Sunday, November 20, 2011

Glorious and Edgy

As many of you probably know, I am a dancer, and this weekend I performed with two of Columbia's dance groups.  One of them was Orchesis, Columbia's largest student-run dance group.  One of the pieces I was in was choreographed by a good friend to Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory.  It was one of the most wonderful pieces I have danced in, so my cast decided we needed to do something special for our choreographer.  Since he always brought us candy or snacks at rehearsal we decided on these cupcakes that my friend found.

Not only are they cupcakes- they have a candy bar baked inside of them.  We used snickers- our choreographer's favorite!  Since they sunk a little, we added some chocolate ganache in the middle and then frosted them with chocolate buttercream.  Hopefully they are good- I actually haven't tried them since they were a gift!

From the Edge of Glory,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Birthday Breakfast

 Last week- actually exactly a week ago today- was my birthday.  My wonderful friends did an amazing job of planning a wonderful surprise birthday party.  They put so much effort into making it a very special day!

The cake was perfect- dark chocolate with pumpkin buttercream and a chocolate glaze.  I am so grateful to have such wonderful friends- thank you guys again!

One of the gifts they got me happened to be one of the kitchen gadgets that I was desperately missing from my kitchen- a waffle maker.  But this waffle maker was extra special- it was a circus animal waffle maker!  So of course we had to make waffles the next morning.

Love and Cupcakes,

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Year of Cupcakes

Tomorrow is a rather special day- it is my birthday!  Since I am turning 19 tomorrow, I decided that I needed to spend my last day of being 18 doing something special.  My 18th year was truly incredible- I had just made my way through half of my first semester at Columbia, and had met some of the most amazing people.

I had my first cupcake baking parties with my friends from high school over break.  18 was when I really began to experiment with baking, and fell in love with baking cupcakes.  Whenever I was home I tried out new recipes, always hesitant to repeat a recipe just because there were so many new ones I hadn't tried yet.

Then, over the summer I started my blog.  The summer was full of cupcakes and treats, which continued right up until the fall.  Then I moved into The Cupcake Suite.  We have become a sort of cupcake family, spending evenings together, cooking dinner for each other and enjoying, what else, lots and lots of cupcakes.  So of course, today I decided to bake.  I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, making scones and cupcakes and enjoying a rare relaxing day.

We got more jalapeños this week in our CSA farm share, so I decided to make the cheddar jalapeño scones again, since those were a hit last time.  They went perfectly with a bowl of chili that the guys made last night.

For the cupcakes, I decided to make my classic (and favorite) black magic cupcakes, but this time i decided to go with a mocha frosting, since there is coffee in the cupcake recipe already.  They came out really well, according to my taste testers, and were a wonderful way to end my 18th year.

Mocha Frosting
Enough for 12 cupcakes

5 tbs butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp coffee grounds
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs cocoa powder

Cream butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add brown sugar and mix thoroughly.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add coffee grounds and cocoa powder, mix, and refrigerate until firm enough to frost with.

Bon Appétit,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Not-Quite-Christmas Cookies

When is the acceptable time to start playing Christmas music?  Some would say after Halloween, but others would wait until after Thanksgiving.  This debate has yet to be settled in The Cupcake Suite, and we are currently listening to periodic Nutcracker and Andrea Bocelli Christmas music.

However, I think everyone agreed that it was never too early for Christmas cookies.  These delicious peanut butter nutella cookie recipe caught my eye on foodgawker, and I was dying to make it.  As a kid, I always made these type of peanut butter cookies with my mom for Christmastime.  We would always put a hershey kiss in the middle, which was so wonderfully gooey and delicious right out of the oven.

So this recipe, for me, worked like a not-quite-christmas cookie recipe.  They were perfectly moist and peanut buttery with a hint of choclate from the nutella.  Also, they were gone within minutes of sharing them with The Cupcake Suite.

Bon Appétit,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Autumn Veggies Soup

Veggies have not always been my favorite things.  As a little kid, I didn't like to touch anything green.  I ate carrots and occasionally green beans, but that was about it.  I have since expanded my repertoire, and my CSA farm share is just expanding it even farther.  All of the vegetables in this soup I received in the past week, fresh off the farms of upstate New York- you really can't beat that.

Also, this soup just reminds me again of all of the wonderful things about fall.  It is delicious and warming, and goes perfectly with a salad and a couple pieces of bread.  Really an all-around perfect fall lunch!  I had some the day I made it, and then saved the rest in the fridge for later in the week.  A couple minutes on the stove in a saucepan is all that it needs to reheat.

Happy fall, and Bon Appétit,

Sweet Potato Leek Soup
Serves 4

4 small leeks
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbs butter
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
4 cups chicken broth

Cook onion, carrot, and leeks in butter in a large saucepan over medium heat for 8 minutes.  Add broth and sweet potatoes.  Bring to a boil and cover, simmering for 20 minutes.  Add parsley and simmer for 5 minutes uncovered.  Blend using an immersion or tabletop blender.  If the soup is too thick, add more broth 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Serve immediately or store in fridge or freezer.