Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Cupcakes: UK Ingredients and the Metric System

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:51 PM 0 comments
For Easter, I decided to make cupcakes in homage to my favorite Easter treat: Cadbury Creme Eggs. So it was egg-celent timing that one of my favorite caking blogs, Cupcakes Take the Cake, posted an awesome recipe for just such a cupcake. Thanks to UK food blogger Sticky Pinny for the great recipe and technique.

Since the recipe originated across the pond, I had to do a bit of searching to find some of the key ingredients. For your edification: Golden Syrup, Caster Sugar and Dark Muscovado Sugar.

So golden syrup reminds me a bit of Karo syrup with the color of honey. Found it at my local Kroger in the international foods aisle; it's sweet and sticky, like you might expect. The Dark Muscovado sugar looks and smells like gingerbread. It's like a spiced dark brown sugar; seems like it would be awesome in holiday recipes. The Caster Sugar is basically just really super-fine white sugar; would be great in iced tea. I was able to track down both sugars at Central Market. Note: They weren't cheap. These one-pound bags cost 7 bucks each! It was worth it for the experiment, but probably not on a regular basis.

The original recipe gave the measurements in grams, so I was really glad I own a food scale. Sometimes I wish we could just all be on the metric system...accuracy is key in baking!

So the cupcake recipe was supposedly for Devil's Food, but these seem more like a sort of cocoa spice cake to me. It's definitely not as sweet as most of the cakes I'm used to making (but the frosting makes up for that). Also the recipe said it would make 12-15 cupcakes, but I got an easy 20. They baked up perfectly at 20 minutes.

The dual-flavor frosting (fondant and cream cheese swirled) is meant to mimic the filling inside a Cadbury egg. Mine didn't turn out quite as pretty as the originals, but overall I was happy with the project. And I learned something new, which is always fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cupcakes in a Jar

Posted by jenmeeko at 11:01 AM 0 comments

For our friend Lindsay's birthday, our group of friends planned to go out to dinner after work. So I had to figure out a birthday cake that I could transport by myself to my office in the morning and to the restaurant that night, and it needed to have staying power! I saw the awesome idea for cupcakes in a jar on a cake blog recently, and I thought it would be a perfect solution!

The birthday party was at a Mexican restaurant, so I went for Margarita Cupcakes with Cheesecake Filling and Lime Buttercream topped off with a fresh lime. They were pretty tart, which is a departure from my usual super-sweet frosting, but the creamy filling balanced that out pretty nicely.

I finished off each jar with a ribbon, spoon and label, that way guests could enjoy them at the restaurant or take them home for later. Worked out pretty well! I'll definitely be making these again. Just need to buy more jars!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not cake, but posting it anyway

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:12 PM 0 comments
So this was the recipe I entered into the Pillsbury Bakeoff Contest today. It's my Spicy Jalapeno Popper Dip with crusty French loaf slices. It's a mix of cream cheese, mayo, peppers, bacon, cheese and spices topped with a bread crumb mixture. Crossing my fingers to make it to the next round! I am sure they get millions of entries, so it would be nothing short of a miracle. But I guess it's worth a shot!

Duct Tape 30th Birthday Cake

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:00 PM 0 comments
Our good friend Mike celebrated his 30th birthday with a duct tape themed party, so naturally this meant a duct tape cake was in order. I used 6" rounds to make the rolls of "tape"; I just cut holes in the center and inserted left over cardboard rolls from real duct tape. I tried to make it appear as though the cake was decorated with torn duct tape, which was difficult because it was almost like trying to make it look bad on purpose. But I think it turned out as planned! And the flavor experiments mostly seemed to work out. White Chocolate Creme Brulee with raspberry filling was my favorite. Peanut butter chocolate chip was good, but not without some complications. (Note: it's best to use the mini chocolate chips in less dense cakes. I tried giant chips, and they sank to the bottom of the pan. Fail.)

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