Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just a little nuts

Clouds of flour are whitening your hair and dotting your nose, milk and cream are splashing against your clothes (which may or may not have already been streaked browned with cocoa powder), and your hands are slick and shiny with butterfat -- this is not a good look. Well, not unless you're my assistant T, happily working away by the oven, whipping up our new favorite cupcake: the Peanut Butter Cup(cake). (Sorry, Mudslide, but you've had your throne for over two years now!)

Rich, chocolate cupcakes topped with the silkiest, nuttiest peanut butter buttercream frosting that you've ever tasted. Top it off with some dry roasted peanuts -- crushed or whole -- maybe a couple of mini chocolate chips, a sprinkle of course sea salt if you're feeling adventurous, and you've got yourself a combination of sweet and salty that'll make your eyes roll back. They're that good, and I can't stop thinking about them.

It doesn't help that we're crazy about peanut butter here at Carrie Cakeaway and will find any excuse to eat it: PB and banana sandwiches, PB sushi, PB with celery sticks and apple slices. Only one of those is untrue (yeah, who eats peanut butter with celery sticks and apple slices?)

Did I mention that peanut butter also pairs beautifully with marshmallow and that it's baseball season?

Here's a Peanut Batter Up cupcake with a triple peanut play: a marshmallow-filled peanut butter cupcake topped with peanut buttercream frosting, crushed peanuts, and a cute little marshmallow slice. Take this out to the ballgame and all eyes will be on you.

Cheers to all of the peanut butter fanatics out there! I'd love to hear about the craziest PB creation you've ever eaten. In the meantime, T just made the rookie mistake of turning her beautiful new Kitchenaid mixer on high too quickly, and is emerging from the cloud of powdered sugar with a suspicious-looking streak of the white stuff on her nose.

That girl. Can't take her anywhere!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Afternoon tea

::Insert poor imitation of a British accent:: 'ello! Do you care for a spot of tea?

Do I ever! I'm all about tea time - taking an hour in the middle of your afternoon to sip piping hot cups of tea while indulging in dainty finger sandwiches and bite-sized desserts... You don't have to ask me twice!

T fondly remembers her first real afternoon tea experience. She was studying abroad in the town of Brighton in England the summer before her senior year of college, and made her way to a tiny tea house with three friends. A strict dress code was half-enforced by a snooty waiter who turned his nose at the four Americans but still, politely enough (house rules), rattled off the tea time specials.

You should've seen the girls' eyes the moment he brought out the tiered tray of assorted smoked salmon, roast beef, and cucumber finger sandwiches, mousses, biscuits, delicately iced petit fours, and scones served with lemon curd, berry jam, and clotted cream -- they nearly popped right out of their sockets (how's that for appetizing imagery?)

I wanted to create a unique tea-time cupcake and couldn't resist using a pint of plump blueberries that T had brought back from the farmers market. Feeling a little spontaneous, I decided on a Honey Blueberry Teacake - a rich, buttery vanilla cupcake filled with fresh blueberries (unbaked, so they really pop in your mouth), topped with vanilla frosting, another blueberry, and a light drizzle of clover honey. I'd imagine this would pair nicely with an Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or Darjeeling--okay, you caught me. I'm just rattling off names of teas, but I'd imagine this would go nicely with just about anything.

It's three o'clock in the afternoon somewhere. Cheerio!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Berries are back, and so am I

I've been away for a long, long time. For awhile, you may have missed me. Believe me when I say that I missed you too! But now, the hiatus has been so long that you've probably forgotten all about me. Carrie who? I don't blame you.

May I make amends by offering you a Strawberries and Cream cupcake? Please? Over the past month, my assistant T and I have been swooning -- as we do every year -- over berry season. Sweet, juicy, and gorgeous berries popping up in farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurant menus, and bakery display cases. My friendship offering comes to you in the form of vanilla cupcakes stained pink with the addition of fresh strawberry puree, filled with fresh strawberry chunks, and topped with strawberry-infused cream cheese frosting. And I'll throw in the promise of never using berry puns like "It's berry nice to be back." Never.

A lot has been happening in the past few months, and I'm excited to share with you everything from some sweet inspiration T found in her recent first-ever trip to NYC, some wise and encouraging words from friends, and a wedding for which we'll be whipping up cupcakes come November.

Until next time, love and strawberries,
Carrie Cakeaway