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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream

...So, could it GET any better?  Champagne cake from Nugget Market has been a family favorite of mine for well over 30 years.  Yup, I'm old enough to have favorites for that long a time.  I think I had my first taste in my teens, not long after we came back to California.  My grandmother, Bambi, probably picked it up on her way through "town" (AKA Woodland) on her way from Esparto to Davis.  I remember the pink whipped cream frosting and the custard middle.  Light, not too sweet, and lovely.  No problem eating 2 pieces.  Great memories! 

A few years ago, Nugget Market came to my town.  When they opened their doors, I finally felt at home.  I lived near a Nugget Market for years in Davis, and that's where Bambi shopped in Woodland for meats and fancy desserts.  Love those days.  Anyway, as good fortune would have it, I live, literally, down the street and around the corner from "The Nug" or "Nug" for short.  Not only was I now able to get amazing meats and stone oven bread (we NEED real bread here!), finally Champagne Cake whenever I wanted it!  Amazing!!
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Once upon a time, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect pineapple upside-down cake recipe. Why? I wanted to impress a boy, and this was his favorite dessert. What I didn't know was that this boy had very poor taste and actually preferred the processed and pre-packaged versions of "the real thing." For example, he often spoke of his love for macaroni and cheese, so one day I surprised him with homemade macaroni and cheese - the kind you bake in a casserole dish, with several kinds of cheese, replete with Ritz crackers crumbled on top - served with warm applesauce. His favorite, right? He took one bite, and said, "This is delicious!" (yes!) "What IS this?" (what??!) and, "ew, WARM applesauce?!" (whaaat?!!) Same story with the pineapple upside down cake - apparently it involves yellow cake mix. Not that I have anything against yellow cake mix; I'm actually quite fond of it - but I wanted to learn how to make a REAL pineapple upside-down cake, from scratch. With booze! I tried out three or four recipes before settling on one that really turned out great, with a few tweaks. The boy didn't work out, but the cake sure did.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

In the beginning...Something Italian, of course!! Cucidati

Cucidati: a fig cookie, Sicilian in origin, generally baked during the holidays.  I made mine on xmas eve and xmas day.  One day to make the fixins' and the next to roll, shape, bake and ice.  These are of an adult genre, hence the use of BOOZE, and have ~like~ 8 ingredients in the filling, including brandy or rum!  I call them Fig Newtons on Steroids.  Follow this recipe for excellent results.  I've posted the website for Marie, a great Italian cook in Chicago (love that town...) and an inspiration to me as I continue my quest to become Italian.  :)

Here's the link to Marie's web site (fabulous!!) for step-by-step instructions, and follow the directions to the link for the recipe:

Here is a picture (not mine, but you get the idea):

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