Tuesday, April 26, 2011


So cute, and not stale!

I'm going on a sugar diet, which will consists of nothing but Easter candy until it's gone. I have to get it out of my apartment and office so I can go back to eating like a normal human being. I packed my lunch yesterday with my Easter basket of jelly beans, pixie stix, See's peanut brittle and mint patties, marshmallows, and some homegrown tangerines that taste like candy.

I don't think I helped the sugar shocked weekend when I decided to make Peeps. They are so cute but have such a bad reputation for being stale, so I figured homemade marshmallow peeps would be well received, and they were! I made two flavors, the classic vanilla Peep, covered in yellow sugar, and a gourmet Peep flavored with blackberry jam, covered in purple sugar. For the yellow Peep, I used my favorite marshmallow recipe from Alton Brown. For the purple Peep, I adapted Martha's strawberry marshmallow recipe and used blackberry jam instead of strawberry jam.

Peeps are simple. They are just marshmallows covered in sugar. Marshmallows themselves are just sugar melted and then whipped. Easy enough, except the piping! There were no action shots of this, as my hands were covered in go.

I use so much corn syrup for my candy making that I was delighted to see they now make a 32 oz jar of the stuff. The woman at Von's was about the card me though. She had never seen corn syrup sold like that and thought it was a bottle of Popov Vodka! With all the fuss about child obesity, I'm surprised they don't actually card for sugar.

Homemade colored sugar. I finally was able to use this superfine sugar I've been sitting on for a while. Just mixed it in a bag with food dye until all the food color was incorporated and a homogeneous sugar was created. Pretty cool if you ask me.

I've got all my ducks in a row.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cinnamon Wine Cake

The crispy bottom of the cake is the best part.

I'll keep this post short and sweet, much like this recipe! Cinnamon Wine Cake is delicious yet mellow, moist yet crispy, and elegant yet simple. Quite a chameleon it seems. We've had this recipe in the family for years, and I'm not positive everyone in the family will be happy I'm posting this, but it's too good not to share, and it's just so darn easy.

Also, there's a mystery about this cake. For some reason, it always tastes better if someone else makes it for you.

Cinnamon Wine Cake

1 package yellow cake mix

1 small package vanilla pudding

4 eggs

¾ cup oil

8 oz sour cream

1/3 cup dry sherry

1/3 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat all ingredients, except sugar and cinnamon, for five minutes. Pour half of batter into a bundt pan. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle half of sugar mixture on the batter in the pan: then add the other half of the batter to the pan. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture on top.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes. Let cool, invert on a plate and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Baker's Notes:
1. Do not use the large box of pudding, the cake will never set up. You don't want an unintentional cream filled cake. Similarly, choose the yellow cake mix without pudding in the mix.
2. Walnuts or pecans do not go well in this cake. Never mess with tradition.
3. This cake lasts for days, and is best after sitting a day or two.
4. Unfamiliar folk are surprisingly intrigued (and sometimes judgmental) with the cake after hearing "wine" in the name.

I like forks. Big ones.

In other news, besides being obsessed with taking better food photographs and being frustrated with photoshop, I seem to be addicted to making these super cute reversible aprons. Send in your orders, I may or may not take them seriously!

This is my super cute next door neighbor modeling my latest apron creation.