It's been a while, hasn't it? I keep abandoning you for months at a time, and i feel terrible about it. But don't worry. The baking has continued during my blogging black out, and I have much to update.
Where did we leave off? Ah, yes. Nikkie's wedding was the party of the year and I got into pastry school! In fact, I'm now a pastry school graduate. Crazy, huh? School was probably the best/busiest 6 months of my life. I made amazing friends, learned more than I ever could have imagined, watched some amazing chefs work their magic, and baked like it was going out of style. I promise that I'll get around to posting some pics of our pastry school creations eventually, but I have yet to find the time to sort through them all.
As of now, I'm working at a fabulous new restaurant/bakery, and loving it. We opened in November and have been baking up a storm ever since. Pies, tarts, french macarons, cookies, and cupcakes galore! It's sort of my dream job. Listen to the misfits and make tasty treats all day? Sure! It's also been an amazing learning experience, sort of like sugary sweet grad school.
In the meantime, I've been baking some treats of my own. My two current obsessions: french macarons and hummingbird cake. I plan on tackling french macarons sometime in the next week. For anyone who hasn't experienced one of these little treats, you're missing out. Beautiful, delicious, and portable - they're going to be the next cupcake. I'd be very happy opening a tiny storefront in Boston and filling it with pretty macarons. Here are a few examples:
Anyways, that's for another post. Here's what I've been up to this week:
Hummingbird cake! It's currently tied with macarons for my favorite thing to make & eat. I'm slightly obsessed. A traditional southern treat, hummingbird cake has the texture of a spice cake filled with pineapple, mashed banana, and toasted pecans. The uber sweet cake is then covered in tangy cream cheese frosting and coated with a generous helping of toasted pecans. Delicious? Most definitely.
Here's my favorite recipe, taken from the joy of baking website:
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
8 oz crushed pineapple (do not drain)
2 cups mashed ripe banana (3-4 medium)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 9" cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
Bake the pecans for about 8 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Let cool and chop. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In another large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and pecans. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Evenly divide batter between pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Now, before you slip into that impending sugar coma (and in honor of the lower states that blessed us with this deliciousness), I'll leave you with a clip from my favorite southern belle. If Beth Ditto can't get you moving again, nothing can.
This post brought to you by southern hospitality, little birds, sugar highs, and Gossip. Dedicated to all you fellow internet lurkers.