Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cooking with Coveiter

I was recently asked if I'd be interested in creating a baked good in the spirit of the Coveiter website, which provides daily helpings of all things pretty--shoes, clothes, home items, and jewelry to name a few. Being a huge Coveiter fan, I didn't have to think twice before enthusiastically saying "YES!" (More excuses to bake, right?) Whether you're a girly girl or just someone who appreciates beautiful things, you should check out their awesome website. The ladies at Coveiter have impeccable taste and have never been known to disappoint. Many, many thanks go out to Lindsey at Coveiter, who agreed to photograph my creation. Beautiful work, Lindsey!

For this project I used the colors of Coveiter's blog heading for inspiration: a palette of purple, grey (silver?), and white. Purple was easy--I knew I had to incorporate blueberries somewhere in my recipe (and I knew it had to be cupcakes!), since they bake up and burst into a vivid shade of purple. In the end I chose to use them in the frosting in order to better showcase their lovely hue. Baked in silver foil liners and topped with a pearl-dusted white fondant flower, I think I did a good job with sticking to my planned color scheme. I better be careful, though, since lately the famous Sprinkles Bakery is having a fit over other people allegedly copying "their look" with fondant decorations on top of cupcakes. :)

A Dozen Donut Cupakes (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

2 cups unbleached flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup vanilla yogurt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil cups.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a separate (large) bowl whisk eggs, yogurt, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy.

Portion into 12 muffin cups and bake until cakes test done, about 15 minutes. Let cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Dreamy Blueberry Buttercream (enough to frost 24 cupcakes)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco®
1/4 cup Blueberry Cobbler flavored Coffee Mate® powdered creamer
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 small can wild blueberries, drained**

**Buy a box of Betty Crocker® "Twice the Blueberries" muffin mix. It comes with two small cans of wild blueberries...borrow one for this recipe, and you'll still have one can left to make blueberry muffins with. Yay! Or you could buy frozen wild blueberries and use about 1/4 cup if you live in an area where this is more cost effective, or go with fresh if you're lucky enough to get your hands on some.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and shortening together until smooth and creamy. Add powdered coffee creamer and mix to incorporate. Slowly add powdered sugar, stopping to scrape bowl as needed, and beat another 3-5 minutes. Add blueberries and continue beating another minute or so, until berries break down and blend into frosting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Everyone's got a favorite

Hostess® snack cake, that is. Mine happens to be the rare and elusive Orange Cup Cake. Okay, so it's not the healthiest choice one could make, what with it's scary-long list of ingredients, artificial flavors & colors, and enough sugar to send a panda into a diabetic fit. But sometimes...you just want it, you know? Behold, my take on two childhood favorites: the (in)famous Hostess® Cup Cake (often mistakenly referred to as a Ding Dong, which is a similar yet entirely different beast) and the Twinkie® ...in cupcake form.

As usual, I take requests whenever a company event arises, and these two garnered the most votes for our Labor Day cookout. I'm actually quite pleased with how they came out, despite the fact that I veered from the classic canoe-shape for the cupcake on the right (which incidentally only has marshmallows on top to help disguise my messy cupcake filling technique). Ideally I would've used half a large marshmallow, but it was late and the minis were all I could find in my baking stash.

Wanna make some? You'll need two dozen of your favorite cupcakes, made using your favorite recipe or my favorite--from a box. Use cupcake liners or not; it's more authentic without, but then you're stuck with the tedious task of greasing and flouring your muffin tins. Once cool, use a pastry bag (or large zip-top bag) fitted with a large star tip to fill them with "Hostess® Twinkie Creme Filling" found on the Top Secret Recipes site. For the chocolate top: melt 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup shortening, and 3 Tablespoons corn syrup together and spread on cupcakes. Finish with an icing squiggle, if desired. Don't try to make 7 loops on top unless you've got crazy good piping skills, which I don't. That and I think Hostess® has trademarked "the look."