Archive for February 2010

Dessert Wine

Not to long ago I was in my local wine seller (haha pun intended) and a particular bottle caught my eye.  When comes to spirits I have a proclivity for red wine.  I’d like to believe my palate is well versed in tasting all the notes in a good glass of wine, but the truth is I’m just no sommolier.  When it comes to choosing wine I have some favorites,  but I’m more apt, like anyone, to judge a book by its cover and buy a bottle with a pretty label or funny name. So when I saw this bottle with a big ole slice of cake on the front I was intrigued and completely skeptical.

Surprise surprise Layer Cake is actually a really nice bottle to try.  Here I thought they were trying to sucker this cake enthusiast by using a clever name for their vino.  The name Layer Cake comes from the family’s philosophy on wine making.  “…wine if  properly made was like a great layer cake, fruit, mocha, chocolate, with hints of spice and rich–always rich.” (

What a great philosophy on wine…and cake for that matter.  I could cozy up with a glass of layer cake just about any day of the week.  I recommend the Primitivo, though all the different kinds are delicious.  I’ve also started incorporating this wine into my baking.  As we speak I’m soaking fruit for a black cake (recipe to come soon), and I thought it only fitting to soak my fruit in Layer Cake.


Add a comment February 26, 2010

Valentine’s Day

I celebrated Valentine’s Day  like anyone else might, with a bone crushing Hockey game!  Nothing like a bunch big angry men slaming into each other to symbolize a day of love, but enough about me.

Valentines Day is actually one of my favorite holidays because it is the celebratory day of one of my favorite organziations VDay.  VDay has been doing alot of work over the last 12 years to make the world a better place, especially for women and girls. I applaud their work and have tried to volunteer time or donate funds when I can.   I think Valentines Day is just the appropriate day to spread love so why not try to do so by giving time and or money to those who need it?

That brings me to my dear friends Chrissy and Nathan.   They spent February 14th running a marathon!!  NO SMALL FEAT, thats for sure!  Chrissy and Nathan were really dedicated to their cause of completing the 26.2 mile  race around the Austin city limits. (And they both managed to finish in under 4 hours!!)  They trained hard for months completing 20 mile hilly courses in their East Texas neighborhood all in preparation  for a race that can really do a number on you if you aren’t ready.  To give themselves some added inspiration while on the grueling course this past V-Day, Chrissy and Nathan asked their friends to donate to their favorite charity Doctor’s without borders.   They both said it really helped knowing that they’d helped raise money for an important cause all while accomplishing a big personal goal.

So though I might have spent an enjoyable V-Day drinking beer and screaming when Sean Avery sunk in a top shelf penalty shot I did try and donate to the Chrissy and Nathan’s training regimen …with calories!  Adaquate caloric intake is essential when training for a feat of this nature and Chrissy and Nathan are also vegan which in my opinion is another challenge at least from my humble baker’s prespective.  So I sent my friends a large box of Vegan Cookies to keep their spirits and their calories high in anticipation of a mighty race!


Vegan Chocolate Chips from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

These Cookies were so awesome you’d never know that they don’t contain butter.  I had to save a couple for myself before sealing up the package and sending it off.

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

2/3 c canola oil

1/4 c unsweetened almond milk or your choice of non dairy milk

1 tsp tapioca flour (sometimes called tapioca starch, I substituted 1 tsp cornstarch, as I couldn’t find tapioca flour)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine sugars, oil, milk, and tapioca flour with a fork.  Mix with vigor for about 2 minutes! As the authors of this awesome book mention “there is a chemical reaction when the sugar and oil collide, so its important that you don’t get lazy..”  The mixture should look like thick carmel when you are done.

Add 1 cup of flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.  Add the remaining flour and fold in chips.  Scoop dough into balls.  I suggest 1.5″ in diameter.  Flatten slightly when placing on cookie sheet.  I lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper.  If you don’t have parchment make sure you grease the cookie sheet.

**Parchment is great at limiting the messiness of baking and you can use one piece of parchment batch after batch in the oven.  Replace with a fresh sheet when the paper starts to look brown.  By the way I don’t recommend using wax paper in place of parchment, unless you want you cookies to taste like crayons…

1 comment February 18, 2010

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The Cake Eccentric

Sugar, Frosting, and Fondant: an artistic exploration of Cake and other Sweets