4. Simmer the pluots with a 2-3 Tbsp of water for 5 minutes.

5. Combine pluots with lime juice in a wok or large, deep frying pan over med to med-high heat. Gradually stir in pectin. Let come to a hard boil.

6. Add Splenda and stir to dissolve. Keep stirring until the color deepens, most water evaporates, and mixture begins to thicken.

7. Take the bowl out of the freezer. Scoop a little of the jam into the cold bowl and wait like 30 seconds. This will show you the consistency of the jam. If thick enough to your liking, turn off heat and proceed to step 8. If it is still thin and runny, keep stirring and repeat a few minutes later.

8. Skim off foam into the bowl. Carefully remove jars from the pot, using tongs or a jar lifter, and set them on a towel on the counter [putting hot jars on a cool counter can cause them to break!]. Using a ladle and/or a jar funnel, pour jam into jars, leaving about 1/8th inch at the top. Wipe off any jam that split on the jar, especially around the rim.

9. Carefully remove lids from the saucepan and center on jars. Screw on the bands tightly. Put the jars back into the large pot and bring to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes.

10. Carefully remove them and set them on the towel. Leave for 12 hours or overnight. Then press on the center of the lids. If they don't move, they are sealed. If they pop up and down, reprocess using a new lid.

strawberry and/or peach jam

3 cups sliced strawberries and/or peaches
1 cup Splenda
2 Tbsp lime juice

Follow steps 1-3, above.

Combine fruit with lime juice in a wok or large, deep frying pan over med to med-high heat. Let come to a hard boil.

Follow steps 6-10, above.

CHANDLER: Hey, Joe, I gotta ask. The girl from the Xerox place buck naked (holds up one hand), or, or a big tub of jam. (holds up the other hand)
JOEY: Put your hands together.
MONICA: Joey, take your time with that. That's my last batch.
JOEY: No more jam?!
RACHEL: Well, what happened to your jam plan?
MONICA: I figured out I need to charge seventeen bucks a jar just to break even. So, I've got a new plan now. Babies.
CHANDLER: Well, your gonna need much bigger jars.

homemade jam + fresh bread from the farmer's market
= yumm :]

Saturday, August 23, 2008

cookie carnival: august

two more of my managers are leaving for a different victoria's secret. that calls for two different baked goods.

this was the perfect opportunity to try out the recipe for this month's cookie carnival - chocolate hazelnut biscotti. considering the recipe says it yield 4 dozen, i was kinda waiting for an outlet to unload all that biscotti on. the recipe was pretty straightforward and i'd say that the hardest part was finding the hazelnuts. it's not that they're hard to come by, it's just that i typically can only find them in teeny tiny packages...and i kinda needed a lot. they were worth it though and they added a nice nutty flavor to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate. if i do these again, though, i would probably omit the whole hazelnuts and just add some more ground up ones. just personal preference though :]

i like this picture because you can really see the bits of ground-up hazelnuts. also, you can see how i left them kinda soft on the insides. i know, i know, biscotti is supposed to be crispy and stuff. but isn't that because it's supposed to be dunked in coffee or something? i'm more of a ice blended frap kinda i left them a little softer.

somehow i only got like two dozen out of these. probably because i didn't slice them thin enough. it was hard to slice them thin with all those whole hazelnuts in there! oh well, it was the perfect amount considering i still had one more baked good to put in the box.

[ps: if you wanna join the cookie carnival, visit the clean plate club.]

so for treat #2, i wanted to use up some of the frozen berries that i got from trader joe's a while ago [before i remembered that i can't really eat a whole bag of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries]. i came across a recipe for whole grain blueberry buckle on baking bites and decided it would work with the mix of berries. and hurrah hurrah...i think i actually liked this better with the mix. the pink from the raspberries blended with the blue and purple from the other berries to make a really pretty, colorful batter. these pictures don't really do it justice because the flash washed out all the color and the no-flash made them look green :[ so use your imagination.

chocolate hazelnut biscotti
[from Bon Appétit]

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grind 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts in processor. Set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and sugar in another large bowl to blend. Add eggs and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well blended. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in 1 cup whole toasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece on baking sheet into 2 1/2-inch-wide by 14-inch-long log. Place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs feel firm when tops are gently pressed, about 35 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Using long wide spatula, transfer baked logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Then put them back in the oven to get them as crispy as you'd like.

whole grain mixed berry buckle
[from baking bites]

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, very soft

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square (or 9-inch square) baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Stir well, mixing until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in blueberries and pour into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, make the topping. Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly and sand-like. Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for at least 20-30 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

all together and ready to go :]

Thursday, August 21, 2008


i am in love. i had only had gelato one time [at a cute place in santa monica called angelato] before my sister and i came across paciugo gelato in hermosa beach. that was less than a week ago and we've been back like 4 or 5 times.

they have a ridiculous amount of flavors and they change them up everyday. here are my top 5 favorite flavors [so far]:
mediterranean sea salt caramel
crunchy chocolate swirl
toasted coconut
tre vaniglie

and they also offer sorbetti, gelato shakes, coffee drinks, and affogato. elyse and i ended up going twice in one night and she tried a cappuccino con gelato the second time. i had a taste and it was absolutely amazing.

add in the unlimited free samples, cheap prices, friendly staff, great location, convenient hours and the fact that they pass no judgment on us for being heifers and you've got yourself a winner.

beautiful disaster

can you believe the summer is almost over? i'm leaving on monday! on one hand i really don't want to leave because there is so much i still haven't done yet that i really wanted to....but on the other hand, i miss my boyfriend, my friends, swing dancing...and i'm ready to go back. it's frustrating having your life split onto opposite sides of the country.

actually yesterday was my last scheduled day at work. granted, i'm on-call today and tomorrow...but seeing as how i didn't know if i'd be in again, i brought good-bye cupcakes yesterday. everyone loved them and said they looked cute [one of my managers actually said they looked "gourmet"], which was especially flattering considering how badly they started out.

it was my first time using those paper cup things rather than muffin liners and i made the mistake of filling them 2/3 full. yep, every single one overflowed.

disaster. oh, and it gets worse. i quickly realized that because the overflow had crusted around the ring of the paper cups, i couldn't get them off! which meant that i had to cut every single one of those stupid things off of the [what i hoped would be] salvageable cupcakes. yes, it took awhile.

once i freed them from their cages, they actually didn't look too bad. the were perfectly circle shaped and the sides looked moist. almost as if i took a circle cookie cutter to a cake. the tops, though. those weren't looking so delicious.

yay for frosting!

i'd say i did a pretty good job considering i had never done piping before :] and here you can see why they needed the frosting so bad. notice how the tops are all crooked and unlevely [when there is no right word, make one up].

in the end, i was kinda proud of them. i got a lot of compliments on them [both on the taste and the appearance] and, after trying one myself, i decided that they were the best ones i've ever made. the cake was moist and not overpoweringly chocolaty. the frosting was smooth and slightly sweet. there was just the right amount of it to compliment the cake and i'd say it was a pretty good balance. yay for success!

the recipes were mixed and matched from baking bites. i'm realizing that i do a lot of stuff from that site. if you haven't been there, you have to check it out...great stuff. i'm posting my variations of the recipes, but you can click the links for the original ones [in their original uses].

Devil's Food Cupcakes
[from baking bites]

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2-oz dark chocolate
1 cup water, boiling

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two 12-cup muffin tins.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add half of flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract, followed by the addition of the rest of the flour mix. Stir well between each addition and mix until no streaks of flour remain.

Stir the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate into the boiling water (easiest in a large measuring cup). Pour chocolate water into the rest of the batter and stir until uniform.

Evenly distribute batter into prepared baking cups. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Rotate the pans after about 8 minutes.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
[from baking bites]

4-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1-oz dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp milk
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter and melted chocolate. Beat in vanilla and milk, then add in the confectioners’ sugar gradually until the frosting reaches your desired consistency (make it a bit stiffer if you wish to pipe it onto the cupcakes instead of spreading it with a knife).

Transfer to a ziploc bag fitted with a narrow tip and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

lionel richie got a boob job!

i had the strangest dream last night. my mom and i were in a cvs and she came out of the bathroom ranting and raving "you'll never believe it! lionel richie got a boob job!" i started cracking up and was like "ma, lionel richie?" and she just said "oh, i mean alicia keys. alicia keys got a boob job! can you believe it?!" i woke up laughing.

anyway, back to the cooking. i came across this recipe and decided i had to try it just based on the name. i would have done them a lot sooner but safflower oil is hard to come by!

shake your bun-buns
[from have cake, will travel]

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 t sea salt
2 T light brown sugar, packed
1 package instant yeast
2 T warm water
2 T safflower oil
1 cup unwsweetened soymilk
2 T sesame seeds or poppy seeds, for decoration [optional]

in a medium bowl, whisk warm water with yeast. let sit for 10 minutes.

if your soymilk was in the fridge, heat it up without boiling for about a minute in your microwave. add to yeast preparation once its ready, along with oil. whisk some more.

in another bowl, whisk together flours, salt, and sugar. add to yeast preparation and stir well, using your hands once it’s hard to do so with your spoon. knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 1 hour.

make 4-6 buns out of the dough. place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. cover with a damp towel, let rise for 1 hour in a warm, draft-free place.

lightly brush buns with water, add sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds on top before sliding them into the oven, if you choose to. preheat oven to 375F, bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. let cool on a rack.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

boys ruin things

today i found out my friend's boyfriend broke up with her :[ so to cheer her up, i baked her a cake.

well, actually, two. i had some oreos leftover from the last batch of brownies that i tried out so i decided to make oreo cake.

the first was made using my new wilton "tasty-fill" mini cake pan set. this allowed me to bake the cake in two pieces that had little wells in their centers.

see what i mean? here you can see the two pieces, the mini bundt in the back, and the pieces i cut off to level the cakes. i filled the wells with a chocolate ganache, refrigerated a bit, and turned one on top of the other [so that the two wells were put together in the middle of the cake]. then i frosted the cake with a homemade vanilla buttercream frosting and decorated with crushed oreos.

i had leftover batter so i got to use my mini bundt cake pan. i topped this one with a chocolate glaze and some more crushed oreos.

both the cake and the frosting turned out really well and tasted really yummy. kinda comfort-foody...exactly what i was looking for. ashley enjoyed it until tristin accidentally stuck her leg in the cake, got frosting all over her pants, and somehow got hair stuck on the glaze. oh well, at least she has a second cake :]

both recipes are from baking bites.

Oreo Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups crushed oreo cookies (10 cookies)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with baking cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract, then beat in the egg whites one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Working in 4 or 5 additions, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk to the sugar mixture. Keep the mixer on low speed while you do this. When just combined, stir in the crushed oreos. Spoon batter evenly into muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full.

Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick comes out clean (a few chocolate cookie crumbs are fine, but not batter). Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Store in an airtight container if not serving the same day.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Note: If you only have a 12-cup muffin tin, the batter will not suffer from sitting around for a few minutes while the first batch bakes. Just be sure to let the pan cool completely before filling it up again.

Variation: To make plain vanilla cupcakes, simply omit the oreos. You might end up with only about 18 cupcakes, but as long as you fill the tins about 2/3 full, the baking time will be the same.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat, with an electric mixer, until frosting is creamy, 3-5 minutes.

Frost cupcakes with frosting using a butter knife or offset spatula. Add as much or as little frosting as desired. If making oreo cupcakes, garnish with additional chunks of Oreo.

Monday, August 11, 2008

starbucks in a cake

yesterday i found out that one of my managers is leaving victoria's secret to work at aeropostale. considering that she was the one who hired me [twice, actually], i felt i owed her a little "thank you". and what better way to say "thank you" [or "i love you", "im sorry", or "good luck!" for that matter] than baked goods?! besides, i was looking for an opportunity to try out my new mini bundt cake pan.

so i decided to use a cupcake recipe and quarter it so that i wouldn't have too much extra batter. i actually ended up having the perfect amount and only had to level off the pan a teensy bit after the cake rose during baking. worked out fine and both my sister and i got to sample the part i cut off [and we both approved]. even though the recipe was just labeled as "chocolate cupcakes", the coffee flavor was definitely present [although not overpowering] so i decided to call this a chocolate mocha bundt cake.

it needed a little pretty on top so i used another recipe off the same site for a caramel glaze. i also sampled that and it was really yummy. i think it went with the mocha flavor nicely [kinda reminded me of a caramel frap from starbucks].

you can't really tell from the picture, but the cake was only about 3 1/2" in cute!

i brought it to her today and she was soo excited! she literally jumped up and down. made my day :]

here are the amounts i used for my mini cake. the original recipes can be found by clicking the links.

mini chocolate mocha bundt cake
[from baking bites]

1/4 plus 1/8 cups all purpose flour
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/2tsp instant coffee powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
tiny pinch sea salt
scant 1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease mini bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa power, instant coffee powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, canola oil and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Pour batter into pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely before drizzling with glaze.

caramel glaze
[from baking bites]

1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup milk
pinch sea salt
1/2 plus 1/8 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, milk and salt. Bring to a boil and boil for about two minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in powdered sugar. Frosting should be somewhat thick, but not stiff.

Drizzle over cake.