Welcome To My World

I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not sure!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Vegan Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes




I've started in the past two months entering a local cupcake competition called the Iron Cupcake Challenge. Here is the link http://www.alteredrecipes.com/ica.htm

On it you can see past winners in the photo galleries. It's a once a month thing where there is always a new part of the challenge like a specific ingredient or in this months case baking without the usual cake ingredients. This month they are going Vegan! Now I personally have cooked a good deal of vegan foods but never really baked vegan, so I was excited to see what I could come up with that would be an equally tasty baked delight without any dairy, eggs, and yes no leather. Bummer.

But I found a recipe that beat my no leather bummer blues! I scavenged the internet high and low for the perfect recipe or idea to spark my inner hippie and at long last I found one that I could alter to my likings.

I eventually went for what I like to now call Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes. They are moist, delicious and refreshing! I wasn't expecting them to turn out as well as they did to be honest. It's a great backup recipe for when you are out of eggs too.

Here's what they looked like frosted and garnished


This one I garnished with a fresh raspberry and some unrefined sugar




I also tried using some of my Wilton edible yellow dusting powder.
I felt it gave off that electric Lemonade look well.



Here is the recipe. Give these a try soon, you will be glad you did!

Vegan Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

  • 1 1/3 C A.P. Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • 2/3 Cup unrefined sugar (heaping/rounded), plus more for garnish
  • 1 C Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Lemon Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • The zest of 1 Large Lemon about 1 TBSP
  • Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray
  • Cupcake liners
  • Fresh Raspberries if desired for garnish.

Frosting:
  • 1/3 C Vegetable Shortening
  • 1/3 C Quality Raspberry Preserves
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Extract
  • 1/4 Vanilla Almond Soy Milk
  • 2 Cups Twice sifted Confectioners Sugar (a.k.a. Powdered Sugar)


Cake Directions:

Set oven to 350*

Get out 2 bowls

Line your muffin tin(s) with liners and spray a little oil into each one

Sift your dry ingredients, set aside

Combine all your wet ingredients with the sugar and zest

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine until smooth

fill the prepared muffin tin(s) 2/3 full with batter and bake 15-17 minutes on the middle rack or until a toothpick come out clean when tested

When done, remove from tin(s) and allow to fully cool on a wire rack before frosting


Frosting Directions:


Combine the shortening, preserves, and extract in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

Sift the confectioners sugar twice and add to the first mixture, and mix until smooth.

frost by hand or pipe onto cupcakes with a star or french tip. If piping start by the out side of the edge of the cake and fill inwards.

Top with raspberry and garnish with unrefined sugar

Enjoy!




C

Monday, May 2, 2011

When life gives you lemons... BAKE!

Have I ever mentioned that my mom thinks she's British. It's true. She has a very British boyfriend and so now she freely uses British terms like "I have to go spend a penny" which translates to "I need to use the restroom." Her boyfriend has his own small business and within that building they started together their own side business called the English Market "where jolly good things happen," and there they sell English wares like teas, jellies, and the ever popular spotted dick. Yes spotted dick. Its a lovey canned sponge cake with raisins. They serve it with clotted cream. The perfect combination, spotted dick with a dollop of clotted cream. Mmmmm creamy. Okay I'm done.

Anyhow they have both come up with the brilliant idea of holding English High Tea services where you get to dress up, wear a kooky hat, and have a beautiful traditional tea service with lots of little mini things to eat.

I'm attending one today where I am making one of the sweets for my mom to serve to her guests, lemon bars. But they aren't your regular 'ol lemon bars, these are called shaker lemon bars which use the entire lemon and are a two day process. Don't let that detour you though these are easy peasy lemon squeezy! These are also different texturally with the little bits of lemon in the filling which I find to be a real taste treat!

I got the recipe online and altered it a bit to fit my pan size and preferences.

Shaker Lemon Bars

Ingredients
  • 2 lemons, washed and dried(I've heard meyer lemons work best but I can't often find them where I live)
  • 2 cups plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (my butter was room temp and it was fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Confectioners' sugar, for sifting

Slice lemons as thinly as possible; remove seeds. Toss slices with 2 cups sugar; transfer mixture to a flat resealable plastic container. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

This is what they look like in the morning, all syrupy and delicious.

If using cold butter place it, the salt, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture is crumbly and starts to hold together. Or if using room temp like me put it all in a bowl and cut in butter with a fork.

I like to use a BIG fork when I don't have a pastry cutter handy.
I prefer it to using two knives

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 by 17 or a 11 by 16 inch pan. I used an 11 by 16 size. Press dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, making sure there are no holes. There should be at least 1/2-inch crust of dough going up the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Once removed transfer to a wire rack to cool, and use a flat metal spatula to press down the crust so its flat and even, and allow to cool about 15 minutes.

Place lemon-sugar mixture and eggs in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until lemon rinds are in 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces, 30 to 40 seconds. I did mine in a blender and had to blend it in two batches.

Into the blender they go!

Pour mixture over cookie crust. Bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Trim 1/2 inch around edges of pan. Cut into about sixty 1 1/4-by-2-inch pieces. Sift confectioners' sugar over cookies.

They are so pretty!

Plus its a HUGE recipe. This makes about 4-5 dozen depending on the size you want. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm back! Sewing up a swell of Swine!

I had originally started this blog to share my ideas, creations, recipes and pictures with others because it seemed pointless to just keep them all to myself in the deep files of my D drive. Then I lost a little blogger faith in the what should be everlasting well hope, that if you blog they will follow. After only seven posts. Then my Uncle from way up north in Alaska reminded me that I'm great, super, fantastic even! And you know what he's right! I think you can't go wrong with self empowerment and positive thinking.

Sew, ( <- hint hint ) I've decided to share in a little something I feel all homemakers should at least try, sewing! I got a thrifty nifty sewing machine from my sweet mother in law. She is a great seamstress who has sewn a lot of her own clothes growing up and her own wedding dress!
I got a quick lesson on the different parts of the machine, there's the bobbin where the bottom thread is held, the foot that lifts up and down to hold down and guide your fabric, and the all important pedal that you get to press your foot down ever so gently to get sewing!

Lately I've been producing a whole pens worth of portly little pigs! They are cute enough to eat! I got the template/pattern for free from the woman herself, Martha Stewart.


I call this little porker red and yellow pick-nick pig



She's called Coral, I adorned her beautiful baby pink braid with a sweet yellow thread bow.





When Pigs fly...





Happy Hen




It also has templates for an adorable 'lil lamb and hen on this page. I've made a few hens but no lambs yet. These are great little projects that you can be proud of as a beginner like me! I've been adding my own personal touches like hair and I take bits of iron-on felt cut outs from the tops of individual letters (http://www.amazon.com/Dritz-Iron-Letters-Inch-Black/dp/B000XAQESE ) and iron them on as their eyes! EASY! No fancy stitching required. So thread up your machine and be prepared to possibly become addicted to the women's ultimate power tool, the sewing machine.