Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Welcome to the Neighborhood...

Years ago, whenever someone moved into your neighborhood, all the women would bring over some delicious baked goods, or foods to welcome them to the neighborhood. Like all things, for the most part, that is a thing of the past. I think it's time to resurrect it...

You don't have to bake for a neighbor just to welcome them, why not just bake something for some just because. I heard from Lindsey tonight, one of my followers, who told me she baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and took them to work with her today, no special reason, just because...

Let's make February Just Because Month, and let's bake something for someone for no reason, just because we like them, are thinking of them, care about them, because it's my birthday :), whatever your reason is, just do it, because when you do something nice for someone else, you feel good about yourself. We have to have mercy on all those who have no Valentine's!

In our quest to do this, I found a great find at King Arthur Flour. They sell disposable paper cake pans in all different shapes and sizes. You could bake a heart shaped cake to let someone know you love them, or a layer cake for someone's birthday (hint, hint) or bake some cookies and just use the paper pans for transport.

I have used these pans and love them. They are easy to transport, are safe in an oven up to 390 degrees F., and the best thing is, you never have to worry about whether of not you get your dish, plate, whatever back - who could ask for anything more. They are not expensive, for example, the round pans come in a set of 6 for $4.95

If you have never been to their website, you must check it out, they have great recipes, videos, (in fact I must make the Ciabetta bread when I get a free minute) You can save your recipes to a recipe box on the site, they have a great newsletter, and their products (flours) are available nationwide, and if you can't find a product locally, just order it on line. They also have a baking school you can attend in Vermont, the class prices are quite reasonable. If you are really baking challenged, they sell mixes that work in all the pans :)

Take a look at some of the shapes of the "Bake and Give" pans that they sell:

Round Pans

Ring Pans

Loaf Pans
Pannettone Pans

Star Pans

Heart Pans

Crumb Cake Pans

Mini Rounds (great for Muffins)

Here is a recipe for an Friday Night Double Fudge Chocolate Cake from King Arthur's Website (It would be perfect in the tube pan):

Friday Night Double Fudge Chocolate Cake

Can you make a rich, moist cake that's dairy -- (butter and milk) free, but absolutely decadent and flavorful? Yes! This cake takes literally only seconds to put together. Sometimes, we mix the dry ingredients the night before, and in the morning add the remaining ingredients.


1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) brown sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup (2 ounces) cocoa, sifted after measuring
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups (12l 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (16 ounces) brewed coffee (just warm)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate


1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped white chocolate

Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-inch bundt-style or tube pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the white and brown sugars, the oil, eggs, and vanilla, and beat at medium speed for 1 minute, until smooth. In a medium-sized bowl combine the cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar and oil mixture alternately with the warm coffee, beating steadily to make a smooth, thin batter.

Spoon the batter into the pan, and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Use a spoon or your fingers to barely submerge the chips in the batter; they'll sink and float at random, which is OK.

Bake the cake for 60 to 72 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out dry and the top springs back when touched gently.

Topping: As soon as the cake is out of the oven, gently sprinkle it with the dark and white chocolate. Allow it to rest for several minutes to soften the chips, then swirl the chips onto the cake with a butter knife, spreading and smearing chocolate over the top of the cake. Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, and allow it to cool. Remove it from the pan, and set it on a serving plate, iced-side up. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired. This cake keeps several days at room temperature, covered, and also freezes well. Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Optional Glaze: Instead of the chopped chocolate topping, allow the cake to cool for at least 20 minutes, then remove it from the pan. If it sticks, place the pan on a warm burner to loosen and release the cake. Melt the glaze ingredients (semisweet and white chocolates) in the top of a double boiler, then swirl them over the cooled cake.

1 comment:

  1. Paper pans - what a great idea! Not only do you not have to worry about getting your pan back, but now you don't have to worry that you'll ruin the cake as you try to take it out of the pan (or maybe that's just me :)) I like the star-shaped one, but they all look very cool. I'm going to their web site right now.