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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sweet Treats Saturday: Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Roll

I made this delicious jelly roll style cake for Easter and it was a big hit with my family.  It's not overly sweet and has an overall light and airy quality to it.  Even my mom was raving about it (she is really not into chocolate and sweets, but she's big on baking), saying it reminded of her of a favorite childhood dessert from the Philippines.

This cake would be a perfect spring/summertime dessert.  And you can use the egg yolks to make a couple of batches of ice cream!

Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Roll
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker
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Ingredients for the cake:
9 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cream of tarter
1 cup & 2 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Directions for the cake:
1. Line a 15x10" jelly roll pan with waxed paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the room temperature egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Add the vanilla and cream of tarter to the egg whites.  Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, on high until stiff, glossy peaks form and the sugar is dissolved.  Fold in the flour 1/4 cup at a time.
3.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
The cake batter spread out before it's going into the oven
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Cool for 5 minutes.
4.  Meanwhile, dust a clean kitchen towel with the 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar.  When the cake has cooled for a few minutes, turn the cake onto the towel.  Gently peel off the waxed paper.  Roll up the cake in a towel, so it forms the jelly roll shape.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Ingredients for the filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
6 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups diced strawberries
Optional: Additional powdered sugar for dusting the cake

Directions for the filling:
1.  In a medium bowl, beat the cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high, beating until soft peaks form.  Gently fold in the strawberries.  Store filling in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembling the cake:
1.  Unroll the cooled cake.  Spread the filling to within 1/2 an inch of the edges.  Do not overfill the cake - you will have some leftover filling.  Gently roll up the cake again, removing any excess filling from the sides or ends.  Roll so that the seam side of the cake is at the bottom.  Serve with a dusting a powdered sugar and any additional filling.

Filling spread, ready to roll.
The rolled cake

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Featured Friend: Oona Balloona

Hold on to your seats dear readers, because this week we're hanging out with the glamorous Oona from oonaballoona!  How I managed anything in the blogging world before discovering Oona over at the Sew Weekly (in her feature section Oona Does It), I'll never know, but from her fun posts and gorgeous creations, I feel like I know the girl.  Seriously, just try to read her blog without imagining her speaking to you right there.  I love her writing style - she's so much fun, and she didn't dissapoint in this interview either.  Enjoy!

What inspires you?

the sewing blogisphere, most definitely.  the rage and jealousy i experience when seeing other people's glorious creations (like my lovely host's very own oilcloth raincoat) can only be assuaged by ripping off the garment completely and unashamedly.  well, there's a little shame... but mostly there's bratty happy dancing.  i love to go down the pinterest rabbit hole; following my favorite sewists there and seeing what inspires them is hugely entertaining.  i used to spend the inspiration hour over at burdastyle, but i feel it's become so huge it's hard to navigate.  i love to troll and drool at the sew weekly!

What is your craft space like?

ever changing, apparently (but never without a beverage).  i'm 3,000 miles away from my actual space, and i've set up a little sewing studio here in my temporary digs.  though i'm only equipped with a straight stitch (featherweight 221) there's much more square footage here!  i've taken over the dining room and half of the living room.  my ironing board follows the sun as the day goes on, and i've been known to haul every bit of my arsenal out to sew by the pool.  BECAUSE IT'S THERE.

if my space isn't properly organized, i can't do a thing.  a little voice inside me says: NOW, and when it pipes up i have to stop what i'm doing, take three minutes to whirlwind re-organize and clean, then i'm off and running with scissors again.  i also like to keep arrangements of colorful happy things around that are always in danger of being knocked off the table by yards of fabric.  

Let us in on your stash... what's coming, what's in progress, what are you stumped with?

well, my stash just grew to a dizzying weight after a wonderful expedition with cation designs.  i'm at that point of looking at the goods and deciding what's next, which is my favorite moment, like being on the edge of the high dive board.  i don't really plan what's coming, something just pops into my head, or a color or print appeals, and i grab it.  i do usually have several things in progress, because i've learned that i get mad at a garment when i've looked at it too long.  so i juggle my creations to keep it fresh.  i'll also hold off on finishing something if i don't know which way to go... there's a pretty blue flowered sundress that's been hanging on my "garment rack" (side of a door) for three weeks now because i don't know how i want to finish the neckline.  and i'm absolutely stumped with a mod mini dress made out of a turquoise and gold print with burnout black chiffon side panels.    

What is your favorite craft to work with?

sewing, absolutely!  i've always been crafty, i've gone through jewelry, knitting, painting, making cards... while i love all of those past obsessions nothing has stuck like sewing.  i dreamt the other night i was offered a free ride to FIDM on the basis of 25 garments, and i woke up blissed out.  just think of the school supplies.

What is your favorite thing you've created so far?

that's hard, because i am Oh So Very Talented.  no, really, i am.  WHAT.

actually, i tend to think whatever i'm working on is my most favorite thing i've ever made, usually proclaiming this in ear piercing tones to ruggy and the surrounding vicinity... and then i do something along the way to F it up.  it's a toss up between my tiki tiki tavi bomshell dress, and my teal lace campbell apartment dress.  illuminating... lately i'm making full gathered skirts, but my two faves are more hip hugging.  must look into that.  thank you, dr. cupcake.

Where can i read more?

i'm always drinking-- erm, excuse me, chilling over at my blog: oonaballoona, and i just love me some pinterest.  i'm still over at the sew weekly doing it oona style, but i've pared it back to monthly challenges in favor of having a bit of my life back!  you ladies that take on weekly challenges: i tip my martini glass to you.  after that, i'm over at burdastylecraftsy, and twitter (@KalkatroonaOona), in that particular order of appearance.  i'll be honest, i'm still figuring out le tweets...

thanks for having me over, miss cupcake!  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sweet Treats Saturday: Honey Almond Praline Ice Cream

When I purchased my ice cream maker, I knew I didn’t want to fall into the habit of only using the thing once a year.  I actually ended up using it a lot during the summer, mainly using recipes from David Lebovitz’s cookbook.  I’d been loving the ability to make unique flavor combinations, or just high quality basics.  And then the winter came…

But in the last couple of weeks I put the ice cream maker base back in the freezer so it could get into rotation again.  Now to find a recipe to inspire me to make it… That’s where A Spoonful of Sugar comes in.  They came up with the idea to add a honey almond praline to a basic ice cream base (recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams cookbook – one I’ve been meaning to pick up and this online recipe gave me a good preview of what’s in store).  The honey almond praline is similar to a brittle but it’s so easy to make!  Just watch your oven because the stuff spreads.  Combined with the creamy ice cream – I wouldn’t quite call it vanilla but maybe it’s more of a sweet cream? – well, it’s heavenly.  I seriously don’t want to make any other flavor of ice cream again.  The combination of the two flavors is so unique… with my first bite I was surprised… I’d never quite had that flavor in an ice cream.  The honey, the caramelized sugar, the cream, the almonds… it was a party in my mouth.  So I had another bite… then another… well, let’s just say that you’re lucky there are pictures.

So, if you have an ice cream maker, you’ve got to try this!  If you don’t? Well, now’s as good a time as any!

Honey Almond Praline
Recipe from A Spoonful of Sugar
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1 cup slithered almonds
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1.    Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F.
2.    Combine ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat nuts.
3.    Spread out on baking sheet lined with baking paper, and bake for 8 mins. Stir, and bake for another 5 mins, stirring a couple of times. Let cool completely, stirring the nuts every few minutes to break up any clumps.

*If your baking pan doesn’t have edges, be careful as this stuff spreads far more than you think it would.

4. Once the nuts cooled, I put them in a Ziploc bag while the base was being prepped.  This way, you can easily crumble the brittle into bits with your fingers through the bag.  Then, you just pour it into the mixture at the end of the ice cream base cycle.

Ice Cream Base
Recipe from Saveur

2 cups milk
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened

1.    In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk and the cornstarch; set slurry aside.
2.    In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, syrup, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes; stir in slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
3.    Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour in 1/4 cup hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Then whisk in remaining milk mixture.
4.    Pour mixture into a plastic bag; seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled.  *I did this initial process, then stuck the mixture in the fridge for a few hours, just to really get it cold.  I’ve found that having a well-chilled base is the secret to having homemade ice cream that’s the proper consistency.

5.    Pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions. In the last couple of minutes of mixing, pour in the honey almond praline.

6.    Transfer ice cream to a storage container and freeze until set.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

The 'You've Got Me Collared' Blouse

This week's Sew Weekly challenge was of the childhood theme - mainly based off of a childhood photo.  Not only that, but it's the first garment from my Spring/Summer palette sewing.  Luckily, I grew up in a warm weather area so I was able to combine the two. Multitasking at it's finest, right?

Finding a childhood photo to represent the fashion decisions of my parents was a bit of a challenge.  The hubby and I have moved so many times and my collection of childhood photos is pretty scarce already.  Locating them can be a bit of a scavenger hunt.  On top of that, sometimes I'm surprised that my parents owned a camera... much less that I take so many pictures myself.  One day I'd love to go through my mom's basement and see if somewhere in there, there is a huge collection of photos that I never knew existed.  Alas, I don't think that's the case.  So in flipping through my baby photos - that majority of the childhood photos that I own, I found one common theme - the peter pan collar.  

I was rockin' the peter pan collar when I was a kid.  90% of my baby photos had one and my future school uniforms all ended up with the option.  Which is strange because along with tights, button up blouses were on my childhood axis of evil.  I swear my mom found the itchiest, frilliest tights possible to dress me up in, and I hated every one of them.  But, I digress.

For this week's challenge, I wanted a girly blouse reminiscent of my youth.  I decided to try out a new pattern - first, because I had just ordered it, and second because it only required a small amount of yardage, which was just enough for the two yards of floral cotton that I picked up in the recent Bay Area fabric/pattern swap hosted by Mena.  I combined it with some cream cotton for the collar.

The Facts
Fabric: 2 yards cotton floral print (I believe it's a feedsack cloth), free from swap, 1/2 yard cream cotton $3
Pattern: Megan Nielsen Banksia $13 on sale
Year: Contemporary
Notions: 3 pink buttons $1.00
Time to Complete: 3 hours
First worn: This week on a beautiful, sunny day!
Wear again: Oh yes, this will be going into constant rotation
Total Price: $17

The pattern was so simple to put together and a fast sew - total satisfaction project.  I whipped this out from cut, instructions dissection, and full assembly, in just 3 hours.  I inserted the placket using the second method that she described, which was apparently the harder of the two versions but still very easy to figure out.  The instructions were crystal clear and the illustrations were great.  As soon as I finished this blouse I started working on another one just because I had the fabric handy it was so easy to put together.

Placket installed with method 2
Aside from the installation of the placket, I really liked Megan Nielsen's directions for installing the peter pan collar.  It looks really tidy and nicely closes up the seams - and you don't have to worry about any edges flipping upwards.

A closeup of the collar installation

I will definitely be wearing this again. It's extremely comfortable and lightweight; perfect for Bay Area spring and summer weather.  It's casual, but not t-shirt casual, so I don't feel super lazy wearing it.  I've been really into floral prints recently and needing more separates so this is the perfect addition to my wardrobe.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring and Summer 2012: Moodboard

I finally found some time to put together my Spring and Summer moodboard, inspired by Colette's Palette Challenge.

Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge

My board reflects most of the colors and some inspirational designs that I'd like to be a framework for my Spring and Summer sewing.

Based on some of the other boards I've seen, it seems pretty standard - a sprinkling of pastels and I'm throwing in some light grey.  What do you think?  I mainly want to make some blouses as my wardrobe has been majorly lacking in that area, and more casual and work appropriate dresses.  I also want to make some items that are in line with the upcoming Sew Weekly themes, That's Sew Cinematic sew along, and some of the other sew-alongs that I've had on the books.  What about you? What are your warm weather sewing plans?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Savory Sunday: Almond Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches

I've had this recipe in my arsenal for a while though I usually bust it out for baby and bridal showers.  From time to time I also like to make the filling for my sandwiches at work - I'll bring it on traditional bread or to fill a pita.  The only reason I don't make it more often is because I forget it's an option.  The hubby and I recently had a potluck lunchtime event and I was tasked to bring a main course (usually I sign up for desserts... in case you couldn't guess ;) ), so I thought this recipe would be the perfect fit.  I used croissants instead of plain old sandwich bread, but you could modify to whatever your preference is.

It's a delicious recipe but when I do make it for my lunches I lighten it up by using light mayonnaise and I omit the butter spread.  But for special occasions, I recommend making it as listed below.  Enjoy!

Almond Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
Recipe modified from Great Party Recipes
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For a tea sandwich use any sandwich bread, crusts removed (or other favorite type of bread).  Typically thin bread is preferred but I can never find it these days so regular sandwich bread works too.

Ingredients and Directions for the Butter Spread:
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Combine all ingredients.

Butter mixture
Ingredients for the Almond Chicken Filling:
1 cup finely chopped, cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped
1/4 cup minced shallots
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients until well mixed.

Chicken mixture.
Assembly directions:
Lay out bread or croissants.  If making tea sandwiches, remove the crusts from the bread.
Spread a thin layer of the butter mixture on one side of each piece of bread.
Then top with chicken almond filling.
Top with buttered bread or croissant.  Slice to serving size - for a tea, small two-bite size triangles or rectangles are typical.  Refrigerate until read to eat.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sweet Treats Saturday: Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These franken cupcakes are a result of my first batch being complete flops.  The original recipe still left me craving a lemon cupcake with cream cheese frosting, so I continued on with that plan, just with a different cake base.

The alternate cupcake recipe was a perfect substitute and they baked up with a light lemon flavor that complimented the cream cheese frosting well.  I don't like my lemon to be overpowering, but if you did you could adjust the recipe for more lemon zest and juice, adjusting the flour mixture appropriately.  I don't think a smidge more lemon juice would have tampered with the consistency though after this week's previous mishap, my baking skills took a minor blow.

The flops. So sad. They were still delicious, but they just didn't rise like they should have.
Anyways, these cupcakes are foolproof and delicious!  They're perfect way to celebrate Spring.  I thought I'd mix things up a bit and use an assortment of cupcake wrappers.  I liked the variety and it seemed more festive for the season.

Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cupcake recipe from Baked Perfection
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1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of one lemon

1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. 
2.  Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). 
3.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting 
Recipe from My Baking Addiction
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
8oz butter (1 stick), softened
2 lbs confectioners' sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon

Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined.  Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Then mix in vanilla and lemon juice.

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