Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy National Bundt Day!

Buttercake Bakery's Marble Bundt Cake

 Normally I don’t celebrate particular food days, but this one is special, because blogger The Food Librarian has turned National Bundt Day into a month-long celebration of all things big, beautiful, and bundt.
With her “I Like Big Bundts” project, FL makes one bundt cake each day for a month leading up to National Bundt Day.  Now that’s love!

To celebrate the day, as well as to celebrate the birthday of one of my best friends, I made Buttercake Bakery’s Marble Bundt cake from the LA Times, which was also the first recipe that FL posted this year.
This cake was the perfect choice because I had to carry it from New York to New Haven. Bundt cakes are sturdy, and even though they aren’t frosted, they are special enough for a celebration. Next time you have to travel with cake, I highly recommend this one.

It may be my favorite marble cake thus far, partly because of the extra chocolate chips in the batter. I used vanilla bean paste for the first time in the vanilla batter, but I couldn’t really notice a difference in taste or see the black specks. Maybe it’s because chocolate crumbs were floating around too.

Next time I want to underbake the cake a little.  I had one bite where the chocolate batter hadn’t completely cooked through, and it tasted like a fudge sauce right in the middle of the cake.  I want more of that!  Or maybe I’ll just stir a jar of fudge sauce into the cake next time.  That could work too.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pickle's Bake Shop

Large Cake Jar, Photo Courtesy of Pickle's Bake Shop

Cake in a jar.  Now there’s something I haven’t seen before.

Normally I like to eat my cake with a fork (strong preference, no logical reason) but there is something about scooping cake and frosting out of a glass jar that is just…way too fun.  I gained a lot of weight this week.

Pickle’s Bake Shop’s Cake Jars come in a variety of flavors—I tried the chocolate with vanilla buttercream and vanilla with chocolate buttercream. The vanilla buttercream was super sweet while the chocolate buttercream was a little light on chocolate flavor, but the cake was AMAZING.  It was moist and the perfect soft-yet-firm texture for scooping out with a spoon.  I froze the cake jars upon arrival, and when I brought them back to room temperature, they were still perfect.

Next time, I definitely want to try the chocolate with marshmallow buttercream (I kept imagining that one when I was eating my chocolate cake with vanilla) and either the red velvet or coconut cake…something with a cream cheese frosting that might have a bit more tang.

My order included one of the mini gift packs, which contained a mini cake jar (the vanilla one), 3 cake balls, and 3 cookies.  I chose chocolate chip cookies, but they were just chocolate chip cookies, and they couldn’t compete with the other novelties.  The cake balls and mini cake jar had to be the same flavor, and I could tell that the cake balls were made from the same moist yellow layer cake as the cake jar.  

The chocolate cake jars were the “larger” size, and let me warn you, they are big and filling.  I tend to eat a lot of cake, and I thought the mini cake jar might not be enough for me, but I was wrong.  It took me about 2 days to get through a mini and 3-4 days to get through a large, and I wasn’t exactly nibbling.  The larger cake jars are $15 for a set of two, and the smaller ones are $7.50 for a set of two.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Minetta Tavern (Will Change Your Life)

The diner sitting to my right was asking the diner to his right, who had just received her plate of food,   “I heard the Black Label burger is a life-changing experience.  Is it?”

Since I was already halfway through the burger in question, he probably should have asked me instead of the woman who hadn’t started hers yet. But I am glad he didn’t.  Because I was in the middle of eating the burger, and honestly, I did not want to stop eating it to answer his question.  I did not want to stop eating it ever.

But now that I have finished, the answer to his question is yes—the Black Label burger is a life-changing experience.

In fact, before I ate the burger, I made some comment about how funny it seemed to get a burger after eating fancy appetizers, and when the people next to us were eating $118 cote de boeuf.  But as soon as I took a bite, I was in shock.  What IS that?  Is that a burger?  How on earth can there be so much flavor in there?

Yes, it looks like a burger, smells like a burger, is served with French fries like a burger.  But it is actually skirt steak, short rib, brisket, and dry aged rib-eye (the real source of the steak flavor) masquerading as a beef patty.  With only a topping of caramelized onions, this burger does not need anything else.  Yes, it is better than the DB Bistro burger.  It will ruin burgers for you for life.

Now that I am finished raving about the Black Label, I would also like to talk about the other dish we tried:  marrow bones.  For $17 you get 3 huge marrow bones with crusty, buttered bread and cranberry jam.  I’ve never seen such large marrow bones, and it was so much fun to scoop out the buttery, fatty marrow and construct the perfect bite.  Also highly recommended.

Minetta Tavern was really an old tavern from 1938, and it has been restored to have a speakeasy feel.  The atmosphere is very old-fashioned New York, and with the dim lights, you feel like you’ve found a secret spot.  But the secret is out:  Minetta has got it goin’ on.  

113 Macdougal St.