Tomorrow morning at a ghastly hour in our time zone, Team Canada will be going for gold in the Men’s Hockey final in Sochi. What better way to pump ourselves up than with a batch of Canadiana in the form of some delicious cupcakes? I present you with maple cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting topped with bacon and toffee bits.
I’m not going to pretend I invented this. A quick Google search for saltine toffee bark or some variation of that will turn up this super simple recipe. I think the only adjustment I made was the amount of butter I used (spoiler: it was more than most recipes you’ll find out there). Why the change? First it was by accident; doubling the initial amount. I learned from people that they actually liked it a little chewy. I, unfortunately, didn’t but I found a nice little compromise that allowed it to be toffee-like but not break your teeth.
I tend to judge a Chinese restaurant by their fried rice, a Thai place by the Pad Thai, a pizzeria by its pepperoni and cheese, and a bakery by its vanilla cupcake. The beauty of its simplicity lies in how versatile it can be yet how it can stand alone as a dessert show-stopper untouched. Two ways I’ve played with this recipe is first by giving it a tropical flare by topping it with toasted coconut and candied dried pineapple, and then filling the cupcake with something (in this case, some candy… more on that later).
I love putting Jack Daniels into my baking but when it was suggested I start using Honey Jack Daniels? Well, game over, man! Game over!
I’m not going to even pretend I made this up. A little Google search lead me to this blog and I followed this recipe to the letter (doubling it and compensated the time for mini cupcakes instead). One change I made was to the frosting: I added some milk and a splash of Honey Jack and whipped it up until it was fluffy (more icing sugar might have been added to make up for the extra liquid added.
The cake is the Magnolia Bakery vanilla recipe (yes, this Gingy Cake is not a ginger cake). I also used my usual pudding filling with a splash of bourbon for between the layers.
Now let me explain this cake design: a friend at work has expressed his hatred for the Shrek movie franchise on a number of occasions… so naturally, his birthday cake was going to be Shrek-themed. Shrek’s face was too hard and hideous to construct so I took the easy route and fashioned Gingy out of actual gingerbread cookie. This would have been great if my friend had actually seen a Shrek movie and got the reference…
Caramel and Chocolate. What a wonderful combination of rich decadent flavours. Separate them and what do you have? TWO wonderfully rich decadent flavours! My colleague and I set up a challenge for ourselves to pit a caramel dessert up against a chocolate one (sparked when I said “I think I’d choose caramel over chocolate any day.”)
The only rule was the caramel dessert could not contain chocolate and the chocolate dessert must be free of caramel. Already, as a representative for caramel, I felt like I had successfully put myself at a disadvantage. Caramel always tastes best when with chocolate but chocolate can stand on its own.
My colleague chose a worthy foe in a rich Mississippi Mudslide brownie. Me? I went with Caramel Tassies.
How would you vote?
Now that you’ve voted, check out the recipe for the dessert that won in the office.
Last year, I made a slab baby shower cake featuring a fondant “stitched” ducky on it. Here is version 2.0.
Happy New Year! I seem to have completely neglected the month of December when some choice baking took place. I was however blessed with a new recipe book titled Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes to Sweeten Your “Hole” Day (yeah, it actually does say that on the cover). I firmly believe 2013 will be the Year of the Mini Donut! So I tried out a few donut recipes (baked, not fried) to usher in the New Year and I was not disappointed.
So a few days ago, it was announced that Hostess was going out of business. Stock up on your Twinkies as you get ready for the apocalypse. Hostess also made those chocolate cupcakes with the signature loop design. So, to honour the dearly departed Hostesss, I thought I’d post my version of the Hostess cupcakes that I did a few years ago.