When you want a little something that’s sweet and spicy, reach for this Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake; it’s rich and spiced with cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
I can’t believe it’s that time again!
But it is! It’s time for another round from the lovely members of Bundtbakers. The wondrous Lauren of Sew You Think You Can Cook is our host this month. She has charged us with the task of creating a bundt recipe which contains the extremely versatile cinnamon. I love the warming effects that cinnamon brings to almost every recipe where it’s used. It’s especially fantastic in these fried cinnamon sugar tortillas.
This chai spiced shortbread is an amazing little cookie. I will get to them in a minute, but first…a trip to CVS. About two weeks ago, I was having the mother of all allergy attacks. As we were out of medication and Dave is the best, he went to CVS to hook me up.
Baked Maple Bacon Donuts! These are the donuts people have been talking about for ages. In fact, a buddy of mine asked me to join her at the Glazed Donut Cafe here in L.A.. I said I would once I realized they have a Brown Butter Maple Bacon Donut. I haven’t had a chance to get there yet, but let me tell you something…these bad boys will hold me until I do.
I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I mean, I love me some bacon and I’ll never say “no” to a donut, but a baked maple bacon donut? I wasn’t too sure. It’s like putting two things together that have no business merging. Let me put it to you like this: cheeseburgers are fantastic and ice cream is to die for, but do you really want two scoops of meat-filled Rocky Road? I didn’t think so.
On the other hand, what have I got to lose? Worst comes to worst, I’m left with a pile of crispy bacon and six maple glazed donuts.
Oh my goodness! The new year is here! Are you ready for it? I’m not sure if I am, but that is of no consequence. It’s here, so I better get it together.
Around this time everybody starts making resolutions for themselves and their families. I get it. You want to better yourself and your situation. Usually, I promise myself the same things: lose weight, better hair care(gotta keep my ‘fro tight), get myself organized, blah, blah, blah.
Things have changed this time around. This past year I’ve embarked upon an adventure called I bake he shoots and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the level of enthusiasm that I feel for the work that Dave and I have begun.
So this year…I’m making one New Year’s Resolution:
To fully commit myself to this project, this joint adventure, this endeavor. This year will be dedicated to great food + great photography.
…and better hair care. Seriously, I never kid about my ‘fro.
Alright…enough about ‘fros and revolutions resolutions. Let’s talk food. More importantly, breakfast.
The latest issue of Food Network Magazine has a beautiful cover of Christmas cookies, but inside you’ll find a nice spread dedicated to pigs in a blanket. But not any old pigs in a blanket…french toast sausages. What?
Normally, I’m not really into french toast. I’m a waffle girl. On occasion, I’m a buttermilk-pancakes-with-a-side-of-bacon girl, but when I saw those sausages wrapped up in french toast? I was a changed girl.
Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. These babies take a little bit of work. This isn’t a everyday recipe. I’d file this under special occasions, like the Breakfast in Bed category. Or, the Mother’s Day Brunch category. Or, the I’m-sorry-I-didn’t-pick-you-up-from-the-hospital category. Well, you might need to dig a little deeper for that one.
I got canned while on vacation. Yes, me. vacay. fired.
It was slightly embarrassing and perfectly understandable. You see, my boss was a troll.
Wait…that’s not fair. Perhaps, she was just a perfectionist? Nah, she was a troll.
At the time I was working at a bakery. I was super excited because finally, someone was paying me to do what I love. My neighbor, we’ll call her ‘Miss Good Intentions’ got me a job making pastries at a second bakery around the corner. I should’ve known it was a bad idea as she never had anything good to say about her boss; but I took the job anyway. I worked at the second bakery for three days. Here’s how it went.
I met with the owner, a scary looking woman who looked like she desperately needed a bowl of soup and a nap. I kinda felt sorry for her. Little did I know she would soon can my ass so my sympathy was a bit misplaced. She showed me the recipes and how she wanted everything baked. No problem.
After my 4 hr training session(Day 1), I was left to my own devices. I baked all the scones, muffins, cookies, etc. and plated them. It was ten minutes until opening and everything was ready, but wasn’t yet placed in the display case. Troll noticed and hit the roof. Queue the tongue-lashing I received with an audience. The cashier felt so bad for me she offered to make me a latte.
With 20 ounces of Low Carb Monster in me I returned to the bakery energized and determined to please Troll. I kept to myself, focused on the tasks at hand and got everything baked and displayed under the wire. There was no praise from Troll she just hobbled over and gave me a new list of ‘things to prep’.
At the end of my shift she asked me to return the next weekend. I couldn’t as I planned to spend a week with my great friend Marsha, who was pregnant with her first child. I offered to come back the weekend after my return and Troll accepted.
The following week, whilst vacationing in Alabama, I got a call from the manager. She asked where I wanted my wages sent as my services were no longer needed. There was no ‘wtf’ reaction from me; I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. Politely, I answered her question and ended the conversation.
What upset me most is the fact that I never got to try their donut muffins. You see, the bakery was famous for them. Did I mention that Troll never let me try any of the baked goods? Good lord, Troll…have a heart!
Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with donut muffins. Now that Fall is upon us, I had to make a pumpkin version. I give you…jumbo pumpkin donut muffins!
I love these bad boys. They’re big, lightly spiced and stay super moist. Put them in a basket and give them to your mom, or your boss. Unless, your boss is a scary looking woman that looks like a troll.
½ c milk(I used buttermilk, hence the baking soda)
1 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray jumbo muffin pan with baking spray or line with jumbo paper cups.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix wet in a measuring cup or small bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
Divide evenly among the six cups. I filled each cup with double scoops, size 16.
Bake for 25 minutes.
To make the glaze, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 heaping tablespoon of heavy cream over low heat. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and remove from heat once fully melted. Vigorously whisk in 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Use immediately.
This was a good one. After a lousy shoot last week that produced unusable pictures, I was relieved this session went well.
Frankly, when things go bad, it’s typically due to a lack of planning and bad technique. It’s nearly impossible to “wing it” with studio food photography, yet I’m still dumb enough to do it on occasion.
This week, I planned, metered, and carefully coordinated the colors and composition before I picked up the camera. When I finally took the first shot, I knew I had nailed it.
The lighting was composed of three lights. The main light was a monolight bounced off a white wall at f11.5. The second light was bounced into a large piece of foamcore at f8.5 to give a little more wrap and the third was a soft silver umbrella set at f4.5 to provide fill from the opposite side.
I liked the natural look of this setup, but there were problems with specularity off the top of the muffins. A little specularity is normal and necessary, but the top of the muffins were completely blown out. I adjusted the camera and lighting angles but I finally used my hand as a Gobo over the top of the muffins. It was a stupid simple solution, but sometimes it’s just easier sticking your hand on to the set and blocking the light.
This was a fun shoot and I saved a $1000 on lighting modifiers by bouncing a light off the wall and a piece of cardboard. It’s easy to get caught up with all the latest gear, but when it comes down to it, once light bounces off something or travels through a piece of nylon, it’s all going to look the same. The only thing that truly matters is the size of the light relative to the subject. Of course, if Chimera calls tomorrow with a sponsorship, I’ll sell out faster than M.C. Hammer jumping off a Taco Bell.