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|Posted on January 8, 2012 at 2:39 AM||comments (759)|
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|Posted on November 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM||comments (343)|
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|Posted on November 2, 2011 at 12:46 AM||comments (149)|
Fall. Pumpkin. Spices. Candy Apples. Naturally, you know where this is going...Every year, every August really, I start counting down the days until I will allow myself to eat any pumpkin, so to compensate for it, I let my imagination run wild thinking of different flavors to pair with my favorite fall flavor to create come October 1.
My Pumpkin cupcakes make me indescribably happy. They are perhaps one of my favorite flavors I make. So when I got the idea for Pumpkin Caramel Apple Cupcakes, I knew they could only be as delicious as I imagined them: Moist and fluffy pumpkin cupcakes, spiced and sauteed apples, caramel filling, and caramel buttercream. Where could I go wrong? Well, I know I've said that before.
Sauteing apples is perhaps my favorite part of the whole process. After the time consuming tedious dicing of the apples, and the slow melting of the butter and brown sugar, vanilla and brandy, the smells envelope you. This is usually when my husband peaks his head into the kitchen to see what he can get his hands into! After a few minutes of permeation, I toss the apples in and let them bathe in it.
Whenever I make the pumpkin cupcakes for the first time each year, I always, without fail, forget something. This was no exception. Brown sugar. The one thing I can't live without! Figures I wouldn't have it. Well, thankfully I know a little trick to whip some up in no time. 1 cup of white sugar to 1 tablespoon of molasses in the mixer and you're good! Crisis averted. Pumpkin cupcakes back on!
Once the batter came together, I folded in the apples, and baked them per the usual time. I've mentioned how I watch them in the oven like a new Mama would her new baby through the nursery window... It's love <3
Once out and cooled I heated up the caramel and squeezed some into the middle of the cupcake so each bite would burst with caramel goo. And then of course, the topping of caramel buttercream. Spicy, sweet and sinful!
I'm definitely proud of this original flavor, and the verdict among friends and family? SWEEEEET!
|Posted on September 8, 2011 at 10:54 PM||comments (398)|
I came up with these little babies a year ago. So I figured what better way to celebrate their 1st Birthday than to blog about 'em! :)
Chai, for those of you who don't know, is a blend of Indian spices including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves. The spices paired with creamy milk, can be such a soothing and delicious drink. So to quell my craving for spice notes one day last September, I found my favorite Chai Tea in my cupboard right above my stand mixer, looked back and forth between the two, and thought "Hmmmmm...."
I thought that this could be too good not to try out.
So, I steeped a cup of tea, and let it cool, while I mixed up a cake batter and dropped in some extra dashes of cinnamon and ginger for added ooomph! Finally, I mixed the tea in, slowly, until it all poured out into the mixer and splattered about! The batter turned into a spicy, runny, liquidy mess, and I immediately began cursing myself for wasting the last bags of tea, and not having a more careful and steady hand.
Often times when I know something is on the course to becoming an absolute disaster, I put it in the oven anyway (unless the taste is beyond awful) to see how it bakes up. There's always a lesson to be learned or a surprise to be enjoyed. As they were baking, the scents permeated the house and the air was thick with spices and vanilla. Due to the extra liquid, I watched them rise in the oven like a hawk; I knew I would have to add a few minutes more than usual, which made it tricky because they could be dough one minute and over done the next.
While I waited for the last few minutes I figured I may as well create the perfect frosting to pipe on top, given these were edible. Butter, powdered sugar, vanilla bean, a dash of cinnamon and cloves, and the last drops of the tea I managed to save from falling in the batter- as if it would have made a difference!
As the oven timer went off I glanced into the oven and saw they could probably use 1 more minute, in which afterwards I pulled them out and did the toothpick test. Mmmmm. Again, the spices. Breathing them in I pictured crisp blue skies with orange tinted trees painted against it. Football and sweatshirts. Pumpkins and piles of brown and gold leaves. (You know, a typical Miami Autumn!) I placed them on the cooling rack- I hate this part. The waiting game. You can't get a good idea of the *true* texture of a cupcake until it's completely cooled, and there are so many times I just bite into one because I can't wait to taste it, but I waited this time. A whole hour for them to completely cool before I swirled on the Vanilla Cinnamon Buttercream, peeled off the wrapper, and bit into it.
They were perfect delicate morsels of spiced delight. And the frosting was a perfect balance.
The husband loved them. (He tells me he loves everything but I can tell when he's lying!)
I brought them into work, and everyone loved them. I was proposed to by multiple people, including a straight female. Another one of my co-workers, Angela, was speechless except for a spanish phrase that loosely translated to "so delicate like a perfume". Haha, I don't remember the spanish version of it, and I don't like to toot my own horn, but I did give myself a pat on the back for making someone speak another language!
A year later, they're still one of my favorite flavors. As a precursor to October and all the pumpkin flavors that come with it, it definitely is the perfect flavor to transport you from the heat of the summer, into the crispness of the fall.
|Posted on August 31, 2011 at 8:40 PM||comments (6817)|
The Miami heat is pretty unbearable this time of year as we head into the fall and all the delicious flavors that come with it. Every summer, I find myself experimenting more and more with fresh fruits and tropical flavors than any other time of the year. This summer, I came up with multiple fruit flavored cupcakes that have since become favorites of my customers, and I don't think I could possibly be happier with the outcome. Although I was happy with all of them, one flavor definitely outshone the rest, a favorite among the Miamians thanks to the cuban influence, Guava!
I have never been a fan of guava. Ever. While I love most cuban food, the guava was the one thing that sent me running; and despite the numerous requests (and begging) I received from both my mother and my cuban best friend to make a dessert featuring their favorite fruit, I always thought I couldn't bring my high standards of perfection to fruition (hehe) if I didn't care for a specific flavor. Finally one day in the beginning of the summer, I received a customer's request for guava cupcakes...... CRAP. It was always easy to quell my mom and Leslie, because I could offer so many other things in its place to distract them... But you can't do that to a customer who prefaces their initial email with "Guava is my absolute favorite!" So, off to the store I went, clueless as to what to buy, much less how to use it. Luckily I found organic guava preserves. The ingredients included 100% organic guava, water, and xantham gum (a natural thickener). PERFECT. I also grabbed some guava paste (unfortunately there's a lot more added sugar in that) figured I could use it for something, maybe a dollop on top. I already had definite plans to use a cream cheese frosting, since they are such a delicious tried and true pairing.
I whipped up my go to vanilla cupcake batter, and added in the guava at the proper time. I was nervous as to how they would turn out (I always get nervous with experiments), and I sat in front of the oven and watched my little babies bake and rise to their domes. "Okay, " I thought, "so far, so good." I took them out and let them cool and thank God they never fell like I was worried about. I decided to make this a true experiment, to fill half with the remaining preserves, and leave the others unfilled. I made my classic cream cheese frosting, piped it on and used the guava paste to create the dollops as planned.
Finally, I popped one in my mouth... they were.... delicious. Yes. Delicious. I hate guava, and I loved them. Then the thought entered my head, "Oh no, if I hate guava, and I love these, then that must mean they don't taste like guava!" I quickly rushed over to my parent's house (as I usually do on experiment days) and forced the newly created sweets on my mom, dad, and brother. They all loved them, and all agreed the filled ones were the way to go. I couldn't believe I got it on the first try. As a person who's always had such determination to get it right per the specific vision in mind, and will try over and over to get it that way, I'm usually used to doing the same thing multiple times, each time changing something subtly or drastically, but everyone agreed, they were perfect. I even took some into work the next day, and they were devoured in a matter of minutes. That was the extra reassurance I needed, since the majority of my co-workers are of the guava loving breed.
Inspiration is everywhere, oftentimes right in front of you, in this case, disguised under old men playing dominos, mojitos, and cigars.