Celebrating my freedom

Sometime last week, one of my coworkers asked me to create a “Baking for Beginners” list–tools, tips and ingredients that a novice baker would need. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could create one…because, honestly, I’m very much a novice baker myself. There are many things that I still don’t know yet, and I’m sure if an experienced baker happened to stop by my blog, they would shake their head in despair at the crazy mistakes that I’ve made, and things that I’ve learned. There is so much more to learn. This blog is intended to be a place for me to share something that I like to do, and learn to be better at it. So hold on, there’s more to come.

My best advice? Just bake. Start out with cookies…or cakes, like I did. Crumb cakes, that is.

I was going tell you about my second adventure with New York Crumb Cakes. And I was totally planning on taking pictures of it, I swear. But my husband gobbled it up before I had the chance to. It must’ve been tastier than the first one 😉 The last time I was here, I told you about my dry crumb cake, and how I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. The next day, I attempted it again.

This time, I used a different recipe, courtesy of Barefoot Contessa. Now, I didn’t know much about this lady other than the impression that she was an older, plumper version of Rachel Ray. As I was browsing YouTube, I came upon her video for Blueberry Crumb Cake. So I decided to try it out–without the blueberries.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have an awesome Kitchenaid mixer like she did; however, I’ve found that fancy tools like Kitchenaid may not be necessary. All you need is the right mixing tools and the capacity to roll up your sleeves and get those arms moving. It’s a good workout and you get to do something you enjoy! (win-win). Therefore, you can bet your bottom dollar that I used my hands to mix all the ingredients.

I think the lemon zest really made a difference. Baking time also makes a difference. Her recipe calls for 40-50 minutes of baking, BUT in case you didn’t already know, my oven is notorious for overbaking. Maybe I’m pre-heating too soon? I don’t know. I’ll have to work on that. I baked my cake for about 40 minutes, and it came out with edges burnt, although I was quite sure that I buttered the pan well. Hmm…this is another mystery in the baking world for me.

Even though I knew about my oven’s tendency to overbake, I always follow a recipe to the core because of the fear of under-baking. I know, that sounds ridiculous, right? There’s nothing worse than under baking for me. When things taste a little bit raw or too liquidy, it makes me nervous about serving it. If I can’t bear to eat it, then who would?

Regardless of the extra dark crumble on the side of the pan, this crumb cake still turned out good. So far, my best cake yet. It’s almost a cause for celebration. And I was tempted to make it again today. Independence Day gave me an opportunity to enjoy a day off from work. But I had promised my husband that I wouldn’t bake again for awhile. It’s not because he doesn’t enjoy my baking. I think he does–but he gets overwhelmed by the amount of baked goods that I shove in his face, and one can only take so much, right? Thanks for being my guinea pig, honey.

Today, I also celebrated my freedom from Facebook. Yes, two weeks of no Facebook has been very uplifting. Let’s just say I’ve got my reasons for giving it up. I actually feel better now.


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