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Jun 30, 2014

Baked Sunday Mornings: Banana Whoopie Pies

Over the weekend I made these banana whoopie pies for Baked Sunday Mornings. Initially I was frustrated with the milk chocolate swiss meringue filling because - and this is entirely my fault - I didn't leave the butter out long enough, so there were small chunks of cold butter in the meringue. I ended up filling most of the whoopie pies with butter-specked meringue but I just couldn'


I had to leave the house and when I returned, I decided to try to salvage whatever meringue was left in the bowl. I had stuck it in the fridge while I was gone but took it out and let it sit for a half hour or so to soften a little. Then I took the whisk to it and lo and behold, this seemed to do the trick. The random spots of butter disappeared, incorporated into the chocolately goodness. I wouldn't do what I did next but I hate to waste so... I took the whoopie pies that were already filled and scraped all of the messed up meringue back into the bowl, whipped it up again, and all was good once more.

That initial trouble with the meringue didn't endear me to these whoopie pies but after the second day, they grew on me. They're delicious, great with milk, and undoubtedly adorable in their own way. And now I know that the Baked guys write "cool but not cold, butter" in the recipe for a reason.

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking digital sweet Tags baking mishap banana whoopie pies

Jun 9, 2014

Poppy Seed Pound Cake

I wish I could write more and post a couple more photos of this lovely cake but it's been so busy that I can't believe I actually found the time to bake and shoot. I love the swirl in the center (and the fact that it differs from slice to slice) and the citrus in the cake really appealed to me. I wasn't as big a fan of the poppy seed filling, though the glaze was a different story. I was scooping fingerfuls of it out of the bowl. Unfortunately, forgot to put orange zest into the glaze and I'm positive that if I'd not left it out, there'd hardly be any glaze on the cake :D

It was great to post again with the Baked Sunday Mornings group. I sure missed being a part of a baking group but between the Baking Bootcamp and Baked Sunday Mornings, I think it's apparent I'm somewhat back in the game. Let's see if I can make the next one. See everyone else's cakes here!

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking digital Tags poppy seeds bundt cake pound cake

Mar 7, 2013

Red Velvet Roulade

This lovely cake is from the new book, Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home. I have a couple of the earlier Hummingbird books but never felt compelled to make something out of them as much as I do from this one. And not just one 'something' but a few... the doughtnut cupcakes and cookies and cream cake come to mind. If you're like me and are a visual person and fan of beautiful photography this book won't disappoint -- there's a photo of the finished product for every single recipe. While my roulade doesn't quite look like theirs (with the perfect swirl in the middle), I'm fairly certain this is not the last time I make this cake.

If you're not caked out yet, head over to A Subtle Revelry and take a peek at easy checkerboard cake I made for Victoria's Creative Cakes series.

CommentsCategories adventures adventures in california baked sunday mornings baking digital iPhone people personal portraits recipe savory sweet travel tuesdays with dorie Tags red velvet roulade Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home cookbook cake

Jan 14, 2013

Baked Sunday Mornings: Bananas Foster Fritters with Rum Dipping Sauce

phew... made it just in time for Baked Sunday Mornings today. These were divine, I highly recommend you give them a try: recipe

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking digital sweet Tags bananas fritters bananas foster rum dipping sauce fried

Dec 31, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Classic Shortbread with Fleur de Sel

This was a recipe I could manage this week for Baked Sunday Mornings. Take a look at how the other bakers fared; love all the variations on one of my favorite cookies. Happy New Year, everyone.

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking sweet Tags shortbread cookies fleur de sel

Oct 21, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Joe Froggers

Joe Froggers is the unusual name for the more descriptive Ginger Rum Molasses Cookies, the recipe for this week's Baked Sunday Mornings. I sound like a broken record these days because of all the things I bake but discover I'm not fond of... and no surprise then, I generally don't go for molasses cookies -- just not my thing. However, I'm not going to turn down the chance to bake and learn, and I'm usually willing to give something a second chance. Especially if it's a cookie.

This was a fairly easy recipe, quick to put together and let chill in the fridge overnight. The dough was a bit sticky and soft but manageable after working in some flour. I unintentionally left the rum out and don't know what I was missing. 

All I know is that these cookies baked beautifully in the oven. I went for chewy and that's exactly what I got baking them for 8 minutes (had the option to go to 12 min for a crispier cookie). Their uniformity and simplicity -- just a sprinkling of sugar on top -- made them great photogenic subjects. And who knew molasses cookies could be so... moody? :)

It was a foggy day when I photographed the cookies, and while not my favorite weather, these type of conditions offer soft, diffuse light for shooting. It's like having a huge softbox right outside your window, and best of all, it's free.

Get the Joe Froggers recipe. Happy Sunday!

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking sweet Tags joe froggers ginger rum molasses cookies baked explorations cookies

Oct 14, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones

So glad that this week's recipe on Baked Sunday Mornings was a breeze compared to last week's cake (slash disaster). 

My family loved these scones; I was just lukewarm :( I did enjoy the crunch of the turbinado sugar on top and thought it gave the scones a nice finished look.

Since these were a hit with the fam, it's possible I'll make them again. I might halve the dough as one baker did and leave out the choco chips for the PB&J version. 

Scone recipe here. I'll have a link to the roundup when it's up. Have a great Sunday! It's shaping up to be a sunny one here in Monterey.

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking sweet Tags oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip scones oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chips scones rustic breakfast

Oct 14, 2012


We lost a much beloved pet a few days ago. I spent extra time in the kitchen that day... baking, sorrowful. I took his death the hardest, even more than my kids I think.

My husband, after years of astute observation, says I clean when I'm mad, and bake when I'm sad. It's true. Silly as it may sound, baking offers some measure of comfort, at least for me anyway.

Recipe for homemade jelly doughnuts on my good friend Denise's blog; hers look perfectly made, which is what drew me in to try the recipe in the first place. That and the fact that I already had everything, thus avoiding a trip to the store in my pjs, tear-streaked face and unbrushed hair to complete the look.


Below, a few of the Santa Cruz boardwalk where I hung out with my dear friend Alisa, who was visiting from Hawaii. Though it's been a year and a half since I moved away, we picked up where we left off -- us shooting, "talking story," eating butter mochi, marveling on how much our kids have grown. Good times. The weather was gorgeous to boot, couldn't have asked for better really.


What I'm reading/browsing through. 

Very food-centric, eh? The top book, The Alchemyst, is the first in a series that I was introduced to rather randomly. On long drives I listen to the audio CD but at home I enjoy curling up with the book. I loved the Harry Potter books and this reminds me of the time I spent engrossed in that series.

Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites. The conversational tone and witty voice make this a fun read.

Food Photography & Lighting: A Commercial Photographer's Guide to Creating Irresistible Images by Teri Campbell. Really enjoying this book as the author has provided lighting set-ups and diagrams for shoots described in each chapter. Great for visual learners like me.

Extraordinary Cakes by Karen Krasne. I got this purely based on the stellar reviews, and someday when I'm crazy enough, I will spend several days attempting to make one of the gorgeous, one-of-a-kind cakes in the book.

Kinfolk Volume 5. Always a pleasure to receive Kinfolk in the mail. It's one to be savored for sure.

What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies. She's one of my favorite food bloggers/photographers. I couldn't wait for my copy to arrive and it didn't disappoint. Made the beef and guinness pie already (excellent) and have bookmarked the pumpkin ravioli and coffee hazelnut frangelico cake.

Bake & Decorate by Fiona Cairns (she made Kate and William's wedding cake). Only $2.41 on Amazon; strangely enough, the bargain price is $12.00.

Others releasing in the coming weeks that I'm also looking forward to... Jerusalem, Bouchon Bakery, The Kitchen Diaries, to name a few.


Lastly. My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Jen Burgess Thompson. I've not been able to stop thinking about her. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer a little over a year ago, she lost her hard-fought battle yesterday. She leaves behind two young sons. I can't imagine. I didn't know her but she was part of a huge and immensely supportive photography community so in a sense, I did know her, and am deeply touched and inspired by her. Rest in peace, Jen.

See you tomorrow for Baked Sunday Mornings.

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking digital personal savory sweet travel tuesdays with dorie

Sep 30, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

So I was absent last week from posting on the Baked Sunday Mornings site; not going to lie, I was bummed that it had to be the Whiskey Pear Tart that I missed. I love pears and tarts and no doubt feel I would've liked the two combined. There's always tomorrow.

Seeing how ill-prepared I was last week (in my defense, my in-laws were here and my husband had his grad school graduation ceremony) I planned ahead for this week's recipe. I had everything but the bread and whole wheat flours so after a trip to Whole Foods, I was ready to bake mid-week. I'm not a huge fan of pretzels to begin with but I figured I'd give it a shot since this would be my first time making them. Plus, who could deny the allure of cinnamon and sugar... not I.

The recipe is straightforward and I didn't have any real issues. I created some monster-sized pretzels, 8 total (the yield is 12-18). I had fun... rolling out and shaping the dough, sticking them in the bubbling baking soda bath -- I felt like a kid playing and conducting a science experiment. 

baking soda bath

The texture of the finished pretzels was great, and they're best eaten warm, just a few minutes out of the oven. I didn't find them sweet enough (I know, yesterday I was saying I couldn't handle sweet...) so I wonder if the dough can be modified and made sweeter. The great thing about the recipe is that it's customizable and the possibilities for toppings are endless. The dough being as versatile as it is, I'd even go so far as to consider making pretzel dogs or bites for the kids.

CommentsCategories baked sunday mornings baking sweet Tags pretzels whole wheat flour cinnamon sugar