Tag Archives: Elinor Klivans

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

27 Jun

Every year in June, my family comes together to celebrate a special little lady. This year she’s not so little anymore. Our little lady has turned 20 and is set to become a lovely young woman.

In preparation for this annual celebration several things must take place. Among the traditions are my dad’s shaved head ( in remembrance of her battle and victory over cancer 18 years ago), and I must make some type of Strawberry Shortcake concoction. So this year it had to be….

Once again, this recipe came from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

2/3 cup whole milk

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used coarse sea salt)

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used pure vanilla extract this time around)

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with 18 liners.

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat just until it is hot; it should measure about 150 degrees F on a thermometer (BTW, I think mine is defective). Remove from the heat.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened to a cream colour, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts. On low-speed, mix the flour mixture until it is incorporated. Slowly add the hot milk and continue mixing for about 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth; the batter will be thin.

Fill each liner with a 1/3 cup of batter, to about 5/8 inch below the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.

Time to make some fillings šŸ™‚

8 cups cleaned, stemmed and sliced (I probably only used about 5 cups though)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (again, I used the pure stuff this time)

In a large bowl, stir the sliced strawberries and granulated sugar together. (I also added several dashes of Frangelico for added flavour). Let sit for 30 minutes. Some juice will be released as the strawberries sit, and they will shrink to about 6 cups.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream, powered sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Using a serrated knife, slice each cupcake (the recipe calls for three pieces, I only slice them into two). Place the bottom of each cupcake on an individual serving plate. Spoon 1/4 cup of whipped cream followed by 1/4 of strawberries with their juice. Place the other half of the cupcake on top and again decorate with whipped cream and strawberries. This presentation is extremely rustic and will not be delicate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I deviated from the recipe’s suggested 12 extra-large cupcakes. I opted for 18 regular cupcakes. As they cooled each shrank considerably to become more like tea cakes. They were still sweet and full of flavour. The pure vanilla and almond extracts make a notable difference in the flavour of the cupcakes. The soft and fluffy cake pair perfectly with the spiked strawberries and whipped cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So until next year… Happy 20th Birthday Auntie Nemo šŸ˜‰

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Vancouver Canucks Cupcakes

14 Jun

June 14th, 1994 is a day that is forever etched in my memories. I was a 10 year old fourth grader with a newly ignited passion for hockey. My team, the Vancouver Canucks, in all their black, yellow and orange glory, had a chance to win the Stanley Cup. I stood on the front lawn of my parent’s house with my younger siblings and cousins, homemade signs in support of our team in hand. Cars drove past with flags and white towels flying, honking in excitement with the hopes that this would be our year.

But as the third period was coming to a close it looked as though our hopes would be dashed by those dastardly New York Rangers. With mere seconds left and a score of 3-2 New York, I knelt on the grass, my yellow SONY walkman clutched desperately and prayed to the good Lord that the Canucks would rally and we would bring home the cup. The buzzer sounded and it was all over. In Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, we had lost. A few tears were shed. However, the eternal optimist in me knew that our time would come again.

Fast forward 17 years and behold, here we are again!! Stanley Cup Finals 2011, the Vancouver Canucks vs the Boston Bruins. In a heart stopping, finger-biting race to 4 wins, we had the opportunity to clinch the series in Game 6. This was it, our time to make history. I was a buzz of nervous energy all weekend. So what was I to do…..

MAKE CUPCAKES!!

Yep Canuck Cupcakes were definitely in order. Better yet Stanley CUPcakes šŸ˜‰ I made delicious Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Canuck Blue and Green Cream Cheese Frosting.

Once again, this recipe came from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Baker’s Chocolate)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt (I always use medium coarse sea salt in my baking)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs (free range….from a friend’s backyard šŸ˜‰ )

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with liners.

Put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan or barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler). Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. (I never use to be a sifter, but I now highly recommend this step to help improve the consistency the batter.)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and creamy, about 2 minutes (a very important step. I always leave my butter to cream just a little longer than suggested to ensure that the sugar it completely incorporated). Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the batter. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy and the colour has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. On low speed, add half the flour mixture until just incorporate (ie. DON’T overmix!). Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.

There is enough batter to make 18 regular cupcakes, but I made 12 “big top” cupcakes instead. Fill the muffin tin to 1/4 inch below the line top, approximately 1/3 cup in each liner.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Immediately transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack by placing the rack on top of the cupcakes, flipping them out and then placing them right side up once free of the muffin tin. Let them cool completely before frosting, about 45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mix on low speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute (again, IĀ  a little longer and on a medium speed). Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.

Add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting further.

I added blue and green food colouring to celebrate my Canucks šŸ˜‰ (I used liquid colouring but do also have gel, which is more concentrated and usually allows for a more vibrant finished product.)

The sour cream in the batter allows the cupcakes to remain moist and soft but still light and fluffy. The melted chocolate as opposed to adding cocoa powder was wonderfully rich. I may never return to cocoa powder…..

This recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting is not too sweet, as many can be, but rather creamy and smooth with a bit of kick from the cream cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cupcakes sat, awaiting to be enjoyed with a glass of bubbly to celebrate the cup coming home to Vancouver.

But as you now know, this was not to be…. So we used the cupcakes to comfort our sadness and they were delicious nonetheless.

Here’s to a wonderful year of Canucks Hockey! Thanks for the hard work boys. We’ll get ’em next year šŸ™‚

cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

9 Jun

Today is my 4th wedding anniversary. And while my hubby and I did spend a fabulous weekend away together (Seattle, sun, a Canucks win and Bono, could it get more perfect?!?!?) we made sure to celebrate a little today as well.

So when I awoke this morning, there was a thoughtful card with a personal message lying on my counter on top of my anniversary gift. We had stopped in to Tiffany’s while in Seattle, but that would just be asking too much, right?

Instead there was a Cupcake cookbook. Just as wonderful!! As I work my way through this new adventure of all things cupcakes, I greatly desire to learn all I can from those who’ve come before in the art of making the perfect cupcake. As I learn, I promise to share all my secrets with you šŸ˜‰

So my first teacher will be Elinor Klivans, a grandmother, author, food writer and cupcake enthusiast. Her book is filled with simple, creative and delicious recipes from straight forward Butter Cake Cupcakes with Sticky Fudge Frosting (her first cupcake memory) to exotic Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes and mouth-watering Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Filling!!

The gorgeously decadent photography by France Ruffenach are enough to inspire anyone to make a beeline to the kitchen to get some eggs beating and icing sugar shifting.

Her approach is to remain simple and yet whimsical and elegant. A combination that is sure to meet all of my cupcake baking needs. My recipe attempts and pictures are soon to follow.

Thanks babe for supporting my cupcake ambitions!! Here’s to another sixty-four cupcake filled years šŸ˜‰