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Grapefruit are a pain to eat. Cupcakes, anyone? February 9, 2009

Filed under: Baking — LotusMama @ 1:05 pm
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I don’t have the fancy grapefruit spoons with the serrated edges, so when I eat a grapefruit half, I generally run a knife around the outer edge and then just take my chances digging into the fruit with a plain spoon. The end result is a bit smushed up, with lots of juice left in the bottom of the grapefruit rind. Which, with all the brown sugar I typically sprinkle on the surface isn’t a bad thing; grapefruity and sweet goodness.

While eating a grapefruit today for breakfast and struggling with the fruit, I thought “Gee, perhaps I should get some of those serrated spoons…” Then I thought, “Nah, I’ll just use the grapefruit in something else. Mmmm, cupcakes…” Yep, I went from healthy (mostly) breakfast food to baked treat in the blink of a eye.

My first thought was to take the recipe from The Brown Derby for the grapefruit cake and change it into cupcakes. Sadly, this recipe only has a couple of tablespoons of juice in the whole thing and I don’t think that is enough for a really good grapefruit flavor. I went in search of something better and I think I found it here. This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of juice and pulp, which is basically what I have when I try to eat my grapefruit. I think this will be perfect with a little cream cheese frosting.

So really, this was a long way of saying that having the right tool for the right job is important. It keeps people from mangling their grapefruit and from eating cupcakes. Hmmmm, well I’m against the mangling part anyway.


Chocolat & Chocolate, Chili and Cinnamon Cupcakes March 1, 2008

Filed under: Baking — LotusMama @ 4:12 pm
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I really love the movie Chocolat, the one with Johnny Depp and Juliet Binoche. It doesn’t hurt that the film has great actors like Dame Judi Dench, Alfred Molina and Leslie Caron. The setting is a gorgeous little french village and gobs and gobs of chocolate. I usually make a huge mug of hot chocolate, sprinkled with chili powder and topped with whipped cream, then I snuggle up on the sofa and watch it with great delight.

If you are in the mood for a little something sweeter and cupcake shaped, why not try the recipe at Not Quite Nigella’s blog. She’s done an interesting twist on Mexican chocolate that sounds delightful.

What’s your favorite chocolate?


Rain Man and pan(cup)cakes February 23, 2008

Filed under: Baking — LotusMama @ 4:46 pm
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“Of course, you can’t have pancakes without maple syrup.” So says Dustin Hoffman as Raymond Babbitt, in the 1988 movie, Rain Man. I’m not sure I totally agree with Dustin on the syrup thing but I do love me some pancakes. My favorites are really thin, made with buttermilk and drenched in butter. My dad makes excellent pancakes. He doesn’t use a recipe, he just tosses stuff in a bowl and it all magically works out to tender, darn near crepes-style pancakes. Pancakes must run in my family. My grandmother tells a story of waking up her father in the middle of the night (this would be during the Great Depression) and telling him that she was hungry. Grandpa Les got up and made a batch of pancakes for his daughter.

There is something so satisfying about a good pancake. There is also something really satisfying about a good movie. Rain Man fits the bill. It won four Oscars, totally deserved in my opinion. In honor of this Oldie but Goodie, here’s a little pancake cupcake recipe. Of course, Raymond Babbitt probably would balk at the different shape of the pancake, but I hope he’d enjoy these drizzled with maple syrup.


2 cups Bisquik mix
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp vanilla extra
Maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup baking pan with nonstick spray. Mix Bisquik, milk, eggs, baking powder, sugar and vanilla until just blended – it will be lumpy. Scoop the mixture into the cupcake tins, filling almost to the top. Pour a small dollop of syrup on the top of each (about the size of a dime), swirling it in the batter with a wooden skewer. Bake cupcakes for 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Top will not be brown, but sides of the cupcake will be. Remove from pan, frost lightly butter and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve immediately.


Betty Crocker’s Building Block Cake February 20, 2008

Filed under: Baking — LotusMama @ 5:13 pm
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Photo from Betty Crocker
This was way too cute to pass up. I’m going to translate this to cupcakes with mini marshmallows but wouldn’t this make an adorable birthday cake for someone? Get the info here.

Sorry Speck – I know I said I’d blog less about sweets, but come on – how cute is this!


Saturday at the movies – with cupcakes February 17, 2008

Filed under: Baking — LotusMama @ 2:05 am
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For your Saturday viewing and eating pleasure, I present a cupcake recipe to pair with a movie. I’m a big fan of O Brother, Where Art Thou by the Coen Brothers. George Clooney is as funny as I’ve ever seen him and there are some wonderful character performances by Holly Hunter, John Goodman and John Turturo. The music is amazing in its own right – Olde Tyme never sounded so good. The song, “Man of Constant Sorrow” as performed by the “Soggy Bottom Boys” (really Clooney and his gang of escaped convicts) is a great ditty and the inspiration for these cupcakes. Enjoy some Cherry Soggy Bottom Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting:

1 package of your favorite yellow cake mix (or make up your cake from scratch, but I saved time to watch more of the movie)
1 can of pitted sweet bing cherries
1 can of chocolate frosting (again, or make your own)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and follow the recipe on the cake box for making the batter. Line your cupcake tins with liners and place 2-3 cherries in the bottom of each liner. Scoop the batter into a ladle and fill the liner 2/3rds full for each cupcake. Using approximately 2 tablespoons of the remaining cherry syrup, drizzle the top of the batter with the syrup just prior to baking. Bake your cupcakes as directed on the package (I used the shortest time range). Cool your cupcakes then frost with the chocolate frosting.


Random Recipe Monday – Meatloaf cupcakes February 11, 2008

Filed under: Cooking — LotusMama @ 8:57 pm
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Ok, really, I haven’t lost my mind. Well, I may have lost my mind but that was years ago. If you read this blog at all you know that I’m cookoo for cupcakes. Hardly a week goes by when we don’t mix up a batch – if only from a box, hey there is no shame in that. Well, tonight for dinner, we’ll be eating little meatloaf cupcakes, frosted no less with colored mashed potatoes. Oh, and don’t think I’m the only one who thinks this idea is wunnerful. There are plenty of links for just this sort of thing on google. In fact, here is a recipe from Canada for you to peruse and you know that the friends to the north really know their meat products.

I plan to stud my “frosting” with green peas. I also plan to insert a little ketchup lovin’ in the center of the cupcake for a saucy surprise. Oh and don’t think I’m leaving them out of dessert. A nice batch of chocolate with vanilla icing will round out the night. Yes,even meat is not safe from cupcake baking tins.

Next on the agenda, crab cupcakes with seasoned cream cheese frosting. We’ll see how those come out, but I’m guessing like a lovely crab cake. Here’s hoping….

*I made these using ground turkey, ketchup and parmesan in the middle and a garlic & cheddar mashed potato on the top. They don’t look all that wonderful, but they were seriously tasty.


A little cup of sunshine… January 12, 2008

Filed under: Baking — LotusMama @ 5:13 pm
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Ain’t it the truth. Cupcakes are just perfect little cups of (insert favorite image here). I love all kinds, especially those piled high with good frosting and cutsy decorations. There are no shortage of blogs extolling the virtues of cupcakes (I have a couple linked in my blog read section) and recipes are everywhere. But good cupcakes can be elusive. They can be dry, crumbly, tasteless, and generally lackluster if the recipe or the baking aren’t just right.

One thing that helps with making cupcakes, or any cake, is using cake flour. Cake flour is high in starch and made from soft wheat, which gives the finished product a light texture. I use Softasilk, which has a great devil’s food cake recipe right on the box. It works great for cupcakes too.

I’m taking a field trip today to check out a new cupcake bakery in town. Rumor has it that the bakery makes red velvet cupcakes on weekends, so I’m off to find out. I’ll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE: Well, we sampled several varieties and I’m sorry to report that it was just Meh. I’d like to give a plug to a good local bakery starting out but this ain’t it. So man your batter stations (oooh, punny) and make up a batch for yourself.


Saturday morning cupcakes October 6, 2007

Filed under: Baking,Nostalgic Homemaking — LotusMama @ 9:30 pm
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I don’t subscribe to the old philosophy that dessert is only for after dinner. There are times when something sweet can get your day started off right. Think about waffles – all that maple syrup and carb loaded goodness has as much sugar as a brownie, I think.

So I kicked off a new tradition in our house today with Saturday morning cupcakes. The purpose to baking cupcakes early on a Saturday morning (there is no such thing as sleeping in anymore with a kid and a dog) is really about the time spent in the kitchen with my son. I’m working hard to include him in things I prepare. It is helping his math skills, his ability to follow directions, and best of all, our time together is doing something that we both enjoy. He is my expert at cracking eggs and he is learning how to juice lemons with an old lemon press. So, Saturday morning baking is about fun. And nothing says fun like cupcakes – especially if you get to eat one while snuggled on the couch under an old madras blanket watching cartoons with your mom. I don’t know how many more years I’ll get until he decides he is too cool to watch Scooby Doo with me, licking frosting off a cupcake at 10:30 in the morning, but I’m treasuring every single Saturday until then.

We’re still looking for a “perfect” cupcake recipe – today’s batch were a little too heavy for my liking – so I’ll be cruising the blogs looking for a good candidate for next week. We went with vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting this time around. Next week, I’ll load up on food dye and we’ll make colored frosting and apple flavored cupcakes. But even if our cupcakes aren’t ready for Martha Stewart, Saturday morning makes them the best treat of the week.