Reviewing Hot Sauces

So Ryan and I love hot sauces and eat a lot of them, which has lead to us now owning over 40 hot sauces. This is part two of our series of videos reviewing sauces. Some we blind taste test, others we just discuss. This time around Blair’s Mega Death Sauce with Liquid Rage was our hottest sauce, sitting at 550,00 SHU, and it burnt my tongue like you wouldn’t believe.

Please let me know your favourite hot sauce in the comments and if you have ever found a sauce that is just too hot for you.

Since filming this video, I have acclimated to the Blairs, and can now enjoy it in small amounts without suffering, but I will admit that no sensible person would every need this sauce in their life.

Sriracha

A simple sriracha sauce with a lot of strong pepper flavour without much sweetness that suits almost anything. To explain the flavour, I would call it a beautiful blend of bell pepper and sriracha pepper flavour.

Secret Aardvark

This is a well loved sauce as it isn’t too hot and is bursting with flavour. It describes itself as a Caribbean Tex Mex with it’s blend of turmeric, mustard, peppers, spices and sweet flavours.

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Shaquandas Hot Pepper Sauce

A unique sauce with strong carrot flavour that mixes well with the heat it brings. It has a sweet pickled flavour that yields well to chicken.

El Yucateco – Habanero XXXtra Hot

This sauce has a smokey flavour that could be added to any grilled or sautĂ©ed dish. While it does have a good kick of heat, it isn’t unreasonable for the average consumer.

Blairs Original Death Sauce

This sauce has a strong chipotle flavour that pairs well with hard cheeses and red meats. That being said, anything you would put chipotle on, you can enjoy this sauce on.

Bravado Spice Co. – Ako Miso

This sauce has heat and is very umami. It tastes strongly of miso and is excellent for adding to seafood and ramen dishes. I could see it being appealing on a variety of fried noodle dishes, but it isn’t a sauce I particularly enjoy, due to my personal dislike of umami.

PexPepper – Painapple

This sauce has three ingredients. Reaper chili, honey and pineapple. The pineapple and honey come through strongly and are backed with intense heat. This sauce is probably hotter than the average individual would enjoy, but for heat enthusiasts, this sauce is a great addition to meals and dishes that need a little fire without a lot of strong conflicting flavours.

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Da Bomb – Ground Zero

I can’t say a single good thing about this sauce. It tastes bad, the texture is uncomfortable, and without good flavour, the heat is just unjustified.

Mad Dog 357

This sauce tastes like a spicy Yum Yum pickle. There is no strong vinegar flavour, but a sweet underlying flavour that compliments the heat so perfectly that the sauce is very enjoyable on it’s own as well as paired with anything you would enjoy sweet pickles with.

Blairs Mega Death Sauce with Liquid Rage

This sauce is very very strong. It states that you should not eat it undiluted. While the flavour is simple, the heat is almost unbearable. Since the filming of this video I have increased my heat tolerance, which allows me to enjoy Blairs Mega Death, but I don’t think anyone who is adding hot sauce for flavour would use this sauce. This sauce is great for those who want to push the limits of heat, but the average person should steer clear.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

You might remember back in April that I made a ridiculous Reeses Peanut Butter Cake for Ryans birthday. He absolutely loves chocolate and peanut butter so I sometimes humour him with treats inspired by his favourite treat, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Today we have his podcast co-host coming over for the first recording session since the beginning of the isolation orders, so I decided my boys need something yummy for their multiple hour recording session. That treat is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes.

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Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Cake

Ingredients

  •  1 large egg, room temperature
  •  1/2 cup half and half cream
  •  1/2 cup vegetable oil
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  1/2 cup hot water
  •  1 cup flour
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  1/2 cup cocoa powder
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt

Direction

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients excluding the hot water, combining well.
  3. Mix in your dry ingredients until well combined.
  4. Gradually add in the hot water until the whole batter is smooth.
  5. Pour into a greased pan or into paper liners 3/4 up the side.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before icing.
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Eva Blakeman – Icing Tips

Icing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups salted butter (room temperature)
  • 4-5 cups icing sugar (more sugar for stiffer icing)

Directions

  1. Cream peanut butter and butter together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Gradually mix in icing sugar until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pack your piping bag and have fun!
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Okay so let’s look at this recipe and some things that might help you yield the best results. Firstly, having room temperature ingredients when baking changes everything! The only thing that I don’t believe needs to come up to room temp is eggs. The second is how hot the water you add is. I add steaming water, so just below 100C, as I find it just comes together better with the rest of the batter. The third is to pay attention to your cupcakes as they bake. I pulled the first batch at 17 minutes and the second at 16 minutes because they were done and I didn’t want to lose moisture due to over baking them!

Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Cupcakes

When it comes to mixing icing I’ve heard everyone say you need a hand mixer but this just isn’t true! A sturdy fork and patience is all you need. Starting by creaming the butters then gradually adding sugar is the best way. Always fully combine all the sugar in the bowl before adding more and you are in business!

Eva Blakeman – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
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Overfilling your piping bag can also cause problems down the line, so don’t fill past half way in your bag to keep control and even pressure when icing. I chose to pack two bags with different tips for this reason. The other thing is to practice and try new things whenever you can. Try spooling the icing, or squishing back into the cupcake! If I were using a vanilla or maple icing I would have coloured it and done roses, but as I decided to keep the peanut appearance I stuck to more simple decorating. And the staple of a swirled up icing is always beautiful!

When it comes to baking I believe in reading what’s going on rather than following strict directions and recipes, which is why my “recipes” change over the years. I change them to better suit the way I like my food to come out! I recommend trying to make things to better suit you. For example, when I make banana bread, I cut out half the sugar, because I prefer it to taste more like banana and less sweet.

Anyways, I hope you liked the recipe and if you ever want to see videos of my cooking, click here!

Quick Vanilla Cupcakes

Hey guys,

Today we are talking cupcakes, because that’s what I made this week. This was really in reactions to having a friend of mine asking questions about baking and wanting some tools to get him started which lead us to a Micheals discussion.. which lead me to Micheals to buy some new pipping tips and here we are.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup half a half cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Add all dry ingredients excluding flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Gradually mix in flour until mixture is smooth.
  5. Grease a muffin tin with butter (or) place liners into the pan. Fill each half way with batter.
  6. Bake 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stabbed into the centre of a cupcake.
  7. Let cool completely before frosting.

It may sound a little odd, but I find pouring the batter into a large bottle makes pouring the batter into the tin much easier as you can control flow better. If you want to try this, make sure the funnel you use has a large enough tip that the batter can flow through well to load the bottle. Recipe yields 18-24 cupcakes.

Buttercream Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temp butter
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (or maple)
  • 4 cups icing sugar

Directions

  1. Cream the butter in a bowl until completely smooth, add in vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  2. Gradually add in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, fully mixing in the sugar before adding in more.
  3. Add in colouring if desired.
  4. Refrigerate if it won’t be used right away.
  5. ** In order to do the roses I used the tip below.

When working with buttercream it is important to remember that temperature will change everything. Warm buttercream is easier to work with but needs to be cooled to ensure it doesn’t droop or melt. Cool buttercream is very difficult to ice with as it is too firm to push through the tips easily. Body temperature is slightly higher than the desired warmth for buttercream, but using the heat from your hand to warm up the cream nearest to the tip will allow you easier icing.

Another thing that I see a lot is over packing the bag. You can always add more later so don’t fill more than halfway or you will have more icing than you can easily push out of the bag with your grip strength.

How To Pack and Cook For Camping

Hey guys,

Since I’m in the middle of prepping for camping at the moment, it seems like the perfect time to write about this. I am a tent camper, which means I don’t have a stove, fridge or anywhere to store food aside from my small cooler. This means I have very little space for cold food. This does not mean I don’t like to eat well while I’m in the woods though. Let’s go over prep work you can do before your trip, ways to store food and foods that take little to no effort to prepare.

Eva Blakeman – Camping

Before we get to food, I want to impress how important it is to store your food safely when camping in bear country. Dispose of food in bear safe garbage containers or burn them. Do not leave food unattended at your camp site as a vacant site with food is just calling for a bear to come by, and likely return again in hopes of getting more easy food. Coffee cups and juices also attract bears, so make sure your morning coffee isn’t sitting out with dregs, as a small amount of cream and sugar left in a cup is more than enough for a bear to sniff out.

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Store food in sealed containers and preferable inside your vehicle/ camper / trailer. If you are camping away from you vehicle, store food is air tight containers. Unfortunately most re-sealable bags are plastic, but they can be re-used many times before they are disposed of, so I would recommend re-using them as many times as you can before you throw them out.

Non Refrigerated Items

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While camping generally means eating less than clean, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something other than chips. Apples, carrots, nuts, celery, bread, peanut butter, honey, etc, don’t require refrigeration and last over a week, which makes them ideal for camping. Not to mention how easy it is to eat an apple! No clean up.

Refrigerated Items

As I said, I use a small cooler, so in order to keep my items cold I use frozen water bottles. This way I have water and get to keep my food cool, saving space and weight. I limit the cool foods I bring to cheese, hot sauce and sometimes meats. If I’m bring meats I vacuum seal them and freeze them before packing them for a few reasons. The first is to make the meat last longer and keep the whole cooler colder as it is frozen, the second is to avoid a mess. A vacuum sealed meat can’t leak as it thaws. The third is that it takes up less space vacuum sealed than it doesn’t in it’s original styrofoam container. Not to mention it can’t attract wildlife if it’s air sealed.

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Junk Food / Snacks

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I can’t pretend I don’t bring junk food when I’m camping, so let’s get it out there. Again for space reasons, I tend to ditch the original containers and switch them to ziplock bags to save space and to give them a re-sealable edge, especially with chips. I love sunflower seeds and almonds, both of which often come in re-sealable bags that aren’t half air, so they get packed “as-is”.

Tin Foil Potatoes

I have a deep love for cooking with fire, as it is something I’ve been doing since I was a kid. You don’t want to cut potatoes more than a half hour before cooking, so I take the small potatoes, a pre-mixed bag of spices (onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne and salt), some tin foil and a knife. Once your fire is good and hot you can cut your potatoes in half, sprinkle them with spices (you can add some olive oil if you have it with you) then wrap them up in foil, making sure there are no open holes in the foil, and throw them onto the coals at the edge of the fire. With 10 small potatoes cooking, it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes for them to be steaming and soft. If you have a small fire or it hasn’t been burning for very long, it will take longer.

Cooking Meats

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I rarely bring meats but when I do, I also bring tin foil. While steak doesn’t turn out great in tin foil, chicken and pork can be pretty tasty when cooked this way as it steams the meat in its own juices. It can be tricky to get the cook times right, so if in doubt, leave the meat at home. If you are confident that you can see white meat and no red or pink left, then you are ready to eat.

KEEPING DRINKS COLD

Eva Blakeman – Camping

If you are camping near a water source, cooling your drinks will be easy as you can either net your cans and leave them in the water or dunk them in for a half hour before drinking them. If you are not near water then being as efficient as possible with cold space is important. The likely hood of ice you packed 4 days ago in a cooler still being frozen is slim, so you will need to keep the drinks themselves cool. Having a committed cooler for drinks with frozen water bottles is helpful as you won’t be opening your food cooler often, losing the chill for your other foods. Storing your cooler in a shaded place also helps keep it cool.

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All in all, food is the least impressionable part of camping, but underpacking and spoiled food can ruin a trip. My tip would be to focus on foods that don’t perish for at least a week that don’t need to be kept cool. If you have any tips you wan’t to share, I would be so happy to hear them!

Top 4 Yummiest Hot Sauces

Hey guys,

Ryan and I have been getting a little obsessed with hot sauces, trying hotter and hotter ones trying to find the yummiest sauces with real heat. At this moment we have three of the Blair’s Hot Sauces shipping to us. We have found that once you get over 100,000 Scovilles it becomes difficult to find sauces that have really good flavour, so this list consists of sauces under 100,000. Not to say that they can’t have good flavour, but we haven’t found any at this point I would put on this list.

El Yucateco – XXXTRA HOT CHILE HABANERO

Eva Blakeman – El Yucateco

This habanero hot sauce has kick with a Scoville of 11,000 but doesn’t skimp on flavour. This is one of the few sauces we didn’t have to order as you can usually find this brand in shops. It has a strong habanero scent mixed with a faint smell of sweetness. On the tongue it will cause a small amount of burning, but the fullness of the onion, tomato and blend of spices really bring the flavour. It is the perfect sauce to add to salsa or pico de gallo as it shares similar ingredients.

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Bravado Spice Co. Black Garlic Carolina Reaper

Eva Blakeman – Bravado Spice Co

This hot sauce does not pull its punches with a Scoville of 71,000. It has simple ingredients without any note of artificial flavour or preservatives. It contains red serrano pepper, Carolina reaper, roasted garlic, maple syrup and black pepper, as well as some salt and vinegar. The blend of the two peppers with the garlic gives a well rounded and robust flavour. Admittedly I can’t taste any maple syrup in the sauce, but I imagine it’s doing its job in there. I like coating chicken in this sauce before baking because it really adds to the chicken. I also think it’s great addition to a charcuterie board (if your guests like spicy food).

Dirty Dicks Hot Sauce

Eva Blakeman – Dirty Dicks Hot Sauce

Forgive the name, as this sauce has a beautiful blend of sweet and spicy flavours. It comes in at 21,000 Scoville but doesn’t leave a burn on your tongue. Once again this sauce has no extra ingredients for preservation or artificial flavours. Dirty Dicks has a unique blend of banana, mangos, pineapple, brown sugar, raisins, onion, garlic and habanero peppers. It is an unrivalled sauce that can really go with anything. It goes beautifully with most cheeses, vegetables, pork and chicken. I could see this being mixed into a strong drink for kick.

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Torchbearer – Son Of Zombie

(Sorry no image, we finished the bottle before I could take a picture, not to worry though, we have another on the way!)

This sauce is a combination of three flavours. Chipotle BBQ, Honey Garlic and Torchbearers famous Zombie Apocalypse sauce. This is Ryans all time favourite sauce because it’s flavour is so strong he can mix it into mayonnaise for his wraps without losing flavour. It comes in at 24,ooo Scoville but doesn’t cause pain. I’ve only had it a couple of times, but found it to be a perfect smokey blend.

I hear the Secret Ardvaark is incredible as well, and I have a bottle on the way, but until I can try it for myself I won’t say if it’s good or not. Ryan and I love spicy food and eat hot sauce daily, so over time I think I’ll make new hot sauces posts. I am very excited to try some of the ones we ordered as they vary from 10,000-550,000 Scoville. I know not everyone is a hot sauce lover, just as some people don’t care for wine, but I think both are made with love and a lot of art by their creators. Believe it or not, I think a good hot sauce and wine can pair beautifully.

Eva Blakeman – 4 Yummiest Hot Sauces

Quick Buttery French Buns

Hey there,

This week we are doing buns! The best part about these buns is how quickly they can be made. I’ve tweaked and fussed with this recipe for a while now until I could make it just right. These buns are excellent to pair with soup, use for sandwiches and as a breakfast with butter and jam. So here it goes, my recipe for the perfect chewy buns.

I will point out this recipe requires a heat source to speed the rising of the yeast. If you do not own a tradition oven+stove with heat coils and a vent out of the oven, you may need to wait longer for rise times.

Total Time : 95 minutes Yields : 8 Large Buns / 12 Medium Buns

Eva Blakeman – Buttery French Buns
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tbsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 – 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3-4 tbsp salted butter
Eva Blakeman – Buns Before Being Brushed With Butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
  2. Mix 2 cups of warm water, yeast and sugar together in a large, heat safe bowl.
  3. Place the bowl beside the vent for your oven (hover your hand above the elements of your stove after you have been pre-heating for a few minutes. One of them should have a steady amount of heat coming from it venting out from the oven, you will want to place your bowl beside the element, not on top of it). Let the bowl sit there until bubbles form on top of the mixture.
  4. Mix in the salt and flour one cup at a time. I would recommend stopping at 3 1/4 cups and kneading more flour in as needed later down the line.
  5. Place the bowl back beside the vent for 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes or until the dough has become smooth and is no longer sticky. Avoid adding large amounts of flour.
  7. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and pull the dough into smooth balls. Place them on a baking sheet covered in aluminium foil and greased with butter. Place the baking sheet on top of the oven and allow 15- 30 minutes for the final rise.
  8. Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the oven a few minutes before putting in the buns. (The humidity will help form a better crust).
  9. Bake the buns for 18-25 minutes. Do not open the oven for the first 15 minutes or you will lose humidity. They should have a hard crust and light brown colour on the top.
  10. Brush the buns with warm butter (this will soften the crust) immediately upon removing them from the oven.
  11. Buns can be enjoyed warm after a half hour of cooling or can be stored in an air tight container after they have cooled to room temperature.
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I hope you enjoyed the recipe! If you tried this recipe, please let me know! Tag me in pictures of your baked goods with @evablakeman on Instagram.


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Eva Blakeman – Quick Buttery French Buns

Why Trying New Recipes Is Important

As you guys know, I love working in the kitchen. A group of my friends and I have been planning a “baking day” where some of the men can learn some new skills and us girls can drink some wine and teach them. We can’t do it right away but I’m hoping in a few months we’ll be able to get together to do it.

I think sharing skills and taking the time to help others learn is incredibly important. Though in this day and age we don’t often have canning days, I think getting together to help each other and to enjoy food and drink is essential. I would encourage everyone to try this whether you are the host, the teacher or the student. Please let me know if you have or will be doing this in the comments!

I’ve been thinking of how to teach when I realized that teaching how to make a recipe is not the issue. Teaching how to change a recipe to better suit you or the environment you are cooking in is. I thought about how most of the recipes I have written in my book aren’t actually how I make the food. As I work with a recipe I adjust it to better suit my taste, my kitchen ware and how I want the final product to come out.

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Minor changes are cook times and temperatures, but changing the process for Babka dough to make it fluffier or how to make a chunky chocolate spread into a smooth and creamy one can change the entire product.

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So I started asking myself how I learned to manipulate recipes to suit me better and I realized it came from trying new recipes so often. With each new meal, new cultural dish, new process comes more knowledge to draw upon. To be the best home cook requires stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new dishes. Experience also helps. You learn from your mistakes and most recipes don’t include a “absolutely don’t do this” section.

One of the simplest lessons I learned was not to fold warm chocolate into whipped cream as it ruins the texture. You have to let the chocolate cool before folding it in! My first time trying it the whipped cream became a soupy mixture that just wasn’t visually appealing. Lesson learned. Also learned that day that id you sprinkle a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over a complete chocolate failure, it hides it pretty well even though it can’t fix the texture problem.

The first time I made Babka, a chocolate bread dessert, I just couldn’t figure out why the bread was so dense and chewy. I saw the yeast bloom, I kneaded it for 15 minutes by hand, I did a twelve hour cool rest and I rolled it out evenly. The second time I made it I increased the temperature in the oven from 375 to 415 and the difference was incredible. I didn’t change anything else, just the temperature, but the bread was risen with a better crust and it both tasted and felt better.

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I think being able to trouble shoot your own cooking is important. Being able to look at what you don’t like in your finished product and be able to fix it makes you a better cook. Google can often help if you can figure out the specific issue, but it can be tedious to try and find the right answer online, whereas experience and dedication to bettering your skills can lead you down new roads.

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I don’t claim to be the best home cook. I still have a lot to learn and I look forward to a lifetime of experimenting and expanding my wheelhouse. This year I have focused more strongly on desserts. I learned how to Deep Fry Oreos, make a Cadbury Egg Cheesecake and how to make a selection of chocolate breads and dessert buns. Last year I focused on broths, steaks and perfecting roasted vegetables. I don’t know what will catch my eye this upcoming year, but I look forward to seeing what will catch my fancy.

Going back to the baking day we have planned I figured out what I’m going to do. I ‘m going to teach a N0-Knead bread recipe that can be customized to each persons preference that relies on the maker being attentive to humidity and dough moisture. I think this bread is a good starting point as it doesn’t require hand kneading (none of us own stand mixers) but does require adjustment which teaches flexibility in baking. I also want to teach how to make Babka, a more finicky dough that will render your wrists into angry stumps by the time you’re done kneading. This one will be to teach technique as well as how to roll out doughs nicely and how to seal the dough as not to let out the filling. The last items will be standard cup cakes with buttercream and whipped cream frosting. We’ll go over how to make the cup cakes, mix and colour the icing, how to load the icing bag and how to use different tips to create different effects. I would also like to show how to bake, stack and decorate a cake that we can all share. In the end, everyone will get two loaves of bread and a dozen cupcakes to take home (and possibly left over cake). For some of my friends this will be more instructive than for others, but it gives those who know more about baking the opportunity to help the others as we all work together to create a small feast.

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I hope it will be a good day for everyone and while I am a little more experienced than most of my friends, I think they’ll have their own cultural ways of preparing basic foods. As our group is culturally diverse it’s likely most of us grew up with different methods of doing things so we’ll all get to learn new techniques. Personally I have a French background which shows in my food.

I’ll write about it once we get to have our baking day and I hope it will go well. I would love if you would tell me about your own stories in the kitchen.

Getting To Know Sugar

Sugars are some of the most interesting baking ingredients with multiple sources and the crystalline nature it takes. We’re going to start with the sources and types of sugar then go over which ones are best for what!

Let’s start with the three monosaccharides

Fructose, otherwise known as fruit sugar, it is the sweetest of all sugars. Its found in cane sugar, honey, fruits and some root vegetables. Galactose is a sugar found in dairy products. It is actually a component of the antigens found on red blood cells that determine blood types. It’s not as sweet as fructose and isn’t found outside of dairy. Glucose, also known as dextrose or grape sugar is also found in plants as it is the primary product of photosynthesis. It’s widely used in food production.

Next we have disaccharides.

Disaccharides are composed of two monosaccharides. Lactose is a sugar found in milk, while children often don’t have issues absorbing and digesting it, many adults grow out of this and become lactose intolerant. Maltose is a sugar found in grains, most commonly barely, and is the sugar use in malts. Maltose is not as sweet as glucose, fructose or sucrose, so many products made with maltose will have sucrose or glucose added to increase sweetness. Sucrose is the sugar found in sugarcane and sugar beet, it is recognizable as granulated sugar, the most common used in baking. It exists along side glucose and fructose in the plant.

Brown sugars contain molasses in varying amounts. The light brown sugars contain around 3.5% molasses and dark browns have around 6.5%. They are wonderful to add a more complete sweetness to baked goods as well as pork. Other brown sugars include Panela, Barbados sugar as well as sugars produced from dates and palm sap.

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Honeys sweetness comes from the unbound molecules or fructose and glucose from nectar. Syrups like corn syrup are starches converted to maltose and glucose. Molasses is a products of sugarcane or sugar beets and are often blended with syrups to make them sweeter.

Now that we’ve covered sugars, let’s talk about the forms that we can purchase.

Granulated sugar is considered the best for baking as it dissolves easily into water and doesn’t clump easily when being mixed in. It is also the most common sugar for drinks and can be a nice decorative touch on pie crusts and other baked goods.

Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners sugar and icing sugar is granulated sugar that has been ground into a fine powder and is ideal for making icing, fillings, frosting and glazes. It is also often used to plate desserts.

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Coarse sugar is granulated sugar in larger flakes. It’s commonly used as a decoration as it can be easily dyed and ads both texture and sweetness.

Sanding sugar is a medium brown large crystal sugar. Commonly used for decoration as it shines as light hits it.

Turbinado sugar is a raw sugar with large crystal size. It has a light brown colour due to the molasses being washed off the surface. It’s most commonly used for sweetening drinks like coffee. It can be used in baking but you should make sure to add it directly to liquids and ensure it all dissolves before mixing in other dry ingredients.

Barbados sugar is a brown sugar with a medium brown colour. It’s got a slightly sticky texture and is often used for fudge.

Thank you so much for reading and if you have any baking questions, please feel free to ask them and I will do my best to answer you as quickly as I can! If you have any tips for baking, please leave them in the comments so that everyone can have a change to learn something new!


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What Flour Should You Be Baking Bread With?

I’ve been baking as far back as I can remember, and over the decades I’ve picked up a thing or two. It started with chocolate chip cookies and has lead me here, a bread baking, cake decorating, banana muffin enthusiast. Today we are going to talk about flours commonly used in the home kitchen in regards to bread.

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Bleached Flour

This name covers all flours that have been artificially lightened during processing. The four common agents used are potassium bromate, a maturing agent that increases gluten development but it isn’t the bleaching agent in the flour. Benzoyl peroxide is a bleaching agent that doesn’t affect gluten. Ascorbic acid is a maturing agent that also strengthens gluten but again, isn’t a bleaching agent. Chlorine gas is used to weaken gluten and oxidize starches, allowing it to absorb water well leading to thicker batters and firmer doughs. Flours treated with chlorine gas are the worst for bread but the best for cookies and cakes. As a general rule, using bleached flour for bread isn’t the best choice, but if you don’t have anything aside from ascorbic acid and benzoyl peroxide treated flour, it can work for breads. Cake flour is almost always chlorinated and very low in gluten.

Enriched Flour

Enriched flour is simply flour that is enriched with extra nutrients. During the processing of flours it often looses nutrients, so by adding them back your flour has more nutrients in it.

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Pastry Flour

This flour is low gluten to allow for flaky crusts instead of crunchy and bread-y. The gluten protein percentage is generally around 7.5%-9.5%, slightly higher than cake flour.

All Purpose Flour

All purpose flour is medium in gluten, sitting around 9.5%-11.5%. It works well for most breads, pizzas, cookies and cakes. Though it does have a higher gluten percentage, if you need a more structured cake, this is the flour for you. All purpose flours do not generally have any additives or rising agents.

Bread Flour

This is the highest gluten flour that’s easy to find. Sitting from 11.5%-13.5% gluten it makes for great chewy bread with a lot of carbon dioxide, really rising the dough.


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Hard Flour

This is a much more difficult to find flour as it sits at 13.5%-16% gluten. This flour is used when you need very structured bread. It doesn’t yield as much chew, but your bread will be very strong. Mixing hard with lighter gluten flours to yield better bread is a common use for it. For example, having a massive bag of all purpose flour to make all sorts of treats and then a bag of hard flour, you can make better bread without having to buy bread flour as well as all purpose. A 1:3 hard to all purpose mix is the best for French and Italian breads when mixing.

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Gluten Flour

If you can find this stuff, let me know! Though the bags claim to be 100% gluten, this is not technically possible, but when doing the math, use 100% as your safe number. If you want to mix flours without needing much mass, this is the one. I don’t know of a single purpose of using this flour straight, as it is always mixed into lower gluten flours to make better bread.

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Self-Raising Flour

Self raising flour is a fancy name for all purpose flour with baking powder in it, pre mixed. For the average home baker, I wouldn’t bother with purchasing it. If you want to make self rising flour, mix 1 cup of all purpose with 1 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt.

Whole / Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a fairly dense flour with a gluten percentage of around 9%. It is generally unbleached and good for sturdy bread and loaves of potato and fruit dense breads.

There are flours made of plenty of different grains, and I hope to get into them soon. If you have any advice for new bakers or experiences with different flours, please let me know!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cake

This past week was Ryans birthday, and while we couldn’t have a party, there was no way he wasn’t going to have a cake. We talked about what he wanted and he was adamant he wanted peanut butter in his cake so I set out to make him the best cake I could.

This cake serves 12 – 15 people. It should be refrigerated after assembly until 3 hours before serving for ideal texture.

Eva Blakeman – Peanut Butter Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Icing

  • 1 1/4 cups natural peanut butter
  • 2 cups salted butter (room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 8 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 12 – 15 Reeses cups
Eva Blakeman – Peanut Buter Cake

If you make this cake, please tag me on instagram @evablakeman so that I can see how amazing your cake looks!

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Baking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease either one 9 inch spring pan or three 8 inch round cake pans. Lay down parchment on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Mix all dry cake ingredients together well. In a separate bowl mix eggs, milk, vanilla and vegetable oil together until combined.
  3. Pour the wet ingredient bowl into the dry ingredient bowl until well combined then slowly add the hot water while mixing batter at a slow pace.
  4. If you are using three cake pans, divide the batter equally between the three of them. If you are using a spring pan, pour one and a half inches of batter into the pan. (For spring pan this will be repeated two more times to bake all three layers of the cake.)
  5. Bake for 22-25 minutes. (In order to check if your cake is done baking, stick a toothpick in the centre and all four corners, if it comes out clean the cake is done baking.)
  6. Let cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and moving to a cooling rack. (For easiest icing, refrigerate your cake layers once they have reached room temperature.)
  7. Onto icing. Mix all wet ingredients until smooth. Add one cup of icing sugar at a time, fully mixing it in before adding the next cup.
  8. Chop your Reeses into small pieces (save 5 Reeses for the top of the cake).
  9. Pack your icing into icing bags, one with a open tip, the other with a star tip. (This icing is easiest to work with when kept warm, I let my bags sit beside the warm oven).
  10. To stack and layer the cake, ensue your cakes are level (if they are not, use a serrated knife to level them off).
  11. Put down your first cake and use your open tipped bag to evenly distribute 3/4 inch to an inch of icing over the entire top of the cake.
  12. Place half of the chopped Reeses on the icing layer, spread out.
  13. Repeat step 11.
  14. Put down your final layer of cake, use the open tipped bag to distribute icing over the top and side of the top layer of cake. (Even out with a spatula).
  15. Use your star tipped bag around the bottom icing layer to add texture and place flowers evenly around the layer.
  16. Add 8 flowers on the top layer of the cake evenly around the circumference. Add a large flower in the centre. Place half Reeses cups in between each flower on the top.
  17. Refrigerate until 3 hours previous to serving.
Eva Blakeman – Reeses Peanut Butter Cake

I had a lot of fun making this cake and I look forward to making more like it in the future. It’s by no means a perfect cake (I plastic wrapped it in the fridge so some of the flowers got smushed) but it was absolutely delicious and we got to drop off cake for other people (zero interaction do drop offs) to share it with people we love for Ryans birthday. It is a very dense and rich cake due to the peanut butter icing, so when cutting, cut smaller than you think you need. I think this cake would be a good one to use if you wanted to make a boozy cake. The rich chocolate and peanut butter would pair really well with coffee liqueurs soaked into the. layers.


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it was fortunate that I went over board with the cake, as Ryans birthday gift still isn’t here (a week after his birthday) even though I ordered it months ago. As much as I like purchasing from individuals, the shipping times are sometimes ridiculously long. Thankfully Ryan didn’t seem to notice his gift was missing when I put this plate of delight in-front of him. I did tell him that his gif is late after cake time, and he didn’t seem too disappointed so all is well.

Eva Blakeman – Peanut Butter Cake