Sunday, September 26, 2010

birthday cake and sugar coma

Yesterday was my birthday. I don't get terribly excited about my birthday because I don't see the fuss in it. [Especially because 19 is quite possibly the most useless age you could turn]. Just want to see a few good friends, my family, and take it easy for the day. I pretty much got my wish. Family visited during the day, phonecalls and facebook messages of well-wishes, a few friends came over at night to "surprise me" with flowers and entertaining conversation. It was more than I could have asked for.

Oh, and cake.

Lots of cake.

I do love cake.

Delicious, rich, creamy, cake.

Mom came down to Cville yesterday with Yusra to take Noosh and I out to lunch [and give me lots of new clothes that I now won't be able to fit into after yesterday's cakefest]. She brought with her a dense, decadent, chocolate truffle cake. And some whipped cream to go with it.

Now, back when I was younger, chocolate truffle cake was my favorite kind of cake. Which is a bit odd for an 11-year old, right? This really rich, dark chocolate, almost bitter cake. But I couldn't get enough of it. And I've been asking for one for a few years now, and mom keeps trying other new recipes [which have, admittedly, turned out to be delicious, especially last year's double chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Can you tell I'm obsessed with chocolate?]. But this year she granted my wish. And it was delicious.



But no birthday is complete without ANOTHER cake, right?

Well, mine isn't, anyway.

Farnoosh had been telling me for a while that she really wanted to bake my birthday cake. Which made me feel extremely honored, as she doesn't really enjoy cooking or baking in the least and wasn't totally sure what she was getting into by making a cake from scratch.

It was a long process. Lots of sweat and tears.

Well, not really the tears. But a bit of stress. Frosting falling all over the carpet, not being able to slice the cake properly, cake falling apart, mess everywhere.

But in the end, we got it together.

And gorgeous, if I do say so myself. I helped Noosh out with the baking part, but she wouldn't even let me watch her decorate it.

Well worth the wait, though.

Ugh. So pretty. And DELICIOUS. Chocolate brownie cake with espresso filling and espresso mascarpone frosting. Garnished with toffee bits, strawberries, and dark chocolate shards.

I pretty much died of sugar coma. Legit.

I woke up this morning with a headache. more sugar for a while.

[We'll see how long that lasts].

Friday, September 24, 2010

dulce de leche cheesecake bars

I haven't updated in a while. I also haven't baked in a while. And I didn't actually bake these.

I mean, I did, once upon a time [about a month ago], but I rediscovered the decent photos I took [using Yusra's phone's camera] of these delicious treats. So I figured I'd give you guys something delectable to tide you over until I actually bake something.

Also, I'm sitting at the Toyota dealership while my car is getting his state vehicle inspection done, and I got bored of studying economics. Oh, the beauty of wireless internet. 

Oh, yes. Dulce de leche cheesecake bars.

I love cream cheese. I mean, I am obsessed with cream cheese. Like, my mom is bringing me 6 packages of cream cheese tomorrow when she comes up to Cville [according to her, I go a little 'baking crazy' in the fall and she wants me well-stocked so I don't spend money on expensive baking ingredients. I just love parents]. Anyway, this recipe was a delight to bake because it has cream cheese and two of my other favorite things in the world: chocolate and a graham cracker crust. Ugh. You just know it's going to be pants-splittingly delicious.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars
For the crust, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted

For the filling, you’ll need:
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 8-oz packet of cream cheese [always use full-fat]
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup dulce de leche

For the topping, you’ll need:
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line and grease an 8x8-inch square pan. To make the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar until well-blended and slowly pour in the melted butter. Combine and pour onto the pan. Press the crumbs down and spread them evenly across the pan. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

To make the filling, sprinkle gelatin over the milk and let soften, about 2 minutes. Mix the cream cheese, eggs, salt, and milk in an electric mixer using the paddle attachment until creamy. Slowly add in the dulce de leche and mix until fully incorporated.

Pour the filling onto the cooled crust and spread it evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool on the rack for at least 2 hours, then chill for at least 6 hours.

I really wish I had had my DSLR when I made these. I'm sure the photos would have been excellent.
Still, for a cell phone camera, I feel like they're pretty passable.

I'm so hungry right now. I hope this inspection is almost done. I'm feeling Thai tonight. And maybe a side of cheesecake for dessert.

Like, an entire cheesecake.

Do Thai restaurants sell cheesecake?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

farmer's markets and red devil's cupcakes

Gah. I just love food. And my friends. And both together is a glorious combination.

Went to the Cville Farmer's Market this morning with Rudhdi. LOVED IT. As always. She is quite possibly my favorite person to be my psycho, foodie self around, because she understands me. I mean, how many people would walk around a Farmer's Market with me and literally just about cry with joy upon seeing baskets of multi-colored, locally grown tomatoes, misshapen butternut squash, or maple cashew butter?!

[The amount of excitement I feel even just recalling this is disturbing.]

All of the aforementioned were purchased. Along with a loaf of Ezekiel bread, a loaf of rye bread, focaccia with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil, and chocolate banana bread. Ugh. I need someone to pry me away from the market so I don't end up spending every dollar bill in my wallet.

photo taken with Rudhdi's camera phone.
After the Market, we both went to a local joint, Eppy's for lunch. Salad, soup, and a side of pumpkin bread [PUMPKIN BREAD? I just about died and went to heaven]. A salad made with spinach, grape tomatoes, corn, goat cheese, and dates, and served with a champagne vinaigrette. Unique. And surprisingly delicious.

Just enjoying a delicious meal with an amazing friend, talking for what seems like hours about life and food. Honestly, one of the best feelings in the world.

After lunch, we went on a much-needed grocery trip [literally, there had been nothing but Greek yogurt in my fridge prior to today], and then I dropped her off and went to meet Raj, Hershil, and Kevin at their dorm to bake...




I made cupcakes. Mostly to appease Raj, Hershil, and Kevin. Because they thought they could convince me that cupcakes are, in fact, delicious. be totally honest, they were delicious.

But it was because of the frosting. The cake part was...meh. I mean, it was no different from any other cake. Not good, not bad, decent. [This is, in part, true, and also, in part, as a defense of my determined dislike of cupcakes].

We had to mix all the ingredients in a steel pot, and we had to ask the neighbors for nonstick spray, and we had to improvise with baking utensils, but I'd say it was a great success. [I hope the boys would agree with me!]

And fun! I love baking with friends. It's always an adventure. [Usually one that results in my friends asking me why on earth we're not baking at my apartment, where I have my baking pans, ingredients, and stand-mixer on hand].

This delicious recipe, red devil's cupcakes with sour cream mocha frosting, was found at Ming Makes Cupcakes. I'll type up the recipe here [but if you check the site, these are #14].

Red Devil's Cupcakes with Sour Cream Mocha FrostingAdapted from Ming Makes Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes, you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 2 eggs

For the frosting, you'll need:
  •  8 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake pan with paper, and lightly grease each cup.  In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add in butter, buttermilk, vanilla, and food coloring and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add in eggs and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Pour enough batter to fill a little over half of each cup. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

To prepare frosting, melt chocolate and espresso in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water. Let cool. In a separate bowl, mix sour cream, honey, and vanilla. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Yes, they were scrumptious. I admit it.

I'm still not sold, though. I mean, I would make this frosting and slather it on a layered cake and it would be just as good.

But, I will admit, maybe I don't hate cupcakes. I don't love them, but maybe they're not as despicably evil as I thought.

I do want to make a cupcake with some sort of filling, though. One day.

Baby steps, after all.

And now I'm full on Thai food. Delicious Thai food. Daniel and some friends called spontaneously this evening and asked if we wanted to join them for dinner. So we revved up the car and headed out. Chicken kapow. Best Thai dish on the planet. And now I am STUFFED.

But there's a frozen banana waiting for me in the freezer...

Thank goodness for stretchy pants.

cookie party in mickey's pants

Or should I say cookie party OF Mickey's pants?

Yes! I actually baked! For the first time in about 2 weeks! And I have a recipe for you! 

Mickey's pants! I'm still working on the hand shake with the camera, and my lens' aperture isn't great for low-light, so they're a little blurry, but here they are!

Tommy showed me this recipe a few days ago and really wanted to make it, and of course I love any opportunity to bake.

Though minor disasters did ensue. As they always do when I bake.

First off, we were going to bake in Tommy's dorm building. And then we didn't have any ingredients, so we walked about half a mile down to Harris Teeter, got the stuff, and then walked back. About 45 minutes total.

Then, we didn't have anything to really bake with. So we called up Angie, she picked us up, and we went back to her apartment. She had some reliable bowls and whisks to use [read: her silverware hadn't been sitting in dorm kitchen drawers and cabinets for lord knows how many years], so we were psyched. We washed her dishes, picked out some bowls and cleared some counter space, and got to work. Good!

Oh, wait, no hand-held mixer. So we whisked the butter and sugar frantically to make them 'light and fluffy.' Which they weren't. Because we didn't have a hand-held mixer.

But it was alright, because who really needs to use a hand-held mixer? If anything they'll just be...denser. Right? Right. So we're good to go!

Oh, wait, I left the white chocolate in the dorm kitchen fridge. So Angie and Tommy drove back to get that while I dyed the dough red.

Great! Bright red, as Mickey's pants should be, sugary sweet dough [taste-testing unbaked cookie dough is one of life's greatest pleasures], white chocolate buttons on hand, ready to go.

Oh, wait, no rolling pin. So naturally we use a canister of sugar. It worked out pretty well, actually.

"not the gumdrop buttons!"
SO CUTE. Ack. I just about died from adorableness. They were a little rough around the edges because we had to cut them with a knife and paper template, but they turned out pretty well.

They did end up a little crispy because we weren't quite sure how powerful Angie's stove was, and overbaked them by about a minute or two. But after I left after the first batch, Angie and Tommy lowered the baking time some and I'm sure the rest turned out fantastic.

Mickey Mouse Sugar Cookies

For the sugar cookies, you'll need:
  • 1 1/4 cups butter [2 1/2 sticks], softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt

For the 'decoration,' you'll need:
  • red food coloring
  • yogurt-covered raisins [we used white chocolate chips, because Tommy's not a huge fan of yogurt-covered raisins]
  • Mickey Mouse pants template, found here.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly butter the surface of a cookie sheet. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix well. Add cream of tartar, salt, and flour and mix until dough starts to form. Use your hands to knead dough. Dye dough red with food coloring [we ended up using quite a lot of food coloring]. Once color is uniform, knead dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut cookie cutter template and sprinkle flour over a flat, dry surface to roll dough out on. Roll dough to a little more than 1/2-inch thick. Using a knife, cut around the cookie cutter and gently lift off the surface. Bake for 10-12 minutes; let cookies cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from pan. Finish cooling cookies on a wire rack.

Can we go to Disney World now?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

i still hate cupcakes

I came home last night to spend Eid weekend with my family. There is so much love for my parents and sister inside me right now I could burst. But enough of the sappy business, the real reason I'm writing is because mom has been planning an Eid party for two weeks, and tonight was the debut.

7 days of cooking, 6 hours of setting up, 4 hours of cleaning up, 20 dishes, over 150 people. Total success.

Yes, this is going to be another one of those photo-filled posts. Don't expect any recipes.

pre-party spread. post-party spread too graphic to be pictured.

All the credit goes to mom, but she had me bring the DSLR home for the weekend so I could snap some 'quality' photos of her food. It may not look like a lot of food in the photo, but it was quite possibly enough to feed a small country. Or a couple of boys' dorms at school.

Karahi chicken, chicken tikka, beef kabobs, nihari, haleem, salad, veggie rolls, naan, puri, halwa, aloo, daal, dahi baray, cholay, samosa, 20 boxes of pizza, gulab jamun, pineapple sweet, seviyan, coconut burfi, cupcakes, punch, and kashmiri chai.

from front to back: veggie rolls, beef kabobs, haleem, and nihari

It was a pretty impressive spread, not gonna lie. We touched on basically every food group. Salad, meats, breads, lentils, fruits, dairy.

Needless to say, the bulk of my day's diet consisted of deep-fried samosas and dessert. 

dessert: one of the best features of Pakistani culture
So. Much. Sugar. Ugh. Delicious. Kill me.

I did hit that point where I thought I was going to die from food coma. I mean, I didn't really eat a breakfast, lunch, or dinner today; instead, I walked back and forth through the dining room, picking at different dishes, and basically ate nonstop for about 7 hours straight.

from left to right: coconut burfi, pineapple sweet, seviyan

Pak-Indian sweets are probably some of the tastiest dishes known to man. I don't know how to make a single one. Except gulab jamun.

I didn't make these ones, though. I would have, had I had the time; these were still quite tasty. Though, I must say, mine are delicious. Next time I make them, I'll put up the recipe.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that halfway through the party, we had an additional 2 carrot cakes, a red velvet cake, a chocolate and peanut butter cake, a box of baklava, and an ice cream cake.

the spirit of Eid embodied in one hand

In other news, I figure I should explain my post title. Now, I hate cupcakes. I always have. With a passion. Like, they are the reject cousins of the baked good family. They are freakish-looking, useless, taste mediocre, a pain in the ARSE to decorate, and a general waste of time. Mom had me bring all my frosting tips home so I could frost about 4 dozen cupcakes for her. So I tried, failed miserably, and almost had a nervous breakdown. There was food color staining my hands, frosting on the table and floor, everything was sticky, the frosting was too runny, and the tips were impossible to clean. So instead of icing pretty flowers all over the cupcakes, which was my mom's original idea, I ended up slathering them with purple and yellow frosting and throwing some cheap sprinkles on top.

I was hoping that hours of "Cupcake Wars" and Cake Boss would have converted me, but no. I still hate them. Ugh. Maybe one day, far, far, far away from now, I will attempt some legit, gourmet cupcakes; you know, tiramisu cupcakes with mascarpone filling and coffee liquor buttercream frosting on top, or raspberry lemon cupcakes with raspberry filling and a lemon-curd glaze. But for now, I still hate them.

As you could probably tell at this point, I didn't actually bake anything this weekend. And now I have enough leftovers packed up for the apartment that I should be set for the next 2 or so weeks. So not totally sure when I'll be cooking or baking again, but until then I will be enjoying an assortment of delicious treats.

You know, once I mentally recover from tonight's gastronomic feat.

*sigh* I love myself and I hate myself. Diet starts tomorrow. [yes, this is a reference to the Harvard Sailing Team's "Boys will be Girls"]

Sunday, September 5, 2010

miso hungry! [not]

Cooking with friends is definitely one of the best joys in life. Honestly.

It also helps when what you cook turns out to be delicious. 

Now, I'm going to be straight with you. This isn't going to be a recipe post. It's going to be an excuse for me to put up a lot of pictures of a lot of delicious food. [photos are mine, but 35mm 1:1.8 lens courtesy of Kevin. who better watch out because I may have to steal it. I'm so in love.].

It was a busy day. Spent a few hours this afternoon at Carter Mountain picking apples, and then ran back and forth from the Downtown Mall to "Cville Oriental Market" to a different Asian market to Kroger, all to get supplies for tonight's dinner.

Started off with a delicious miso soup that Farnoosh made [and I even liked the tofu! so kudos to you, Noosh]. Didn't have scallions, unfortunately, but tossed in some baby bella mushrooms and seaweed. Very good.

Then for main course[s], kimbap! Basically sushi, but Kevin wanted me to use the real name for it. Sticky rice, cucumber, pickled gourd, and egg all wrapped up in nori. Most of them were perfectly crafted by Daniel. Although he did show me how to make it, and I did fashion an entire roll [almost] by myself!

Admittedly, we went a little carried away with the egg. And ended up with far more kimbap than we could handle. But at least now Noosh and I have got dinner for tomorrow! ...and the rest of our lives.
Meanwhile, Kevin made some Korean BBQ beef.

Which has a proper name, but for the life of me I don't remember what it's called/how to spell it. [this just in, Kevin says its "kalbi." so, there you go!] The main point is that it was excellent. Tangy, not too tough, and nomnommy.

And we had a gorgeous presentation for it all. Especially these wasabi leaves and gourd rose that Farnoosh crafted. Just beautiful! I'm so impressed.

It was quite a meal. And we had some pretttty delicious dessert that I made [deep dish apple pie using the golden supreme apples we picked earlier in the day]. But that will come in a separate post [and yes, I'll put up the recipe!]

Not gonna lie though, I'm so full that I wish Ramadan was going to go on for another two months just so I could fast off all of this food.

Ugh. The price you pay for deliciousness. Life can be cruel.

the good, the bad, and the bread pudding

Let me break it down for you. I don't hide it when I don't like a food. I won't force myself to eat anything I don't think is tasty. And I will always be honest with you when it comes to your cooking.
And mine.

Kevin arrived this evening. And for a while I had a grand feast planned out for tonight's dinner. Eventually, dinner expanded to not only include Farnoosh, Kevin, and I, but also Matt and Daniel. Still, I made adjustments ahead of time and was very excited about this meal.

Let me just tell you. Not so delicious. Not terrible, but definitely not tasty.
I've also come to learn that pretty awful. Which is a shame, because it's supposed to be so good for you, and I was super duper excited about cooking it [not to mention it's also low-GI, so it would have fit perfectly with my pre-diabetes]. Maybe I just used a bad recipe [although it got quite a few 5-star ratings, so I was severely disappointed], but that stuff tastes like dining hall oatmeal. Mixed with vinegar and some chopped up veggies. Yuck.

Also, I went to the Farmer's Market this morning to pick up some tomatoes [for an easy tomato and onion salad, which was actually quite good], Italian bread, and chicken [for Moroccan chicken that I was planning on making as the entree]. Got there, picked up my tomatoes and bread, ate some delicious treats for breakfast, and discovered that chicken breasts are $14 a pound.

Now, I'll be the first to accept that quality comes at a price, and I would much rather spend $14 a pound on grass-fed, happy chicken meat than on terrible supermarket, corn-fed, factory farmed chicken meat, but let's be real. I'm a second year college student with almost no money [haven't gotten paid yet!]. Sad life. So instead I stopped by the international market on the way home, which I had never been to before [and loved, which is ironic because it is a carbon copy of every Pak-Indian market my parents have dragged me to over the years, but I mean if they're going to give me free samples of kaland...]. There I bought some excellent whole-wheat pita and really awful hummus. But I didn't know the hummus was as awful as it was until I cruelly fed it to everyone at dinner. Ugh. Though, thank goodness for leftovers, because we just heated up some of my pesto from yesterday and had a bit of that instead.

So all in all, an uber fail. BUT, I still had dessert on my side.

photo taken by Kevin and his amazing skills/lens. muy jealous.

Cinnamon raisin bread pudding, to be exact. Quite delicious. Ate it hot out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream on top, and it was pure bliss.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding

For the bread pudding, you'll need:
  • 5 cups stale bread, cut into cubes [Italian works best, but any sort of brioche or combination of white and whole wheat is great as well]
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts [walnuts are ideal]

For the hard brandy sauce, you'll need:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup [1 stick] butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp brandy, or 2 tsp brandy extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Spread bread cubes evenly over the dish. Pour warm milk over the bread and let sit while preparing the rest. In a bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, and vanilla. Pour mixture over the soaked bread. Toss to coat all bread with mixture. Sprinkle raisins and nuts over the bread pudding. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the brandy sauce. Beat all ingredients together until it forms a smooth paste. Refrigerate until bread pudding is done. Pour sauce immediately over the hot pudding. Eat while warm. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

half-eaten because it took me until then to realize I hadn't snapped a photo
It was so good. Though, I once again failed to remember that my oven overbakes everything just slightly, so it was a lot like eating cinnamon croutons with vanilla ice cream. But still, delicious.

I like to think it made up slightly for the torturous meal.

In other news, thank goodness I'm fasting tomorrow, because all this starch these past two days are taking a huge toll on my tummy. Ugh.

Kind of funny how up until Friday I had been giving up all refined and artificial sugar, and made it a good 23 days [for any of you not in the know, I had made a vow to give up all refined and artificial sugars for 30 days]. I pretty much just reversed any and all of my progress within the past 48 hours.

But I'd say it was pretty worth it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

reine de saba avec glaçage au chocolat

Mmmmmmm. Chocolate. One of life's greatest pleasures.

I had to put this one up, because it's kind of like a follow-up to my previous post on the boeuf bourguignon. Long story short, after watching Julie & Julia for the first time two summers ago, I became infatuated with this cake. Ever since seeing it with all its chocolate glory on the big screen, I knew I had to try it. So, I figured, when better than to bake it on Mrs. Child's birthday?

It served as dessert to the bourguignon. And boy, was it delicious.

Unlike the bourguignon, this turned out to be a much more complicated recipe than I originally anticipated. The deceptive simplicity, the surprisingly irritable amount of time it takes for a seemingly easy cake, the figurative slap in the face when you realize you have to stiffen egg whites and have to wash out your stand-mixer's bowl because you didn't read the entire recipe ahead of time. Curse you, Julia! It was worth the pain, though.

Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat

For the cake, you’ll need:
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted with 2 tbsp rum or coffee
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup pulverized almonds
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour

For the ganache, you'll need:
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp coffee or rum
  • 5 tbsp butter 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan.

Melt chocolate and coffee or rum in a bowl. You can either microwave [which is what I did out of sheer laziness], or melt over a pan of hot water. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add egg yolks and beat until incorporated. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle sugar over top and beat until stiff peaks form.

Once chocolate mixture has cooled, blend it into the butter and sugar mixture. Stir in pulverized almonds and almond extract. [note: I used slivered almonds and pulverized them in a food processor - if you do this, sprinkle a tsp of sugar in the processor beforehand, and this will prevent the almonds from becoming pasty!].

Gently fold in 1/4 of the egg white mixture to lighten the batter. Sift cake flour. Fold 1/3 of the remaining egg whites into the batter, and alternate with 1/3 of the cake flour, until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the 8-inch pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. The edges of the cake should be baked so that a toothpick comes out clean, but the center of the cake should be slightly undercooked, so that a toothpick comes out oily.

Once cake has baked, let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, run a knife along the edges of the cake and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Let it cool completely before frosting, 1-2 hours.

To prepare the ganache, melt chocolate and rum or coffee in a bowl until shiny. Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until fully blended. Place bowl in an icebath and continue stirring the ganache until it turns to spreading consistency. Frost all over cake. Garnish cake with sliced almonds, if desired.

It's pretty delicious, not going to lie. Tastes as good as it looks.
And in my opinion, I think it looks pretty damn tasty.

There are only maybe one or two more recipes I'm going to transfer over from the old blog. And then it'll just be dishes I make here at the apartment. In fact, I should have quite a few new recipes up soon from the upcoming weekend.

Small dinner get-together tomorrow. Very excited. Hopefully will be somewhat successful.
I'll keep you posted. But for now, Arrested Development.