Archive for September, 2011

Favorite Shots: A Cryogenic Inch

This summer, there were some raspberries in the fridge. They were a little “imperfect” and needed to be sorted through. I found mould (English spelling), I found mysterious juices. But my most favorite finding was Little Inch. He had frozen in an upright position on the box of raspberries. I may have freaked out a little bit because of his cuteness. The best part was that as I sorted through the raspberries, Inch thawed out and continued on his merry way like nothing had happened. Little did he know it was, like, a week later. In human terms, that is 17 years! It’s like the 3rd season of Alias. Legit.

Living life in the present moment,

L

I Got It Right: Secret Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My friend Tara came to visit me once. We had lots of fun, mostly eating burgers and chatting. She happened to visit during a bit of a busy time, so I spent a lot of time dragging her around to different events at which I was obligated to be. I don’t think she minded. She is very personable and happy.

And besides, we made the best chocolate frosting ever. And then no one was complaining. No one did complain. The complaints were non-existent.

Let me just say something about this frosting. It is crazy good. I have had–count ’em–four independent confirmations of its awesomeness. It is unlikely I will ever feel the need to improve upon it. It has some secwet ingwedients.

And we baked an excuse to eat frosting, vanilla cupcakes. I didn’t know it until later, but I actually made these cupcakes before. Here I was, thinking, “Oh, I’ll just try out a new vanilla cupcake recipe. It’ll probably be better than the last ones I made.”

They were better than the last ones I made, probably owing to Tara’s cheerful presence and butter-hwhipping skills. Do you know anyone that puts the h sound in front of their wh words? So weird for real. You can find the recipe for Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes here.

This is a picture of  Tara complaining about how I dragged her along all weekend. :] Isn’t she pa-retty?

To finish up, i sprinkled them with some leftover Heath bits. Although, these babies needed nothing, it was clear that they needed something.

Christ is life. Everything else is this chocolate buttercream,

L

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Joy the Baker

makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or one 8-inch layer cake

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup Ovaltine (or hot chocolate mix, like I used)

Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth. In a 1-cup measuring glass, stir together heavy cream and Ovaltine. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour cream mixture into frosting in a slow, steady stream, until you’ve reached your desired consistency.  You may not need the full amount of Ovaltine and cream.  Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.

Pipe Dream #63: To Not Have To Try Try Again – Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

So I made this cake once. I’m sure I told you about it. When I bake, I usually bake new things. This means that approximately 80 percent of the time I’m not sure if what I’m baking will actually turn out. Despite my enviably calm demeanor and seemingly careless measuring of ingredients, you can be sure that I am crossing my fingers on the inside. Figuratively, that is. Haha, I edit my own writing, and I am definitely not editing out that last idea. Anyway, this cake was especially nerve-wracking because not only had I never made it before, but it was for a wedding. So it was like, plan plan plan to make the cake, drive four hours, make the cake that night, stay up til midnight finishing it, be a bridesmaid the next day. If it hadn’t turned out on the first try, I would’ve been sunk.

Luckily, I didn’t fail and the cake turned out great. It is actually the vanilla version of this chocolate cake, which was a total and massive success. The vanilla version was also a success. It was better than the cupcakes I made for the same wedding. And who can say, maybe it would have been better if I had failed this cake. They say you learn lessons from your mistakes. ‘If at first you don’t succeed’ and all that. But whatever, I prefer to do it right the first time.

P.S. I only have one process shot for this cake. I hope you can figure it out. I was a wickle bit busy.

I’ll say it again, poor photo, wonderful flavor. Have fun!

No regrets,

Lauren

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

Makes one three-layer 9-inch round cake

3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed briefly to blend; then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; our 3 cups batter into each pan.

Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Turn the layers out onto wire racks by placing a rack on top of a pan, inverting it, and lifting off the pan. Peel off the paper liners and let cool completely. When the layers have cooled, place a cardboard cake board on top of a layer, invert again, and lift off the rack. To make the layers easier to handle, wrap them on their boards completely in plastic, so they don’t dry out, and refrigerate them.


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