Friday, June 26, 2009

Snowy Coconut Cupcake Forests

I love coconut however it’s not something anyone else in my family really likes so I don’t often bake with it. But since I moved out, I enjoy getting the opportunity to be experimental in the kitchen. These cupcakes are actually my first time using coconut milk. I knew I was supposed to shake the can before opening up the coconut milk, but I was still slightly horrified to discover the thick layer of congealed coconut oil on the surface of the coconut milk, however a quick whisk brought everything back together.

Theses cupcakes are good! The raw batter was velvety smooth though flecked with the shreds of coconut. It was also liberally flavoured with vanilla and came together in under an hour.
The cupcakes took longer to bake than stated in the original instructions but they rose into perfect little domes and left my apartment fragrant with the aroma of coconut and vanilla. The original recipe also was supposed to make about 20 cupcakes, But my batch only yielded fourteen which was more than enough for me since I made relatively tall cupcakes.

The naked cupcakes were a nice pale yellow cake. I found them dense, yet moist, tender and fluffy, like the texture of a pound cake. The taste reminded me of those toasted coconut donuts you can sometimes get at coffee shops. But the coconut cream cheese frosting really made these cupcakes decadent.
This frosting was my second attempt at a cream cheese frosting, it was not too sweet, and offered a tangy complement to the sweetened toasted coconut.
Rather than pipe on the frosting, I spread it on and then dipped the cupcakes in lightly toasted coconut to create tasty off-white snowballs
And since these little cakes reminded me of a snowy landscape so they are completed with the addition of those plastic deer cupcake toppers, because forest creatures love cupcakes too.
I love how some of these photos resemble landscapes.

the recipe:

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Makes 14-20 cupcakes, depending on how full the muffin tins are.
Time: about 1-1/2 hours for the batter

• ¾ cup butter
• 1-1/4 cups sugar
• 3 eggs, room temperature
• 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper muffin liners in muffin pans.
2. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy, scraping sides of mixer to incorporate. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the coconut milk and the vanilla.
4. Add a third of the dry ingredient into the egg mixture, then half of the coconut milk mixture. Continue alternating wet and dry ingredients, ending with the dry. Stop mixing just as ingredients become incorporated. Do not overbeat.
5. Gently fold in shredded coconut. Scoop into cupcake liners, about 2/3 thirds full. Bake 18-22 minutes, rotating pan after first 15 minutes to ensure even baking. Cupcakes are done when tooth pick inserted in centre comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Let the cupcakes cool for a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

• 8 oz cream cheese
• ½ cup butter, room temperature
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups icing sugar

Cream together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. Sift in the icing sugar, and beat to combine.

  1. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on the cooled cupcakes and dipped into a bowl of toasted coconut.

Cupcake recipe from: Halifax Chronicle Herald Sept 17 2008
Cream cheese icing from: Canadian Home and Country Spring 2008

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cat or Rabbit?

This cute and oh-so soft backpack from the Stitch 'n Bitch books was one of my first knitting projects (aside from a few failed scarves) and I'm very proud of this. It took me what seemed like six months to finish it. This backpack is lined as well. I gave this bag to my sister, so that she may appreciate it's mysterious cheshire cat grin. All that's really left is to determine the species of this cute cat/rabbit because I want one!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies: Three ways

I thought it might be nice to post a classic cookie recipe to start out. These peanut butter cookies are buttery and sweet. The only real embellishment they need is the tiny grid pattern that comes from being lovingly crisscrossed with the tines of a fork.
Of course when I had a bag of mini peanut butter cups and peanut butter chips in my pantry I just couldn't leave them alone! I divided the batter into three parts and left one plain, then mixed peanut butter chips into the second and topped the third with mini peanut butter cups after baking.
The result: I really enjoyed all three variations, There really is no way to go wrong with peanut butter. The plain cookies satisfied my love of the classic, while the peanut butter chips and cups were a wonderful way to guild the lily. The peanut butter cookie recipe comes from the book Sugar by Anna Olson and I really hope to make more of her recipes in the near future.

The Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookie
from: Sugar by Anna Olson

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture and blend in. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and crisscross mark them with a floured fork.
  3. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies just start to colour around the edges. Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Monday, June 15, 2009

First post ever!

This blog is meant to be a collection of all things I love: Desserts, Crafts, Art etc.
I will post about things I've baked, knitted, sewn and drawn and hopefully they will be as entertaining to someone else on the big wide interweb as they are to me. I am an artist and crafter, I try to recreate retro and old-fashioned things, be they knit patterns or cakes while adding a few twists and a touch of irony. I love to bake, preferably homey old-fashioned recipes; I love pink poodles and cute woodland creatures and sockmonkeys and teaparties.
A celebration of cute random and retro. Ephemera, phenomena, etcetera.
Irony is dead, long live irony.