Sunday, November 2, 2008

Let's party like it's my birthday

I made myself some tasty baking for my birthday.
LOTS of it.
Because I can.
So there.

At work, everyone has to bring their OWN cake on their birthday (you get what you like and noone is left out unless they want to be). I hummed and hawed and settled on making some spice cake derbies.
What is a derby you ask? Well, a few years ago I bought a make your own Twinkie set from a kitchen shop…It's called a "Cream Canoe" kit so they don't get sued, but is a really good pan -the pan has 8 canoe/twinkie spots in it and comes with an icing decorator/injector to fill them with any little flavoured filling that your little heart desires.
At the moment, my heart desires cream cheese icing.

I've tried vanilla derbies with lemon pudding inside, chocolate and almond with vanilla or Bailey's pudding inside…and thought some spice cake with cream cheese inside would rock the casba. I was actually going to cheat and buy a good spice cake recipe (layzee dayz) but I made this one.

When I first made derbies
, version 1 (vanilla cake with lemon curd filling), Magnus said I should call them derbies…after Rocky and Bullwinkle, when Bullwinkle was hypnotized to desire a hat ("derby…I must find derby…"). Magnus can do the Bullwinkle "derby" perfect…makes me snicker like a kindergarten student everytime. It stuck. They became derbies.
And they're relly worth all the effort. Unlike real twinkies they do not suck…and are totally customizable and pimpable.

Pimp my cupcake.
Aw man…if I get a cooking show, I totally want a baking segment called that.
ANYways….back to the cake.

I commandeered my favourite apple spice cake recipe from the Joy of Cooking - it makes exactly 1 pan worth of derbies (or a 9 inch round cake). I made the batter and sprinkled some diced apple and a few walnuts into the derby pans before I spooned in the batter. This is a nice spicy moist cake with no eggs. I've used splenda in this instead of sugar for a diabetic friend, and cheated with 1 c milk + 1 t vinegar when I had no buttermilk and it tastes great too. Odd, but doesn't matter…it just tastes all kinds of good.

Apple Spice Cake

Whisk together in a bowl:
1 ½ c flour
1 c brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t \cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t allspice or cloves
½ t salt

Add and stir until just smooth:
1 c buttermilk
½ c oil
2 t rum (I add ~ ½ t rum flavour)
1 t vanilla

Stir in/sprinkle on top:
1 apple diced up small and ½ c chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts or pecans are all good)

Scrape into a greased and floured pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (it may not look quite baked - don't let it fool you…) about 40-45 minutes for a 9x9 cake or ~18 minutes for the derby's or cupcakes. Tip derbies out of the pan onto a rack and let 'em cool completely.

Then I made some cream cheese icing - again the Joy of Cooking cream cheese icing recipe. The icing gods didn't smile on me so it's not as fluffy as it could be, but it tastes delicious...
8 oz light cream cheese (cold)
4 T butter/margarine (room temp)
2 to 2 ½ c icing sugar (to taste. I do ~2)
2 t vanilla
Use a food processor or the paddle on your mixer and beat together butter and cheese until smooth…don't overmix. Whip in vanilla and sugar. You can freeze this apparently, but I've always…um…eaten it all, so I can't say from experience if that is true. Eez good.

Usually I don't ice this cake as it rocks hard with disco lighting on it's own. But since I needed creamy filling for the derbies, this worked. I injected about 1 T worth of icing into each derby, in 3 injection spots…and they were most tasty. None were leftover…

Then there was the OTHER cake.

Heh heh.

I wanted to have something pumkininny for my birthday, and wanted to have it with family, so I tried making a pumpkin spice cake recipe gluten free to share with my brother and his wife…I used the Pumpkin Spice Cake I recipe from Allrecipes (A great recipe site). I have never made the cake before, but it looked pretty simple and looked moist enough to easily to convert to gluten free, if not slightly (OK pretty, bad) for you.

Pumpkin Spice Cake
1 c oil
3 eggs
1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 c white sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used just over 2 c of gluten free…exact measurement is 2 1/8c (I ran out of flour just over 2 c so that was what I used…general rule is 7/8 c of gluten free flour for every regular cup of flour in a recipe)
1 t baking soda (if gluten free - use 1 ½ t - general rule is 1.5 x leavening)

1 t ground nutmeg
1 t allspice
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground cloves
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (or other nuts if you want)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease one 10 " bundt pan or a regular 9x13 pan. Because I used gluten free flour I went for the 9X13 pan, as I wasn't sure how it'd turn out. I usually dont' mess with a recipe until I've tried it first.

Cream oil, beaten eggs, pumpkin and vanilla together. (according to some commentors on the site, they subbed out ½ c oil for ½ c apple sauce and cut back sugar by ½ c and the cake was still good…again, next time).
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined (no worries about overmixing if gluten free flour). If desired, stir in nuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35-40 min in a 9x13 pan or 1 hour in a bundt pan until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool cake. Serve with either confectioner's sugar OR cream cheese icing. Or both .Y'know.

I used the same icing as for the derbies (just made twice as much). Originally I was going to ice it up with grey icing to make it look like Han Solo trapped in Carbonite (nerd!)…but in the end I just made 2 iced layers in a slightly misshapen but very delicious cake. I don't think I overbaked it too much (it's hard not to with a larger cake) so it was really good. I am tempted to replace some of the oil with applesauce and perhaps cut back the sugar next time…we'll see. I picked this cake mix for being moist…and it was. I always try something "as is" before I mess with it. I just wanted a cake we could all enjoy. And we all did.

Happy Halloween everyone!


Anonymous said...

Happy Halloween! If you like Halloweeny wallpapers, I left some links to some on my blog.

At my office people had to buy cakes for everyone on their own birthday... I suppose it was just a way of making sure everybody chipped in on the year's celebrations. But when the office got bigger, it was harder to keep up.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Sorry I missed your birthday!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate than customized spice cake twinkies. They sound SO good!!!

Magnus said...

Actually, Bullwinkle was hypnotised by Boris and Natasha to find a top secret derby.