Hummingbird Bakery Banana Bread

June 27, 2012

When I saw a lone, spotted banana ripening away in my office fruit basket, untouched and ignored by everybody else, I jumped on it. Overriped bananas? Yes please! It means only one thing -- banana bread time!

I've been wanting to make the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook's recipe for banana bread for a long time. Well, specifically, ever since I made the cookbook's Banana and Chocolate cupcakes. I fell in love with the Hummingbird Bakery's banana cake recipe, which uses ground cinnamon and ginger to complement the cake's banana flavor. Cinnamon and bananas was a common enough combination, sure, but adding ground ginger was something pretty new to me. I loved it. The additional ginger was subtle and enhanced the ripened banana's caramel-y flavor.

I was especially excited to see that the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook's banana bread recipe basically contained the same ingredients as their cupcakes. I could have that same delicious cinnamon-ginger-banana flavor from their cupcakes... but in loaf form!

Okay, fine, cupcakes are more aesthetically pleasing than loaves, sure -- you caught me there. At the end of the day, it just really makes me feel better eating banana bread and not banana cupcakes for breakfast.

Dutch Baby Pancakes with Orange Sugar

June 24, 2012

Folks, this is what's known as a Dutch Baby pancake:

When I say I'm making a Dutch Baby for brunch, I get a lot of panicked, crazy stares. Come on, guys -- seriously?!

Honey-Lavender Butter Cookie Medallions

June 21, 2012

Erlend, my boyfriend, has been growing a bunch of exciting herbs and spices in our garden. I'm especially excited about his gardening because fresh herbs and spices really make a big difference in the cooking/baking process. It's so much more flavorful than the stuff you buy in bottles at supermarkets -- only god knows when those herbs and spices were packaged. If you're lucky, the bottled stuff is only a few months old. Most likely, however, they're years old -- especially if they're coming from one of those fancy herb racks.

One of the herbs he's decided to grow is lavender. I adore lavender baked goods -- one of my favorite Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook recipes is actually the recipe for lavender cupcakes with lavender buttercream frosting. I've never used fresh lavender in my baked goods before. I had always used dried lavender in the past -- would fresh herbs really make a big difference?

Funfetti Birthday Layer Cake from Momofuku Milk Bar

June 17, 2012

I'd been wanting to make Momofuku Milk Bar's Birthday Cake ever since I saw Kitchen Heals Soul's beautiful rendition of the famous cake. I love the cake's unfinished look; it's certainly a departure from your typical beautiful-looking-but-bleh-tasting fondant wedding cakes. According to Christina Tosi (head pastry chef of Milk Bar and winner of this year's James Beard Rising Star award), they decided not to frost their cakes in the conventional way because they had spent so much time thinking about the different components, layers, and textures of the cake -- why not show it off?

I like that.

So when my 25th birthday rolled around this weekend, I decided to use it as an excuse to finally bake this decadent cake. For myself.

Rose Cupcakes for the Rose City!

June 9, 2012

I'm incredibly happy to be back in Portland for a bunch of different reasons -- one of them being that I can bake at sea-level. Do you know what that means? The ability to just simply follow a recipe without having to think about adjusting batter moisture or leavening agents! No pesky trial and error! No going through multiple batches of failed baked goods! No more waste!

Ahh... I am in bliss.

So in order to mark the occasion of my return, I decided to dedicate my first sea-level recipe to Portland, Oregon. What better than a batch of Hummingbird Bakery Rose Cupcakes to celebrate my beloved City of Roses?

Orange Scented Cake Donuts with a Milky Earl Grey Tea Glaze

June 4, 2012

There's been a little bit of drama amongst my friend circle regarding my donut recipes. A good friend of mine refuses to accept my donuts as real donuts -- she instead calls them "cupcake hoops", arguing that "part of the 'donut' definition is 'deep fried'."

Well, haters gonna hate. Taters gonna tate.

Think about THAT, Masterson. Think about it.

Regardless of what my friends say, I'm loving my new donut pan. Ain't nobody gonna be raining on my parade! And with that, I proudly present to you my second cake donut recipe:

Orange Scented Cake Donuts with a Milky Earl Grey Tea Glaze!

Boozy Chocolate Orange Brownies

June 2, 2012

I was looking through my Recipe Index the other day and realized I had done something unforgivable for a baking blog -- I was missing a really good brownie recipe.

I've tried making brownies at high altitude before, but I haven't really had much luck. There's always been something a little off about their texture. The first recipe I tried was from Pie In the Sky: Successful Recipes at High Altitude; I found this recipe to be too cake-y. I wanted a dense, chewy, chocolate brownie, but this tasted more like chocolate cake.

The second recipe I tried was actually the brownie recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook; I figured that since the recipe contained no chemical leaveners, it wouldn't take too much to adapt at high altitude. I tried baking the recipe at a higher recipe temperature and it seemed to work okay -- but the texture was still not ideal. The resulting brownie was too chewy and thin.

After these two less-than-ideal brownie attempts, I began to notice something around Denver. Call me paranoid, but he city seemed to be suffering from a major shortage of good brownies. Every brownie I had had in the city was too cake-y (e.g. Ink! Coffee), disguised as something else (e.g. as Napoleans (?!) at District Meats), or made elsewhere and shipped here. It seemed like making brownies in Denver was an impossible task, one that even seasoned professionals had difficultly with!

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