Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chocolate on Crack

I was given the task to make cupcakes for [Jake's] Grandpa's 91st birthday. Since Grandma had told us that Grandpa liked chocolate, I went to town.

I've been trying to give my creations catchy names. This one went something like this: Death by Chocolate? Naw, not original enough. OOh I know the OMG, I've OD'd on chocolate. Nope, doesn't quite roll off the tongue. Hmm, how would I describe this cupcake? Death by chocolate is what it is. Bingo! We'll call it Death by Chocolate. OK, so maybe it's a touch on the morbid side, but if you eat one of these and go into cardiac arrest or go into a sugar/chocolate induced coma, then they're appropriately named.


Devil's food cake, chocolate buttercream filling, frosted with chocolate ganache, and garnished with more chocolate buttercream and a few chocolate curls. The "Happy Birthday!" signage is completely edible. The plaque is white chocolate and the words are hand piped chocolate buttercream.

One person at work said "Wow, these are like cupcakes you get at a wedding." They are pretty aren't they?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Childhood memories

Almost everyone that I know that grew up in PDX during the 80's, knows exactly I'm talking about when I mention Banana cake. Banana cake is made up of layers of banana chiffon cake, fresh whipped cream, a middle layer consisting of fresh bananas, all frosted with fresh whipped cream, and simply garnished with maraschino cherries and cake crumbs.

Growing up, the Banana Bavarian Cake from Kienow's Bohemian Bakery was THE banana cake and a real treat. I remember having it only during special occasions, such as birthdays. In the 90's, when Kienow's starting going out of business and closing up it's stores, my poor dad would go to the ends of the earth just to bring home a cake.


My first birthday and yup, that's a Kienow's Banana Cake. As you  can see, my mom had to restrain me from digging into the cake.

The cake is such a favorite amongst Portlanders, that a food engineer was able to replicate the cake and published a recipe for all to enjoy. I found this recipe back in 2005-ish, but for some reason I never got around to trying it out. I recently dug up the recipe to pass along to a friend, and decided that it was time.

Instead of a 4-layer 9-inch cake, I turned out 24 cupcakes. My norm is to make filled cupcakes, but the cake was too delicate for me to use my standard filling method. The filled cupcake path was abandoned and a new plan for incorporating banana puree into the frosting was hatched. I must say it came out really tasty. One of my friends described it as a cross between banana bread and banana cream pie.

Banana chiffon cupcake with fresh banana whipped cream:

The only thing that it's missing is the maraschino cherry for garnish. For some odd reason, my grocery store didn't have any in stock. How weird is that?

On a side note, what do you think of my logo?