Archive for June, 2012

My first attempt at actual cupcakes

I dislike cupcakes. That was the original reason why I have never made them. It makes a lot of sense to me: They are sweeter and less healthy than muffins, they are harder to make because unlike muffins (which are something like a one-pot-dish) you have to prepare at least two separate things, the base and the frosting. Furthermore, in a completely misguided argumentation, I figured I won’t like cupcakes because all the store-bought cupcakes I have had so far were pretty disgusting – bland and they literally just tasted like sugar and food coloring. Lastly, I always found cupcakes strangely cheap. They are like the cake for the poorly educated and the little girls, less homely feeling than muffins and less elegant than cakes; there is no tradition associated with cupcakes and worst of all, there is a huge fad about cupcakes, with tons of cupcake stores opening everywhere in the country. Enter this lovely cupcake book.

I am still not very good at frosting them.

At the end I made chocolate banana toffee cupcakes because I had a banana leftover (as always) and a bit less than 100g of Lindt 90% chocolate, which I disliked as is. I honestly think that they got a little ruined during transportation, and water seems to have mixed with the chocolate. In any case, I figured cupcake frostings would be the best way to put them to use. Chocolate cupcake frosting is the ideal way to use high quality chocolate, actually, apart from perhaps ganache. Frosting is literally made out of melted chocolate and confectioner’s sugar (and perhaps a few drops of milk). I added much more chocolate, less sugar and much less milk than the recipe called for to create a very strong taste of chocolate – and oh my God it was perfect.

I thrifted the cakeform for 3 dollars, and it fits 3 cupcakes (or 4 muffins with one on top) perfectly.

I should have known that I’d completely fall in love with these cupcakes. They taste amazing and I don’t think I have been so addicted to a piece of baking as much as I have to this. (Pound cakes aside.) After they were done at something like 11pm last night, I have already eaten 3 cupcakes! No wonder I am gaining weight @.@ But to be honest I am still thinking of having another one…

Blueberries on sale, and I am in muffin heaven

It’s hard to find the perfect blueberry muffin recipe. It’s a simple thing and last time I made them they came out absolutely perfect. But today, I don’t have buttermilk, so instead I opted for browned butter muffins.

This Crate&Barrel plate also has a matching up and bowl. <3

Browned butter makes the muffins taste so different! Incredible really. You can taste the brown butter very strongly even after coming out of the oven. I made a mistake by letting the muffins in the oven a little too long, but miraculously they are still extremely nice and fluffy! Actually I also made another mistake. I don’t really understand what browned butter means. I literally burned the butter such that it turned completely brown, then put it into the freezer for a minute (because I believe that the mix of hot butter and whisked eggs is not very good for anything). I did not have any vanilla and I tried to follow the recipe exactly until I realized that it totally does not have the right consistency. I added more milk to it, and the muffins puffed nicely and turned out pretty fluffy. Maybe this is because the butter browning process evaporated too much liquid from the butter, but from some comments saying that the muffins are very dense, I get the feeling that it was a good thing to add that milk.

With that said, I think blueberries are my favorites when it comes to baked goods. Even before strawberries. (I am still deeply in love with Starbucks’s blueberry scones. I need to learn how to make them, the Pioneer Woman has a recipe for the vanilla scones.) Next thing I want to try are cupcakes though.

I love Mad Men

There are tons of Mad Men type dinner meal propositions on the internet, for example for the new start of the season. Instead of birthdays and name days and christenings of children that people don’t get anymore these days, we invent new means to have a celebration because we are neither interested in religious holidays nor those involving not-truly-memorable historical days of the killing of people. In some sense, Mad Men figures as an ersatz religion. All these meals include some sort of 60s style food, but one dish is always, always present. Certainly it is the meatloaf Betty is making several times during the show.

Call me Betty Draper… uh…Francis?

Nowadays I like using Punchfork to find recipes I like because it’s so hip and 2.0. Also it regularly links to blogs like Simply Recipes which I like. I am not sooo big of a fan of Smitten Kitchen somehow, and I don’t even remember which recipe it was that I disliked. But there was one. I didn’t like Paula Deen’s as much and wanted to avoid all versions including bacon. It had to be a meatloaf with a barbecue-like glaze. In the end, it was a meatloaf with 2/3 ground beef and 1/3 ground pork, based on Alton Brown’s (whose glaze I followed to the T) and Simply Recipe’s, both of which are rather similar. But the best and most scrumptious recipe seemed to be the one on Epicurious, and the spices I used for the meatloaf were inspired by this.

Some veggies are necessary!

I think the result was quite delicious and I’d make meatloaf again any day. It’s a convenient type of food, very juicy and not too dense, and it fills you up beautifully without making you feel lethargic. Just perfect for a family dinner.