Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Florida Food Fest: DANGER! MEN BAKING

Before you read any farther, let me just say that I can bake girly style, (AKA following the directions) but I am a guy, so sometimes I fail to do this.
Let me also add that I generally do not bake, I cook alot, but I bake about three or four times a year ... her birthday, mother's day, and then a few experimental events like the one in this post. What follows is yesterday's experiment.
Here we go.
Publix had blueberries on sale last week and since my backyard blueberry bushes are done, I bought 3 pints. There was more than enough for cereal use and I didn't want any of them to go to waste, so I decided to make something out of them.
Maybe cake?
Yes, cake.
One box of yellow cake mix seemed kinda' skinny, so I opened two boxes and dumped them in a big bowl. The box said I needed 3 eggs X 2 boxes of mix, so I went to the fridge for 6 eggs.
Only 3 jumbo eggs and one tiny banty egg from the backyard hens.
Uh oh, that's about 3.5 eggs and I needed 6.
Since I was simultaneously making a simple beef stroganoff for the kids and some KungPao beef for the adults, their was a pint of sourcream sitting on the counter in front of me.
Aha! We'll just substitute a big dollop of sour cream for a couple of eggs.
Problem solved.

As you can see in the first picture, my basic plan was to dump blueberries into the yellow cake mix for a blueberry muffiny kind of cake.
That's good, but not very inspiring or creative.
Hmmmm. How can we tickle this recipe a little?
I tossed a couple handfulls of blueberries into the amazing mini-foodprocessor wacker thingie and whirred them into a mass of purple goo. Meanwhile, a pat of butter (real butter from real cows) went into a small sauce pan to melt. After the butter melted, I added the chopped blueberry goo and let it bubble on low heat for a while.
Still feeling the urge to tinker, I went to the fridge and pulled out the almost empty bottle of cheap blackberry merlot.
As the buttery blueberry goo gently bubbled, I added a couple of splashes of merlot and turned up the heat just a little to reduce the berry sauce.
I whisked it while it bubbled to prevent scorching.
As it thickened, I whisked in powdered sugar ... how much? Well, I think I reached into the powdered sugar container 3 or 4 times, grabbing a multifinger pinch each time. I didn't want the sauce to be too sweet, yellow cake mix is pretty sweet by itself.
Meanwhile, back in the bowl of batter, I dumped in whole blueberries ... 2 handfulls, and stirred them in.

I sprayed a Wilton pan with some generic cooking spray and dumped in the cake mix avec whole blueberries.
Once the batter was in the pan, I poured the blueberry sauce on top of the batter and then used a chopstick (remember, I was also cooking Chinese) to swirl it throughout the batter.
When it was sufficiently paisleyprint swirly, I put the whole thing into a 300 degree oven.
Our good friend Jeannie who is a cake baking master says, " Use a good quality cake pan and forget what the recipe calls for, just set the oven on 300 degrees and cook it until it's done."
This is some of the best cooking advice I've ever gotten.
No more burned outsides.

Here's the finished project after about an hour at 300 degrees. It's still cooling off, but already has attracted a cake tester complete with glass of milk (real milk from real cows).


So far, everyone who tasted it has really liked it. In fact, this morning, there is only about half a cake out there in the kitchen.

I had some for breakfast, with coffee, and it was pretty good.

For a guy cake.

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rcwbiologist said...

The next TV Food Network star? I now need to go get some blueberries.

Laura said...

Sounds good to me! Blackberry merlot? you are so creative. Who would have thought of that!

I'm going to try Jeannies cake baking advice the next time I bake. thanks for the tip!

And uh, "Real Milk from Real Cows?" what is "fake milk" or fake cows, for that matter? LOL!

Mark said...

OK, will there be any left by the time I get there?

robin andrea said...

Yum. That cake looks deliciously creative, FC. I agree with rcw, you need your own cooking show.

roger said...


good going fc. a manly cake. how'd that kung pao turn out?

ImagineMel said...

HEY! that same kid was in my kitchen when I got up this morning! EERIE! ;)

scott said...

I have to admire a guy who will attempt anything that requires as much clean up as this cake would have.

Merlot in the refrigerator? You really are a cracker!

Have a great weekend.

momadness said...

You are indeed a "jack of all trades" so to speak and a man of many talents. Your writing is superb and always fun and informative; you include pet/kids stories, which being a pet person and a mom I certainly enjoy; your photography is breath-taking, and your cooking/baking sure as heck looks d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. And your recent adventure down the river was awesome!

Floridacracker said...

LOL! I don't think so!

This would go great with your little burgers at Vitaminsea!
The milk reference was for ThreeCollie, she's a cowologist.

Ya' better hurry.

If I ever get broadband way out here, I might do a video or two ...

that kungpao was excellent. if only it was the weekend so i could have had a beer with it.

If that's true, I fear for your groceries :)

You should have seen it. Never lift the still whirring mixer from the batter.
I have no wine rules sense, I just know I like it cold.

Thank you for the kind words. We try and enjoy our time here. Good food is part of that.

Scott said...

Since you don't have the Recipe site up and going, I will have the wife print this out and give it a shot...luv the wine part and she will too...Good Job FC.

edifice rex said...

Wow. And I was so proud of my dog dish cobbler. Oh well, back to the makeshift kitchen. ;)
Great post!

Sharon said...

Wow, he fixes things AND he bakes! You go! Looks good, btw.

Floridacracker said...

Let me know how it works out. Sorry about the nebulous amounts, I was winging it.

Dogdish cobbler, sounds fascinating. I need to head to your site!

Well, I break things too, so it all evens out I guess :)

threecollie said...

Ah, Emeril can just move over and make room. We know who the new star is going to be. That stuff looks and sounds amazing! From the look on the lad's face, seems it tastes amazing too. I had to call my boy out to see the expression and gesture. So like home, although they don't look nearly as dopplegangerish as last year.
I was delighted by the real foods references....we just love customers.

kathy a said...

pretty good making-it-up! sour cream always helps. real butter, too. inspired use of fruit-related ingredients! and thanks for the great tip on baking. junior's expression is worth a thousand words.

so here is my question -- how did you turn the cake out to get it upright on the cake dish? [and i notice you HAVE a proper cake dish...]

Floridacracker said...

Looking back, I should'a mentioned "real sour cream from real cows" too. Hindsight ...
Glad you enjoyed the bovine references.

Kathy A,
My wife has subbed mayo for missing eggs before with good results also. The store is 15 miles away, so we adapt sometimes.
I ran a butter knife around the outer and inner margin, put my big hand over the top and flipped it over. It came right out.
As for the proper cake dish, notice there's no proper cake dish cover.
Been there, broke that.

Deb said...

That's the sign of a real cook; the ability to improvise. The Hermit tends to get nervous when I improvise, but the results usually win him over.

Real butter only in this house too. I had enough margarine when I was growing up.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I swear you are a whiz at everything you do.

LauraHinNJ said...

Forgive me, but how can you call following the directions *girly style* when you started with a box cake? Real baking involves flour and sugar and other stuff I don't know about.


My husband is the real cook and baker in the house - I have one or two recipes that I follow to the letter ala girly style and that's enough to satisfy any domestic urges.

Question for you about those banty eggs - my brother keeps banties and is overloaded with more eggs than he can eat. What do you do with them all? They're too small to sell and hard to give away to most people who are afraid of real eggs from real chickens!

Floridacracker said...

Kitchen improv is what makes cooking an art. Not all art is a masterpiece tho :)
I don't blog those.

But if I only had your joke library!

I just used "girly" to contrast following instructions and the male penchant for not doing so. You are right, the use of a mix makes this a definite guy cake.

As for the banty eggs, I feed them to the dogs usually. I don't know how this one made it to the fridge. I love banties for their ability to fly and forage, but their eggs are way too tiny for a guy who doesn't use the yolk.
Right now, my favorite hen is sitting on a clutch so I'm hoping we will have chicks.

Anonymous said...

My grandmothers cooked like that - it would never have occurred to them that you actually need to measure the amount of something you added to a dish.

Your post also brought back good memories of a friend who died more than 10 years ago. He was a really great guy and loved to cook. One time he ran out of milk so he melted down mint chip ice cream and added it to the recipe instead. Most of his cooking ad libs were more successful than that one, but it's the one we all remember when we talk about Jim.

Floridacracker said...

I'm glad we triggered some warm memories. I think your friend's solution using ice cream was very creative.

ArtfulSub said...

You did fine. Over-came obstacles and came out with a good Guy Cake that wasn't disgustingly sweet.

Gals, and the few guys who like sweets, can always add ice-cream or topping, or whatever.

But, you can't UNSWEETEN something that's already a sugar-torpedo.

Good work.


Sandy said...

You definitely get my vote! That cake sounded and looks delicious...and of course passed the taste test by junior.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks. The funny and intelligent people I live with love it!
There's only a small chunk left at this point.
I've decided to keep Pure Florida Food alive with links to only the food posts here and an occasional new post there.

Junior is a pretty willing test subject :)