Strawberry and Peach Cornmeal Coffee Cake

Cornmeal Coffee Cake

I first started baking in middle school by following recipes from Kraft magazine, recipes shamelessly calling for Miracle Whip, Philadelphia brand cream cheese, Velveeta (heaven forbid you try to use real non-Kraft cheese), Bakers chocolate. (This was before they started charging for the magazine. Are they really trying to make people pay for what amounts to 60 glossy pages of Kraft advertising convincing them to go out and buy even more Kraft products? And who would actually buy it..?)

That being said, Kraft did teach me a lot. I baked my first cheesecake with one of their recipes, learned to cook lunch for myself, and borrowed heavily from them for my first recipe on this blog.

Strawberry and Peach Cornmeal Coffee Cake

One of the first things I baked (and one of their more blatant self-promoting recipes) was this strawberry peach crisp. The recipe wasn't bad; it was easy and tasted okay. It also made very little sense; it made you go out and buy Post Honey Bunches and Oats (the almond one, mind) for the topping, yet also had you go through the process of making a traditional crumble topping, cutting in a tiny bit of butter in a minuscule amount of flour, sugar and cinnamon to create a tiny amount of streusel that got lost in all the cereal. 


Blueberry Cheesecake

I wish there were more cafes in D.C. Not sandwich shops, open Monday through Friday from 9-5, full of people in suits impatiently waiting for their order so they can be on their way again. Cafes, where you can sit down with a book and a cup of coffee for a few hours in relative peace.

The pace is really different here compared to Boston; much of D.C. is centered around the work week. The subways are surprisingly empty on the weekend , even with all the tourists, and the streets become devoid of people in the evening after rush hour.

I guess there are much better things I could be doing while I'm here, like networking and schmoozing with my fellow interns over dinner, rather than reading Gone Girl in a cafe (which, by the way, is a really, really creepy but good book). But still. I wish there were more cafes.


Easy Kit Kat Cheesecake Bars

I moved into my summer apartment yesterday, and it's pretty awesome. I'm sharing it with two other girls, one of whom I haven't met before and the other who is one of my best friends! (We picked out the apartment together.) The kitchen is nice, my room is spacious, and I even have a walk-in closet! Sweet.

Naturally, the first thing my friends and I did after I finished unpacking is...go swimming! In the outdoor pool on the 6th floor of the apartment! Who cares if it's 60 degrees outside and the low-hanging fog cloaks us all and I have two summer classes that begin in two days and I have to study hardcore for the MCAT like there's no tomorrow...

It's summer! (At least for today. I can't guarantee anything for tomorrow.)


Nutella-Filled Cupcakes

A confession: I don't like buttercream. I love whipped cream, I adore ganache, but to me butterream just tastes like a mouthful of crusty, overly sweet, powdered sugar. I usually scrape the buttercream off my cake. Cupcakes in particular highlight everything that's wrong with buttercream: the proportion of frosting to cake is so high, and on top of that, it's hard to get that visually pleasing towering swirl of frosting using alternatives. When you eat them, all you taste is frosting and the actual cake is completely neglected.

So as much as I like looking at them, I usually pass cupcakes by. Alas, all food bloggers have their faults...

So anyways, that's why this is my first cupcake post on the blog after two and a half years. While Monica has created some pretty fabulous cupcakes (such as these, these, and these), I've been pretty quite on this front.

But I do recognize that other people really like cupcakes and that dollop of buttercream, so here goes!


Roasted Blueberry Basil Cornbread

As you might have noticed, we really like blueberries around here. So of course, when I got Stephanie Wise's fabulous Quick Bread Love e-book, her recipe for blueberry cornbread caught my eye.

It definitely didn't disappoint, and stood out from a lot of ordinary cornbread recipes. The recipe calls for roasting the blueberries, concentrating the flavors of the berries and making them extra sweet. The blueberries are paired with fresh basil, and the yogurt and honey makes the cornbread very soft and moist.

It's a perfect summer recipe. It only has a few ingredients and is really easy to put together which is great for me while I'm interning in D.C. this summer, with a tiny kitchen and a crappy gas stove and oven that kind of scares the crap out of me.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

Those of you who have known me earlier this year during winter quarter...know that, if there's one combination in this world I couldn't live without, it's chocolate and peanut butter. I pretty much subsisted on my daily dose of chocolate peanut butter Haagan Daas ice cream. I had to have at least one pint in stock in my little dorm freezer, and I attribute all my winter quarter successes to the ice cream. At some point, I discovered a new flavor called Caramel Cone, which I dubbed my new favorite, but ultimately I reverted back to chocolate peanut butter. I get very attached.

Some call the flavor combination a polarizing juxtaposition. It's one thing to like chocolate, and it's one thing to like peanut butter. But for a non-peanut butter lover, this combination may seem rather horrifying. Who are you? I understand. Actually I'm not sure if I do, hehe. In that case, this dessert may not be the one for you. Maybe you'd like these mini pies instead.


Roasted Rhubarb Scones

Let's talk about the super thrilling topic of grocery shopping for a bit: as in, shopping for baking supplies at school is usually a pain. The closest grocer store is one subway stop away--which, okay, isn't that far, but it still involves getting on the T or walking for 20 minutes--definitely more inconvenient than what we Mid-westerners are used to. The other two options closer to campus are CVS and Broadway, a fancy health food store.

I would go to Broadway this year whenever I needed groceries for baking but was too lazy to actually make my ways to Shaws. That's where I found this rhubarb a few weeks ago, sitting in a cardboard box next to the way over-priced blueberries and raspberries. I had planned to make these scones with strawberries, but the rhubarb was a much cheaper option, and the sight of this seasonal reddish celery thing made me happy. It seemed like a promising sign of summer.

While a lot of recipes recommend making scones by grating in frozen butter or using a pastry cutter, I always make scones with my hands. I don't think it causes the butter to melt too much much if you work quickly, and I like to actually feel the texture of the dough with my hands. I think it's one of the reasons I like making scones so much.


Marbled Cheesecake Brownies

Who wouldn't want marbled cheesecake brownies for their birthday? Yep, it's my 20th birthday (: Unfortunately, it's the same day as my organic chemistry midterm in the evening. Buuut my friends and I have already made plans for this upcoming weekend to celebrate in a Chicago neighborhood called Wicker Park. Lots of food and shopping involved. In fact, after laying down the plans for the day, one of my friends commented on why there seems to be a disproportionate amount of dessert involved in the day's planned activities. Hmm...honestly, if you knew me, could you be surprised?