Cake Wrecked

I should know better than to bake when I’m not feeling up to it. In fact, I do know better. I’m a feeler, if I don’t feel like doing something, I won’t do it. And if I do, I will do a terrible job of it. Like tonight. I had my first ever cake wreck, times 2.

My first attempt at Red Velvet cake, failed miserably. I really should bake with my eyes on (i.e. contacts or glasses would be grrrreat). A couple of misread ingredients, along with some experimenting on my own lead to red velvet that tasted like, well, nothing at all. Well maybe some sugar. Also, the red velvet life would be so much easier if only I had a KitchenAid Stand Mixer (anyone? anyone?).

My second attempt (in the same night) was a chocolate layer cake. I really don’t care for cakes. Who likes ’em anyways? I for one think they are boring and one can certainly make a nice dent in one before realizing just how much they’ve eaten. A nice, portion-controlled cupcake, cookie, tart or mini pie is what I’m familiar with. What I like to stick with. So, recipe for ultimate cake wreck, boredom and my “I don’t feel like it” attitude. It was somewhere between beating the eggs and vanilla into the 2 cups (yes, 2 bloody cups) of butter and sifting a whole lotta flour where I waved my white flag and claimed defeat. Now, I sit in my bed, wracked with the guilt of wasting so much butter.

So please don’t commission me to bake you a cake. I won’t do it. You won’t want it. Great. It’s settled.

On a completely unrelated note, I bought the new Strokes album and have listened to it 3 times tonight. I love it. Even if Pitchfork gave it a 5.9/10 (I will not let that site determine my musical tastes. I will not let that site determine my musical tastes. I will not let that site determine my musical tastes.). Get it.

Making Whoopie

Had the opportunity to try a whoopie pie at Bobbette & Belle in Leslieville. I was drawn into the cafe by their macarons but have yet to sample one, the whoopie pies were just so light and fluffy looking. I’d be pleased to just sit in this cafe with a cup of tea and I assure you, I would leave full after just looking at the wedding cakes and pastries they bake up fresh here – total visual orgasm.

Treated myself to the red velvet whoopie, so, so good. It reminded me of the recipe from whoopie pies I had torn out of an issue of Toronto Life a few months back and have yet to test out. Will do so in the next couple weeks. Old roomie has shacked up with BF and has asked for baking lessons as she’d like to become a bit more domesticated. I will come bearing her housewarming gift – baking cookbooks, every ingredient necessary to make whoopies and a few other goodies.

Off to make whoopie.

That sounds dirty.

Crap. It is.

Secret Family Recipes

Living on your own causes you to kick your culinary skills into high gear, especially if you don’t believe in microwaves-like me. I’ve picked up a few good recipes from boy and Jamie Oliver. But some dishes just don’t taste as good as when Baka (my Grandmother) makes them. She’s really good with those traditional Croatian dishes I grew up with, like cabbage rolls and Baka’s specialty balice, which I can only describe as super delicious, lightly fried meatballs that would put the best Swedish variety to shame.

Now that Baka’s aged quite a bit she not able to make the delicious meals she once had. The last time she was ok to use the stove she forgot about the squash that was cooking in a pot, it burned nice and hard. The pot didn’t make it to another use, it had to be thrown out. This past Christmas, I worked up the courage to ask her for 2 recipes (I thought I’d start off easy), I wanted to learn how to make balice and her secret shortbread dough. She put a shrimp in her mouth,  chewed slowly and looked up with this expression:

No words. Just that look. It meant I should know better than to ask for a secret.

I still haven’t given up. I will ask again. And again. And again. She will eventually cave. I think my next plan of attack will be to come over, under the guise of spending time with her and subtly suggesting we cook something for Boy (whom she loves more than me and almost more than my younger brother – first born grandson, go figure). She may not be able to pass up an opportunity to cook with me, for Boy. At least I hope so.

Red Tea Box

186911188_f25b34e7daI’ve recently taken a great liking to tea. Although I’ve always enjoyed a cup here and there, I now find that I’m craving it at any point of the day rather than when I’m not feeling well. The Boy celebrates tea time at the office with his department, every day someone brings in a different tea and its served around 3. I think this is so cute and have been trying to paw my way into this secret tea society (I’ve been unsuccessful thus far).

Noticing my desire to celebrate tea time, the Boy took me to the Red Tea Box for lunch this weekend. It’s a cute little place on Queen West that (surprisingly) isn’t filled with ironic hipsters. The front window displays an array of immaculately designed tiered cakes, the kind that are almost too gorgeous to even think of eating.

We got seated in the coach house out back, at the seats in the photo above, which is too adorable for words. The menu looked delicious and I had a tough time resisting the bento box options, only because the white bean miso soup was something I just couldn’t turn down. The Boy and I ordered a pot of Darjeeling tea, had a bowl of soup each and sandwiches (mine being a tasty Indian Spice Chicken with avocado, mayo and lettuce on fantastic raisin sourdough bread). After a pleasant lunch and even better conversation, I left that place anxious to come back. I cannot wait to bring some girlfriends there for tea and chatter. If you live in the city and haven’t been to this place yet, you’re missing out!

Image courtesy of alau2 on flickr.

Searching for my new calling

2985432744_586deeb2762As I had mentioned in a previous post, I am a big baker and tend to focus my attention to cupcakes. However, I’m handing down my title of “resident baker” to a coworker, a friend. Her cupcakes are beautiful and mine are….colourful?

In hopes to feed my coworkers treats (so I don’t indulge in them myself), I’m looking for a new baked good to focus on. I’m thinking, cookies. What better time to start baking cookies than at Christmas? I’m looking to claim a new title and I think I can break into the cookie market within the office, although I haven’t really checked out my cookie competition just yet.

Since I’m new at this, I’m recipe-less (yes, I’m sure I just made up that word). Have any good ones? Send them my way! I was at Write Impressionsa couple weeks back and saw a mini cookie recipe book with 500 recipes, how exciting.

As I bid adieu to my beloved cupcakes and look through my cupcake cupboard, I can’t help but wonder, what am I to do with my countless cupcakes books, stands and baking supplies? I think I can reuse a few items for my potential new calling, but the rest I may give away or save for a rainy day…a very rainy day.


Thanks to Glorious Treats for the Flickr image.