Happy Friday interwebz! It’s a sun shiney day, makes a girl smile. Baking this week was somewhat lack luster. Didn’t get around to much, but Sunday was pretty eventful with my double batch o’ coffee cuppies, so I took a little break. Wednesday night I made a batch of cupcakes (vanilla cake, half filled with nutella, the other half filled with crunchy peanut butter) and of course topped a generous dollop of my fav buttercream. We finished these bad boys off with a lil’ dash of my new (and bad ass!) sprinkles. The reason? Well I obviously don’t need one because I constantly make cupcakes for the sake of it, but my friend lit her apartment on fire (but not really) and woke up everyone else living in the apartments with the buzzing of fire trucks … There’s no apology like an edible one!
So what’s on the agenda for the weekend… Hmm… I need to find an apartment – STAT. My searches have been somewhat disappointing and honestly I really can’t do much at this point because I’m waiting for a call from a landlord. A post-work climb session is in order, and once we’ve conquered some walls, it’s time to prepare for this evening’s madness. Monster Truck is playing at Wrongbar along with a couple other bands (DIRRTY PENNY!!!) So I’m going! After that I will likely be recovering on Saturday, and Sunday will be filled with cupcake preperations. A friend and I will be doing a practice run of a batch of Easter cupcakes she will prepare later on in the week for her family (cupcake lessons!) and then I need to make one final batch of ‘test essperimentashuns’ for the Iron Chef cupcake competition. I got tricks up my sleeve, so you better watch out! Find my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/good-eats/chiffon-cupcakes-recipe/index.html
Monthly Archives: March 2010
It’s not often I get competitive with baking – usually I strap on my apron, and glasses, put on some tunes and get to work. When I have my final product, it’s enjoyed… and then it just kind of ends and bellies are full. Thanks to my supportive and observant parents, I am now an official contestant in the Iron Chef Cupcake competition, courtesy of For the Love of Cake Bakery in Liberty Village (Toronto)
I believe last month was the first event, although I attempted registering too late, once the results were announced I sent my info for April’s event. And now here I am, with two different batches of coffee infused cupcakes and a hard decision to make. I can’t announce my flavours – there’s nothing worse then confection plagiarism, but I will say that it’s a tough call. I brought 24 of each cupcakes into to work today and both have been equally enjoyed.
In the midst of my madness and experimentation of flavours, I made a trip to bulk barn. I spent a stupid amount of money on things: sprinkles, chocolate moulds, pearl dust for fondant… the list goes on. The cupcake competition isn’t until April 11th, this means I have plenty of time to experiment. In the meantime, make sure you check out this site, or heck, just go visit the bakery itself and get yourself some edible happy. I haven’t been, but a work friend said their cupcakes are ‘to die for’ http://fortheloveofcake.ca/ PEACE OUT BEAN SPROUTS!
Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day! Although I wouldn’t receive the award for the most St. Patty’s day spirit, I try to celebrate each year. My father’s side is of Irish decent – we have family there and although I’ve never been, I plan to one day soon (Definitely have a place to stay, so why not!?) I had to work the next day, so I didn’t want to be too extreme with my drinking habits… instead I opted for something better… an irish feast! I prepared a delicious irish stew with roasted vegetables and lamb AND a loaf of soda bread. It was extraordinary and I felt rather excited that the stew had Guinness in it. And of course, earlier in the day I brought a small batch of green cupcakes to work, with milk chocolate buttercream and some gold leaf… I know I go slightly overboard with gold leaf, but how could I resist on such a day. Irish stew recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/roasted-root-vegetable-irish-lamb-stew-recipe/index.html and the soda bread recipe is here! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/irish-soda-bread-recipe/index.html I omitted the sugar, zest and currants – added some extra salt and pepper.
The true festivities began Friday – my guy friend had a St. Patty’s day party and although it was a couple days late there was not a lack of debauchery.
Thursday evening I ventured off to Oakville for a visit to my favourite little place – Oliver and Bonacini Café Grill. This place is great… You can buy bubbly by the glass and their quiche is beyond anything I’ve ever tasted. The best part is it’s reasonably priced and has a wicked menu. I got a burger with a side of spinach salad. It was ok. Normally I hold this place to a high regard, and it was a delicious meal, but I’ve had better.
As per Maddie’s request, which was super smart, it is Pi day, so here’s the pie pops recipe. SUPER easy to make, these can be prepared in minutes if the ingredients are handy. I make a vanilla bean whipped cream for dipping:
(Makes about 15)
1 package of pre-made Pillsbury pastry crust (of course, make from scratch if you have time, but I usually just use store-bought for convenience)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pie filling (once again, you can prepare your own, but I buy E.D. Smith! I prefer apple and cherry, but you could use pumpkin and pecan would be awesome)
15 paper lollipop sticks
1 cup 35% cream
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or one vanilla bean split in half)
3 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Take one of the Pillsbury crusts out of the fridge. I would recommend rolling it out just a bit thinner than it already is, but really, this is to your discretion. Using either a round glass, or cookie cutter, cut-out shapes and roll out pastry again until it is gone – I get about 15 cut-outs per crust. Place 6 pastry cut-outs on a parchment covered baking sheet, press a lollipop stick into the pastry. Place 1-2 tsp (depending on size of cookie cutter!) of pie filling on to one side. Beat the egg slightly and brush around the pie filling onto the pastry. Take another piece of pastry and press onto each pie-filled cut-out. Using a fork, crimp the edges, so the filling stays in the pops. Once each pop is made, brush with more egg. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top of each pop. Bake for 15 minutes and repeat with the other pie crust. Let cool slightly.
In the meantime, you can prepare the whipped-dip. Pour the cream into a chilled bowl and whip on a mixer until soft peaks. Add the vanilla bean or paste and confections sugar, whip until stiff peaks form.
Serve warm pie pops with the whipped cream as a dip. You can also take out the lollipop sticks for a hand-held pie, but we all know the sticks make things a little more fun!
I have some very exciting news to share – last week I got to see the one and only, hair metal tribute/parody band STEEL PANTHER! Awhile back I blogged about a concert I went to featuring an amazing band called Monster Truck (I highly recommend you check out their myspace: http://www.myspace.com/monstertruckfuck) Well, MT opened for Steel Panther, a band I’ve fancied for quite some time. Although I was born in ’88, by ’89 I was rockin’ hard to hair metal hits… it’s apart of my metal heritage. Not only do I get to see two AMAZING bands, but for free! My best friend ever, Jaq Raver, got me on guest list! (Love you boo)
And another bit of essiting news – I had a bunch of fun visitors over for the weekend! I didn’t get around to too much experimentation but a batch of red velvet cupcakes mysteriously showed up in my oven and were enjoyed/devoured by many. Recipe can be found here: http://www.bakerella.com/red-velvet-cake/ I also made more lemon blueberry ricotta pancakes and a pretty decent pot roast with buttermilk mashed potatoes. I’m so ready for Monday. Pancake recipe (which you need to make this coming Sunday… seriously) can be found here: http://www.pontanisisters.com/recipe10.html
Spring has finally sprung, or so it seems. In between time spent in the kitchen this weekend, I tried my hardest to get outside and see some sunshine. I had a time consuming to-do list, but I managed to do some Toronto exploration, which was nice. The first order of business was the baby shower cupcakes (pictured above) they were SO much fun to make. I had a great time making the little baby face expressions and playing around with fondant. It took a few hours to get them all right, but on Sunday morning they were picked up for the shower, and I was told they were enjoyed by the momma-to-be.
My second task was a dozen cupcakes for my boss’ birthday (also pictured above!) She’s an avid cupcake lover, so I knew I couldn’t make something too plain… I opted for my recent-favourite, nutella filled chocolate cake topped with vanilla buttercream AND more chocolate cupcakes topped with milk chocolate frosting a thin layer of decorative and colourful fondant. I’d have to say these were an absolute pleasure to make. I love being creative and having the freedom to do what I please. I thrive best an environment where I’m free to craft something unique and special.
Aside from the fact I made 5 dozen cupcakes this past week, I’m very pleased with the recent weather. Saturday my boyfriend and I ventured up Yonge and did some grocery shopping and Sunday we headed up Queen west. I got some refreshing, but ridiculously overpriced, frozen yogurt at Blush Berry. My rationale for the over-priced yogurt: the upkeep on the fake grass outside the store… just kidding.. but seriously over $5 for a medium frozen yogurt with a few fresh strawberries and blueberries? Not quite justified. I see the value in desserts, that’s my life, but there wasn’t anything special about Blush Berry… Long live Yogen Fruz!
Another weekend has come and gone… and unfortunately this particular week has started off on the wrong path. I have been burdened with an awful/annoying cough. This constant tickle in the back of my throat is driving me crazy. I can barely get through a sentence without hacking like a emphysema victim. (so very wrong to say)
Aside from my minor misfortune, this weekend was very productive. I bathed my cat with few battle wounds, and in between made some awesome treats. The first was a birthday cake for my BFF, I wanted something simple but fun. I opted for a two-layer cake. The bottom was vanilla cake with vanilla bean buttercream, this was topped with a chocolate-hazelnut filled chocolate cake. Everything was then topped with more vanilla bean buttercream and a thin layer of turquoise fondant. A few touches of some brown and I was left with a cute little birthday cake. My next project was another birthday treat, but this time cupcakes… the special request: chocolate. After preparing some plain ol’ chocolate fudge cupcakes, I cut a little hole in the top of each. This hole was then filled with a generous spoonful of nutella. This was followed by a lavender coloured vanilla buttercream, some gold leaf and a chocolate heart. Hope Jackie’s mom likes ‘em! Cupcake recipe can be found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/devils-food-cupcakes-book
P.S. Happy Birthday to my BFF Krit!
Best Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from Alton Brown
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
4 cups icing sugar
Mix butter with whisk attachment for 2 minutes – add egg and mix on medium speed for one minute. Add vanilla bean paste and mix until combined. Slowly add icing sugar – once mixture has come together, whip on medium high for 2 minutes or until it has reached desired consistency. Use immediately or store in fridge/freezer for later use. Feel free to add some food colouring!