March 7, 2012

lavender dreams

Well I just realized today that I haven't posted in nearly a month! So sorry about that! I have been, again, without a camera, and largely without extra time to go looking for one. However, there has been a lot of baking. While Mama and Dad were gone, I made a pizza dough from these two recipes from Martha Stewart (combined them because I like baking bread with beer, and we had hazelnut flour!) and in the past few weeks have successfully made popovers, egg free pancakes (this morning, um... delicious, and the fluffiest pancakes I've ever, ever, ever had), lots of cupcakes (below) and a chocolate cake (which actually turned out horribly enough for me to let rot. Really bad, I know.)

So the past week I've been practicing cupcakes for the baby shower this weekend (okay, you all know I love food and wouldn't dare let someone else have control over the entire menu... so yes, I am making food for my own baby shower. :)) Anyway. The POINT is, I have perfected my basic cake ratio. So, I am very excited about that little discovery! Also, I've decided that creme de violette is an awful thing to bake with, and that framboise liqueur might just be the BEST liqueur to bake with (I decided that after realizing that I put way too much in the frosting of the raspberry cupcakes so that you could smell it in the entire kitchen... it's a good way to get people addicted to your cupcakes!). Also experimented with lavender extract, and the recipe below will have you in a lavender-induced dream for the next week. Seriously.

If you want the recipe

Shower is Sunday, pictures will be posted, mostly of the food, and of course, some of the guests :)

Dark Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes
Dark Chocolate Cakes
1/2 C + 2 tbsp canola oil
1/3 C sunflower oil
1/3 C heavy cream
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp lavender extract
2 squares bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 C all purpose flour
1 tbsp corn starch
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 C super fine sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Lavender Cream
8oz container heavy cream
1 tsp lavender extract
1/8 tsp (about 2-3 drops) purple gel food dye
2 tbsp super fine sugar

-Preheat oven to 350*. Line 12 cup cupcake pan with paper cups. Do not grease.
-Combine dry ingredients for cake (including sugar) in a medium bowl and whisk to mix. Combine liquids (both oils, heavy cream, eggs, extracts, and melted chocolate) in another bowl and whisk until completely combined and smooth. Pour dry ingredients into wet and whisk until completely combined. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
-Fill cups 3/4 of the way full (about 1/3 c batter each) and bake in 350* oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean (trust me, you want the cakes to be just the very least underdone). Let cool in the pan until you can touch it, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
-In the meantime, place all ingredients for the lavender cream in a cold stainless steel bowl. With a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over beat!
-Spoon lavender cream over cooled cupcakes just before serving!

Just a note- if you're not going to eat these right away, you should wrap the cupcakes in plastic and keep them in an air tight container IN the refrigerator to keep them fresh and moist. The cream can also be saved in the refrigerator for about a week. It will loose it's super fluffy consistency after about 3 days, though, and these are so good that you really won't even want to let them sit that long! Enjoy!

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