Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunset Dream Cupcakes

Had a craving for cupcakes and fruit (must be spring, eh?), so I decided to whip up a batch inspired by the pretty sunset...

I used a simple yellow cake mix (due to lack of time) and put a marachino cherry in the middle of each cupcake. I was hoping it would stay in the middle of the cupcake as it cooked, but sadly gravity made it sink to the bottom. Has anyone done something like this? What is the key to keeping it in the middle of the cupcake? Perhaps by putting it in when the cupcakes are partly cooked?

Anyway, I made a frosting similar to the pineapple one I made previously, but I added some of the juice from the marashino cherries and dyed it orange.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pina-Colada Cupcakes (Gluten free)

I have a slight obsession with anything pineapple. My latest love affair, and afternoon snack, is Yoplait's "Pineapple Upside Down Cake" Light yogurt. It really makes my days bright and my sweet tooth dwindle.

I have some leftover ingredients I'd been meaning to use (coconut from my dad's German Chocolate Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting from Brad's Red Velvet cupcakes), so the creative juices were flowing. The other day I saw a recipe for a coconut cupcake on Sunset's website and thought it sounded delicious. However, I am not a huge coconut fan plain, so what better to add then some pineapple and rum to make it that much better? I have also been told the gluten-free flour works better on baked good such as breads, so I figured it would be a great opportunity to try again with the flour.

My changes from the recipe:
  • Used Jules' Nearly Normal Flour to make it gluten-free (plus I added an extra 1/2 cup)
  • Only 1/2 cup of coconut milk (I used light)
  • Add 1/2 cup of pineapple juice
  • No almond extract - substituted rum (It wasn't nearly enough though, next time I'd probably add about 1/2 cup instead)
  • Added the pineapple chunks (1 small can) to the frosting, and topped the cupcakes with maraschino cherries.

The outcome:
  • The frosting was absolutely sinful! It was a bit too runny, but it was sure tasty. (I have extra so I may have to make something else with what's leftover. Perhaps something with real wheat flour next time.)
  • The cupcakes were good, but they were a bit too cake-y (vs. light and fluffy)/ If I try it again I will definitely add more liquid and probably leave out the extra flour.

* I must complain minorly for a moment as the house I am staying in does not have a stand mixer. I have become spoiled by mine, I had forgotten how much work it is to do by hand! Yikes! I may have to go rescue mine from storage...

Monday, March 16, 2009

German Chocolate Cake for Dad

It is my Dad's birthday (Pi Day) once again, so I was trying to decide what rendition of a German Chocolate cake I would make this year. For months I've been reading about filled cupcakes, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try to make some. I found a recipe that sounded good (from Bon Appetit it had to be good, right?) and was planning to make the modifications suggested in the comments. It seemed, however, that I would run into several problems along the way.

1. In trying to find German chocolate, I was just not going to be successful. After 3 different grocery stores I gave up and decided to use a mix of semi-sweet and dark chocolates.
2. Get back to my mom's house only to find just 1 cupcake sheet (with spots for 6 cupcakes). Deciding this would take WAY too long, I gave up on my filled cupcake idea and decided to just bake a cake.
3. I decided to roast the pecans to give it a better taste, but my Dad arrived home while they were in the oven. Thus I forgot about them until I smelled smoke! Oh no! Fortunately, I had some left over, but nowhere near how many the recipe called for. Oh well.

The ingredients:

The cake came out pretty well, though I did have to pour the frosting on before I was able to let the cakes really cool. Not the greatest idea, but I needed to get out of the kitchen. The icing was sinful (and I am not even a big GC icing fan) - my Dad couldn't keep his fingers away from it (guess I know where I got it from)!

The finished product:

As a gift I got him a PC mixer and software (you can hook up a turntable or tape player to your computer to turn your old media into digital music) which he was pretty excited about too!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies...

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my co-workers is a celiac (AKA allergic to wheat), so he complains bitterly whenever I bring baked goods into work as they always have flour in them. I have told him for some time that if he purchased some gluten-free flour I would bake for him.

He has experimented with many different "flour" combinations, but none of them really tasted right. (Truthfully I think they have tasted pretty nasty) The other day after one of our many gluten-free discussions, I was searching the internet and ran across Jules' Nearly Normal All-Purpose Flour and was very intrigued as all the reviews said it was used cup for cup as normal flour, and people truly couldn't taste a difference. Thus, my co-worker ordered a ton of it and delivered me a 5 lb. bag to play with yesterday.

In trying to decide what the best thing to try first would be, I figured the ultimate test for cookie would be the original Nestle Toll House cookies. I was a tad worried when the dough was REALLY sticky (perhaps I should have added more of the flour), but the dough tasted good (a great start!). My only real complaint is that the cookies spread really thin, making the chips look like giant craters, and they were very light and fragile. However, the taste was great! I've saved a few for Brad - we'll see if he can tell that they are gluten-free!

A guy at work said they looked like giant poop cookies... though he still ate them (and liked them).