Snow at -2 Below?

Tonight's forecast calls for the first snow of the season, starting off at around 4:00am. Everyone around here is pretty excited. Reason being, around these parts we live at about 2 feet below sea level. This will not only be the first snow of the season, but the first snow of the last several seasons... The last one I remember being during a spring time tea party at a friend's house when I was quite young. The pattern seems to be snow every 10 years or so... I'm sure there is some scientific reasoning to that, but my only meteorology experience being that which I've inherited from farming family, I'm not going to try and guess.

That said, snow has a rather bizarre way of finding me. Of greatest interest would be my freshman or sophomore year of college. I was sitting at the San Diego airport, waiting to go home for a break. I looked out the window, and... Snow?!? Everyone was baffled. And of course, none of my friends believed me. 72 degrees and partly cloudy with snow flurries? Yeah right.

So tomorrow should be interesting. None of the snow will stick of course, but ice scraping time should be accounted for. And I hope we're stocked up on chocolate powder at the coffee house, because except for the few oddballs that always order Frappes (it's freezing outside. What are you thinking??) everyone is going to be searching for that taste of winter (which if you were wondering, has a 75% chance of being a white mocha. Always). They'll be scrounging up dreams of a white Christmas from their childhoods, busting out the holiday music and saying "hey, how about this weather?" to every passerby they meet. Luckily, the Kansas part of me, besides being adept at meteorological predictions, has also been gifted with the ability to talk about the weather for hours on end. [By the way, never move to the Midwest unless you find conversations about the weather extremely stimulating and you yourself are capable of discussing every minute detail at length, and its potential repercussions for the next six to eight months.]

As for me, I've already got the Rat Pack Christmas album in my cd player and rock out to Mannheim Steamroller on the local classic rock turned seasonal cheer radio station. I'm still a little baffled as to why Christmas light are up all over town, and confused about how tomorrow is already December 7th, and still full of my fair share of bah-humbugs, but maybe a dose of 3" of freshly-fallen-quickly-melted snow is just what I need for that final shove into the holiday spirit. And besides, its a good excuse to sport my new and wonderfully tacky fleece jacket, right?


Burnt Sugar Cake - No, it's not burned.

So as it's the 20th of the month (yesterday...) it's time for me to post again about the Cake Slice Bakers. I know, I've been a terribly remiss blogger otherwise. Insert semi hollow promises about future blogging here. But that being said, I DID manage to bake my cake(s) this month, and right on time, even if the following write-up was a wee bit tardy.

This was our second cake from Nancie McDermott's Southern Cakes. It's a burnt sugar cake, made by creating a sugar+boiling water = burnt sugar syrup that is infused in the cake batter and in the icing. This cake had to deal with a time crunch (I was trying to do laundry, accomplish 900 spurious and unnecessary things, pack for Thanksgiving and drive to the Bay Area, all while baking) but it turned out pretty well nevertheless. I halved the recipe and chose to bake in a jumbo cupcake pan, which yielded six large "baby cakes" exactly. By spying on fellow bloggers beforehand I learned the frosting left something to be desired, and being personally partial to warm naked cake I left it out. I drizzled the remaining syrup over top, and dumped on a bit of powdered sugar for aesthetic purposes.

I promise to try and never say the phrase "warm naked cake" again. Maybe.

Other than the half I pillaged straight out of the oven - purely for quality control, of course - my step mom Vicki and I ate these later that night with a bit of pumpkin gelato. Which, if you haven't had, you can thank me later for introducing you to one of the great wonders of the world. (Seriously. Stop reading, get off your computer, and go find some before it's out of season. This blog is not so important as to stand in the way of you and a delicious frosty pumpkiny taste treat.) Grandma Lucy informs me that as of day 2 there is a distinct buttery flavor and almost pound cake-like texture to the baby cakes.

See that nice drizzling technique?

Overall, this cake came together really easily. It'd be a nice one to make again when you want something low effort, but a little fancier than splurging on the moist deluxe boxed cake mix. (Especially if you eat it with pumpkin gelato. Seriously.)

[If you'd like the recipe, I recommend visiting this blog of a fellow cake slice baker: Lick The Bowl Good. This is how I found out about cake slice bakers. She gives great recipes and explanations, and takes pretty oogle worthy food photos as well.]


Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake!

So, I've joined a blogging group. I'm officially part of "Cake Slice Bakers". This group picks a new cake cookbook once a year, and democratically chooses a recipe to bake each month, which will be revealed on the 20th. Forgive my tardiness on this first month - I have procrastination standards to uphold, after all! And the stove I prefer to use (my father's) is currently located in his living room. But that's a whole 'nother story.

The book this year is "Southern Cakes" by Nancie McDermott. For our first cake, we baked Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake. Now, my dear friend Chrissy recently confessed to me an undying love for coffee cake (okay maybe not undying, but at least profound). She also happens to be quite allergic to nuts. Ergo, I decided my first scratch baking endeavour in ages should be additionally complicated by splitting it into two batches. But all in all, it did turn out pretty delicious.

My pans weren't the perfect size, I overcooked them slightly, and the with-nuts version had a bit of a bubbling over problem. But that's nothing three tablespoons of cinnamon in the filling didn't solve. So hey, maybe they ain't pretty, but Chrissy ate it up and her hubby Brian did too, and I'm guilty of at least a few slices myself. Or maybe more... Calories be damned.


This is my sample.

Every blog must have an arbitrary sample post. Testing settings, colors, etc is impossible without one. My aesthetic must have samples. Thank you for your patience.