all photos: Dakota Fine
LoveBYTes is a new, monthly column from Warren Brown, the Cake(Love) Guru of Washington D.C. We asked Warren to share some of the recipes and stories that he loves. Some may be sweet, others savory, but you’re guaranteed to love them, too. So just in time for Valentine’s day, Warren has a hot new recipe to get your sweetheart in the mood for LOVE. Sorry, just trying to see how many times we can say LOVE in this introduction. Warren’s LOVE:
Welcome into the CakeLove Kitchens, where sweets in harmony are hatched everyday. Yeah, I know, Zen-like and over the top. But really, that’s the whole idea with baking: finding harmony between the ingredients, the equipment and the baker.
Even when you know the recipe by heart you’re still watching to make sure everything is mixing correctly. Or you’re feeling for the right texture in the ingredients. Sometimes I listen for the right sounds from the batter when it’s being whipped. And I get a lot of weird looks for it.
Of course, taste and smell are also a big part of the process. But it’s the harmony, the whole concept of harmony, that is what I feel like I am searching for when I create new recipes. Who cares where they end up? I just like to make new things. As long as it’s being made somewhere, I’m happy.
Now, making all of this with friends watching is a little nutty. My friend Ami and her daughter and another friend Sarah and her niece came up to CakeLove in Silver Spring a few days before the Inauguration. I was so excited about it that I kept blurting out “Barack Obama” like I had Tourette’s.
(from a weird interview we did with Warren a while back, read the whole thing here)
Anyway, we hugged and caught up and then got down to business! They wanted me to show the young’ns what’s up with CakeLove so they can understand that taking risks can be a good thing, whether baking a cake or betting the house that a career change will work out! (Warren left his cushy job as a lawyer to open a bakery)
Hey, risk taking is full of the highs and lows and being a business owner has shown me plenty of both. I wouldn’t trade it for the world because I love what I’ve seen, but it’s a real up-and-down world, as we all know.
Anyways, focusing on simpler risks in the form of cookies and cakes makes for great relief and reflection.
We went through a few of the normal recipes at CakeLove (buttercream and cookies) but also did an impromptu cake flavored with rum and nutmeg, two of my faves.
It bombed. Yep, I went with baking powder when I should have chosen baking soda. And I used too much sugar. I re-worked the recipe and have placed it below if you’re feeling lucky…
This easy to mix & bake recipe has a chewy top from the honey so it doesn’t really need frosting—it’s more like a muffin/cupcake. I changed to method of making so you just whisk it in a bowl. It’s much easier this way and a lot faster. Raw honey is a thicker version of honey that has more flavor and body to it. Regular honey will work ok, but the raw stuff is much better. It’d even make a nice spread for the muffin tops when they’re hot out of the oven!
Honey Nutmeg muffins
Extra-fine granulated 10 ounces
All-purpose flour 5 ounces
Potato starch 1 tablespoon
Kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon
Nutmeg ½ teaspoon
Allspice 1/16 teaspoon
Salt 1/16 teaspoon
Baking soda 1/8 teaspoon
Butter 3 ounces, melted
Raw honey 1 ounce, melted
Half and half ¼ cup
Rum 1 tablespoon
Vanilla extracts ½ teaspoon
Measure and combine all of the dry ingredients in a deep bowl. Whisk lightly for about 15 seconds to blend. Melt the butter and honey in a microwave or preheating oven. Combine all of the wet ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake well for about 15 seconds. Lightly whisk the Wet ingredients into the Dry ingredients. This should take about 15 seconds. Using a two-ounce ice-scooper, scoop the batter into a cupcake tray lined with cupcake papers. Lightly spray the cupcake tray with non-stick spray ahead of time to avoid the risk of sticking.
Bake for the times indicated.
11 cupcakes 22-25 minutes @ 335°F convection oven
Remove from the oven when the wooden skewer tests clean or with just a few crumbs on it and let cool on a heat resistant surface. When the cupcake pan is cooled enough to handle, remove the cupcakes and let them cool on the counter or baking pan. Continue to let cool until no steam comes off of the cake before wrapping or proceeding to frost/decorate it.
Warren Brown is the owner of CakeLove bakeries which can be found in locations all over the metro D.C. area. He also has a book and a television show.
Check out this weird interview we did with him a while back:
Dionne Warwick Loves Cake
And his official site here: