Monday, July 30, 2012

My Other Blog - Sriracha Cupcakes/Sorry for my long absence

Hey everyone! Hope you've been taking care of yourselves. I'll blame part of my disappearance from the blog world on my vacation to San Francisco, but the other part was just me being busy. And playing with gluten free flours (results not quite worth posting. Yet). Anyway, the latest issue of the magazine where I work contains an article on Sriracha, and I decided to do a companion blog post. My discovery? Well....head on over there and see for yourself!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Secret Recipe Club - Carrot Cupcakes + Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello from San Francisco! I've only been here one day so far, but I find it to be a lovely place and already had a delicious meal. I'll be sure to post about my adventures upon my return. Now, down to business. I will be honest, cause that's how I roll. I neglected this Secret Recipe Club post for far too long. Life got busy and there were so many recipes to choose from that I was paralyzed by indecision!

Instacarrots. Don't judge me. 

Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks (a name which always made me giggle ^_^) was the name of my supersecret blog this month. Man, this girl bakes so much, I dunno how she finds time for it. Anyway, there I was, last minute, paralyzed by indecision, when I remembered the pretty carrots in the fridge from the farmer's market (not the same carrots as these, that would be kind of gross). Luckily, Heather had a recipe for carrot cake, huzzah! Problem solved. 

Carrot cake is awesome. I made a couple adaptations to Heather's recipe, since I consider raisins to be the bane of my existence, and besides, I prefer my carrot cake pure and unadulterated. I employed some Milk Bar whippin' techniques in the cake process, and upped the vanilla in the frosting with scraped vanilla bean. Let me tell you, they were (which, unfortunately, is not a real website or I would link to it). The cake was SO moist, and the frosting, just barely sweet, was perfect for it. Definitely will be coming back to this one. If you have the time, grate your own carrots (or throw them in the food processor if you're lazy like me). I added some purple carrots for color variation! 

Carrot Cupcakes + Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups shredded peeled carrots

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar (I think I used a bit less...I didn't really measure!)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod set aside for future use 

 Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with 12 wrappers. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2-3 more minutes. Scrape down the sides again.
On low speed, stream in the oil. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter and sugar mixture, and completely homogenous, with no streaks of fat. Don’t rush the process. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
On low speed, add the flour mixture. Mix for 45-60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add carrots on low speed, only mixing until just incorporated. Remove the bowl, grab a spatula, and run it through the batter, making extra sure everything is combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 22-27 minutes, checking at the 20-minute mark for doneness. I find with cakes, baking time depends not only on how hot your oven cooks, but also on what type of pan you’re using (nonstick, dark, light, etc). Check early and as often as you need to. You want your cake to be done, but you also want it to retain its moisture and not be dry.
When it’s done, it will have risen and puffed, doubling in size, but will remain buttery and dense. At your 20-minute checkpoint, poke the cake edge gently with your finger; the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should not be jiggly. If it’s jiggly, put back in the oven, checking every 3 minutes or so. Cool, and then frost.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Other Blog - Pattypan Bake

Oh hey there. I think you guys are the bomb. Just putting that out there. I found the cutest squash (squashes?), and I want to share them with you. Also, I'm going to San Francisco next week, so if I'm not around, that's why. I'll take some cool pictures! If anyone has restaurant suggestions, I'm very open ^_^ 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chocolate Quinoa Cake

I am in such a bizarre mood. Restless. Stir crazy. There are things at home that need to be done, that I should be doing, but I can't stand to stay there. I want something. What it is, I'm not exactly sure. I can't explain it anymore than it's this feeling that I want to be found. 

So I venture out, dragging a crate of unwanted books with me to Half Price Books , where I sit in the corner next to Art Under Stalin, scribbling the skeleton of this post of the backs of old gas station receipts. Ridiculous emotions flash through my mind, regret at not getting to know certain people in high school better, longing for friendships I never had. I stop at World Market and pick up an egg cuber just for the heck of it. I listen to the radio and feel like every song, no matter the subject matter, is relevant to me. 

Weird mood calls for weird cake. Quinoa freaks me out a little, with its little wormy things all over it. I can eat a little, but never too much. But my sister is eating gluten free, and everyone deserves cake. Holy buckets, it's so good. There's this denseness that I've never experienced in a gluten cake before. It's almost like a moister version of La BĂȘte Noire. You can't taste the quinoa at all. I'm not just saying that. It's not a "gluten free version of chocolate cake". It stands on its own. No modifiers. 

On a side note, if anyone has a recipe for a smooth, fluffy chocolate frosting, I'd love to have it. Mine is tasty (I used this one but cut the servings down to 12), but kind of thick and ugly, haha. 

Chocolate Quinoa Cake 
from Quinoa 365
 (Note: I used a bit of black cocoa mixed in with my regular cocoa, that's why the cake is so dark. I love that, but if you'd prefer something milder, use "normal" cocoa)

2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round or square cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add 2 cups cooked quinoa and the butter and continue to blend until smooth.
Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add the contents of the blender and mix well. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake on the center oven rack for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan before serving. Frost if desired. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month. Serves 8-16.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Other Blog - Oven Baked Carrot Fries

Everyone having a great summer so far? It's way too hot to go outside here unless you're in some sort of body of water.  Thought I'd update you with another post from my internship blog. These make a great side dish for pretty much any occasion. Enjoy, and to my American readers, have a happy 4th of July! And to my Canadian readers, hope that your Canada Day festivities were lovely ^__^