Can someone yell “Kaboom!”?  ‘Cause that where this blog went a few days ago, and the rest of the website with it.  The rest of the site was restored days ago, but for some reason I never kept backups of this –  so let’s start over: Hi, I’m Brigitte! 

Since I last updated the old blog (and I’m pretty sure it’s been a while), I’ve been off making trouble and cupcakes. Mostly cupcakes, since my campaign at work for team-building indoor frisbee has been pretty well shut down.

Let’s start with the trouble.  I’ve made some successful trouble along various wine trails – namely, I got a bit drunk, (not that drunk!) and bought an awful lot of dessert wine… we ah, sorta need an extra wine rack now. Then I um… sorta baked way, way, too much cake.  Luckily, I have awesome friends who help fix problems like this.

Slightly overloaded wine rack.  Not as badly as it was a couple weeks ago.

Also along the wine trails, we found ducks!  Something must be wrong with these ducks on Canandaigua Lake, they’re all out of order. Unfortunately, “ducks bore Julia” (her words, not mine), so we eventually left them for tasty but not-exactly-adorable ice cream.

A family of ducks, swimming out of order.

Alright, so maybe I haven’t been making my full quota of trouble lately. I think my phone has picked up the slack. It died again, and I took this as an opportunity to switch carriers. I now have a shiny new phone number! (And if I’m supposed to have your number, I might not anymore.  Forgive me?)

And now, on to the cupcakes.  It was my turn to do birthday-goodies at work, and I’m just not brave enough to attempt a gluten-free, nut-free, vanilla carrot cake.  I’m not that confident, not that talented, and not terribly willing to inflict whatever concoction I wound up with on my coworkers.  Let me put it this way – getting something like that to come out right on first try would require an understanding of chemistry that I’ve just never had.

The solution? Three batches of cupcakes, one for each preference, event, and dietary restriction.  Chocolate carrot cake for the birthday girl who makes awesome normal carrot cake, vanilla for the shiny new college graduate, and gluten-free chocolate fudge.  Several hours later, I had a very large mess (the best kind!) four large containers of cupcakes, a clock glowing “1 A.M.” and a strange, overwhelming desire for a nap.  Of course, there are no good photos of the mess or the cupcakes, but there are recipes.

 

Chocolate Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup 2% milk
2 cups finely grated carrots (I just used a mini food processor)

This one is originally from recipezaar. I haven’t done much to it. 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. 

In another bowl, beat together eggs and sugar, then beat in melted chocolate, oil, and vanilla. Next, stir in dry ingredient, milk, and finally, carrots. Bake cupcakes 18-20 minutes.

 

Super-Vanilla Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

These get to be called super-vanilla because I’ve been told these are unusually strongly vanilla flavored.  Also originally from recipezaar.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream together butter and sugar, then mix in eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add flour and milk, alternating between small amounts of each. 

Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes.

 

Gluten Free  AND Nut-Free Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
3/4 cup unsalted butter
Six large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar, divided 
2 tsp. vanilla extract

This was the cupcake I was most afraid of, having never baked anything of the sort before.  It works sort of like a soufflé.  The cupcakes rose higher than I expected, then gradually collapsed as they cooled. Most of the tops had crisp and flaky shells over the soft, fluffy cake (like a flaky pasty).  Don’t worry about what the tops look like – this is why we have frosting. I’ve adapted this slightly from the original.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.   In a double boiler, gently melt the chocolate and butter. Keep stirring until smooth, then remove the chocolate from heat and let it cool.

In another bowl, mix egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar on high until pale, frothy, and about as thick as you can get an egg yolk (about 3 minutes).  Make sure the chocolate is cool enough to touch, before folding it and the vanilla into the egg yolk.  

In yet another bowl, mix egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar on high until stiff peaks begin to form.  Fold the egg whites into the other ingredients until they’re fully blended.  Then, pour the mixture into cupcake liners and bake about 30 minutes. (Yes, I know this sounds like a lot for an itty-bitty cupcake.  Trust me, this is not a typo.)

 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. 2% milk

This one came with the carrot cake recipe.  Beat together cream cheese and sugar, then beat in chocolate, vanilla, then milk.

 

Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. softened cream cheese
4 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

This is a lot like the other cream cheese recipe.  Beat together the cream cheese and butter, then beat in sugar, then the vanilla.

 

 

Over the next few days, I’ll probably be adding in a few back entries from cached Google results.

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