French toast and me go way back. Like way. My earliest memories of us (me and french toast) are when my dad would make it for me and my brother when we were little – he made it with Pepperidge Farm white bread and we ate it smeared with margarine and Aunt Jemima syrup. And I LOVED it.
Who knows how this crazy holiday tradition even began, but for the past several years, on Christmas Eve night, I have been making peppermint stick ice cream (made with crushed candy canes, no less) and homemade hot fudge sauce for my husband and boys. Peppermint and chocolate is probably my favorite flavor combo (and the favorite of my 12 year old, as well) and it is a perfect combo for the holidays, no doubt.
This cake came to be in the name of collaboration. Here’s the story: after admiring Stefani Pollack’s instagram feed for kind of a while, I one day ventured over to her website and noticed that she was looking for peeps to contribute to her blog with baking tutorials or baking science posts. Always looking for opportunities to write about sweets (my second favorite activity after eating them), I contacted her. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would write about and – of course – Stef had the genius idea that I write about icebox cakes (in light of the fact I co-wrote a book about them).
I’m relatively new to the world of upside down cakes (preferably baked in cast iron skillets) and I am desperately trying to make up for loss time. I started the fall with a pear upside down cake, and now have moved on to one of the banana variety from Naomi Robinson’s gorgeous new book, Baker’s Royale: 75 Twists on All Your Favorite Sweets. Not sure what my next one will be, but I’m open to suggestions.
So, I did not develop a recipe for mini chocolate cupcakes with chocolate bourbon buttercream just because I had a hankering for such a sweet. No, instead, I was asked to bake for a fundraiser supporting an amazing youth organization in my neighborhood, and actually wasn’t quite sure what I would make . . . . Until I realized that my pals who run a distillery in the hood, were also participating. Baking up something tasty with their beyond-delicious bourbon seemed like the right direction to head.