Chocolate Banana Cake with Pretzel Streusel

Whoa, time warp.  Wasn’t it just April the other day??  I don’t know how this June thing happened, and I gotta tell you, I’m not really on board with it.  I’ve been a little distracted – okay, a lot distracted – by, you know, life . . . Continue reading


Carmelized Banana Cake with Bourbon and Pecans

Woot!  I managed to make a tiny dent in my freezer banana stash!  And by tiny, I mean *tiny*.  As in, three bananas down, out of twent- two total.  Twenty-two bananas, that’s just ridiculous.  And the only way to keep that pile from growing is to do all the grocery shopping myself.  If the hubster does it, he buys another 8 bananas.  Every single week.

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Crafty Me. And Cupcakes.

Triple Chocolate, Browned Butter Yellow Cake, and Champagne Cherry Chip

I had a very crafty childhood.  Perhaps it was because those were the dark days before internet, Wii games, and DVRs with on-demand kiddie shows.  The days when a stay at home mom had to do more than push a button to keep two active kids entertained.  Don’t read that as judgement, please – I’m about to become a button pushing mom myself.  But something about being pregnant has made me increasingly nostalgic about my own childhood, and my memories of the fun and crazy things my brother and I did, all in the name of daytime entertainment.  A lot of what I remember was food related.  Or at least kitchen related.  I specifically recall getting to do “experiments” – which involved a dish tub and a large number of random ingredients, some edible (flour, spices, etc) and some not so much (dirt, bugs), all mixed up with water into something that can only be described as nasty.  I’m sure it was a great way to keep a little one distracted and out of the way – but wow!  I can’t believe my mom supported that kind of craziness.  And cleaned up after it. Continue reading

Chocolate Cookie Cupcakes

Well that was just mean of me, wasn’t it?  Posting a picture like that and then leaving y’all hanging for a week?  Especially when the “recipe” is so ridiculous that I have to use quotation marks around the word.  Forgive me, I did get a bit distracted by birthday, houseguests, parties and general chaos in the chocolate kitchen!

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Pineapple Upside Down Carrot Cupcakes

We had a beautiful weekend here in Portland, sunny and in the 70’s, the perfect antidote to a difficult week of re-entry from vacation.  I planted tomatoes and peppers (both sweet and hot!) and parsley and a passionflower vine in the garden, drank a beer on a neighbor’s back deck and coo-ed at their new little twin babies, and went to a barbecue at a friends house.  Blissful.  And then woke up this morning to 48 degrees, gray skies, and drizzle.  Ahh, well.  Reality bites.

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Chocolate Chai Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes are festive, don’t you think?  Besides being portable, and in handy single serving sizes – they just have “party” written all over them.  Especially when topped with colored sprinkles and all decked out with cute wrappers and animal shaped toppers (see below).  The best thing about cupcakes – at least from the standpoint of me, the laziest baker around – is that it takes very little effort to dress them up.  Pipe on the frosting instead of spreading it on and you go from home-baked to practically professional in the wink of an eye!  And, shhhhhh, don’t tell – piping is way faster!  Sometimes I think I should do a Lazy Baker class for moms and show them how easy it is to look like a pro and not waste a lick of energy.  But then I get too lazy to set up the class, and there goes another idea down the drain . . .

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Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

banana bourbon bread pudding

So this is what you do with that stale loaf of challah bread.  Whaaat, you don’t have a stale loaf?  Because you ate it all? I know, I know, it’s good stuff.  I had to hide our second loaf, my husband and I polished off the first one in a space of an evening.  Okay, maybe it was half gone when he got home, whatever.  So, go make some more challah, and let’s get on with the show.  The Bread Pudding show.

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Chocolate Rum Cake

chocolate rum cake partial

I married into this recipe, how great is that?  I don’t know when it started, but the Liefeld family was making this cake for every birthday when I met them.  I love my family-in-law.

Besides being quick and easy (my two favorite things in a recipe, generally), this cake is also (a) delicious, (b) doesn’t need frosting, and (c) tastes even better on day two, if there is any left.  Oh, and versatile, I almost left out versatile!  The original recipe calls for rum, but I have also swapped out the rum for chocolate liqueur and cassis (black currant liqueur), left out the nuts, and tossed in some white chocolate chips with the semisweet.  I can also imagine it with a nice dark porter in place of the rum, some toasted walnuts and big chocolate chunks . . . or if you want something less alcohol-y, maybe some chai tea in place of the rum/liqueur.  Or, if you want something with a deeper chocolate flavor, use a chocolate cake mix instead of yellow cake.  Oh, so many yummy options.

Darn it, now I wish I hadn’t given away that last piece . . .

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Brown Sugar Yogurt Cake with Blueberries

yogurt cake with blueberriesI may have O.D.’ed on blueberries this weekend.  I ate Blueberry Oatmeal Bars, I ate blueberries with granola and yogurt, I snacked on bowl after bowl of just plain berries, and then I finished it all off with these adorable little mini yogurt loaf cakes.  If blueberries are health food, then I am one of the healthiest people on the planet right now.  Ahem.

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Birthday Butter Crumb Cakes

butter crumb cakesTomorrow’s my birthday, and since I’ll be working and not so much celebrating, I thought I would take a little time today to make myself a treat.  As far as I’m concerned, birthdays are just an excuse for eating cake for breakfast!  These little cakes are soft and buttery and have a very delicate crumb, thanks to the cake flour and, um, lots of butter.  The crumb topping is a little bit crumbly and a little bit crunchy, and really just an excuse for adding more butter and sugar to the cakelet.  Call it a coffee cake and no one will be the wiser when you snarf it up for breakfast.  Perrrfect.

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