Saturday, August 7, 2010

Orange Blossom Cupcakes with Matcha Icing

These cupcakes have been months in the making, I was dorking out in a big way when I finally got to make them. When we were in Paris in early June I stumbled upon orange blossom water and got excited at the prospect of bringing back an ingredient that wasn't readily available in the States. My fondest memory from that trip was strolling through the Tuileries with James inhaling the the scent of orange blossoms. Sadly I was mistaken regarding its availability because every WholeFoods or Mediterranean Market carries it. On the bright side I'll be able to make these cupcakes whenever I want.

I started with a simple vanilla cupcake and instead of vanilla extract I used about 2 tablespoons of orange blossom water. This gives the cupcake a subtle flavor of orange blossom. The hardest part was coming up with the right frosting/icing to compliment the cake. I made two different frostings before I decided upon using a matcha icing. The flavors work really well together and as almost always the cupcakes disappeared within minutes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pistachio Cupcakes

These cupcakes were inspired by and made for James' 36th birthday. James has been in a pistachio fever since we got back from Paris, where pistachio pastries are everywhere. So it was no surprise that he wanted pistachio cupcakes for his birthday party. The only problem was how to incorporate pistachios into a cupcake. I was a bit late to the planning, but had I been more on top of things I could have purchased pistachio oil online and that would have done the trick more or less. I visited the one Mediterranean store I could find in Seattle with no luck, and I didn't have time to search Pike Place Market so I improvised. I took pistachios and processed into a meal and substituted part of the flour in the recipe with the pistachio meal. This sort of did the trick, however the flavor was still a little lacking. By adding rose water I was able to achieve the desired flavor and off to the oven the cakes went.

Thankfully I wasn't anticipating any issues with the frosting since I had mapped that out already. I was going to use the pistachio paste James and I picked up at Le Bon Marché (La Grande Epicerie).
Thanks to the miracle that is the world wide inter webs you too can own pistachio paste by simply going to Google and searching for it.

The pistachio frosting took a lot longer than I thought due to the fact that the pistachio paste is pretty hard and takes a while to mash down and incorporated into the butter cream frosting. After incorporating the paste I added rose water at James' behest so that the flavor would be more pronounced.

The cupcakes came out perfectly and went over very well at the party. Success!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese

I don't know why its taken me so long to put strawberries and cupcakes together, the two go together like rainbows and unicorns. I was in the mood to bake last week and this was the result, a easy vanilla cupcake with tofu cream cheese and a strawberry puree. I used a blender to blend down the strawberries added a hint of balsamic vinegar to bring out the strawberry flavor and yahtzee! instant cupcake delight.