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Archive for November, 2006

i think i nearly died of happiness while waiting for the caramel (which goes into the caramel buttercream frosting) to cool. i was swirling it around in a bowl to speed up the cooling process, and the whole time i planted my nose just a couple inches away from the bowl because i couldn’t get enough of the smell of the caramel. it was like i was sucking on a See’s butterscotch lollipop, only through my nostrils. the recipe for the cake part was pretty similar to the pumpkin spice cake recipe, only this time i combined the spices myself and used regular sugar instead of brown sugar to get a lighter taste and color. i was also thinking that the apple sauce provides a lot of moisture, so i cut down on the butter a bit.

i fought the urge to sample the cupcake at home so that i could enjoy it with my labmates the next day. it was huge hit with them, and i seriously couldn’t stop smiling to myself after i took my first bite into the caramel buttercream. to my surprise, it tasted as good as it smelled. and the cake! it was so moist and crumbly at the same time. i thought the apple flavor could’ve been stronger – this might be achieved using grated apple – but people seemed to enjoy the mildness of the cake, saying that it complemented the frosting perfectly. having the fresh slice of apple on top really made you feel as if you were biting into a caramel apple, too.

caramel buttercreamwith apples

caramel apple

Caramel Apple cupcakes

24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven
1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temp
2-1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder*
1 tsp baking soda*
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup unsweetened natural apple sauce
*oops! Sorry, I forgot to include these in my original post.

Beat butter for 30 seconds, until fluffy. Add sugar gradually and beat for 2 minutes (this should be plenty for a hand mixer). Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Measure out milk and apple sauce, and mix the two together. To the butter and sugar, add 1/4 of the flour mixture and beat to mix. Add 1/3 of the milk/apple sauce mixture and beat to mix. Continue to alternate and mix, ending with the flour mixture. Batter will be very fluffy; I filled each cupcake liner more than 3/4 full, and this gave me a nice rounded top. Bake for 22-25 minutes (this recipe takes longer to bake, compared to the last one). I also rotated the pans after 15 minutes, just to get more even baking.

Caramel Buttercream

1 stick butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Melt butter in a small pot, and add in brown sugar and salt, stirring constantly. Bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the milk. Return to heat and bring to boil. Allow to cool in a mixing bowl for 20 minutes (I was impatient, so I propped this bowl in an iced water bath-bowl, and swirled the bowls continuously.) Gradually beat in sifted powdered sugar (i learned that this makes a huge difference – i first added in nonsifted sugar and it looked lumpy, so i decided to sift the rest), until you reach desired consistency (I purposely wanted to achieve a super thick consistency, because I realized that the piping process heats up the frosting and it always comes out more runny than i expect…so it doesn’t hurt to overcompensate.) Use a large round tip and pastry bag to frost the cupcakes. This recipe yields enough to lightly frost the cupcakes (ie, don’t start the spiral at the very edge of the cupcakes). Top frosting with a thin slice of Granny Smith apple (soaked in lemon juice/water mixture, and then dried with paper towel).

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[edit] i forgot to include the recipe. you’ll find it at the end of this post.

maybe i’m a little too predictable. it was funny that elbie suggested caramel apple cupcakes, because i was actually debating between that and pumpkin cupcakes. in the end, pumpkin won out, but only because i was pressed for time and it seemed a bit easier to make. i really want to try the caramel apple ones this week, though. we’ll see if i can pull it off.
my labmates are enthusiastic about me bringing in cupcakes every week, but i dunno…i worry about my lab and the youth group getting fat on cupcakes. :P

on another note: i would love to see/read about your food experiences too (if you’re into that kind of thing) or even just general updates. this blog allows for multiple authors, so all you have to do is create a user name and then i can send you an invitation to be an author on this blog. yay, i’m excited. :)

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Recipe for:

Pumpkin spice cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups dark brown sugar (i don’t pack it tightly though – i don’t like the cake to be too sweet)
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour –> i would change this to 2-1/3
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (basically a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg & ginger – i got this b/c it was 1/2 price at the store) –> bump this up to 3 tsp

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk mixed with 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (change to 1/3 cup milk and 2/3 cup pumpkin b/c i thought it needed more pumpkin flavor)

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and canned pumpkin.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/pumpkin mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk/pumpkin and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about two-thirds to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. (you could probably reduce the baking time by a couple minutes so that it doesn’t get too dry. just test it for doneness.)

Cream cheese frosting

8 oz cream cheese (i used a mixture of 1/2 regular and 1/2 neufchatel, a lighter cream cheese alternative)
1/2 stick butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Beat the butter (room temp) until fluffy. Add cream cheese and beat until well mixed and creamy, gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat well. Note: you don’t have to use all the powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you want the frosting. Fortunately, the amount of powdered sugar you add doesn’t affect the consistency of this frosting too much, since the cream cheese takes care of that.

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the start of our food blogs. right, guys?
pics of our latest food adventures (and more)!

food network. or the basement, at least
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berkshire pork bun
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momofuku noodles, rich and chewy
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the U-F-Octopus
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can you super-super size that? check out the sign, haha.
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marrow broth & kimchi (and abe & erin..i didn’t get a pic of sung-hee! :( )
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nyc opera – paper dangly things
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camera obscura
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banana pancakes – my favorite. yum-o! (ew.)
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tacos in williamsburg
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flood in williamsburg
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new york bagels (but nothing beats seattle’s bagel oasis)
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abe by the window
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old man staring
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best “don’t fall” propaganda ever
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planning the route
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salivation?
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magnolia
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taking our picks
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french onion soup at tartine (i knew i’d forget to get a shot of the mussels!)
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subway mosaic
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williamsburg bridge (on our way to the noodle place at around midnight)
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sunday morning bagels
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group pic
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looking good there, ray :P
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lunch
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