Archive for May, 2011

Favorite Shots: Birthday Candles and a Limerick

Today is my sister‘s birthday. And now, a limerick for Hannah.

Myers-Briggs

by Lauren Huisinga

Waynes, your mind it is famous.

And with looks like that who could blame us?

For loving you still, even when you’re a pill,

And testing us ’til you can name us.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Happy Birthday!

Love,

Loli

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Pipe Dream #28: To Make Cupcakes Healthy – Carrot Cardamom Cupcakes with Citrus Mascarpone

So those Maple and Pecan Cupcakes I told you about before? These cupcakes are from that book. This is one of the more interesting flavors in it I would say. Cardamom is so awesome. Pairing it with citrus and carrots? Neato.

A word on cardamom. Please try it. I discovered its virtues on a trip to a farmer’s market up north with Rachel. This charming little boy was selling cardamom bread out of the back of a truck. We asked him where his parents were, then watched benevolently, unresisting as he snatched our cash and stuffed it in his pocket with sly eyes. Ok, so nix the sly eyes part, but that little boy knew how to work a crowd. It would have been a totally unfair play on our hearts except that he was only nine and the bread was fantastic. And we made cardamom bread french toast.

Cardamom is kind of like nutmeg or cinnamon in that you would use it in sort of the same way, like in bread or cookies. Or at least, in my limited knowledge of cardamom, I’ve seen it used that way.

All this to say that these cupcakes are flavorful and interesting. And bonus, they are practically healthy. I am using that word pretty liberally, but let’s be real: there are carrots involved. And mascarpone is the health nut’s version of cream cheese frosting. Um, sort of.

Healhty cupcakes will forever remain a pipe dream, but I’m posting about it anyway,

L

Carrot and Cardamom Cupcakes with Citrus Mascarpone

Adapted from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup sunflower oil (or whatever, I used canola)

2 eggs

grated zest of one orange

seeds from 5 cardamom pods, crushed (or just grate some, or buy an ounce pre-grated)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

2 carrots, grated (about one cup)

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

5 ounces mascarpone

finely grated zest of one orange

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the ove to 350° F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Put the sugar in a bowl and then beat in the oil and eggs. Stir in the orange zest, crushed cardamom seeds and ginger, then sift the flour into the mixture and fold in, followed by the carrots and nuts. Spoon the mixture into muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To decorate, beat the mascarpone, zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar together in a bowl and spread over the cupcakes.

Pipe Dream #6: To Make The Perfect Snickerdoodle, Revisited – Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I once posted about Snickerdoodle Muffins as a non-cookie substitute for the real thing. But I forgot! that I had already made a snickerdoodly thing. It was this last autumn. With my old camera(…). And I piped them pretty ok.

My dad liked ’em a lot. He actually requested them a second time. How nice of him, don’t you think? My dad loves me. I know because he tells me. Plus, he eats my baked goods and tells me when I have grammatical errors on my blog. I can take the criticism. Usually.

The cake in this recipe is really springy and happy–it requires cake flour, but I don’t know how much of a difference it would make if you used all-purpose flour. The frosting is really good for piping and slides down the hatch real easy. Like how a watermelon would slip out of your hands if it was greased and you were playing with it in the water.

(I know that that was a really irrelevant and weird analogy. In an attempt to jazz up my writing and use descriptive language, I am attempting to use more analogy. I realize this may not be very successful, but I’m willing to give it a go. Like the slimy politician who makes ridiculous promises because his poll ratings are on their last legs. Ok, Lauren, you can quit now).

I hope you like cinnamon because I write about it a lot,

L

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

For the cupcakes:

1-½ cups cake flour
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-¾ cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 whole eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-¼ cups milk (whole is best)

For the cinnamon buttercream:

½ cups unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
⅛ teaspoons salt
1 pound powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line  a muffin tin with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To make the buttercream, cream the butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt together. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk until creamy. You may need to add in some more milk or sugar until you get the right consistency, the consistency of awesome hatch flow. Then pipe on the icing or glop it on with a spoon or whatever.

To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a fine sieve (or a spoon like yours truly), dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar.

Piping Dream #27: To Pair Drinks Like a Connoisseur – Sour Cherry Champagne Cocktail

To go with the Champagne Cake, I made up a cocktail. Champagne has to be my favorite alcohol. Not that I’ve had extensive experience with alcohol. It is crazy when the wine menus at restaurants are describing some red wine like, “Crisp and bright with the unmistakable undertones of white chocolate, rich mango, and the deep woods of the Ural Mountains.”

What in the world? Since when have you tasted the deep woods of the Ural Mountains?

Ok, so they don’t all say things like that. But it’s close.

Anyway, champagne is so happy and light. It’s refined. I decided to mix up a cocktail with it. It’s kind of  like Kir Royale, but with sour cherry syrup and a blackberry thrown in.

I only wish I had a macro lens so I could capture the berry bubbles better. That was the most fun part. It is one of the sorrows of my life that I had to give up macro shots when I bought my Nikon. SOMEDAY, I will buy a macro lens. Until then, I pine.

Drink ye responsibly,

Lauren

Sour Cherry Royale

Pour sour cherry syrup in a champagne flute, to taste. Toss in a blackberry or two and top with champagne. You could easily throw in any other berries or flavored syrups depending on what you have on hand. Champagne is very forgiving.

Pipe Dream #26: To Remember Birthdays – Pink Champagne Cake

I have a problem. I can never remember your birthday. Well, I can remember it, if it falls the day before or after the 4th of July, or if you remind me constantly two weeks prior to the moment of your birth. But generally, I don’t know it. And the thing is, I really want to remember. I’m an ISFJ. I put a lot of stock in celebrating things like this.

I can barely even remember my best friends’ birthdays. I know Anthony was born in either August or September, on either the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, or 19th. We have a conversation about his birthday about twice a year because I always forget. It’s pathetic.

But this year, I surpassed myself. I almost forgot my own birthday. It just kind of snuck up on me. My last landmark birthday before 30, and I nearly forgot. I been busy, awright?

So I made myself a cake. It is called Pink Champagne Cake. And it was lovely. Eventually.

Remember that pretty book I received? I got this recipe from it.

As a cake-making amateur, I got impatient with letting the thing cool, so the slicing wasn’t perfect, the layers weren’t level, and the filling was not stiff enough to stay inside the cake. As you can see.

But somehow it came together. The frosting required 1/2 a cup of champagne, and my mind wasn’t thinking that this was unusual, so the frosting was way thin, and I had to add loads more powdered sugar to thicken it. It turned crusty on day two.

But the cake itself was particularly good. Light, but very moist, and with an unmistakable flavor of champagne. Bonus, you don’t even have to buy expensive champagne for this cake to taste good–the sugar rounds out the flavor of any cheap champagne very nicely. Pay no mind to the terrible filling job. I’ll do better next time.


It was also great fun to use my new piping tips and spatula. I use new spatulas for fun–ha! Among other things.

Enjoy!

L

Pink Champagne Cake

Adapted from Booze Cakes

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 egg whites

red food coloring

2 cups champagne

For the frosting*:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

4 cups powdered sugar (double this?)

1/2 cup champagne

1/4 whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch pans. (I used 8 inch pans–don’t do that.)

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat in egg whites one at a time. Mix in the food coloring.

Beat in flour mixture and champagne in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour to prevent curdling. Pour batter into pans and bake 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the frosting, beat butter for 1 minute in a mixing bowl. Gradually add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy.

Once the cake has cooled completely (you could even stick it in the freezer for a bit), place bottom layer on a cake plate and spread half of the frosting over top. Add top layer and cover with frosting.

*If I did this again, I would halve the amounts of both the liquids and add a little more champagne if the frosting is too stiff. Or figure out a better way. You can do it!

Favorite Shots: Candy Stick Nostalg

I like sugar. I like cute. I like color. I like fruit.

Therefore, these are some of my favorite shots.

*snap* *snap* *snap*

I just snapped for myself. For my rhyme.

Ooooooook, bye now,

Lauren who is not weird


Piping Dream #25: To Be Humble – Oreo Cupcakes

I get requests for these cupcakes. I don’t mean to sound proud or anything, I just mean that they are a really good recipe. That is, the Oreo you can find on the bottom is really clever, and the frosting is so amazing that I might take it over the previously-exalted peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Right??

But I can’t take credit for any of it. The Oreo in the bottom idea is not mine; I can’t remember where I saw it, but I am sure glad that it happened. I just use a one-bowl recipe for chocolate cake, pour it over the cookies…

and voila! Neat, eh?

Make these for your enemies any day of the week. It will turn them into lifelong, self-sacrificing friends. And besides, loving your enemies is Biblical.

I can take no credit for the abundance of goodwill flowing in your direction after you pass these babies around,

L

Oreo Cupcakes with Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from somewhere

For the cupcakes:

24 Oreos, divided

One bowl chocolate cupcakes recipe

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese (light works fine)

8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter

3-4 cups powdered sugar

24 oreo halves

Halve the Oreos, and place the side with the cream face up in the bottom of a lined cupcake pan. Reserve the other halves. Whip up your chocolate cake of choice and divide evenly over the cupcakes, filling no more than two thirds full. Bake as directed. Let cool.

For the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, beating until you reach the consistency you want. Crush the reserved Oreo halves in food processor…or with your hands and a Ziploc. Just make sure they are really fine crumbs, whatever you do. Stir the crushed Oreos into the frosting and pipe as desired.


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