Thursday, December 20, 2012

Breakfast at Imma's



A little while ago, James and I stopped at Imma's on our way back to Davis. She whipped up quite a fantastic breakfast. Who am I to say no to a breakfast that ends with cupcakes anyway? The food before the cupcakes was not to be forgotten. It was simplicity at its best; smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes, cheese, bread and lots of different kinds of salt. Every item was presented on its own, allowing them to be combined in anyway I wished. 


We had fun experimenting with the different kinds of salt. I like to think I could taste a difference, but that was probably not the case. We ended our meal with three different cupcakes. Unfortunately I do not remember all their names, but I can confidently say they were amazing. My cupcakes don't even hold a finger to these babies. The front cupcake was, I believe, some sort of vanilla liquor cupcake. The back left was banana chocolate chip, and the right, a chocolate variety.


I will be back in Marin for the holidays and am definitely going to have to stop at the Teacake Bake Shop at the Town Center in Corte Madera and try some more cupcakes. For research purposes only, of course.  I strongly recommend you stop by as well the next time you cross the golden gate bridge to visit Marin.




Friday, December 14, 2012

Chocolate Mousse with Dark Rum

Imma just gave me a nice bottle of Rum, and it has been making me think about Thailand. I had the most amazing chocolate mousse with rum on an island right outside of Bangkok. It was one of those islands that makes you forget time. The beach was a smokey white, and the water a true aquamarine. James and I spent hours just floating, absorbing all the warmth around us.


I have been craving the warm Thailand sun, but a recreation of this mousse might help fill the void instead. Or just help me recover from the brutality of my finals, which I am glad to say are almost over. See you on the other side, in about 7 hours!




Friday, December 7, 2012

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole


This is an adaptation from a sweet potato recipe I found on Jessie Monds Food Blog. Her creation is wonderful, and quite adorable. She presents several individual baked sweet potatoes with vegan ingredients and toppings. I adapted her recipe into a casserole fit to feed over 30 people. 


Ingredients:

  • 22 yams
  • 1/8 cup cinnamon
  • 1 1/8-1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp  nutmeg
  • 5 apples
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 2 cups cranberries

As this was a Thanksgiving dish and we were rather unorganized and making things up as we went, I can not give you exact details.  The amounts of each ingredients are approximate. First cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and bake them until they become mushy. I do not recall exactly how they were baked, but I would start out at 400 degrees for an hour and then check every twenty minutes after. Mash the yams together in a large bowl, add the coconut milk and spices. Put the yams into several different casserole dishes (I used 3). Cut up the apples. Sprinkle the cubed apples, walnuts, pecans, and cranberries onto the yams.

Bake this dish again for roughly 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until it is completely reheated, but before the toppings begin to burn. As you can see by the picture, we were not all that successful with the whole no burning thing.

Even though everything is approximate, I wanted to record this recipe in a general sense in case we wanted to use it again next year.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cranberry Ice Cream with Cinnamon and Brandy

A little over a year ago, I tasted cranberry ice cream for the first time in a small little town called Hope, Alaska. It was like nothing I had ever tasted. Sweet, but tart, and oh so smooth. In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to recreate this wonderful treat. I paired this ice cream with ginger cookies, and I must say the combination made quite an amazing ice cream sandwich. 


Finding a good cranberry ice cream recipe that could potentially live up to my memory proved harder than I anticipated. In the end, I decided to make my own recipe. Overall, I think it went rather well. This recipe is easy to alter to your liking. You can adjust the sugar depending on how tart you would like your ice cream, and you can increase the amount of brandy added if you wish to create more of an adult taste.


Makes: 2 quarts
Time: 35 minutes plus length of ice cream maker
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 24 oz cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp brandy (to taste)

FOR THE CUSTARD:
Heat 2 cups of whole milk, 1/2 cup of cream and 2 tsp cinnamon. Heat slowly and do not let the milk boil. While this mixture is heating cream together, in a large bowl, the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 cup of cream. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, stirring. Transfer the combined mixture into a pot and begin to heat the custard.
Heating the custard is of upmost importance. You want to heat the custard as much as possible without cooking the eggs. Stir constantly in a figure eight motion with a wooden spoon. You will be able to feel the custard thicken against the spoon. It is done when the custard coats the back of the spoon and when you run a finger along the surface you can see the trail left behind. This should take roughly 10 minutes over medium heat. Although it sometimes takes longer if the heat is irregular. Once the custard is finished, pour through a fine mesh filter and it into a chilled bowl. Don’t forget to filter out any cooked egg within the mixture or your ice cream will taste very eggy! I usually pour the custard into a medium bowl which sits in an ice bath within a larger bowl. It is important to cool the custard immediately to stop the eggs cooking.

FOR THE CRANBERRY SAUCE:
Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used, but fresh cranberries will enhance the flavor and aroma of the ice cream. Combine the cranberries and sugar in a medium pot over medium to high heat. Every 5 minutes add about an 1/8 of a cup of brandy. Stir and squish the cranberries until all the cranberries have burst. Pour the cranberry mixture into a food processor or blender and turn the mixture to liquid.
Stir the cranberry sauce into the custard in the ice bath. Once the two mixtures are combined you can transfer it to an ice cream maker.

MAKING/FREEZING THE ICE CREAM:
There are a variety of methods to turn your cranberry custard into ice cream. I used a 2 quart Cuisinart ice cream maker which will turn the ice cream into custard within a half an hour. Follow the directions on your individual ice cream maker. This recipe yields 2 quarts of the final ice cream product, thus you want to make sure your ice cream maker can hold the final quantity, not just the custard. The custard expands as it freezes.
Place your ice cream in the freezer for several hours, if you wish to harden it. The immediate ice cream will be soft serve.

NOTE:
Prep time is roughly 40 minutes and includes everything prior to placing your custard mixture into the ice cream maker. Cook time will depend on your method of turning the custard into ice cream. Follow the directions for your personal ice cream making method.
The final 2 quarts of ice cream creates 8 1 cup servings or 16 1/2 cup servings.
This is an original Blueberry Octopie recipe.



Enjoy your ice cream with family and friends for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Thanksgiving Event of 2012


This year, my family hosted Thanksgiving dinner, and it was quite a feat. My parent's house is still undergoing remodeling, which basically means we were working with an improvised kitchen. The kitchen counter tops are old doors placed on top of the cabinets. If too much weight is placed on one side, the door might pop up like a seesaw. Despite the obstacles, we managed to pull together a fantastic meal. 

The table was set for about 24 people. This year we experienced assigned seating due to the arrangement of the food on the table according to dietary restrictions. Even though I find assigned seating a little weird, probably because it reminds me of grade school, it was oddly comforting to see my name on the table.


Running around, entertaining, cooking, and taking pictures was quite hectic, and unfortunately I was not able to capture all of the food available.

The turkey is always raised by a family member, and was 30 lbs this year. I remember, one year the turkey was so big we had to rip off its legs, and tie them to its side so it would fit in the oven.


My father always complements the turkey with a side of honeyed ham. The salad below was a wonderful adaptation of the kale and brussels sprouts salad from last years thanksgiving, which I have mentioned in a previous post. This year, Piper and Laura, added pomegranate seeds, and it made all the difference.


Monique, Laura, and Piper arrived with these amazing veggie tarts with mushrooms they foraged themselves. They were absolutely beautiful, I felt guilty eating them. On the left you get a glimpse of my vegan sweet potato dish. Unfortunately, I did not get any good pictures of the dish, but I will post the recipe soon.  It was a fantastic vegan side that everybody loved.


Some friends of the family brought a vegan couscous salad. I never thought I would have a half vegan Thanksgiving, let alone enjoy it.


Since we have never been able to get dinner on the table on time, several guests bring appetizers throughout the early afternoon. My aunt Jen always makes an amazing baked bree topped with jam. As you can see from the picture, we aren't the most organized chefs, but we get the job done.  



A little before dinner, while the sun was still warm, the kids went for a horse back ride out by the barn. Their excitement infected all of us. Family can be a little intimidating at times, but Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. 




Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Bread with Olive Oil and Chocolate Chips


One of my favorite things about fall is chocolate chip pumpkin bread. I was first introduced to this amazing creation by my Aunt Jen over Thanksgiving. Although, over the years it has been brought to my attention that holiday pumpkin bread is not that healthy, and eating it all in one sitting is not a very good idea. Alas, I have come across this wonderful recipe from Simply Recipes that uses olive oil instead of butter and when I decrease the sugar, I feel moderately healthy. I have adapted this recipe by decreasing the sugar, changing the spices up a bit, withholding the walnuts and adding chocolate chips.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then add the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and the spices. Mix. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake for 50-60 minutes in a greased 9x5x3 inch bread pan.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Coffee Bacon

Bacon seems to be all the rage these days, so I guess I am just jumping on the bandwagon. I stumbled across the blog, Recipes We Love, which was featuring a sugar and coffee bacon recipe, and thought I should give it a try. It seemed like a fun little experiment, and I wouldn't even need to go to the store. Plus I always get brownie points from James whenever bacon is involved.

My favorite thing about this wonderful new adaptation to the classic breakfast meat is the contrast between the strong bacon and the subtle coffee and sugar flavors. And of course, it is so easy to make! 


For my adaptation you will need:

  • Bacon
  • Sugar 
  • 1 tsp Ground coffee per 3 pieces of bacon

I cook my bacon on a cast iron pan. This adaptation isn't scientific and there are many different ways to approach the concept of coffee bacon. The easiest way to do this is to sprinkle the coffee and sugar on the bacon as it cooks, just don't forget to do both sides. However, you could also rub coffee grounds and sugar on the bacon prior to cooking. This will most likely enhance the flavor. Adjust the amount of sugar you place on the bacon according to your needs. If you feel you have put too much coffee grounds on, don't fear, just brush them off before you eat.

 I kept the sugar to just a small pinch, but this bacon could easily be eaten in more of a dessert capacity. I have been seeing lots of bacon cupcakes, and this recipe would work perfectly for a cupcake topping. I am thinking dark chocolate bacon cupcakes with a mocha frosting and a coffee bacon topping, doesn't sound to bad. 

However, this bacon was used as breakfast for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea. 



This post is linked to: Farm Girl Blog Fest #8, LHITS DIY Linky #22, Ginger Jamboree Link Party #2

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies were a last minute addition to a cookie basket I was making. I have always been a big fan of baked goods as presents, or friendly gestures. You are giving a gift you know someone can enjoy, and they know you put time and effort into making their gift.  


 This gift started out as a basket of chocolate chip cookies, but I wanted to add some diversity to the batch, without spending to much extra time baking. I was short on time, and knew I wasn't going to be able to make two batches. Instead I needed a way to make two kinds of cookies from one batch.  Cutting the batter in half, and adding coconut flakes worked out great, because it not only changed the flavor, but added a different texture as well. The change in texture made all the difference when it came to the display of the basket of cookies.

As for the actual baking, I am a strong believer in the traditional Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Simply add 1 cup of finely shredded coconut to their recipe. Just be sure that your coconut flakes are nice and moist, you don't want to dry out your cookies!


Overall, adding coconut flakes to a batch of regular chocolate cookies is a great way to mix things up. Other chocolate chip cookie variations I love include adding orange zest to the batter.  The cookies will look the same but you get a burst of orange at the end of your bite. You can check out my recipe here.

Favorite Chocolate Strawberry Cake


This post is long overdue. I actually made this cake for my friend Gordon's birthday at the end of september, and it was so good! It is simplicity at its best. I got the strawberries at the local farmers market, and they are beautiful, such a lusty red.  


Inside you can find my previous dark chocolate cupcake recipe which doubles nicely as a cake recipe. Feel free to place some very thinly sliced strawberries in the middle between the frosting and the second layer of cake. Although it tastes great with just frosting in the middle, and strawberries on top too.  The frosting is a simple, traditional cream cheese frosting. I have been making this frosting for quite a while, and don't necessary follow a recipe, but if you would like a reference you can find a pretty good recipe here.  I usually start with 1 package of 8 oz cream cheese and add anywhere between 1/2-3/4 cup of butter and 1 1/2-2 cups of powdered sugar. An increase in butter will make the frosting more viscous.


My usual cake tips are as follows:
  • The cake is fully cooked when the toothpick comes out with a couple crumbs on it and no goo. If the toothpick comes out completely clean, then the chances are you have overcooked the cake. Remember the cake will still cook a little while it cools. 
  • Let the cake cool completely before you try and frost it. 
  • Don't try and force runny frosting. Sometimes I need to let my frosting sit in the fridge for a little while to make sure I can frost a relatively smooth cake. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zucchini Basil Muffins


If you haven't guessed yet, I love muffins! They are fun, easy to make and function as great snack food for on the go activities, which makes my crazy schedule just a tad easier.  While we are talking schedules, I should probably mention the nightmare I have been attending for the past couple of days, trying to ensure I graduate from UC Davis by Spring 2013. Cutting classes and raising tuition seems to be a trend at a lot of universities. One of my required lab classes is now only offered in the fall (present quarter), and I was not signed up to take the class. Thankfully there was still a spot left and I was able to add late, but I have a week and a half worth of lab work to make up. It seems doable, but then I remember I am taking four other upper division science classes and midterms are coming up. Its going to be quite an eventful next couple of weeks!


I just wanted to be clear to my readers that even though I am disappointed with UCD's current class scheduling this is only because I hold them to very high standards. I love my school and my counselor. UCD has given me numerous opportunities to challenge myself. Throughout my journey at UCD my  academic knowledge has expanded exponentially, and my critical thinking has improved dramatically. Between my classes and my internship, I am receiving a world class education (and I have the bill to prove it!).


My family grows zucchini every year in all shapes and sizes. The zucchinis pictured above are normal size, but they can grow to be huge. They grow longer than our dachshund (although you can argue that she is still rounder).  After grating my giant zucchini I was left with 8 cups! I do like zucchini, but I do hit a zucchini limit, and need to find more creative ways of eating our harvest. Zucchini bread is always a big contributor, but this time I wanted to try something a little more unique. These Zucchini basil muffins with parmesan cheese are perfect.


I got this recipe from Bernard Clayton's Book of Breads.

Makes: 12 medium sized muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup of cooking oil
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 tbs. minced basil, fresh
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

In a large bowl combine the eggs, milk and oil. Mix. In a separate bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add the dry ingredients to the wet a little bit at a time. Mix,  small clumps are okay. Fold in the zucchini and the basil.

Add batter to your muffin tin and then sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

 I went light on the cheese and then later regretted it. Also don't add extra zucchini or the muffins become to stiff and don't taste as good the next day. 



Aren't they cute! The recipe said they freeze well, which I will try out the next time I make them. I still have 6 cups of shredded zucchini and would very much appreciate your favorite zucchini recipes.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Explosion Muffins

If I thought August was going to be busy, I had obviously not yet met September. After running around between Davis, Sonoma and Marin for the past three weeks, James and I are finally settled into our new apartment. We were on a tight budget so finding furniture was a bit stressful, but we managed to borrow quite a lot from friends and family. In the end we really only had to buy the couch, which we found on craigslist. We also took it upon ourselves to make some items including shelves and end tables. I am quite proud of the result.


And I have my own kitchen! I have been making a lot of pizza, but muffins won out for the first post in our new home. I found this recipe in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I believe this version came out in 1987. It is a monster of a book, with a whopping total of 748 pages, but after reading A Game of Thrones I feel like I can take on anything. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading A Game of Thrones, it is absolutely fantastic, although quite sadistic. If you would like to read more than just one book for the next couple of months I would recommend watching the tv show instead.


These muffins were like a breathe of fresh air. The lemon flavor pops in your mouth and the blueberries can hardly be contained. This recipe makes about 18 medium muffins or 36 small, mini muffins. For me, the batter made 16 muffins.

Ingredients:
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1 1/2-2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Combine the dry ingredients in a big bowl and mix. In a medium/small bowl whisk the eggs for roughly 10 seconds. Add the milk and oil to the eggs and mix. 

Make an a hole in the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into the hole. This is done to decrease the amount of mixing needed to moisten the flour. Mix gently and try not to over mix. Combine the lemon zest and blueberries and then fold them into the batter. Try not to break any of the blueberries. 

Fill your muffin tin 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes check to see if the muffins in the middle are thoroughly baked. If needed continue baking for 5 more minutes.


I only baked my muffins for 20 minutes, but they probably could have stayed in the oven a little longer. I also filled my muffin tins a little more than 3/4 of the way full. 

These muffins are a great way to enjoy the last of the blueberries. We still have some being sold at the farmers market here in Davis, but Trader Joe's and Costco are both cheaper alternatives. The muffins paired beautifully with some peach tea and an old copy of Vanity Fair. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

Banana Pineapple Coconut Lassi with Honey

This drink may not look special, but I guarantee it was amazing. The difference between a lassi and a smoothie is still rather blurry to me, but I do understand that a lassi is traditionally an Indian yogurt based drink. I enjoyed this beverage in Luang Prabang, Laos on a balcony over looking the local river. I am not going to lie, the location probably influenced my love of this drink. The restaurant we were eating at was managed by an American woman, and all the employees are local teenagers with no prior job experience. The restaurant gives the kids an opportunity to learn English, and to gain the needed experience to succeed since they cannot afford a higher education. 


This drink seems rather simple to make. Although, to get the proportions of the fruit and yogurt I would consider reviewing another lassi recipe, I am sure google will not leave you empty handed. Make sure to blend the drink until it is nice and frothy. I am definitely making this when I get back to the states!




Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rice Flour Pancake with Coconut & Tiger Cubs


James and I found this little jem in the street markets of Chaing Mai, Thailand. We were searching for breakfast, and really wanted something other than rice soup or meat with rice. I am having fun exploring the different types of food here in Thailand, but I miss breakfast! These little pancakes cost about 10 cents, and we ate three each.


As for the composition, I am not quite sure what is in it or how it is made. However, I was informed that it is made with rice flour and there was definitely shredded coconut inside. The street vendor made them as if he were making a crepe, but it turns out to be more like a big fluffy pancake.  When the pancake is almost done cooking, he added lots of coconut and some sort of sugar mixture. Finally he folds it in half, and packages it in a little plastic bag.


The pancake is much fluffier than traditional pancake, and is completely filled with air bubbles. I believe the key to recreating this dish is to find a way to make a light and airy pancake. But if you are in a pinch, adding shredded coconut to a crepe or regular pancake sounds good too. Maybe with a little honey or Agave sweetener. 

And for a little update of what I was actually doing in Chaing Mai...


All the tiger cubs were so cute and sleepy. This little guy is 2 months old, and loves his belly rubs! They were surprisingly calm for not being sedated. Although sometimes they would start to play with each other, and get a little rough, but the supervisors knew how to handle them. The cubs were just full of love, and would climb all over the people who worked there. All the tigers have a little white spot on the back of their ears.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Banana Coconut Sticky Rice Pudding

For the month of August, I am traveling through Thailand and Laos with James, and his parents visiting his mother's family. This past week we have been primarily located in Chaing Mai, Thailand where James's mom, Amy, grew up.


Amy introduced me to this little dessert, coconut sticky rice steamed with bananas, and wrapped in a banana leaf. It can be found in pretty much any of the street markets. A pack of two is less than 50 cents. 


After unfolding the banana leaf you find a small handful of coconut sticky rice, and a piece of banana. I have become utterly addicted to this little sweet. The only down side is that it has a shelf life of about 12 hours, since we do not have a proper way to refrigerate, and then reheat it. 


Amy and I conversed on the best way to make this dish. To begin, make Thai coconut rice pudding using sticky rice. Then take a small handful of the rice, and wrap it around a piece of banana. To receive the true banana flavor the rice and banana need to be steamed together, and the best way to do this is with a banana leaf. However, we don't have easy access to banana leaves in the states, so I am going to have to play around with this dish back home, and get back to you. My goal is to find an alternate way to steam the rice and banana mixture that will allow the rice to keep its shape, and lock in the banana flavor. 


I know there are various ways to make this and as I do not have a recipe to consult. Please let me know if you have an alternative way, or idea to make this dish!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Cupcake Challenge: Chocolate and Yellow Cupcakes


A little while ago I attempted to make cupcakes from scratch. I have always made cupcakes from a box,  but I wanted to officially 'bake cupcakes'. It couldn't be that hard anyway. So I searched my favorite collection of baking recipes that I have always wanted to try and picked out a pretty basic one. Being naive I didn't want to buy cake flour so I baked a recipe that called for just all-purpose flour. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES and don't do this.  This was my first mistake and the cupcakes were absolutely terrible.

My failure put me into a frenzy and I am determined to make, well not necessarily the perfect cupcake, but some pretty good ones at that, hence the cupcake challenge. To start off, I did what I usually do when stumped and turned to my trusty America's Family Kitchen Cookbook and bought some cake flour. These cupcakes were a huge improvement, but I am still working on perfecting them.


Their Dark Chocolate Cupcakes were beautiful. Unfortunately I forgot to buy sour cream and used buttermilk instead resulting in rather dry cupcakes. Also I found the chocolate flavor a little lacking. Yes they were rich, but too bitter. Next attempt I will try to increase the fat ratio and hopefully this will help fix the problem. Overall they were good and in a pinch I would definitely make them again. This particular recipe doesn't call for cake flour, but I do want to try to modify it with cake flour.

DARK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
Makes: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes plus cooking time

  • 16 Tbsp. of butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder.
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small microwave safe bowl add the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder. Microwave the contents for 30 second intervals whisking until completely melted and combined. While this mixture cools, start combining the other ingredients.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well. In another larger bowl whisk the eggs and vanilla together. Then slowly whisk in the sugar and the cooled chocolate and butter mixture. Finally sift the flower mixture over the batter and then mix in the sour cream.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes and let cool completely.

As seen in the picture below, you can see the crack in the top of the cupcakes. This shows that the fat and flour within the cupcake are completely set. This means that the cupcake wont change consistency or become gooey the next day, which happens when your baked goods are undercooked. This crack often parallels with a small dome shape on the cupcake, but if you don't overcook them the dome should flatten out a bit.


Next came the Easy Yellow Cupcakes that pretty much double as vanilla cupcakes. I prefer baking without chocolate because the ingredients are simpler and cheaper. My favorite thing about these cupcakes was their super fine crumb. It was amazing. However I found these cupcakes were also too dry. When I imagine the perfect cupcake three words come to mind; dense, moist and fluffy. I know fluffy contradicts dense, but the idea is to find the perfect equilibrium between the two characteristics. This cupcake was dense and slightly fluffy, but definitely not moist. 


I am currently modifying this recipe and I am almost finished. Hopefully I will have it fixed by sometime in September. These cupcakes do not have the crack on top and are actually a tad under cooked, but this helped counter act with their dryness. 

EASY YELLOW CUPCAKES
Makes: 24 cupcakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes plus cooking time
  • 3 cups of cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 12 tbsp. of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl whisk the vanilla in with the eggs and butter.  Slowly add the sugar and then the buttermilk. Sift the flour over the batter and mix thoroughly, but do not over mix. 

Bake for 18- 22 minutes and let cool completely. 



The cupcakes to the left are my attempt to make coconut cupcakes. However, they did not turn out well and its not even worth providing a recipe. All you need to know is, do not try using coconut milk instead of buttermilk (don't make fun of me, I am still learning the art of the cupcake!).

The last little experiment I conducted was to test the difference between a basic square American oven and a convection oven similar to the round top ovens often found in Europe. A convection oven circulates the hot air making the middle of baked good cook faster. In a square oven the hot air sits at the top of the oven above the cupcakes. 


The cupcake on the left was baked with a convection oven. You can see that it is thinner and taller, which shows that the inside baked faster than the cupcake on the right which was baked in a regular American square oven. These were the coconut cupcakes so they don't look as pretty.  I do like the convection oven, but before I use it again I would need to play around with the cooking times.
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