Baking in college is surprisingly convenient.
If I’m at home and and I realize I’m out of butter, I have to either get up and go to the store myself (and I’m much too lazy for that) or call my mom to pick up some and wait until she has time.
Here, I can scoop up butterballs at our dining hall and store them in the kitchen until I need them.
Out of eggs? I just have to ask (although I still try to buy eggs when I can). 8 ounces of cream cheese is 8 little portion cups, and milk and yogurt is plentiful.
I only really need to buy cocoa, flour, baking soda/powder, chocolate chips, and vanilla to make mostly anything.
Obtaining ingredients is the easy part, actually cooking is harder.
For one, we have approximately one whisk and one mixing bowl in our entire kitchen. Also, I’ve seen approximately 2 measuring cups (and lately I’ve only found 1).
Also, it’s hard to find enough cake pans. But hey, when I can’t find large cupcake trays I can always make mini cupcakes, and those are arguably even better.
I made these cupcakes last saturday morning because I woke up and wanted to bake something. I really had no reason other than an impulsive need to make something — anything, and at breakfast there was canned pineapples so I settled on hummingbird cupcakes.
These are fun little cupcakes, made with applesauce, cinnamon, pineapples and bananas, and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (I still have some I have to use up in the fridge ahhh).
They’re really easy to make, though I do advise you don’t be like me and do it to avoid actual responsibilities like homework, because you’ll probably regret it (like I did) later. Still, it’s hard to feel much regret when you have plates of cupcakes in your room.
Oh, and another great part of college? Always someone willing to lend a hand and eat baked goods. It’s great because at home there are inevitably some leftovers that go in the trash, but here that’s not a problem.
Anyway, I should probably go and finish my essay at some point…
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup natural applesauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple, with juice
- 1 cup pecans (I omited because nut allergies)
- 2 large bananas, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast pecans in oven for 5 minutes, then remove and chop into small pieces.
Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
In another bowl, mix the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until no streaks of flour remain (be careful not to overmix).
Add pineapple, chopped pecans, and banana pieces and gently stir.
Pour batter into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for large cupcakes and around 10-15 minutes for mini cupcakes.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- powdered sugar, to taste
- 1 t. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Whip cream cheese and butter together. Add sour cream and whip until fluffy.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar to taste, then add vanilla and cinnamon.
I’ve been at college for over two months now.
My most accurate way to describe it would be busy, busy, busy, but incredibly cool.
I’ve made a few desserts since I’ve arrived, but it’s hard to carve out time to take pictures. (And on a side note — there’s always someone to eat your desserts. It’s great!)
I’ll definitely keep posting, but expect my posts to be less frequent than before (although, not that I was particularly reliable before college).
Until my next post, enjoy a slice of banana bread! The recipe can be found here.
Will it work if you use full size muffin tins? If so how long would you cook it?
Cooking full size muffins/cupcakes usually takes around 18-22 minutes at 350 degrees. Depending on which recipe you’re referring to I would use somewhere in this time range (perhaps a little more if the cupcakes/muffins appear undercooked).
I’m very particular about peanut butter. Offer me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on honey whole wheat bread and I’ll be unreasonably happy, but offer me a peanut cookie or slice of cake with peanut butter frosting and I’ll be less inclined to accept.
I can never tell if I’ll like a particular peanut butter dessert, so I usually just make recipes and hope I like them.
The other day I stumbled upon this recipe for peanut butter oatmeal bars while looking for a recipe to make for friends. They looked delicious so I decided to make them, figuring that if I didn’t like them others would.
I didn’t have any Reece’s and planned to add chocolate chips instead, but halfway through making the bars I remembered seeing a recipe for peanut butter jelly bars, and decided that, yes, that was what I needed in my life.
I was right.
These bars are intensely good. The peanut butter flavor is subtle but still evident, and the jelly adds a delightful gooeyness. They’re soft and buttery and fragrant. Yum.
If you’re looking for a fun recipe to try, I would definitely make these bars (now, optimally). If you’re gluten free or vegan, I’ll post a similar recipe that you can enjoy soon!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
Recipe adapted from here.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbs vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup peanut butter baking chips
- strawberry jelly or jam
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
- Mix in the peanut butter.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until smooth.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and peanut butter baking chips.
- Fold in the wet ingredients until no flour streaks remain.
- Pat 2/3 of the dough into a greased 9x13 inch pan.
- Spread a layer of strawberry jelly or jam over the dough, using however much desired. (I added just enough so the bottom was completely covered.)
- Add the remaining dough to the top of the jam in small chunks.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden the top is light to medium golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean.
Ever since my lens stopped working (a nicer way of saying I think I might have broken it when my camera fell of the couch), I haven’t made much food. Occasionally I’ll whip up a batch of cookies, but without a way to document what I make, baking is somehow less rewarding.
Photography is something I do instinctively, how I record and remember my life. Unlike memories which fade and contort over time, pictures are constants. I can try to remember things long past, but human memory is fallible. Pictures are reminders of what has existed, how I revisit the past.
I’m not a very sentimental person despite how sappy I might sound right now, but as my high school graduation rapidly approaches and as I anticipate being uprooted, torn away from the people I have spent so many years with, I can’t help but flip (scroll) through old pictures and reminisce. Try as I might, I cannot fathom a life any different than the one I have now.
Food might not have the emotional significance of friends, but cooking has become an integral part of my life and I like to remember what I make. I’ve been using my phone’s camera since my f/1.4 lens broke, and it works fine for casual pictures (I like how candid phone pictures look), but my iPhone doesn’t do justice to food.
My fingers itching to practice food photography once more, I ordered a f/1.8 lens from Amazon last week, and though it’s was a hundred dollars, finally I have the ability to take DSLR pictures. My other lens is at the store being evaluated at the moment, but for now this lens will do.
This chocolate cake is probably my favorite ever. I know I’ve called this the “ultimate” chocolate cake, and I even have another gluten free chocolate cake recipe here, but this cake, this cake exceeds them all.
I use my friends as Guinea pigs for my gluten free foods especially (aren’t I a sweetheart?), and this one cake was received very, very well. One friend who claims to have discerning tastebuds scoffed when I announced the cake was gluten free, said it was good but kind of “empty,” then proceeded to finish her slice. The next day she ate another slice, and the day after had another. (Moral of the story: I think she’s just doesn’t like the idea of gluten free foods.)
My mom said she couldn’t even tell the cake was gluten free, and I agree with that assessment. The cake is moist, tender, and chocolatey - and has made up two out of my three meals today…oops. (I was almost going to see whether I could go an entire day on only chocolate cake, but I relented.)
A bit of advice, though: blend the quinoa mixture well. If not the cake will have a sort of corn meal texture, but it’s not a bad thing (I like it!), just different.
Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake
- 2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and parchment paper two 9 (or 8) inch cake pans.
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water. (I forgot to do this and didn’t encounter any problems, but the quinoa can impart the cake with a bitterness if not done in some cases.)
- Add the water to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- In a blender combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Add the quinoa and butter and blend until smooth.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour in the liquid ingredients and fold together until smooth.
- Divide the batter among the two pans. Bake for around 25 minutes (35 minutes for 8 inch pans) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool then frost.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup milk
- Melt the butter.
- Stir in the cocoa, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
- Beat in enough milk to get desired consistency. I didn’t add much and ending up with a soft, fudge-like product.