Category Archives: baking

Now with 100% more cat.

Meet my new roommate, Beatrice:

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Her hobbies include napping, lolling around in the garden, chasing bugs, watching the backyard birdfeeder, keeping herself immaculately groomed, and purring like an outboard motor when seated on a human lap. Her dislikes include empty food dishes, the neighbouring orange cat who occasionally walks through the backyard, and the fact that her usual humans have left her for 6 months. So far she exhibits no strong feelings towards yarn one way or the other, but nonetheless I have procured some handy dandy IKEA storage to keep current projects shut tight (in a more attractive fashion than, say, a plastic bin).

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I’ve finally finished the re-locating process, and am now installed in a house-sitting gig until the new year. Beatrice comes with the house, and this is just fine with me. She has so far been accepting of my presence and decided my bed was worthy enough to sleep on last night. (I’m sure this feeling will be enhanced once autumn and winter creep in.) This morning, it was raining drearily when I got up, which irked me since i usually take Sunday morning for a nice long run. Beatrice made the effort to reschedule her backyard stalking to tomorrow and has since spent the day napping or watching squirrels from the back porch. I did go running eventually, but while the rain was on, what else was there to do but get the cupcake baking done? ;)

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These are plain old vanilla-vanilla. Sometimes simple is best, right? Right.
Now, about the rest of that Sunday afternoon…

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Filed under baking, real life miscellaney

Once More With Feeling

My fellow knitter and stash-enabling cohort (see: Needle Emporium tent sale of a week and a half ago) Diana commissioned me this week to bake her some cupcakes to bring to school – for the teachers, not the kids, to be shared at the staff treats party. She asked for some Cosmopolitan cupcakes specifically, and I was quite happy to try Version 2. I did these today and I’m pleased enough to share with you what I did. They’re so beautiful it’s almost too sad to part with them ;)

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They taste both light and decadent at the same time. They’re moist and fluffy and I think using juice concentrate was a better move than the cranberry juice out of the bottle. I wanted to use dried cranberries as well, but for some reason those went astray and I couldn’t find ‘em to add them into the batter. For this recipe, I used the Lemonade Cupcakes on this page (which, by the way, are delicious) as the base idea and changed a few things around. If I change it up again I’ll letcha know ;)

“Cosmopolitan” Cupcakes with Lime-Cointreau Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate or cranberry punch concentrate, thawed
zest of 1 lime
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 drops red food colouring (optional, if you would like a stronger reddish tint in the cake)

1. Allow all ingredients to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

2. With a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat until well combined.

3. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Combine buttermilk, thawed concentrate, zest, and cranberries in a separate bowl.
Add in 1 cup each of the dry and wet mixtures alternately, beating on low until the whole mixture is well combined.

4. Fill cups with batter two-thirds full. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until cupcakes
spring back in the middle when touched lightly. Cool for 10 minutes in pan.

For glaze:
1/4 cup thawed cranberry juice concentrate
1/4 cup vodka

5. Brush with cranberry/vodka glaze when cupcakes are still slightly warm.
When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with lime-cointreau buttercream:

Lime-Cointreau Buttercream
1/2 c butter
4 c confectioner’s sugar
3 T Cointreau
juice from 1 large lime

Mix all ingredients on high speed until fluffy. Double this recipe if you are doing a lot of piping or have more than 2 dozen cupcakes.

Garnish with: (optional)
Dusting of Lime zest
Dried cranberries

CosmoCupcakes2a

Yum. If you’ll just excuse me, I’ll be over here putting a few aside for myself for later…. ::whistles::

All of my baking posts.

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Filed under baking, recipe

The cupcakes will continue

Since cupcakes are one of the few things not currently providing me with stress or anxiety, I have no intention of ceasing to make them. (I will have to continue to find people to help me eat them, but that is another matter). This time I decided to branch out with my own recipe format, based on my favourite drink – the Cosmopolitan. I figured since there are cupcake recipes out there based on teas and coffees and other alcoholic beverages (as for example I did find a margarita cupcake recipe on the webs…and another with amaretto in it that I am itching to make), heck, surely I could take the Cosmo and do something with it in cupcake form. I’m not going to give the full specs of what I did just yet, because quite frankly I believe I can do better and I want another go at it. But, I will say that these got very rave reviews from those who have eaten them.

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The four ingredients in a Cosmopolitan are cranberry juice, vodka, Cointreau, and lime. Anybody who tries to substitute one of those things (or do something terrible like stick a cherry in it or serve it on the rocks or in a highball glass – all things I have experienced while trying to order one out in a bar or restaurant) is either selling you something or settling for less than the perfect drink, in my humble opinion ;) So I was trying to get all 4 of these flavours in there. In the cupcake I used cranberry juice, vodka, and lime zest. The lime and vodka are there solidly but the cranberry was too mild. When I try again I will try to find either some juice concentrate, or dried cranberries, or both. Also, they didn’t rise quite as thoroughly as I would have liked, so I’ll have adjust some things there. I also had to drop in a wee bit of red food colouring for tint, since the cranberry juice didn’t affect the colour and I wanted them to look like something besides vanilla cupcakes. The frosting, though? The frosting recipe I am not touching because it is the best thing I have ever eaten. I had no shame in licking the spatula clean.

Lime-Cointreau Buttercream
(accompaniment for Cosmo cupcakes)

1/2 c butter
4 c confectioner’s sugar
3 T Cointreau
juice from 1 large lime

Blend all ingredients with a mixer and try not to eat the whole bowl. Double this if you want to do a lot of piping or if you are frosting more than 2 dozen cupcakes.

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Further bulletins as progress occurs on the cupcake front. There has been some knitting progress lately although it has been slow. I’m on the second sock of my second pair of Monkey socks, this time with Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in ‘Foxy Lady':

Monkey #2

Over and out for now…Today I am chipping away at the boxes and attempting to shore up courage to write. One thing at a time, right? Oh look, it’s tea time…maybe time for just one cupcake, too…

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Birthday cupcakes

(I’m going to need lots of help with these.)

Pear, Cranberry, and White Chocolate

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Chocolate Peanut Butter
(These turned out a lot more like brownies than what I expected)

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And now I’m going to try to get in as much being-lazy time as is humanly possible. ;) And cast on some Monkey socks in birthday celebration

If YOU could cast on anything you want today, what would that be? (pretend time, money and ambition are no object.)

::kisses::

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This week’s cupcakes

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After all my hemming and hawing, i went with basic chocolate cupcakes and vanilla buttercream frosting. May yet try a bit of garnishing with some mini-chocolate chips, but damn. That is some fine frosting action if I do say so myself. These will be accompanying me to knit night, by the by ;)

How long will this cupcake jag last, you might ask? (This is my 3rd batch of cupcakes in 3 weeks.) Well, at least one more week, because next week is my birthday. And also, I have a twin. So surely I could not be blamed for baking a different batch for each of us, right? and because it’s our birthday, gluttonous and indulgent recipes are required, right? Good. I’m glad we’re in agreement.

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After the revolution everyone will have cake

CarrotCupcakes1

I made this carrot cake cupcake recipe from Cupcake Bakeshop. The only things I did differently were to substitute 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup of the oil, and I didn’t use the candied ginger or pecans. (I like my carrot cake without any edible land mines.) The candied carrot sprinkles didn’t quite turn out – I should have cooked them in the sugar syrup a bit longer and then they would have reached crunchy texture. (They are nicely sweet as-is, though) ;)

Most of these will be coming with me tomorrow night to knit night, because I have realized that the key to eating up 2 dozen cupcakes is to have 2 dozen people around to help you. I might try more again next week, perhaps something vegan-friendly. Dudes, there is a world of cupcake recipes out there and that is a world I would like to be a part of.

Now I have to get back to the ol’ thesis. It’s so close, in that I have a lot of pages written. But also very far, in that those pages still need more organization, and more backup with some literature. Oh yeah, and I also have to make sure I have an “argument”, or whatever. Psh. Such a small detail…

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We interrupt your Sunday broadcast…

…for just a little bit of gratuitous food picspam.

Saturday was all about the kitchen, for me, and indulging in some new recipes. First, I assembled some S’mores Cupcakes:

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They are delicious – but very sweet. Tooth-brushing and flossing is very much required. The only thing I missed in the recipe was the sprinkling of graham crumbs, and I wish I’d had them (or crushed graham crackers), it would have completed the s’mores flavour. I suspect this recipe could be made vegan with a different chocolate cake recipe and an icing alternative – but sadly for the s’mores flavour it is hard to avoid the marshmallow.

(A propos of cupcakes, I suspect that this site may be my undoing.)

Then there was dinner. Salad Nicoise and Dave Liebermann’s Foccacias with caramelized onions. MMM.

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Oh yeah, and I finally sewed up the straps on that Honeymoon Cami as well… ;)

HoneymoonCami

It’s simple but comfy and perfect for this time of year. As with the first Honeymoon Cami I did a year ago, I added about 2 inches of length before starting the waist shaping decreases and it sits much more suitably on me than the original pattern length would. it took just over 4 balls of Luna overall for the 36″ size.

And now, to get back to that nightie and conquer the lace edging…And find people to help me eat up 2 dozen cupcakes… ;) Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

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Filed under baking, chocolate, cooking, finished object, summer knitting