Monday, July 26, 2010

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes Revisited: Part 1

 So, I've been up to my antics again. I liked that Ina Garten recipe, but it calls for a syrup to be poured over the cake once it's been baked. Myself, I'm not a big fan of that, so I omitted it. While the cake WAS pretty good, I thought it could be a weee bit sweeter and a little more moist, so here's my version of the recipe:

3 cups self-rising flour, sifted
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup lightly packed lemon zest (approximately 8 medium lemons)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 extra large eggs
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

Like this:


 Cream together butter and sugar, like so:

(I love the look and smell of creamed butter and sugar! :) )


Add eggs, one by one. Make sure to completely incorporate one egg before adding the next.It should look something like this when everything is done:

Combine buttermilk, lemon juice, and zest in a separate bowl.
Add flour and liquid mixture in small amounts, alternating between the two until all ingredients are fully incorporated. You may want to make sure to scrape any accumulated zest off the beaters of your mixer and mix it in thoroughly with a fork. I find it tends to pile up there.

And here is what your finished batter will look like:


Spoon batter into muffin tin lined with baking cups. I used my 1/4 cup measuring cup, and that was just the right amount.



Bake at 350° for approximately 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Yield: approximately 2 dozen cupcakes.




 Well, that concludes the cake part! Tune in next time for filling and frosting. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

The scoop:
I recently discovered that I have a perfect audience for pretty much anything I want to bake. Work. The people that I work with will eat juuust about anything I bring in. That's good news for me, since it means I can bake more often without having to worry about eating it all! :)

So I decided to make lemon cupcakes the other day. Then I thought "hey, wouldn't those be awesome with a raspberry filling?" After that, I could only wonder what sort of frosting would work best with a raspberry-filled lemon cupcake. The solution hit me like a ton of bricks. A light cheese-based frosting would be perfect!

My first choice was mascarpone, but the Kroger I went shopping at didn't carry it. They did carry ricotta, however. And thus was born the Raspberry Lemonade cupcake.

I used:
  • Ina Garten's lemon cake recipe (sans syrup portion, and included a weee bit more buttermilk in the batter; I think next time I'll add ~1/4 cup each sugar, buttermilk, and lemon juice. It did turn out well though.) I got 2 dozen cupcakes and a thin-ish 6-inch round out of this recipe.
  • Martha Stewart's Mascarpone Frosting recipe (obviously, I substituted ricotta for mascarpone. Otherwise, I pretty much doubled this recipe, using a 15 oz. container of the cheese, 2 cups of cream, and 1 cup of confectioners sugar.) By the way, that was waaaaay too much for 2 dozen cupcakes. Stick with the original portions unless you have a ton of cupcakes or a very large cake. :)
  • My own hastily whipped up raspberry concoction. 
    • 1 12 oz. bag of raspberries
    • somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of sugar
    • somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • ~2 1/2 tsp. corn starch
    • Bring all ingredients to a boil, lower heat and simmer until it is the desired thickness when allowed to cool (I tested it by waiting for it to cool on my stirring utensil). I don't have exact measurements on this one, since I sort of threw it together, but I'll make sure to pay better attention next time I make it. :)

After the cupcakes and the filling were both completely cool, I filled a pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip (large enough for the raspberry seeds to pass through) with the raspberry filling. I've seen a few different methods for filling cupcakes, some of which involve cutting out a portion of the cake and spooning or piping the filling into the cavity. Here is what I did (and I have to say, it worked quite well) :
    • Push the tip through the top of each cupcake and gently squeeze the bag until you feel the cupcake give a little.
    • Release the pressure on the bag as you lift the tip out of the cupcake.
    • Be careful not to overfill them! I ended up with one cupcake that looked like it had been stabbed in the side!
I topped off each cupcake with a generous dollop of frosting and a fresh raspberry. I am really very pleased with these cupcakes. Definitely a keeper! :)

I was going to take some photos of the last four cupcakes, but they met with a sad accident that involved an unbalanced tray and a quick trip to the floor. Needless to say, I'm not too happy about it, but I do plan on making more this weekend, and will be sure to share step-by-step photos next week! Maybe this time I'll make mascarpone frosting like I originally intended!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Apologies

I apologize for having been away so long! I have been pretty busy in the interim, however. There was a trip to Austin, Texas for work (and I would love to go back for a vacation sometime, the city seemed like a ton of fun!). There were a couple of bad diagnoses for people I care a great deal about, and a generally busy Nancy. Hopefully things will calm down a bit now and I'll actually have a chance to get a bit of crochet done.

Sadly, I haven't had a  lot of opportunity to crochet in the past few weeks, but I have still been dreaming of new projects and delightful yarn! :) I have some wonderfully soft baby alpaca yarn in a gorgeous color, and I have been dying to use it! I'm thinking a lacy shawl would suit this yarn well. Here are a few patterns I've found that I like:


Photos from Caron International's website


This is such a pretty, lacy design, but I can't help but think it might be a little too open. Still, it's pretty, and maybe I could bookmark it for a nice, soft, cotton yarn sometime in the future? :)



Photo from www.crochetuncut.com, by Darlisa Riggs

I think this pattern would be gorgeous in ombre colors. Shades of blue, teal, and seafoam would make it look like waves, while shades of gold, orange, and crimson could evoke images of a beautiful autumn day.

And this looks similar, but a bit larger, I think.

Photos from Caron International's website.
This pattern seems to beg for big, bold colors. I think it looks wonderful in this burgundy.


Do you have any pattern suggestions?