Monday, October 24, 2011

Day ??? - Pumpkin Cake

The goal of the week is to get this runaway train of a 365 back on track.  To start it off, I would like to introduce you to my breakfast.


Pumpkin and I have an interesting relationship.  I love pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cake.  I don't love pumpkin shakes.  I despise pumpkin pie and gutting pumpkins.  Gross.

However, when I stumbled on this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  So do you.  Really. I'm encouraging the world to revolt against pumpkin pie.

Make the world a better place
Try instead to make a cake.
(That was really terrible.)

Found on Not So Humble Pie 

Spiced Pumpkin Cake
yields 2 8" or 9" cake rounds
3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt 
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup golden brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare two 8" or 9" round cake pans with a light coating of non-stick spray and then line the bottoms with parchment. 

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Once sifted, give it a good mixing with a whisk to ensure everything is evenly distributed and then set aside. 

In a second large bowl, add the brown sugar and a third of the pumpkin puree. Combine the two with a spatula, pressing firmly to ensure there are no rogue lumps of sugar.  Once lump free, add the remaining pumpkin and oil. Blend with a whisk and then add the eggs, one at a time, stirring with the whisk to incorporate after each addition. 

Add the dry ingredients a third at a time, blending after each addition. 

Divide the batter between your two pans and place into the oven on a lower-middle rack.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. 

Let the cakes stand in the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Then unmold onto the racks and turn right-side up to cool completely. 

Once cool you can begin on my whipped cream cheese frosting. 

Ms. Humble's Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields enough to frost a 8" or 9" double layer cake. 
1lb (16oz) full fat cream cheese, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cold heavy cream (use the ultra heavy 40%+ cream if you can find it)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Sift the powdered sugar and add the cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat them thoroughly until fluffy and completely smooth/lump free. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture, scrape down the sides of your bowl and quickly and briefly beat to combine. Do not over beat.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 252 - The Muffin

I realize that there are a couple of days missing but they are coming.  Soon.  For now, bear with while I talk about my favorite subject other than my boys.  Food.

So Sam (you didn't think I was actually NOT going to talk about him did you?) really loves the show 3rd and Bird on the Disney Channel.  This is funny because I am terrified of birds.  My friend Kara sent me this today and I think it properly illustrates my feelings.

Anyway, back to Sam and the birds.  There is a character on this show called Muffin that always refers to herself in third person.  Super annoying but whatever, Sam loves it. 

I think the show is backed by some muffin that is inserting subliminal messages into the program because I have been wanting to back muffins all week long. 

So today I made these lovelies.

Day 252

They were good, but not quite sweet enough.
Then my brilliant husband suggested a white chocolate glaze. 
Which I made immediately after Sam went to bed.
Not the prettiest thing (or photo) but I'm sure I can perfect my technique because this sauce sealed the deal.  Muffin perfection.
Cause I love ya, here's the recipe.

White Chocolate Glazed Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking poweder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raspberries.  Fresh or frozen (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
White Chocolate Glaze
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

  1. Grease 12 muffin tin cups.
  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  1. In a large bowl mix the milk, butter and egg.
  1. Stir in all remaining muffin ingredients except raspberries & vanilla chips.
  1. Stir only until flour is moistened,then gently stir in the berries & vanilla chips.
  1. Spoon the batter into the greased muffin tins.
  1. Bake for 24-28 minutes or until golden brown.
  1. Let muffins cool a little, then remove from pan.
Glaze Directions:
  1. Over medium heat, bring butter, milk and sugar to a boil.
  2. Boil for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in white chocolate chips until completely melted.
  4. Drizzle (or liberally pour) over muffins. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 249 - Mexican Panaderia

Ok, so there is a lot of food talk on this blog recently.  It's the baby's fault.  I seriously have the appetite of a 13 year old boy right now.  

A couple of months ago, my friend Minda introduced me to a Mexican bakery here in Austin called Chuy's. (Not the Tex-Mex restaurant)  She took me to have tortas for lunch. This was good because she ordered in Spanish and I don't speak Spanish.  The tortas were divine.  THEN I discovered the bakery on the other side of the restaurant.  Oh. My. Heavens. Delightful.

Just this Saturday I took Ben there to buy bread bowls for the potato soup.  Once he laid eyes on the baked goods laid out before him, he had to give them a try.  We bought a churro, a sausage kolache, three bread bowls and a pound cake muffin thingey.
It cost us $4.50.
Angels sang.
I wept.
 No one needed to speak Spanish.
Baked goods are a universal language. 

So imagine my lack of surprise when this morning Ben asked me if I was going back to Chuy's today.  Needless to say we did.  We got a strawberry empanada (HEAVEN), yellow cake with coconut frosting, another churro and two more pound cake muffin thingeys. Ben didn't want to share the pound cake this time.  All of this for a measly $3.50.   

day 249

We did not eat it all.  In fact, we just ate the empanada and the cake.  I think Ben would have ate the muffin too. 

Anyway, here is their yelp page. 

 If you are ever in Austin to see us, remind me to take you there.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 248 - Peanut Butter Pork

Day 248

Every once in awhile I have a cooking fail.  While tonight's dinner was nowhere near a fail, there was something about it that just wasn't quite right.  I liked it.  Ben liked it,  In fact, after dinner he kept eating the pork right off the cooking board so it must not have been too bad.  Despite this evidence, I still think it was missing something.  So. . .  Here is the link to the recipe.

Will someone else please make it and tell me what it needs?  Some heat?  A sauce?  More acid?  Please people, I'm begging you.  Solve the mystery of Asian Peanut Butter Pork.  It'll help me sleep at night.

Baked Potato Soup


In my last post I linked to the recipe that I used for Baked Potato Soup.  Then I realized that like most things, I didn't really follow the recipe exactly.  So here it is with a few minor Tracey changes.  

Baked Potato Soup 
  • 6 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed (
  • 2 cup half-and-half cream
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley
1. Bake potatoes in oven until cooked through.  
2. In a large dutch oven. cook bacon until crisp. 
3. Drain, leaving one 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan. Set bacon aside. 
4. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender.  I cook them FOREVER until almost caramelized.  If you are aggressive while doing this you can get a lot of the burnt bacon off the bottom of the pan.  That is, if you are like me and have burnt bacon bits on the bottom of the pan.  
5. Make a roux by adding in some of the bacon fat and the flour.  This should be brown and bubbly. It is hard to tell around the onions but just do you best in order to cook out the flour flavor.  Unless it starts smoking you can't rook a roux too long.  
6. Stir in salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. While stirring, finish using the liquid to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Get as much of that bacon goodness as you can.  
7. Add half of the potatoes.  At this point I used my immersion blender to blend the potatoes and onions into a creamy mixture.  I like my soup kind of thick and we don't like onion chunks. 
8. Add the rest of the potatoes, half of the bacon, half-and half cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. 
9. Garnish with leftover bacon, cheese and parsley.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 247 - Fall

As you will read in the next post, I just spent a lovely 5 days in New England.  Fall days in New England.  I wore a jacket and ate soup.  I got rained on.  I shot lots of photos.  

Today it rained in Texas!  It was very exciting.  So since it is October and rainy, the only thing I could possibly do was make baked potato soup.  Then as I was cooking I realized I was really hot.  Possibly because it is still 82 degrees outside . . . in the rain . . . in October. 


It was still delicious.  Here's the recipe.

And We're Back!

We are back from hiatus.  The last two weeks have been filled to the brim so it was time to take a short photo break for the following:

Sam is in school now.  Every morning, every day.  We are thrilled.  He has been making some wonderful progress and his speech is becoming clearer every day.  He LOVES school and his lovely teachers.

Ben's parents came for a visit last weekend.  Sam loved every second of it.  I left town but they found plenty to do.  Ben took them to the Farmer's Market where they picked up some persimmon and some pork chops.  Random but apparently delicious.  They also went to the Natural Bridge safari park.  Apparently, this is not the place for me as there is a giant scary ostrich.  I'm totally ok with missing that business.  Here is a little video from their adventure.

Finally, I was able to go spend five lovely (and rainy) days in Concord, NH with my dear friend Shannon (known as Sister Harmon the missionary to you Nebraska folks)  For the last couple of years, I have made an annual trip to do photos for her and her friends.  They live on campus at St. Paul's School which could quite possibly be the most lovely campus on earth. I have 13 shoots scheduled.  We had rain every day but for some reason I was super blessed and the rain stopped for most of our shoots.  Although I have a million more photos to sort through, here are a couple of little samples from my trip.