(the finished product, cut when they were still warm - we just couldn't wait)
Thursday, January 24, 2013
If you've spent anytime reading this blog, it will come as no surprise that I have a little obsession with all things glittery. Before the holidays, I had distinct pleasure of meeting Wendy Addison, the queen of sparkle, and visiting her charming studio, Theatre of Dreams. If you don't know Wendy by name, I'm sure that you have seen her beautiful work at BHLDN, West Elm, Tinsel Trading and countless other stores. I have been collecting her Christmas ornaments for years and in fact my husband & I picked out one of her silver stars for the top of our Christmas tree the first year we were married. Wendy is as charming and lovely as the art she creates and it was truly an honor to meet her. If you happen to be in the tiny, tiny town of Port Costa, you should definitely pay a visit to her studio.
Learn more about Wendy from this wonderful Martha Stewart video.
Friday, November 9, 2012
I shared this recipe last year on Cake. and as I was making it for the gazillionith time yesterday, I thought I should finally share it here!
I have been on the quest for the perfect vanilla cupcake and frosting for years. It seems like every recipe I tested was somehow lacking – too dry, bland, inconsistent. I couldn’t find a satisfying vanilla frosting either – too sweet, too buttery, too shorteningy...
When I made my “to do list” for the year, perfecting my vanilla cupcake & frosting recipes was high on my priority list. I’ve tried Magnolia and Billy’s and countless others, but I was never completely thrilled with the results.
When I came across Amy Sedaris’ (one of my favorite actresses) recipe, I thought it was worth a shot. To my surprise, they were pretty much perfect. My only complaint was that they were a little too dense for my liking. With a couple of tweaks, including substituting the all-purpose flour for cake flour, I got the results I was looking for – tender, moist, and flavorful!
For the frosting, my go-to has always been Swiss Meringue buttercream which I love because it’s light, has the perfect texture and tastes great – as long as you are adding some other flavor (like lemon, espresso, chocolate) to it. When just adding vanilla extract, it was a little blah and overly buttery tasting. After lots of experimentation, I found that by simply including either crème fraiche or sour cream and vanilla bean, it retained the characteristics that I love and added new depth and interest to the flavor.Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Bring the eggs, milk & butter to room temperature (don’t skip this step, it’s very important!)
3. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and pale.
4. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until combined
5. Sift (yes, sift!) together flour, salt and baking powder together
6. Stir together vanilla and milk
7. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk to mixing bowl, scraping down after each addition. Start and end with dry ingredients
8. Fill paper-lined muffin tins with batter 2/3 full.
9. Bake at 350° for 18- 20 minute
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 lb unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
8 egg whites
1 cup crème friache or sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Seeds from 2 vanilla beans
1. Combine sugar & egg whites in mixer bowl and whisk together over simmering water until hot to the touch and all of the sugar has melted and no longer grainy
2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand and whip on high until fluffy & cool – about 10 minutes
3. With the mixer on low, add the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Add in vanilla, crème fraiche or sour cream, and vanilla beans. Beat until smooth (it may look curdled, but just continue to mix & it will be all come together!).
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
I’m so excited to sharing pictures from my son, Graham’s 7th birthday bash – A pink & black Halloween party. We had so much fun at G&M farms last year that we decided to go back again, but give it a completely different look. I asked Becca of Cake. to design a sophisticated and modern invitation with a skeleton holding an orange balloon. I loved what she designed – and so did Graham, but he requested the balloon be hot pink instead. Graham is a quirky kid and I loved how this choice reflected his personality, so I ran with it.
Rather than do a bunch of desserts for the table this year, I chose to make seven different cupcakes to represent him turning seven. I found the little skeletons at the Dollar Store and spray painted them black and crafted tiny party hats for them. They held signs to identify all the different flavors - vanilla/vanilla, chocolate fudge/vanilla, strawberry, lemon meringue, triple chocolate, pumpkin, peanut butter cup and triple chocolate. I used a variety of cake stands from my collection to show them off.
For the kid’s table, each child had a lunch box with bone name tag, a juice bottle with striped straw (for strawberry lemonade) and a handcrafted party hat and horn. I spray painted larger skeletons for the table with the intention of them holding balloons, but it was so windy at the farm it didn’t go as planned.
For favors, the kids received a cd of Graham’s favorite dance music (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, etc - sorry parents!) a skeleton bracelet, a homemade skull lollipop.
Next up: Pictures of the party fun!
Michele Wimborough – Cakewalk Baking
design, styling, cupcakes
Becca – Cake.
Invitation, CD label
Shop Sweet Lulu
favor bags, plastic bottles, stripey straws