Saturday, March 29, 2008

A finished Danica and a bunch of cupcakes!

First, my Danica is finished!
yay! I love it. It ended up being 5 feet 4 inches long. I have a small ball of yarn left, but I don't think it is enough to do another pattern repeat - can't say for sure. I couldn't trust going to the length stated in the pattern before doing the ending triangles because the Cherry Tree Hill skeins are smaller than the ones specified in the pattern. I was really tired of it by the end but that's just because I don't have the project attention span for scarves, I really did enjoy the pattern.

On to the cupcakes, I've had a cupcake post in the works for months now and I've amassed quite the collection so I decided it was time. If last summer was the Summer of the Pancake, this was definitely the Winter of the Cupcake (not that the cupcakes will stop any time soon).

At Thanksgiving I made Pumpkin Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Ice Cream. They were fantastic. I don't have a recipe really, use your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe or mix and fill all the cupcake tins/liners halfway to start with. Mix up the pumpkin filling - I took a small can of pumpkin and did a pumpkin pie sort of thing just to taste - I added a splash of milk, a bit of sugar, and then your favorite pumpkin pie type spices. Put a dollop of the filling into each cupcake and add more batter on top of the pumpkin. Bake according to the recipe! Top with cream cheese frosting and serve with pumpkin ice cream! This is my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe (and I've gotten a lot of inspiration from the Cupcake Bakeshop!).

Then at Christmas I made Chocolate Cupcakes with Cranberry Orange Filling. Again, use your favorite chocolate cupcake and only fill halfway to start. For the filling, all I did was dump a bag of cranberries in a bowl, add a few splashes of orange juice and then microwave it. For my berries and my microwave, it was 5 to 6 minutes. When I took them out I smushed the cranberries with a fork and added sugar to taste. I wanted chunks of cranberry but if you wanted it totally smooth you could do the same thing and just puree it instead of forking it. One bag of cranberries made almost the perfect amount for 24 cupcakes - there was only a spoonful leftover. Fill the cupcakes and top with the rest of the batter. Bake as directed. I used the same cream cheese frosting recipe except I added a teaspoon of orange juice and some red food coloring. After frosting I topped each cupcake with a craisin (actually they were an organic version from another brand which I liked better than the Ocean Spray) As an alternative, you could chop some craisins and stir them into the frosting. Oh, I also had added a teaspoon of dried orange peel to the cupcake batter but I do not recommend that. The filling and frosting were great but the cupcakes tasted "burnt" even though they weren't. Since it was a good cupcake I'd used before I decided that was the orange peel. So if you want to try to orange up the cupcake as well, try some orange juice or fresh zest instead.

Next up on the agenda, the vegan cupcakes I made for a bachelorette party a few weeks ago. Some of you may be thinking, ew, vegan? And I hear you. But last year I tried a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and then I knew it was possible to have yummy vegan cupcakes! At last year's slumber party we made the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and they were great. This time I made Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake and topped them with Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting. The chocolate cupcakes were amazing. The frosting I only recommend if you really need the vegan - it had an off taste to me. (the chocolate buttercream last year was literally the best frosting ever so either the chocolate covers it up or the brand of vegan margarine I bought this year isn't as good as last year's) The second batch of cupcakes was an adaptation of a recipe in the book - it has a recipe for Margarita cupcakes and frosting and I adapted it to be a Mojito recipe to fit with a personal favorite of my friend the bride. Since Margaritas and Mojitos are both lime, we were on the right track. Here's the recipe with my many changes:
note: this is a different type of cupcake, dense and extra moist, just be prepared

Mojito Cupcakes - makes 12
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
1 cup soy or rice milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp mint extract
1 tsp rum extract and 1 1/2 tablespoons water (or 2 tablespoons light rum - I didn't have any and the liquor stores were already closed)
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350'. Grease muffin tins or use cupcake liners. Mix in a large bowl: lime juice, zest, soy milk, oil, extracts and water or rum, sugar. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix. Fill tins 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick is clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Mojito Frosting
This was so delicious I will be making it again for other cupcakes!
1/4 cup vegan margarine (you'd think all margarine was dairy free since it isn't butter but most still has milk products in it) softened (or butter if you don't need it to be dairy free)
1 tablespoon soy or rice milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon light rum and 1/4 tsp mint extract or 1/4 tsp rum extract, 1/4 tsp mint extract and enough water to make 1 tablespoon(ish)
optional green food coloring
2 cups confectioners sugar

Blend margarine until fluffy, add milk, lime juice, extracts and rum/water. Blend in confectioners sugar until smooth and yummy. Add more sugar if needed to make it your desired consistency. Chill until needed.

Oh, perhaps you are wondering about the decor of the cupcakes? It was a March 15th wedding so the bachelorette party had a light Ides of March/Roman theme. ;-)
yes, those are the club sandwich cocktail swords :-P but they have the loop ripped off to be more dagger like

Easter brought another cupcake from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World - Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cupcakes. Instead of baking the pineapple on the bottom, you put a cooked pineapple topping and cherry on top after they are baked and cooled. I wasn't thrilled with this cupcake, but the topping was good. I think I'd rather do the topping on a yellow cupcake. This cupcake had ground pineapple right in the cupcake it was a bit much for me.

O.k., the last cupcake was not baked by me, just purchased and eaten. We went to the CIA for lunch the other day and of course stopped at the bakery to get some goodies to take home for later. This was their "cupcake of the day" - it was chocolate but I'm not sure what else exactly. It was very good and very moist, it might have even had a filling of sorts? Not sure, but it was good. And how about those decorations! The frosting was ganache (yum) and then it had some multicolored dragee kind of things with handmade sugar flowers. I'm not a sugar flower fan but Trevor said they were tasty. Neither of us ate the dragees (silly little rocks really, but they are pretty). Oh, and what an awesome liner! The nifty cut paper thing was put on after it was baked, there was a regular silver cupcake liner underneath. I'd love to buy some of those paper lace things, I'll have to see if they are available anywhere.

There you go, six cupcakes and a scarf!

edited to fix a link


Macoco said...

Your danica came out beautifully! I love all of those cupcake - and the Ides of March ones made me laugh. ;)

Cynthia said...

This is possibly my favorite post ever from you...a gorgeous scarf and so many cupcakes!

alissa said...

Thanks! :-)


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