Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Martha Challenge #30- Strawberry Jam Tea Cakes

Back to the Martha Challenge! These are strawberry-jam filled tea cakes, which are just vanilla cupcakes with jam, topped with a citrus glaze.
A few weeks ago we went to Plant City Florida, which is the strawberry capital of the world. We came home with a jar of homemade strawberry jam, and it is fantastic! So fresh and not too sweet, like liquid strawberries. So, to use up the last bits, these cupcakes were perfect.

Instead of baking them plain and filling with jam after, like I usually do, these are baked with the jam layered inside. Mine were not as neat as Martha's, and next time I might swirl the jam for a pretty look. I can also use this technique in my peanut butter and jelly cupcakes :)

They baked up great, altho some jam seeped out and made the edges sticky. They were topped with a citrus glaze, of lemon and meyer lemon. I love the combo of strawberry and lemon, I discovered it with gelato and frozen ice when I was in Italy. I like the glaze a bit thicker, but I ran out at the end, so 2 lonely cupcakes are naked!
Good recipe, good result. Will definitely use this again.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Almond cupcakes with Green Tea frosting

So, another deviation from the Martha challenge. I needed to make an Asian-themed cupcake, and there aren't any in Martha's cupcake book! So, I looked elsewhere. This recipe is adapted from Baked, the book from the super awesome bakery in Brooklyn and Charleston. I have loved everything I've made from this book so far, and this is no exception.
However, this recipe was quite laborious. I had to buy some special ingredients, and it took forever!
The cupcakes are almond flavored, and very light and fluffy. There's almond extract and ground up almonds in them. I looove the smell of almond extract! After beating all the ingredients, I had to fold in beaten egg whites. I only have one mixer bowl and no hand mixer, so I had to beat these by hand. I doubt I beat them enough, but they turned out ok. Next time I'd beat the egg whites first and put them in a separate bowl while I mixed the rest. They baked up perfectly!

Next was the frosting. OMG. This was difficult and time consuming. I couldn't find the green tea matcha powder I needed, but at the Teavana store, the guy told me I could grind up green tea, so I did that. I don't think it was fine enough, but it wouldn't get any finer in the food processor.
This frosting was cooked. Never done that before. You add sugar, flour, matcha, milk and cream in a pot and whisk it while it boils until it's thick. It smelled like grass and looked like slime.
30 seconds after I took this picture I dropped the whole strainer in the bowl. So I had to re-strain the whole thing and clean out the bowl before I could continue. Then I beat it with butter in my mixer, added vanilla, and it was awesome! Tastes great, not too overpowering with the green tea flavor, and sweet enough.
The extra special topping is fortune cookies dipped in white chocolate. I added my own flair and used flower sprinkles too :) They look so pretty!

So, to finish, almond cupcake topped with green tea frosting and garnished with a chocolate-dipped fortune cookie. Yum! They look awesome, and it was totally worth all the work. I love taking on a new challenge and doing well.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chocolate-Bourbon-Pecan Cupcakes

So, taking a break from the Martha challenge, for our friend's birthday I made him Derby Pie, as requested. For those who don't know what Derby Pie is, it's a special pie named after the Kentucky Derby, with a pecan-bourbon-chocolate chip filling. In other words, to die for. Technically, you can't call it a Derby pie, because the name is trademarked, so for me it's a chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
So after making the pie, I wanted to see how I could translate it into cupcakes. I thought about making little pies, but decided on chocolate cupcakes with bourbon and pecan mixed in. And voila! delicious cupcakes. I also experimented with different bourbons, for the pie I used Wild Turkey, and for the cupcakes I used Jack Daniels. I think the Wild Turkey is more potent, the smell was overwhelming!

Now, the bottoms of these cupcakes were more well done than I would have liked, not sure if it's because of my oven, or maybe I had the rack too low. I sampled half of one so I could see the inside, and the pecans stayed pretty well in the middle of the cupcake. Very tasty!
I topped these with a bourbon whipped cream, which was amazing! Also a little pecan on the top to indicate what's inside. All in all, a good effort, might need some more tweaking, but these are a good addition to my recipe list.