Sunday, November 6, 2011

French Macarons for Beginners

French Macarons are so trendy right now.  It consists of two sweet, crispy and airy almond cookies that are sandwiched together by an even sweeter filling.  They are visually stunning but one bite into them results in a collapse of that beautiful structure, and the cookie quickly dissolves into your mouth like sugar in hot water.  

Look at those pretty feet, or pied as they're called in French.  The pied/feet
are the ruffled looking edges on the bottom sides of the cookies!
I will be the first to tell you that I am by no means a professional baker.  This blog post isn't supposed to tell you the rights and wrongs to baking your own batch of macarons.  I can tell you that I have read through dozens of sites from our fellow bloggers about these tricky cookies.  I read and seen photos from the failed attempts to the successful ones.  It was because of this research that I was successful with baking my first and only batch to date of these French cookies.  I want to tell you what I did and offer you a recipe that will hopefully help you to acheive the same results I have.  The absolutely wonderful thing about this recipe is that it's perfect for beginners in the sense that it will give you the right proportions you need but also it's scaled down so you can produce exactly six sandwiched macarons, which means that if you should happen to fail, you didn't waste that much in ingredients!  And thereby making this a great recipe as a starting point, and once you've mastered the techniques you can venture off into the wild with more adventurous flavors and combinations!

It's generally recommended that you refrigerate these cookies before
consuming so it doesn't break apart like this when you bite into them!
Rather than provide you with a list a rules on how to bake up a batch of macarons (as many other bloggers may tell you), I'm just going to tell you what I did if you would like to practice re-creating these six sandwich cookies yourself!
  1. I used a digital baking scale.  Macarons are so finicky that everything has to be precise.  The exact ratio of each ingredient is needed for a successful batch otherwise it's anyone's guessing game.
  2. I prepared my own almond flour by grinding silvered almonds.  I did it with a food processor so the almonds were fine enough to pass through a sieve.  Macarons are such delicate and dainty cookies that they cannot handle large and sharp bits of almond, which will inevitably create large cracks through the shell.  I wanted smooth and shiny cookie tops!
  3. I used egg whites that were aged for 10 days in the refrigerator, which were placed in a tupperware container with a lid on.  The reason why I waited 10 days wasn't particular; it just happened to be 10 days when I was finally ready to bake a batch.  But it's important to have aged egg whites because the whites lose their elasticity upon aging so they're  to easier whip to soft peaks without turning grainy.
  4. Macarons are incredibly sweet.  Unfortunately that's just the way it is.  This exact ratio of sweetness is prudent because there is a relationship between sugar itself and egg whites.  In order to maintain the stability in our egg white meringue, I needed the sugar to aid in holding up its shape, which is crucial for the classic macaron appearance!
  5. I constantly scraped the sides of the bowl during "macaronage."  That's just hoity-toity talk for the stage at which all ingredients are incorporated.  When I folded all ingredients together with a silicone spatula I made sure that all the batter was combined.  Any portion that wasn't will destroy the ingredient ratio and result in ugly cookies.  Remember, the macarons are all about appearances.
  6. After piping the cookies on parchment paper, I allowed them to settle on the counter for 60 minutes.  That is, after tapping the sheet multiple times on the counter to release any air bubbles floating throughout the batter.  I tapped so the no air bubbles will rise during baking and break that flat top on the cookies.  And I rested them on the counter after piping so the cookies can form a strong and sturdy crust/skin before baking.  So tap baking sheet first, then let them rest.
  7. I allowed the macarons to mature after baking and filling, but before consuming.  (Ok, that's not true as seen the second photograph of this entry.  I had to have a taste.)  Generally, you should mature them for 24 hours and you'll get crispy cookies with chewy filling. 
See how this cookie maintained its shape after it was bitten into?
That's because it was allowed a maturation period in the fridge!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

if you like Pina Colada Cupcakes

and getting caught in the rain...


I have another great recipe here for you.  You can totally booze it up by injecting rum into it with pipettes (yes, that's exactly the instrumentation I used to do it to the cake version).  But these cupcake versions are tasty as is.  To be completely honest with you, this recipe was very time consuming to make.  There are several components to it, each requiring its own cooking and assembling process.  Save this recipe for a day when you're adventurous.  And the results from all that arduous work will be gratifying.  

Step One: Bake cupcakes.
Step Two: Inject cake with remaining coconut milk (or rum) while it's still hot out of the oven.
Step Three: Cook pineapple curd.
Step Four: Toast coconut flakes.
Step Five: Reduce pineapple juice into a glaze.
Step Six: Whip up some heavy cream.
Step Seven: Core your cupcakes.
Step Eight: Add pineapple curd to center.
Step Nine: Cover with whipped cream.
Step Ten: Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top.
Step Eleven: Drizzle on pineapple reduction glaze.
Step Twelve: Eat it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

VLOG: brownies, two ways

I wish I had more time to devote to my video blogs and return to the nerdy aspects of it.  Lately, I find that I am rushing to meet my monthly goal of publishing at least one blog entry.  Luckily today I present to you a long awaited post on brownies.  I write "two ways" because I am referring to the base brownie recipe.  The addition of Andes chocolate mints and dulce de leche caramel does not result in two different brownies because the "foundation" is essentially the same.  The first recipe features nutella, which is barely detectable in the flavor of the brownie.  It serves as a component that contributes primarily to texture, more so than taste.  The fats in the nutella spread play a key role.  I offer the second recipe as an equally delicious alternative because not everyone has nutella sitting in their pantry.  Both brownie recipes are phenomenal.  I achieved the same chewiness that is the feature characteristic of Ghiradelli boxed brownies.  The reason why box brownies have that texture is because of  the kind of fats they utilize.  Fat can be divided into two broad types: saturated (solid) and unsaturated (liquid).  The unique combination of these fats is what gives box brownies their characteristic texture.  Box mixes conveniently contain that saturated fat component (shortening), therefore when the unsaturated vegetable oil is added, the ideal chew ratio of liquid fat to powdered solid fat is formed!  To achieve the same chew in a from-scratch homemade recipe, the perfect proportion of liquid to solid fat is required and I believe the two recipes in my vlog will absolutely supply that for you!    

EDIT: I'm currently having difficulties getting the vlog to embed on this site.  So until I get this issue resolved, you can click HERE for the video!


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Friday, August 26, 2011

Revisited: new & improved strawberry cake

Remember when I vlogged about the Cake Mix Doctor's Strawberry Cake and I mentioned the flaws contributing to the overly moist and greasy cake with a cream cheese frosting that seemed too fluid to hold its shape?  Toward the end of the vlog, I offer a few suggestions that I deduced to resolve these issues and I said I would reattempt the recipe using these very recommendations for improving the cake.  I blog to you today to tell you I did just that...last month.   The final result was everything I had anticipated.  The cake was moist and fluffy and light as air.  As for the frosting, I totally went in another direction and used the icing I paired with my strawberry bread recipe.  This cake is definitely something I will make again in the future!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

VLOG: Following the Yellow Cake Road

I know I promised to make my yellow cake vlog post sometime during the early to middle of July and somehow we've already reached the end of the month.  This video is a bit different from the others; rather than walk you through a recipe, I actually geared this toward explaining the effects of using butter versus oil in a cake recipe.  I've baked butter based yellow cakes and oil based yellow cakes and a combination of the two.  The butter cake has a taste that is absolutely divine, but was crumbly in texture.  The oil cake was super moist, but lacked a rich flavor.  The combination of both butter and oil resulted in a flavorful cake but I wasn't able to combine the positives from both cakes without negating the negatives.  For me, this is still a work in progress...but one in which progress won't be made anytime soon because I must admit, I am not a fan of yellow cake.  I will provide you with the butter based recipe and the oil based one and you can decide on your own.  I apologize for not being much help on this one, but as I said, this vlog is more about the science behind the kinds of fats you use than the recipe.  And as a bonus, I also discuss a bit about cake batter techniques too!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

a no frills flaky pie crust

Oh snap.  I'm behind on my blogging.  For the past couple of months I have been working on a classic yellow cake vlog and I've been doing a lot of research for it.  It'll be posted in early July, but for now I have no videos to share.  Instead I'm going to briefly blog about a basic flaky pie crust recipe.  I've used this for several pies and what I love about it is that it is so incredibly flaky and melts in your mouth.  It has no butter, but all shortening.  I know most people think shortening is unappetizing and unhealthy, but trust me when I say that butter isn't any healthier.  While butter offers more in flavor, it creates a dense pie crust.  You want something airy with layers?  Try out this recipe.  It has rave reviews from allrecipes!


Basic Flaky Pie Crust
Recipe from Allrecipes.com
Ingredients for 1 pie crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening, chilled
3 tablespoons ice water

Directions
1) Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium size bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water over flour.
2) Toss mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together.
3) Gently gather dough particles together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
4) Roll out dough, and put in a pie plate. Fill with desired filling and bake.

Questions?  Comments?  Just ask!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

qu'ils mangent de la brioche = strawberry bread

Let them eat cake!  Wait, say what?  We've got a bread like cake?  Ok.  Qu'ils mangent de la strawberry bread cake.  

You know, it's so hard to find a strawberry cake from scratch meaning no cake mix and no jello. (FYI: I will eventually revisit my semi-homemade -meaning cake mix and jello- strawberry cake vlog recipe and update you on that.) So when I discovered this recipe for the cake only, I was excited!  I can agree with the blogger that the "cake" is indeed incredibly moist.  But it had the texture of bread, specifically similar to that of a banana bread. It was dense and chewy, and those are not characteristics I would attribute to a cake.  Had I known this prior I probably wouldn't have prepared a frosting with it, but I have a fantastic recipe for a strawberry cream cheese frosting that is simply divine; it tastes like a strawberry ice cream dream! 

Despite the fact that I separated the eggs, whipped the whites to stiff peaks, and folded them into the batter at the end, it did very little to fight against the gravity of the strawberry puree weighing down on the cake.
The bread itself has a sublime strong strawberry flavor.  Most baked strawberry desserts don't taste of strawberry but this recipe packs a punch.  I used a lot of strawberries to make a pureed strawberry reduction.  This is a good thing.  Buy frozen strawberries.  I got mine on sale at the local supermarket.  It was a buck a pound!  So I used a good 32 ounces and that produced 2 cups of reduced puree for me, which was so tasty by itself.  I could eat that by the spoonful.  And it was all natural - no sugars added in my reduction.  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

VLOG: a simply complex mocha buttercream

There is a cake back home that I like.  It's a chocolate cake with a mocha buttercream frosting. The sides of the cake are coated with chocolate cookie crumbs.  The last time I purchased this cake, I recall peeling off the nutrition label listing the ingredients in hopes of one day recreating this cake on my own.  But when a cake is being mass produced, the ingredients aren't necessarily the greatest (i.e. shortening vs. butter).  However, this recipe is simply superb.  It's made with quality ingredients and you can tell after one bite.  This is an Italian meringue buttercream, which means it uses eggs cooked in a hot syrup and is combined with butter.  (Yeah, not so simple as my simple buttercream vlog!)  It is mocha flavored from the addition of chocolate and coffee!  And I'll share my favorite chocolate cake recipe on this blog one day as well, but any of your favorite chocolate cake recipes will do for now.  Remember, the cake is the vehicle and not the star of the show.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

VLOG: the New York Times on carrot cake muffins

If you read The New York Times, you may have seen this recipe printed on March 1, 2011.  They are described as "spicy whole-grain muffins [that] are just sweet enough, unlike most cloying carrot cakes. And these are packed with carrots."  I made some modifications to the recipe by omitting the turbinado sugar and golden raisins.  I replaced them with light brown sugar and sweetened coconut.  The end result was a slightly moist muffin that had a bare hint of sweetness.  It's a great breakfast muffin that is probably best accompanied by jam or butter.  I, however, found the touch of sweetness to be sufficient.  The muffin does tend to dry out and develop a sticky residue after a couple of days.  The article does say that "these keep for a couple of days out of the refrigerator, for a few more days in the refrigerator and for a few months in the freezer."  So I would recommend that once these are baked, that they be frozen and microwaved when ready to eat.



Friday, March 18, 2011

VLOG: a very berry quite contrary strawberry cake

This is a strawberry cake with strawberry gelatin and strawberry puree covered in a strawberry cream cheese frosting containing real strawberries.  I don't think I missed any opportunity to add more strawberry to this cake.  If this cake sounds unappealing to you, then let me explain first!  When I was given this recipe a couple of weeks ago, I was skeptical because the ingredients listed white cake mix and packaged gelatin.  I only do from scratch baking, but I was told that this cake was utterly magnificent because it's from the Cake Mix Doctor herself.  I had googled this recipe and found the exact same one published on allrecipes.com with several mixed reviews.  The only way for me to determine what this cake actually tasted like required for me to do one thing, which was to prepare the cake as directed and analyze it myself.  Granted, I had to put aside my biases against cake mixes and artificial flavorings.

So here it is - the cake needs improvement.  Don't get me wrong, it's good.  However the texture is off. When baked as written, the cake comes out incredibly greasy and very, very moist as if it's too moist for its own good.  It's a pretty dense cake, and the vivid pink color saturated throughout is a tad bit disturbing.  The raw batter smelled wrong (i.e. artificial from the cake mix and gelatin), but the baked cake smelled acceptable.  The frosting failed to hold on its own because it was way too watery.  [See my vlog on simple buttercreams to improve this strawberry frosting recipe!]  I would edit and modify this recipe so that it's more suitable to my preferences.  My vlog details the effects of utilizing gelatin in a cake and what it does to the texture and structure of the cake.  I also included notes on how I would alter the recipe to achieve a fluffy, light, and moist cake.  I didn't extract any ingredient completely from the original recipe in order to maintain the integrity of the cake; my point is not give you an entirely different one.  I only adjusted the amounts of some ingredients, and suggested a different technique toward incorporating them into the batter.  These improvements were made based on my understanding of each ingredient's principle role in the cake.  I myself will be taking this to heart to re-create this recipe again someday, and I'll post a "revisited" blog entry to update you.   


Monday, March 7, 2011

Revisited: Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'll never go so far as to tell anybody that such-and-such is the best recipe out there ever made.  Who am I to say that without having tried every single recipe?  So when I vlogged about the ubiquitous chocolate chip cookie in October 2010, I just told you it was a great cookie.  And it still is, and I still follow the blog of the writer of that particular recipe on my google reader.

However, the reason why I am revisiting the triple c's on this blog entry is to tell you about a recipe that is just as amazing.  And here's the kicker, it's EASIER to make.  In my vlog, I demonstrated how to make a chewy salted chocolate chip cookie with the use of a mixer (but I'm sure some of you smarties who recreated the recipe in your own home were able to do without).  In this blog post, I'm telling you that you can bake an equally successful cookie without all the little intricacies of having things at room temperature. Yes, we'll be MELTING the butter.  Yes, we can use COLD eggs.  The amateur culinary baker in me says yes this does go against all the baking laws out there.  Do we not need to have the butter softened and eggs at room temperature for maximum aeration and emulsion?  YES and YES, but the reason why I am "revisiting" is to tell you that this is the lazy man's chocolate chip cookie with the diligent, contentious, and meticulous woman's chocolate chip cookie appearance, flavor, and texture.  In other words, you can half-a$$ it and still get an A!  

This recipe is a Ms. Lollipop original combination of Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Cookie #10 from his I'm Just Here For More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking and the classic Neiman Marcus Cookie from 500 Cookies: The Only Cookie Compendium You'll Ever Need.  I've made it more "adult" by using Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips and instant coffee powder imported from Germany.  YUM!


These cookies are soft and chewy and stay that way after many days (I can only testify up to 5 days!) in an airtight container.  They taste best warm too, so microwave them for 10 seconds if they're not!  I reduced the amount of butter by nearly half without sacrificing on flavor or texture.  I imagine the cookies would be greasy had I didn't!  And there is no white sugar - all brown for maximum moisture and caramelized taste. There is a subtle hint of coffee but its a match made in heaven with the dark chocolate!  And don't forget to watch my previous post on triple c's for some tips and techniques.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

VLOG: simple & versatile buttercream icing

This blog post title basically says it all.  I'm going to show you how to make buttercream frosting in a matter of minutes - less than two minutes to be precise.  This recipe is adapted from The Culinary Institute of America's Baking at Home with the CIA.  I won this wonderful book from Lisa of KoreanAmericanMommy on one of her giveaways!  (Thanks again Lisa!)

Buttercream icings are really adaptable because you can add whatever flavors of your choice.  The key thing to remember is that the more fluid your flavoring, the more powdered sugar you must add to obtain that thick frosting like texture.  So it is best to stick to extracts or more viscous additions, unless you simply adore sweetness to the max.  Buttercreams consist of softened room temperature butter, powdered sugar, and flavoring.  Also, sometimes milk/cream is needed to reduce the thickness of the frosting into order to achieve the desired texture.  Other than that, that is basically it!  

Want to make a crazy good chocolate buttercream?  Replace one cup powdered sugar with one cup cocoa powder.  Want to make a vanilla buttercream?  Use vanilla extract.  Want to make a nutella buttercream?  Use nutella.  Want to make [enter flavor here]?  Use [enter flavor source here].  In all cases, use milk/cream/food coloring to thin it out if necessary.  How much of it you use is up to you!  

I'm going to demonstrate how to make a simple strawberry buttercream using strawberry jam.  The reason why I don't use pureed strawberries is because it is too "liquidy" but if you prefer it, I suggest that you cook it down on the stovetop (which will also get you a more intense strawberry flavor).  I feel that half the work is already done for me by using strawberry jam though.  



Saturday, February 5, 2011

VLOG: a sweet potato twist

Making pie is so easy.  I know I say that about a lot of my other baking endeavors, but this one is legit. With a few handy tips, you'll be thinking the same thing.  Trust me, come summer time I will be talking all about making fruit pies that don't run and easy, breezy, beautiful flaky crusts.  Until then, I've got a recipe on sweet potato pie to hold you over.  (Yeah, I'm a tad bit late on "ground provision" pies but better late than never!)  This pie recipe is adapted from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.  It has been raved about on various baking blogs and I just had to try it out.  My review on it?  It's different.  It's light and delicate but still embodies the sweet potato flavor.  I strongly recommend you omit the lemon juice (as was written in the original recipe) because that tang is distracting.  You've got enough of the bite from the buttermilk.  It's important to remember the star of this show is the sweet potato.  With that being said, I present to you my shortest video yet with the featured musician being me.  It's a Catalonian Melody composed by my former classical guitar instructor.  This is one of the very first pieces I ever learned how to play.  It starts off simple and is followed by a variation, and I think it's absolutely beautiful.  Enjoy my dears!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Helpful Hints for a Successful Cheesecake

Cheesecake can be incredibly intimidating but it is deceptively easy to make.  All you need is a lot of patience because cheesecake takes a lot of time.  I want to share with you a few tips with you that I learned along the way to help you become successful in making cheesecake in your own home.

1) Have all your ingredients at room temperature for approximately an hour or so before starting.  The reason why this is important is to prevent lumps in your batter; cold ingredients tend not to blend well.  Also, cold ingredients also require you to over-mix the batter in order to smooth out those lumps, which in turn causes you to beat more air into the batter.  During the baking process, the air will cause the cake to puff up and sink in the center.  Also, these air bubbles will eventually rise to the surface of the cheesecake and thereby aesthetically destroy the top surface.

2) Use an electric mixer (stand or hand), a food processor, or a powerful blender to combine the ingredients.  Unless you have the power to beat the crap out of cheese, then the use of such equipment makes life so much easier.  It's crucial to smooth out the batter without applying too much air and this is the most efficient and effective way of doing so.

Blackberry Cheesecake

3) Pre-bake your crust to dry out the moisture from the addition of butter to the cookie crumbs.   Otherwise it will not be crisp if you immediately add your cheesecake batter to it and bake.  The melted butter makes the crumbs stick to one another and the heat from the "pre-baking process" makes the water in the butter evaporate and thereby hardens the crust.  You know, for the longest time, I wondered why a majority of recipes required you to add sugar to your already sweet cookie crumbs for your crust.  I understood the purpose of the butter - it is the "glue" used to combine the crumbs together.   But the sugar?  Is that for *extra* sweetness?  I suppose one can argue that the sugar will reach its melting point in the oven and eventually caramelize to create the strong bond needed to connect the crumbs together.  Unnecessary I argue because you have the butter for that purpose.  That is unless you love sugar.  

4) You don't need a bain marie (water bath) to make a good cheesecake.  Many people may fight me to the death on this one.  Understandably.  Cheesecake is essentially a custard that needs to bake slowly and evenly.  The most effective way to do this is to bake it in a water bath.  And since water evaporates at a boiling point of 212F, the water bath will never get hotter than this despite whatever the oven temperature is.  This means that the outer edge of the cheesecake won't bake faster than the center, which can cause it to soufflĂ©, sink, and crack.  HOWEVER, you can still achieve the quintessential cheesecake without a bain marie.  The trick is simple.  Do not open the oven door during baking to ensure a constant temperature and don't bake at a high temperature.

5) Generously butter the cheesecake vessel.  The reason why a cheesecake may crack is because it is stuck to the sides of the pan.  For example, let's say we're using a 9-in spring form pan.  When the sides of the pan are not greased, the cheesecake will adhere to the sides and it will pull the cake towards it.  This causes it to crack in the center because the cake isn't completely solidified during the baking process (that's what refrigeration afterwards is for).

6) It doesn't matter what type of pan you use as long as you line pans with foil for easy removal.  But lining it will be unnecessary if you have a spring form pan.  If you cover a rectangular pan with foil, you can easily lift it out and slice.  And it'll be an easy clean-up!

Mini NY-Style Cheesecake in Cupcake Form

7) Baking times will vary depending on the size of the pan.  Most recipes will offer various baking times for different pan sizes, but most often, you won't see temperatures and times for mini cheesecakes (in cupcake form).  Well, I'll tell you straight-up.  No matter what the recipes says, bake at 275F for 35-40 minutes for mini cheesecakes (remember, the lower the temperature then the longer the baking time).  This has been tested and proven to be absolutely delicious, according to myself and Martha Stewart.

8) After the baking process has completed, turn off oven, keep the oven door open ajar, and walk away leaving the cake in the oven for at least 90 minutes but really up to 3 hours.  We don't want to disrupt the cake by moving it; it needs time to cool down at its own rate.

9) Refrigerate overnight.  Unfortunately this is not a dessert you can sample right away.  It needs to set completely in the fridge.

10) Slice the cake with a warm knife.  This will give you nice even and clean slices.  Dip your knife into warm water and wipe it clean with a towel then slice.  Repeat this step after each slice.


Bite-Sized Oreo Cheesecake Bars
I hope these hints will help you successfully bake your own cheesecake.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment and I'll be more than happy to answer (or look up the answer)!

Friday, January 14, 2011

VLOG: the birthday cake

How to you like your birthday cake?  I prefer to have mine light and airy with a subtle sweetness, and paired with fresh fruit.  Sounds like an Asian-style birthday cake doesn't it?  The great thing about this cake recipe is that it is incredibly versatile.  Add whatever fruit and flavors you like.


I posted this video in July 2010 and later removed it from my blog despite the fact that I encouraged YouTube viewers to come stop by this blog for the written recipe and instructions. Well I'm finally going to provide that.  This was the very first vlog attempt and if you are a regular visitor to this blog, you will know how I have improved since.  




Friday, January 7, 2011

VLOG: the scarlet cupcake

After a long break, I'm ready to start twenty-eleven with a rapid fire succession of vlog and blog posts.  So I'ma gonna hit it off with these fantastically red velvet cupcakes.  Red velvet cake is neither a chocolate nor a vanilla cake.  It does however express an ever so subtle hint of chocolately goodness.  As a tremendous supporter of Hershey's chocolate cake recipe, I decided to try out their red velvet recipe.  I generally read hundreds of reviews on a recipe before attempting to recreate my own version, however, not many bloggers discussed the wonders of this specific recipe.  So this is my review of this recipe: it is a delicious moist and tender cake, and serves as a wonderful vehicle for a sweet cream cheese frosting.  So without further ado, I present my first video blog of 2011.  Happy Baking & Eating!  And as promised in the vlog, scroll down for a troubleshooting guide on cake baking.