Alright, so I missed my “Inspiration Friday” post yesterday. Believe it or not I have a good reason. I spent all day yesterday crafting and baking cupcakes for one of my dearest friends, Emily. It’s her cousins bridal shower today and Emily and her family graciously choose me to make cupcakes for the event. I honestly feel so humbled and honored whenever anyone asks me to do something like this for them. I had the immense pleasure to be able to do Emily’s wedding cupcakes last year as well!
So the goodies I created were new twists on classic flavors. The theme to the bridal shower is “vintage kitchen” and the future bride’s favorite flower are Sunflowers. I was given full creative license on the flavors, and the only request was that there be variety. Emily’s mom, Vic, LOVES Black Forest Cake so that was an easy choice and to match the yellow of the flower of choice, I went with a Lemon Cake with cream cheese buttercream. Seems simple enough right?
Negative Ghost Rider! Ha! I may put out straight forward, and simply delicious desserts; but my process is usually far from “simple.” For the Black Forest I decided to change it up a bit and use a lighter cocoa powder (My usual weapon of choice is Valrhona Cocoa Powder. My goodness this is one of the greatest things on Planet Earth) and spice the cake slightly with cinnamon and nutmeg. For the cherries, I roasted them in raw turbinado sugar and sea salt for 15 minutes, then I added about 1/4-1/3 of a cup of a young, spicy cabernet sauvignon and continued to roast for an additional 5-7 minutes to burn off the alcohol and infuse the flavors. The only thing I have to say on the subject is that they are lucky to be getting Black Forest cupcakes and not plain chocolate cupcakes. I miraculously limited myself to two cherries and I am still enjoying the effervescent notes of dark berries, cocoa, and spice hanging in the air of my studio. Le sigh.
But on to the Lemon Cupcakes! In case you are wondering, yes, the lemons came from the heavenly tree in my mother’s backyard! I zested a large lemon and used the juice from two of the lemons in the cake. While the cupcakes were baking I made a simple lemon syrup by boiling lemon slices in a sauce pan with sugar and water (if you ever want to make a simple syrup the ratio is 1:1. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes and vuala!) Right after the cupcakes came out of the oven I poked holes in them with a toothpick then brushed them with the lemon syrup and alternately rested the lemon slices on the cupcakes so they would soak up as much lemon flavor as possible.
The buttercream was actually the most simple part of this whole process and fortunately I picked two flavors of cake that called for the same type of frosting. Some times I am delighted with how my subconscious helps me out from time to time! My buttercreams are definitely something that I need to nail out a precise recipe for. I treat my baking so much like a chef treats his dishes. I obviously follow very strict ratios and rules, but you would be surprised with how much I work with and adapt my recipes. That’s why it’s hard for me to give recipes sometimes! Knowing Garrett Jones, my dear friend and co-owner of Back to Eden Bakery in Portland, has gotten all of his recipes down pat and I am motivated to pull myself together in that manner. He and John fuse creativity and organization in a way that is completely inspiring. They make me want to grow up and be responsible. So, the moment that I stop being so loosey goosey with my frostings is the day that I will share them with you!
I kept the cupcakes simple, yet elegant. I found these lovely little sunflower and white gerber daisy flowers that I placed on the buttercream and I airsprayed the Lemon cupcakes a light yellow. Nothing too fancy but when they’re all next to each other they look rather delicate and uniform. The shower is today and I just hope that they like the little spins that I put on these classic recipes! I always get so nervous when people eat my food. I may present myself as the most confident woman on earth, but I am a wreck when I send my product out. I put a lot of myself into my baking and cooking. It’s my life, how I express myself, and most importantly how I love people.
So that’s the excuse for missing “Inspiration Friday!” This week it’s a Saturday post which will be coming up moments after this is posted! Have a wonderful weekend!