Tag Archives: cupcakes

TARDish Cupcakes Or: Why You Should Always Follow Directions and Use a Cookie Cutter

24 Aug

I had every intention of writing an ERA-related blog this week, but honestly? I do not feel like researching anything that doesn’t have to do with my thesis right now, and that’s OK.

So, today my roomate and I decided it was a good day to bake. I thought it would be fun to finally try one of those recipes from Bake It In A Cake! since I’ve been tumblr stalking them for months. I thought, why don’t I combine my desire for baking with my passion for Doctor Who?

Enter: The Plan

The original plan was to use blue sprinkles, blue icing, and blue food dye to make a blue funfetti-style white cake with blue shapes inside (perhaps a “D” or a box like the TARDIS) and blue icing. Then I realized this cake was all white cake and no chocolate, so I scrapped that idea. If it’s a simple from-a-box deal, I usually stick to yellow cake and chocolate icing. I decided I would just dye half of the batter one color and half another, and then use those two colors to make my cut out for the inside and then to fill in the rest of the cupcake. (If you take a gander at Bake It In A Cake! you’ll understand what I mean.)

I got back and tried to do some math to determine how much half of the batter would be. I thought that I could also possibly cut it down so I’d only have twelve cupcakes to contend with here in this apartment while thesising alone. (That’s always the issue with baking, isn’t it? Things go stale quickly and so you need people to share them with/need to be ready for a sugar coma.)

I also decided to copy Darla at Bakingdom‘s decision to work with the concept of weeping angels in her Doctor Who-inspired baking adventures. Of course, I’d just be trying to do a really simple angle outline to stick inside of a cupcake. I thought this or perhaps a “D” would be achievable.

False.

Here’s what happened.

I decided that 1/4c batter goes into each cupcake tin, so there must be approximately six cups of batter. Three cups should be baked and then I’d have enough left to fill up twelve cupcakes with the outside color.

I also decided to make the outside color of the cupcake blue like the TARDIS. Here’s as close as I got to TARDIS blue with my food dye and yellow cake batter:

My life is colorful, just like this.

I baked a thin layer of the yellow cake batter in a glass 9 x 13 pan with the intention of cutting (like, freehanding with a knife, because I don’t believe in spending money on cookie cutters) the shapes out once it cooled. I baked it for about fifteen minutes, since it was so spread out. I immediately transferred it to the freezer to cool down.

Here’s what happened with that business. The top layer of the cake turned into this cold, gooey, fragile bit that kept getting stuck on the knife, my hands, everything it touched. I don’t really mind shoving my hands into ground beef to make hamburgers, but I really┬áminded this gooey cold cake substance. Yuck. I was pretty positive I hadn’t cooked it all the way through because of the top layer and because it was SO HARD TO CUT.

Also, note to readers: If you ever intend to do this, two things: 1. Don’t follow these directions, find a real recipe. 2. Butter and flour the pan you bake the cake in for cut outs, because just greasing it doesn’t make it come off quite easily enough for delicate symbols. Like the letter D. Or an angel.

So, now that my hands were covered in yellow cake goo and my cutouts were falling apart, I decided to just cut out circles of yellow cake to put in the middle so it would be like a really simple TARDIS: blue on the outside, yellow(ish) on the inside.

This is when I started to realize that my original calculations were wrong, because there was not nearly enough blue batter to make twelve cupcakes no matter what I did. I also had way too much yellow goo cake.

This is not what the inside of the TARDIS looks like. The inside of the TARDIS is lovely. This is a hot mess. But cold.

I used a spatula to get every little bit of blue cake batter into the cupcakes and ended up with nine. Let me put this to you in a way that makes sense: the box says that the batter is supposed to make twenty-four cupcakes. And I had nine.

I decided just to go with it and see what happened. In the end, I had two with hearts in them (because that seemed like a simple pattern and I saw it on Bake It In A Cake!), one with this little thing that started out as a W but then I realized looked like a (very, very simple and cubist) dalek, so I used that. I used one of my angels, too. The other five were just circles of yellow cake with blue around them.

At least they looked blue at this point.

I figured I could at least count on them to be blue and cute looking, like cupcakes are, when they came out of the oven. False. They looked like alien cupcakes (which, I suppose, is appropriate).

Seriously, one of them has a face and the rest of them look like green polyjuice potion.

I then went for the only option I had left: chocolate icing. The proof is in the non-pudding: Icing can even make greenish slitheen polyjuice cupcakes look edible and delicious:

See? You would totally eat these, right?

For a while, I was too full from all of my baking process samples (read: dipping my finger into the batter) to even consider a cupcake. I was also slightly annoyed with them for being a total epic baking fail. But then, I’ve had those before, and they turned out OK after left in a plastic bag overnight and dipped in coffee. My family said they were super delicious.

Finally, while watching a re-run of Stephen Colbert (on which I found out that our current representative to the United Stations is Susan Rice, who is a woman of color. How did I not know this? Because that is awesome.) I decided to give in and have a teeny tiny one so that I could write this blog with the crowning glory, a picture of my TARDIS cupcake, blue on the outside and yellowish on the inside:

I call it: The TARDish

For this tiny little unrecognizable blob of yellow, I worked for an hour and covered my counter in blue batter and yellow cake goo. I’ll take it.

And that, ladies and gents, is how you make a TARDish.

Good night!

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Cupcakes A la Aimee

3 Jul

I keep attempting to blog about being in Wisconsin, but there is so much going on (that isn’t my thesis) that I am constantly sidetracked. However. Today was an epic day, and so it deserves a blog post.

We have been quite busy, from seeing Bridesmaids again for my birthday to going to a Burlesque show. Recently, we had a brat off at the house. I don’t think we will ever finish eating those brats. Oh my goodness.

Last night we were all out until about one in the A.M., and we had to wake up this morning in time to get to the Farmers’ Market by 7:30. Let’s just say, that was rough. Nothing a little spicy cheese bread and iced tea for breakfast couldn’t fix.

And then, MFS and I embarked on a baking adventure! Well, they’re cupcakes, but they are awesome.

A few days ago, MFS, the adopted parents and I were out at Concerts on the Square when a little birdy (a text message) brought me a picture from cupcakes that looked absolutely divine. When The Maple, the mastermind behind the cupcake goodness, explained that they were white cupcakes with lime curd and blueberry buttercream, I decided I had to have some.

The recipe is kind of made up, according to The Maple, so she had to type them up and send them my way before we could get started, and then, of course, the MFS and I got quite sidetracked by life. We had to declare a day cupcake day, and this is how we came to bake cupcakes on this lovely (hot and humid) Saturday in sunny Wisconsin.

I was informed by a reader that she enjoyed my attempt at a baking blog, so I’m going to give that a go again.

The Tale of the Epic Cupcake

The lime curd has to be cold when you finally put the cupcakes together, so we did that this afternoon shortly after buying our limes and blueberries.

The curd needs 2/3 c lime juice, so we juiced six limes.

Limes n such

You will need 1 t of grated lime zest, so you ought to zest that sucker before you’ve squeezed them all.

Look at that zesty lime!

It’s nice to work in a team, because as I was juicing the limes (which takes a bit of elbow grease), MFS was hard at work across the kitchen. First, she cracked open and separated the eggs, 2 whole eggs and 2 extra egg yolks.

Eggs n such

MFS then got to creaming 1 c sugar with 6 T softened salted butter.

MFS is pretty much awesome

Then, you add the 2 eggs and the 2 yolks, and then the lime juice. The Maple’s exact recipe words were: “It will look disgusting at this point; do not panic.”

Yeah, it looks a little lumpy.

Then, we put it in a small pan and cooked it at a medium-low heat. It started out looking like this:

Once you get started cooking, it starts to get smooth:

Smooth like butta. Probably because there's so much in it.

Then, after about 15-20 minutes, it gets thick and turns a more yellow color.

Look how yummy! Don't eat, it's super hot.

Then, you mix in the zest, put it in a bowl to cool, and cover with plastic wrap. You should “press the plastic wrap to the surface” and stick it in the fridge for a bit. You’ll need a couple hours.

When you’re ready to get down to cupcake business (to defeat the hun…gers?), be aware that this recipe is slightly more intense than other white cake recipes… but it’s worth it! First, as per usual, preheat your oven. In this case, to 350. First, you will cream 1 and 1/2 c sugar with 2/3 c softened salted butter, as MFS is doing in the picture below:

MFS rocks at creaming things

While she was busy at that, I set out all the other ingredients.

2 c flour, 2 egg yolks with 1 t vanilla, 2 t baking powder, 1 t salt, 1 c milk (also pictured:sugar. by this point you should already have used that.)

Put the vanilla in the yolks, and put the egg whites in a glass bowl (not plastic!). Put the yolk and vanilla into the creamed butter and sugar.

Look at them yolks, all up in the creamy, sugary butter.

Mix the remaining dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder) together, and then add the milk and the dry mixture to the yolk/butter/vanilla/sugar mixture a little bit at a time.

Lookin pretty fly

Then, grab the egg whites and your handy dandy mixer. Beat them until they have stiff peaks, which means that when you pull the mixer out, the tips stay up and don’t droop over. Fold that into the other mixture. Now you are ready!

Ice cream scooping the batter into the cups, Bridesmaids style

Throw the cupcakes in the oven that you already preheated to 350, because you are brilliant. They should take about 20 minutes to bake.

Now it is time to start the icing. This is actually really simple, despite the fact that it sounds all fancy. First, you take 1 c of fresh blueberries and put it in a small saucepan.

Look at those yummy berries. Mmmm-Hmmm

Cook over medium heat until the berries start popping. Use a wooden spoon and smash them against the side of the pan. Once it looks kind of like a sauce, but is also a little chunky, take it off the heat.

That is delicious. Don't believe me? Lick the spoon.

Set that aside. We put ours in a ceramic bowl so it would cool. Once they are “mostly cool but still a little warm,” mix them in the butter and the vanilla. Then, take a bag of powdered sugar and mix in a little bit at a time until it is firm and icing-like, but stirrable. You don’t have to use a mixer, but we did.

Standing mixers. Love.

Now you get to hang out until the curd is cold and the icing and cupcakes are room temperature. Next, take a really sharp knife and cut little cones out of each cupcake on the top.

We found that you shouldn't worry about them being too small, because the lime curd is so rich.

Fill the cupcakes with lime curd, we just used spoons to do this part. Don’t worry if it’s kind of overflowing. You will have lime curd left over, and that is so yummy!

Now the icing! We lucked out, and the adopted parents have every kitchen utensil ever, so we got to use a pastry bag with a fancy tip. Usually, I just use a ziploc bag and cut the corner off. You have to use some sort of piping, because of the curd.

MFS is a pro.

Apply the icing however you like, and then use the extra blueberries for garnish. Ta-da! You are done!

Aren't they pretty? And they are also delicious.

And that was my baking adventure today! You should try them! They are fantastic.