April 6, 2008

Why Is This Man Smiling???

This is my man, Mr. Buddha. My garden Buddha. He keeps the peace amongst the marigolds, the basil, and the squirrels. He is always blissfully happy and when I pat his head in passing, I’m pretty sure he winks at me. He knows I have a conflicted interior. From a 5th generation Mormon family, who was raised Methodist, but went to Catholic school, who begged my parents to let me convert to be Jewish when I was 12 years old – it’s like the United Nations in my soul. I pray/meditate every day until something shiny catches my attention, which is about 10 seconds into it. When the bad stuff happens, I’m on my knees, making bargains, promises, and deals…when I have good things come to me, I forget to say “thank you” and just assume it’s because I’m so cool.

But my garden Buddha knows what’s up. He’s on to me, big time! That’s why he’s smiling. He’s knows what a rascal I am, how selfish and silly I can be. So he smiles at that nonsense. I think he thinks I’m the biggest hoot ever. It’s very humbling to think that a stone Buddha is laughing at your myriad efforts to be spiritual. So I decided to make a dessert while contemplating my confusing spiritual paths. Cooking has always been my best meditation. “Soften to room temperature” is a nice mantra.

This is my humble homage to my garden Buddha. I just wish he’d quit laughing at me.

Heavenly Spiced Chocolate Cakes with Ginger Whipped Cream and Toffee Topping

Makes 6 Big "OM" Cupcakes

½ firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons honey
2 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
About 1/3 cup powdered sugar or to taste

6 ounces Heath bars, roughly chopped into lengths for “stacking” on cakes (see pics)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 6 hole over-sized muffin tin by lining with paper cups or greasing with butter.

2. In a large bowl, stir together with a fork the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and ginger. Add the butter, egg, whipping cream, and honey, and beat with electric mixer at slow speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until caramel colored and smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate.
3. Divide mixture between the muffin cups. Batter will be stiff, like soft cookie dough.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until dark golden brown and springy to the touch. Cool completely before topping with whipped cream.
5. Whip the cream until peaks form. Add the vanilla, ginger, and powdered sugar. Beat a bit longer until well-incorporated.
6. When cakes are cool, slather on the whipped cream, and arrange the Heath bar slivers on top. Scatter any little pieces of toffee over the tops.

Say “Shalom”, “Om”, and “God Bless You” as you pass them around to others – because, you know, it’s important to give to others. Without expecting a nice baked treat in return.


RecipeGirl said...

Oh yeah. These totally look heavenly. And I need a garden dude like that to scare the critters away that are munching on my strawberries!!

Heather said...

Those cupcakes make me want to colorfully take the lord's name in vain.

Peter M said...

With recent current events...you should have called these "free Tibet cupcakes"!

Go rub the Buddha but nothing below the belt, K?

Jenny said...

Incredible looking cakes, no wonder the budda man is all smiles, he's in heaven with all those treats!! Absolutely beautiful, gotta make theses! Have a great week! Namaste!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

I know! I'm so conflicted about the critters. On one hand I want them to die...and the other, I want to give them all my strawberries! Ah...the spiritual path...

You know the Buddha will just laugh at you....

I have two Chinese kids, so I don't know what to do about Tibet! And I only rub his little bald head!

They are a different kind of treat...Kurt doesn't like them, but I really like the spice and not-so-sweetness. Namaste and have a wonderful springy week!

Cakespy said...

OM as in OMG gimme one, now! These look like an oasis in a crazy world. Thank you for sharing!

Deborah said...

These look heavenly indeed!!

Anj said...

Those look absolutely decadent. Love that Buddha belly!

Emiline said...

Oh man! Those cupcakes look fantastic. I bet they were pretty incredible.
Your Buddah statue is cute. I have a weird desire to be Jewish, too. I think it's all of the holidays they celebrate.

Dhanggit said...

holy camolé!!!these cupcakes looks awesomely delicious!! i know why buddha is smiling :-)his mouth is filled with this cupcake his too shy to show :-)

Catherine Wilkinson said...

yes, sometimes all we have is our food to keep us grounded! Cupcake enlightenment!

thank you! They are not for everyone, because the cake isn't very sweet!

I just love his belly! He loves to eat!

yeah, maybe it's the holidays...it just seemed so mystical to my young mind

I think he eats when no one is looking! Look at that belly!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I have a garden Buddha, too. I'm always nice to him, because I have such a black thumb that I need all the help I can get!

Zen Chef said...

OMy goodness! i love the garden Buddha! He's awesome and he matches perfectly the cakes.

Kristen said...

I would certainly be smiling too!

hi!monkey said...

i suspected that pu-tai was the buddha of cupcakes, but, now i'm sure!

remember to wash your garden buddhas on saka dawa!

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"The Dish" by Catherine Wilkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.