I spent Sunday afternoon in La Victoria Bakery's industrial kitchen! La Victoria Bakery has been a staple in the Mission for 60 years and makes amazing pan dulces.

They also let other bakers use their amazing kitchen. This is how I ended up making bagels with my baking class partner, Sonja, through a Sour Flour class.

The art of bagel making can be elusive. Though it only has three ingredients, getting the right consistency is...tough. Over the past year I have been working more with pastry dough and gentle kneading is required. Not so with bagel dough. You need seriously strong hands.  Here is some of the low-down I got from Danny, Founder of Sour Flour.

Bagels are made from starter (a piece of dough in which yeast continually grows by adding flour and water to it daily), high gluten flour, and salt- That's it. It's best to measure with a scale but Danny says, "If not, a cup of flour is usually around 125g, water 225g."

Six bagels can be made from 500g of dough. "The trick is to divide your ingredients by the total dough percentage." Flour is marked at 100%, hydration (water) at 54%, and salt at 2%. So the total for the flour is 1.562. (Wow, this not me talking math, it's Danny via email.)

500g/1.562=320g of flour
320g x .54=173g of water
320g x .022=7g of salt
and 5g of starter
(You will also need baking soda to put in the boiling water)

I was going to send you to a link now that explains, simply, how to make bagel dough, but apparently there is nothing out there...So, just go take Danny's class or try to figure it out in your kitchen and don't be fooled by other recipes that call for other ingredients!

This bagel dough kind of went to hell & back before being boiled & baked...


Vegan Chocolate Vanilla Marble Cupcakes

Second vegan cupcakes of the week! (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) This time I made the Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cupcakes with vegan buttercream frosting and they were killer!

I discovered that vegan buttercream frosting is more delicious than regular buttercream frosting, hands down.


Going Vegan

(I'm not really going vegan.) But, vegan baking has always been something I wanted to get into. So I finally bought Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (check out their website!)  and dove in. Vegan baked goods can still have terrific flavor and the only noticeable difference is slight, and it is in the texture- usually a tiny bit denser/chewier.

Baking vegan means you need to replace the eggs and butter with some type of fat and liquid. Often for the fat canola oil is used. Canola is a healthier oil and has a neutral flavor, but Sunflower, safflower or vegetable oil can work too. Margarine and/or shortening are often used too. The liquid used is usually soy milk (or rice milk).

Substituting ingredients in vegan recipes, actually makes the process much simpler. You don't have to worry about having enough eggs or your butter getting to soft. And for the most part, the ingredients you use are common and may already be laying around your kitchen.

I am drawn to cupcake recipes that call for beer, because beer is delicious, but also adds a  complexity to the flavor that makes a chocolate cupcake just that much better. The first recipe I tried out of the book was Chocolate Stout Cupcakes made with a crumb topping.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Ingredients for crumb coating:
1/4 C flour
1/4 C Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 C granulated sugar
2 tbsp canola oil

In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa, sugar and flour.  Slowly drizzle the oil in, constantly tossing the mixture with a fork. Crumbs will start to form. Continue to toss and stir the crumbs with your fingers for about 30 seconds. You should end up with mostly big crumbs (1/4" diameter) and maybe some loose flour too.

Ingredients for cupcakes:
3/4 C soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 C + 2 tbsp flour
1/3 C Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1.4 C stout
3/4 C sugar
1/3 C canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract/paste

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake tins with paper liners.
Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add stout, sugar, oil, and vanilla to soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. Add dry ingredients to wet in two batches and beat for about 2 minutes.

Pour batter into lined cupcake tins, filled 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with the crumb topping. make sure the crumbs rest on top of the batter and don't sink in. 

Bake 20-22 minutes. The authors recommend going to veganconnection/com/veganbeer.htm if you're concerned your stout isn't vegan.

Sorry no pictures, they were eaten to fast...What vegan recipe should I try next?


Boozy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Remember the Boozy Fruit I made back in October? Well almost five months later, this past February, an excuse to take it out of the back of the fridge finally presented itself. (Yes, I'm aware it is now April...)

It was Robert's birthday! So, why not make a Boozy Pineapple Upside Down Cake? At least if it tastes bad, everyone eating it will already be tipsy and tipsy celebratory people are the least likely to think a baked good is anything less than delicious.

And, hey, maybe it really will be delicious and I can write a great blog entry on it and recommend it to all the people that doubt you can make a delicious edible thing out of alcohol preserved fruit.

...Well, it was delicious and here is the recipe (adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking)


Boozy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Topping ingredients
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp allspice
1/4 C unsalted butter, melted
1 C brown sugar

Batter ingredients
Enough pineapple chunks (preserved in rum) to cover the bottom of a 10 inch bundt pan
1 1/4 C cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter room temperature
3/4 C brown sugar
3 eggs, separated, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 C granulated sugar

Pour the melted butter into the pan and use a fork to spread the brown sugar evenly over it. Top with pieces of pineapple, slightly overlapping for a snug fit.

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. With a sturdy wire whisk, beat vigorously until the mixture is light in color and fluffly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of the dry ingredients until almost fully incorporated. Fold in 1/2 of the buttermilk, then dry ingredients again, then th remaining buttermilk, then the last of the dry ingredients. Using a lifting motion, fold until the batter is smooth.

In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites with a paddle with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Beat until they for soft peaks. Slowely pour in the granulated sugar whole cintuing to beat- until soft peaks form again. The whites should fall over fently when he beaters are lifted. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Back the cake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Let cool. Invert a serving platter on the top of the pan and, holding the plate and pan together, invert them. Gently pull the pan off (good luck).