May 29th, 2008

cupcakes with graham cracker crust and coconut cream icing

cupcake 8

while there’s no shortage of cupcake blogs in the blogosphere (i hate that word), i thought i would throw my cupcake hat in the cupcake ring and share my favorite (and really, the only cupcake i make). i’ve combined the graham cracker crust of a pie with the fluffy goodness of a cake and topped with coconut buttercream frosting.

cupcake 1

cupcake 2

i’m not a big fan of dainty cupcakes. you know the ones i’m talking about – small, moist looking mouthfuls of cake with a dollop of frosting on top. sure, they’re beautiful and they may taste incredible, but eating them, i can’t help feeling a little ripped off. for me, a cupcake should be a full cake, just condensed to a size you can safely carry around with you. it should take more than two bites to finish. and when you’re done, you should want more, but fear that a second one might overload your pleasure receptors and possibly send you into diabetic shock. my friends, these are cupcakes of which you can eat only one a day for fear of your life.

cupcake 5

a word of advice: i would say that you should jump on baking these up immediately, but if you live in an area that is experiencing late spring/summer, you may have some issues frosting these bad boys. in washington dc, summer hits pretty quickly and unrelentingly, and my apartment hit about 92 F (AC in my building was broken) as i tried to assemble the cupcakes. it became a fairly tedious process of chilling the frosting, icing a few cupcakes and getting them into the fridge quickly. the frosting had to be chilled every five minutes or the temperature caused it to melt all over the place and make a huge delicious mess. with that out of the way, BAKE THESE IMMEDIATELY! after you taste them, i’ll leave it up to you whether you want to share with your friends or keep them your little abrosial secret.

cupcake 6

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May 27th, 2008

drop scones

scones 7

there’s nothing better than waking up on memorial day and realizing you have the day off. i actually woke up earlier than i would for work just so i could enjoy a whole day of doing nothing. a lazy day calls for an easy-to-make breakfast. i was really just looking for a vehicle for maple butter (which is possibly the greatest thing ever invented by man).

scones 1 scones 2 scones 3 scones 4

scones originated in scotland. they take their name from the place where scottish kings were crowned, known as the “stone of destiny” or scone. it’s pretty fitting that these little guys resemble boulders, but don’t let their appearance fool you – the insides are soft and almost dainty. slather them with your favorite jam or jelly.

scones 5

if you’ve got company coming over, you can whip up these scones in a pinch. there are literally thousands of varieties of scones, featuring apples, raisins, chocolate, blueberries, lemon, pumpkin, or any kind of nuts. before you know it, you’ll have eaten 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or…

scones 6

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May 24th, 2008

brownies! with coffee!

brownies 2

i’m proud to say that i grew up in a family where home-cooked meals and home-baked desserts were the norm. my mom seemed to have an endless supply of recipes for every occasion. so when i went to college, i found myself calling every week and asking for a new idea for dinner or dessert. rather than just emailing me recipes, my mom sends them to me the way she keeps them at home – on index cards. when the mail arrived, i came to expect a envelope thick with 5 or 6 index cards with hand-copied directions for my childhood favorites.

brownie batter

this brownie recipe straddles the line between cakey and fudgey, so you won’t have to choose. the only thing i’ve changed about my mom’s original directions is to add coffee. many desserts use freshly brewed coffee, but here’s the secret – i use instant coffee. it’s what i grew up drinking, so it’s what i have in my apartment at all times.

brownie batter 3

you’re going to want to stop yourself from adding more instant coffee after the first tablespoon. ignore your instincts and just keep adding more. the batter will smell and even taste too bitter before you bake it, but when the brownies come out of the oven, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the depth of flavor. these won’t last long after you put them out – and they’re great warm.

brownies and milk 1

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