Thursday, July 1, 2010
It's been a busy week baking-wise for me, and I did something I've absolutely never done before: baked something vegan! On request, of course. I like cooking with eggs and dairy most of the time.
I've pretty much just been working recently, with a couple days off thrown in there. I'm counteracting all my baking by ramping up my gym attendance. I just joined a new one and have started going after work at like 6:30 a.m. It's the perfect time to go, because hardly anyone is there and if I just went home, I'd still be awake anyway. Might as well tire myself out so I can go home and fall asleep right away, right?
This week only half of my baking has been cupcakes...which is a step down from last week. I started by making triple citrus bars, something that had been on my dessert list to try for a while. Plus, I got a new zester, so I had to put it to good use! The bars had an animal cracker crust, something I'd never made before. Definitely didn't follow directions the first time and it was waaaay too butter. Try two, though, was fine. I had a lot of try two's this week. Anyway, these had orange, lemon and lime zest in them, plus orange, lemon and lime juice. Not my favorite bar dessert ever, but still not bad.
Before I took the bars into work, I stopped by a friend's house. He has cancer, and he's younger than me. I went to kindergarten with him, and school through eighth grade. He was my first crush ever. He was a runner. He's since gotten married and has an adorable boy. He has always been one of the healthiest people I know. He's not someone I keep in touch with regularly, but a mutual friend said people were coming over to see him before he finished his chemo, and I wanted to show I was thinking of him. I guess this is all part of growing up though; dealing with these horrible things.
My friend Sarah from work had a birthday this week, and I told her I would make her cupcakes for the event. She requested vegan, which is a pretty foreign concept to me. But I'm an avid watcher of Cupcake Wars on Food Network (big surprise, right?) and the most recent winner when she asked had been a vegan baker. I remembered I'd seen one of her recipes while going through my baking blogs, so I decided to try it: creme-filled chocolate orange cupcakes. With no dairy. Eek! Ultimately, the recipe wasn't that different from a normal cupcake, baking the cake with oil instead of eggs. It did introduce me to an unfamiliar oil, though. Coconut. It is not my friend. The consistency is strange to me and it took a take two to get it right. But a nice chocolate cake baked up, so whatever. Then I made orange butter-less buttercream to fill it, dairy-less ganache to top it and candied orange peel for a garnish. It might have been the biggest mess I've ever made in the kitchen, but ultimately worth it. They turned out tasty! I think I'll use this girl's recipes if I ever get a vegan request again.
On one of my days off, Drew and I had some good friends from school come over and eat dinner. For that, I made pink lemonade cheesecake, another sweet that had been tempting me from my bookmarks. Drew helped, and he actually candied the lemon peel all by himself. I can officially add that to his list of kitchen skills. I thought it was pretty tasty, too. Good summer dessert.
Then today, I was watching the newer episode of Cupcake Wars and got inspired to bake again. I was planning to make belated birthday cupcakes for my friend Nick at work, and I thought it would be a perfect time to use my Flintstones cupcake toppers from Bake It Pretty. So I decided to make Fruity Pebbles cupcakes...ya know, because it's the Flintstones cereal? So I made my favorite yellow cake recipe, mixed in some Fruity Pebbles, frosted them and dipped them in more Fruity Pebbles. I thought they were so cute! And not as ridiculously sweet as you'd think, either. Not bad for no recipe!
So now I will need to branch out. I'm thinking Cap'n Crunch cupcakes maybe? More vegan? Or cake pops... I will have to work up more courage to try those!