Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ta Da! Baking Blog.

So I finally decided on the name for the new baking blog.

Lick the Spatula.

Cliche? Yeah maybe...but I love to do it while baking.

And it was available on blogger.

Win win.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Baking Blog & Umm...Cupcakes.

So I want to start a baking blog. I figure this blog was initially supposed to be a fun thing to help out of town friends and family keep apprised of what goes on in our oh-so-exciting lives.

But as our neighbor points's mostly about FOOD. Which if you know me, really isn't surprising.

Lately it's more about CUPCAKES. Which is my current obsession. Well who am I kidding, I love sweets. Period. And always have. Cupcakes is the latest manifest of my sweet loving tooth....I have always loved cupcakes and always will.

But I figure hmmm a baking blog could be fun. Because I go through the cookie phase as well. And the muffin phase, which is kind of like cupcakes. Honestly, I have always been a fan of 'things made in pans' ...!

So...I've been trying to come up with some names for the blog. I've bounced them off a few friends. A few resonate but of course the ones I really want are already taken on blogger because they are so amazingly cool. Like Glazed Over. I mean I'm sure I'm not the second or 10th person to think of that one. Or Vanilla Bean.

Anyway, the top contenders now are Sugar Nib (does anyone actually know what that is?) and Coarse Sugar. I like Coarse Sugar because I'm a fledgling baker, unrefined. But Sugar Nib is just so fun and cute. I don't want to pidgeonhole myself into a 'cake' or 'cupcake' name but I figure Sugar or something like 'baking' could work. Any other ideas ?!!?! I also had Glossed Sugar but I don't love it. I also liked the Unpolished Cupcake...but that's cupcake specific. Meh!!

So while I've been trying to think up names for the new baking blog....yeah. I made cupcakes.

I'm all chocolated out thanks to the choco-bake-fest I did last weekend and honestly the sight of chocolate cupcakes makes my stomach turn a bit right now. Is this therapy? If so, I kind of like it!!

I went fruity this time. I had some yummy Lemon Pound Cake from Miette in SF last week and it was soooooo overly sugary sweet lemony citrusy sour that I think my mouth was confused. So I wanted to do something lemony but not that crazy puckery sweet lemony. More like a fluffy vanilla lemony. Dug through some blogs...and compiled a few recipes. Came up with this one and it came out really awesome.

Vanilla Lemony Cupcakes
(filled with Raspberry jam)

1c cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 stick softened butter
3/4c baking sugar
1 egg and 1 egg white
1/4c milk
1 tblsp vanilla
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp lemon zest
raspberry jam

Sift cake flour, powder, soda, salt in a bowl, set aside. Cream butter and sugar til fluffy. Add egg and egg white, whip til incorporated well. Add lemon zest, vanilla, lemon juice, milk, whip well. At this point the batter is not smooth looking but slightly curdled (lemon I guess?). Fold in flour bowl, don't overmix.

Preheat oven to 350. Line up mini muffin party cups or use small mini baking pan with liners. Using a canteloupe baller, fill each cup just partway with batter. Add put small dollop of raspberry jam in center, don't let touch sides of liners. Put more batter into cup, fill 2/3 only.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, using toothpick to check. If using regular flat pan with nut/party cups, put silpat liner down to help prevent blackening. (Next time I might lower temp just slightly as well to see). Let cool on oven rack for another minute with oven open before removing to cool.

This recipe makes 16 mini cupcakes. I would imagine it'd make about 6 large ones.

Frosting was just cream cheese, confectioners sugar, lemon juice all whipped into a frenzy til I liked the consistency. If you want, add some raspberry jam, just a tiny bit, gives it a pale pink color. Frost with spatula or pipe. Garnish with one raspberry on each cuppie (I used frozen).

Note on raspberries, they sweat and esp the frozen ones as they melt, so let them sweat onto a paper towel first before putting them on as garnish. I put them on then they started sweating so I took them off and let them dry out first on a paper towel but a few of the cuppies looked like they were bled on! Thanks raspberries. Also...they sweat LATER as well, so the raspberries are kind of a funny add, but people actually liked the little color they added to the frosting funnily enough.

Also, I think that I need a silpat liner on the cookie sheet next time because the poor little nut and party cups were all brown on the bottom from the heat through the cookie sheet. I need something to help even that out and maybe even raise the rack from the bottom more. Might try these again this wkd to perfect, as I only used 1/2 the cream cheese frosting on I have 1/2 left.

You could omit raspberry jam in the center if you don't want a filled cuppie. Then I'd really use the raspberry in frosting. But even with the cuppies filled and used in frosting, it wasn't too much raspberry, I just used a tiny bit. Also, interestingly enough people LOVED the filling in the cupcake. I have to try another filled one soon.

Lastly, random...but when my husband was eating his tonite I noticed that the jam area was slightly hollowed out as the jam baked into the cupcake. My husband said it was the steam releasing into the cupcake as the jam baked. I thought interesting, could that possibly be why these are so moist as well, from the steam?? Not sure, but it's fun to ponder.

Why am I babbling on? Pictures!

Batter up.

Batter & jam mingling.

Baked and cooling. I overfilled them so some went a little crazee.

Frosted and raspberried.

Dissasembled and dissected. Yum!

Goodies in the Mail.

I love when stuff comes in the mail. I'm an online shopping whenever a box comes its like Christmas. Christmas daily works for me. Or at least Christmas 2x a week. Sometimes Greg's Mom sends us these fabulous boxes of brownies...they taste like crack. Seriously. I have to eat them all immediately to save myself from eating them slowly over the next week and prolonging the agony. It's great.

This box was at the doorstep on Thurs night. No wonder I wanted to bake immediately upon opening. Look at the goodies inside.

YUM. I ordered from thanks to chockylit's blog and got the cutie nut and party cups she uses...figure let's diversify the cupcake liner love a bit. And I like them so far. I need to work on a few things but I figured the most important to get the finished, frosted cupcake out we're doing pretty well so far.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Let's Go Green...

For St. Patty's Day anyway.

Here are my masterpieces from Sunday night baking...I'm a lagger on posting as usual.

Chocolate Sour Cream cuppies with Bailey's Irish Cream frosting. The frosting was such a was crazy. I could just eat the frosting, forget the cake. Sacrilege????

The cake could be any recipe really. I used the one below from Sat and added sour cream, interesting consistency, people liked them.

The idea for Bailey's frosting is one I found online--can't recall where, but I used HowToEatACupcake's whipped buttercream idea...fabulous. Just gotta get it a bit stiffer next time I think. Or dollop it instead of pipe it.

Whipped Buttercream 'recipe'...I never get the quantities right but you get the idea.

1 stick softened butter
2c confectioners sugar
1/2c heavy whipped cream
1 tsp milk
Baileys Irish Cream liquer

Whip butter til creamed, add conf. sugar and milk til you get the consistency you want (might be more or less than 2c), add cream, whip with stand mixer paddle til insanely fluffy. Add liqeur. Frost.

I am still not sure if you have to refridgerate or not but I did anyway due to the small amount of cream. Don't want to give anyone food poisoning...hehee.

Out of what I have made so far, peanut gallery aka hubby's loves is this whipped buttercream and the kahlua cupcakes overall. I guess we like our sweet liquer!!

Cooling. They fell slightly which I wasn't sure about but frosting is fab for covering that up.

Whipped Buttercreamy goodness.

Frosted. Cuter this way I think before adding color.

St. Patty's Day-ified. One sweet coworker said they looked prof. Poor lovely deluded gal!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Let Them Eat Cupcakes...

So the focus of my life most of the time besides my allergic bacterial rat and my cute yet grubby car-working hubby is typically food. How to make it, when and where to eat it. Though lately more how to make it and more specifically cupcake it rather than other types of sweets.

Every time I have yet another cupcake, and it's often since cupcakeries are popping up like rashes around here...I think oh this is lovely, this is divine, and then 5 bites later, ugh this is gross, this is too sweet. I am so over them.

Until the next time...when I spot a cupcake in a window or the word 'bakery' as I drive by. And I perk up. And inevitably I'm eating another cupcake.

So lately I've started learning how to bake them. Anyone can mix up some boxed cake mix and slap on some Betty Crocker frosting (the bomb by the way)..I've been doing it for years. But really baking cupcakes? Like from scratch? With melted chocolate and buttermilk? Whaaa?

My 2nd experiment was already posted below and they came out wonderful...rave reviews from the peanut gallery, aka aforementioned husband and my ladies at work who haven fab with the feedback.

So I've started collecting recipes. When I eat cupcakes anywhere now it's almost more of a taste test. How do they get the frosting to be so buttery? Where did they get this CUTE cupcake paper?

Today was a lazy Saturday and so I decided to put all my hard research to work for me. I combined a handful of double chocolate/devils food/uberrichgoingtokillyou chocolate recipes from cookbooks and the internet and made these.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes.

and then I reserved half the batter and made two variations for testing.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes

The jury is still out on what is the favorite. Got experimental on the frosting too.

Fun baking facts I've learned...the hard way mostly!!
--Mini cuppies only take slightly more than 1/2 the baking time of biggies.
--Test your oven's temperature. No seriously. I thought ours was off by maybe 10 degrees. Try FIFTY. So now when I want 350 I have to put in 400. Crazy huh? No wonder our chicken always took forever to cook.
--When recipes say 17-22 minutes, start checking at 15 and keep testing til clean. Depending on your oven and your ingredients, it might 15, don't learn this the hard way.
--Let cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan before removing to cooling rack. Don't leave them too long in the pan or else the heat might continue to cook them a little too much.

So without further ado, the successful end-result recipe and notes on variations.

Basic Double Chocolate Cupcakes

2c hot brewed coffee
1 1/4c unsweetened cocoa powder (Hersheys)
3/4c well shaken buttermilk
1/4c sour cream
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2c baking sugar
2c flour all purpose
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs & 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla

in med bowl, mix hot coffee with cocoa til paste forms.
in another med bowl, mix buttermilk & sour cream, whisk til combined.
in third med bowl, mix flour, baking soda, powder, salt in med bowl.
cream butter in a stand mixer, add sugar and beat til fluffy, about 3 minutes.
add eggs to mix, then vanilla, blend til combined.
add buttermilk bowl to cocoa coffee bowl, whisk til liquid and creamy.
add flour bowl and cocoa buttermilk bowls to stand mixer, alternating, til combined. do not overbeat, just blend til combined.

spoon into liners. bake 350 for 17-20 min or until tester comes out clean.

--add peppermint extract into batter for a chocolate mint cupcake. use any type of frosting.
--add kahlua into batter for a chocolate kahlua cupcake. for kahlua frosting, beat heavy cream until thickened. add kahlua, cocoa powder, confectioners sugar. beat til soft peaks form. don't overbeat or it will turn into butter.

mixing coffee and cocoa w/buttermilk cream

sugar and butter creaming.

mixing cocoa and buttersugar.

in the cups!

frseh outta the oven & cooling..

kahlua variation with kahlua whipped cream.

chocolate cuppies with kahlua whipped w/shavings.

mini kahlua with cream and espresso bean.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cupcake Me!

I know I know, my poor blog is languishing thanks to my Yelping.

So recently, I decided that I wanted to take a page from Janna's super-amazing baking book. Bought a frosting gun! Signed up for a cake decorating class with a few friends. But before that...I've been practicing.

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes w/Lemon Buttercream ... Mini Style!
Recipe adapted from a Martha Stewart link...apparently Billy's is some famous bakery in NYC. NYC in my household. Awesome! I would post the recipe link but MS's website is down for now. I third'd the recipe and they came out fab. 24 Minis.

They ARE as good as they look. As I type this, my husband is eating one making loud MMMM noises. Ahhh, gotta love my fan base.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fraiche Yogurt.

This one is for Janna.

Fraiche Yogurt in all about my visit last nite here in my Yelp review. I wanted to like it better but the decor was the only fab thing about it. Wish you had been here to try it with us.