For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I had the pleasure of being assigned Ros’ blog, The More Than Occasional Baker. Now, this is my kind of blog! I have a major sweet tooth and prefer baking over cooking. Unfortunately, this made it extremely difficult to choose which recipe I wanted to make since everything looked good to me.
I was choosing between Pineapple Tarts, Earl Grey Tea Cookies, Bananas Foster Crepe Cake, Ginger & Chocolate Oat Cookies, Pistachio, Yogurt, and Elderflower Cake, No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites, Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows, Madelines, White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies, and Earl Grey Tea Banana Bread.
In the end, I went with whatever recipe I had the most ingredients for. I didn’t have any more Earl Grey tea on hand since we used it all up making Lavender Earl Grey Truffles for Christmas a while ago, but thankfully my friend Stephanie had just gifted me with a whole box of Thai Black Tea that I swapped in.
To continue the Thai-tea theme, I drizzled some thinned out condensed milk on top. The cake was quite dense, which I think was a result of the containers I baked them in (I had this issue with some zucchini bread I baked in these containers) as well as the fact that I just mashed the bananas instead of mushing them to a pulp and substituted yogurt for the sour cream. I also used some of the wet tea leaves to use in the bread itself since I liked the color and texture contrast.
Check out the other Secret Recipe Clubbers below, or head on over to The More Than Occasional Baker to see what she’s whipped up recently!
Graduating college is a big deal! It’s tradition for me to make cupcakes or cookies for my sister’s graduation (high school, associates degree, undergraduate, and soon to be graduate!). Her schools colors are green and yellow so I opted for a “green velvet” cake and my tried and true cream cheese frosting.
Velvet cakes, I’ve found, are actually a pretty good crowd pleaser. It’s not a vanilla cake, and not quite chocolate. And these were even more awesome because I made some edible graduation caps to go on top. I was inspired by this post and used colored candy melts with my brownie bite pan and candy cup mold. And yes, I sorted out all the green colored mini M&Ms and cut the green out of strips of rainbow sour belt, but I was determined to have a super cute graduation cap and tassle!
The cupcakes were a hit and we surprised my sister at an end of the year Girl Scout event with a mini party in our hotel room.
caps in progress
Party setup in hotel room
With every ending there’s a new beginning. Or so they say. At work we had some interns that were returning back to school. A large project was coming to an end and we were all “rollin’ off” to new things. One of the intern’s favorite candies was Rolos® and she told me one day how she used to make candies out of pretzels and Rolo® candies. I decided for the end of project celebration to make these cupcakes, especially for her.
I had not remembered eating Rolos®, but there have been commercials about them recently. I wanted to get the Rolo® Minis (no un-wrapping required) and was surprised that they were a bit hard to find; in spite of or because it was around Halloween season.
Baked goods had become the standard accompaniment to my visits in to the office and these did not disappoint. In fact, I had under-estimated how many people would be in the office that day and there was a mini-riot at the lack of cupcakes. Thankfully I was able to pacify them with the leftover Rolo® candies that I had brought in case such a situation would arise.
This treat used my standard go-to chocolate cake recipe, paired with a graham cracker crust and filled with chopped Rolos®. The topping is a cream cheese frosting to keep bites from getting too sweet. I topped the whole cupcake with a single candy and drizzled it with salted caramel.
I wasn’t lying when I said that we make oatmeal cookies all the time. They serve as a great base for many different flavors and can be customized with consistent results. They take less than 15 minutes from bowl to mouth (if you don’t mind burning your tongue) and only dirty one bowl.
This particular flavor combination was inspired by a vacation we took to Seattle. I had heard a lot about Macrina Bakery and we loaded up on baked goods while we were there. We managed to keep ourselves from eating all of the cookies and brought back a Rick’s Apricot Chocolate Espresso cookie. I substituted apricots with dried cherries here and used ground espresso powder.
Last week I celebrated my 27th birthday. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago I was starting college and dating my-now-fiance Dan. We’ve started a tradition where each year Dan bakes me a cake for my birthday. Last year he baked this amazing Coffee & Donuts cake and this year we decided on an Espresso Biscoff concoction.
This recipe, also from Sprinkle Bakes, was sure to be a winner. I love coffee and speculoos, so there was no risk. I also had a super cute dinosaur candle I had picked up a few years ago while on vacation and was waiting for just the right moment to whip out.
Since Dan didn’t cut the cake into a heart and pipe the frosting on, he sprinkled some crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans on it.
All in all, the cake tasted good, but the cake part itself was lacking a bit of flavor. Though there was a lot of Biscoff cookie spread and espresso in the batter, it tasted plain in comparison to the filling. If I were to make this again, I would change the cake to be a deep, dark chocolate cake with brewed coffee in the batter. The bitterness would help the Biscoff filling and Biscoff-mocha frosting stand out more. I would also see if it were possible to fill the cake with pure Biscoff instead of adding the sugar and butter to it. It tasted great, but without a bold cake, the filling got too sweet for me rather quickly.
This slice of cake was a perfect excuse to whip out my new Anthropologie plates! My best friend and I had this cake for breakfast, warm from the oven, before heading out to a local flea market and holiday popup. I do think this cake might taste better the day(s) after, when the coffee-flavor has had time to become more pronounced.
The only thing that could have made this birthday better was if it were warmer outside (I hate the cold)!