necessity is the mother of invention {& that's why we're here, friends} we dance to the music, we play in the kitchen & sometimes that means one of us breaks the wine glasses {we're not saying who} the cook is a cubicle-warmer/learning & development specialist by day, & a writer/photographer/kitchen goddess by night who has fun inventing healthy things she can actually eat we seriously both need capes & a kick-ass theme song & the baker is a catering delivery superhero; no job too big or too early or too floral not to come home & make magic with a mixer & an oven we are always gluten-free, dairy-free, & magically delicious now, somebody turn up the music! we're about to get our dance on!

10 March 2008

crazy about cupcakes

So the baker isn't so playful as the cook, throwing in ingredients here and there, and definitely not taking pictures of everything, but I do however love to that I guess makes me the baker by default.

Anyway, I recently purchased a cupcake cookbook called Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella. This is in my quest, journey, adventure, whatever you want to call it, in discovering a part of myself that I've been missing or putting on the back burner for many years. I've always enjoyed baking. I've made chocolate banana bread, that's pretty scrumptious. And I made my first cheesecake, which Sweet Potato Cheesecake, with flying colors and rave reviews. I've always been fascinated by cupcakes I guess and all that you can do with them. The fillings, the frosting, the decorations. Mini cake masterpieces. But I have never made any part of them from scratch. The credit can be taken by Duncan Hines. So I knew I had a challenge ahead of me, but with the willingness and the roommates willing to taste test, I figured what did I have to lose.

So this past week I narrowed it down to one particular recipe and then purchased the ingredients this weekend. And then I hunkered down in our tiny little kitchen and started this new discovery of mine...cupcakes.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes--recipe taken from Crazy About Cupcakes

2/3 unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups (16 0z) sour cream
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely ground almonds, toasted
3/4 cup raspberry preserves

*Side note here, you are probably noticing that this isn't exactly a healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free recipe, so any of those ingredients could be substituted for organic or soy-made product. I wanted to see what the REAL cupcake was suppose to look like, so I used the real ingredients.

Baking instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert cupcake liners into cupcake pan.
2. In large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar with electric mixer on medium speed, for about 3-5 minutes, until fluffy. Add the eggs to creamed mixture, mixing 1 minutes after each addition. Add the almond extract and the sour cream.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, and slat. Add the ground almonds (I didn't add these, I think of these as optional).
4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Mix until completely blended.
5. Fill the liners 1/2 to 3/4 full. Drop a teaspoon of raspberry preserves into each cup. Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on pan.

So I figured out along time ago that I am my own worst enemy and now cupcake judge. I didn't know what I was expecting because I had nothing to base it on, but they didn't come out looking like the cupcake I had in my head. So really I have no leg to stand on in this debate, so I'm going to stop because guess what...they tasted pretty good. Kirsten couldn't partake because I used real ingredients but from the five or six people that tasted them, which wasn't me having a cupcake five or six cupcakes, said they were really good. I got over what they looked like pretty quick.

Oh I did try a frosting recipe from the book, but homemade frosting is something I have yet to master. Something about boiling and having stuff melt and set, didn't really work. It look more like runny grey-ish clay, than something you'd want to put on your cupcakes. The cupcakes taste pretty good with out, so why ruin a good thing?

1 comment:

Christianne said...

mmmm . . . chocolate raspberry?! whoa, nelly. settle down there, cowgirl. :)

sounds yummy, and glad to hear they tasted yummy, too. and might i add that i am utterly thrilled that you are taking this totally creative plunge into new and uncharted territory in your life. good for you, and proud of you, and proud to be along for the unfolding of this experimental side of you. i'm positive it will land you someplace completely GOOD.