Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gluten-free "Funky Monkey" Cake

I really need to stop trying to figure people out and just remember that we are all very, very different and all have our own direction to take in life.  Thanks to Shutterbean's "I Love Lists Fridays" and finally getting to catch up on her and Joy the Baker's blogs, while working out this week, I have a new perspective on a few things.  Mainly that sometimes you have to stop caring what others think.  Also that like people constantly say, life is short..."if life teaches you only one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it. Even if you have no idea where you are going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart." - Marc Chernoff  I think this only really hit home, because I have several friends right now trying to figure out what the "next steps" are.  Its hard to imagine taking the leap sometimes, and for a lot of us now, its figuring out which direction to leap in and towards which dream.   But it only takes an inspiring view, like the below, to leave you dreaming about what might be....or maybe just dreaming about cakes.  

I have to give a special thanks to Amy and Amanda for how this cake came together.  We all kind of just threw around ideas for a few minutes last week, to take a break from the continuous meeting planning.  We came up with a cake I would be happy to serve in a bakery.  The idea for the brûléed bananas was not mine, but it definitely helped make this a unique cake.  So here it is....gluten-free banana cake, thick chocolate ganache layer, peanut butter frosting and a layer of bananas brûléed just before serving.  I will say it was pretty dang delicious but I mean...bananas, peanut butter and chocolate are sort of meant to be together.  Enjoy!

This was work this with this kind of view is truly the best.  I have to credit Molly with these amazing pictures!  She should really be a photographer in real life...check it out.  

Even just lunch outside with surrounded by flowers overlooking the ocean is like medicine and can turn your day around when you have been having "rooming list" nightmares for a few nights in a row.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

NY Cheesecake...with a thick Oreo Crust and Strawberries

I am screaming for spring, like consistently warm weather, flowers blooming, lets actually eat outside on the terrace, spring.  After getting caught up with a longtime friend today, and departing brunch, DC is finally starting to feel like spring. But..oh wait is it supposed to snow on Monday...AGAIN...didn't it just snow like 6 inches this past Monday?!?  I am a bit over this "winter" thing and am super glad a co-worker requested strawberries in her birthday dessert, because it was a little way to sneak some spring...since it is officially...into this dessert.

I have been slowly trying to sneak more spring into my life in general this past week.  There were flowers purchased to continue practicing for making bouquets in two months.  There were bright green pants on the first day of spring...and yes I have been wearing flip flops lately... I even wore shorts this past weekend for the half marathon...yes it snowed two days later but still.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Girl Scout Cookie themed desserts continue..."Tag Along" Cupcakes

Warning...I might ramble about my random thoughts a bit here, but I will get to the baked goods. 

I was stuck in traffic last night on my way to the Taste of the Nation meeting...have to love DC traffic at the 6 o'clock hour especially with all of the tourists in town right now.  But sitting there I was left thinking about how I can be greatly affected by certain people.  There have just been people in my life that have left me feeling really down about life, but have ultimately left me feeling empowered some no matter what I was going to come out successful with or without them.  

You may wonder where this is coming from, but its because this weekend was supposed to be marathon weekend again, instead though on Saturday I will only be running a half marathon. Circumstances are just different this year.  Charles is in town, which mean I actually have someone to hangout with on Saturday mornings when I am in town.  And instead of not needing to travel for work until April, which was the case last year, I have traveled at least one week a month since January.  (I'm not complaining again, it just is what it is.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Baked Meyer Lemon Powdered Sugar Donuts

There is something about really being able to see the stars at night.  Living in DC doesn't allow for all that much star just always a bit to bright from the city lights.  But I can remember as a kid laying at the end up my driveway in the summer and just gazing up at them while talking to friends.  We would talk about boys, what the next school year would be like and anything else "under the stars".  I can also remember gazing up at them on car rides that went into the night...thinking about what was out there and what was ahead in life.  There is just something about how endless they seem...even though in reality the light we are seeing is stars that have actually burned out years ago...that makes it seem like anything is truly possible in life.  That if you put your mind to something, and really try the possibilities are endless.

This past week at work, I had a discussion with a couple of co workers about following what you are passionate about and the best timing for that.  I have kind of always just thought that I would eventually just know when the right time was.  The "stars" would align and I would then know that it was time take the jump and shoot for them.  I am by no means saying that time is's just not yet.  But as a sit staring out of the airplane window starring at the stars on the way back to DC it just left me wondering and reminiscing about all of the dreaming I used to do.  For now though I am going to focus my dreams more directly on new ideas for delicious baked goods and keep the "long term" dreaming as just that.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream

People can definitely surprise you...for the most part first impressions are just not even close to accurate. That's kind of a cool thing though, there are so many layers to all of us and sometimes it can take a while for us to reveal our true selves.  But there really is a lot going on with each of us and we don't all want all of our stuff out there.  Even I, who write about my life here, don't share everything here... I do love to talk about food though, and baked goods...dreaming about baked goods and food.  

For instance, I literally was dreaming up these cupcakes on my five hour drive back to DC from North Carolina.  Charles was driving and I was attempting to spout off ideas about flavors to Charles and he was like...yeah...about that.  My "sweets" dream ultimately came true and these cupcakes were seriously delicious.  Like worth every bit of the calories in the cupcake delicious.  So if you like coffee, chocolate or coffee ice cream...because well this frosting tastes like coffee ice should give these a try.  Enjoy!