Bread Pudding Cakes

8 Jan
Voila

Voila

This whole “incorporating crap I always hated into cakes” thing seems to be a recurring thing here. And on that note, bread pudding has always seemed like nothing really more than soggy bread to me. Maybe I saw too many school elementary kids engaging in school lunch as a teacher–where the milk always freaking seemed to soak something it shouldn’t have, resulting in some godawful soggy crap almost every kid still ate–and suffer flashbacks at the thought of milk-soaked anything.

But still, like the other previously hated items I’ve tried here (sweet potatoes and hot bananas among them), something about this idea called to me. Always one to follow the inner voice, I breaded up and went for it today. That the kid and I shared a can of green beans–from the can, with a plastic fork that may or may not have already been used a few times today–for afternoon snack set the tone for some throwback ingredients that might make Frank McCourt proud.

The first oddity for me was buying straight-up white bread for the first time in eons. I’m a whole grain kind of guy, and aside from the occasional sourdough or baguette dalliance, white bread hasn’t graced the grocery basket for quite some time. I found an inexpensive enough loaf from the bakery of my local food co-op and quickly remembered why I had liked it so much for so long. While prepping, I think I may have eaten as much as I sliced–as did my wife and kid–and now may have some dynamite french toast in my future. But that’s another post for another yearlong endeavor.

The link referenced at post’s end here is what I used as my jumping off point, and it works wonderfully for that purpose. From it, I changed serving size, added some sweets ‘n spices, and jacked around a bit with the methodology. Notable within that methodology is the choice I made to let the bread stale a bit before gettin’ my mix on. I thought maybe hardening the bread a bit might mitigate the sog a smidge. The results? Soggy ass bread still, with sugar and spices. But no matter. I fought through that part and bravely ascended toward that shining griddle atop the hill. As you’ll read below, I’m glad I did.

One thing I will note is that I bought my loaf of bread whole. I wanted to slice it myself, thickly, so as to achieve as bizarre a topography as I could with the finished cakes. It worked. They are gloriously lumpy.

Bread Monster!

Bread Monster!

Oh, and I would also like to shout an apology to Grandpa, wherever in the ether he currently resides. He drove a bread truck for years (that’s his kitchen’s bread drawer I’m emerging from in the picture at right, apparently my favorite little hangout as a little guy), and he would be ashamed of my fancy-pantsing (or fancy-un-pantsing, as it were) the bread choices lo these many years. Big ups, Grandpa–I came home today.

Onward.

Pants: The boy has some new, super comfortable, fleece-lined blue jeans that clearly warm his cockles. I may have lost him to the fully pantsed for good (teardrop). Luckily, I’m an isolationist at heart (get off my damn lawn!), and need not an army to fight the good fight.

Planning: Just expanding my white bread knowledge base beyond Wonder Bread and Iron Kids. (Sorry again, Grandpa.)

Gathering: Just the bread.

Execution: Making sure I sliced up the bread early enough to let it stale a bit was important. Beyond that, I found it important to handle the resulting batter delicately so as not to totally dissolve the bread (unless you’re into that). Once the bread is soaking, I also sprinkled a light layer of cinnamon and sugar over top as it rested.

Results: Excellent all around.

Crossover Potential: Just endless variations on the bread pudding aspect.

The cakes recipe:

  • 5, thickly sliced slices of white bread, crust removed and cut into 1″ squares
  • 1 cup whole milk (organic)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (organic)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (cage-free)
  • 1/3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (organic)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar (organic, pure cane)
  • 1/3 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. About five hours before griddling, cut your bread and leave out and open on counter to stale appropriately
  2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in small bowl
  3. In small bowl, mix milk with cinnamon and brown sugar
  4. Place bread in large bowl and add milk mixture, making sure all squares get soaked; let sit for 10 minutes (longer if you want soggier, 10 only if the sog gives you the creeps, too)
  5. After that 10 minutes, add flour mixture to bread mixture and gently fold, not worrying about total incorporation of ingredients at this point
  6. In another small bowl, beat egg and oil together, then add to the rest of the ingredients, mixing everything completely (but be gentle if you want to retain those large bread chunks)
  7. Preheat griddle to 350 degrees
  8. Preheat oven to 160 degrees, or engage warming drawer
  9. Butter griddle and ladle batter onto it using a 1/3 measuring cup, keeping completed cakes warm in oven while making the rest
*We had a bowl of stupid awesome frosting leftover from some stupid awesome sugar cookies my wife made last weekend, and spread that on the cakes and enjoyed them as dessert. I tried one hot off the griddle with maple syrup, too, which was awesome. The link below will reference some other toppings I do not doubt would be amazing. Go wild.
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