“Who buys cookbooks anymore? When I want a recipe I just find one online and print it out!”
Seeing that statement a few weeks ago on Pinterest made me cringe. Who buys cookbooks??? ME!! I buy cookbooks! I love cookbooks! I like seeing my favorite chefs and authors come out with new recipes and researching them on Amazon. I like reading the reviews and seeing little thumbnails of what’s inside the book. And I LOVE getting my new book in the mailbox or dropped on my front doorstep. I like opening the package. I like the smell of the new book. The way the crisp, clean, new pages feel between my fingers while I turn the pages. And I love the stories that are told within the cookbooks. Besides that, some of the best things I’ve eaten have come from the pages of all those books sitting on my bookshelf full of cookbooks. Books from home cooks. Books from grandma’s. Books from acclaimed chefs from around the globe. They are all special in their own way. How can you not like cookbooks?
So, there I was, trying Pinterest. Just like Facebook I was a little (a lot) late jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon. To be honest, I didn’t get it. You want me to take something I see online and “pin” it on a wall I can’t even see? Wuuuuuut? My first go round on Pinterest didn’t fair very well and the recipe I chose sucked. And it really pissed me off. I mean, it legitimately pissed me off. I was researching protein powder recipes and at the time there were not many books on cooking with protein powder. So, off to the internet I went. I often use the internet as a starting place for recipe research or sometimes to gather ideas when I’m feeling writers block.
After making that recipe (and wasting a good bit of money) I shooed Pinterest away.
What’s good about Pinterest?
So, after my “thought- it- was- cool -and- then -hated- it” stage with Pinterest I decided to try it again and really immerse myself. The more I played around on it and started “pinning” the more I liked it. I had to start creating more boards to match all of the different things that I like.
So, instead of being all about food, I made boards that covered all of my interests. Everything from travel, cars, cool shoes, even hairstyles. It can be a bit of a rabbit hole, especially when you’re reading and watching the videos attached to the pins before pinning them to your board. What I realized was that Pinterest wasn’t just an app, it was actually a search engine. It’s the perfect place for niche websites to find their specific audience and connect with them.
The recipes (I’ve now learned) to use as more of inspiration rather than dependable go to’s. I have found one or two bloggers on Pinterest that I like because their recipes are legit. They make sense, the directions are easy to follow, and they are good! With their recipes, I make sure to visit their actual sites (as well as Pinterest) and comment on the recipes and how much I liked them.
My whole point of mentioning cookbooks and Pinterest was a highly rated cake recipe I stumbled upon. It was called, “The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake.” Unlike my prior experience of grabbing recipes and not reading comments before making them I read the crap outta the reviews. The reviews were pretty stellar. So I printed out the recipe and headed to the store with my list of ingredients. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed a couple of things about the ratio of ingredients that I thought were off. The flour to sugar ratio was equal. I’d never seen a recipe like that and I was upset that I didn’t read that BEFORE buying all of the ingredients.
Off I went to the internet again. What I found was the term “high ratio cake.” You learn something everyday. A high ratio cake is a cake that has equal parts flour to sugar (sometimes even more sugar than flour!). In a article I read from JoePastry.com it is explained that these types of cakes are common in commercial bakeries because of the long shelf life you get from these products. It’s also common to use high ratio flour in these types of cakes as well (which are not found in grocery stores) because it disperses evenly throughout the batter creating a wonderful tight crumb. This type of flour is typically sold only commercially and is treated with either heat or chlorine.
Another interesting thing about these types of cakes is that they use shortening rather than butter. This also helps maintain a longer shelf life and contains emulsifiers for the fat to help create that tight crumb as well.
Long Story Short
I didn’t like the cake recipe. I mean my family loved it. My dad even licked the plate. But I felt that it could have been denser, richer, more moist. There were large air pockets. There were no fine crumbs as I expected there would be. I understand the high ratio definition and what it’s trying to achieve but for this specific recipe I think there was fat and sugar added “just because.” More is NOT always better and I can bake a much better tasting cake with less ingredients and way less calories.
The ingredients that accompanied the cake for frosting was just as ludicrous as the cake recipe was…but more so. There was an obscene amount of butter and 7 cups of confectioners sugar to boot. So not only would I have enough to ice the cake but I could also spackle my car in frosting as well! I ditched that recipe and came up with my own. So here below I share with you my creamy dreamy Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Enough for a 3 layer cake and several finger swipes for you:)
Easy Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Butter and Cream Cheese are creamed together with vanilla and a dash of salt before adding in the cocoa and powdered sugar.
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese
- 1 Stick Butter
- 4 Cups Confectioners sugar
- 2/3 cup Dutch Process Cocoa
- Dash salt
- 6 Tablespoons Milk
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Step 1 Set out cream cheese and butter until softened (room temp).
- Step 2 In bowl of mixer add cream cheese and butter and mix on low speed until mixed well and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
- Step 3 Scrape down sides and mix again if needed.
- Step 4 Add in vanilla and salt. Mix.
- Step 5 Slowly add in Cocoa until mixed well.
- Step 6 Add in milk. Mix to combine.
- Step 7 Slowly add in confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. Mix well.
- Step 8 Get to frosting.
I’m curious, what’s been YOUR experience with Pinterest? Specifically recipes…even more specifically….baking recipes????? I would love to hear back from you because I can’t be the only one!