Friday, August 13, 2010

Out of retirement!

Erin here and I decided to come out of retirement.
It was hard for me to look at Martha's book while it took all my energy to keep my lunch in.
BUT now I am feeling SO MUCH better. Wahooo!
So I have decided to come out of retirement and finish what I have started.
But tonight I had to revisit a recipe for a special occasion.

The Buttermilk Cupcakes

I got off to a little bit of a rocky start...some combusted. Not really sure why. Maybe my cupcake tin was upset for leaving it alone for so long.
Since I am having twins we did cupcake's for Baby A

And cupcakes for Baby B

I shared my cupcake love with my friends who came over to see what we were having.
When they bit into the cupcakes this is what they found!
A boy and a girl :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Birthday Red Velvet Cupcakes!!!

I have a small confession to make. I bake, I photograph, usually I bake again, and photograph again (something separately delicious) and then I take forever to blog. I have never been good at the getting to the blog part, so I apologize and promise to work on this. If Erin could do it with two kiddos, then so can I! Right? :)

Last Friday night was my girlfriend Megan's birthday. We had a party for her at our favorite pizza place here in town. I was very excited because even though she's never actually said it, I knew Red Velvet Cupcakes are her absolute favorites. It made my cupcake choice this week very easy.
I have never made Red Velvet Cupcakes before, and have really only eaten them from Sprinkles Cupcakes. Yes, THE Sprinkles Cupcakes (in CA we are semi-used to them, out here in AL they are an icon to cupcake people, LOL.) I have to admit it, again, they call her Martha Stewart for a reason. These were by far the best Red Velvet Cupcakes I have ever had...and the best part!?!?! I made them!! You should too!

Red Velvet Cupcakes (pg. 30)
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Cream-Cheese Frosting
     1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
     12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
     1 pound confectioner's sugar, sifted
     3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions for Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incoporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
 Mix in food color and vanilla.
3. Reduce speed to low add flower mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
 4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three quarters full. Bake, rotating tins half way through, until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
 5. To finish use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
I have to insert a blurb about Martha's Cream-Cheese frosting. It was nothing short of amazing! I have made several cream-cheese frostings, purchased it, and NOTHING has come close to being as good as this recipe. It will be my go to for cream-cheese from here on out. I only made a half batch for this recipe and it turned out to be the perfect amount.

Cream-Cheese Frosting Instructions:
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and then vanilla, and them mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

The cupcakes were simple enough and tasted AMAZING. I was surprised at the fact that there was no butter in them, and the oil/sugar mixture was a new one. It seemed very weird when I was mixing it but it was delicious!! I will be making these cupcakes again and again I just know it!

Because it was Megan's birthday I wanted to make these cupcakes extra special. So I rolled out some fondant and decorated them in a happy birthday fashion :) Here's my birthday version of Martha's Red Velvet Cupcakes.
And here's a shot of all of us ladies enjoying Megan's birthday celebration and the Cupcake Love!

Up next? Tieramisu Cupcakes for my friend Treva. :) Can't wait to try those!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brown Sugar Pound Cakes

Hi :) It's Krystle. Thanks Erin for letting me join the challenge. I was so excited when I finally got my book in the mail I had to start baking right away. I've probably looked through the book 50 times already so I was very excited when my husband presented me with an opportunity to bake some to share.

My husband is currently in flight school for the Army. He attends academic class for half the day and flies for the other half at this current point in his training. Funny thing happened to him in class last week, his cell phone went off. Yes he was THAT guy! Apparently there is an unwritten rule that when your phone goes off you have to make up for the interruption by bringing pizza for the class. I begged him to let me make cupcakes! He did :) So my first batch of Martha Stewart goodness was shared with a class full of Army Blackhawk pilots. The only thing I don't have is a picture of them eating.

I picked the Brown Sugar Pound Cakes (pg. 60) because, lets be real, they seemed to be one of the easiest recipes in the book. I needed to start out with something from Martha that I felt I could easily conquer (she's always secretly intimidated me!) everyone needs to have a confidence booster, right? That and I didn't start the baking until 8:30pm (once my baby boys were in bed) so I had to make something that I already had all of the ingredients for. Not only were they easy...they were delicious.
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
Brown-Butter Icing
     1/2 cup unsalted butter
     2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
     2 tsp pure vanilla extract
     2 Tbsp milk, plus more if needed

Insturctions for cupcakes:
1) Preheat oven to 325. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
2) With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each in incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
3) Divide evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes, turn out cupcakes onti racks and let cool completely.
4) To finish place cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; spoon icing over cupcakes, and let set.

Instructions for Brown-Butter Icing:
1) Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasonally, until but-brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.
2) Add confectioners sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to brown butter, stir until smooth. If necessary add more milk (up to two tablespoons) a little at a time, just until icing is spreadable. Use immediately.
A few additional side notes...

I learned something new when baking these cupcakes (thanks to my friend Laura and Google!) I ran out of brown sugar and still needed a full cup after starting the cupcakes. Did you know you can make your own brown sugar?? You can, and it's super easy! All you need is molasses and regular white sugar. 1 cup white sugar and 1 Tbsp molasses and wah-la you have light brown sugar (2 Tbsps and you have dark brown sugar)
Also...I baked the cupcakes the night before his class and was waiting to frost them (based on Martha's recomendations in the recipe) and when I stored them in their air-tight container and opened it in the morning this happened:
I have no idea why this occurred? Thankfully the recipe makes 28 and he only needed 24 for class. The only thing I can attribute it to is maybe the wonderful humidity in the air here in wonderful lower Alabama. I will have to watch for this in the future. Suggestions anyone?

The cupcakes were remarkably simple to make, smelled like yummy Christmas when they were cooking, and were quite tasty to eat. The Brown-Butter Icing is quite sweet, but was a good combo...that Martha sure does know what she's doing. And yes, the guys all liked them. I might actually bake this recipe again as mini pound cakes, not just cupcakes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another kind of Challenge

I can't even tell you how much I have LOVED doing this cupcake challenge.
Not only am I learning how to bake but giving cupcakes away is SO much fun.
Right now I have a bigger challenge at hand and that is growing TWO babies.
Which most people probably already know.
Until I can get back on my feet and off this bed rest I plan on returning and getting my bake on!
Until then I asked one of my best friends from high school and super mom(of twins!)
Krystle Redley(who I will always think of as Krystle Walker) to help you!
She is in Alabama so we can better distribute the cupcake love around the country:)
Thank you all for you love and support!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Martha's Meyer Lemon Cupcakes

I was shopping at Sprouts and I found Meyer lemons on sale so I decided to make one of Martha's favorites on page 121.
They really must be one of Martha's favorites since they make 42 cupcakes!!!

I personally have never seen/tasted/heard of Meyer lemons before and to me they looked like tangerines.

whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour, 1.2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt and two tablespoons finely graded lemon zest together in a bowl. Then in a mixer mix together 3 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter and 3 cups sugar. Once pale and fluffy beat in 8 oz of cream cheese. Reduce to low speed and mix in 7 large eggs one at a time. Then beat in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tsp vanilla. Then put into liners and and cook at 325 for 28 minutes rotating halfway.

Then for the lemon curd combined 2 whole eggs, 8 egg whites and 2/3 cup lemon juice in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Cook, whisking together constantly until mixture is thick and coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and mix in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces. Then strain through a small sieve into another bowl. I made this all the night before so you then need to put a piece of parchment paper pressing directly on top of the curd to prevent a film from forming.

Now you know how when you eat something you really like then immediately get the stomach flu you no longer like it? Well that is my relationship with Martha's Meyer Lemon cupcakes. I ate a few that night which is WAY more than any other cupcake I have made. But they were light and fluffy and.....blah sorry I can't even talk about it honestly. About 10pm that night I came down with the stomach bug that was floating around our house and....well...let's just say that I will never eat a Meyer lemon again.

But I am so dedicated to my cupcake love that I dragged my pale pathetic butt out of bed and and breathed only through my nose pulled out the lemon curd out and put it in a pastry bag to insert lemon curd into each cupcake and then let it overflow to the top. It might have looked better if I didn't feel so crappy but hey it is what it is. I was so anxious to get these cupcakes out of my house that I put them in my holder and placed them outside for my friend Amber to take to church and hand out to the girls.
On a level of difficulty I would say that these were fairly easy.
I can't talk about the taste.
My buds are a bit tainted.
But everyone else said they were good.
My husband still swears the raspberry cheesecakes are the best so I am going to have to make those again this week and I like the idea of sticking something in the middle if they are sunken again.

And can I just say how much fun this whole project has been? I have gotten SO much better at baking. Even though I still have a long way to go I feel like I am making progress and I am really excited about that.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I was throwing a baby shower for my friend Trena yesterday and I knew I wanted to make two different kinds of cupcakes. I decided to make one I had already done and a new one. I chose Orange Vanilla Bean because Trena had one and said she liked them and what a pregnant woman wants a pregnant woman gets :)
She also mentioned she liked white cupcakes so I decided to go with Snickerdoodle.
The only problem with the Orange Vanilla Bean was that I was going to have to make the dreaded Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
So I watched this video posted by Stephanie and prepped myself mental for the task.
I first put everything out just because that is what she did in the video.
(Ps I have spent over 98.oo on butter since starting this project so I simply can not afford all these failed attempts at swiss meringue)

So here is my one cup sugar and my 2 pounds of butter.
So I did my egg whites, then added the butter was ALL runny AGAIN!!!
So I tossed it.

SO I did it again.
This time I switched to the Paddle attachment like the video says(and Martha does not say).
After I added the butter it got really runny again and I was all but crying(and I am being serious) I felt that it HAD to be me. What the heck! So I just threw the rest of the butter in and flipped the switch to heck a fast and left. When I came back 15 minutes later....

I think I wasn't letting it whip long enough after adding the butter.
Or maybe it's the paddle attachment
Or maybe I am just incompetent when it comes to baking.
Either way I DID IT!
I was so proud.
And my Orange Vanilla Bean Cupcakes looked fantastic!

So then it was on to Snickerdoodle.
I got WAY to excited about my Swiss Meringue that I forgot to take pictures of the steps to make the Snickerdoodle.
And I am including the recipe because I had a few asking for it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
On medium-high speed cream 2 sticks of room temp unsalted butter, 1 3/4 cup sugar until pale and fluffy. Then add 4 eggs(at room temp) one at a time. Then beat in 2 tsp vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add flour mixture(1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup cake flour, 1 tblspn baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tblspn of cinnamon) in to the mixture in three batches alternating with 1 1/4 cup milk. Then fill up the cupcake liners 3/4 the way full(I do a little higher) and bake for about 20 minutes rotating half way through and you done!

Now the frosting.
Which is always the most tricky.
Except this frosting was called 7 minute frosting so in my head I thought it only took 7 minutes so it must be easy. Right?
I must have forgot I am baking Martha's book here.
I think she makes things complicated for kicks.

So you take 1 1/2 cups of sugar, then 2/3 cup water and 2 tablespoons of corn syrup and heat until 230 degrees(side note I LOVE trader joes but their dishwasher detergent will make your pots look like this)

Then you beat 6 large egg whites until fluffy peaks form. Once the peaks have formed add two tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat. Once the syrup mixture reaches 230 degrees you set the mixer to medium-high and pour the syrup mixture down the side in a slow constant stream. Once you have poured the entire mixture in you let the mixer keep beating until the bottom of the bowl is cooled. Which apparently takes 7 minutes thus the name but took more like 15 minutes. So the entire process took about 30 minutes or so.
7 minutes by butt.
The frosting was DELICIOUS and came out looking great which is an accomplishment for me in itself.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and your done.
I dipped some strawberries as well and my dessert spread was pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

I shared my cupcake love with these girls especially the expectant mother in the middle who is having a little boy next month.
On a tasty level I would say that the snickerdoodle were a 9.
Really tasty.
On the skill level I would say the actual cupcake was easy the frosting was a little tricky so I would say medium.
But all in all I would say you need to go make these very soon.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Raspberry marble cheesecake cupcakes

So here is yet another one to repeat!
It was my first time cooking cupcakes in a bath in the oven.
It didn't go so well..
I don't know if you can tell but they are COMPLETELY sunken in.
They looked like they were poor sick cupcakes.
The ironic part my husband said they were the best he has tasted yet.
But since they were so ugly I couldn't bring myself to serve them to anyone else.
So I will try these again next week and see if I can't master this whole cooking in a bath thing.