December 14, 2009

It's not officially Christmas until...

...a little bit of domestic violence humor pops up. Thanks Betty Crocker!

December 12, 2009


This is an update to my last post...

I WON 2ND PLACE IN THE BON APPETIT BLOG ENVY BAKE-OFF! Sorry about writing that in all capitals, but I can't say the sentence without hopping around in my apartment, full of excitement and validation that Bon Appetit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild, pastry chef Francois Payard, and Fox 5 news anchor Dari Alexander thought that my cake was pretty good.

Some people have asked me if I'm upset I didn't win first place, but I can say that I never cared about the competition part of the event. The fact I was even one of the 25 bloggers they invited was enough for me. That invitation alone made me feel pretty cool, but now that I know that I was in the top three desserts is...I'm so sorry that I have to say this...the icing on the cake.

December 11, 2009

A little bon appetit for you, a big Bon Appetit for me

As mentioned before, food blogging is a hobby for me as in I don't really make any money from it. The gratification that I've finally found an outlet that lets me express myself as well as create physical things (cakes, anyone?)is enough. But it's pretty kick ass when you get a little recognition.

For me, this recognition came in the form of an invitation to an exclusive Bon Appetit blogger party. Only 25 bloggers were invited, so I've been feeling pretty good since I stopped hyperventilating from excitement upon receiving the invite.

I was asked to bring a baked good to the party as part of the contest element of the event. Trained chefs and Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild publicly eating (and possibly publicly ridiculing) said dessert were on the agenda for the evening, and I was determined to make something that wouldn't end up with me crying in the bathroom after the judges barfed on the table. My baked good of choice? A spiced pear cake topped with cream cheese frosting.

Let me be honest. Baking a cake with the intention of feeding it to people that are the creme de la creme of the food world is scary. And when I say scary, I mean the type of scary that keeps you up the entire night before worrying that everyone will think you're a hack and all the judges will come down with food poison from a cake you prepared. However, I charged through the fear and found myself on the fourth floor of the Conde Nast building last night, rubbing elbows with Bon Appetit staffers and fellow food bloggers.

The event was a great success and considering that most of my cake was eaten by the end of the night, I feel pretty good. I walked out of that party with some new friends, a bit of a validation that I'm a pretty good food blogger, and a ton of free schwag (thanks Bon Appetit!)

As a result of the warm fuzzies I'm currently experiencing, I want to share my cake recipe with you in hopes that you'll use it for some sort of seasonal awesomeness.

Also, sorry for the lack of photos. There were a ton of photogs at the event last night, so I'm hoping to find some of the photos online and share them here. Stay tuned!

Spiced Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Fuji Apple Spice Cake Recipe (October 2009)


3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum
1 1/2 cups pureed canned Bartlett pears
2 medium Bartlett pears (peeled, halved, cored, cut into cubes)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 cups powdered sugar
Coarsely chopped pecans


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Whisk flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, teaspoon salt, ground allspice, nutmeg, and baking soda in medium bowl. Using electric mixer (countertop or hand-held), beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum if desired. Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 3 additions alternately with pureed pears in 2 additions, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in cubed pears and pecans. Divide batter between cake pans evenly.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 15 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks. Place another rack atop 1 cake and invert again so that cake is rounded side up. Repeat with second cake. Cool completely.

Using electric mixer (countertop or hand-held), beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until frosting is creamy.

Drop half of frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) by spoonfuls atop cake. Spread frosting evenly to edges of cake. Top with second cake, trimmed side down. Drop remaining frosting by spoonfuls onto top of cake, leaving sides of cake plain. Spread frosting to top edges of cake. Sprinkle with pecans. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour to allow frosting to set slightly.
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