Bassability's Stephanie is such a bad-ass. Seriously. Not only did she contact ME to do this interview (which takes guts... who's next?) but she also wrote a confident "Fat Girl Army Manifesta" and braves this world with an admirable amount of moxie. She also taught gender and women's studies at a university level, which I find 110% amazing. ALSO she included a vegan recipe this time which is really nice for my varied readers. Make sure you read the "random thing most people don't know" part to fully understand why she's exponentially rad.
Name: Stephanie Bass
Occupation: Teacher/ Musician
Dream occupation: Teacher or Overlord of an Intergalactic Empire
What was your earliest memory about baking?
My grandmother baked frequently, and I remember her telling me to stay out of the kitchen while her
cake was in the oven. I didn't understand why I couldn't go in the kitchen while cakes were in the oven,
but it became a habit-- now I tell my husband to stay out of the kitchen when I have a cake in the oven.
It just seems like the thing to do.
Howd’ja get started baking?
My mother never baked when I was a kid. My dad baked the same apple cake over and over. It was
good, but I wanted to try new things. So I started watching cooking shows, and then when I was old
enough I would try to bake when my parents were out (bad girl!) some were successful, and some were
not. In college, I started buying cookbooks and cooking for and with friends. It was great to cook with
people who appreciated my adventurousness in the kitchen.
When you picture “a baker” what do you see?
A sexy person that will potentially feed you.
What qualities or skills does it take to be a baker?
Patience! Baking is different than cooking, there are rules. And there is waiting. For things to chill, for
things to rise, for things to bake. There's a lot of waiting in baking. You also need to have patience with
yourself when you can't get the hang of something right away. Dude, I still can't make really flaky pie
crust because I need more patience.
What was the biggest baking FAIL you ever had?
Tied for the top of Stephanie's biggest baking failures:
1. My first time making bread was a disaster. The yeast I bought was dead, and it wouldn't rise. I didn't
know how high bread dough was supposed rise, and so I baked it anyways. It was a doughy brick. Not
even a delicious doughy brick. It was also borderline un-sliceable. Since I said I would bring bread to a
party, I brought mine and a store-bought loaf.
2. The other big fail, when I was learning to bake, I started with something easy-- an apple crumble for a
friend's dinner party. I ran out of cinnamon, so I used allspice. I thought, it must be okay its "all" spice, I
should be able to use it for everything! it was the same color, I thought it was all good. I made the apple
crumble. When it was time for dessert, I served everyone else first, and, bless them, they tried to choke
it down. When I finally had a bite, I told them it was terrible and asked them why they were still eating
it. I had to buy everyone ice cream that night.
How do you feel about Martha Stewart?
Otherwise, I liked her catch phrase, it was a good thing.
Tell me something random that most people don't know:
I sang back-up for Shania Twain on tour when I was 18 years old. That's how I got started as a studio
musician which I did full time for 3 years before college.
If you had to be an ingredient in a recipe, what would you be?
Baking powder; I'm good for a lot of things when you mix me with others, but by myself, there's a limit
to what I can do. Also, I love to feed people; its kinda my mission to make people fluffier.
Will you share your all time favorite recipe with us?
Yeppers. Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting. Get some.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease/ Spray muffin tin with oil or margarine, or line with cupcake liners. (I
give the liner a spray to help them release better.)
Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside for at least 2 minutes to curdle. Add
the sugar, oil, and vanilla to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together
the dry ingredients, and add to the liquids. Beat until combined (a few small lumps in the batter are
Pour into muffin tin, filling about 3/4 or the way full. This will make batter for more than 12 regular
sized cupcakes. Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 18-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out
clean from the center of a cupcake. Cool on a wire rack. Do not frost until completely cooled.
Peanut Butter Frosting
1/4 cup of margarine (butter works too if you are not vegan)
2 tbsp of vegetable shortening
1/3 cup of peanut butter (or sun-butter if you are peanut-free)
1 tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 icing sugar
2 tbsp of soy milk
In an electric mixer, beat the margarine, shortening, peanut butter, molasses and vanilla together until
smooth. Add icing sugar. the frosting will be stiff, add soy milk to thin as needed. This makes a large
amount of frosting, perfect for piping large clouds onto your cupcakes.
Thanks again Stephanie, it's a total honor.