Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fourth of Jul...CUPCAKES!

I *always* have to work on the 4th of July.  I've been gone on the 4th of July pretty much every year for my entire life.  When I was young, we went to summer camp on the week surrounding the 4th.  As an adult, I got a job that ensured I would always be gone.

Except this year.  Every once in a while, I score that day off.  It happens so infrequently (seriously, I've been in Cincinnati on the 4th of July like 2x my entire life), that I have no idea what normal people even do on that day.

We got invited to a picnic, so we went!  And I made cupcakes.  From the only book I ever seem to cook out of.  :)

 Cupcakes are great picnic food because you can grab them and run back off to a frisbee game, and the wrapper makes it so you don't have to get your hands dirty.  Or it keeps your dirty hands off your cupcake.  However you want to look at it.

I made Mississippi Mud Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting from Julie Richardson's Vintage Cakes book.  It's a fudgy cupcake with pecans in it, topped with marshmallow frosting.  I had to learn a new technique, which means that I made the frosting twice :)
See those pecans there?  This is me taking a picture and forgetting to toast them.  Whoops!  I think its a critical step for the tastiness of this recipe so I will make sure I do it next time. 

Since I mostly make cakes and I didn't actually read the recipe all the way through before I started (see above re: not toasting pecans), I didn't realize I needed 2 muffin tins to bake these bad boys.  Luckily my roommate has one.  That'd be the one in the picture that looks like its only been used once.
This batter made 2 dozen cupcakes, plus enough for nearly a dozen mini muffins.  Those didn't last long.  I gobbled them right up.  These babies are delicious straight out of the oven, nice and warm.  After they baked, I realized that I probably should have filled the muffin tins up higher. C'est La Vie.
There are no pictures of me making the frosting.  It was getting late and I was tired.  It involved a candy thermometer and egg whites, and making the frosting a second time after I failed to successfully whip the egg whites.  You live, you learn.  At the very least, you have unfrosted delicious cupcakes. 
Here is me with the finished product.  At home first, then at the picnic.
Noms.  I bring noms.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Pink Cake

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been taking a cake decorating class through Michael's.  It's the Wilton method.  I've been making a WHOLE LOT of cakes over the past few months.  Its been a couple busy baking months for my oven!

I wanted a super delicious cake to take to a Labor Day Fireworks party, so I turned to my trusty cookbook, Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.   There is a definite chance that I will cook every recipe from this book within a years time...everything from the book is just so delicious!  For a girl that finds most of her recipes on the internet, this is really saying something.  I've even made one of the recipes twice!  Honey Bee Cake, I'm looking at you!

The Pink Cake is a classic party cake.  It's chocolate layer cake with raspberry buttercream.  It is absolutely heavenly. 

This picture cracks me up because I'm wearing the same outfit I had on for Pilates earlier that day.  Something just not right about making desserts while wearing your gym clothes!
Doesn't this look like I'm squeezing blood out of a heart? eewww!
I had a bit of trouble with the raspberries.  I used the frozen kind, as recommended, and I knew I didn't want the seeds in the frosting, so I layered some cheesecloth over a metal strainer.  This unfortunately kept all of the berry bits out with the seeds, so all I had was the liquid.  I wasn't willing to pick through the remnants to get the seeds out, so only the juice made it into the frosting instead of actual raspberry puree.  When I combined it with the buttercream, it looked like brains!
Cutting out the puree part of the raspberries made the consistency much too liquidy.  I added a bunch of powdered sugar to fix it up.  Quite delicious.  I can think of quite a few things I would slather this frosting on and gobble up!
You like my cake frosting tip and featherweight bag?  Remarkably quicker and easier than the way I used to frost my cakes.  And I think my frosting sits a lot more evenly now too.  I need to get one of those fancy cake turntables.

Speaking of wish lists, I own exactly one apron.  I got in on clearance after Halloween one year and figured I would wear it once a year while prepping for our annual Halloween bash.  Except its my only apron, so I wear it all the time.  I'm comfortable with this level of dorkiness.

After I got the cake iced, it was time to whip out some ribbon roses from my cake decorating class!
I made the yellow decorating icing a tad too thick, so I'm squeezing the bag really hard in this picture!

Silly pose with the completed cake..I swear, one of these days I'm going to drop one of these and be horrified.  I'll probably sit down and eat it off my floor while I cry.
Here's the inside.
Need a good party cake?  I definitely recommend this one.  The recipe is available on Epicurious, though I really do think you should buy this lady's book.