Saturday 22 January 2011



I have lost my food blogging mojo.


I have noticed over the past year many of my favourite fellow bloggers falling back into the regular rhythms of non-blogging life.   For all the energy, money and work that goes into creating a food blog, I am not surprised.   Food bloggers are the best people in the world.  I have learned so much from them and I feel inspired quite often (but not always) to do better for my own blog.   People often ask me if I get paid any money for doing this and to be honest…NO!  In fact, this food blog is a black hole for my hard-earned money!   This blog is an extension of a few of my current hobbies:  photography, crafts, scrapbooking, writing, baking, eating out --yes I insist that’s a hobby!-- and cake decorating.   So I remind myself of the original purpose of this blog.  It is my chance to document happy foods and thoughts that one day my daughters may want to read about (when I’m gone…gulp!)

Realizing that “life is but a stage” and we are but “poor players that strut and fret upon the stage” and then… are heard no more, I sought a medium for immortality.  Mind you, “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” too.   Hm.

Well, Ha!  if any of my English 11 students or past students are reading this, that line was for you!  We’re studying Macbeth right now and on Monday, they’ll be reciting their soliloquies for me.  Grads often come and visit me at school years later and recite lines from their Macbeth soliloquy for me, smiling and indicating that they still remember it.  Gosh darn, that’s cute.  The fact that they’re still smiling and visiting me, I mean.

You heard it here folks.  I’m no Shakespeare, and certainly I am not so ambitious as Macbeth, but for my own children I wanted this indelible connection.  Hopefully my blog doesn’t crash though.  I’m so not into backing up the blog adequately!

The initiative and time for creating a food blog occurred over 7 years ago when I found myself on mat leave.  I had taken some cake decorating courses at the Cookshop at City Square prior to giving birth to my daughter.  It was fun but I really didn’t think of starting the blog until sometime in the first year of Bebe’s (‘course that’s not her real name) life, between nursing and changing poopy diapers.  I felt a sense of mortality.  Yes, I felt it before when my father passed away suddenly (a possible catalyst for me wanting to have children?) but this was different.  What if I wasn’t around to teach my kids about all the meals we had that were great?  How do I go about documenting the recipes that were loved best?

From the first posts…primarily recipes lacking photos, I realized that something had to be done to make my boring posts more attractive.  My point and shoot digital camera was not doing the job I wanted it to do.  Eventually, I graduated to a Nikon D80 and now finally a Nikon D700.  My lenses have also gotten bigger and better too.  I have 3 lenses currently. All my lenses are Nikon lenses.  I have a telephoto lens, a macro lens and a general purpose one.  The doughnut shots were taken with the macro lens (AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm-1:2.8G).   I have absolutely no knowledge of photography but just dicker around until things look somewhat satisfactory.   I have never taken a photography course, though I know I should.   I never use auto focus.  I never use the flash on the camera, which I know is a good thing.  Lighting was always an issue (and still is) since I work during the day and most of my photos are taken at night in my “food porn” studio downstairs.  I purchased Lowel Ego lights.    For my mini doughnut shots, I was too lazy to go downstairs to my makeshift food porn studio and so I just shot the doughnuts on a plate piled on a bunch of newspapers on the kitchen table.  As you can see, the lighting sucks and is inconsistent.  However, I am quite willing to accept these inadequacies for speed.  I used the Picasa photo editing program to do some quick photo editing.  I know how to use Adobe Photoshop (I just recently taught myself so I could use this for scrapbooking purposes).  However, I find Picasa suits my purposes because it’s so fast.  I don’t need too many bells and whistles because I just want to get the job done and go to sleep.

Despite my lack of motivation to post as often though, I still bake often for my children.  In fact, before this current doughnut recipe, I used the pan to make fantastic mini banana doughnuts using my favourite Banana Bread recipe.  You don’t even need to glaze the doughnuts and they taste amazing!  It’s even better than the recipe I have used here for this plain doughnut.  

Besides baking on my own, I have recently begun allowing my 7 year old to take on more responsibilities in the kitchen.   Along with my 4 year old, we have been having fun using the 100watt lightbulb powered Easy Bake Oven. I am amazed what you can bake with a 100watt lightbulb and I am currently wondering how we will make do with those horrible CFL’s now that Canada has started phasing the incandescent bulbs out.   Read about the “dark side” of CFLsDid anyone in the government think about how impossible it will be to bake a cake in our Easy Bake oven with a CFL bulb?  idiot policy-makers…they simply don’t think ahead, do they?  How dare they deprive Canadian children of the joys of baking mini cakes by themselves? Their little smiles as they bring you the crusty, frosting-smothered, heavily-sprinkled lop-sided cakes are so sweet…almost as sweet as the little cakes themselves!   This CFL policy is just sick. Sick, sick, sick. Such a travesty.  Imagine all those households with inoperable Easy Bake Ovens and the sad little faces when mommy and daddy have to tell them they can’t bake anymore!  The fact that the ovens will no longer be useful and junked in the trash will only add to the landfill problems and that can’t be good for the environment.  Just to make sure, I had Stomach go to Canadian Tire and buy as many 100watt bulbs as he could just in case.  We’ve gotta bake and eat you know. Cakebrains-in-training, of course.
BTW, if any of you out there (all 3 of you who still read my posts consistently) would like any posts and pics with recipes for the Easy Bake Oven, I’m game if you are.  Just let me know!Smile with tongue out


Mini doughnut pans are a drag to clean as you can see.  I will have to go back and rewash it again!  Thankfully, my pan is nonstick.  I still sprayed it with Pam just to make sure the little doughnuts came out properly.

NB: I didn’t like these doughnuts unadorned at all.  They were on the dry side and though cakey in texture, not so fun to eat undecorated.  Dipping one side (the bottoms) in candy melts helped them keep longer and made them taste way better.  They looked so cute too.  Next time, I will bake the Mini Banana Doughnuts instead and decorate those.  I never did take a picture of those, but they were way tastier!  Here’s the original recipe for it.  They can be eaten naked (did I say that?) i.e. without frosting or embellishment and stay moist for a long time.  They’re healthier than the doughnuts made from the recipe below especially if you add my secret weapon to the batter:  ground flaxseed! and they are the perfect size for school snacks and lunches too!  Just halve the recipe for banana bread and whatever remaining batter you have--if any after filling your mini doughnut pan--make muffins or a small loaf.

BAKED MINI DOUGHNUTS (makes approximately 30)
(adapted from Not So Humble Pie (originally from Sur La Table))
2 cups cake flour, sifted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For decorating:  Candy melts in assorted colours, sprinkles, jimmies, dragees and fun stuff like that.
  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. 
  2. Spray pan with a non-stick cooking spray. [I used Pam.]
  3. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, buttermilk and beaten eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Place batter into a piping bag and pipe batter into doughnut wells until 2/3rds full.  Be careful not to overfill or they will look like mini muffins. 
  6. Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until the tops of the donuts spring back when lightly touched. Do not over bake.
  7. Allow doughnuts to cool.  Melt the candy melts in custard cups in the microwave for10 second bursts, until melted; stirring occasionally.  When the melts are smooth, hold  a doughnut between your fingers and dip it into the melts, tapping the excess off gently.  Allow to set on parchment-lined tray.  If you want to add sprinkles, now is the time to do it before it sets. 


Anonymous said...

Please share your Easy Bake Oven recipes!!! My 6 year old, BeBe, recieved her very own oven for Christmas. We'd love to try some new recipes.

PS I'm with you on the light bulbs!

Emily said...

I love an oven-baked donut recipe. The donuts are adorable with baby pink and lavender icing. Isn't it a pain when you only cook during the evening? I have lighting issue most of the time but thanks the photo editing software... hehe!

cocoa and coconut said...

I'm sure your children enjoyed these doughnuts. They look so gorgeous! I'm sure your blogging mojo will come back quickly. I mean your busy but still managing to make doughnuts for goodness sake! I've never made those.

Unknown said...

Ahh doughnuts! Love the pastel colored icing :)

I totally hear you on losing the mojo, I go through major phases where I keep asking if it's all worth it. But something always brings me back, without fail!!

Anonymous said...

This is my first blog comment but wanted to tell you I look at your blog because I love cake and I love Vancouver!! After years in Toronto, Vancouver is still my hometown. I have been to the White Spot, New Town Bakery, the Bon Ton, the Gourmet Warehouse and wish I lived closer :). The mention of these places I remember fondly and your recipes keep me interested. (p.s. The Valley Bakery on East Hastings was our favourite bakery)

Cakebrain said...

Valley Bakery fan in Toronto, we must know one another somehow...My best friends always bought their bday cakes from Valley and later their wedding cakes too! It certainly is an institution! Thanks for commenting!

Cakebrain said...

Easybakeoven owner, I will do my best to try and post some EBO recipes but for now just buy a box of Duncan Hines and scoop out a few tablespoons, add a bit of milk and a smidgen of mayo to make the batter and you're all set! It'll last you a long while...
I have to test a bit before posting EBO recipes from scratch, but it'll come eventually! Keep a watch for it!

Anonymous said...

These doughnuts are so cute. My children would love them. I bake for my kids too.

ann said...

These donuts look great! I remember loving my Easy Bake Oven as a little girl. Sounds fun!

Brandy L said...

Luv it! I never had an Easy Bake Oven but now having my own daughter hopefully one day i can get her one as well!

Mary Bergfeld said...

I love donuts and have an old cake donut recipe that I use when I feel guilty about using the fryer. I love those pans. I love your recipe. Ergo... Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen said...

LOVE this! These look incredibly adorable. So glad you're posting again :)

amlamonte said...

what pretty little doughnuts! i love the pink and purple frosting. and thanks for sharing some of your story as a food blogger! it's so interesting to hear how people got started. and don't worry mine doesn't make any money either! :) someday, right? someday...

Amanda Cupcake said...

Your site makes me so hungry for so many naughty but delicious things that I added your link to my Amanda Cupcake blog.
Thanks for your inspiration. ♥

oxana said...

I's journalist from Russia, Kaliningrad. I've found your blog - it's amazing! We'are making material about cookies for Valentiene's Day. Can we use your recipes and photos (VALENTINE'S DAY COOKIES and VALENTINE'S SUGAR COOKIES). It'll be very nice to give our readers opportunity to see this beauty and delicacy

Srishti said...

Wow!!! They look soo yummy!!! I will surely try these in the coming week!!!!

Cakebrain said...

Yes, please link back to my original post and/or blog!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Unknown said...

These are super adorable!!

Mary @Delightful Bitefuls said...

These are adorable!!!

Mary xx
Delightful Bitefuls

Kendall Allison said...

hello! where did you get the 24 donut pan?
I couldn't find it anywhere online..

Cakebrain said...

It was bought over 7 years ago...and my memory is fuzzy about this pan.
However, I think I bought it at the Cookshop on 12th avenue in City Square.

Anonymous said...

I contacted Cookshop and they don't have the 24 count pan anymore...

They don't appear to be made by any manufacturer at this point...

Cakebrain said...

Thanks for telling us that! That is too bad because baked donuts are healthier than fried.


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