Author Archives: jackieruinsthecake

Lemon Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

Hey! I have an idea. Let’s all just get on a time machine and pretend I posted this in May instead of August! Huh? Doesn’t that sound fun? Okay, let’s do this.

[insert TARDIS noises here]

Well, it is currently the month of May in the year 2013, and today I am going to share this lovely recipe for Lemon Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake with you all! Wow, can you imagine if I had baked these and then waited five months to make a post about it? Haha! No, only a very silly and lazy person would do such a thing. And I’m certainly neither of those things!

Anyway, this recipe is from that Chocolate Chip cookbook I’ve used so much in the past. I can’t help it that there are a bunch of really great things in there, alright? I mean, adding chocolate chips to ANYTHING gets me excited, but you know. I saw this one and thought that lemon and chocolate chips seemed like a strange combination, but the blurb assured me it was a “sleeper combination”. And what an accurate statement that was. Lemon and chocolate actually go insanely good together, so if you haven’t tried such a concoction before, you definitely should. You won’t be sorry. Unless you dislike lemons and/or chocolate, I guess, in which case, why are you even here? Please leave.

I haven’t baked in a while, and I have to say, baking alone on a nice spring afternoon was incredibly relaxing. I wasn’t making anything particularly complicated, so I wasn’t stressing myself out, and breaking eggs and mixing a bunch of powders and liquids in a bowl is an oddly calming activity. I will definitely be baking a lot again and not letting my blog sit and gather dust for nearly half a year!

Oh, um, my… memory seems to be getting a little foggy… it’s almost like I baked this a long time ago, and not recently! Wow! How strange!

In any case, when I brought this to work it was a major hit, despite the fact that I mayyyy have overbaked it a little bit, as evidenced by the very, very brown outsides that you can see in the photo below. The recipe also said to use a fork to poke holes in the top to let the lemon syrup in, but I found that the fork didn’t penetrate deeply enough, so I used a knife instead. It might actually be easier to use a toothpick or something, but I didn’t have any handy.

Enough of this, though; onto the recipe!

Lemon Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake (from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter at room temp

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional; I didn’t use this)

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Lemon Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and butter or spray a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper as well.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl, then set aside. In large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until smoothly blended. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and the extract(s) and mix until blended. If it looks a little curdled that’s fine. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture until it is just incorporated, then mix in the milk. Add the rest of the flour mixture until incorporated, then add the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into your loaf pan, and bake until the top is browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about fifty minutes).

For the lemon syrup — in a small saucepan, about ten minutes before the cake is done, heat the sugar and lemon juice over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. DON’T BOIL. When done, set aside.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, use a fork/toothpick/knife/whatever long sharp object you happen to have to poke holes all over the top. Pour the warm syrup evenly over the cake. Use all of it. Let the cake cool completely, which should take about an hour. Use a small knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Place a large plate on top of the pan, and carefully flip the cake onto the plate. Cut into slices and serve!


Super Sweet Blogger Award

Carissa over at at350degrees nominated me for this Super Sweet Blogger Award meme! I feel special now. Be sure to check out hers ’cause she has some awesome and delicious stuff on there.


1. Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you.
2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.
3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen (13) blogs.


1. Cookies or Cake? OH GOD THIS IS SO HARD. I… I’m gonna have to go with cookies. I’m sorry, cake. I still love you too.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. Always chocolate.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Fresh out-of-the-oven homemade chocolate chip cookies. …And now I want some. Great. I can’t make chocolate chip cookies at 10 at night.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Whenever I see them, whether in pictures or in real life. Or when I’m bored. Or when I wanna reward myself for something. Just basically all the time, really.

5. If you had a nickname, what would it be? A few nicknames I have are — Jack, the Jackster, and Dude.

Okay, now unfortunately I don’t follow too many baking blogs, and the ones I do follow are really big name ones that probably have hundreds of people nominating them for this thing, so instead I’ll just nominate any baker who wants to fill this out! Because we’re all awesome.

Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

Apologies, apologies. I know I said I would post something here once a month, but… well, life gets in the way. Life, and a gradually decreasing inclination to bake. It’s sad, that something I used to get excited about now just makes me shrug and put it off. If I didn’t feel so guilty about never updating this site, never using my camera, and never using all of the baking equipment and supplies I’ve acquired over the past two years, I probably wouldn’t even be doing this entry right now.

It’s kind of depressing, but it’s the truth.

But! I still had fun making this anyway. I was originally going to make Peanut Butter Pie, but decided not to because the recipe was all, “lol buy cool whip” and I was like, “lol no”. Then I was going to make Coconut Macaroon Bars at the suggestion of my mother, but I had almost none of the ingredients and was not in the mood to blow a ton of money.

My boyfriend came up with the idea to make icebox cake, something he’s made a bunch of times before and loves. Icebox cake is basically just whipped cream and cookies, so what’s not to like? But I decided to make it a little different by making a peanut butter whipped cream instead.

In the past when I’ve made whipped cream, it’s never formed stiff peaks. I’ve read that chilling the bowl and the beaters helps, but I just… never did that? For some reason? I did this time, though, and it totally worked. The cream formed stiff peaks in no time. It was awesome. I didn’t have to whip it for ages and ages just to get it halfway there. I was quite pleased with myself.

I’m actually not a huge fan of peanut butter, and thus not of this whipped cream, but others seemed to love it so I suppose it was a success. I mean, I do like peanut butter sometimes, but… I guess it depends. I definitely don’t like just straight peanut butter.


We used a loaf pan for this, and we nearly ran out of cookies to stack due to not being able to correctly gauge exactly how much whipped cream should go in between each cookie. We used a little too much so we weren’t able to completely frost the top.

But really, how can you mess up whipped cream and chocolate wafers? I would’ve thought I could have found a way, but I didn’t.

Rob frosted the top and covered it in crumbs from the remaining cookies, which also conveniently hid the bits where the frosting didn’t cover the cookies completely. That’s my motto — if you mess up, cover it in sprinkles.

And it was a huge hit! I brought it to work a couple days later, and everyone who had it said it was completely delicious. It’s nice to do something right for a change.

I really will try to update this blog more often. I do still like baking, even if I don’t get to do it very often and at the moment I’m kinda “meh” towards it. I just like creating things, whether it be cookies, or stories, or movies, or doodles of Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth glaring at each other in a rowboat (I am going to be a MESS once season 3 of Game of Thrones starts, you guys).

Peanut Butter Icebox Cake

2 cups of heavy cream

1 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 box of thin chocolate wafers

Get an electric mixer. Chill the bowl and beaters you will be using to make the whipped cream in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes. Whip the heavy cream and sugar together until they form stiff peaks, about ten minutes. Or, if you do it by hand, considerably longer. Mix in the peanut butter.

Get a long pan, and take the wafers and spread whipped cream on them. Stack them in the pan until the pan is full. Spread the rest of the whipped cream on top. If you have leftover cookies, crumble them and sprinkle them on top. Let set in the fridge for four hours. Serve and enjoy!

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

I know I know I know I know I know I know I know I know — long time no see, huh? Man, I really am the worst. A entire season and a half went by and I didn’t update this blog ONCE. I’m sure you’ve all been refreshing this page every day, in the vain hope that a new delicious treat would be posted. “Why won’t she update her blog????” you would cry to the heavens. “DOESN’T SHE KNOW THIS IS ALL I HAVE TO LIVE FOR???????????”

Well, I’m very sorry. Really. I’ve just been way, way too busy to bake. Or, at least, bake something new and take pictures of it and blabber about it on the Internet. So, yes, I have been baking, but not very often, and nothing I haven’t posted about already.

BUT! It’s Christmas! And I decided, you know, it’s time for something new. It’s time to dust off Jackie Ruins the Cake and place a cupcake on the… desk… that is this website… that I’ve just dusted… um?

Anyway, on to the important part: the cupcakes!

And what would a Jackie Ruins the Cake post be without me fucking things up in some fashion? I’m pretty rusty, especially when it comes to meringue buttercreams, and so while the cupcakes themselves came out rather tasty (how could they not? It’s coffee and chocolate and mint, three great and perfect things), even though I forgot the brown sugar. However, the buttercream…

Okay, so I was attempting to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream — something I have already made — but something happened, and no matter how much I mixed and mixed, the goddamn meringue would not form stiff peaks. I added the butter anyway in hopes that it would form anyway, aaaaaaand it didn’t. It was just soupy and liquidy and curdled and ugh. Some yolk must have gotten in the egg whites somehow. So, on the verge of tears once again because of frosting, I dumped it the useless frosting down the toilet and ventured out into the cold to buy two cans of storemade frosting.

I felt like a dismal failure, but was determined to finish these cupcakes anyway, so I put the one can of plain buttercream in the pastry bag, and the other can I dyed red (well, I tried to dye it red, but it came out pink) and added a random amount of mint extract. Then I placed that on top of the plain buttercream already in the pastry bag, and mixed it all up as best as I could, in order to get a stripe effect.

It didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to, but they still looked pretty cool anyway.

(yeah, they look a lot pinker in this photo than they do in real life for some reason?)

I brought them into work today, and was told they were awesome and that I should open my own bakery, so at least they were liked!

I’m going to try to update this blog more often in 2013. I won’t be posting once a week like I did when I first opened this site, but I’ll try to post something at least once every month or two.

Try being the operative word here.

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes (from Annie’s Eats)


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 tsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs


6 large egg whites
1¾ plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tsp. peppermint extract
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line cupcake pan with liner. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and the milk, coffee, and extract in another bowl. Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, then blend in the eggs one at a time. Alternatively add the dry and wet ingredients until all have been incorporated, ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes.

For the frosting, combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until the sugar has dissolved and it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk frequently. Then remove the bowl off of the stove and using a stand mixer (preferably, unless you only have a hand mixer, in which case be prepared to stand there mixing for a whiiile) with a whisk attachment, beat at a medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Then lower the speed to medium and add the butter two tablespoons at a time. Stir in the extracts and beat until incorporated.

Layered Mocha Mousse

It’s difficult to remember that practice really does make perfect.

I’m one of those people that needs to be perfect — or, if not perfect, at least really good — at something the first thing they try it, and if that’s not the case, then to just give up and hate themselves. It’s not always an option to give up, though. And when you try and you practice because you have to, and then you get better? And then you eventually get to the point where you’re good at it? That’s a pretty great feeling.

It’s also something I forget to keep in mind when I’m trying new things. I wasn’t so great at baking when I first started. I’m still not perfect now, especially because lately I’ve been so busy I just haven’t had the time or the inclination to bake things. But I learn something new every time. And when I first started working at the bakery, I was incredibly awful at writing messages on the cakes. I couldn’t make the words fit, and my writing was sloppy and childish. Now, though, I am frequently complimented on my frosting penmanship, although once in a while I’ll slip up and wind up with frosting bursting out of the bag.

Lately I’ve been trying to write stories again. I used to write constantly and, as such, got better and better the more I did it. I read stuff now from when I was in high school and am just amazed at how good of a writer I was — not to toot my own horn or anything. But now, when I’m trying to write a fanfic or a screenplay or what have you, I wind up so frustrated with myself because it doesn’t always just pour out of me like it used to. I know this is because there were several years where I didn’t write much of anything at all and I need to practice again. But it’s so much easier to just close out of Open Office and give up entirely.

This entry isn’t about a baking failure. The mousse turned out quite delicious, actually, even though I’m still not entirely sure this was a mousse because the recipe was sort of confusing. But I’ve been putting off writing this post for a few weeks because I’ve lost confidence in myself and my ability to write something engaging and interesting. Who the hell cares about anything I have to say? But people do care. Not a lot of people, granted, but there are a few of you out there who genuinely enjoy this blog and the things I write about.


I mean, what was I saying?

For everyone who’s like me — all of you who give up easily, who don’t believe in themselves, who want to be the best at everything they try when they know it’s impossible — I know it’s hard to believe, but even if you’re not the greatest at something, there are people who will love what you do and will love you for doing it. Even when it seems like no one on Earth cares or gives a shit, at least one person out there does. And you have to keep doing what you’re doing, and do it for them. And even if, somehow, absolutely no one on the planet thinks you’re doing anything worthwhile? Fuck the world. Do it for yourself.

And when you’re crying in front of your computer screen because you can’t think of an ending for your novel, make yourself this Layered Mocha Mousse because it is super delicious and is perfect for this ridiculously hot weather we’ve been having lately.

Trust me. I’m a professional. Except I’m not, but let’s just forget that little detail, shall we?

Make sure you refrigerate this extremely quickly, though, as it melts surprisingly fast.

Layered Mocha Mousse
(from The Essential Chocolate Chip Book)

6 tablespoons cold heavy cream, plus 2 cups

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bittersweet)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder

In a medium saucepan, heat the 6 tablespoons of heavy cream and the butter over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter melts. If you wish, you can measure the temperature to 175 degrees, but I didn’t do that and it turned out fine. The mixture should form tiny bubbles, and don’t let it boil or it might form a skin on top. If that happens, just scrape it off.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Let it sit for thirty seconds, then whisk until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Transfer 3/4 cup of the sauce into a large bowl and leave the rest for topping the mousse, and let cool to room temperature.

Have ready six stemmed glasses or goblets.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 cups of cream, the powdered sugar, instant coffee, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream into the cooled truffle sauce in the bowl, then fold the remaining whipped cream into the… mousse? (This is what the recipe says in the book but there was no mention of a mousse earlier in this recipe, so I just ignored that part)

Spoon the mousse and the whipped cream in layers into each glass. You can top with some whipped cream in a can like I did, or just leave it the way it is. Use a spoon to drizzle the remaining truffle sauce on top. You might have to re-heat it again a little in order to make it pourable.

Cover and refrigerate until cold and set, about two hours, or even overnight.Or you can put it in the freezer and it’ll be ready in about an hour. Your call. Serve cold and om nom nom to your heart’s content.

Pink Rainbow Cupcakes

The Avengers came out today, and while I’m not going to get to see it until Sunday, I was going to make a cool Captain America pull-apart cupcake in the shape of his shield. Alas, it was not meant to be. In order to make that I was going to need a metal off-set spatula, but my boyfriend was unable to drive me to the craft store yesterday so I couldn’t get it. But! I did still make cupcakes! They’re not Avengers-themed at all, but let’s pretend they are. Though now that I think of it, I could’ve made actual rainbow cupcakes, for the rainbow bridge in Thor, but too late now.

Anyway! Last month I was actually going to participate in the Daring Bakers’ challenge for once, but I’ve just been so busy with work, and I typically only have one day off a week now, and I don’t always want to spend that day baking. It’ll have to wait for another time, I suppose. And since my Captain America cupcakes fell through, I decided to pick something from a cupcake recipe book my friend Anna got for me for Christmas (or my birthday, I can’t remember which).

The recipe called for cake flour, whiiiiiich I don’t have, and neither does the grocery store. Luckily, it’s easy to make your own cake flour with regular all-purpose flour and a bit of corn starch!

For every cup of flour you need, you take two tablespoons out of the regular flour and add two tablespoons of corn starch, then mix it all together very nicely so it’s all incorporated. You’re supposed to sift it, but I don’t have a sifter, so I just used a fork. Well, I do technically have a sifter, but it’s a hand-cranked deal and it’s annoying to use and to clean.

Every cupcake recipe in the book I was using assumes you have/want to use a 6-cup muffin pan. I don’t have one, nor did I want to use one for these cupcakes. Maybe some other time, but I didn’t want to buy YET ANOTHER pan just for this and any possible muffins I might make in the future. So I thought, if it fills 6 muffin cups, it’ll fit 12 smaller cupcakes, right?

Haha. Wrong.

It barely managed to fit 7. Which is okay, I guess, since I wasn’t really planning on making a ton of cupcakes or anything (since I usually have the opposite problem of having batter left over), but still somewhat annoying. If you plan on making these, and you want more cupcakes, I recommend doubling the recipe — which I’ve actually included for the first time in a while!

Despite the limited amount of batter I had to work with, the cupcakes came out looking pretty good. The pink sprinkles melted into the batter, creating a cool look.

I didn’t feel like waiting ages for the cupcakes to cool, so I moved some stuff around in the fridge and stuck them in there while I got ready to make the frosting. I actually had really good luck today, as far as softened butter went. For a while now, the damn butter hasn’t softened properly, leaving nasty lumps and such in my batters and frostings. That didn’t happen today, though! They sat out for an hour and they were nice and soft by the time I was ready to bake. Thank God. I sooooo did not want to deal with that shit today, let me tell you.

I added a little red dye to my frosting, and then I decided to experiment with color combinations. What other shade of pink could I get? I added more red dye, and then some yellow to see what would happen. Fearing the worst, I cringed as I mixed the colors in, and —

Oh, hey! It actually looks good! I really like the peach color this turned out to be. I’ll have to remember to mix my colors up more often. It’s like the color wheel in art class all over again.

In my job at the grocery store bakery, I’ve basically been moved from night crew to afternoon crew, which means — time permitting — I can put together things like dessert cups, cupcakes, etc. So I’m used to using very large pastry bags that can fit tons of frosting in them. And the tiny 12-inch ones I have at home are just… not cutting it. THEY’RE SO SMALL. I don’t wanna keep adding frosting into them, I want to put a ton in there so I don’t have to re-fill it every time I frost two cupcakes! God, it’s so ridiculous. I need to buy some really big ones next time I go to the craft store. Or maybe order some online.

Still came out looking pretty good, though, despite my frustrations with the tiny-ass pastry bag. I put more sprinkles on top, too. I just wish I had been able to pile on more frosting, but what can ya do. The frosting is very sugar-y, though, so maybe it’s a good thing I wasn’t able to do that. I really need to find a good non-meringue buttercream recipe that isn’t so goddamn SUGAR-Y. I always feel like I’m gonna go into a diabetic coma whenever I eat homemade American buttercream.


Pink Rainbow Cupcakes (adapted from Perfect Cupcakes)


3/4 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup assorted pink sprinkles


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Set up a six-cup muffin pan, or a 12-cup cupcake pan (but be prepared to only have about 6-7 cupcakes, unless you double the recipe). In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until blended. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing until light. Gradually beat in half of the flour mixture, then add the milk. Add in the remaining flour mixture until blended. Pour in half of the sprinkles and fold into the batter, then divide the batter into the muffin/cupcake liners.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back to the touch. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes, then take the cupcakes out and let them cool completely (or, if you’re pressed for time, stick the pan into the fridge or freezer).

While you wait for the cupcakes to cool, begin your buttercream. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add in the vanilla. Add the heavy cream until a suitable piping consistency is achieved. Dye the buttercream pink, either by using a very small amount of red dye, or doing like I did and mixing red and yellow until you get a shade you like. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and frost the cupcakes. Add the rest of the sprinkles, and you’re done!

Peanut Butter Fudge Cheesecake

I was at work when I got a text message from my mom.

“Do you have a Hershey’s lookbook?”

Lookbook? Oh, cookbook. I texted her back no, then received another message informing me that she was looking at one in a bookstore right that moment and everything in it looked delicious and awesome and that she was going to get it for me. Hey, who am I to turn down a free recipe book?

And she was right. Oh god, was she ever right. I want to eat everything in this book, even the stuff I don’t think I would actually enjoy, like the black forest cake (or anything with cherries in it, really). If only there was a way to make stuff in books appear in the real world. I’d probably gain a hundred pounds.

But, such devices do not exist, and so I must make the baked goods myself. I decided on the Peanut Butter Fudge Cheesecake for a couple of reasons. 1) It looked amazingly tasty, 2) Because I’ve never made cheesecake before and it was about time I made one, and 3) Did I mention it looked really, really good?

The recipe wanted me to use vanilla wafers for the crust, but I eschewed that in favor of graham crackers because I don’t play by the rules, man. As I was crushing the graham crackers with my rolling pin (instead of a hammer), I grew more and more worried. Given my track record recently, it seemed inevitable that I fuck this up in one way or another. The cheesecake would probably crack. Oh God, it was definitely going to crack. It was going to look awful. What if it tasted awful, too? What if it was just a lumpy and disgusting mess and a waste of cream cheese? WHAT IF THE WORLD ENDED BECAUSE OF THIS CHEESECAKE???

While the crust was cooking I hurriedly researched on the internet about how to prevent cheesecakes from cracking and the best ways to bake them. I grew more and more freaked out as I looked at the long lists of instructions and warnings. Cheesecakes are temperamental little buggers, apparently! Just the slightest thing could make them fall apart entirely, according to the things I read. I started losing more and more confidence, but I had already started making it, so I couldn’t stop now.

And wouldn’t you know, one of the things I feared would happen came true — the cream cheese would not get soft and was still cold, therefore causing lumps in the batter. I actually started mixing it together a bit with my hands in an effort to warm the cold cream cheese and cause it to meld into the batter. It worked a little, but not really. Baking things in winter is impossible. Or maybe my microwave is doing it wrong.

Anyway, I kept going, melting the peanut butter chips and the chocolate.

In hindsight, I probably should’ve used more peanut butter. The taste of peanut butter wasn’t as strong as I would’ve liked. I seperated the batter, and poured the melted chocolate chips into one, peanut butter chips into the other. Chocolate layer first, peanut butter layer second. The batter was still lumpy and didn’t spread across the pan quite correctly. The videos all had silky smooth batter that didn’t require spreading with a spatula. But, oh well.

Using a few of the tips I’d gotten from the Intertubes, I wrapped my springform pan with foil, filled a baking pan with water, placed the springform pan into that (it’s called a water bath, for those of you not ~in the know~), and put it in the oven, crossing my fingers. Not literally, but metaphorically.

So sure was I that the top would be cracked once it was finished that, when I finally took it out of the oven some time later, I was astonished to find…

NO CRACKS. NONE. ZERO. I was amazed and proud and confused. I kept feeling like, because it didn’t crack, I did something wrong. But nope! It was delicious! Everyone loved it and sang my praises over it! Parades were held in my honor! I was given a large, expensive medal!

Though, as you can see, I…uh… forgot to spray the pan. Again. Because I’m an idiot. I really need to remember to do that.

In any case, I’m really pleased that my first attempt at cheesecake went so well. It didn’t go off without a hitch, but you know, that’s to be expected. I have to remember I can’t be perfect at everything. Or anything, really, because most people aren’t, no matter how much it appears that they are.

I’ll add the recipe here later, but I need to go to work soon.


Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes with Ganache Topping

What I’ve made for this post is nothing extraordinary — nothing, in fact, that I haven’t already made before. But after the disappointment of last time, stepping out of my comfort zone wasn’t really something I was prepared to do. Perhaps another day I’ll attempt a full-blown layer cake, but today is not that day.

I really wanted to make something for Valentine’s Day. This is the first Valentine’s Day I’ve been in possession of a boyfriend, and while I know it isn’t really that big of a deal, it was nice to finally feel smug after all those years of glaring at the girls in high school who carried balloons around with them all day and received dozens of chocolate roses from boyfriends and secret admirers. Finally, I’m one of them! IN. YO. FACE.

Of course, the day itself was pretty much just like any other day, except with more chocolate and cookies. And also these cupcakes I managed to whip together.

(this isn’t the chocolate I used; I just like the picture)

For the cake itself, I used the same one I used for the Cupcake Cones I made a while back, but instead of using a spoon or a mixer, I used a whisk. Why? I don’t know. I just felt like it. This, however, served to make the cake very light and fluffy, due to the air molecules and blah blah blah science.

I forgot, however, to account for the fluffiness when I filled my cute, pink paper baking cups.

Ahahaha. Oops.

All was well, though. I didn’t have a breakdown. I didn’t start crying. Instead I pulled the excess off and was left with mildly soggy baking cups and yummy chocolate cupcakes.

I’d wanted to make a coffee buttercream for these, but Rob was going to come over soon at this point, so instead I just topped it with the ganache I was going to use to fill it with. It looked kind of boring, though — just a thin layer of chocolate on top of more chocolate — so I took some Lindt truffles my mom got me and placed them on top as decoration.

There, much better!

Rob seemed to like them, although the baking cups were difficult to tear away from the cake. It kept seeming like we were gonna have to wind up eating the paper as well, but thankfully we did not.

I only had five baking cups, so I had lots of batter and ganache left over. I stuck them both in the fridge to worry about some other time, and after several days of meaning to, I finally got around to using them today. I didn’t want to make more cupcakes for fear the Volcano Cupcake Disaster would happen again.

So I took a deep breath and poured the remaining batter in a 9-inch cake pan.

And waited.

And worried.

And then…


I was so damn happy I didn’t fuck it up and blow up the oven in an explosion of cake batter that I immediately shoved the cake in the fridge after dumping it on a plate and began merrily melting the leftover ganache in the microwave. Again, I made no buttercream, becaaaaaause I’m lazy. And also I had enough ganache to cover the whole cake anyway, so what would the point be?

Well, I did just that, and decided that, again, the cake looked boring. I had no more truffles, but we had some mini-chocolate chips in the fridge, so I did a little decorating with those.

Overall, not too bad! It’s not a perfectly smooth coating, and there are still chunks of ganache that didn’t totally melt, but I don’t really care at this point. I only wish I could add a splash of color to this, but other than that it looks good enough to me.

And pretty tasty, too! You can’t go wrong with having EVERYTHING EVER BE CHOCOLATE.

Here are links to the cake and ganache recipes I used.

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake
Joy of Baking’s Ganache

In Which I Feel Sorry For Myself

I’ve wasted so many quality ingredients today in my quest to make Devil’s Food Cake that I kind of want to cry. I mean, there are other reasons I want to cry right now — the fact that said cake came out tasting and looking like poop, how I spent a whole afternoon making this and while I wasn’t totally expecting it to come out looking pretty, I was at least expecting it to taste good — but mostly because I’ve wasted four sticks of butter and 6 oz. of expensive chocolate when I am super poor. Flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, powdered sugar, vanilla extract… all of this shit together ain’t cheap. I can barely afford it all as is, and when the end result is a festering turd of a cake that I’m forced to throw out? Well, it takes an emotional toll.

And the culprit was, mostly, cold butter. How, even though I let it sit out for a long time and microwaved it slightly, the butter was still cold and the cake batter was filled with chunks of cold butter, and the frosting was also filled with pale yellow pieces of butter that just would not incorporate no matter what I did. But in addition to that, the cake layers were too thin, I didn’t have a cake board and had to use a plate that got in my way when I was trying to frost the sides, and also the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing and just suck at everything I try, anyway.

I almost want to say I should just stick to cupcakes and cookies, but I don’t want to make the same things over and over just because they are the only things I can make without them coming out like an utter moron slapped them together with their eyes crossed.  I don’t want this blog to be just various boring and safe cookie and cupcake recipes. I keep trying to remember that I was even worse at baking when I first started, but I’m one of those people who needs to be absolutely brilliant at something the first time they attempt it, or there’s just no point.

Last week I got a second job working at a sandwich shop, and was let go after three days because I wasn’t picking it up fast enough for the owner’s liking. Never mind that I don’t eat or make sandwiches ever and so I was starting from scratch, or that nine hours isn’t a long enough time to really get the hang of anything, or that the reason the boss was so impatient was because the regular girl was leaving soon and he needed someone who was super-competent right away — it still made me feel like a loser, a failure, a dumbass. Especially since I’ve never been let go from a job based on my performance before. I just have this crippling fear of failure and rejection, because if I’m not perfect at something immediately, then I’m just wasting my time, everyone else’s time, and I’m a horrible and slow human being who should just keep to herself and stick to what she knows and never take any risks because looking like a fool is the worst thing that can happen ever.

It’s something I’m working on. Hopefully this won’t set me back too much.

Sugar Cookies

I would like to write this entry but all I want to do is play with my Christmas presents! Some of which included baking supplies (a cookie press, a mini-cupcake pan, and two 9-inch round cake pans!). I hope to get a lot of use out of those, especially the cake pans. It’s time I made a layered cake!

Anyway, yes, sugar cookies. I got a rolling pin for Christmas last year and still hadn’t used it until now, which was just sad. I decided to make my friends some rolled sugar cookies decorated with royal icing. But, uh. It didn’t quite work out.

It’s been kind of a bad week for me — travel-wise, baking-wise, and work-wise. I tried making chocolate crinkle cookies for the people at work, but that was a total bust. They all melted and blew up, probably because there wasn’t enough flour. Except I added more flour and the dough was still too sticky, so I threw it away out of annoyance. Then I tried to make these and asdfbgntbo4pbn4rnv ARRRRGH.

I’ve never made rolled cookies before. I don’t really know how to measure the dough thickness etc etc etc. I mean, the cookies turned out okay I guess, but not awesome.

Because I was pressed for time I was going to use just a Christmas tree cookie cutter, even though I have a whole bucket of Christmas cookie cutters that are now useless until next year. I was going to decorate them with green and red royal icing.


I woke up early but it still took me so long to make the damn cookies that I didn’t have time to make icing, pipe the edges, wait for it to cool, flood more icing, wait for that to cool, then add little red “ornaments” (aka small dots). So they had to be boring-looking, alright-tasting sugar cookies.

Then this happened.

Normally losing a couple cookies isn’t a big deal, but I had made so few cookies as it was since I don’t know how to properly utilize the dough to get the most out of them, and so my friends would be stuck with only three cookies each… that is, they would have if I had managed to actually get to see them when I wanted to. My boyfriend and I were driving over to my hometown when my one friend called and said she was going to be staying at her college. We tried to head over there but it was extremely dark and his GPS died and I didn’t know the way and we got incredibly lost. I was hungry and annoyed and miserable so I canceled and we headed to the diner where I scarfed down a burger in sadness.

But, for now it’s okay, because we’ll be having a get-together on New Year’s Eve. I plan to bake something for that, too. Let’s hope those plans don’t go to shit too.


Happy Holidays, everyone! And have a happy New Year!