Friday, July 12, 2013

Challenge #13: Bittersweet Paris

I know I haven't been posting lately, but I honestly haven't had much time to bake or blog. Considering that I work silly hours, by the time I get home, I'm wiped and mostly just want to go to bed. If I do manage to get something baked, I'm usually still baking after midnight, which isn't as much fun as it sounds.

Most of my baking, these days, stems from celebrations. This one, in fact, was Canada Day and also my 1 year anniversary with my sweetheart.

I was trying to think of some sort of Canadian flavor I could make, but the best I could come up with was maple/bacon. And as much as I would like to try that one day, I wasn't really in the mood for it. After rifling through cookbooks for awhile, Adam asked how The Challenge was going. To be honest, I've veered away from it as of late due to a total flop recipe, which I didn't even bother to blog about. (boo to you Taste of Summer the Way It Used to Be - Peachy) I'm also getting to the weird flavors in the book and I know they'll be great for some random occasion, but that occasion hasn't come up yet.
Anyway, I digress. I grabbed out The Icing On The Cupcake and started flipping through it.
That's where I found Bittersweet Paris. I've been wanting to try this one for awhile and it lent itself well to making it lactose-free.

5 tbsp butter
1 cup coffee
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp finely ground salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350' F. Place 12-15 paper liners into cupcake trays.
Make the coffee. When it's ready, melt the butter into it. Whisk in the buttermilk (or in my case, almond milk). Set aside.

it separates, so you mix it back together from time to time.
Put the eggs and sugar in another bowl and mix on a low speed. Gradually add one at a time - flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until just combined.

Add the vanilla and coffee mixture. Mix until combined.

Pour batter into paper liners. Fill almost to the top.

Yes, it totally is just liquid. I was worried, but I decided to see if the recipe would work, so I popped them into the oven instead of giving up.
Look! They're rising!
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. I found it best that I bake them for 15 minutes, turn off the oven and leave them in there for another 10 minutes. It worked better that way. Otherwise, they were burnt on the outside and didn't cook enough in the middle.

Cool 5 minutes and then move to a baking rack.

Orange Frosting

1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg yoke, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
the zest of an orange.

Cream the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add egg yoke and vanilla. Beat for 4 minutes.

Add orange juice and zest. Beat 1 minute. 
Add sugar (and food colouring, if you want) and beat until smooth.

This recipe didn't make a lot of icing and I had already drank the rest of my freshly squeezed orange juice, so we decided to make 2 different flavors of icing for the cupcakes. Instead of the orange juice, in the second batch, I added cherry and almond extract. 

They were both really good and went with the chocolate really well. I'm not sure which one I liked better.

As soon as they were iced, it was off to the Canada Day BBQ.

I didn't get a lot of feedback on them, simply, since everyone that showed up at the party brought dessert. I ended up taking a bunch of them back home with me, which was awesome, because we ate them for breakfast the next day. Yes, I'm classy like that :P

So, what do geeks do when they mix booze and sparklers?

Yup. We're pretty awesome.