Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This one is too bland..this one is too sweet..this one is just right

I feel like Goldilocks in my attempt to find the perfect vanilla cupcake and butter cream frosting recipe. So far I have found a few bland vanilla cupcakes and a few too sweet butter cream frosting recipes. I have tried vanilla cupcakes with every flour imaginable. When baking a cake, most cooks aim to create a light, fluffy cake with a tender crumb. Cake flour usually is the flour to use since it is low in protein...but for some reason it produced a dense cake??? So I tried AP and then self-rising flour. Next round I need to try a mixture of both. I found the flavor to be bland as well. I am thinking of adding a package of vanilla instant pudding. That should give it some extra flavor and moisture.

I also have made many different butter creams that are all too sweet! I am actually not a huge sweet person to begin with..surprising I know..I wanted to be a pastry chef and love baking but am more of a savory person. Good thing though or I might be twice the size I am. So, back to the butter cream. I tried just butter, then butter and shortening and finally shortening and margarine. I have to say out of all of these options I liked just the butter the best, but still the amount of powdered sugar used was too much. I felt like giving up on baking all together. After all what good is a baker who can't make a decent vanilla cupcake and butter cream frosting. But I decided that I can't let my perfectionism get in the way and that eventually after I try and try I will find a great recipe in the end. So, until then I am still on the search for that flavorful and moist vanilla cupcake and not so sweet butter cream frosting!

Made with Love

I am of the belief that pies should be "just like grandma made". No fuss just true homemade goodness. I think making a pie crust seems really hard to many and so they never try. It so shouldn't be. Try it a few times and you'll be a pro in no time. My great-grandma is such an amazing baker..actually an amazing woman! She is in her mid 90's and still lives on her own. She has acres among acres. Her and my great grandfather had planted a huge vegetable garden and many fruit trees. My great grandfather has since passed(at the age of 99 might I add) but my great grandma still keeps the homestead goin'! My best memories are of her whipping together a pie when we stopped by after she made us a huge dinner. My favorite are her blackberry pies..mmmmm. I love that she has made everything for so long that she never once looks at a recipe. She never stops moving. Even in her 90's she still wants to make breakfast. lunch and dinner for you. And I am not talking some cereal or a Bologna sandwich...no way...I am talking homemade waffles and fresh boysenberry sauce and then a few hours later what I would consider a dinner she makes a huge roast or something along those lines. And you can't tell her your not hungry. I always plan on wearing my comfy pants when I am there:) So the point of this blog is to emphasize the importance of plain and simple rustic homemade pies. Keep the tradition alive. Below is my Award Winning Apple Pie Recipe. So simple but so good.

Apple Pie
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 medium green apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 TBS. butter
Dash of salt

1. Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and apples together. Place pie crust in pie plate(see crust recipe). Add mixture of apples to the pie crust. Dot with butter and then add top pie crust.
2. Slit top and cover sides with foil.
3. Bake @ 425 for 40-50 minutes.

9" Pie Pastry Crust
2/3 c. shortening, plus 2 TBS.
2 c. flour
1 tsp salt
5 TBS cold water

1. Cut shortening into flour.
2. Add salt and water.
3. Shape into a ball and chill.
4. Once chilled roll out to fit 9" pie pan. Enough for top and bottom crust.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Adventures in Baking

After completing Culinary School I found myself burnt out on baking and cooking in general. I lost my interest in it, mainly because of the hours and also the lack of training I received in the pastry field while at school. The focus at school was more on cooking than baking. It was a wonderful experience. I loved it, but I really wished I had learned more about cake decorating. I can make a nepolian, but have no idea how to decorate a cake.

I recently have been very amused and intriged with cupcakes. These little cake were once just a kids birthday staple, but are now served at weddings in place of a wedding cake...who would have ever thought. Below are some beautiful cupcakes that another blogger made. Absolutely stunning.

The purpose of this blog is to share with you what recipes have worked and failed. So far I can not get anything right. My butterbream frosting is too sweet and my vanilla cupcakes are too bland. As a culinary school graduate I hate to admit that I really love me some Betty Crocker. She is amazing! I love the taste, texture...everything! So, my next step is too try try and try again on the basics and then eventually practice my decorating skills. Hopefully one day I will produce cupcakes as beautiful as the ones above. Sweet trails to you!

Picture time

I thought I would share Shanes' first professional pictures!