Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TWD Twofer One--Last Week's Banana Bundt Cake and Today's Brownie Buttons

We got back (after a VERY long drive) from our trip to Indiana last Friday.  I was so tired and the boys seemed to be a lot more restless (Sam) than on our way there.  I felt like I ate and munched all the way home (ahem, 9 hours!) to help me stay awake and alert driving.  I mean, I wasn't so tired I was going to fall asleep at the wheel, but felt like I could have gotten that way if I hadn't kept my hands busy and my mouth munching!  Anyway, we had a great time visiting my brother and his family.  We loved going to the Slugger Baseball Museum and Factory in Louisville, KY.  We also had a BLAST in Santa Claus, Indiana at Holiday World, an amusement/water park which boasts the world's highest water ride.  It was SO fun.  The boys loved it and even I loved all the rides I was able to go on (someone in the group always had to stay back with Sam and often Taylor and Hannah (my niece).  There were a ton of different water slides, all kinds of rides and roller coasters.  Unfortunately, we didn't take many pictures while we were at the park.  I stupidly didn't buy (the ones the park takes on rides and sells for a lovely price) a great one of Scott on one of the roller coasters.  He is lovin' it, as well were my nephew, Tristan and SIL, Monica.  They were all screaming with joy, Monica even had her hands in the air as the camera shot them zooming down the rickety wooden coaster.  But the BEST part of all was my big, grown up (younger than me) brother, Matt, hands clenched to the bars and teeth gritted tightly in amazing fear in the same photo.  (Monica, I REALLY need a copy of that photo!) Anyway, here's to good times with family!

Shall I start with last week's TWD or this week?  Hmmm.  Let's go with the delicious Banana Bundt Cake which was chosen last week by Mary from The Food Librarian blog.  Sometimes, I like to just look at really yummy food and Mary's blog is the place to go for that!  Not to mention to get some great recipes!  Thanks for picking something BANANA, Mary.  I feel like I've said it many times, but banana is one of my favorite flavors!   So week before last, I made half the recipe in Dorie's book, Baking From My Home to Yours, page 190 (you can get the recipe on Mary's blog).  While I think this banana cake/bundt/bread is a definite splurge from my usual really low fat, healthy banana muffin recipe, I have to say it was so moist and delicious and I will definitely make it again.  In fact, I made the recipe again while I was at my brother's house.  I used half butter/half oil and half whole wheat flour for that one and it was good, but not as good as THIS---


Oh, I had fun with this one.  With the half recipe, I made a lot!!!  A small loaf of bread (with cream cheese frosting), a three layer three inch cake (with cream cheese frosting and walnuts!!!), three star shaped muffins/cupcakes (two with cream cheese frosting and walnuts and one with Nutella in the middle!), a little star cupcake top (okay, that one didn't come out of the pan all the way) and a banana/cream cheese frosting whoopie pie with the cut off tops of the cake--


Can you say, YUMMMMM!!!  I do have to say that you can clearly see why I don't DO cake very much.  I really stink at frosting layered cakes.  Look at the lumpiness.  Those little things were trying their best to slide all over the place.  Nevertheless, it held up for some pictures and the boys helped scarf it down the night before we left on our trip.


Props to all you amazing cake people out there!


I know, I know, this was supposed to be just a simple bundt cake, but after tasting just the plain cake (Mr. Star muffin not coming out of the silicone pan in tact), I decided this needed to play with the "big boys" and went for cream cheese frosting.  For the half recipe I made, here is the quick recipe for the frosting I made up as I went along.  (There's a little leftover.)

Katrina's Simply Delicious Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese (1/3 less fat), softened

2 ounces unsalted butter, softened

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon half and half

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter.  Beat until well combined.  Add the salt, vanilla and powdered sugar and beat well.  Add the half and half a little at a time until desired consistency.

Thanks for the great pick, Mary, and for all who have stopped by.  Now check out this week's Brownie Buttons.


Jayma from Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen chose Brownie Buttons for our recipe this week as we TWDers bake our way through Dorie's book.

I doubled the recipe after seeing that it didn't make very many buttons and knowing brownies get eaten really fast at our house.  I used "my" version of bittersweet chocolate--Hershey's Special Dark.  And I knew I should have left out the orange zest, but I included it anyway.  Everyone wondered what it was making the brownies taste funny.  I kind of liked it.  Reminded me of those chocolate oranges mostly found at the holidays.  And then, I only had one ounce of white chocolate left, which was just as well, because I don't really LOVE white chocolate all that much.  I did a few, including some stars from one of my newer sale purchases--a silicone star shaped muffin pan. 


(***Note to self--reminder--you have four boys.  Only making three star shaped brownies will cause great angst with the one who didn't get one.  Just saying that as a reminder for future brownie making. ;) ****

The good news was that they popped right out of the mold nicely. 

These little square guys, however, did not--not sure why.


I find that silicone molds can be quite temperamental.  Out of the 8 or so that I made with the square pan, only four survived enough to use.  I smashed them down and froze them for later use---brownie ice cream sandwiches!


Most of the recipe I made regular little brownie buttons.  But I think I overbaked them a little.  They were still very edible and with a little poke from a sharp knife, they popped right out of the pan.



Good, but a little to plain for our house.  It's all about sprinkles here!


If I made brownie buttons again, I would leave out the orange zest, but otherwise, these were good!  Check out all the other (super creative, I'm sure) TWD Brownie Buttons on the Tuesday's With Dorie site.  Thanks, Jayma.

And now, a moment of silence as we all gasp over what else I did while in Indiana---take a deep breath.


Bahhh!  I chopped off my hair, big time.  I'm still not sure about this.  But it's a little late for that, now isn't it.  Sigh.  I'm okay.  I know it will grow back.  Besides, there just comes a time for me when I know something like this needed to be done when I put my hair back in a ponytail EVERYDAY, like from the moment I get out of the shower.  At least now I'm forced to spend a whole five minutes drying and styling my hair.  ;)  And never before have I felt like I REALLY look like my mom than I do now. 


Hindy said...

You have done an amazing job on both recipes and managed to squeeze in a vacation and a haircut. Well done all around!

Anonymous said...

Wow, everything looks really delicious and very cute! The star pan is great! I thought that cream cheese frosting on the banana cake was very good, and now I wish I had some ice cream for my brownies!

Your hair looks nice! It looks modern - not "mom hair"!

spike. said...

love the haircut! so fun. also love all of your baking (esp. those brownie ice cream sandwiches)

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Your haircut looks great! Love all the mini cakes.

♥peachkins♥ said...

love the cream cheese frosting. If I'm there, I'll probably be the first to dip my finger in it to taste it. As for the haircut??We-ell,..it will grow back..lol

Anonymous said...

The banana cake the brownies. Both look wonderful. The hair cut looks nice too, but my oh my I can feel your angst. I have similar feelings about my hair.

Welcome to our crazy blessed life said...

haha! I mentioned the chocolate oranges in my post too! :) Everything looks delicious! We were just in Indiana and passed through louisville on Sunday! Your hair is adorable!

chocolatechic said...

Love the short hair.

Your brownies are fabulous.

I love the mini ice cream sandwiches.

Unknown said...

Great job on both recipes! I love the mini layer cake for the banana bundt and all of the different shapes you tried for the brownie bites. I thought both recipes were terrific!

Cute haircut! I know exactly what you mean about sticking your hair back every day. It's exactly what I do.

Flourchild said...

WOW you have been so busy..your hair cut looks great on you! I love your banana cake and all the stuff you did with it..so good looking! ANd the buttons with all the different shapes and the filling..girl you know how to make me hungry..im trying not to eat sweets as much and this made me really really tempted!

Anonymous said...

The star-shaped brownies are just too cute. Brownie ice cream sandwiches? You are so bad. I love that idea!

Your haircut is fab. I'm sure once you get used to it, you'll love it and short hair is sooo easy...gotta love that. ;-)

CookiePie said...

That cake looks so moist and delicious -- and I think you made it look very pretty! Love the brownie bites too. I totally agree about silicone baking pans - I'm still not a fan (though I do love the silicone pastry brushes and spatulas).

Love your glam new haircut!!!

Anonymous said...

Everything looks great! Nice haircut!

Cathy said...

Glad you had a great vacation! Your treats all look incredible (love the shapes and sprinkles on the brownie buttons!) and your haircut is ADORABLE! Cute and sassy!

Carla said...

Wasn't the slugger factory a lot of fun? I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I love my mini bat plus I got to hold the bats of famous players.

Ironically, I love the chocolate oranges but hate orange zest. I used it in a sauce once and almost gagged, so I just didn't add any zest. I thought lemon zest was a little too weird for brownies.

Sprinkles for dinner - now there's an invention! Hmm what could they use instead of sugar?

vibi said...

WOW! You know how to make simple recipes totally luxurious! Talk about beyong simple... You sure there wouldn't be a spare chair at your dinner table tonight?

P.s.: Short's very becomeing on you! Very, very nice!

mike said...

Wow... you are some over achiever! Love all the diffferent shapes, sizes, etc! I'm sure everyone enjoyed them. Love the haircut too! NICE JOB!

Kayte said...

Love the haircut! So so cute! You came to Indiana and didn't call me???? LOL. My boys love Santa Claus, IN also, and especially the free drink refills as it is always so hot! Your banana cake looks great...love that one with the layers of frosting between it all. Your brownies are out of this world...OMW you can decorate and create a festive time over there! I am so not creative, that I live for people like you who post all these possibilities! Thanks for sharing! Seriously, haircut is very cute!

TeaLady said...

Love the mini banana 'non-bundt' cake and the shapes of the brownie buttons.

Leslie said...

Sounds like you had a great trip!
I do agree that driving and munching go hand in hand!
You have been a busy little baker!
Love the hair

Soy*Baby said...

Your banana cakes are great. How do you find time for all your wonderful variations. The brownie buttons look yummy too. I love the hair.

isa said...

Beautiful banana cake!
I really love the shape of your brownie buttons, so cute!
Love your hair cut!

Anne Marie said...

Love the new haircut! Looks great. Your boys have grown so much since I last stopped by.

Anne said...

Fun haircut! I love all the shapes of your cakes and brownies. The frosted banana cake looks SO good it makes me want to make it again! :)

Liz said...

Wow--I read this and the more recent entry and I am overwhelmed with all the baking you've done! I love the frosting on the banana cake and the chocolate glaze/sprinkles on the brownie bites. Sorry you didn't love the orange, but I'm sure all the other baked goods made up for it!

Teanna said...

You are KILLING me with all of those banana cakes! Especially the one with the nutella in the middle! Amazing job! I want to go to Santa Claus, Indiana!

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a smorgasbord of deliciousness! I love all that cream cheese frosting on your banana (bundt) cakes! Your cake looks soo moist and delicate too. The chocolate glaze on your buttons is calling my name...
I love your haircut! You're not used to it yet maybe.

Pamela said...

Brownie ice cream sandwiches!! Brilliant. This whole post is making me hungry, and I should be in bed as I write this!
Your hair looks great! Very brave of you. I don't think I can do it. Not yet, anyway! Keep smiling and keep up the good work!

Megan said...

Wow! You look amazing! Although you looked great before, too - I don't think you could look bad.

I like the brownie ice cream sandwiches you made - very clever!

Unknown said...

The vacation really sounds amazing! And the brownie buttons look great! The star shaped ones are soo cute! But I wouldn't want to be a part of the fight that must have ensued :P