Friday, August 20, 2010

Cupcakerie + Domestic Loveliness

At the beginning of this month I moved into a strange new land, a magical place they call 'Brooklyn'. Here, poets run wild, fire hydrants create tiny waterfalls on every street corner, and sunsets set the sky on fire:

[Bushwick, New York. August 18, 2010]

The sunlight that pours into my bedroom is almost unreal, I'm sure it'll be all the anti-depressants I'll ever need. Also, It's a new building so everything is pristine and it really feels like a fresh start. I created a *baking section* in the kitchen where I keep all my cupcake supplies and cookbooks. I labeled all the jars and boxes with these neat metallic stickers:

Having this baking section is something I've always wanted, and it's inspired me to try out more cupcake recipes from my beloved Martha Stewart's cupcake book. So far this month I've made the Banana-Pecan Cupcake as a birthday gift, which I adorned with puppies woofing out various messages:

You'd think these are far to cute to consider eating, but you'd be wrong. I've started using proper cake flour and real vanilla extract when I bake, and found this to make a noticeable difference in taste and texture.

I also made tea cakes which I diversified with little treats baked inside for my Buddy's birthday. I mailed them and they've been sitting in the New Orleans post office for over a week. She finally was able to go pick them up, and amazingly they were still edible (though a little dry). She gobbled them up right there in the middle of the post office and everyone around her laughed.

Yesterday Alice came over for a picnic lunch on my new roof, and for dessert I made the Tres Leche cupcakes, which require, as the name implies, a lot of milks! After the little cakes get baked they get poked with toothpicks and then swabbed luxuriously with the sweet milks. Though they were delicious, I don't advise anyone to bring these on a picnic, as the hot sun melted the whipped cream topping quite easily and it became a mess! Our rooftop picnic was so relaxing and I got a nice sprinkling of sunshine to add to my summer tan. We drank white peach sangria and ate roast chicken with our bare hands! As a housewarming gift she brought these cheery pink gerbera daisies:

She also brought fruit, including strawberries, which I gobbled up for breakfast this morning. They were so sweet, I decided to make the Strawberry Cupcakes:

And since my oven was already toasty, tried out the recipe for Orange-Vanilla Cupcakes as well:

The recipe called for candied slices of oranges, but as you can see in my picture I opted for slivers of lemon zest instead. This is because when I candied the orange slices they seemed overcooked and smelled marmalade-y and didn't seem too delicious. I was never a big fan of marmalade and surely wouldn't disgrace a cupcake with some.

Last week I came across this amazing shop near Union Square. It's a bakers dream land! I found so many things I've always wanted, plus some supplies I never knew I wanted! Like a teacupcake mold! I exercised amazing self-control and only bought a few necessary things, and my definition of necessary includes these zebra printed cupcake wrappers [photo care of]:

I've gained a couple pounds this month, basically from all the "taste-testing" I've been doing. I'll have to start going to the gym a bit more to offset the frosting-weight, but that's a sacrifice I'll gladly make in the name of sweets.