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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Red Hot Velvet Ice Cream Cupcakes {with Goldschlager}

Today, I'm entering the 2012 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest sponsored by two amazing blogs: Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious.   There is some very stiff competition this year, but I'm excited to try my hand at this type of cupcake...Always keeping in typical BIWB fashion, of course.  So, you know there's gonna be some booze in these my friends...

And, let us not forget to mention that my excitement is almost uncontrollable because I get to bake red velvet cupcakes with red hots and Goldschlager!!!!  I mean, really, how bad can that be for this girl?

These cupcakes are based on the traditional Southern cake: Red Velvet.  It's an interesting recipe, which is described as a vanilla cake with a hint of cocoa and a bright red color.  There's a bit of a KICK to these racey red lovelies with the addition of Goldshlager, a cinnamon schnapps. 

I've made this cake a few times and have tried a few different approaches.  I find that using all oil for the cupcake version really does give the cupcake more body and great texture.  For a cake, though, I think I will always stick with the 1/2 butter and 1/2 oil approach.  Just seems to hold up to frosting and give a great crumb.

I didn't use all the red food coloring that some recipes call for as I find too much gives a funky food colory flavor, while too little just makes the cupcake look kinda flat. 

And, who wants a flat cupcake? 

These are super easy to make and assemble.  Really.  Trust me.  I wouldn't have even attempted this otherwise.  

For the cinnamon L-U-V-E-R in all of us!  Gorge, yes?  And, the taste is BEEEYOND delish!!  Just sayin'.  :)

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ginger Rogers Cupcakes

Today is Ginger Rogers' birthday and she would have been 101 years old today.  This cupcake honors her and her amazing talents.  The ingredients and inspiration come from the cocktail named after her.  The Ginger Rogers Cocktail is the most popular cocktail at the super trendy and super retro bar, The Absinthe Brasserie and Bar in San Francisco.  These guys really celebrate the era of great and creative cocktail culture and have a very cool bar companion book (that I MUST have), The Art of the Bar

I grew up watching Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies...Who in my generation didn't?  My sister and I watched them whenever they came on the T.V.  No DVR in those days, so watching a movie lots and lots of times kinda took the place of re-wind today.  Here is a clip from one of those movies, Swing Time.  They say this is the best dance scene these two great dancers ever filmed...You're about to see why.
Isn't that amazing.  I so dreamed as a little girl that I would dance like this one day.  Alas, no couples dancing ever came for me, but that doesn't mean I don't chair dance when I can.  Ya know, the kind you do in the car?  And, let's not forget dancing while your baking!  ;-D  Or, even while cleaning house. 

And, don't get me wrong: I am not adverse to learning swing dancing and the Texas two-step some day!

I know that you'll enjoy this cupcake...It's super moist with a great texture and full of exotic flavors: ginger, mint, lime and gin!  Kinda like being in Rio, huh, with Ginger and Fred. 
And, lest we not forget...there is a famous quote about Ginger: "Sure he [Fred Astaire] was great, but don't forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards...and in high heels!" -- Bob Thaves 1982 © NEA Inc.

I'm sharing this over at Cake of the Week's Baking with Spirit Challenge: Cocktail!  

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie {with Frambroise} Day!

Happy Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day!  I know...Aren't you excited?!  I certainly am!!  No question about it, this pie is about as American as you get.  And, it's an amazing pie.  Simple to make, beautiful, and its taste is sublime.  Just the right amount of sweet.  This pie is infused with just a hint of Frambroise which gives a luscious body to the syrup that surrounds the strawberries and rhubarb.

Rhubarb is a vegetable, tastes sour when raw, and it is infamous because of its toxic leaves.  It is only available, fresh, in the late spring and early summer months here in California.  You can also find it frozen.  It's a very sour vegetable and typically is used in baked sweet treats to round out the acidity.  I have also seen it in jams, which I would image are beyond words!

I used fresh rhubarb for my pie and opted for frozen strawberries this time.  I know...why not fresh strawberries, too?  Well, my friend Leslie always used frozen.  Just cuz, I don't know.  But, frozen strawberries are as sweet and pack as much flavor as fresh.  So, I stand by my decision. 

This pie with its hint of Frambroise to round out the filling's sweetness is easy to throw together.  Oh-so-good to enjoy on a beautiful summer day!

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lemon and Blueberry Gin Loaf Cake

 Lemon and Blueberry Gin...Doesn't that just *RING* with the sound of an amazing cocktail?! Too?  This recipe is from Erica's Sweet Tooth, a very cute blog hosted by Erica who makes super adorable and yummy things.  I covet her photos and ability to make everything look just like it tastes: Delicious!  The Blueberry-infused gin idea originates from Post Prohibition a very stylin' and hip web site embracing the concept of traditional cocktails plus much more. 

Gin is made from distilling grain alcohol with juniper berries and has lots of flavor profiles.  And, once again, I was exceedingly happy to learn that 11th century ITALIAN monks first mixed juniper berries with crude distillates.  This concoction was even used as a remedy during the Black Death.  Gin has a very long and interesting history including bathtub gin made for the speakeasies during Prohibition.  I'm pretty sure that's when my grandmother, Bambi, gained her pension for Sloe Gin Fizz....

If you are a gin drinker, I am sure you know all the subtleties of gin: fruit and citrus palates, sloe gin versus London dry gin, country of origin, and favorite cocktail.  What I bet you don't know is that there are very, very few (if any) baked goods which call for gin.  Let's just say, I had to get creative...Lord knows I wasn't EVER going to drink this stuff.  And, as gin is flavored with berries, blueberries and gin just seem to go together.

This *EASY* and *SUPER DUPER MOIST* loaf cake is so luscious, I may just have a Nigella moment and pull out the thesaurus to find more words!  Plumb, juicy and sweet blueberries surrounded by tart and tangy lemon yogurt cake...With just a subtle hint of gin in the cake and in the syrup that wraps its arms around this cake.  Perfect for breakfast.  Lunch.  Dinner.  You decide.

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