Monday, August 15, 2011

pizza and donuts

Seriously, can a man have a happier birthday than this?

  • freshly ground and brewed Blue Bottle Coffee when he wakes up
  • a Wawa Hoagie for brunch
  • Pizza for dinner with a gourmet cream soda
  • and a Giant Donut for dessert
I don't see how.  Oh, and gourmet mustards for gifts.  Yeah, I'd say Mister's having a pretty happy birthday.  He'd probably prefer his "cake" didn't have pretty pink candles, but hey, some days you're the bird and some days you're the statue.

After a couple cups of coffee, I showered, dressed, and set off on my quest to Williams-Sonoma (I could honestly go broke there, especially with MAC right across the street).  I had one main objective:

Mister loves donuts.  I remember when I learned that - I don't think we'd been dating all that long, but let me set up for you what my perception of him was at that time: When Mister and I started dating, he was the manager of the mechanical department of a Bike Line store on the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia.  He was actively involved in mountain biking, urban trials, and competitive racing.  He had the talent to have gone from high school into a professional soccer league, but went to college instead.  He lived on Clif bars and water, from what I could see.

What I'm trying to say is Mister took really good care of himself and ate healthier than anyone I'd ever met.  So, imagine my surprise the first time we went on a road trip and he explained the necessity of starting at Dunkin' Donuts.  It was then I saw a darker side of Mister.  A side that can't live without egg 'n' cheese bagel sandwiches and donuts (though, to his credit, these are absolutely "sometimes treats").

So, many donuts later, here we are and at the stroke of midnight last night, I said "happy birthday" to Mister for the tenth time.  So today, I wanted to make him a huge, dual-flavored birthday donut.  The flavor selections were carrot cake and spice cake - I figured they'd go well together.  Unfortunately, we may never know.

I started out by making the recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and although it does make a very tasty cake, I think it's better left to tiny cupcakes - it didn't want to hold a ring shape and when I inverted it out of the cake pan and onto the rack, it pretty much fell apart.

Ugly, yes, but very good.  We ate half of it before dinner (it's not very big - don't judge).  My second try went a little better.  Actually, it went so much better that it didn't matter that what was supposed to be one layer of a two-layer donut cake fell apart and fell into our bellies.

The second "layer" was made from the spice cake recipe I tested for Dynise's cookbook over the winter. Fortunately, there was enough puffing-up agent in the batter to make this one create a whole round (and stable) donut all by itself!

I left it on the counter to cool down while Mister obediently averted his eyes anytime he had to pass through the kitchen and I got ready for dinner.  We didn't go anywhere very special (aka fancy), but I wanted to get dressed up and Mister humored me.  So, instead of a classic pizza joint where Mister could just keep wearing his t-shirt and jeans, we went to a fancy, gourmet, Stephen Starr pizza joint where it was hip enough that I could dress up a little without looking like a jerk.

I was happy to see my old friend, the Marinara Pizza, with it's perfect, fresh-tasting, home-made pizza sauce with fresh oregano leaves and paper thin slices of garlic sauteed in olive oil before being added to the perfectly cooked pie.  Mister had the wood-burning oven in his direct line of sight and was very amused by how carefully they made sure each pizza was cooked "just right," apparently quite invested in a job others might not consider "skilled labor."

Just below mine was Mister's Margherita Pizza, with more delightful sauce, melted mozzarella, and huge basil leaves.

After we'd stuffed ourselves with thin-crust pizza and some green things we ate as appetizers, we headed home and I began the process of making icing for the donut.

I discovered that Tofutti "cream cheese" is stronger than my measuring cup.  When it's not Mister's birthday anymore, I'll have to get him to fix that somehow.

Shortening intrigues me, disgusts me, and impresses me, all at once.  I have had this shortening for a long time - long enough that I can't remember when I got it.  Honestly, I totally expected to open it up and find it had changed colors, grown hair, or had little friends living inside of it.  I mean, it's not even refrigerated!  Yet, it looks just like it did the first time I opened it (aside from the missing bits).

Anyway, I creamed together the cream cheese and the shortening and then added powdered sugar incrementally.  Probably a little too much, but I was following the recipe, so....

Well, okay, I added like 2 teaspoons of soymilk to make it a little more spreadable.  Aside from that, I followed the recipe.  Once I'd terrorized poor little Angst with the electric mixer, I had a nice pliable frosting for the donut.

Angst wishes it was his birthday.

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