Happy Father’s Day: Boston Cream Cake-Pie-Monster-Thing

Whenever I ask my dad what he wants me to make for dessert that weekend, I always get the same answer.  Without fail.

“Flour.  Sugar.  Frosting.  Can I put it on cereal?”

I used to find this a lot more annoying.  I get that it’s his way of enjoying whatever I’ve baked, or something, but there was a while when I would so indignantly declare that he was ruining the dessert that I’d worked so hard to make delicious and pretty and why was I even wasting my time, because he was just going to dissect my beautiful creation with a spoon and stuff it with ice cream?

He answered with his infamous (at least in my house) theory that the uglier food is, the better it tastes, and that he didn’t give a rat’s ass about how pretty my food was.  We’ve since agreed to disagree on the issue.

Our second-biggest dessert disagreement is muffins v. cupcakes: I have explained the difference probably thirty times, and he still seems to decide arbitrarily whether something is a muffin or a cupcake.  Frosting?  Definitely a cupcake.  Chocolate?  Probably a muffin.

Or in most cases in my house, an unfrosted cupcake.  But again, agree to disagree.  And not be able to explain, apparently.

His latest “food whut” has been a bit of a griper, though: what constitutes “frosting”.  He gets the difference between whipped cream and frosting just fine, but all other filling categories (with the exception of pudding, which he is totally on board with) fall into the vague “frosting” category.  I told him I was going to make a tart with a pastry cream; that was frosting.  And when I pitched the Boston cream monstrosity that I made him for Father’s Day, going over each layer with him, his response to the cream filling was something along the lines of “that’s frosting, right?”

When I told him it wasn’t, he asked if we could replace it with frosting.

When I said no and told him we could replace it with something like a cannoli filling instead, he nodded and said “Frosting.  Good.”

I give up.

Happy Fathers’ Day, weirdo.  Glad you like your cake, whatever it is you want to call the filling.

Boston Cream Cake-Pie

Pybrids for victory!

Boston Cream Cake-Pie
adapted from this recipe, reprinted on Huffington Post from Vegan Pie In The Sky

Ingredients

for the cake:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the crust:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crumbled fine
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar

for the filling:

  • 6 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon powdered, unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

for the ganache:

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and generously spray a 9″ pie dish with cooking spray.
  2. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, vinegar, sugar, oil, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.
  3. Pour the batter into the pie dish and bake 13-14 minutes, or until a toothpick draws clean. (The top will be shiny, and the cake will strongly resemble a very large, very short flan.) Let cool for about five minutes, then invert onto a large dinner plate.
  4. Clean and dry your pie plate, then start on the graham cracker crust. Pour the graham crackers, sugar, and butter into the pie plate and mix by hand until combined; press into the shape of the pie plate and bake 10-12 minutes.
  5. In a blender or stand mixer, blend the ricotta, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Working in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1/2 cup milk and the gelatin. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer after 20-30 seconds and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the sugar. Combine the remaining milk and cornstarch separately, then pour into the gelatin-milk mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  7. Add the milk mixture to the ricotta and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into the pie shell, tap to release air bubbles, and transfer to the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set.
  8. Once the filling feels slightly firm, gently place the cake layer on top and return to the fridge.
  9. In a small saucepan, prep your ganache: bring the cream to a rapid boil over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and butter. Pour the ganache out onto the center of the cake, tilting to spread the chocolate out to the edges.
  10. Let sit at least 3 hours in the fridge before serving.

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Party of One: Mug Cake

This weekend I really, really just wanted cake.

I didn’t want to make a whole cake, though, because we still have cupcakes left from last week.  And it would have thrown off my carefully plotted baking schedule (which resumes next week with chocolate cream pie, at my mamabear’s request).  And I had so much going on with my never-ending spring cleaning (see also: this upcoming Tuesday’s post) that I didn’t want to take the time out to make, bake, and inevitably frost a whole cake.

Stupid needy stomach.

Luckily for me, this was an easier fix than I anticipated.  Enter: mug cake.

Easiest cake ever. Also the least pretty.

Easiest cake ever. Also the least pretty.

Perfect, single-serving, cake-y goodness.  Done in two minutes.  What more can a girl with a burning need for cake ask for?

There are probably eight or nine trillion recipes for mug cake out on the internet right now.  It’s kind of sweeping the world by storm because hello, single serving cake product with its own container built right into the title.  And did I mention it takes like zero effort?  Frankly I’m surprised these weren’t bigger sooner.

Probably those damn cupcakes being all charming and distracting us.

Four ingredient cake, where three of the ingredients are mixins?  Believe it.

Four ingredient cake, where three of the ingredients are mixins? Believe it.

But like any cake recipe, it’s easy enough to adjust as far as flavor is concerned.  I just looked around for the basic ratios on flour, sugar, leaveners, etc, and then did what I wanted from there; the end result was a strawberry-banana chocolate chip extravaganza.

I also didn’t really wind up measuring.  Like at all.  (I planned to, so y’all could have a real recipe, but these things happen sometimes.)  It was a very blasé cake baking experience, but here are the basics: a mashed banana, flour, one egg white, strawberries, and chocolate.  I relied on the sugar from the berries and the banana to cover the sweet component, but sugar is also something that could be considered in reproduction cakes.  All that got mixed in a mug and microwaved, and cake ensued.

Fresh out of the oven. The microwave oven.

Fresh out of the oven.
The microwave oven.

And a happy camper was I.

Single-serve baked goods: awesome, or non?  Your thoughts are always welcome below.

Happy birthday, sailor.

St Pat’s Part 1: Carbomb Cupcakes

One of my favorite English professors in college is seeeriously Irish.  He rants for the Celts, rages at everyone else, and speaks Gaelic.  One of his favorite things to tell (and re-tell) his students is a game of his; when people meet his Irishness with any sort of cutesy/endearing reaction, he’ll fire off something in Gaelic and they’ll smile before walking off.

He tells them he said “may the road rise up to meet you”.  What he told us he actually says is “may the road rise up to meet your face”.

I think he’d like these cupcakes, bitter though he is.  He’d probably bust my ass for still not using Irish whiskey, but Lou, I still don’t have any.  Feel free to share, though.

Cute little buggers!

Cute little buggers!

The best tip I can give anyone on eating an Irish carbomb cupcake is to eat it like you would drink a carbomb.  (Crazy, huh?)  The cake is reeeeally rich with Guinness, and the ganache filling is just bitter chocolate and whiskey.  The frosting is super sweet, though, and the Irish cream kind of helps smooth it out; if you get everything in one bite, it’s fantastic.

Not unlike a carbomb.

Not the firey kind, though.

You know what I mean.

Baking prep started super early yesterday.

Yum.  Booze at 10 AM.

Yum. Booze at 10 AM.

Because St Patrick’s Day weekend.  This is to be expected.

Guinness, butter, and chocolate.

Guinness, butter, and chocolate.

This was definitely one of those ‘well let me just test this to make sure it’s good’ recipes.  A, because everything was delicious and mostly loaded with chocolate, and B, because remember this joke?

I say again: St Patrick’s Day.

Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

Once the cakes were successfully baked and cooling, it was ganache time.

There's that Wild Turkey again.

There’s that Wild Turkey again.

I swear to you, we will finish that bourbon by the end of the weekend.  By hook or by crook.

Probably via my mom and me doing actual carbombs with it later today.

Is that weird?

With everything cooled, the process of filling began.

Alcohol count: 2/3.

Alcohol count: 2/3.

The recipe I was working off of said to fill the cupcakes ‘with a pastry bag with a wide tip, or your finger and a spoon’.  Guess which option I went for.

And then the last step, frosting.

Some of that Irish cream went straight into my mouth, too.  Sue me.

Some of that Irish cream went straight into my mouth, too. Sue me.

This was actually the easiest buttercream ever, and I might start replacing my usual buttercream for this method– especially when I need a smooth, flavored frosting.

We're working on the frosting skills thing, really.

We’re working on the frosting skills thing, really.

Voila!  Top with green sanding sugar (or white sugar that’s been shaken in a tiny jar with a few drops of green food coloring, as I did) and you’re good to go!

Part 2 of Irish Cooking Day is calling me from the oven, so I’ll leave you with a link to the printable of the recipe I used rather than a typed-out version.  The only adjustments I made were in the frosting; I used half the butter and two cups less powdered sugar, plus an extra tablespoon of Irish cream.  But I would probably kick up the quantities of all to get better frosting-to-cupcake ratio if I were doing this again.

Here’s the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker.  And I’ll be back later with more Irish goodness (and probably declining typing skills..)