Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream

This week’s Baked Sunday Mornings selection is Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream. I was a little nervous about how I was going to market this one since Josh doesn’t really care for eggnog. Since it didn’t involve a buying a carton of eggnog, I thought maybe I could get away with just calling it a spiced buttercream (and bringing it to my family if he didn’t end up liking it). I ended up telling him what it was, though, and he ended up liking the buttercream, which is good, since due to stormy weather conditions and my family living an hour away, I am not shopping with my mom and sister today as I had planned. :( Josh informed me he would be glued to the TV until 1 PM, but would then go shopping with me once it has been determined if he has won his fantasy football league’s super bowl. I can’t face the holiday crowds alone! 

For those of you who are not in the baking group, the reason the buttercream looks so speckled is because there is cinnamon in nutmeg in it, not because I am an extremely messy froster and got a ton of crumbs in it, though admittedly there are probably a few. I made a half recipe of the cake in six-inch cake pans, and two thirds of the buttercream recipe. I once ran out of frosting when I halved the recipe, so ever since then I always make at least two thirds or even the whole recipe to eliminate potential frustration. I find frosting cakes challenging enough as it is. 

This would be a superb dessert for Christmas dinner: not too fussy and very festive, not to mention delicious. I need to bring a dessert to my extended family’s holiday gathering on Christmas, so this selection was a week early in terms of the baking group schedule. The recipe can be found here on the group website and be sure to check out what the other bakers thought of this cake.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Spicy Brownies

I am not the best about planning ahead with the recipes for Baked Sunday Mornings.  Josh's office had a holiday cookie exchange earlier this week.  After much deliberation, I made these Speculoos Buttons, which were on the cover the December issue of Bon Appetit.  However, after baking this week's Baked Sunday Mornings selection, Spicy Brownies, on Saturday, I realized they would have been a perfectly acceptable treat for the cookie exchange.  The good news, though?  They were both excellent recipes!  I would definitely make the speculoos again (and probably will before the holiday season is over) and we loved the brownies.

I have made the famous Baked Brownies from the first book numerous times, and think they are pretty much my ideal brownie:  fudgy, but not gooey and perfectly proportioned in terms of sugar, butter, and chocolate.  Not to mention they do not have any annoying fussy steps and do not get many dishes dirty.  The spicy version is a fun twist and I am also looking forward to trying the peanut butter variation.  I made a half recipe in an 8x8 pan, which took 25 minutes to bake rather than the 30 recommended for the 9x13 pan.  I also omitted both kinds of ginger that were in the recipe because I am not big on the chocolate/ginger combination.  We had the brownies warm with vanilla ice cream last night, which was fabulous of course.  I do have to say that when I sampled one today, I thought it was even better,  since the spices had a chance to settle.

To see how the rest of the group fared, please visit the Baked Sunday Mornings site, where you will also be able to find the recipe.