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Posts tagged ‘fruit’

I’m not letting the chips fall where they may.

There are so many things I want to accomplish in this adorable little life I’m living.

Learn how to surf.

Master the art of cooking pasta. (You may think it’s simple, but for me, it’s not. I’m a baker. Not a cook.)

Muster up enough courage to sing at a karaoke bar. (Liquid courage is not out of the question on this one…)

Move to another city, state, town, planet…somewhere. Anywhere.

Learn another language (or six). Italian would be awesome. French would be even cooler. Maybe I’ll master some ancient African language. I can’t imagine it would ever come in handy…but you never know.

Make one of those really awesome melted crayon paintings you see on Pinterest. You know what I’m talking about. (and you know you want to make one too.)

I want to sew a dress, knit a scarf, patch some jeans…something domestic that would put my dusty sewing machine to good use.

Learn how to swing dance. I can’t imagine that being rhythmically tossed around like a doll is a bad time.

Publish something. Whether it be a cookbook, novel, or a children’s book…I want my words out there, in print. There’s something so official and wonderful about it.

I want to be able to spell “Wednesday” without having to think of it as wed-nes-day.

Same goes for Feb-RU-ary.

And finally, bake a cupcake with chocolate chips that don’t sink to the bottom.

Well wait just a doggone baker’s dozen minute here…I just did that!

I made banana chocolate chip cupcakes. I put some Tiger Butter buttercream on top.

For those of you who don’t know what tiger butter is…it’s my favorite candy in the fudge category. Peanut butter and chocolate. I’m all about it. You should be too.

Fresh out of the oven, they fit the description of a muffin. A perfectly warm, melty, banana scented muffin. I would not judge you if you decided to nix the frosting and try to get away with having these for breakfast. They have bananas! It could work.

Told ya.

That’s something I seriously considered. In fact, I’ll probably whip these up as muffins in the future, but for the sake of the blog and the fact that I do love buttercream and decorating cupcakes, I moved forward. I’m glad I did.

These are seriously the bomb.com. Even when they’ve cooled, you get a perfect amount of banana flavor. Crazy. I was worried they’d come out too…potassium-y. It’s a thing.

Oh and the secret to having the chocolate chips not fall to the bottom? Lightly coat them in flour before you add them to the batter. Who knew?!

Well actually…Google knew.

These week’s theme for the Event Blossom party kits is Jungle Safari! Check out what Kim did with the other great stuff in this wild kit here.

This theme was the main reasoning behind the banana flavor this week. Jungles have animals. One of the animals you can find in the jungle is a monkey. Monkeys eat bananas, and so do I. Hence, this cupcake was born.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Tiger Butter Buttercream

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 ripened bananas, mashed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.

3. Beat butter on high until light and smooth.

4. Beat in sugar until fluffy.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

5. Beat in vanilla until combined.

6. Beat in bananas well. Make sure it’s completely incorporated.

7. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the half and half. Beat until just combined.

8. Toss the chocolate chips in a little bit of flour. You may use a ziplock bag and shake it around or be fancy and toss ’em around in a bowl.

9. Fold the chips into the batter.

10. Fill cups 3/4 full and bake for approx. 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

11. Try one without frosting. I dare you to tell me it isn’t amazing.

Tiger Butter Buttercream

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
4 tsp vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1. Beat butter until fluffy and pale yellow. About 2 minutes.

2. Beat in powdered sugar in increments, until desired consistency begins to form.

3. Add vanilla.

4. Transfer half of the buttercream to another bowl.

5. For one half, add the cocoa powder until completely combined.

6. For the other half, add the peanut butter until completely combined.

To create the swirl effect

3 pastry bags (or ziplock bags)

1. Put a small amount of each frosting in its own bag. Cut the corner off the bottom.

2. Cut the corner off of the third bag, and set up with desired decorating tip.

3. Place both of the frosting bags in the third bag, so the cut-off corners are feeding into the third bag’s tip.

4. Gently squeeze the bag, and do a few test runs to make sure it comes out even.

Voila! Gorgeous decorating that will impress anyone.

Bon appétit!

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Eurotrip, via cupcakes.

Let’s take a vacation.

Seriously.

To Europe.

It’ll be fun!

We’ll start in Rome and see the Colosseum, visit the good ol’ Pope at the Vatican, and throw a couple coins in the Trevi Fountain while we wish for an amazing dinner in…

Naples! Where we will obviously stuff our faces with the best pizza made on this Earth, drink really good wine and chat with the locals.

I hope you speak Italian…I know “buongiorno” “ciao” and “grazie.” That won’t get us very far. I’m 100% positive we’d get that “dumb American” look from locals if all we said was “hello” “goodbye” and “thank you” with that eager “excited” look on our faces.

We’ll stop in Venice for a gondola ride and have an Italian man sing to us while we, once again, drink really good wine, eat some amazingly fresh pasta, and finish the evening with either a cannoli or gelato (or both, duh.)

We’ll throw Florence in there too, because, well, it’s Florence and it’s beautiful. Must I justify it? Didn’t think so.

Our next stop will be in Ireland, where we’ll see landscapes greener than Kermit the Frog, and tour giant, beautiful castles. We’ll have a debate about how the interior of our future vacation-home castles will look — keep the stone walls or have an unexpected switch to a modern feel? (Hey, it could happen!)

Not too far from us will be Dublin, where we’ll spend the evening visiting pubs and engaging in Irish debauchery. They’re crazy. It’ll be a bloody good time, you see.

Clearly we’ll have to visit Spain. We can’t pass up the opportunity to see that incredible architecture! We’ll see flamenco shows, run with some bulls, and eat flan and churros until we pass out. ¡Ay dios mio!

Next stop, London! Museums, museums, museums! We’ll get super cultured and by the time we get back to the states we’ll be able to be snobs about it. “Oh, well, whenever I go to London I must visit the British Museum to see the Egyptian antiquities. The trip is simply incomplete without it!”

And finally, we’ll bring our trip to a close in Paris, France. Ahh, Paris. What better way to conclude than in the City of Lights? We’ll visit the Louvre, have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower, play hide-and-seek at Notre Dame, stroll the Palace of Versailles, enjoy a cabaret show at le Moulin Rouge and take a sip of water from a few of the Wallace Fountains.

But of course, the most important part of the Paris trip – dessert.

Um, duh.

Chocolate soufflés, creme brûlée, cream puffs, eclairs, macarons, tarts, chocolate pots de creme, and crepes. And don’t you dare forget breakfast! Fresh croissants, pain au chocolat, and the best brioche our tastebuds will ever enjoy.

All of the above will be devoured at a fancy little table outside a French bistro, accompanied by cafe au lait, schmoozie French music, and lots of laughter.

Okay, so, when do we leave? Now? Cool. I’m already packed. (I knew you’d come with me!)

Until our plane leaves, though, maybe we can have these cupcakes to hold us over.

French Fruit Tart cupcakes, that is. Ooh la la!

Trying to come up with a way to make these a reality was a bit of a challenge, but man oh man, they definitely work.

It’s an almond cake filled with custard (which, by the way, is infused with Grand Marnier), topped with strawberries, kiwi, and an apricot glaze. Talk about de. lish. us.

Oh, and homemade whipped cream…which is always a winner.

OH, and a blueberry. Which really doesn’t have that much significance, but really helps with the aesthetics. 🙂

OHH!        …just kidding, I don’t really have anything else to add.

And of course, the cupcakes look magnifique in the Parisian Party themed cupcake wrappers from Event Blossom! I love these, especially the striped one. Make sure to check out Kim’s blog for more info on how to use these fun kits!

Très chic, oui?

French Fruit Tart Cupcakes

Almond Cupcake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 pinches of salt
1 “shake” grond nutmeg (when I say “shake” I mean out of the container. No measuring. It’s just to enhance the almond flavor)
3 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp almond extract

1. Set oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg together until evenly combined. Set aside.

3. On medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated.

5. Add vanilla and sour cream and beat until combined. Continue beating mixture on high for an additional 20 seconds.

6. Alternately, add flour mixture and milk until all ingredients are well combined.

7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely.

Custard

3 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups milk (any kind – I used 1%)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 heaping tbsp flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp Grand Marnier

1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a medium heatproof bowl.

2. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and add to egg mixture. This will form a thick paste that looks questionable but will ultimately taste delicious, don’t worry.

3. Heat milk and vanilla in a saucepan. Once the milk comes to a light boil, remove from the heat and slowly add it to the egg mixture. Whisk constantly to avoid curdling. Add liqueur and mix until combined.

Now, be a smart cookie and strain the custard NOW, not later. I was a dummy and didn’t do it until later…which let me tell you, is annoying and takes for-freaking-ever!)

4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat until it begins to boil, whisking constantly. Once it reaches a boil, continue to whisk until it thickens.

5. Remove the custard from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. You may store this overnight in the refrigerator if you don’t plan on using it right away.

Apricot Glaze

1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp water

1. In a small saucepan, heat jam and water over medium heat until it melts.

2. Pour the glaze through a strainer to get rid of any chunks.

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 heaping tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

1. Beat cream on high until soft peaks form.
2. Add sugar, beat on high until it starts to become stiff.
3. Add vanilla, beat for another 30 seconds.

BAM. Whipped cream.

That was all pretty simple, right? Now on to the assembly…

The assembly…

With either a cupcake corer or a small knife, cut a hole in the center of the cupcakes. Put the custard in a pastry bag (a ziplock bag will work fine, too) and put a small amount in each, stopping when you feel resistance.

Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the top of each filled cupcake.

Cut strawberries and kiwi into thin slices. Place them on the cupcake in any which way you desire. Coat the fruit with the glaze. Top with whipped cream and that blueberry I mentioned earlier!

Bon appétit!

Saturday mornings: cartoons, PJs, and a pancake for one.

Ahh, Saturday morning.

As a kid, it was all about Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and that show with the sharks? Does anyone know what show I’m talking about? It was that show about 4 guys who were transformed into sharks…and they like, fought crime, or were criminals, or something…?

Okay well that’s going to bother me all day, but for the sake of this blog (and your time) I’ll move on.

My point is, cartoons were the bees knees during childhood. They represented the glory of what is Saturday morning. You could sleep in, stay in your jammies til noon, and then jump on your bike and ride to your friend’s house to see if they could play. Or in my case, run next door where your best friend lives and basically just assume she’s available to play house, or go to the pool, or Rollerblade, or whatever the heck else we did as kids to keep ourselves occupied.

Jessica and I had so much fun. Aww, memories. ❤

But what I’m really leaving out (and what is one of the most important parts of Saturday morning) is breakfast! Duhhh.

Weekdays are about quick, on-the-go breakfasts: Pop-Tarts, a bowl of cereal, toast — things that don’t take a long time to eat. There isn’t an opportunity to really enjoy the meal.

Enter: Saturday morning breakfast! Homemade breakfast. Come on, that’s a highlight of life. You can’t deny that.

Now, please note that I do not like breakfast foods at breakfast time. I’m not sure why. I just don’t. I’d rather have a waffle for dinner than a bowl of pasta any day of the week. But every once in a while, there’s an exception. For example, this morning.

My Saturdays aren’t what they used to be. I have this thing now, where I provide labor in exchange for money. Also known as a job. And I usually work the PM shift on weekends. Therefore, Saturday mornings are incredibly precious to me. When I got home this morning, I had the house to myself. I love having the house to myself. The TV is mine. The couch is mine. And most importantly, the kitchen is mine.

Well I still have to share the house with Kitten, but she’s feel exceptionally lazy today.

So in the midst of this wonderful solitude, I decided today was a breakfast day. And I wanted a pancake.

One giant pancake. Singular. Uno.

So that’s what I made! It’s inspired by Joy the Baker’s “Single Lady Pancake,” but the recipe is all my own. (I love the title of her recipe! So cute.) I’m not considered a “single lady” anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a little selfish “me” time with a pancake and cup of coffee, while watching the episode of New Girl I missed last Tuesday. (Which, by the way…was not funny. I was very disappointed.)

I used to make variations of this for myself last year when I lived in the apartment. It’s a delicious, wonderful, simple way to start the day. I highly recommend it.

I don’t even have a lot of pictures to show you, because I wanted to eat it ASAP.

I dislike cold pancakes. Gnarly.

But on the realz, this hits the spot. It’s like, good for the soul or something. Your inner pancake soul.

It’s a thing. I swear.

Be selfish. Make a pancake.

Pancake for Me, Myself, and I
a Sugar Therapy original – yay!

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons apple cinnamon instant oatmeal, uncooked (or plain oats)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tsp vanilla extract

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together. That’s flour, oats, sugars, baking powder/soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, vanilla, and oil together.

3. Add orange juice and whisk until combined.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, whisking until just combined. The batter should be pretty thick.

5. Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat. (That’s a strange sentence…but just do it.)

6. Pour batter onto the pan and allow the pancake to cook until you see some bubbles form on the top. Flip the pancake. Hopefully it’s a beautiful golden brown. That’s the goal.

Note: I am the WORST pancake flipper in the history of pancake flippers. I get nervous. Sometimes I burn my pancakes because I’m too hesitant. Don’t be like me. Just flip it, you can do it!

7. Add syrup. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Spread some jelly on there. Or be like me, and keep it simple and spread a light layer of non-dairy butter on there. So. good.

The best part about this recipe is you can add and subtract. Not a fan of orange juice? I’d try some apple instead. Want banana pancakes? I like the way you think. Want some crunch? Add walnuts! And of course, you can never go wrong with a handful of blueberries.

Be innovative. Be selfish. Enjoy your Saturday morning.

And let me know if you can remember the name of that shark cartoon.

Bon appétit!

Pucker up!

I am in denial.

There’s no way around it. I just cannot face the truth.

What is the truth?

Summer…is over. Yuck.

It might not be over for you quite yet, but it definitely is in my world as of 7pm tonight, when I walk into a classroom for the first time in several months.  That’s real pain, people.

It’s over, and I’m left with nothing but a faded tan and hair that is terrified for Fall.

Fall = wind. I really, really dislike wind. Breeze? Lovely. Wind?  No.  Go away.  Bye.

But a few days ago, something wonderful happened! A gluten-free friend of mine gave me a recipe that screams summer! Grapefruit cake!

Grapefruit? Genius! Way to keep summer going, Sam! 🙂

While she is making the gluten-free version of this recipe (which she will write about on her own blog, “Excuse Me, What?”), I made the regular gluten-filled version.

So grapefruit is obviously not something you think about when you think “cake.” And this recipe is NOT what I think about when I think “Paula Deen.” Why? Because this recipe contains no butter. I’ll say it again…

This Paula Deen recipe does not have a drop of butter in it. I didn’t even know how to react to this. I was in such denial about the lack of butter, I bought some when I went to the store anyway. Perhaps I am the one with the butter problem, not good ol’ Miss Deen.

As far as the recipe goes, the flavor was deeeeeelicious. I upped the amount of zest and juice in the batter to give it more shazaam. The cream cheese frosting was odd. It didn’t turn out quite the way cream cheese frosting usually turns out, and I omitted the crushed grapefruit and again just added more zest. Flavor? Awesome. The texture of the cake was soft and very light.  Dainty, if you will.  Personally I prefer a heartier cupcake, but this one is pretty darn good.  I think it’s just cake flour that I don’t care for. It’s just not my thang.

Oh and I got a little fancy and candied some grapefruit rinds! 🙂

SO. Next time, regular flour. My own frosting recipe. Possibly buttercream…the cream cheese is a little heavy for the flavor of the cake.

Grapefruit (and Sam) – thank you for reminding me that summer can live on!

Grapefruit Cupcakes
from the wonderfully charming Paula Deen! (with a few minor changes)

1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
4 tsp grapefruit zest
5 tbsp grapefruit juice
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with papers.

2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Create a well in the center of the mixture.

3. Add egg yolks, water, oil, zest, and juice to the dry mixture. Beat until well combined.

4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

5. Fold the egg whites into the wet mixture until just combined. Do not stir! Fold! (You’ll take all the air out of the whites if you’re not careful.)

6. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 9-11 minutes.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting
also adapted from Paula Deen

2 pkgs of cream cheese
4 tsp grapefruit juice
2 1/2 tsp grapefruit zest
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1. Beat cream cheese until light and slightly airy.

2. Add juice and zest until evenly combined.

3. Add powdered sugar and beat until well-combined.

4. Allow to cool in the fridge until ready to use.

^ He’s smirking!  I guess my mom never told me not to play with my food…

Candied Grapefruit Rinds

1 grapefruit, peeled…eat the fruit.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water

1. Slice the peel into thin strips, about 3 inches long. It’s okay to leave a little part of the white rind.

2. Grease a wire rack and cookie sheet. Set rack in cookie sheet and set aside.

3. Boil the sliced rinds in a medium sauce pan for about 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In another pan, bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil or until all the sugar dissolves. Add rinds.

5. Allow the peel to boil in the sugar mixture for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice that the sugar syrup being absorbed into the rinds. Remove from heat, and transfer rinds onto wire rack. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

6. Fill a shallow bowl with the remaining cup of sugar. Lightly roll each candied rind in the sugar, and set back on the wire rack to set and cool completely.

Sprinkle with sugar, and love.  Then eat.

Bon appétit!