The idea started small: buy dessert to bring to Staten Island on Sunday when we visited Todd’s parents. Soon after, I thought, why spend money on a sugar-loaded treat when I could make something myself? But when I considered each person’s tastes, it became clear that I couldn’t just bake a simple bundt cake or box brownies. I decided on a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I’d never made one before, so I searched online for a recipe; I settled on this one, mostly because it looked good in the picture.
Though I’d chosen a recipe, I didn’t feel ready to bake yet. I wanted to try something new—two somethings, in fact. The first, the mini heart-shaped layering pans I’d bought in advance of Valentine’s Day. The second, the new KitchenAid stand mixer my parents gave me and Todd for Christmas. But something still felt incomplete, so I decided to add dried papaya, dried apple, and dried pineapple to my cake, basically rendering it a morning glory cake instead of carrot. Thus, my Saturday baking project was born.
I’ve baked cookies, muffins, and loaf breads. I’ve decorated cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and everything in between. I’ve tried my hand at several pies: triple berry, maple peach, raspberry rhubarb, and classic apple more times than I can count. In September, I made my first bundt cake. All these baking experiments gave me the courage to attempt a real cinnamon-raisin brown sugar layer cake, almost wholly made from scratch (I bought the blue frosting).
Now that I have my own apartment, I spend most of my time in the kitchen. I’ve made cookies: old-fashioned raisin, double chocolate, chocolate chip. I’ve done lemon-blueberry and chocolate chip scones. I’ve even tried my hand at Hungarian plum dumplings. The next item on my baking bucket list? A layer cake with buttercream icing, all made from scratch. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I did take a baby step toward that goal: a fig & pistachio vanilla bundt cake. (I used this recipe as a base, though I modified it a bit to add nuts and vanilla bean, along with a few other minor changes.)Continue reading