Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf

TIS THE PUMPKIN SEASON. When truckloads of canned pumpkin arrive on store shelves. People go nuts. And you find pumpkin puree, packed pumpkin and pumpkin seeds popping up in every imaginable baked good (including this one). 

While I didn't exactly go nuts, I obviously didn't follow the curriculum. Today's BAKED Special was supposed to be Chocolate Mint Thumbprints. I did make them -  just last year. Those minty gems were quite a hit at the office - and I'm certain they'll make another appearance during the upcoming holiday season.

Back to the orange craziness. I substituted the Thumbprints with a recipe from BAKED's first book "New Frontiers in Baking". A quick, pumpkin bread dotted with chocolate chips - easy to make and even easier to disappear. A recipe from Gail - BAKED author Matt's mom, the pumpkin & chocolate combination in this moist loaf is a sure winner. The recipe makes two large loaves - enjoy one now and freeze the second. If this loaf gets your ghost, you can find the recipe on Elaine's blog  - who was also in that crazy pumpkin-baking mood last week.

Or if you're in the mood for something cool and minty, say, in the shape of a thumbprint - be sure to visit BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS. 

  – mike

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mom's Wine Cake (loaf)

Meet Sherry.  No, she's not my mom. Mom graduated college in 1950 with a degree in Home Economics. One would think that degree covered culinary skills, including baking. The only dish mom has ever cooked, and still does to this day, is meatloaf. And this loaf. Actually this is supposed to be a wine "cake", baked in a traditional bundt pan. I'm improvising rather poorly for Di's Autumn RoundupAnd did I mention it's not even as a "homemade" cake? Get ready for those shocking words, Duncan Hines and Jell-O Pudding. But you know, this is exceptionally good - that's where Sherry comes in.

I'd put this cake in the "boozy" category. For it begs almost a cupful of sherry. In addition, mom puts a tablespoon (yes, a tablespoon) of nutmeg. And don't skimp, for this spice pairs nicely with the sherry.

I'm certain mom started making this cake in the "cake mix madness" era. Such a boon to homemakers - a perfect cake, every time, guaranteed - thanks to Betty and Duncan. Except when you don't follow mom's directions and, like a fool, think the batter will fit into one loaf pan, hoping it won't runneth over in the oven (which it did). But that's the beauty of cake mixes. They're practically fool proof. Practically. . .

A special thanks to Diana of Di's KitchenNotebook. It's no easy task rounding up loaves of all shapes and sizes. Be sure to pour yourself a glass of sherry and visit her blog and see for yourself all the Handmade Loaves.
   – mike 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

KLATCH? MEET AMBROSIA.  Matt describes this cake as 'North meets South'. Klatch, belonging to the coffee clan - and ambrosia - that dark, southern flavor. What becomes of this simple cake is a dense banana bread with the flavor of a really good oatmeal cookie. And while you're making oatmeal cookies, you might as well throw in a few chocolate chips, tossed with  a splash of southern bourbon. 

Leave it to BAKED to come up with such unique methods of making cakes. Rather than toss dry oats into a cake batter, you toss them with butter cubes and subject them to a hot bath of boiling water. After sitting 30 minutes or so, they're sufficiently cool and goopey - like oatmeal pudding. Mixed with the other ingredients, the star: dark brown sugar, this cake is surprisingly rich and moist - more so than a traditional coffee cake. I guess that's the ambrosia speaking. Speckled with chocolate chips and lacking its namesake Cream Cheese spread (it's perfectly fine naked) - this Sunday treat lives up to all the hype. A true BAKED creation.

To get this recipe, visit BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS and see all the other coffee klatch cakes.
   – mike