Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Awards to Give!

How COOL is this?! I was given a really neat award today by fellow Tuesdays With Dorie blogger, Laura of She's Cookin' Now! I said it on her blog, and I will say it here: this really is a shot in the arm to a hack like me! I still am trying to figure out how the heck to upload a photo in the right spot on this blogspot thing, so really--this is wild!

As a humble recipient, I shall pass on to five other blogs that are worthy...I have a few in mind--and not all are "Tuesdays With Dorie" baking blogs (is that ok? I think it is...hope I don't blow it and have the award rescinded!? How shameful that would be!)

1. Moores of the Blue House: This is the other blog of my college housemate Cathy (of The Tortefeasor). Run, don't walk to this one for tons more genuine, real, and amusing musings of our pal, her adoring husband, and her three kiddos. (I personally recommend the Ice Cream post, and the Publix post!)

2.Matt's Kitchen : My new-found fellow TV fan on this TWD community-the guy had me at the Flying Nun post, gotta say--and Martha sealed the deal as we both are fans of Everyday Food! I know I will enjoy visiting Matt's Kitchen often!

3. Magic Sprinkles: Her name is Lisa, so I have to say her comment this week kinda jumped out at me (as if I had an unusual name?? yes, I still say to "Lisa"s that I meet "wow, that's my name too!" as if it was some odd occurance...) Anyway, she had very nice things to say about my post-then I went to her blog and saw she made flippin' Ding Dongs this week with the TWD recipe...did you hear me? DING DONGS! God I love those! (she even had the Hostess filling recipe!) Love that! And for a Daring Baker's challenge, she lived the name of the club and posted a video of her tossing pizza dough--so for that alone--let alone all the great recipes and writing--she gets an award!

And now, for two "non-baker" awards...
4. My Mom Genes: Funny how the internet brings people together--when I was getting married, I was on "The Knot" (wedding planning site, with message boards on all sorts of subjects. They also had local boards for looking for advice about local vendors/etc) I posted on the local board mostly--and found it enjoyable to keep up w/ the banter (which really was about everything else BUT the wedding--celebrity gossip, what's for lunch/dinner/etc, clothes, fashion--and of course wedding photo sharing) Then I got married, and graduated to "The Nest" where I still hung out on the local board where everyone else migrated after their wedding. There were some really funny characters and it was a fun diversion to peep in and see what people were posting about. Well The Nest changed their layout/format, we all hated it, so we 'defected' to make our own private message board on another website. So anyway, 2 gals on this local "not-so-newlywed" board have a blog called My Mom Genes that they tag-team write together. And although I have not gotten there yet with the whole "parenthood" life, I just like their open and honest posts about it--and that all is not perfect, but it is that imperfection that you still find happy, honest, and unforgetful moments. And they remind moms that hey, it's ok, you won't have it all figured out--no one really does, so relax and enjoy the ride that goes by all to fast.

5. And this gem..Wry Toast. What else could a baker love than a blog with "toast" in the title? I dont' know how he'd feel about the attention of an award, and I'm not even sure that I'll tell him right away...I may wait and see if he reads my blog and finds it first--but trust me, he is an amazing "wryter"...He has been MIA lately, but delve into "archives" and poke around--there are some fabulous posts. He lives up to the title and more with the "wry" humor, and he will keep you coming back for more..I assure you. (oh and he writes haikus a lot, which I used to LOVE to fact, I may steal that from him and do a "bake-ku" every once in awhile!)

So there you have it, some favorite blogs o' mine!

*Here's the scoop on the award, and its rules--but I wont turn you in if you don't play--- no need to feel the burden of a 'chain letter', but if you do, be sure to mention the origin of the award (details below!)

  1. "This award was created in Uruguay by a fellow blogger who makes dolls exclusively from recycled materials. Her blog can be reached by clicking here.
  2. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
  3. Advertise name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone
    Each award-winner, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
  4. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize to show the link of “Arte y pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
  5. Share these rules."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Cupcakes (a.k.a "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For")

Greetings and Salutations! (as Charlotte says!)

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Clara, of I Heart Food4Thought (visit her blog for the recipe!)

I must admit, I had high hopes for this one, as I have been on a quest for the 'best/perfect' chocolate cake recipe....I've tried a couple from scratch so far, so I will admit, I've not been on the quest for long--and I am sure I will get a lot of "this was your THIRD scratch cake recipe for and you think you'll just 'find' the perfect chocolate one so soon?!!?" Ya, I know, who do I think I am?!)

I started the recipe on a bright sunny Saturday morning--Dear Husband got out to do errands early and brought me back a coffee (I opted for Dunkin' Donuts-vs- Starbucks) So with large, regular, half-decaf close by, (yes, as a matter of fact, an order at DD CAN indeed be just as involved as an order at Fourbucks) I was off and running!--or baking..Operation: Dunkin' Dorie!.

Now, these are 'good' but I fear I have to keep forging ahead and looking for 'my' chocolate cake--it's in my head, and I know I'll know it when I eat/see it...These just weren't it for me...and I feel guilty saying that..?? I looked on the site, and I don't think it was a factor of too much flour or over-mixing, I do try to be careful with that...they just are not that "moist" bite that I so wanted out of them.

OH--but I nailed the ganache!! I had ganache with panache, I tell you! But then I somewhat lamented not having a more traditional frosting to help off-set the dryness of the cake part--but still, these were tasty, and nothing a glass of milk can't handle!

I decided to get festive with them--in honor of Halloween (side note to Cathy--Elizabeth would love these sprinkles!!)

Dear Husband, my chocolate loving hero and taste-tester, declared them fabulous--and he said he was ok with the texture--and his favorite thing about them is they are not too 'sweet'--as he is a fan of dark chocolate/bittersweet. So hey, another week of putting a smile on his handsome face, so I can't complain...(I threw a lot of new stuff on him the past 2 weeks--5 alone from the same magazine issue--and happily all came out pretty darn good!) but still, I'm just not settled on this being my go-to cake. I'm going to keep testing out different recipes--I know the right one is out there for me! I guess just like Dear Husband--who, being my brother's best friend, has been in and out of my life one way or another since 4th grade, but whom I did not start dating until I was in my early 30's--my guess is that recipe is sitting right under my nose somewhere, perhaps already in my kitchen cookbook'll show itself when it's time...I just know it! (Wow, this sounds like Lord of the Rings..."one recipe to rule them ALL!!" I'll keep you posted if I stumble upon it in the shire....

In the meantime, I wanted to finally acknowledge some thoughtful awards I have been given and pass them on to 2 blogs!

My first award was given by my dear friend, Cathy at The Tortefeasor and the other from Nancy from The Dogs Eat the Crumbs. I must admit, Cathy was sweet enough to pass her award onto me a few weeks ago, but then I went off MIA, and just never got around to posting about it and adding to my blog. Cathy introduced me to Tuesdays with Dorie (or maybe she just told me about her involvement, and I just jumped in and invited myself? Now I forget)...she is one of those people who when I see or talk to, we are immediately laughing no more than 2 minutes into a conversation...her writing is all at once smart and funny--2 things that no one can 'fake'. Cathy is the real deal.

Nancy's (n.o.e) blog is one of my weekly stops, and the fact that she pointed MINE out really made my day! I have found this whole TWD/baking/cooking blog community are some of the most genuine people around--so thank you again, Nancy! (I feel like Sally Field.."You like me! You really, really LIKE me!") AND I just found out that she has connections in CT--so she's ok in my book! (gotta love the Nutmeg State!!)

So I guess the rules here are I pass some here I go! I am still ramping up getting to 'know' the style of various blogs...Prudy, you come to mind first, but looks like you already have these 2 specific awards. so I thought I'd spread the love..Here are some others that come to mind lately. I will add more as I get to 'know' more blogs and folks on TWD/etc! Again, I'm thoroughly enjoying this bakin'n'bloggin!

And the awards go to....

1. Eat Real by Sandy-- I LOVE that she incorporates great photos, great tips, and all around great recipes all in one! (I am sooo making those bagels!!) I bookmarked her site the minute I saw it!

2. Bun in the Oven by Annette: Maybe it's that she came to TWD a week after I did (and was sweet to thank me for commenting on her blog, adding she thought no one read it--well we do!!) Or maybeI noticed on her profile that she lives in the same CA town that a dear friend of mine lives...or maybe it's that she not only bakes but knits, AND also adds to her profile that she loves wine and photography--and is a proud Auntie---all things that I would use to describe myself! (well, no, actually I'm really NOT a die-hard knitter, I only have a blanket and one scarf under my belt, but I so WANT to be a tried and true knitter!) Anyway, I wanted to post about her blog because while reading about her, it just struck such a chord. Plus, anyone who can successfully balance baking AND knitting needs applause!! I tend to give one up for the other....

Friday, October 24, 2008

EVERYDAY FOOD...a.k.a "Martha, Martha, Martha!!"

Perhaps it started because a pint-sized magazine was missing from my life. (TV Guide how I miss you so!!! I hardly know you now that the evil ones have blown you up to magazine size, and turned you into US Magazine!!)

Whatever the reason, from the first issue of Everyday Food I bought, I've been drawn into this little gem. I have probably 20 or so from the past 3-4 years, and find that I am more apt to pick this up each month than Mar-Mar's large format Living, which I tend to look through, dream about 'someday' attempting projects (like stripping antique furniture...putting together that photo album-scrapbook of vintage family shots....or making Beef Wellington--which, by the way, I vow to do one day)...but Living always ends on the coffee table.

Everyday Food, on the other hand, ends up in my KITCHEN. I always find myself flipping through saying "I'll totally make that"...."ooh, that looks good!"...."fold that page down..." I'm not afraid of attempting the Beef Wellingtons and Yorkshire puddings of the world, but really, if I am to attempt new recipes during the week, I need them to be work-week friendly....and I am never let down with Everyday Food (EF from now on). I continue to review all my old issues when I'm looking for something easy and solid. The recipes are home-made, but they cut some corners to be weekday realistic (i.e. go ahead, and use--gasp!--jarred spaghetti sauce in lasagna....jarred salsa on tacos....etc.)

I guess you can say Martha Stewart Living plays the Grace Kelly, to Everyday Food's Katherine Hepburn. One is the more soft-focus, elegant, can do, say, cook and wear altogether lovely and refined and a level that few operate on (and don't get me wrong, I love Grace Kelly...and to this day want every single piece of wardrobe from Rear Window!) But then you have the more fun, frivolous, yet everyday working gal, who cuts to the chase, in a no- nonsense, get-it-done fashion. Is still classic, and genuine, yet still attainable, and someone you think you can hang out with, well, quite frankly "Everyday." (And there is no right or wrong here--they both got Cary Grant, right?!)

Last week, I whipped up the spinach-prosciutto lasagna start to finish in under an hour (not incl. the day-long thawing of the frozen spinach) It called for jarred spaghetti sauce, and "no-boil' lasagna noodles, which I am all for when it comes to quick but home-made. Two Saturdays ago, I did the chicken tacos---which called for chicken thighs to chill out seasoned in a crockpot (oops, or are they "slow-cookers" these days?) for 4 hrs--GREAT for a weekend dinner....oh, and the same weekend, I made up a huge vat of her minestrone soup, and the slow-cooker pot roast the following Monday---ALL recipes from the same (current) issue!!

This past weekend, I delved into some back-issues and found an easy Coq au Vin recipe from one of the 2007 issues I was amazing! It was a cold, windy Oct night and we had a great meal!!

So, those who perhaps pass by it thinking you have heard enough about Martha,Martha, Martha! I urge you to push aside your inner Jan Brady and get over it. Give i ta try...each issue gives you a "Freeze it", "weeknights", "weekend", "lunch box", and even "dinner-for-one" recipe....and dessert!
(I have not even touched the 5,6 and 7th recipe I want to do from the current issue: all dark chocolate recipes!)

As I did the week of 4 recipes: tacos, minestrone, pot roast and lasagna, I did not think about blogging until I hit the lasagna...(when Dear Husband said, "so, tell this lasagna considered "cooking" or "baking?"--will it be on your blog?) But as I was working on the 5th EF recipe in 1.5 weeks, I decided to grab a photo of it: I give you my Coq au Vin!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

From pumpkin muffins

Well, I'll make it short and sweet this week for a change...there are so many blogs now listed on Tuesdays with Dorie, I am sure everyone has a lot more reading these days! :)

Loving these Pumpkin Muffins, and I made them on a perfectly autumnal weekend! I even had my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte over the weekend--the leaves are still gorgeous, and the extra blanket is on the bed: aahhh...October, how I love thee! What a perfect time for Kelly of Sounding my Barbaric Gulp to choose the Pumpkin Muffins! (Thanks, Kelly!)

Forgive me for making them plain as can be....I'm a purist with my pumpkin--don't dig on the nuts, raisins, etc add-ins to my pumpkin baked goods. I thought about doing them by the 'book', with the nuts and golden raisins, but knew that I would end up thinking "these would be great without.." so I refrained. (Actually, that's a lie--I was going to put craisins into half of the batter, then totally forgot...but I'm not too upset about it as I would have been doing that only to try to do SOMETHING interesting in light of the fact that everyone else will no doubt be doing fabulous things with this recipe I'm sure!)

The only issues I had were (1) the batter was super-duper thick, and I guess I wasn't sure if that was right or not--but they turned out excellent muffins, so I guess it's supposed to be that way (it reminded me of the thick batter from my Bundt cake). The 2nd issue was they did not rise consistently--and it's not even like half the pan was high, the other not (which would lead me to think it was uneven baking inside the oven). I think it may have been uneven scooping in my part?? Not sure--I'll show the highest and lowest profile I ended up with--all others fall in between...
From pumpkin muffins

Dear Husband loves them without any add-ins too, and so although they may seem rather boring to some, we like them (as Mark Darcy said to Bridget Jones), "just as they are." (well, no I guess to be exact, his quote is "just as you are.." but y'know what I mean...)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD: Biscotti Marching Band...

I am happy to be back in the swing of things with Tuesdays with Dorie especially on a week with such a great recipe that will come in handy--and one I would have picked out to make soon had it not come up in rotation! Thanks to Gretchen of Canela & Comino this week we baked Lenox Almond Biscotti....I'll tell you now, I already can't wait to make these again...and no one is more shocked as I am because I certainly did not have high hopes when I started out...

The dough started to come together fine--but by the last step it was so sticky--half was around the paddle, yet the other half around the bowl.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with doughs of any kind (except the "Play-doh" variety). Whether they be for pies, pastry, bread, I always feel like I do it incorrectly and I'm a bumbling idiot trying to roll it out, pat it out, into the desired shape/size. So I took one look in the bowl and worried that somehow I screwed up--again...then all the questions come out like "Did I over-beat?" "Under beat?" "Mis-measure anything?"

"Curses!! Why does dough hate me so!?!!!!" (because even when I'm annoyed--I can still be a poet...)

But I pushed onward hoping I could still work with it and make them into the form of "logs" like Dorie was calling for. This task took some time--because if dealing with dough wasn't bad enough, I had to deal with measurements. It's time I also admit I have no sense of spacial relation--I am not one of those who can "eyeball" an inch..or 2 inches...or doesn't stop there--I'm awful at estimating longer distances as well (this is one of the many reasons I was never a great golfer---if someone asked me how far I hit a ball off a tee--I would have no clue--50 yards? 150 yards? Hell, I dunno, if you asked me I either hit it "far" or "wicked far" or as was most often the case--it was still where it had started and went nowhere)

So when a recipe says form into logs 12"x1.5", mine will be (and were) more like 9x2.5" until I took out my trusty ruler and worked them out to be the dimension that was actually called for.

Into the oven they went...and then I had to deal with the "bake until lightly browned and spongy" part...sigh...another judgement call. I baked at the time called for, added 2-3 more minutes--the edges were brown, but the tops were still looking the same as they did when they went in. I pressed a finger onto one and I can't say "spongy" is the word that came to mind. (FYI, I'm glad I used 2 different baking sheets--and thank you to the TWD posters who warned it would spread in a major way--it certainly did)

>Here is my before-after first bake:

At this point, I still was not convinced these would ever see the light of day, but I pulled them out and let them rest for the 30 minutes called for....

..and 30 minutes later, came more measuring issues--cutting them up every 3/4"....once again, I brought out a ruler because I knew once again I can't be left to my own devices.

Oh but I still had not encountered the hardest, the hardest part was trying to figure out what on earth it meant when in the instructions for the 2nd baking of the cut biscotti stated to line them all up on the sheets "like a marching band"....

....say what? I stared at the description...thinking (1) she musn't mean flat side/cut side down or she'd say that...(2) it doesn't say stand up like "dominos" (which would mean on their short-sides...which was impossible anyway with the uneven ends) I guessed that she meant cut them and leave spaces in between each cut piece, but don't flip them over on their sides, keep them upright. (If that's not what she meant, someone please tell me what "marching band" means....other than making them into a formation of a kaleidescope a la a REAL marching band, I've got no clue...)


And so I baked 15 min, and lo and behold, I ended up with practically perfect almond biscotti!!

The only pause I had eating them was the cornmeal that was called for--it sort of leaves a gritty kinda feeling behind...but nothing a swig o' joe can't wash down. Besides that, the texture was PERFECT---I don't like the super-crunchy ones that basically fall apart into crumbs before they reach your mouth, and still they were not too soft, so were good for holding up to 'dunking' Not too hard-and not too soft. Yes, I think even Goldilocks would deem these "just right"!

I will be making these again (and again..) and I think they will pack up and travel well, so to my faithful reader (that means you, Dad...) Get ready for a care package over the holidays that include some of these treats for your coffee!! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TWD Update!

Ok, so I've been MIA the past few weeks thanks to a combination of factors. I had had a crazy work schedule preparing for a trip to Arizona..then I went ON that trip to AZ--which happily included 2 extra days down in Tucson with my Dad, which was beyond wonderful. When I got back, I was home not 2 days when I had to get a cyst removed from my worries, it's benign, but still, 5 stitches later I was not feeling up for baking and standing/etc. (Dear Husband has taken to calling me Franken-foot, as it's really scary looking wound going on--the stitches are nylon, black nylon. So on my pale-as-a-baby's-derriere-skin, it's REALLY looking rather ghoulish--I shall spare you all the Franken-foot photo!)

So, I was very bummed to miss out on a yummy chocolate cake recipe this week, but I shall return next Tuesday! (Where it's all about Almond Biscotti!)

In the meantime, I thought I'd share the last time I got my "bake on"--which was the weekend prior to aforementioned jaunt to AZ. Dear Husband and I were invited to a dinner party/overnight to Long Island, to one of my nearest and dearest--my former office mate and partner in crime at Columbia House. She and her wonderful husband met at "The House" and are now living happily ever after and had a few of us former C.H. "alumni" over for dinner. A fun time was had by all!

So, back to the baking--
I was determined to finally try my hand at a Bundt cake. Now, a bundt cake is one of those things I just love. Something about the tube-pan baking makes it just a little more 'extra' special. And then the whole drizzle of the glaze on top, and the "wonder what could be baked inside" curiosity. I have always loved the idea of them, yet have never made from scratch...actually I don't even make them from a box either.

My baking life "BD" (Before Dorie) had me storing the (then) lesser-used bake ware in the dark corners of one of the cabinets. There you will find the muffin tins, mini muffin tins, round cake pans, heart-shaped cake pan, bread pans, pie plates, weights for baking an unfilled pie crust, foil covers for a pie crust, a rolling pin cover for pie crusts, and even little cookie cutters in shapes of leaves for--you guessed it--pie crusts. I think the bread-maker is pushed waaaay back there somewhere too. You name it, I seem to have it--I just rarely USE it (which is why I love this baking club of ours!) Each time I would open up that cabinet for the muffin tin or round cake pans, I would pass over "the bundt". It has been waiting patiently for that call to glory, and the wait was finally over. I'm sure it was convinced I took it out to move it out of the way for another item, but no, this time it was for real.

I found a recipe in one of my Bon Appetit magazines for a Brown Sugar & Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Maple Espresso Glaze. Thanks to the Dorie-baking, I had just about all of the ingredients (save the buttermilk and maple extract) in the house (and as I would soon discover, corn syrup--more on that below).

I'm not a big maple fan, but I liked the espresso sound of the glaze, which called for instant espresso powder. (Would you believe I even had that in the house---totally unopened from about a YEAR ago when I wanted to try one of Giada's desserts..yea, that never saw the light of day--I'm an expert at buying ingredients, but I have a huge delay in actually MAKING recipes..again, that's why Tuesdays with Dorie has been so good for me!)

Because I did not want the maple flavor in the cake or in the glaze-- and coming home from the grocery store to realize that I missed that I would need corn syrup for the glaze--which I did not have--I turned to my trusty Big Red Book and scoured my Betty Crocker for a cake glaze recipe that would perhaps suffice. (When in doubt, I consult Betty). I found a confectioners sugar-and-water based vanilla glaze. I removed the vanilla extract from the recipe, replaced it with almond extract, and then shook in some espresso powder, and "presto" I had made an almond-espresso glaze!

(check out the "after" photo in the end of my slideshow below--THAT'S usually how my counters look after frantic mixing, getting the glaze 'just right' with confectioners suger flying everywhere--and even Dear Husband's sports page somehow got tossed aside up on the counter--I guess it was in my way and I gave it a fling!?!)

I have to say this was a huge thing for me--only because I am not one for improvising...I think that's why I enjoy baking, it's a strict recipe. I am getting better at the "cooking" and improvising here and there, but not as a rule. So I was turning somersaults when I dipped a finger into the glaze and loved the taste of it!

The only hiccup was transporting my lovely creation. I do not have a 'travel' container for cakes...let alone a bundt cake. I have a fancier glass cake plate (the glass pedestal w/ dome lid) but not a tupperware/travel version...Yet by a miracle I somehow got it safely to LI in the 2.5 hr drive by rigging up my own system. After 30-45 minutes of trial and error, I finally figured out how to get the dome to set over the cake, but not let the dome slide into the SIDE of the cake on any sharper turns of the car ride. (Thus it would smudge the perfectly placed glaze).

I used the glass dome to the fancy cake plate, which fit completely around the rim of a dinner plate, on which the cake sat. This dinner plate/dome then went onto a wider platter. That way, if we turned the car, the glass dome would slide on the larger platter, up until it hit up against the rim of the dinner plate (that way it hit the plate, not the cake). Whether or not I am properly explaining this system, I was so proud when we got there with a totally pristine glaze! No bumps, or smudges!

The cake is awesome, and as much as I don't want to repeat recipes too quickly, I think I'm going to make for a party this weekend at my sister and brother-in-law's house...I only had 1 piece of it in L.I because I ate so much I'm rather anxious to try it again!

NOTES ON BUNDT CAKES: So, not knowing about these cakes, they are denser-more "pound" cake like than a birthday-cake type of thing. Also, for any other Bundt rookies out there, the batter is stiff when it goes into the pan for baking---that threw me, and I thought the consistency was way off (it didn't run/pour into the pan more than inch into it like The Blob. (Thank God for the internet--I googled 'bundt cake batter' and found that it's common that the batter will be thick/stiffer than standard cake recipes!)

Here is the Recipe as it was Printed in Bon Appetit (as I said, I finagled a bit with it, especially the Glaze)


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups all purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (or more) whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan. Spray pan generously with nonstick spray. Dust pan lightly with flour. Mix chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons flour in medium bowl. Sift remaining flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract and maple extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chip mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on rack 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.

Mixing the chocolate chips with a little flour before adding them to the batter helps the chips stay evenly suspended in the batter and evenly distributed throughout the baked cake (otherwise, they may sink to the bottom).

For glaze:
Combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons cream, and espresso powder in medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, adding more cream by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Spoon glaze decoratively over top of cake; let stand at room temperature until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.

ps: Happy Birthday, Kristin...wherever you are...