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Monday, April 28, 2008

I like to play with my food.

These were made by Owen's sister Karina for Amy and Owen's rehearsal dinner. I had to share because they were so cute. The bride and bridesmaids were made out of fondant and there was a cupcake underneath the skirts. We spent way too much time playing around with them...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wedding Cake Cookies

Monday, April 7, 2008

Meyer Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

Meyer Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
5 large eggs, separated
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup plus scant 1/3 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
Meyer Lemon Curd
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Sanding sugar
24 raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla; beat to combine. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture; mix until well combined. Add sour cream; mix until well combined.
4. In a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.

5. Fill each muffin cup half full with batter. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until a skewer inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely.

6. Using an apple corer, make a hole in the top of each cupcake, taking care not to push the corer through the bottom; remove cake from hole. Fill a squirt bottle with lemon curd and squeeze curd into holes.

7. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch plain round tip and fill with buttercream. Pipe buttercream in a circular motion on top of each cupcake; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Pipe a dollop of buttercream in the center of each cupcake and top with a raspberry.

Meyer Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
5 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1. Prepare and ice-water bath. Set a medium bowl in ice-water bath and set aside.
2. Place sugar and lemon zest in a mortar and grind with a pestle to combine and release the oils.

Transfer sugar mixture to a medium heatproof bowl along with eggs and egg yolks; whisk to combine. Place over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add lemon juice and continue whisking until mixture is thick and reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add butter and whisk until well combined.
3. Strain lemon mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over prepared bowl. Cover lemon curd with plastic wrap, pressing plastic wrap directly onto surface.
4. Transfer to refrigerator until completely chilled.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy. Slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat to combine, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
2. Add vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Slowly add milk and continue beating on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.

This recipe is from the Vanilla Bakery in California. I thought that the Meyer Lemons might be hard to find and I'd have to substitute them with regular lemons but I found them at Harris Teeter. They are a hybrid between tangerines and lemons, so they are a lot sweeter. This is my first time making a curd, which sounded a little intimidating but was pretty simple. There was a lot left over so I need to figure out some more uses for it. It tastes a lot like lemon meringue pie filling if you've never had it before. Also, using real vanilla bean makes a huge difference. It's rather pricey but it gave the cupcakes and icing so much more flavor. I was very impressed with these cupcakes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's Cupcake

So, I've not baked anything in a week but in the spirit of April Fool's Day and the cleverness of Martha Stewart (who I'm sure didn't really come up with this) here is a cute cupcake idea.

Corn-on-the-Cob Cupcake

It's jelly beans for the kernels, starburst for the butter, and black and white sugar for the salt and pepper effect.