Saturday, March 10, 2012

A picture

Yes, you heard me. A picture. Singular. Solo. Un. 

It is a picture of a cupcake, so that counts for something, right? 

This is one of the Blue Moon cupcakes from the last post. Yes, it's an iPhone picture. I abuse my laptop enough by having it near the baking area, I'm not going to kill both my top electronics at the same time. 

Anyway, they turned out quite well! The cupcake itself was very moist and fluffy at the same time, though I really need to invest in a microplane for the orange zest. I also added a lot more OJ to the frosting than what was called for, because I really wanted that orange taste to counterbalance the "wheat-y" taste of the cupcake itself. 

That recipe also makes enough frosting for oh...a bajillion cupcakes, so bake accordingly. I took in this first batch to the dealership and the reviews were favorable, so guess what I'm doing tomorrow?

If you guessed "using the rest of that frosting" you are correct, sir!

The new job at Subaru is going brilliantly, I have to say. There's enough structure so I know what to do from day to day, but the people and situations are vastly different. And there's a lot of positive reinforcement, both from the managers and from that particular adrenaline high one gets when closing a deal. 

In short, this is an addictive personality's dream job. 


I've got four cars on the board already and I just really started selling last weekend. Some of the guys that have been doing for a very long time don't have a single one up yet. I am hoping beyond hope this means that I'm actually good at this and it's not just beginner's luck/flash in the pan. I'm also getting the vibe that I'm pissing off some people by doing having numbers like this right off the bat and I'm not quite sure what to think of that. I'm taking it as part flattery and part "I'm still way too new to be wanting anyone to be upset with me."

I do get to drive anything I want on the lot and whatever trades come in. The other day this meant I got to take a spin in a Honda S2000. That was nifty. 

And I'm privy to sneak peeks of new models, such as the new BRZ.
I may have needed a moment to myself afterwards.

The hours are a bit killer; I pulled 11 hours straight yesterday and 10 today. I'm very glad I got used to those types of days at the stables and that there is enough going on to make the time fly! At least tomorrow is Sunday and I can chill out. Sort of. There's the plan to do some major spring cleaning/reorganization, so we'll see if that actually happens. 

Hey, I'm being an adult in a bunch of other ways now, what with the getting up early to go run with Sawyer (who is LOVING this idea), why not try and drag my sporadic cleaning abilities along for the ride?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Moar cupcakes, part troix

Or something like that.

There's an experimental batch of The Bitchin' Kitchin' Blue Moon Cupcakes in the oven right now. I saw these pinned on Pintrest and then this happened:

I'm writing this as I'm waiting for them to get out of the oven. The only change I did on these to compensate for the altitude was bake for 15 minutes at 365F instead of 18 minutes at 350F. So far they seem to turning out just fine, so take notes, chocolate things!

I've been asked for the recipe to my Deconstructed Red Velvet Cupcakes, which is trickier to post than it sounds. See, I sort of made things up as I went along, but I said I'd try. Results may vary.

I swiped the basic cupcake recipe from Baked Perfection

Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 - 3 Tablespoon(s) red food coloring (depending on how bright you want them)

  • Put a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute in between each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternately with the milk and red dye in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just incorporated.
  • Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until the cakes a pick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes then remove cupcakes from muffin tin and let cool on a wire rack. 
Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Martha Stewart

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.

Here's where I started to improvise. See, most Red Velvet cakes have cocoa powder to them, making them essentially chocolate cake in disguise. As you might have notice, there is no chocolate to be mentioned in either of the above recipes. 

And we just can't let that happen!

So, to the frosting, I added a couple tablespoons of ChocoVine Espresso Chocolate Wine (between 2-4 depending on what frosting consistency you're shooting for)  and somewhere around a heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder.

I also whipped up a chocolate-wine-infused ganache.
  • Bring 1 cup of heavy cream to a simmer and pour it over 8 oz of finely chopped chocolate chips, using a heatproof bowl (something that will retain heat; I love using my grandmother's Corning bowl for this). I also prefer using dark chocolate whenever possible and this was no exception. I love the Ghiardelli baking chips!
  • Let this sit undisturbed for one minute and then stir from the middle outwards to combine. Add in a couple Tbsp. of the chocolate wine again and mix well. 

Using an apple corer if you have one, or a sharp knife if you don't, cut out a small hole in the cupcakes, about 3/4 of the way down and pipe the cooled ganache into it. You want the consistency to be something like warm chocolate pudding, so it doesn't just run right out of your piping bag/ziploc bag with the corner snipped off. Don't overflow the holes.

Frost as you want. I used an open star tip and the traditional frosting swirl. You could sprinkle some additional cocoa powder on top for a finish, or just leave as is.

So, there you have it. Tell me how these turn out for you! I'll post pictures when I make another batch.