Monday, August 18, 2014

Let's Bake: Coconut Cupcakes!

Why hello there!  Once again it's been months and months between posts.  That's about to change though.  I'm making the move for baking to be more in the spotlight. :)

I've decided to bake my way through the Martha Stewart Cupcake Book.  I've tried a number of them already but I usually just make my favorites.  So I'm designating my future Sundays to baking.  (mostly because that way I can bring them in to the office for some free taste-testing subjects)
I love baking and my favorite pastime is listening to old records while I bake.  I usually listen to my old REM records but Sunday it was the 27th anniversary of New Order's Substance being released.  So that was the soundtrack... I can't believe I've been singing along to these songs for 27 years! But let's not dwell on being old! haha :)

the obligatory Instagram photo
So the first flavor for my new endeavor was the Coconut Cupcakes.  I can't believe I've never tried this one before considering my love of coconut.  While I stuck to the cupcake recipe I did do different frosting.   

And we're off!

my new Le Creuset mixing bowl -
it was a bit of a splurge but it is my birthday month 

So, I have to admit that I made this recipe twice.  The first time, I had taken out 2 sticks of butter to let get to room temperature and once it was ready I threw both sticks into the bowl and never looked back.

Until of course, these babies weren't cooking properly!  At first I thought it was our stupid convection oven.  (Side Note: I hate this oven!  but I'll save that rant for another time! lol)  They were taking for ever to cook and they weren't rising either.  Finally they were done and they just looked wrong as they were cooling.  I took a bite and they were so buttery.  That's when I remembered that I never measured the butter again. ARG!  I was bringing these into work and this batch just wasn't going to cut it. (I have a reputation to uphold after all!)

So around 11pm Sunday night I started over.  And oh was it so worth it!

the 2nd batch baking up just like they should

I even tried my hand at toasting coconut for the first time.  

toasted coconut for garnish 

cooling coconut cupcakes

So by the time the 2nd batch was done and cooled it was after 1am.  I debated about just making the frosting and being done with it.  But I really do think that they taste better when you make the frosting closer to when you're going to serve them.  So I covered them up and set the alarm for 5.30am.

And boy did that alarm come early!  Funny though how it's so easy to get up that early when it's something you want to do.  So I sleepily got the butter out of the fridge so it could warm up and sat down on the sofa... Luckily my BFF is on East Coast time and so I got to text back and forth with her to start my day.  And she sent me the cutest video of her and her two youngest asking for cupcakes!  It was the perfect way to wake up:)

For the frosting I just made a simple Butter Cream and substituted Almond extract for vanilla.  Next time I try these, I'm going to try adding some coconut extract instead.  The almond was good but just a tad overpowering I think.

And Voila!

Coconut Cupcake with Almond Butter Cream
with Toasted Coconut for garnish

I packed 'em up and headed into work... I got thumbs up all around and our Stage Manager took the last one so he could bring it home to his wife :)  I love it when everyone enjoys the homemade baked sunshine! Such a good feeling :)

I've got 174 more cupcakes to go!  In the words of Barney Stinson - Challenge accepted!

Till we bake again!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting

This weekend's baking project were Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes…  We ended up having to shoot on Saturday so I thought it would be fun to bake some cupcakes for the crew.

So Friday Night became bake night.  I love baking while listening to music, so babe played DJ and I baked up a batch of Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.  And this was a great opportunity to use my new Fall cupcake wrappers from Crate and Barrel.

Autumn is my favorite time of year and really the only time of the year that even after all these years I miss living in Minnesota.  October was always my favorite month when I was growing up there.  And November it's chilly and you start getting the first snow…. I loved it.

autumn cupcake wrappers from crate and barrel - 
I love the leaf motif and the little acorns!!

The recipe is from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book.  I just reread my post about my first attempt at this recipe in 2010.  I had added 1 cup too much flour by accident.  This time I counted right! :)  They are still a very dense cupcake.  The recipe calls for sifted flour and then to sift all the dry ingredients together.  I don't think I sifted it enough maybe?

The batter right after mixing in the pumpkin puree - 
it's a thicker batter than the usual thinner cake batters

Right before they go into the oven - 
always tapping the bottom of the pan just like Grandma Twink taught me :)
I think I'm finally getting used to our convection oven.  It's been tough trying to figure out how this convection oven works.  Personally, I'm not impressed.  I always thought that these type of ovens were supposed to be good at baking things evenly but I don't think it does.  Or at least our oven - the right side seems to be hotter and if you have 2 pans in at once they really cook unevenly.  But I've narrowed it down to adjust the temperature… I usually subtract 25 degrees from the Recipe recommendation but still bake using the shortest time given.  Of course always checking a minute or two before the time is ending.

cooling for 10 minutes in the pan - 
the loft smelled so pumpkin delicious when these were baking

I usually make the frosting the next morning if I'm bringing in cupcakes to the mocap shoots.  But Friday night I had decided to just make the frosting so I wouldn't have to wake up at 6am!  But as usual I messed up the first attempt.

Frosting is the hardest part for me.  And Friday night I didn't measure out the right amount of milk to add.  So, I had to wake up at 6am Saturday morning after all.  The good part about that was the color of the sky… This picture doesn't really do it justice but the light bouncing off the Santa Monica Mountains from our terrace was super cool.

sunrise view at the loft

For the frosting I made the family recipe for Penuche Frosting.  So, when I started to make the frosting Saturday morning I realized I didn't have enough brown sugar so I crossed my fingers that it would still work.  And it did.  The coloring was much lighter than it should've been but still tasted good.  

grandma fran's penuche frosting - 
it should be about 3 shades darker and more creamier 

Everyone loved the surprise of having cupcakes for having to work on a Saturday.  I also received thank you's from Our stage Manager and our Creative Director.  Which was very nice.   Plus, it is always a good feeling when people see that you've brought in cupcakes and they dive right in :)  That's what makes getting up at 6am worth it!  I brought in 2 dozen cupcakes and they were gone before we broke for lunch.  That's the best feeling ever!

pumpkin spice cupcakes with penuche frosting - 
November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Football & Sea Salt Chocolate Walnut cookies

Living in Los Angeles we don't get a super colorful autumn here.  I mean it was 80 degrees earlier this week.  But today is Football Sunday and there's finally a chill in the air.  It's as close to autumn as we get!  So today seemed like a great day for some good old fashioned chocolate chip walnut cookies.  

As usual I used the base recipe from the Star Wars Cookbook for the Wookie cookies but instead of using different chocolate chips per the recipe, I used semi sweet chocolate chips and walnuts. Extra loaded with walnuts!

My own extra little addition to these yummy cookies is to sprinkle sea salt on top right before they go in the oven.

FYI The Wookie Cookie recipe is your basic chocolate chip but with cinnamon.  It calls for 1 tsp. but I usually add a little extra dash. :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It's pumpkin time

Today is Daylight Savings time… Ahh, I love today.  That 1 extra hour of sleep is the best.  Being as we are now finally in November although yesterday it was 83 degrees in LA… it's time to look forward to the holidays. 

Nothing says November like pumpkin.  Today's pumpkin treat was a pre made mix from William & Sonoma.  It's their Spiced Pecan Pumpkin bread.  It's delicious.  And during this time of year they have this delicious Pecan Pumpkin butter that is amazing!

It is pumpkin overload but so yummy!

Just out of the oven

Hello Pumpkin

Sunday, September 8, 2013

how time flies

Soooooo.... guess it has been a while since I posted anything.... for over a year!  Whoa.  Hadn't realized it had been so long.

Well, I've actually been baking quite a bit lately. I received a new apron from my Aunt for my birthday and I feel like it's now my lucky apron. :)

Today is the first day of the 2013 Football season.  Which means that it is football all day in our loft.  So, to kick the season off I made us Cream Scones this morning.  The recipe is from my bff.  The best part is that the recipe is from a newspaper clipping about Lady Diana and Prince Charles getting married.  I totally remember my mom waking me up so that we could watch that wedding together.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb crisp = summertime

Strawberry Rhubarb is my favorite flavor for summertime. Yesterday we found some rhubarb at the farmers market and an idea was born.  I couldn't find the recipe I was thinking of but a quick call to my mom and I had a quick recipe for the 'crisp' that she remembered off the top of her head. Because as she put it - "Grandma never had that written down."

For the flour today I used cake flour instead of the all-purpose.  I think this helped make the crisp more like a shortcake.  The combination of strawberries and rhubarb is just how I remembered it to be as a kid but I'm still missing something that was always is Grandma Twink's recipe. But the husband thought it tasted delicious:)

Grandma Twinks Strawberry Rhubarb crisp

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Once upon a time at Cupcake Camp LA...

Well, Cupcake Camp has come and gone and oh my stars what a whirlwind! The event was a lot of fun at the venue The Music Box in Hollywood.  I've been here multiple times to see concerts. So it was a little bizarre to be there with the lights on and tables of people frosting cupcakes on the stage. 

All in all, it was totally worth staying up all night. I had a great time and can never thank Eva enough for helping me. I couldn't have done it without her. Also, Marianne who gave me her Great Grandmother's recipe to try out. I am honored that you feel, I am doing justice to your family's recipe. These are my favorite tasting cupcakes I have ever made. Ever.

And now, the story of how Ammie's Sweet Treats went to Cupcake Camp LA!

Cupcake Camp Poster

Friday - I got home around 6.30pm friday night and started in on the first batch of honey cakes. Eva arrived a little while later and she started in on the marzipan bees. Eva kicked marzipan and fondant butt!  We had bees for the honey cakes and then marzipan walk of fame stars and fondant movie clappers for the devils food chocolate cupcakes.

Eva's Army of Bees

I think staying up all night and baking and talking was the best part. It was like having a cupcake slumber party:) Although at some point, time started to really move and I ended up staying up pretty much all night. I kind of took a cat nap at about 6am for 30 minutes. Eva was a trooper and stayed up with me till almost 5.

Then the morning light was coming through the window and I was starting my 2nd batch of penuche frosting for the chocolate cupcakes. Then onto my 3rd... this frosting which last week was so easy was not turning out. I had 3 batches of crap. Luckily I had made the vanilla buttercream for the 2nd half of honey cakes. So that was ready once Eva was up and ready to start back in it.  

With the third batch not working out, I decided it was time to just do chocolate. So I started 2 different chocolate recipes.  The whole time Eva was great, just reassuring that it would all be okay. Awesome. But seriously, why is frosting so hard? It really is my nemesis.

My kitchen after a 100 cupcakes baked and frosted!

Some how we did it, and as Eva was was finishing the last of the chocolate I as printing cards to hand out and taking the boxed cupcakes out to the mini.

Cupcakes are boxed and ready

Driving to the event I realized that I forgot my fondant Hollywood sign for the top of the display. As usual, Eva to the rescue. She says, "oh I can make one with paper." She is so crafty - everyone loved her hollywood sign. Which was about 1000x better than what I had made.  I love that Eva's craftiness was shown in the display. She was an awesome assistant!

This was the display for the Cupcake Camp, all bakers 
could bring a cupcake up to the stand.

We get to The Music Box and start bringing stuff in and Eva gets to work on the Hollywood Sign Cutout. After while, we are up and ready to go. After walking around I realize that I didn't have my dish for the beads for the contest. Thank you iphone - with a quick search I find a Pier One just down the street. Best on sale vase I ever bought:)

Welcome to Hollywood Cupcakes
Sunny "LA" Honey Cupcakes and Great Granny's Chocolate Devils
by Ammie's Sweet Treats

Back to the event with plenty of time.  The event was awesome. They had a photo booth complete with accessories - crowns, feather boas etc. So we got our pictures taken. And I put up one of the photos on our display in the front of the table.

Eva and I with our awesome display.

Finally, they opened the doors for Session 1. It was like a mad house. I think the best part of the day was watching all the little kids wondering through. They were adorable, wide eyed and totally overwhelmed. I was myself when it was my chance to walk around and pick.

After a little bit we saw some friendly faces coming through the line. It was great as everyone kind of showed up around the same time, so it created a little bit of buzz at our station. 

Towards the end of Session 1 they announced the sponsors and the charities for which the donated money were going towards: Angel Acres Horse Rescue, American Tortoise Rescue, and Then they had the bakers count their beads and they gave out the trophy.  We had 12 beads and I think it was 27 tickets.

During the break, Eva and I took turns going around with our tasting tickets.

Eva during the break

Then Session 2 started. It was definitely a different vibe than the frantic rush during the first session. And once again we saw some friendly faces. At the end of Session 2 we had 9 beads and 41 tickets. 

During both sessions we had some friendly faces come through the line. I'd like to thank: Reuben, Jenny, little baby Logan, Marianne and baby to be, Michael, Charlotte, Rowan, Dan, Joe, Josh, Heather and Troy. It means the world to me that all of you came out to support me and that you used your tickets for my cupcakes. I hope you enjoyed them! And Heather had my favorite quote from the whole day - "Holy cupcakes, Batman!"

Our view during cupcake camp la

I also want to thank the little girl who came up with her parents - she was enchanted with the honey cupcake with the bee. You are the reason why I love to bake. She wanted that bee cupcake and handed me her ticket with a smile on her face.  Later in the day, we noticed that they were sitting behind our station with all their cupcakes. Eva asked if she could take a picture of them with our cupcake.  A little later the little girl came over and handed me her bead and told me that I had her favorite cupcake. It made my day. Then Eva and I passed one of the Great Granny's Chocolate Devils to them to try out. They loved that one too.

We had people stopping all day long to take photos of the display. Everyone seemed to love it. It was awesome watching people stop to take photos of my cupcakes. The honey bee cupcakes were definitely the hit. People loved bees!  Plus, a few people came by that were bloggers and took photos and a video. They even had a thing on channel 7 news - and I'm almost in the video. In the video they are filming the line of tables I was in and it stops right as they are getting to my display but I saw my table cloth! :)

The cards I printed out - this is the back side.

It has a Quirk from a friends Quirk application. You can scan the image and it takes you to my greengirlbakes twitter account.

And that's it, the day ended we gave the few leftovers we had to the person who was there for the homeless charity to take back and we were outta there.  We came back and did a little tasting of the cupcakes we had selected with our tickets. And then let the sugar coma set in:)