On Monday, I caught a death cold (wheezing coughing, extreme fatigue and so much mucus I thought I would never breathe right again) which was probably compounded by staying up until 1 a.m. to finish this cake for my sweet friend, Cali.
Okay so any tips on how to cure intense weeks-long cravings for croissants, puff pastry, kouign amann, cream puffs, baklava, basically any kind of pastry would be GREATLY appreciated because ever since I returned from Barcelona (occasion: work trip #holla), I cannot stop dreaming about puffy golden dough with flaky melt-in-your-mouth layers.
And no, these cravings definitely have nothing to do with my newfound addiction to the Great British Bake Off (about 8 years late to the party as usual) and no, eliminating it is not an option. I have basically commandeered Dan’s shared Netflix account to the point where a co-Netflixer said that he “accidentally checked Dan’s viewing history and saw that it was 100% GBBO.” To which Dan said, in his best Australian accent,* “yes, that is definitely all me.”
*FYI the accent was not a put-upon accent, it was just his real-life voice because I fell so in love with Australia that I had to ensnare a genuine Australian in Houston for the short-term output of finding a GBBO watch companion and pancake-maker and the long-term goal of being kidnapped by him and stowed in a suitcase back to Melbourne to live in a tasteful townhouse ideally located within walking distance to the best pancake in the world. And that is my definition of #goals
Once again, another roommate’s birthday has come and gone and while no one is going to award me prizes for making perfectly leveled cakes, at least everyone said this one tasted good.
Halfway (or so) through business school, I re-met my friend Skyler. We had been vaguely acquainted in college, but had never really interacted (save for one VERY MEANINGFUL MOMENT OF EYE CONTACT). But I ran into him at a concert in June, and then again at a shop in July, and at a friend’s pedal party, and then again while out with friends.
At the beginning of this year, I had the intention of sharing some of my classic family recipes on a monthly basis. One finished business degree, trip to Australia and Thailand, start of a semi-demanding new job and continued freelance work later…that goal had to be moved down the list of priorities.
To the readers who have stuck with me through my irregular posting schedule this year–you are the best! Part of my spotty posting has been due to the fact that I’m still trying to figure out where I want to go with The Pancake Princess in the future. I think the opportunity is ripe to expand beyond a recipe-only blog, so we’ll see if 2017 brings more time to flesh out some ideas.
Wine cake was often made for bake sales, or occasionally for when people came over. After letting the steaming, craggy-bottomed cake cool in the pan, we would breathlessly (though the fear of ripping off the top of the cake due to sticking wasn’t really real thanks to the magic of cake mix) unearth the whole cake by plopping it upside down on a plate and dust the top with a gentle cloud of powdered sugar.
The ridges of our bundt cake dictated the size of each slice (alternating thick and thin) and the thick pieces were far superior, not only for the obvious size difference, but also because of the greater surface area of browned, gently crisp yet-still-tender crust that formed around the pale, plush, wine-scented interior (the alcohol bakes out leaving just a mild flavor, don’t worry). I always ate the middle part in short geometric fork strokes, leaving the caramelized crusts for last.
Hilariously, I had plan to recreate the exact cake, but when I found the recipe my mom always uses in the recipe card box, I almost had a heart attack. You guys, the original recipe uses Orville Redenbacher Butter Flavor Oil. As oil. In the cake. And a lot of it. Plus yellow cake mix. Plus packaged pudding mix.
I mentally wrestled with the recipe for approximately 10 hot seconds and then decided to scrap it and try a from-scratch version (for some reason, 95% of wine cake recipes with yellow cake seem to be made with cake mix! Is this some 80s conspiracy?!). Taking inspiration from this DIY instant pudding mix, I added a smidge more sugar and cornstarch to the recipe to act as the pudding replacer. Then, I used this recipe as a guide to replicate the boxed cake mix-type cake.
In the end, the cake turned out deliciously–maybe it was just my imagination, but I think the from-scratch version cake had a more natural, less synthetic-buttery taste to it. The crust was also crisper (major bonus!) and though I have to admit the crumb was slightly less fine (boxed cake mix, why u so darn magical), there’s still a really fresh and plush tenderness to it. This cake makes for great holiday baking and gifting in case you’re looking for inspiration!
WHERE DID SUMMER GO.
I’m not ready to let the magical summer of Australia and Thailand go…but admittedly, it’s been nice to have down time at home. My roommate and I recently made the move from our 960 sq ft apartment to a duplex in Montrose (the, shall we say, trendy part of Houston) and let me tell you: you should NEVER not hire movers. People told we had to, but neither of us had ever done a big (read: non-college-esque move) on our own, and we figured doing it on our own would be 1) way cheaper 2) a good way to super appreciate movers whenever we need to move again in the future.