Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day when chocoholics everywhere (single or not) can rejoice. Love may be in the air, but it is chocolate that is on the shelves! As a self-diagnosed chocoholic, I can admit that February 14th is an exciting time for me–because it gives me the excuse to make a new chocolate creation! After all, chocolate isn’t so bad, is it?
Not at all! Chocolate actually possesses some great health properties. The Incas considered cocoa to be a drink of the gods, and the Aztec Emperor Montezuma, who supposedly drank up to fifty cups of chocolate a day, described it as a “divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue.” Actually, Emperor Montezuma was on the right track–maybe not with the fifty cups a day, but certainly with the health-promoting qualities. Continue reading
A very happy New Year to you all!
With each new year comes resolutions for change. Change in attitudes, in lifestyles, in activities. And for me, a change in my blog! It has been over 4 years since I first started blogging and it has also been 4 years since I significantly revitalized this website. The new year, however, offers the perfect excuse to take on some of those much-needed changes. So, along with the rest of the world, I am happy to say that Cakes ‘n’ Bakes is participating in the age-old tradition of New Year’s with 3 exciting resolutions! Continue reading
Or maybe I should first start off by saying “Hello, again!” This year, I am thankful the little things: the support of family, the love of friends, the comfort of home, and the ability to bake again! Yes, I know, that last one is definitely simplistic. Let me explain.
This past August, I began my 9-month dietetic internship, a continuing education program that allows recent nutrition graduates to become competent in the various areas of dietetics and eventually achieve their Registered Dietitian status. So far it has been an incredible journey; I have gained a whole host of new counseling skills and substantially increased my nutrition knowledge. But, I have to admit, the experience has been tough on my baking! Between forty-hour work weeks at the hospital and assignment-filled weekends, I haven’t had a moment to spare. I am ashamed to say that I haven’t even opened the oven in almost four months! But there was no way that I was going to let my favorite holiday pass without whipping up something new. And after such an extensive baking hiatus, I knew my next creation had to be something impressive. I think this Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake definitely fits the bill. Continue reading
Vegetables for dessert. Seems almost like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But, then again, is zucchini actually a vegetable? Botanically speaking, summer squash such as zucchini is the mature ovary of a flower, including the seeds and protective covering. That makes it a fruit. But under this same definition, tomatoes, cucumbers, even tree nuts are also technically “fruits.”
I think British journalist Miles Kington put it best when he stated, “knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that a tomato doesn’t belong in a fruit salad.”
In the culinary world, fruits and vegetables are determined not by their physical characteristics, but rather by their taste and cultural usage. Under the culinary definition, vegetables are savory in taste and are typically featured in main dishes, appetizers, or salads. Fruits, on the other hand, are sweet or tart in taste and are generally used in breakfast foods, beverages, snacks, and desserts. And that, my friends, is why we put tomatoes on top of pasta and not cupcakes. Continue reading
Never was there a cookie so simple and yet so confusing as the macaroon. Ever find yourself in an argument as to whether it is pronounced mah-kah-ROON or mah-kah-ROHN? Whether it is made of coconut or almond? Italian or French? One cookie or two? Needless to say, when I announced that I was making Mojito Macaroons for my newest baking project, it sparked quite a bit of a debate in my household. So let’s set the record straight with a little history lesson on this perplexing cookie.
According to most sources (although it has been somewhat debated), the origin of the macaroon can be traced back to Italy, where these flourless, unleavened cookies went by the name of amaretti. The original confections had a hard exterior and chewy interior that came from a mixture of two ingredients: egg whites and almond paste. Over time, however, bakers began experimenting with ingredients and developing a number of variations on the original cookie. And thus the macaroon confusion began. Continue reading