My Goodness My Guinness!

I just don't trust someone who doesn't like cake. That's right, there are people that "don't like cake." There's just something not right about it, they can't be trusted.

A friend of mine and I were walking around in Capitol Hill (Seattle, WA) and we passed my favorite cupcakery, Cupcake Royale. "Let's stop in and get one," I said with a tug. "Nah, I don't like cake." The next part is pretty much a blur. I think I stopped in my tracks, my mouth hit the floor and I shook my head a few times as if to shake the words from my memory. "Don't like cake?" How can that be?

I was determined to change this and quickly. I ran through my mental recipe box and landed on the obvious choice, Nigella Lawson's Guinness Chocolate Cake from her lovely book, Feast. This was sure to do the trick!

Over the weekend, after he and his partner treated me lovely dinner and a fabulous night out on the town, I decided to bake them a thank you note. That's right! A tasty, dense, damp, chocolatey thank you note!

The Guinness Chocolate Cake is the cure for anyone cake-hater who complains about dry, crumbling cake. It is the most dense, damp (and that "m" word - sorry, even as a baker I just can't bring myself to say it.) cake you'll ever try. And yes, there's actual Guinness beer baked inside. In fact, you melt butter in the beer! (I'd challenge you to find something better than melting beer in Guinness. Oh...how about the fact that the recipe only calls for 1 cup of Guinness which means that you have at least another cup and a half left for yourself! Baking and beer!)

After a Saturday of baking and a Sunday morning perfecting the frosting (which replicates the frothy head of the stout) I delivered the treat to the boys. Half of it was gone within a half an hour and the cake hater himself ate two pieces! Two! And that was just the first night. Since "the delivery" I've received e-mails and texts from him - "I can't wait to go home and have another slice of that cake!"

I'm proud to say that I've single-handedly (okay, with Nigella's help) helped one cake-hater cross over from the dark side. And while he might not be headed to QFC to pick up a sheet cake anytime soon, he'll certainly never claim to "hate cake" again. At least if he knows what's good for him!

Get the recipe here! Enjoy!


"Pumpkin Chocolate Explosion Cookie Pillow Things"

It's the weekend and I love to lounge around on a Saturday morning, drinking coffee and baking! As the seasons change and we turn the corner and head into fall, it's time for a Katie specialty and crowd favorite.
Growing up we always had "Pumpkin Cookies" in the fall. They'd show up just after school started and make regular appearances until Thanksgiving when the recipe would go into hibernation until the next autumn. My grandmother's recipe, these easy little cookies were always a hit. Friends began to ask for them, college roommates eagerly checked the mail each day hoping for a cookie care package from Mrs. D'Amato and office mates polished off a tin of them by mid-morning. My sisters and I began "sharing the wealth" - baking from my mother's hand-written recipe card and giving credit where credit was due. (Thank you Grandma Fournier.) Pumpkin cookies are a true signal that fall is here!

The thing that I love most about Pumpkin Cookies (other than how easy they are and how shocked I always am that a cookie this delicious doesn't require any butter - no butter! Craziness!) is the shock, awe and absolute delight the recipients experience. They take a questioning look at the lumpy orange muffin-like cookie and decide to try one. With one bite into this cakey-cookie they're hooked. They try and describe it (with their mouth filled) and it's always a glowing review. Some of my favorites...
  • "Heaven is a pumpkin cookie." -John B.
  • "Um, those pumpkin chocolate explosion cookie pillow things are AMAZING." -Nick S.
  • "You are super sweet...just like your cookies. I've eaten 5 of them!" -Chris H.
I mean, what's better than giving someone a "cookie pillow" or a bit of "heaven?" All I can say is pumpkin cookies always deliver and never disappoint. So, without further delay, here's the recipe so that you too can pass around a little bit of pumpkin happiness!

"Mom's Pumpkin Cookies"

Pre-heat over 350'
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/2 c oil (vegetable)
- 1 c sugar
Mix w/ combined dry ingredients
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp milk (dissolve)
Once combined, stir in...
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Chocolate Chips (As much or as little as you like - I use the entire bag!)
Spoon onto baking sheet in little "blobs." (Yes, that's a technical term!)
Bake for 10-14 minutes...toothpick should come out clean.

Share and enjoy!


Preheat your oven...

It's been said (guilty!) that if you can read, you can bake. While that may be true to some extent, I've always taken it one step further. I think if you can bake then you can be happy!

Baking for me is somewhat therapeutic. Watching the butter and sugar cream just right. Seeing the eggs form the perfect peaks. Flipping on the oven light to see your cupcakes expanding in their flimsy paper cups. And most importantly, the selfish satisfaction and silent streak of happiness you feel when you offer your goods to another and they let out the... "Oh...this is amazing!" Your soul smiles a bit and you think, I made this pretty little package of sugar and I made this other person happy, if only for a bite!

This blog is dedicated to finding and serving happiness to others - whether it be in a tart pan or a cookie tin. It's about my trials (souffle anyone?) and my triumphs (sugar cookies!) and most importantly it's about the process. Trying new things, adding some style and sharing it with others! I hope you'll share your favorite recipes with me!