Monday, May 16, 2011

Blogging Break

Hello Sweet Friends,
I am taking a blogging holiday so to speak.  I won't be posting for a few weeks while I take time off to refresh .  I leave you with a thought from this week end's Creative Live Workshop with Penny De Los Santos. She was wrapping up the workshop and said, "If you aren't doing what you love, why not "

Monday, May 9, 2011

White Velvet Butter Cupcakes with Golden Neoclassic Buttercream-Heavenly Cake Baker

It's Monday and J and I are on our way back from the Oregon Coast.  We discovered a new campground-Nehalem Bay-just south of Manzanita. This is how it's described in the park's brochure :

Imagine waking up to the song of the seagull, spending your afternoon on a kayak trip around Nehalem Bay, then taking a short walk over the dunes to the beach. There you'll sit with a blanket and watch the sun set over the ocean in the shadow of Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain. Finally, snuggle down for the night while the ocean waves sing you a lullaby. This is Nehalem Bay State Park.

 Although I suspect that when this place fills up in the summer it may be the campers next door singing you a lullaby.  Huge surprise-it rained ! It was still lovely,all snuggled in the trailer with the sound of the rain on the roof.  And don't forget jumping puddles while running to the showers. . Did you like how I matter of factly mentioned "campground" ? Yes, I camp -there I said it !  I have friends who think camping means they stay in a standard room instead of a deluxe room at the Fairmont .  And no, I don't mean the crawl into a tent type of camping (gave that up on a very rainy morning in Wells Grey Park in Canada many years ago), or the luxury liner 45ft long RV type of camping.  We have a little pop up trailer with most of the comforts of home; comfortable bed,  dining table for two; a Hansel & Gretal type stove and sink-tiny, tiny; and most important-a mini propane furnace. If the temperature drops we don't have to climb into sleeping bags rated for minus 40 F !  And my sister will appreciate this-you don't have to duct tape everything to keep the rain out.  The only thing it lacks is a refrigerator (we use a cooler) and an oven-I'm a baker I need an oven.  Maybe someday I'll add one of those nice portable convection ovens .

If I had an oven I could have baked these cupcakes from the beach. Not !  J and I have some rules . For me: no baking at the beach, just beach combing and relaxing. For him : no fly tying (he's a fly fisherman) , maybe just reading about fly tying .  So since I couldn't bake these on the beach I baked them at home shortly after the "Interesting" episode with the tomato soup cupcakes.  Wow, what a difference a cupcake makes. These are light and airy, almost like a cross between a sponge and chiffon cake-definitely a keeper in the white cupcake category.  And the recipe for these is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's "Rose's Heavenly Cakes".  You see I've joined another baking group: Heavenly Cake Bakers.  Why you ask ?  First of all because I happen to love Rose Levy Beranbaum, THE Diva of Desserts as she has been called !  And her most recent book Rose's Heavenly Cakes is hard to resist when you are roaming the bookstore aisles.

Rose's Heavenly Cakes
Buy me
You start flipping through and you see all those beautiful cakes, and before you know it that book has mysteriously (what ? no honey I didn't buy that it followed me home !) shown up on your kitchen book shelf. Back in the late 80's I fell in love with her Cake Bible and quickly moved onto Rose's  Christmas Cookies-it's been my Christmas Cookie book for as long as I can remember.

 And the butter cream is lovely-just the perfect sweetness from the use of  Lyle's Golden Syrup.  I didn't add any of Rose's suggested variations, instead, before icing the cupcakes I poked a few holes in the cupcakes and spread on some homemade caramel.  I did make a few without the caramel to get a feel for the taste of the cupcake along with the Golden Butter cream-yum yum yum. The butter cream is another keeper.  Some butter creams tend to coat the roof of your mouth long after you took the first bite , this one doesn't-now I can't wait to try the variation with chocolate.

I'm not at all surprised by my results and the taste of these cupcakes.  With Rose you trust that if you follow her detailed instructions and tips you will be doing your little baker's elation dance around your kitchen when you remove the cake from the oven.  She's like that best friend you can always listen to and who always gives you the best advice. Head over to Heavenly Cake Bakers and see what everyone else thought about these cupcakes . 

And next time you are shopping at Amazon or wandering through your favorite bookstore

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting,-Baked Sunday Mornings

I know what you are thinking-Tomato Soup Cupcakes-what ?  Right up there with avocado cheesecake (which by the way if made properly is pretty darn good ) .  I know I was thinking the same thing-I like my tomato soup with a side of grilled cheese and a big kosher pickle.  Not topped with creamy mascarpone frosting.

But I was surprised-it reminded me of a cross between a mild mannered spice cake and pumpkin cake with a slightly acidic bite to it. Interesting.  That's what we say when we don't hate it but we don't love it either. Interesting.  The batter made beautiful cakes, nice and light with great crumb.  And they rose like , well like round tomatoes. I'm not a huge proponent of the use of food coloring but it might be fun to play around with  red food coloring and get these cupcakes  closer to the color of tomatoes instead of pumpkins.

 The frosting is a little on the sweet side,not the cheek sucking teeth numbing sweet, just slightly sweet.  I was looking forward to the mascarpone frosting but the taste got eaten up by the powdered sugar-too bad because mascarpone is one of my favorite tastes, so rich, so creamy. 

I think I'll play with the frosting in the future and cut back on the butter and increase the mascarpone and see what happens. A sour cream frosting would probably go well with these. Oh well C'est la vie, at least they look pretty and they taste, well,interesting. Head over to Baked Sunday Mornings  for the recipe and see what everyone else thought of these and how they turned out.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Seattle Bakesale for the South at Cakespy Shop

Hey Seattle don't miss the chance to support a great cause.  The Seattle Bakesale for the South.  And if you want to volunteer as a baker click here.  I will be watching for you  May 14, 11 am til ? at CakeSpy Shop, 415 E. Pine Street (near Summit), Seattle WA 98122.

I'm thinking of making Pecan Pie Bars, maybe some Red Velvet Cupcakes, what would you bake ? Maybe some delicious berry fried pies ?  Or a huge coconut cream cake ?  What do you think ?