Wednesday, February 8, 2012

cakes, cupcakes, and more cupcakes!

So, what started as a birthday cake has snowballed into weekly cupcakes.. or so it would seem!  Last weekend I made the most fabulous chocolate peanut butter cupcakes.  Why were they so fabulous?  Because, dear reader, they were dipped in chocolate at the end making them reminiscent of the best Reese's peanut butter cup EVER!  I won't reinvent the wheel by reposting the entire recipe when it can be found on my favorite blog.  Visit Jenny's blog for the recipe, stay for the company.

If you aren't following this blog, you should be!  She is so inspirational.  Not only for being candid about being a breast cancer survivor, but for her unique view on the challenges so many of us face day-to-day.  She's open about her struggles, doesn't try to be perfect, but does try to learn from them and share with the rest of us so that maybe we can learn a thing or two about ourselves as well.  Reading her blog is like sitting down to coffee with a friend.  You feel at ease immediately.

Ok - a tad off topic but I seriously love her blog.  Back to the cupcakes!  I made 36 of these puppies and they disappeared in a blink.  I am not even the biggest peanut butter fan and I was in love with this buttercream.  I love swiss meringue buttercreams anyway because they are so smooth and less sweet than american buttercream.  If you've never made a swiss meringue buttercream, be advised that it does take a bit more work but the results are delectably worth it!  Let me know if any of you try it!

Blueberry Cupcakes

Apologies for this being late... I saved it as a draft and am just getting back to it....

I can't wait to tell you about these fabulous blueberry cupcakes I took to my friend's house.  His birthday was on January 22 and I was going to his house for dinner.  Knowing he wasn't a baker (to be honest his cooking skills surprised me as well), I asked him what his favorite cake was.  He said he'd been craving blueberry cake with warm cream poured on it.  Well, with that as inspiration I set out to find something that would invoke the essence of that.

First, let me just say that there are not a lot of straight up blueberry cake recipes.  Blueberry muffins, sure.  Blueberry cake... not so much.  I didn't want something as dense as a muffin, I wanted light fluffy cake.  And, although I get that blueberry and lemon pair beautifully, I was very conscientious about making sure the blueberry was the star.  Again, going for berries and cream comfort, not summery blueberry lemonade :)

I ended up deciding on a catering cake recipe I found here

As soon as he said blueberries and cream, I knew exactly what frosting recipe I wanted to try.  My friend at work had been telling me about this whipped frosting that started as a roux of milk and flour... that's right folks... I said FLOUR.  That recipe is here.

While on my quest for the perfect blueberry cake, I did come across this blueberry jam recipe to use as a filling.  I couldn't resist :)

Now, I am a gild the lily kind of a person... so I also made some sugared blueberries and candied meyer lemon peel for the garnish.  If you've never done this (I hadn't), just google it - it's super easy.

Sugaring the blueberries involved dipping in a beaten egg white and then rolling around in granulated sugar.  See - not that tough...

The candied peel took a little more effort but was totally worth it.  You basically boil them in a cup of water until soft and then you pull them out and add a cup of sugar.  You bring that to a boil and then add the peel, simmer until translucent.  Strain the peel, reserving the syrup for yummy things like iced tea, and let sit and dry out for a few hours (I twisted mine).  The last step is to roll in some granulated sugar which keeps them from sticking to each other or anything else.  Careful, if you have a lemon fetish like me you might not have any left for garnish!  I could NOT stop eating them!  Pics eventually but for now at least I got the hard bit down and out :)