Lemon-filled cupcakes

lemon-filled cupcakes

I’ve been reasonably busy as of late, mostly getting ready for the new job and working here and there on Sketchy Medicine. However the last few days have been pretty empty, so I made overly fancy cupcakes for Mike to bring to his last day of peds.

The recipe is for homemade “funfetti” cake (like the classic cake mix version) from TheKitchn.com. The center is just a simple lemon curd (like any filling for a lemon meringue pie) and then the icing is a lemon butter cream (via The Kitchen Magpie).

Also, I just discovered OVER (because apparently I have been living under an internet rock) it’s a cutesy little app to add text to your photos (like above). Highly addictive.

Blackberry mango scones (with chocolate chips!)

blackberry mango scones

After reading too many tweets from a local coffee shop about what the scone of the day was, I decided enough was enough. They turned out to be a great way to use up a bunch of fruit that wasn’t bad yet, but I probably wasn’t going to sit down and eat. And that greek yogurt too… (I have previously described my lack of refined taste regarding yogurty tasting yogurt). I based this recipe off the one I found on Taste of Home, instead of using orange juice, I used milk, though I have to say it required more than 1/4 cup.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 mango, chopped
  • 1/3 cup blackberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (depending on your taste)
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt)
  2. Cut in butter until crumbly
  3. Put in the chopped fruit and chocolate chips into the dry mixture
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt and milk
  5. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until juuuust mixed
  6. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times.
  7. Separate into scone mounds or put all of the dough on a greased cookie sheet as a circle and then score with a knife
  8. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  9. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.

Hapy NY cake

Back in July when I made Mike’s fancy checkerboard cake I had some leftover bits as well as extra icing and fondant. So I did what any reasonable person would do: made a second, even minier cake, put it in the freezer and forgot about it.

Only to rediscover it a couple weeks ago while making peanut butter balls and decide that it should be our new year cake. Of course I thought that it should say something, unfortunately I did not have enough gel icing. (I hope you’re thinking what I’m thinking)

So HAPY NY from SpiltMartini!

Gingerbread rum cake

Gingerbread Rum Cake

Modified from Claudia Fleming’s gingerbread on Epicurious

Ingredients (for two loaf pans/one bundt pan)

  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess
  2. Bring rum and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat.
  3. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl.
  5. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture.
  6. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
  8. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes.
  9. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Rum Glaze

From Jackie Smith’s rum cake on Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum

Directions (this make enough for the 2 loaves or 1 bundt)

  1. In a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum.
  4. Pour over the cake, allowing to soak in between applications

 

Advent calendars

There are tons of different sorts of advent calendars out there. I grew up with a felt one my mom made where each day you would put an ornament on the tree. My brother and I both loved this one (in fact we now do it over Skype since neither of us live at home anymore) and oddly enough I don’t think either of us ever missed the chocolate ones.

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This year however, in addition to my fabric tree (I’ve since made one for myself), I have a tea advent calendar!

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Sure beats a tiny chocolate.

Mini checkerboard cake

Mike’s birthday cake (the cake itself was impressive, the lettering job leaves much to be desired)

Mini checkerboard cake

I used the same white cake recipe that I always use, but I split up the batter and added cocoa to some (mostly for the colour change). After some intense parchment paper origami…

Parchment paper origami

…and creative cutting, I stacked it together, iced it with buttercream and then put some marshmallow fondant on it.

stacked cake, pre-icing

Strawberry white wine jam

Adventures in Canning

Strawberry white wine jam

Since we had picked a bunch of strawberries this past weekend, Mike and I decided to try our hand at canning. Though there were a few minor mishaps along the way, the end product looks (and tastes) pretty darn good.

Ingredients

Makes just over 1.5L of jam

  • 3 Cups of mashed strawberries
  • 1 1/2 Cups of white wine
  • 1 packet of pectin
  • 4 Cups of white sugar

Directions

  1. Hull and mash the strawberries (because the leaves don’t tend to taste too good)
  2. Put strawberries, wine and pectin in a big pot and bring to a boil
  3. Once boiling, add the sugar and boil hard for one minute
  4. Can like any other jam*

*This is of course, where we ran in to a little bit of trouble between the boiling of the jars and then the accidental boiling of the snap lids and then the needing to go out and get more snap lids. If you’ve already done any sort of canning before, this part will be a cinch

Onigiri

I think it may be the swanky new bento boxes I just got, but I had a craving for rice balls (otherwise known by “onigiri”). In my very simple vision, they are just a ball of sushi rice rolled into a ball, partly because I was feeling lazy and partly because I didn’t have any ingredients on hand.

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Ingredients

  • Sushi rice (3 rice cooker cups dry)
  • Rice vinegar
  • White sugar

Directions

  1. Cook rice in rice cooker (I used a 1:1.5 rice:water ratio)
  2. Once the rice is done, stir in rice vinegar (maybe a couple tablespoons) and about a tablespoon of sugar. I’m actually just guessing on the measurements because I did it by taste.
  3. While the rice is still hot, scoop out some mounds (this I did mostly so the balls would all be roughly the same size)
  4. Wet your hands thoroughly and then form a mound into a ball. Rinse hands, repeat.

I didn’t fill mine, but supposedly filling is the way to go, a much better set of instructions can be found at Just Bento (I actually found this after I made mine, but the site is pretty cool and has a ton of great lunch ideas to boot)

my onigiri

Homemade pasta with homemade pesto

All Mike wanted for his birthday (back in July) was a pasta maker. Odd request, but ask and ye shall receive. I think we got it in our heads that it would be a big process to learn how to use though, so we kept putting off actually making pasta. I don’t think it helps that I’m not a big egg eater, so we don’t normally have eggs around to use in the dough.

Well, all that changed (the lack of pasta making, not my affinity for eggs) yesterday as Mike decided enough was enough and he was going to try making some noodles. We used the recipe and instructions from this TheKitchn post.

Then it was my turn to feel a bit ambitious (and maybe I wanted to continue to procrastinate studying for my upcoming exam), my mom had given me a bag of pinenuts last time I was home and Mike had bought a bunch of basil when he went to pick up the eggs for the pasta and my worn out brain thought: basil + pinenuts = PESTO!

I love pesto, and I daresay I’ve been meaning to make it longer than Mike has been meaning to make pasta. I also didn’t realize before last night that pesto is so incredibly varied, but I made some plain old basil stuff.

Very very simple pesto

Ingredients

  • Basil (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of pinenuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmasen cheese

Directions

  1. Blanch the basil, this prevents your lovely pesto from turning brown if you don’t use it all up in one day. To blanch you just boil some very salty water, put the basil in, quickly take the basil out and then dip it in a bowl full of ice water.
  2. Put everything in a blender or food processor and blend until you get it the desired consistency (it depends if you want a very smooth pesto or a chunkier one.
  3. There is no step 3

I had no idea it was that easy. I think the most time consuming step was mincing the garlic.

Brain cupcakes

So not only is Halloween coming up, but we’re finishing our “Brain and Behaviour” unit, so I figured a brainy baked good was definitely in order.

The chocolate cupcake recipe is the same one I always use, and the icing is “Swiss Meringue Buttercream“, the recipe is from MarthaStewart.com (where the idea for the cupcakes is also from).

All I can say is piping is always much harder than I anticipate. Mine are most definitely not up to Martha standards. All in all it was a much appreciated break from studying the brain.

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