Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting

What did you do today?

Lemon Curd Filling

Here's What You Need:

1 1/2 Lemons, Zested and Juiced
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 T Butter
4 Egg Yolks

Here's What You Do:

1. Make Cupcakes and Let them Cool

2. Put all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on low low heat for about 10 minutes -- at least until everything is melty and lemony and incorporated. Stir almost constantly.

3. Take your pot off the heat and stir the curd (gently -- don't break your arm off) as it cools. 

4. Use a piping bag and pastry tip to pump your cupcakes full of lemon curd. Or just eat the lemon curd. Because it's delicious even though "curd" is on the list of worst words for awesome things ever.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Peach Shortbread Bars

When I'm stressed or bored I really like to bake. Something about the warm oven and focusing on something else for a while {in this case, slicing peaches and browning butter} helps me to relax and reimagine my life as something that's really, really good.

And so yesterday, when I was at my Maximum Stress Threshold, I started to brown a cup of butter over the stove. I picked peaches and breathed in their summery smell. And I dove into yet another amazing recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

 What she doesn't mention -- or at least something that was true for me -- is that these are a lot better the next day. For breakfast. Or lunch. Or, you know where this is going...any time. They're better when they're cool than when they're piping hot. At least that's what I thought.

Peach Shortbread Bars

Here's What You Need:

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 3/4 C All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg
2 Sliced Peaches

Here's What You Do:

First off, if you have time, brown the butter. Put it in a pot and stir it until it boils, gets clear, and then browns. Careful not to burn it too much. Then pop the butter into a container (I used tupperware just fine, but if you have a glass dish or pyrex measuring cup, that might be better -- don't want anything to melt...) and then put the butter in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350, or thereabouts. Grease up your 9x13 pan.

Then get out a medium-large bowl and mix up the Sugar, Flour, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Salt. Use a pastry cutter to blend in the (now cool) butter and the egg. The mixture will be crumbly

Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Arrange peach slices over the top. Then top with the rest of the crumbly mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes. If you need to eat it hot, pop a scoop of vanilla ice cream on there. Or wait for it to cool and for the peachy flavors to sweeten up. You'll love it.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Triple Berry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

Yesterday I baked what I thought was going to be a beautiful buttermilk bundt cake, full of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries...

Not so. This is what happened instead:

Right at the clutch moment, the cake stuck to the sides of the pan and basically imploded. I tried cutting the cake into pretty pieces and arranging them artfully:

Which started out alright, but ended up like this:

A Very Sad Lump of Cake
So today I got back on the horse, and after a long nap I tried again. I washed berries:

I measured and sorted:

I mixed a new batter:

And this time, I baked the cake at 325 for 90 minutes. Choirs of angels were singing from inside my oven, so I knew this is what would happen:

The cake released perfectly. Oh, did I mention that I greased the heck out of the pan? I did that too.

And then I drizzled lemon glaze over the top.  Yep. Feeling 100% better about life right now.

Glory Hallelujah

Buttermilk Bundt. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Here's What You Need:

2 1/2 C Flour
2 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
{Sift together in medium bowl}
2 C Sugar
1 C Butter
Lemon Zest from One Medium Lemon
3 Eggs
1 t Vanilla
3/4 C Buttermilk
2-3 C Berries!

Here's What You Do:

1. Grease your bundt pan. Grease it again.
2. Preheat the oven to 350.
3. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture, then 1/2 the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk, then the rest of the dry ingredient mix. Basically alternate, mix, alternate until it's all in there.
4. Coat your berries in about 1 T of flour. Carefully add them to the batter.
5. Spoon the batter into your GREASED UP bundt pan.
6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan, and turn the heat down to 325. Bake for another 50-60 minutes (I checked every 5 minutes for the last 15 mins, just to be sure). The cake is not done until a toothpick comes out clean. Note: If you under bake this cake, you will have a pile of delicious cake crumbs, like I did on day 1. Just let it cook all the way.

Juice from that naked lemon that you zested.
1 T butter
Enough Powdered Sugar.

1. Melt the butter in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and whisk in the powdered sugar until you have the consistency that you like. Voila!

You should make this cake immediately because it says, "Summer," and even if it flops, it's delicious.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blueberry Boy Bait Preview

You are going to die. Assuming you like blueberries. Also assuming that you're a human (the spam-bots that roam this blog have little appetite for lightly sweet summer cakes).

This deliciousness is equal parts awesome name and awesome taste, and I promise that you can do almost nothing better with a basket of berries.

More pictures and a recipe forthcoming!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Check it out

My friend OG sent me this lonely orange shout-out this morning. My first fan e-mail! I'm so flattered.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to ruin a perfectly lovely cake

Carefully Measure Three Cups of Amazing Fruit

Prepare a Batter with Butter, Vanilla and Lemon Zest. Add Berries and Good Karma.

Bake to Perfection.

Attempt to Take the Cake Out of the Bundt Pan.

Cry. Wail. Sob. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fairy Cupcakes

This is definitely one of my favorite projects to date: Tinkerbell Cupcakes for a perfect fairy birthday party. I think birthdays should be special, especially when kids are little and things are still magical. Here's my little piece of magic.

I piped out the white chocolate outlines of these wings, then let them cool on a board covered with wax paper. Then I filled the fairy wings with gelatine and edible pearlescent glitter and let them dry for two days. They might not have needed that long to dry, but I wanted to be careful. 

I also made these little Tinkerbell wands, which took a ridiculous amount of time, but look how cute they are. 

Okay here's a whole bunch of pictures. I got kinda crazy with the camera.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fairy Cupcake Preview

On Friday I'm making Tinkerbell Cupcakes for a little girl's birthday party. I'm so excited to get to do something so unabashedly girlie and cute and fun! I did a practice run on the cupcakes over the weekend. Here's a little preview of the ingredients that (I hope) will make the best Tinkerbell Cupcakes ever.

Crafting 3D Tinkerbell Wands

Hand Piped White Chocolate Fairy Wings Filled with Sparkling Gelatine

Delicious Vanilla Cake

Fairy Cupcakes should look like delicious flowers, right?

Finished Fairy Wants on Lollipop Sticks for Extra Magic

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chocolate Ganache

Not the most glamorous picture, but it will have to do. For my darling, chocolate-addict friend (who is also a huge fan of this! and this!) I made this little birthday dessert I like to call "Chocolate Never Dies."

Fudge cupcakes with dark chocolate chips (60% cacao) topped with dark chocolate ganache. Did you swoon? If not, re-read that last sentence.

Glad you're back.

Ganache can be used as a filling, a glaze, or a "frosting" and is just sinfully good in any of its forms. To get the ganache thick enough to pipe out of a piping bag onto cupcakes, I read about six recipes and came up with this. (Most recipes are pretty much the same, so if you already know how to make ganache, prepare to not be surprised by my recipe.)


Here's What You Need:

1 T Butter
1 Scant Cup of Heavy Cream
1 Cup of Chocolate Chips, or roughly chopped chocolate. I used the Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips and it turned out amazingly dark and delicious.

Here's What You Do:

1. Chop your chocolate, or open your bag of chocolate chips. Measure it out into a medium bowl.
2. In a small saucepan bring the heavy cream and butter to a boil.
3. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate.
4. Slowly mix the chocolate and the cream until they become one dark chocolately liquid.
5. Once all the cream is incorporated, you can put the ganache in the fridge if you want it to thicken a little faster (takes about 45 mins if your fridge is quite cold), or you can leave it on the counter. I like to give it a stir every 10-15 mins to make sure it's cooling evenly.
6. Enjoy.

*Note, for runnier ganache, add a little more heavy cream. This would be fantastic poured over the top of a bundt cake or as the coating or center of home made truffles.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

How have I gotten this far without posting a recipe for buttercream frosting? I mean, if the dessert will hold still long enough I slather it with the stuff. The truth? I never really measure when I make frosting. I just taste until it tastes right. Or until Lito (my husband/guinea pig) tells me that it tastes right. I have some rough measurements for you, but the trick to making the best frosting ever is to taste & adjust until it's just right. (Someone please make a Goldilocks joke.)

Okay. Dreamy Buttercream Frosting

Here's What You Need:

1 stick of room temp butter. MUST. BE. SOFTENED. ENTIRELY.
3-ish cups of powdered sugar.
1 Tablespoon vanilla (I use Trader Joe's Bourbon Vanilla when I can't get my hands on real mexican vanilla)
4-ish Tablespoons of milk, half-n-half, heavy cream, whatever's in the fridge. The higher fat content, the yummier, right? Right.

Here's What You Do:

1. Cream the butter in a medium bowl (medium-high speed).
2. Add the vanilla. YUM.
3. Add the powdered sugar and milk in alternating batches. Start with about a cup of powdered sugar, mix it in, then maybe a tablespoon of milk, mix it in. See where you are. If your mixer is going to sieze if you put in any more powdered sugar because the stuff is too dry, add more milk before going on to the next round of milk/pwd sugar.
4. Taste it. Adjust powdered sugar and milk until you have the desired consistency. For piping (above) I like the frosting to be able to "stand up" when I dip a spoon in and create a little peak. Make sense? Message me if you want more muddled instructions.

You can add flavors/extracts to switch up this basic recipe too -- I've had success adding almond, maple, and lemon. Anyone else tried something awesome?


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits

Finally! The buttermilk biscuits! I've made these about four times in the past month which means two things: 1. They are delicious; 2. They are easy to make. I've been using Alton Brown's recipe, with a few minor adjustments that suit my kitchen/oven/tastes. 

Buttermilk Biscuits with Homemade Strawberry Jam

For this little blog post I'll walk you through the steps with helpful pics of what it looks like when I make them. I hope this is helpful!

Buttermilk Biscuits!

Here's What You Need:

2 Cups Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Shortening
1 Cup Buttermilk, Chilled (I love when it calls for chilled stuff because I never remember to take things out of the fridge in advance...)

Here's What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 425. 
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Add butter and shortening (see pic below).

Butter and Shortening Added!

4. Measure the buttermilk now, because
5. We're going to use our hands to mix the butter/shortening/dry ingredients.

6. Mix with your fingers until the mixture looks like crumbs.
7. Make a well in the center of the crumbly mixture and pour in the buttermilk.

8. Stir just until everything is sticky.
9. Dust the counter with flour, dump out the sticky dough, dust the dough with flour.
10. Pat the dough out into a 3/4" thick circle with your hands.

11. Then cut out the biscuits using fancy biscuit cutters or a round cookie cutter or a glass cup.

12. Transfer the uncooked biscuits onto your cookie sheet. They can touch -- they expand up, not out.

13. Bake at 425 for 15-20 Minutes.