Monday, February 15, 2010


When I was making the blueberry cake yesterday, I noticed, to my happy surprise, that I was holding the shell of a NATURAL EASTER EGG!!!!
Yeah, well I think it looks like one. See the spots and stripes? That's one artistic chicken.

Blueberry Cake

The actual name of this delicious blueberry cake is "Blueberry Boy Bait," but that sounds sort of ridiculous, even though when I made it last summer and fed it to two boys, one of them totally started dating me...even though he was going to anyway. Regardless, this blueberry cake is delicious, and since there're blueberries in it (antioxidants! vitamins! health!) you can completely justify having it for breakfast, as I did this morning.
I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen (I swear she's going to sue me one of these days) and didn't really do much to change it because it's perfect the way it is. Apparently she adapted it from Cook's Country (okay, so no suage from this recipe at least). Okay, now go make it.
Blueberry Boy Bait Cake
from Smitten Kitchen/ Cook's Country

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon (The 1t is for the blueberries later)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened Just a reminder kids-- you should probably never completely melt your butter unless the recipe says to do so. The consistency is much better if it's merely softened.
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk Smitten used buttermilk, and so did I because it makes it seem fancier and tastier.
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost first as it tends to muddle in the batter)
I might blame it on the fact that I'm terrible at math, but I really just wanted more blueberry-ness in the cake, so instead of 1/2 cup I used a whole...six ounces instead of half a cup for both the cake and the topping. Go on and laugh now, I bet they're the same, aren't they?*

*1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan. I thought I had my 13x9" pan with me, but I didn't, and didn't find that out until I had already made the batter. A request to the above-mentioned boy yielded no results, so I had to run next door and dramatically ask my neighbors if they had a pan, which luckily they did. I rewarded them with some cake.
Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.

For the topping:
Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.) But you'll probably eat it all by then. Probably.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black-Bottomed Cupcakes

I love cupcakes. It would be unhealthy if I had easy and/or constant access to them, but since I don't, I'm safe. What's fun about cupcakes is that they're like cakes...for your hand! So cool.
These cupcakes are really dense and almost just as rich, so they're probably not your third grade class birthday party cupcakes, but they're still really good.
I got it from Smitten Kitchen, and since I'm feeling lazy and don't really have anything to add to her instructions, I'll just post it right in here.
Black-Bottomed Cupcakes
from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 12 full-size or approximately 30 mini cupcakes

For the filling: (It was more like a topping for me, but it's still tasty)
8 ounces cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the filling: Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate pieces. Set aside.

Make the cupcakes:
1. Adjust the rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F (175°C). Butter a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the tin with paper muffin cups.
2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Stir any longer and you will over mix the batter and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons* of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely,** which is fine.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These moist treats will keep well unrefrigerated for 2 to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.
Two notes:
* If you choose to go mini for these, keep the filling at a tablespoon or less, lest you run out, as, ahem, someone else may have.
** Though I’ve only made this recipe one, and therefore don’t think you should take my input as absolute authority, I’ve got to advise against actually letting these guys fill up. Not an issue if you’re going full-size, but if you go mini, aim for 90 percent full.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe comes from my darling sister Megan. She makes excellent high altitude peanut butter cookies, which I recently found out can be made into an even more excellent (yes it is possible) chocolate version!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
from Megan Swinford

1 1/4 c flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 c peanut butter
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c gran. sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ENTIRE package (normal sized) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bake at 400 for around 7 minutes, depending on your oven.

Tips Megan has found helpful:

In the wet/sugar ingredients, add everything but the egg and peanut butter and blend that well first, then add the egg and beat it in, then add the peanut butter before creaming that in as well. Then add the flour mixture.

Cover the bowl of dough and stick in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes before baking so that the cookies will be nice and chewy-soft.

Don't over bake!


Replace ¼ cup of cocoa with another 1/4 cup of flour and omit chocolate chips.