June is my favourite month. Summer is in full swing, dinner and drinks on the patio, and my birthday. Yes, my birthday. It’s truly my favourite holiday. I even take the day off work and treat myself to a sleep in, guilty pleasure TV and perhaps even a spa treatment if I’m able to get in. In my friend group there are three of us who have June birthdays, and we had the opportunity to get together last night to celebrate. I figured it isn’t a true birthday celebration without cake, so I decided to poll my friends to see which flavour cupcake they wanted me to make. Well, with a tie between chocolate and red velvet, I decided to mix it up and make these delicious Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes! I chose right – they were a total hit! There were even a couple loud statements claiming they were “the best cupcakes I have ever had!” You can’t get much better than that. These cupcakes are rich, decadent and moist. A total treat for birthday’s, holidays or any day of the week!
Wow time sure does fly. I can’t believe it’s been over one month since my last post. Trust me though, I have a valid reason. Last week, I was finally able to escape our brutally cold winter and head to the sunny skies and warmth of Arizona to visit my parents. I had every intention to do some serious baking with Claudia since I hadn’t seen her in well over a month. Well, my plan sorta backfired. On the second day of my vacation, I got the stomach flu – bad. I spent the remainder of my time in Arizona sick and whining for Claudia to take care of me. Yes, I reverted to a 12 year old girl pretty darn quick. You would too if your Mother was so close to you – trust me.
In any case, I finally have my appetite back and realized I needed to blog ASAP. St. Patrick’s Day is only a couple days away and what better way to celebrate than bake with my two favourite things in the world – chocolate and beer! I have to admit this is by far the BEST chocolate cake I have ever made in my entire life. It is adapted from Deb, the lovely genius behind Smitten Kitchen, which happens to be one of my favourite blogs in the world. She is so brilliant that she just came out with a brand new cookbook which I have been buying for my foodie friends as gifts! This cake is decadent and rich. The chocolate coffee ganache is a perfect touch of velvety goodness. It’s also pretty darn simple to make. I decided to use a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout beer to add to the rich chocolate flavour, but you can use your favourite stout beer (like Guinness).
Our Skor Cake is probably one of the most popular recipes our website. And of course, it should be – it’s delicious and so simple to make. In keeping with my autumn theme and total pumpkin obsession, I thought it would be fun to experiment with it a little. I was pretty darn happy I did too. I deemed this recipe “Pumpkin Caramel Dream Cake” for good reason. It’s simple like our Skor Cake recipe, rich and full of caramel and pumpkin flavor. Perfect for the season!
I wanted to point out an adaption to this recipe – I decided to mix the caramel in with the condensed milk and soak it into the cake. However, if you want more of an intense pumpkin cake flavor, you can soak the cake in condensed milk by itself and leave the caramel for the topping only.
Although my love of baking started at home with Claudia at a very young age, it was reinforced when Food Network Canada was part of our cable TV package. I was in university and still living with my parents when I discovered how wonderful the channel is. I remember watching Rachael Ray with Claudia and us both loving the food she would make and her energetic charm. When Rachael wasn’t on, we would turn the channel and eagerly watch the Queen – Martha Stewart. To this day, I love Martha. She defines everything that is classic and elegant in food and home.
I subscribe to Rachael Ray’s e-newsletter. This recipe that we are featuring in this post is adapted from one that Rachael featured a few weeks ago. I didn’t really like the idea of using jarred lemon curd, so I decided to make my own. With a little help from Martha of course. This cake is delightful. It’s full of bright lemon flavour, with a hint of sweetness from the raspberries. The cake is dense yet soft.
The original goal of this blog when it was first conceived was for me to learn and document all the amazing recipes that Claudia had in her cookbook. This blog recently turned 1 year old, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job at showcasing some of her best work. However, every now and then Claudia and I come across some fantastic recipes from others that we feel require some showcasing as well. My boyfriend’s Mom is also an amazing baker. There are countless recipes of hers I would love to get my hands on and feature. However, I’ve been told by her that the only way that will happen is if I marry her son. Fair trade off, right?
This Chocolate Zucchini Cake is one of my boyfriend’s favourite recipes from his Mom. He loves this cake so much that he requests that I bake it for him each year for his birthday. I can’t complain…it’s absolutely delicious. If it wasn’t for Claudia’s beloved Skor Cake, I’d be requesting Chocolate Zucchini Cake for my birthday as well.
Like most people, summer is my favourite time of the year. The weather (for the most part) is warm and restaurant patios are a buzz with tons of people in great moods. I particularly love summer because of the selection of fruit in season. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are in abundance in grocery stores, farmers markets are open, and U-pick fruit farms are everywhere. Some of my favourite summer memories growing up were when Claudia would take me and my brother to U-pick farms outside the city and we’d pick pails and pails of strawberries (and fill our bellies just the same).
I also find baking to be much more enjoyable with fresh in-season fruit. One of my favourites to bake in the early summer is Strawberry Rhubarb Cake. This recipe is another gem of Claudia’s. There are a lot of strawberry rhubarb recipes out there. This one is more like a cake, but still has the same delicious flavour as a crisp.
We are just waking up from our holiday food comas. We hope that the holiday season is being kind to you all! We did a fair amount of baking leading up to Christmas, therefore the next few posts will be of the dessert variety. We honestly couldn’t wait to share this new recipe of ours with you.
This recipe is actually not a Claudia original. I actually found it on the blog by the wonderful and talented Bakerella. We tried it for the first time last week and everyone who has tried these little darlings has fallen in love. So of course, we simply had to share the love with you as well! I think these little babies would be a fun addition to any New Years Eve potluck party. The only downside to this story is that you need Red Velvet cake mix. I haven’t been able to locate this in Canada, so I typically stock up on this when I hit Target in the USA. I highly recommend you give the Duncan Hines variety a try.
Claudia is finally back from her 3-week vacation in the country. Just in time for her birthday. Last week, I posted my absolute favourite birthday cake that Claudia makes for me every year. With Claudia’s return and birthday looming, we figured it would be fitting to post HER favourite birthday cake.
Because I pride myself on being a good daughter, I asked Claudia upon her return from vacation last week what kind of cake she would like for her birthday. Not even a split second went by before she blurted out excitedly “Poppy Seed Chiffon Cake!” Looks like Claudia prepared herself for this question and contemplated it quite heavily on the 5-hour drive back to the city!
Up until last week I had no idea what this cake was, let alone how to make it. So Claudia showed me her favourite recipe (a combination of two recipes – one consisting of a recipe card with ingredients written via typewriter and the other out of an old classic cookbook for the assembly and baking instructions). She wasn’t kidding around. A few days went by and I received a phone call from Claudia, insisting that she help me with her birthday cake. Yes folks, she wanted to make her own birthday cake. Mother-daughter baking trust issues? Perhaps. Perfect opportunity for a blog post? Absolutely.
With the last week of Claudia’s vacation coming to an end, I decided to make my all-time personal favourite cake. Sure…cheesecake is pretty good, and nothing can truly compare to an amazing piece of red velvet. But THIS cake is simply the best (sorry but I had to quote the Queen, Tina Turner there).
My brother and I were born 2 years and 1 day apart from each other. Growing up, we often shared birthday parties. We actually still do to this day. The one thing that Claudia did well was although we never really had individual birthday parties, we always had our own cake. Probably because she knew I’d throw a fit if I had a Superman themed cake and my brother would be the laughing stock of his friends if he had to have a Strawberry Shortcake themed cake. But I digress…
Skor Cake is now my staple birthday cake every year from Claudia. My brother also gets Skor Cake, but his typically comes from Dairy Queen in ice cream form. Again, even in adulthood, we still need to keep our birthday cakes different. I encourage you all try Skor Cake for your birthdays. Friends – you are worth it!