Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apple and Edam Cupcakes

Wow, two posts in a row about cupcakes. You're all probably going to think I'm obsessed, but I just created an original cupcake and I couldn't wait to post about it. A little while ago I heard about a contest called Iron Cupcake: Earth where each month they give you a new unusual ingredient that you're supposed to use in a cupcake. This month's ingredient was cheese, and here's what I came up with:

This is made with a moist, no-too-sweet apple cake recipe with a slightly tangy Edam melted on top which nicely balances the sweetness of the mascarpone frosting and drizzle of buttermilk syrup. I know the picture's a little blurry. It really makes me wish I had a better camera.

Now, you may remember that I mentioned I made this for a contest. The way to win is by having people vote for you online. So if you so choose (and I would be very happy if you would), you can vote for me from on October 26th at noon to October 30th at noon by visiting this site (you can also get there by clicking on the Iron Cupcake badge at the bottom of my blog). The winner will get the following prizes:

- A sweet cardboard cupcake (it's cool) from ART ON THE MENU
- Cupcake earrings from Lots of Sprinkles
- A t-shirt from Bakelove Bakewear
- Head Chefs by Fiesta Products
- Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
- A Jessie Steele Apron
- The Cupcake Courier
- Taste of Home books
- Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers

Now some of you might want to know how the whole concoction tasted before you decide to vote for me, right? So I'll tell you, it was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I really love this apple cake recipe which my husband's mom used to make, and I was impressed that the Edam went so well with it. It honestly didn't taste weird--even my husband who doesn't normally like most mixings of sweet and salty liked it. It was nice and subtle and balanced out what could otherwise have been a too-sweet cupcake. The mascarpone frosting was mild, nice and smooth, and light. Finally, I've always loved buttermilk syrup and it was a nice finish to the cupcake. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm bragging, but I was so pleasantly surprised that these turned out so well. I really thought they might turn into a baking disaster, and on that subject I really should include this side note: the cupcakes themselves didn't turn out really great. The recipe warns that if you bake them as cupcakes they don't rise very much, and it wasn't lying. They were really pretty low in the middle, but it's great what frosting can cover up. Here's a picture:

I only melted the Edam on some of them in case my husband didn't like it. Now, for anyone that's interested, here are the recipes:

Apple Cake:
2 c. chopped apples
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
grated Edam cheese (optional)
Mix sugar and apples and let stand 1/2 hour. Stir in oil and eggs. Add flour, salt, cinnamon, and soda. Mix well. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan or cupcake tins if desired (but this cake doesn't rise very high). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes in loaf pan or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes. Remove from oven and top with grated Edam cheese.

Macarpone Frosting:
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
Mix together with electric mixer on high until smooth.

Buttermilk Syrup:
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. butter/margarine
2 T. corn syrup
1 t. baking soda
2 t. vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, combine the first 5 ingredients (everything except the vanilla) and bring to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm.

Now if you made it through this mammoth post, congratulations, and don't forget to vote for me starting on October 26th!

A Success!

Whew. I am so glad my first food post is about a success and not a flop. I made flower cupcakes this weekend for a friend's baby shower, and I think they turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Granted, I used a cake mix and canned frosting, but the decorating part was all me (and an idea I got from Family Fun magazine). Here they are:

What I love about these cupcakes is that they are so simple to make with such cute results. All you do is take a candy and put it in the center of the cupcake (Family Fun used gumdrops, but I prefer the fruit flavored Mentos). You then get a marshmallow and sort of squish it flat with your hand (not too much or the petals end up being to long). Then cut the marshmallow into three with kitchen shears, do it again with another marshmallow, and arrange the marshmallow petals around the candy center and there you have it. See how easy that was? And everyone ends up being so impressed. Little do they know the only skill it takes is being able to squish a marshmallow.
Oh, and if the dessert stand in the picture looks a little weird, it's because I couldn't locate a tiered dessert stand for the life of me, so I ended up making my own with glass plates and upside-down drinking glasses. Not to bad for on the fly, but I still will be adding a tiered dessert stand to my Christmas list.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I was introduced to a great baking blog the other day by a friend and after oohing and ahing over the many fantastic and mouth-watering delicacies the blogger cooked up I thought, "Why couldn't I have a blog like this? I could post all the great things that come out of my kitchen and people all over the world will be inspired by what I cook up. And then I remembered the time I tried to make a cake that looked like a pizza with fondant toppings and I couldn't even get the dog to eat the sicky-sweet mess, or the time I accidentally added three cups of Karo syrup to no bake cookies instead of three tablespoons and then I realized something: That other blogger is totally out of my league. For every five nice things that come out of my kitchen there's at least one disaster. But if teaching junior high has taught me anything, sometimes mistakes are just as valuable a learning tool as triumphs, and so the Baking Becca blog was born. If you'll notice, under the title it describes me as a "domestic goddess in training" meaning I haven't quite reached that state of goddessness where I never make mistakes, but I'm learning. And so, for your learning enjoyment I intend to post all my baking adventures, whether they are successful or complete flops and maybe someone somewhere will learn from my mistakes and not have to make them too. Enjoy!