Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Baking for my parents: Mountain Dew cupcakes, pudding cake + ice cream, raspberry lemonade cupcakes and blondies

Well, the Taurus has officially been retired as my car. I now have my grandma's old car, which is a year older than my former car, but has less than half the miles. Sounds great, right? Except for the whole thing that it's a manual...and like I said last week, I can't drive a manual. I took this car out, and I'm great with all parts of driving except for starting. Kind of an important part. I know I need to just go sit out in a parking lot and just practice. Guess that's what I will be doing next week. Any tips are appreciated :)

To get the car, I went to my dad's place on the city lake of Council Grove to spend some time with him, Cathie and Drew. I had a three-day weekend, and spending part of it away was the perfect thing to do. I was celebrating my dad's birthday, too, so of course I had to bring cupcakes! My dad is a Mountain Dew addict and he kind of imparted that on me. I've been wanting to try this Mountain Dew cupcake recipe for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. It's funny, because there isn't really that much Mountain Dew in them. It's much more lemon and lime juice and zests of the two fruits. When you're finished eating them, though, it really does taste like Mountain Dew.

It was great to be at the lake, though. When my dad got this place, it had wood paneling, shag carpet, all kinds of '70s nastiness. My dad's the ultimate handyman, and so far he's put in wood floors, completely redone the living room, leveled the patio, leveled the back yard, put in all kinds of landscaping...well, he's done a lot. He's still going to build a deck, paint the house, maybe build more rooms. It's a perfect place to just chill. It was perfect weather, especially in the shade of their trees. I got some reading done, some relaxing done, some TV-season-watching done, and some time spent with doggies done. I actually read a young adult book, probably the first one since I read Harry Potter. It was the first in the Percy Jackson series; I wanted to read it after seeing the movie. Definitely a good YA book, especially for people like me who love mythology. Pretty sure I read the whole book in one night.

I also made a second dessert for the weekend — my dad's favorite dessert of all time. Pudding cake. It's from an old 1979 Betty Crocker cookbook and totally confuses me in its chemistry. You mix a cocoa cake in the base, then sprinkle cocoa and brown sugar on top and pour hot water over it. When it bakes, somehow the top part becomes the solid cake and the bottom becomes something like a cross between hot fudge and pudding. Combine that with some homemade vanilla custard (made from the book that came with the ice cream maker) and we had one tasty birthday dessert. Happy birthday Dad!

After the lake, we came home (in the car I can't quite drive) to go to a cookout with Mom at my aunt's house. Mom was on her way through town from Denver, and we wanted to do a cookout. I decided to create my own cupcakes from a mashup of multiple recipes I'd tried. The ultimate goal was raspberry lemonade cupcakes. First, I made this lemon cupcake recipe, which is a nice, strong cake. Then I made a syrup out of raspberry lemonade concentrate and poured it into the cupcakes like in these cherry limeade cupcakes. It's a great way to get more flavor in the cake. For the icing, I made a double batch of Martha Stewart's buttercream icing, the recipe for which I now have memorized (3 sticks butter, 4 cups powdered sugar and vanilla...real healthy!). Half of it I mixed in lemon juice, lemon zest, a little bit of lemon extract and some yellow coloring. The other half I mixed in more of the raspberry concentrate. Swirl together and top with a raspberry and a candied lemon peel (which Drew made again!) and we got some pretty neat looking cupcakes. My family loved them too. :) I'll post the whole recipe below.

I had to get one more baking day in before I leave for vacation, so last night I made a really quick and easy recipe: pretzel M&M blondies. Have you tried these new M&Ms? They're wonderful! And so is this recipe. It has a total of seven ingredients and takes no time to throw together. Apparently blondies aren't a common thing, but in case you didn't know, they're basically brownies without the chocolate. I promise, it's a good thing! These are definitely worth trying.

For the rest of the week I'm headed to Chicago (and hoping to hit up as many cupcake places as possible!). I'll take pictures for sure. I can't wait!

Raspberry lemonade cupcakes

For the cake (From My Baking Addiction):
makes 24 cupcakes

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the syrup (Adapted from Annie's Eats):
3/4 cup raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Set oven to 350° F. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Place the batter into the cupcake tins. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Mix syrup ingredients. Poke holes in cupcakes (I use a bamboo skewer). Use pastry brush to brush the syrup over cooled cupcakes, repeating until complete.

Frost accordingly. I would post a recipe for my frosting...but I just added flavoring until it tasted good!

1 comment:

  1. OMG! So many baked goods! haha. They all look fantastic!! That mountain dew one is pretty creative. I've got to try that myself! :)
    Would you mind checking out my blog? :D


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