Recipes Strawberry-Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Of all the fruits, rhubarb retains the most magical nostalgic quality for me. Back when I was very small, it grew gargantuan each spring around the farmhouse. My mom always made terrific rhubarb desserts. Sweet-tart. Spicy. Distinctly rhubarb-y. What’s funny is that rhubarb isn’t actually a fruit. It’s a stem, making it technically a vegetable… but who eats rhubarb as a vegetable? No, rhubarb is the vegetable that found its true calling in the fruit world.

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Cinco de Mayo Whoopie Pies

When I started writing this particular post last October (yes, it’s been bounding around the lobes of my brain for a while) I wondered whether Whoopie Pies were poised to be the new Cupcakes . Back then, I wrote, “I feel like I’m seeing whoopie pies everywhere I turn. And aren’t cupcakes far too 2002 these days?” But now that I’ve made a couple of batches of whoopie pies, I realize they’re no match for the mighty cupcake.

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The Missing Tooth & The Red Velvet Pig

My boss, let’s call him Dr. Bacon, completely missed out on his birthday cake this week. If you’re a longtime reader, you may recall that the one we did last year was the chocolate bacon cake. Well, this one wasn’t half so crazy, but it was still sort of cute and appropriate to the recipient. I blame the dentist. After a vicious morning root canal, Dr. Bacon wasn’t up for work, or cake, or even consciousness, I’d wager.

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The Chocolate Ice Cream Bombe: On Bombe-Building for Beginners
Recipes The Chocolate Ice Cream Bombe: On Bombe-Building for Beginners

At culinary school, we spent one whole class period making bombes, and though it was a wonderful experience, I’ve noticed it’s not polite to talk about that sort of thing in public. People can’t hear the silent “e” at the end of bombe, so one risks being labeled a terrorist. Thus, it becomes necessary to modify the word on each utterance… “pastry bombe” or “ice cream bombe” or “bombe cake” or something of the sort.

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Pistachio Carrot Cake & Saffron Ice Cream
Pistachio Carrot Cake & Saffron Ice Cream

I was planning to write on a different topic today, but when you’re inspired, sometimes you have to go where the wind blows you. Today, the wind was blowing in the a pale green direction, and I’m not talking St. Patrick’s Day here (although a person certainly could, were a person so inclined). The inspiration of the day? Pistachio Carrot Cake & Saffron Coconut Ice Cream. Oh yes. We’re just that crazy around here.

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Five Steps to Homemade Birthday Cake

Since the late 1940s, Pillsbury, Duncan Hines and General Mills (aka Betty Crocker) have been putting out cake mixes for the masses. Billions of boxes of cake mix for billions of birthdays and graduations and anniversaries and whatnot. Knowing that I have personally eaten more of these cakes than I can count, I’m led to wonder what minuscule portion of the population has ever made a cake from scratch. Though it’s true that pouring a little vegetable oil and cracking a couple of eggs into a box mix is about as easy as it gets, the very basic yellow cake isn’t much more fuss, and the maker gets a lot more control over the end product.

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Recipes Lemon-Ginger Fairy Cakes

I think I’ve mentioned before that J is an alien creature who often resembles a normal fellow but occasionally exposes his true color (green, naturally). One of his little oddities I discovered recently is a propensity to refer to cupcakes as “fairy cakes.” Though there’s a little friendly debate about what constitutes a proper fairy cake in the comments over at Becks & Posh and Cupcakes Take the Cake, the Wikipedia lumps cupcakes and fairy cakes together on the same page.

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On The Clock Cake-A-Palooza

I’ve always found cake to be a culinary curiosity. It’s one of those foods we often tend to value more for the way it looks than the flavor beneath the frosting. A lot of the offices in which I’ve worked buy cakes to mark people’s birthdays. In my experience, these cakes usually come from a supermarket. Everyone gathers ‘round to sing “happy birthday” and then someone cuts up a generic marble cake with frosting that tastes like vegetable shortening mixed with sugar.

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Day 22: Eggnog Flan

*This post marks Day 22 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. After falling in love with the divine flan at a local taco place, I thought it’d be a good idea to combine a lifelong passion for eggnog with the decadent flan genre. In case you’ve never made flan, it’s kind of a two-step process. The first step involves making a caramel sauce that coats the bottom of the pan. Thereafter, a custard mixture is poured over the caramel and it’s baked, then flipped over to put the caramel at the top, making the process very like a tarte tatin or a pineapple upside-down cake.

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Recipes Day 19: Cookie o’ the Week… Peppermint Snowflakes

*This post marks Day 19 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. I recently ran across the coolest snowflake cookie cutter set; It included tiny pieces to help cut out the decorative bits on the arms of the snowflakes. Pretty slick, but I had no real need to buy it. Then it occurred to me that such a thing would be just the ticket for a new take on that stained glass cookie that’s made with a basic cut-out recipe and crushed candy that melts into the open spaces.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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