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Baby Shower Onesie

A Co-worker of mine is nearing the end of her pregnancy and will be leaving on her maternity leave in a matter of couple of weeks.  It is an exciting time for her.  We hosted a work baby shower for her to wish her well and present her with a small token of good luck.   I had the pleasure of making the cake for this event.

I decided to make a cake in the shape of a onesie.  Since the mom to be did not know the sex of her baby, the buttercream was neutral in colour.  The cake flavour was strawberry shortcake.

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Best wishes J and we cannot wait to meet your little one!! =)

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Birthday Cake Bonanza – July

This month’s cakes come from another request for a Snickers cake and my desire to try making a popular Pinterest pinned cake.

This Snickers cake was much smaller and had vanilla cake layers instead of chocolate and just simple chocolate buttercream all over.

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A popular cake to make is a chocolate well cake.  Often Kit Kat is used along with M&Ms.  I used cookie wafer fingers and an M&M, Reese’s pieces mix.  A little bow for good measure!

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Happy Birthday July Babies! =)

Small Batch Baking – Banana Java Chocolate Chip Cake

“I tired of the routine of eight years in one afternoon.”
― Charlotte Brontë


Another summer long weekend is drawing to a close.  It was quite productive on my part.  Rejuvenating.  Spiritual. Peaceful.

I am quite excited.  I have developed an affinity for gardening and taking time to nurture my modest balcony garden has brought me much pride and enjoyment.  I am finally seeing some results.  I finally have a flower bloom, the first of about 5 to come.  Not really sure what it is though.  A surprise flower from a batch of seeds planted back in April.

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And I’ve tried my hand at growing herbs that I hope to use in my cooking at some point.  After a slow start and some mishaps – my attempt at basil failed after my little pot fell over and a strong wind carried off the contents of the pot – I finally have some parsley and dill showing. I’m hoping to use the parsley in my morning smoothies at some point and I cannot wait to use the dill on some salmon perhaps with some creme fraiche…

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On to my baking adventure.  Small batch baking is a terrific way to test out a recipe and satisfy a craving without producing dozens of end product.  Sometimes I don’t want a dozen muffins or a giant cake.  Today, I decided to try making a Banana Java Chocolate Chip Cake using a recipe from “Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers” by Debby Maugans with some slight changes on my part.

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Batch-Baking-Chocolate-Lovers-Maugans/dp/0312612249

This is essentially a muffin recipe that produces three jumbo muffins or 5 standard muffins.  I decided to make two mini cakes instead. This cake has a streusel topping and pairs bananas, nuts and chocolate together.

For the topping:

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of cinnamon (I used pumpkin spice)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I went with 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

2 tablespoons milk or semisweet chocolate chips (I used chips)

Combine the ingredients together using your fingers until you get a crumbly mixture.  Set aside.

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For the cake batter:

1 really ripe banana

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp (I used 3 tablespoons of canola oil)

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar (I used all brown sugar)

1 egg, well beaten

1/2 teaspoon instant dark coffee or espresso powder (I used 1 teaspoon) because I like coffee

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips ( I used chocolate chips)

1 tablespoon of buttermilk (I added this on my own)

I didn’t use a mixer and threw everything into one big bowl and mixed by hand.  If the banana is super ripe, everything mixes up into a nice thick batter.

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I used two mini spring form pans.  I probably should have lined them with parchment or at least greased them first, it would have been much easier to remove the cake after.  So, line your pans!  Divide the batter evenly.  Don’t forget to pre-heat your oven to 350.

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Remember the streusel topping?  Time to sprinkle it on top. I ended up adding more nuts and chocolate chips to each. IMG_8679 IMG_8682

These will need 15 – 20 minutes to bake.  If you like a crispy brown top, you can use your broiler for about 4 minutes to achieve that.  Make sure to watch it so the nuts don’t burn though.

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A nice twist on the typical banana muffin/loaf.  I loved the textures.  Soft, moist cake, sweet chocolate chips, nutty pecans, slight hint of coffee and crisp brown sugar streusel.  Just the perfect size too.  Enough to satisfy my sweet tooth without make me feel bad for doing so. =)