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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Frosting for the Cause

January 2013 Update
Frosting for the Cause website has been removed due to funding,
 so I'm posting this on BIWB.
We appreciate all the support since its inception in 2011. 
Keep up the fight! 

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November 2011
I'm baking in honor of my friend and all my friends' mothers who have fought their own personal battles with breast cancer and other forms of cancer.  And, especially, I am dedicating this baking post to one woman who holds a very special place in my heart, Mrs. Evelyn Finch. 

Mrs. Finch came into my life when I was a very young teenager and she is the mother of two very dear friends from my teenage and college years, Carol and Betsy.  I knew almost from the first meeting that Mrs. Finch welcomed me as another daughter, and the years and years of caring and support by both Mr. and Mrs. Finch have always made me feel safe and loved.  And, even when I wasn't able to see them often.  It can be an uneasy world sometimes, but knowing that they always loved me even when they didn't have to love me has made me a much better person in this life.  Without them, I have no idea how I would have survived some very difficult years.  They were always there, always welcoming, fully supporting me, and never judging me. 

Mr. and Mrs. Finch
So, on to Mrs. Finch's story.   She's battled two bouts of breast cancer with lumpectomies on both breasts and also was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  She's am amazing survivor on many levels.  Always kind-hearted and generous.  A bit of a temper when pushed too hard, but that's the fighter in her.  I'm amazed when she describes her diagnoses and treatments...Almost like they are just something in life you "make do" with and move beyond.  She's had some other health challenges in her life, and seems pretty pragmatic.  I'm a wimp when it comes to medical issues, so she's teaching me to stay steady and work hard to get better. 

I recently visited the Finches whom had moved to Ohio last year.  I hadn't seen them for too long, entirely my fault.  And, what an amazing visit and time with them.!!  I cooked for them and did a few errands, but it was so great to just see them and be in their presence.  Grounding and solid. 

She's often asked me to call her, Evelyn, but I just can't.  She'll always Mrs. Finch to me and I will always love her for keeping me a part of her family.

So, I've made Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream, adapted from a recipe in Intoxicated Cupcakes.  I have shared with Mrs. Finch and her family many a champagne cake created by Nugget Market in Davis, California.  I'm sharing my baked goodies with a local breast cancer group, Bosom Buddies, and they have asked that I speak about Frosting for the Cause.  My other donation will be to the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment which funds cancer research at the U.C. Davis Medical Center.
Mrs. Evelyn Finch
January 2013: I'm also sharing this link over at Cake of the Week's Baking with Spirit!

Recipe follows...
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kentucky Bourbon Cake {and a Giveaway}

Some things in life are just simple.  Simple is sometimes the best way to go...I sometimes forget about simple...This cake is a very simple butter cake with bourbon.  And, no doubt...this time at BIWB, simple is best!  

Super easy, super rich, and super boozy.   All my favorite things! 

My friend, Susan (over at My Mother's Apron Strings), makes amazing and comforting Bundt  cakes of all sorts: lemon, apple fritter, pumpkin caramel, banana, vanilla...I've had my eye in making a boozy version of her vanilla Bundt cake for quite some time.  I knew I wanted a solid vanilla butter cake and my booze of choice would, of course, be bourbon.

I love the smell and taste of bourbon baked in a vanilla cake.  I especially love when the bourbon is used in the soaking sauce AND in the glaze.  This cake does both and does not disappoint.  

I used my new cookbook, Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  She has some great recipes and lots of nostalgia about each cake.  This cake is inspired by, what else, her Kentucky Bourbon Cake.  I made mine with dates; you don't have to, neither does Julie.  It's all good!

And, because we love you and we love our Bundt cakes, we are giving away a Nordic Ware Fleur di Lis Bundt Pan!  We also must thank our friends at Sur La Table for helping us with this giveaway.  
To enter, please leave us a comment and tell us which cake you would make from Vintage Cakes.  Our giveaway is open to any one who lives on the planet, of course.  You have until 9pm PST, February 10, 2013 to enter.   Please also tell us how to contact you.  

Ready, set, go!   

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Kahlua Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, dear readers! Hopefully you got to enjoy a day off. I know I really needed today off work - not that it was a restful, relaxing day - oh nooo no no. I had delusions of grandeur for my three day weekend, and was going to accomplish all kinds of great things. My house was going to be soooo clean, replete with freshly sealed and painted baseboards, and I wasn’t going to have a scrap of dirty laundry nor a dirty dish lying around. I was going to give myself a perfect manicure, after painting the baseboards, of course, create a new recipe I’ve been thinking about, and even squeeze in some time with girl friends.

Ohh yeah, I was delusional. I ended up relating very strongly to the MLK, Jr. quote, above.

Actually, I didn’t do too badly. Although I didn’t so much as touch those baseboards, nor did I work on developing that recipe, I did get a WHOLE lot done – including a LOT of things that weren’t even on my to do list. In all honesty, that’s about par for the course, for me. I obsessively make “to do” lists that even Martha Stewart couldn’t get through in one day – but it pushes me to keep moving forward, and sometimes that’s enough.

Ok, in ALL honesty, I’m totally putting those extra things that I got done on my to do list, so that I’ll have the satisfaction of crossing them off. Yesssss.

Bella helped with the laundry.
So, I just got back from a long run with my dog, which was preceded by a trip to the grocery store (which is one of the most exhausting and hated things in my life – that’s why I’m so keen on substitutions when I bake). I also went to the vet for the second time this weekend to get different medication for my new cat – oh yeah, I’ve been administering meds to a cat all weekend. If you’ve ever done that, you know that I feel super accomplished just from that. It’s a really, really good thing the cat is so cute. It makes up for the blood loss, a little bit.   

Selleck. As in Tom Selleck.

Anyway, I finally got a chance to sit down and enjoy my coffee that I’ve been carrying around from place to place all day (thank you, Starbucks insulated mug for keeping it warm!). And you know what? I do NOT feel like baking anything today. Plus, by the time I’m done it will be almost dark, and OMG bad evening lighting/yellow nocturnal pictures/lions and tigers and bears, oh my! But, my delightful Starbucks coffee reminded me of an already complete, already photographed project that I’ve been meaning to post, and there’s no time like the present! As MLK, Jr. said, keep moving forward.
I made these awhile back for a friend and co-worker of mine who is always going the extra mile to do things for others, so I wanted to do a little something and bring in a treat for her birthday. She used to be a Starbucks barista, so I thought these would be fun. Well, it ended up being a keep moving forward kind of recipe.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Whiskey Bacon Pecan Pie {with Tullamore D.E.W.}

Bacon lovers unite!  It's the 2nd Annual Bacon Fest Sacramento!!  In honor of such a momentous happening, I pulled out all the BIWB stops and created a pecan pie fit for a true bacon lover.  

Honey caramel shellacked bacon surrounded by crispy pecans topping a whiskey scented filling chocked full of pecans...Wow, are you swooning?

Maybe salivating just a bit?

Yeah, I had that trouble as well.  And, I will admit...When reviewing the photos for this post, I was actually salivating.  Yeah, I know...Tough to admit for this girl: unabashed salivating over food pictures.  

Shameless drooling...

Jacqueline and I first tasted Tullamore D.E.W. a few months ago at The Pour House in Sacramento.  We were invited because of our blogger buddy Ally (over at A Girl and Her Fork) forwarded our blog to the folks at Tullamore.  Thank you, Ally!

We are so thankful to Tim Herlihy, Tullamore's Ambassador, for his time teaching us about the making and flavor profiles of Irish whiskey.  I am forever changed when it comes to whiskey, both as a libation and as a baking booze.  Just amazing Irish Whiskey and this pie really does showcases its rich caramel and warm woody flavors.   

The BIWB possibilities are endless for Tullamore and us...A challenge we gladly accept!!  #Glasses Up!

Please do check out all the happenings at this year's Bacon Fest Sacramento...A lot of fun and a lot of bacon!  

We're partying at the Pi Day Pie Party at Crazy for Crust today. Come party with us!
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Carrot Cake Cutie Pies with Spiced Rum

I sometimes have a tough time naming my BIWB creations...This one is no exception.  This recipe if based on a carrot cake whoopie pie recipe in Whoopie Pies.  But then, I changed it.  Added the booze and tweaked the dry ingredients a bit. 

My original recipe adaptation goal being to by-pass the base recipe's instructions to refrigerate the batter for an hour.  Truthfully, I didn't have an hour on my furlough day...

The resultant "cutie pie" is more like a carrot cake cookie than a "traditional" whoopie pie.  These are much more "perky"...Chocked full of flavor with all the spices...Is it a cookie sandwich, a sandwich cookie, a whoopie pie or a carrot cake-what?

Which led me to another discovery during the photo shoot and subsequent sharing of my carrot cake creations...  

I'm sure, if you follow enough food blogs, you know that "props" are all the rage.  We've been counseled to add more props in our photos.  We've been told my photos suck.  At this point, I think I do my best and really focus on the recipe and end results.  If my photos are still too yellow, please excuse me.  Do I sound a bit defensive? 

Sorry, I digress...Back to props...I had purchased some baker's twine years and years ago (pre-blog) and who knew it would be used so much as a prop?  It's typically used to tie-up a stack of cookies or a loaf of bread.  I wanted to use it but couldn't wait for the next cookie post.  So, I tied up my cutie pies!

The results were like little Cutie Pies in Bondage.  The hula girl on the rum bottle doesn't hurt the image either...Definitely a conversation starter...And, a new subtitle...However, and much to my disappointment, I just don't think our media partners would have approved...

Maybe next time...And, yes, 2012 was my year of 50 Shades.

In the future, look for more BIWB in Bondage!  ;-)

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wine and Cheese Cupcakes

Happy 2013! I rang in the New Year with some dear friends and these cupcakes:

Wine and Cheese Cupcakes
I kept things pretty simple this year, but I simply can't arrive at a party empty-handed. I wanted to bring something festive and a little different, but with a nod to tradition. Wine and cheese is a classic, so I thought, why not make a cupcake out of that combination? I'm very pleased with the results of my experiment, and they were a hit with friends, neighbors, and co-workers as well!

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