Day 119-Walking on Sunshine

After the past couple of cloudy days, it was awesome to soak in the Vitamin D on my lunch break. I got plenty of new nature photographs! On side note, my thoughts are with everyone on US East coast, and hope for a speed recovery and power to be restored quickly.

Day 117 and Day 118-Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

When I was a child, I would not eat anything with pumpkin in it, no pies or cakes. Then one day, I tried a pumpkin cake and I fell in love. Side note: I fall in love with food pretty often.

Recipe adapted from the Neely’s.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and  salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the butter and the sugar. Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixtures together until thoroughly combined.
  5. In separate bowl, mix together chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of flour. Fold gently into batter.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Bake until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting .

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter,in a large mixing bowl and blend for 2 minutes.
  2. Add salt, vanilla, and maple sryup, blend to combine.
  3. Add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time. Once all sugar is added mix for 2 minutes.

Assembly of Cupcakes:

  1. With desired pastry tip, fill pastry bag, save one cupcake without frosting.
  2. Pipe on cupcakes.
  3. Drop a couple of chocolate chips for decorations. Enjoy!

Day 115-Color and Snow

 

 

 

 

The best part of this snow fall is the mix of fall and snow! I love the way the fall leaves look against the white snow; it is simply stunning!  Today was the last of the snow, unfortunately; hopefully plenty more of it will come!

Day 112-Sisters

 

Even though I love my brother dearly and now have an amazing sister-in-law, there is a small part of me that always wanted a sister growing up. I always thought there is more camaraderie with sisters than with a brother and a sister, but I probably would have still been the annoying little sister!

On Sunday, while delivering the pake to birthday girl, I got to me their new addition.

Day 111-Black Forest Pake

No, the title is  not a typo! Yesterday, I made my very first pake (a cross between a pie and a cake). If there are any Drop Dead Diva Fans, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Saturday was my friend’s birthday, so I decided to make a pake for her birthday and to enter a recipe contest. I think I have a winner too; this pake was delicious and pretty easy to make too! The only thing I made from scratch was the cake and the sweetened whipped cream. This recipe should make two pakes, but I made one pake and cupcakes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 deep dish pie crusts (thawed, not baked)
  • 2 cups cherry filling (I used cherry preserves with whole cherries in it)
  • Chocolate cake batter
  • About 1 cup sweetened whipped cream
  • Bittersweet chocolate bar to shave for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour 1 cup of cherry filling into each pie tin.
  3. Prepare the cake batter and pour into each pie tin. Batter should be about 1/4  inch below the rim of the tin.
  4. Place tins on a cookie sheet and bake for about 35 minutes.
  5. Insert toothpick into cake, it will come out clean when the cake is done.
  6. Once done baking, let pake cool, then top with whipped cream and with a zester, shave chocolate over whipped cream. Note: I used a pastry bag and tip for the whipped cream.

Recipes for chocolate cake and whipped cream are below.  Also, if you do not want to make the cake from scratch; here is a quick way to alter the cake mix with a little more flavor. Altered Cake Mix: Instead of using water for the cake mix, use coffee, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. P.S. This is mostly for my mother because she does not like baking cakes from scratch!

Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. With the mixer on low setting, stir in hot coffee (batter will be thin).

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

Directions:

  1. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks.
  2. Add sifted confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, whip to combine.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it really wasn’t!

Day 108-110-Walking in Fall

 

I was going to post another cupcake recipe except my new tablet (Wacom Capture) arrived today, and I wanted to play. Besides drawing, it was excellent to edit my photos with, and I desperately needed to catch up on Project 365.

This morning I took a long walk on a new trail near my house, and the leaves are just gorgeous. Fall is still my favorite season and I hope it last at least a couple more weeks!

 

Day 107-PB & J Cupcakes

This Tuesday was Boss Appreciation Day, and I made plenty of treats for my co-workers. I am submitting this recipe for a recipe contest, wish me and my friend luck!
I got some great feedback on the PB & J Cupcake. I was told several times that they did not expect to like this cupcake but loved the combination of flavors, and that I should try it with grape jelly.

Vanilla Cupcakes:

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into a mixer bowl. Transfer bowl to mixer, and add egg, yolk, water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until mixture is well combined and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide batter among liners, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks for 30 minutes. Invert cupcakes onto racks, and let cool completely. (Cupcakes can be stored for up to 3 days.)

Peanut Butter Frosting:

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar

Directions

  1. Combine butter and peanut butter.
  2. Add vanilla, mixed until combined.
  3. Combine confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, scrapping bowl down after each addition.

Assembling the Cupcakes

  1. You will need some prepared jam, jelly or preserves, flavor of your choice. I used raspberry jam that my friend made (he (DG) is an amazing caner).  While optional, I added some crushed peanuts for garnish.
  2. Equipment needed: two pastry bags fitted with two tips of your choice. I used a 1M for piping and circle tip for filling.
  3. First, you will fill the cupcakes with jam using a pastry bag.
  4. Then, you will pipe the peanut butter frosting on top the cupcakes.
  5. Dollop some jam on top the frosting and sprinkle the crushed peanuts.

Enjoy!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Thanks to Benleeirene, who nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Very special thank you, Benleeirene! I am so happy you enjoy reading my blog! If you have not seen their blog, I fully recommend reading it. I love the food photography; it is awesome!

Rules for this award:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.

Here are the 15 bloggers I chose. I find these blogs inspiring for many different reasons, for some it is photography or their story telling abilities (poetry and stories), etc. I am using Benleeirene’s idea  and adding the reason for each blog!
(Sorry about the hyperlink on the whole sentence, I am have technical issues.)

 

 

  1. Second Half Woman-I love her poetry, photos and her blogs about dating (especially online are hilariously awesome)!
  2. 11 Miles to Cool -love Cute Wednesday
  3. ArtBea-Beautiful photos
  4. Food and Other Stuff-Really good mix of photos and food
  5. Calee Photography-Love her nature photos
  6. Adventures of a Father in Training-love his family photos
  7. Meanwhile, Melody Muses-Stunning photos with amazing poetry
  8. Le Blog De Marie-lovely photos and great style
  9. Just My Echo-Love her recent animal photos
  10. Rocking My 365 Project-Amazing macros shots
  11. All Around the World-Eccentric pictures
  12. Taste My Buds-love the recipes
  13. Kenkiz-Even though I can only muddle through French, the photographs are captivating
  14. Nonoy Manga-Love the work on this blog
  15. Books and Bowel Movements-because she is a great writer

Seven Things about me:

  1. I have to have at least one piece of chocolate a day.
  2. Fall is my favorite season.
  3. I am a serious animal lover, seriously, I love all creatures big, small, furry to slimy.
  4. I love all things zombie related, The Walking Dead anyone?
  5. I love walking in snowy weather, but ask me to drive in it and I will totally freak out.
  6. Making melted crayon art is my new obsession.
  7. Reading Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Awakening drastically changed my life, in a good way.