Monday, January 16, 2012

Tiramisu Cupcakes II: No New Furniture

This one is quick, so there are no comics, sorry! But, I really want to share these because they are prettier than the first ones, then I'll move on to a new flavor. You'll like it too.

I may have lied slightly when I said the next time I made these Mirko would put together furniture from Ikea. Or, maybe I said the next time we get furniture from Ikea, I would make these...that sounds more! I'm not a liar! Well...anyway. I made these again, just like I said in my previous post.

Last time I made them because they are impressive for Mirko's work. This time I made them because my mom really enjoys tiramisu. Also it was for Christmas, so she asked me to make them as a second dessert option, which I was super excited about.

There was a little bit of confusion regarding the assembly of the cupcakes, specifically where I should assemble them. Should I put them together the night before at my place where they have the potential to get a little soggy? Or, should I put them together at my parents' house so they aren't as soggy? They're good either way. I could just make them Christmas morning before we go over, that would eliminate the worry of everything being done on time. So, I ended up doing just that, which worked out swimmingly since we were up late on Christmas Eve doing last minute gift wrapping, of course.

I put the cupcakes together and called my mom on the way over and she informed me that my cupcakes would be the only dessert - huzzah! That was until the power went out and dinner was late and we all ended up being too full by the time it would have been appropriate to be eating dessert. Luckily, cupcakes were wrapped and left as needed. It all worked out.

 Our Christmas was splendid! We had a great time. Among the gifts I received were some jumbo muffin tins. There will be giant cupcakes in the near future!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gingerbread Cupcakes: Baking Cupcakes in Jars

For Christmas, I decided I wanted to send cupcakes to my relatives. There's just one problem with shipping cupcakes - how the hell do you keep them looking pretty? Well, apparently you bake them in mason jars. Genius right? I know! Yeah, wouldn't have figured that out without Pinterest...seriously, that website makes me look so freaking smart!

Since it was Christmas time I determined the perfect cupcakes to make (courtesy of the cupcake bible) would be gingerbread cupcakes. Gingerbread is probably one of my favoritest flavors ever. Remember how I mentioned I love Starbucks? Well, every year I look forward to them bringing out their holiday syrups because that is when I get to indulge in gingerbread lattes every time I come across a Starbucks. Which is every two blocks here...I'm not exaggerating.

Anywho, so gingerbread cupcakes! The batter was awesome. It was sweetened with maple syrup though, which kind of threw me off because I'm going through the recipe and I was like "...where the fuck is the sugar?" Yeah...used to forget ingredients. Took me a good ten minutes before I realized that maple syrup is, well, syrup and therefore sugar. Yes I sat there in my kitchen feeling like an utter dumbass. That genius feeling from earlier was definitely gone.

Then I continued making these awesome cupcakes by putting the batter in the jars. I decided to make 18 of them because that kind of fit nicely on the cookie sheet and that would be more than enough so that I would have plenty to send to everyone. Getting the batter in the jars wasn't the problem, it was getting them in the oven without dropping them all. Let's just say that the jars are slippery.

I highly recommend that if you ever do this, pretend you are a forklift. That's really the best way I can describe just how precise you should be with your movements so that they don't slip around all over the cookie sheet and turn into an amazing juggling act.

They had a lemon buttercream frosting that went just right with them. And I topped them with chopped crystallized ginger. I decorated the top of the jars too.

And also made a couple in regular cupcake wrappers.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes: I Made it Myself!

That really pretty looking cupcake swirl? The Wilton M1 tip. That's how you do that. I learned that on Pinterest. Then I ran to Michael's, walked in the door, and bolted towards the cake decorating section while repeating "M1tipM1tipM1tipM1tipM1tipM1tipM1tipM1tipM1tip" frenziedly. That wasn't in my head. I received stares. I didn't care, I was on a mission. This is serious, people. This is about pretty cupcakes.

What better to make pretty than my own recipe? That's right. My own recipe!

Well, sort of. I made these in November right after Starbucks had decided that's when Christmas should be (you know, before we even get to Thanksgiving) and that's when they had their cranberry bliss bars. It had been a few years since I'd had one and I was remembering how yummy they were...sooooo yummy...and I was like, hey! I'm an accomplished cupcake maker now! I can make my own! In cupcake form!

So! Here's what I did (hooray! I'm posting a bit of a recipe). To a golden vanilla cupcake recipe, I added (this is why I say "sort of" my own recipe):

1/3 C vegan white chocolate chips
1/3 C cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp orange zest

Then! I made a vegan cream cheese frosting and added some cranberries, until I got bored. Or, until I thought there was enough. Whichever came first. Voila! I had made a cupcake that was strangely reminiscent of those cranberry bliss bars I was craving. Oh my these were tasty. However, I ran into a bit of a problem, as you might imagine (I seem to be in a bit of denial here about still being somewhat crap at baking). All of the white chocolate chips that I had added and mixed in sank to the bottom. So, the wrapper was really hard to peel off and all of the white chocolate chips were stuck to it. I didn't take pictures of that part, but this will give you an idea of what it looked like:

Luckily, these cupcakes were a test as part of a devious plan for the holiday season. So I did make them again and this time, instead of mixing the white chocolate chips in, I sprinkled them on top.Worked much better. You can even see one in these pictures.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes: London Fog Tea Lattes

It's true what everybody says about Seattleites - we all love Starbucks. Some of us try to deny it and say that we're all about the local places. That's true too. I like the local coffee places, but I also love my Starbucks. I've got a gold card and a complicated drink. Everybody here loves coffee. Even if you don't love coffee, you still go to Starbucks and you get tea lattes and other tea...things. I usually go for tea honestly, I love a good London fog. If you don't know what a London fog is, it's delicious. It's an earl grey tea latte, which is made from earl grey tea, milk (in my case, soy milk), and pure magic. Which is what inspired these cupcakes.

I'd been hitting the London fogs pretty hard lately and saw a recipe in the cupcake bible for a chai tea latte cupcake. There was a little variation at the back of the recipe that said you could make them with earl grey tea (there were a couple other variations...I didn't care, just give me the earl grey tea dammit). I knew I had to make them. It was like that special variation was put in there just for me.

My favorite part of making these cupcakes was the tea part. All of the recipes I use call for soy milk, but I always use almond milk, because I like almond milk better than soy milk. So, the almond milk needs to be heated to the point of almost boiling and then 4 tea bags are added (for me, almost boiling means quickly removing it from the heat before it boils over and then lowering the heat because for some reason I can never get it to almost boil...pfft). Then it steeps for 10 minutes while trying not to catch the tags on fire, and then you squeeze every last bit of tea out. I don't know why, but this part is super fun for me. It's probably because of all the yummy earl grey smells. Or maybe it's the potential for fire.

The interesting part about this recipe is that it calls for soy yogurt. I hate yogurt. I hated it before I was vegan, and I super hate it now. The whole idea of yogurt is gross to me. It's milk that's gone bad, and apparently that's good for you. Ew. And for some reason, we've decided that we have to have a vegan version of it. Ugh, whatever (don't get me wrong, I do understand the health benefits and all that...doesn't mean it doesn't gross me out).

So, I didn't realize I needed this right away (part of the curse of my previously horrible baking skills, remember how I used to leave ingredients out), so I started making the cupcakes and then got to the part that said yogurt and was like "well...shit." So, you can imagine Mirko's surprised look when, knowing how much I hate yogurt, I kindly asked him to run to the store real quick and pick up some soy yogurt for me. I think my dog, Zoidberg, was even shocked.

Luckily, I have a really amazing husband and we live really close to the store, so he agreed and was only gone for like 10 minutes; I was able to get all my dry ingredients ready in the mean time along with getting the liners ready. I finished making the batter, filled the liners, and in the oven they went. I usually like to taste the batter as a way to test the cupcakes before they're even done. If the batter tastes good, generally the cupcakes will taste good too.

Yeah, I made that batter disappear. This was the best batter of my life. So good. Gotta love eggless batter.

They came out of the oven perfectly. I finished them off with a vanilla buttercream frosting. And edible purple glitter. Why the purple glitter you ask? Oh. Well, I made some cupcakes for Mirko's team the week before that tasted fantastic, but they looked terrible, so I apologized for them looking terrible. One of his coworkers said it was unacceptable. It really was. I didn't take pictures, but this will give you an idea of what they looked like:

Terrible. So, I promised pretty cupcakes the next time I made them. So I gave them pretty cupcakes. Purple glitter and all.