Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

I have been bad about posting since last week. I was in Boston for Thanksgiving and was concentrating on relaxing. However, I have been doing quite a bit of baking.

My contributions to Thanksgiving dinner were both from the Bon Appetit November issue.

For an hors d’oeuvres, I made Herb and Cheese Poppers

These are basically just little biscuits filled with herbs and cheddar cheese. They made a great appetizer, and the leftovers make great snacks. The recipe is pretty complicated, so I’m not going to type it out, but you can find it here.


For dessert, I made Brown Sugar-Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

These are the perfect fall dessert, although be careful not to over-bake them or they dry out very quickly. You can find the recipe here.

I guess I’m still in the baking mood, because even though we got back to California last night, I’ve been baking all day. I made Alice Water’s 1-2-3-4 Cake, which we’ll have for dessert tonight.

This cake is incredibly easy to make, and although I haven’t tasted it yet, it smells delicious.

1-2-3-4 Cake from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (the recipe below makes two nine-inch round cakes, however, I took Alice Waters’ suggestion and halved the recipe to just make one 9-inch round):

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Butter the cake pans and line the bottom of each with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pans with flour, tapping the excess. Separate
    • 4 eggs
  • Measure
    • 1 cup milk
  • Sift and then measure:
    • 3 cups cake flour
  • Stir in:
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt (use 1/4 teaspoon if using salted butter)
  • In another bowl, beat until light and fluffy:
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • Add:
    • 2 cups sugar
  • Cream until light and fluffy. Beat in the 4 egg yolks, one at a time, and:
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • When well mixed, add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with one third of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Stir one third of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

To make the cake a little more interesting, I took Alice Waters’ suggestion and added 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest and 2 teaspoons lemon juice to the batter. I’m not going to serve it frosted, but she suggests frosting it with equal parts lemon curd and whipped cream folded together.


For dinner tonight I’m making pasta with pesto, and we’ll also have some Earl-Grey Truffles. Pictures and recipes to come later!

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I have discovered a love for cooking and baking (something I had previously detested). I’ve been feeling quite domestic lately, coming home from work and cooking up a storm, so I decided I would share some of my creations here. For dinner I made Chicken with Lemon and Herbs from the Silver Palate Cookbook for dinner (quick, easy, and delicious). For dessert, I made mini Spice Cupcakes from Julie Hasson’s “125 Best Cupcake Recipes,” and I topped them with cream cheese frosting. They are absolutely delicious. Hasson’s cookbook is my absolute favorite place to go for cupcake recipes, because they are easy to follow, and everything always turns out perfectly.


SPICE CUPCAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING RECIPE (from “125 Best Cupcake Recipes” by Julie Hasson)

For the Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp fancy molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

1. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Stir in raisins.

2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. Add molasses and egg, beating well. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until smooth.

3. Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

(If you are making mini cupcakes, like I did, they only need to cook for about 17 minutes.)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1. In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together cream cheese, butter and salt until creamy. With mixer on low speed, beat in confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time so that the sugar doesn’t fly everywhere. Increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy.

2. Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve or for up to 1 day.

(I usually don’t use as much confectioner’s sugar – maybe about 1 3/4 cups, because I find I like the taste of the frosting better when it is not quite as sweet.)

These cupcakes also taste amazing without the frosting.

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Jim Windolf wrote a piece in the December issue of Vanity Fair attacking the new American obsession with all things cute (see, e.g., cute overload.com, icanhazcheezburger,  the Obamas, etc).  He posits that our obsession with cuteness is a way to cope with everything negative and destructive that is happening around us, citing that the rise of certain websites dedicated to cute animals and cute foods such as cupcakes began sometime around the time everything in this country began to fall apart (ie. Bush’s presidency).  He says:

For generations, kids couldn’t wait until they reached adulthood so they could smoke, drink, eat four-course meals, make money, drive cars, have sex, and, if they were the type to join the military, legally kill other human beings. Now we would rather log on and tune out, preferably in the womb-like comfort of a Snuggie, which is the perfect thing to wear as we gaze at photos of kittens while gnawing on delicious cupcakes.

I do admit, however, that cuddling parties (a real event where you pay $30 to participate in a session of fully-clothed cuddling) are a little strange. I’m a little offended by his resentment of “cute culture,” because I don’t understand why it’s necessarily a bad thing to take solace in websites like lolcats every so often in order to step back from all the depressing headlines we are constantly absorbing. Furthermore, I don’t really see this as that new of a phenomenon. Disney movies have always included super adorable characters in their films (Flounder in The Little Mermaid, Meiko in Pocahontas, Chip in Beauty and the Beast to name a few), and I remember a Hello Kitty and Sanrio craze back when I was in Middle School in the late 90s.  Maybe it’s more noticeable now with the popularity and advances of the internet, but I feel like the appeal of cuteness is not a new thing. Plus, what’s so bad about taking solace in photos of cute kittens rather than drugs or alcohol or other self-destructive behavior? I will certainly continue to enjoy my cute cupcakes and pictures of adorable baby animals, and I refuse to feel ashamed or somehow less intelligent because of it.

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