The title of this post was almost “Avast ye A pirate ship” that’s pirate for Holy Crap its a Pirate Ship
I’m one of those people who sits in complete rapture watching those food competition shows. I love them. Cupcake wars, Hell’s kitchen, those cake challenges, Master chef….the list goes on. Do I want to be on one of those shows…nahh… not really. I’m happy just to sit on my couch in my fuzzy socks and some snacks and experience a full range of emotions and suspense as the contestants run, sweat, cry, curse and laugh. So in some weird way I guess I live vicariously through them, but without all the pressure and yelling.
Occasionally I do get the urge to challenge myself, after all it’s how you grow. And since I’m not planning on doing anything extreme like skydiving or running with the bulls in Spain I tend to keep my challenges in the kitchen (for now anyway). So when my Bff ( a.k.a sister from another mister) told be her and the family were coming to town to celebrate my god-daughter 3rd birthday with her family here, I knew I wanted to help in some kind of way.
After much consideration from a very awesome two going on three-year old the theme was decided to be Jake and The Neverland Pirates. And the cake…..yep…you probably guessed it….. A PIRATE SHIP. The initial request was if I knew anybody that could make this happen and while I sat back to contemplate if I in fact did a thought popped in my head. That thought was “Why don’t I do it?”.
I have never taken on a project like this but I was excited about it and once I decided I was going to do it I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The good part was that I had plenty of advance notice so I was able to research like a mad woman. In true obsessive Virgo fashion I took to the internet and read countless tutorials and watched countless YouTube videos.
So full disclosure time: I had and still have never seen an episode of Jake and The Neverland Pirates. I guess that not to bad considering I don’t have any kids, but I googled the crap out of pictures of the ship and the characters so I feel like have seen the show many many times. Full disclosure number two: I suck at sketching and drawing. So although I had a vision in my mind of how I wanted it to look I really couldn’t transfer it to paper. So I guess in a way I sort of Free Styled it.
After all the research, planning and gathering of supplies it was finally time to dive in. A big help was this really cool cake pan. I really didn’t want to take a chance at carving the shape so this pan was my saving grace. It gave me the shape and structure I needed. Then it was just a matter of covering it and getting the details right. If you follow me on Instagram I’m pretty sure you got sick of me posting just about every step, but I just couldn’t help myself. Every step fascinated and amazed me. The more details I was adding the more it began to come to life.
It was hard, it was tedious and time-consuming but I was more than happy with the finished product. The Birthday Girl was happy and the family and partygoers loved it. It was a challenge that I’m happy to have taken on. I’m extremely proud of myself and I’m thinking this was a good life lesson about taking on more challenges and conquering them.
I guess all this seems pretty deep to just be talking about a cake shaped like a Pirate ship, but I’m sure many food bloggers will tell you that some of our best personal revelations come in the kitchen.
(All these pictures were taken with my phone, so they are not super pristine)
Did you know February was National Sweet Potato month? I had no idea! Do you not know how deep my love for sweet potatoes goes…hmmm…. Come to think of it you probably don’t. I eat them baked and plain, I eat them in pie, I eat them in soup, I eat them here and there, I will eat them anywhere. Well now I have a whole month to convert….uhh….I mean share my love of them with you. Every Thursday in February I will be posting recipe with sweet potatoes.
So how about we do a little inappropriate food daydreaming right now. Close your eyes and picture a bubbling hot cobbler coming from the oven. Now picture yourself grabbing a huge bowl and scooping the piping hot goodness into it, but wait you’re not done. Go to the freezer and get that tub of vanilla ice cream and place a big ole scoop on top. Oh yeah, that ought to get your inner Homer Simpson going, I know it did mine. Excuse me while I take a minute to wipe my keyboard off a little. *clears throat* there we go…. All better now.
Sooo now that you have that image going on, go ahead and make the cobbler full of sweet, cinnamony sweet potatoes, and commence with more drooling. Im really giddy about this recipe. I just love it so much. This insane cold weather makes for some weekends snuggled warm in your house and to me this is like a major comfort dessert.
I know for most people when you hear “Cobbler”, especially if you are born and raised in the south like I am, your mind automatically goes to peach cobbler. Aint nothing wrong with that but even if you are a die-hard peach cobbler fan and trust me I know some , I bet I can convert you or at the very least get you to expand your horizons because you have not truly lived until you’ve tried this sweet potato cobbler.
*Im thinking this might be really good with a homemade cinnamon ice cream on top. Maybe ill try that next time.
2 large sweet potatoes
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup melted butter, cooled
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes and place on a pan. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour or until they are soft enough to pierce with a fork. Allow them to cool completely.
2. Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and place them in the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer. Add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, egg, and vanilla. Mix together on low speed until smooth. Pour the mixture into a sprayed ore buttered deep 8 x8 baking dish. (If you don’t have a deep enough dish you can use a 9×13 inch baking dish).
3. In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, sugar, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the sweet potato mixture.
4. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.
I can admit that sometimes I can be an impulsive shopper. Usually when I’m strolling down the aisles of the groceries stores (usually the snack aisles) and I see something new that peaks my interest I grab it. Then most of the time I eat it once and think “ehh…” and then it sits in my pantry until I forget about it. But knowing this ridiculously pattern I got extremely excited when I saw these Peppermint Marshmallows on a recent trip to Wal-Mart. I think I actually went “ooh” very loudly and yes I got some strange looks but hey wouldn’t be the first time.
The first thing I thought about was a giant cup of hot cocoa loaded with peppermint marshmallows and how perfect that sounded especially with the colder weather moving in. The next thought was just stuffing them in my mouth and then I kinda ran outta options.
And then I remembered a box of rice crispies sitting in my pantry thought “ these would make some awesome rice crispy treats….and I can drizzle them in dark and white chocolate and sprinkle them with crushed peppermint….ooh peppermint bark rice crispies” yep….i just took you through my entire thought process. I know, deep right!?
These were so good and so easy and so perfect for the holidays! I know most of you are already at the finishing line of the holiday baking marathon and I’m way in the back shouting “Hey guys, wait up” but I still wanted to share this with you guys. My super crazy insane work schedule has kept me out of the marathon but I’m determined to get in there anyway.
So as this post goes up very close to Christmas, I just want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays from Mocha Baker Girl!( Just pretend like I rang your doorbell and handed you a pretty holiday tin filled with these and gave you a big hug!)
Peppermint Bark Rice Crispys
¼ cup margarine
4 cups Jet-Puffed miniature peppermint marshmallows
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Cripsy Rice Cereal
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
4oz white chocolate, chopped
½ cup crushed peppermint candies
- Generously spray or butter a 13 by 9 inch baking pan. set aside.
- In a large saucepan on medium heat place the margarine. When margarine is completely melted add the marshmallows and stir constantly until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the peppermint extract, vanilla and the cereal working quickly.
- Stir until all the cereal is coated evenly and press into a baking pan. ( I like to use my hands, just make sure your hands are sprayed or buttered really well)
- Allow rice crispys to cool .* In a small bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water place the dark chocolate and stir until melted. Using a spoon drizzle the melted chocolate over the rice crispy. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes. In another small bowl over the saucepan of simmering water place the white chocolate and stir until melted. Using a spoon drizzle the white chocolate over the rice crispy and then sprinkle with the crushed peppermint.
- Place in the refrigerator and cool until chocolate is set. Once cool cut into squares or other desired shape.
*if you prefer you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in a microwavable bowl at 10 second intervals, stirring after each 10 seconds. You can also use the melting chocolate (chocolate bark).
Recipe inspired by Sally Baking Addiction
I know this title is mouthful but stay with me here. So I’ve been on this crazy muffin kick lately. I have no idea why and I’m sure as heck not fighting it. The idea for these muffins came from my experience with the Latte Blast Cake from Publix. One evening after a long day of work I stopped in on my way home looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth and also as a reward for a particularly rough day. I strolled past the pretty gourmet case and a sale sign caught my eye. The description alone had me basically drooling, moist layers of rich yellow cake filled and covered with a mocha cream cheese frosting. Who wouldn’t want that? I took one bite and I swear I almost cried, it wasn’t so much the cake as it was THAT FROSTING! It was AMAYZING! As a coffee lover and a cream cheese lover it really blew my mind and couldn’t believe I had never crossed paths with this combo before. Although this cake was amazing as I took bite after “slap somebody good” bite I couldn’t help but think how great these flavors would be in a muffin. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to eat mocha cream cheese frosting for breakfast. Could be a little of column A could be a little of Column B but either way the outcome was this delicious coffee and chocolate flavored muffin with a freaky good mocha cream cheese swirl.
Mocha Cream Cheese Swirl
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon espresso powder
½ Teaspoon vanilla
Mocha Chocolate Chunk Muffin
Makes 8 Jumbo muffins
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s special dark)
4 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon Espresso Powder
1 ½ Teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup oil
½ cup strong brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
½ cup chocolate milk
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or favorite chocolate bar, chopped)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line Jumbo Muffin Pan with paper liners or heavily spray with non-stick spray.
For Cream Cheese Swirl:
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla together until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a plastic storage bag and snip one corner. Set aside. ( If you don’t want to dirty your mixer, with a little muscle you can just stir everything until its smooth with a spoon and a medium sized bowl.)
For the Muffins :
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, dark cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder and salt.
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk in the oil, coffee, chocolate milk and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients and using a rubber spatula gently fold until you don’t see any more streaks of the dry ingredients. Do not mix until completely smooth, you will see some lumps and it’s perfectly fine.
- Using a smaller bowl, sprinkle the chocolate chips with a little flour (about 2 Teaspoons), and toss them around to make sure they are thoroughly coated. (It’s not mandatory but I find it helps keep the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom). Gently fold the flour coated chocolate chips in to the batter.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling them until they are ¾ of the way full. Take the mocha cream cheese mixture in the storage bag and squeezing through the open corner that has been cut pipe large squiggly line over the top of the muffin batter. You can really make whatever lines or designs your heart desires, I just chose these squiggly lines because I though it looked cool. Next time I may do a spiral design.
- Place muffins in 425 degree oven for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Once muffins are done remove from oven and allow muffins to cool in pan 10 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Or just scarf one down hot and fresh from the oven, that’s what I did and no I am not ashamed!
Although these muffins are delicious at room temperature they are even better toasted in the oven for a few minutes before eating! And they freeze well too!
Now have a doughnut. Now have these doughnuts.
Like most of the world I get positively giddy over a really really good doughnut and really sad over a bad one and yes there is such thing as bad doughnut.
I love a good yeast doughnut but as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to appreciate the beauty of the cake doughnut. They are simple to make and just as addictive as the ones made with yeast. Not sure when it happened but I’m totally embracing it.
These doughnuts were not the original plan but as we know life rarely goes the way you plan. This can especially be the case in the kitchen but the fun part is sometimes a “Fail” in the kitchen can lead to something even better.
These sweet cinnamon sugar doughnut balls are so good. They are sweet and crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. They are rolled in a sugar syrup and then in cinnamon sugar.
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
(recipe adapted from allrecipes.com)
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking power
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoons salt
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Mix in melted butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Mixture will be sticky but firm. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
For sugar syrup: In small saucepan combine sugar and water over medium heat and stir until mixture is heated and sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
For cinnamon sugar: in small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon and stir until mixture is well combined.
I used a small ice cream and wet hands to scoop the dough and roll it into balls and place them on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.
In large heavy bottomed pot pour oil (about 3 cups) and heat until 360 degrees. Once the oil is hot enough drop a few of the doughnut holes in at a time. Fry for about 2 to 2 ½ minutes making sure to flip them halfway through. Once the doughnut holes are done transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and let them drain.
Once they have drained but are still slightly warm roll each doughnut hole in the sugar syrup draining off any excess syrup then coat in the cinnamon sugar mixture making sure it’s completely coated .
Let the doughnut holes cool completely then enjoy!
Makes about 3 dozen holes.