Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pear Cake

This is the cake I wrote about in my Mexican Brunch post, the one that's listed there as All-Purpose Vegetable Cake. There, I made it with mashed up corn, and this time around, I used some sweet, juicy pears for a uniquely flavored, wonderfully satisfying cake.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inverted Black Bottom Cupcakes

This week my friend, who's just been through surgery and won't be back at school for a week or two, suggested (though "suggested" implies some subtlety...) that I make her cupcakes when she comes back. She wanted chocolate cake with a mint frosting, and I started thinking of icings I could use. Not seven-minute frosting, as peppermint extract will prevent egg whites from whipping up, and not buttercream, as frankly, I wanted to branch out a little bit. Then I thought of cream cheese frosting, which I've never tried making before and seemed like a perfect experiment. Then I remembered some delicious black bottom cupcakes I made last year, with a chocolate cake base and a cream cheese filling. I got to thinking, why not use the great cake from that recipe but dress the cupcakes up with a cream cheese frosting rather than a filling?

Also, I'll admit that I'm a little addicted to piping.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Project Cupcake Part Deux

It's safe to say that the birthday party cupcakes were a success. Everything (well, almost everything) went smoothly, the cupcakes looked great, the frosting was delicious, and by the end of it all we had 270 prettily iced little cakes for the party (we lost a couple to taste checks along the way).


Friday, March 19, 2010

Chococolate Cake Truffles

This week, I had a cake order for an office going-away party. The only specifications were that the cake should have layers and include chocolate; lots and lots of chocolate. Of course, being me, I decided to use a chocolate cake recipe I'd never tried before. Not surprisingly, the cake didn't work out as I had hoped. While delicious and rich and chocolatey, it was too moist to cut well and stack. So what do you do when life gives you a whole chocolate sheet cake? You make it into cake balls.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Project Cupcake

272 cupcakes. 3 hours. 1 very happy baker.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Pink Seven Minute Frosting: Trial Run

So, remember how in the recent chocolate buttercream post I said that my teacher asked me to make the 250 cupcakes for her daughter's birthday party? Well, of course I said yes! Since the theme of the party is gold and pink (in varying shades), I think it will be perfect to make gold cake cupcakes with two different types of frosting, tinted all different shades of pink. I already know that I want to make the successful "Crazy Good" buttercream that I love so much, but I had to decide on a new one. I set my little heart on seven-minute frosting after experimenting with soft-centered meringues (something about whipping up egg whites is just magic to me). The thing is, the last time I tried this kind of icing it was far, far too sweet, and I did something wrong with the syrup and the whites and it just didn't fluff up. So I decided to plan ahead a bit and give it a test run at home before preparing the actual party cupcakes.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Cultured Salted Butter Caramels

Junior year.  My weekends have become a mad dash to see my friends, finish all my homework, and do all the baking I've been deprived of during the week.  With so little time to do everything I want, I'm starting to enjoy my time in the kitchen even more.  When I have a day off, I start it at the breakfast table with a cup of tea and a patient excitement for the day ahead that can only mean one thing.

I'm spending the entire day in the kitchen.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

French Bread

Mmm, bread.  Nourishing, wholesome, comforting.  The staff of life and all that good stuff.  If I could, I might make whole meals just out of really good bread.  Or spread it with some hummus.  Or tapenade.  Or a slice of cheese.  Or make it into a chorizo sandwich.  Whatever you like, this bread is perfect.  It's delightfully soft, has a good flavor on its own, and works beautifully with spreads or as a sandwich bread.  The lovely golden color just screams "homemade goodness," and I (really really) suggest taking it to work or school with you for lunch so that you can casually pull out a crusty, golden brown sandwich and casually mention that you made it yourself.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eight Yolk Mini Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream

Both of my parents are professors, so I think I've always had a good appreciation for teachers. I hate when my friends complain that a teacher is "out to get them" or try to take advantage of a teacher who is more benevolent with their class. But this past weekend, I really discovered how important teachers are in my life.

I was recently selected as a finalist for a poetry recitation contest, and this weekend was the competition. I didn't win, but two of my teachers coached me for weeks beforehand, put immense effort into preparing me for the reading, and took time out of their own Saturdays to come and support me at the competition. They were wonderful every step of the way, and I realized that without them, I probably wouldn't even have been selected as a finalist in the first place.

Since I show appreciation and affection the best way I know how, with food, these cupcakes were to thank them.