February 28, 2009

The Happy Baker Returns




I'm baaaa-aaaaccckkkk. Colorado was wonderful. I was brave enough to stick my camera in my pocket (wrapped, wrapped again, and sealed in a ziploc bag) to take some pictures from 12,000 feet above the world. You just haven't lived until you've experienced oxygen deprivation as beautiful as this.

Speaking of oxygen deprivation, it was time to navigate my way through another Daring Bakers challenge the other week. My track record has not been anything worth writing home about (or blogging about, for that matter, but part of the deal is that I have to blog about it. Your loss. :-), but this time I have to say I kind of knocked it out of the park (or out of the kitchen, more appropriately).

This month's challenge was a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador,” Chef Wan. To quote The Daring Bakers: The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Mmmm...Chocolate. I decided to bust this one out earlier in the month to entertain my Valentine's Day guests. I've made a flourless cake before, and I think I liked this recipe even a bit more. What's important when making one is that the cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use, so choose wisely (I chose Ghirardelli bittersweet). It also means there will be folding of egg whites into your batter, a trick you may need to practice to get perfect but kudos to to The Daring Bakers for posting a great "how to" video link on the topic.

I chose to half the recipe; based on the comments I was reading on The Daring Bakers message boards I could see that would yield more than enough for me and my four guests. It also wouldn't be a Daring Baker challenge without me doing something spastic. Like planning to bake mini cakes, then realizing ten minutes before you're about to pop them in the oven that you never bought a cupcake tray for the shore house. Sigh.

So I improvised, because somehow I *did* buy cupcake tray liners. Go figure.


And 18 minutes later, I had delicious results:

The lovely Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti (my inspiration for joining The Daring Bakers) has the entire recipe and some great "how to" photos she took. Hop on over and check out Pat's creations.

Tomorrow I'll be back with some surprises that arrived in the mail while I was away. Fun stuff!

26 comments:

shellyfish said...

I love the cupcake idea - very cute!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Laura, glad you had a great time in Colorado, and what a cute pic of you!

I think you are underselling yourself as your baking always turns out well! Those cupcakes look delicious, and I wish I had been there to scarf down one or two or three or four or... however many I could stuff in my magpie purse and abscond with before you knew or suspected. Well, I guess I would be suspect if I had a large bulging handbag. ;-)

Okay, got to run. I have to go to the cupcake store and see what I may see. Yes, there is a cupcake store in Florida...

XO,

Sheila :-)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

WOW your photos of the Rockies were so beautiful! I've been to Vail and Beaver Creek--not to ski but just to sight see. Driving up those mountain roads is such a wild ride isn't it? All those truck "run offs" -- yikes! Someday you have to go to Colorado Springs and see the Garden of The Gods and Pikes Peak. I love that whole state!

Thanks for the shout out for my blog ...it was a juggle trying to take photos as I worked...I think I still have egg on my camera lens ..lol

This DB was a winner wasn't it? Both recipes I'll make again s they were so good! The no machine recipe for the ice cream came out really good --I want to try it with some fresh peaches this summer.
The cake was so fudge like, and the small portions you made were prefect, as it's so rich.
Great job! Let's hope the March challenge will be something as good! :-)

Blondie's Journal said...

Laura,

Hey, glad you are back & blogging again.

I don't care what your cupcakes look like, I've been known to suck whipped cream right out of the can!

I was excited though and have to get the recipe as I lost the one I had. I have been doing low carbs~actually almost nil carbs for over 5 years (with a few major slip~ups) and I could do this with fake sugar.

Oh, I'm craving it now!

We have 2 milestone birthday surprise parties tonight. Yeah, everybody is going to be surprised when Blondie keels over with back pain, but I have no choice. Regretably, I have to lay off the pain meds today if I want to have a few glasses of wine. The wine is going to win out I'm sure!!

xoxo
Jane
PS...tell Sheila to stop using big words...abscond?? ;-)

Liz@Violet Posy said...

Awesome holiday and cake! I love those shots of the mountain, you look like you had a wonderful time Glad to have you back :)

tam said...

You freakin funny girl! LoL! The cupcakes turned out great ~way 2 go!
Loved the photo's of Colorado-very pretty! Looked like a fun trip.
Thanks for the nice msgs on my blog-hope you are having an awesome weekend~Tam! :D

desiree said...

I love your Daring Baker posts! Love them! Those look delicious.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Gone skiing, huh?! Lucky girl, I haven't skiied in 20 years. Bet I would break my neck if I tried it now. Thank you for coming by & always leaving such great comments. You're a pleasure to know!

Kwana said...

How cool you look on that mountain in those goggles! And the cakes look cute too:)

Amy said...

Oooh! you are so smart. These look great. I am very jealous of your ski trip.

Sue said...

Hi!! Your back...hope you had a good time it looked beautiful...daughter joined in on the baking challenge this month...stop by her blog and take a peak at my better half...
www.ruedelaclef.blogspot.com

Thrifty Cottage Dreams said...

Wow, beautiful pics from Colorado! And yummy looking cakes! So awesome that we share the same birthday! HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Weef! said...

Hi there!! Thanks for visiting my blog (and, I will have to post about Tom Snyder! ;) Your Daring Bakers Challenge looks *fantastic*!! So much better than mine turned out! My cake collapsed in the center when I went to unmold it and I had to use a cookie cutter salvage those parts that were cooked through. Ugh!

BTW, I love your pictures from Colorado!

Junie Moon said...

I love the idea of making the cupcakes, my own effort took the form of small heart-shaped cakes. This was my first challenge with the Daring Bakers. I, too, opted to join because of Pat -- and I'm glad I did.

Sara said...

yum, this looks really tasty! the sauce looks beautiful. :)

Audax said...

Your photos are to die for and at 12000ft!!!! I think you don't realise how good you really are at baking. These cupcakes are perfect for such a rich cake. Great effort on this challenge. Yours from Audax in Australia.

lisamichele said...

Those ski trip photos are spectacular, and so is your Valentino! Nicely done!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Love that pic at the top of your post! Looks like you had a great time. And as much as you've been working lately, I'm sure the vacation was much needed and deserved!

Now pass me one of those cupcakes, wouldja? Yummmmm.

heidi said...

Those mountain pics give an entire new meaning to the words "breath-taking."
I would comment on the choc, but I've already drooled on my keyboard. ;-)

Caren said...

I love anything with the words flourless and chocolate so I'm sure those would be fantastic. Alas, my recent attempts at healthy living would preclude me from having much that's flourless OR chocolate these days...your mini cakes might be just the thing...little bundles of chocolate joy!

Good job and I'm glad you had a great time in Colorado!

Linda Lou said...

Those pictures are so beautiful, I hope you had lots of fun! I have never made a flourless chocolate cake, this version is making my menopausal mouth water....will give it a try!

Maureen said...

Oh, those ski pictures are too much. I always thought that I would never pay (for a vacation) to be cold, but you definitely make it look appealing.

As for the cupcakes, now that's my speed. Yum-oh! I also chuckled when you wrote you didn't have a cupcake pan. It certainly didn't matter. Go, you!

pve design said...

tasty photos, nature vs. nurture!
you sure know how to live!
pve

A Day That Is Dessert said...

I love that picture of you. Welcome home! xoxo

ice tea: sugar high said...

Welcome home! Coming from a tropical country, I have never experience oxygen deprivation that is that beautiful. The only time I was oxygen deprived are from the pollution =(.

Great looking cake. They looked delish!

j.cro said...

I love the photo of the ski tracks... Although I think I've had my fill of snow for this year - all in one giant wallop - and all I have to say about chocolate is - MMMMMmmmmmmmmmm

And if you need to borrow a cupcake pan the next time you're baking - let me know, I've got four. I think I can spare one.