Friday, August 31, 2012

Kitchen Inferno

August at my latitude is unreal. Living without central air at my latitude is also unreal. Baking in the summer teeters on suicidal.
A couple weeks ago I made a lemon cake as a send-off treat for someone I worked with. It nearly killed me. Having the oven on raises the temperature in my kitchen to around 90 degrees Fahrenheit! Why not just crack a window, you ask? Because all the windows in my lovely abode have been painted shut. Not by me, I'll have you know!
So where am I going with all this whining? I'll tell you: the joys of a microwave mug cake.
I love being able to have a single-serve dessert without the fuss of baking. If you're new at microwave 'baking,' give it a shot. I trust I don't have to tell you how much better these are than storebought. And no p.h.o.!
This recipe is my go-to when I'm craving a melty chocolate treat. I love it because it calls for pantry staples and doesn't even require an egg! There are many, many more microwave cake recipes out there. My only advice? Try them all!

4 Tbl flour
4 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl cocoa
dash salt
2 Tbl vegetable oil
2 Tbl water

In a large coffee mug, mix flour, sugar, cocoa and salt using a fork. Add oil and water and mix to combine. Pay attention to the bottom of the mug--make sure you get all the flour mixed in. Microwave for about one minute. Brownie should still look wet in the middle. Do not overcook this, let it be gooey and glorious!
Enjoy experimenting with mug cakes--don't let the heat get you down!

Until next time!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bye Bye Cake

With very little warning and no turning back, one of my supervisors left the company last week. Staying true to the nickname she dubbed me, I baked her a send-off cake for her last day.
I made her a mini double-decker lemon cake with a lemon glaze, using my knock-off Starbucks Lemon Loaf recipe. She was very appreciative and it was the least I could do.
The recipe itself is so tasty and spot-on with the Starbucks version, you really don't need an excuse!

Copycat Lemon Loaf
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 c sugar
2 Tbl softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
1/3 c lemon juice
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c + 1 Tbl powdered sugar
2 Tbl milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease mini pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of your stand mixer, place eggs, sugar, butter, extracts, and juice and mix to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add oil and mix well. Pour into prepared pans and bake 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans on a cooling rack. Mix your glaze ingredients. Remove cakes from pans and ice with the glaze. Slice when set.

If you bake mini cakes, you will wind up with extra batter. No worrries--pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan and bake for 35 minutes or until it tests done. Ice it with your leftover glaze.
Alternately, you can forget the mini cake plan and bake the whole recipe in a greased 9x13 loaf pan for 45 minutes. Cool it in the pan on a rack and ice when cooled.

Until next time!