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Wild Mountain Blueberry Kcup

I ordered a lot of Keurig Kcups, so I could try to break my Starbucks Addiction by having coffee at home. Part of the promotion (more on that towards the end), I got a free sample pack which included the Wild Mountain Blueberry K-Cup.

Various reviews online said the coffee was good, and refreshing, and tasted like a blueberry donut with coffee. While I agree with the latter assessment, it seemed more like a lightly sweetened blueberry donut with very bitter coffee. In addition, since I do not normally dunk donuts into my coffee, the taste combination seemed off to me, and I did not like it. I am very glad I only had one of them.

Keurig has (had?) an offer that if you buy one of their machines (I have the Keurig B30), and register on their website, and bought two boxes of kcups, you could get two free. If you bought six boxes of kcups (four you pay for and two that you could get free) you got a free sampler pack.

The Kcups on the keurig website were slightly more expensive than other places, but they also had almost every kcup variety. With the free kcups, I did get a great deal. (Of course, getting kcups for my Halloween present makes them even cheaper!)

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Cake Mix in the Slow Cooker

My partner decided he wanted to bake for me. He mixed up a cake mix, and put in chocolate chips. The pans were prepared, the mix was poured in, they were placed in the oven.

then the oven door would not close.

At some point between preheating the oven, and putting the cake in, the spring that held the door hinge in place had shifted. thus, our oven is broken.

(Which is bad, because I had great plans for baking roasted buns this weekend. Now thwarted.)

The six cupcakes were put in the freezer, since you can Freeze Cupcake Batter the rest of the batter went into the crock pot.

hey, its a mini oven, does not get as hot, and serves as bakeware and oven in one!

Two hours on high in the 5.5 qt Crock Pot, with the lid on, and the cake was done. I scooped it out and poured some creamer over it while it was warm. After it cooled, it still had a slightly fudgy consistancy (probably due to both the baking method and the chocolate chips). I will be eating the rest probably with some ice cream :)

So, yes, you can bake a cake mix in the crock pot/slow cooker.

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What did I make?

I have no idea :)

I was attempting to make a donut glaze, and got far off track.

I whisked two egg yolks together with some superfine sugar. I melted a stick (4 oz, 1/2 cup) of butter, and, while whisking continuously, added the melted butter to the eggs. If I went a little too fast, it looked kinda streaky, but with the whisk it all stayed together.

This was tasty. Without the sugar, and with a bit of lemon juice, this would have been hollandaise sauce. And, I thought that hollandaise sauce was hard, and it broke, and whatever. So, if anything, this kitchen experiment taught me that I can most likely make hollandaise.

But, I was worried with the whole salmonella outbreak the sauce would not be “safe.” So, I put all of this back into the pan that I melted the butter in, and stirred it until it hit 160 on my thermometer.

This made a fairly decently sweet sauce. Not the glaze that I was going for. If I had milk or cream (that was not expired), I would have turned it into custard. Yum.

After it cooled slightly, I wanted something a little sweeter. so, I added some brown sugar to this, and then reheated it until the brown sugar melted.


This sauce is amazing. It is like caramel and dulce de leche got together and made a more complex but awesomely delicious baby clone.

Has this been made before? Or something along the same lines? Inquiring lines want to know.

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Strawberry Jalapeno Cupcakes

Also to be known as The Most Painful Cupcakes I have Ever Made, due to the Candied Jalapenos.

This recipe is long, and full of lots of missteps, and I do not guarantee results. I didn’t measure many of the liquid ingredients, so I am very surprised that they turned out :) Also, I am such a dork, and I was so sure that the cupcakes would not turn out, that I did not take pictures of any of them. I might snag a picture from some friends that were at the meetup, if they post any.

Start with making Candied Jalapeno. Keep the entire mixture together. If in the fridge, warm in microwave.

Put in bottom of mixer, and add some Strawberry Jalapeno Jam. Add 4 tbsp of room temperature butter, 1/3 cup vegetable oil,1/2 tsp salt and extracts (I added both vanilla and NATURAL Strawberry Flavor. (Fake Strawberry tastes like fake strawberry. I found that the natural strawberry mixed with real strawberries is acceptable.)

I did not add sugar, because there was 1 cup of sugar in the jalapenos, and 1 1/2 cups in the entire recipe of Strawberry Jalapeno Jam. Which is why the flour ratio is a bit higher than in the book.

Here is where it gets unorthodox. I am using the “Dissolved Sugar” method as mentioned in BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking. Reckless me, I go and change up the recipe without even trying the original. Hence, “Attempted.”

Mix 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch (or use 1 1/4 cup cake flour), and 2 tsp baking powder. Add this to the candied jalapeno liquid mixture in 1/3rd increments. Yes, we are adding flour to liquid. The science basically says that the water is bonded with the sugar, and thus is unavailable for gluten production. Still, don’t go beating this for hours. Mix each installment until just combined.

One at a time, add three egg yolks and then two eggs. the original recipe says to stir in by hand. I used the hand mixer on low speed for the yolks, then stirred in the full eggs.

Whip 1/2 cup heavy cream to medium peaks. Fold into batter.

This made 18 large cupcakes, and 12 small ones.

For Strawberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese Frosting, cream together 8 oz cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, about 1/3rd cup strawberry jalapeno jam, and 3 cups of powdered sugar. frosting will be loose, so plop it onto the cupcakes and let it spread slightly.

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How NOT to make Candied Jalapeno

Eh, it was only 8 oz of Jalapenos.

Jalapenos are not that hot, i can handle it.

Cant find my gloves, it will be fine.

DO NOT DO THIS! Well, actually, you can do all of this, if you wear gloves for the “dice peppers” instruction.

Rinse peppers. Dice peppers. Boil 6 oz of sugar with 3 oz of water. Put diced peppers into sugar syrup. Cook for 20 minutes or so. Cool.

If you do this, you will have candied jalapeno peppers. If you did this without wearing gloves, then you have more in store!

Such as BURNING HANDS FOR FOUR HOURS! Man. It didnt hurt while I was doing it. As I was cleaning up, I noticed a slight tinge. The pain grew in intensity until it was HUMONGOUS!

(This next paragraph is kinda gross. Feel free to skip it.)

I tried soap. I tried oil. I tried (separately) lemon juice, milk, sour cream, canola oil, bleach, baking soda, and ice water. I even tried urine (surprisingly, it hurt while, ahem, being applied, but felt much better afterwards, until my inner germaphobe that doesn’t come out that much started freaking out and I washed my hands. Pain returned.)

The ice water was the most soothing, while my hand was in the water. I think the residual pain I feel might be a bit of frostnip.

What finally worked was Solarcaine. I asked the very nice (and cute) pharmacist at the 24 hour pharmacy if what I had would work, and they suggested this.

I sprayed it on my hands outside, and the PAIN WENT AWAY! It came back, so I sprayed it a few times (I hope that its not possible to overdose on lidocaine, but it never felt tingly numb.)

So, in short, use gloves and do not touch the peppers. But, make the candied jalapenos :)

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Cooking for Two Weeks

In an attempt to get back to the “cooking” side of things (rather than baking), the following is a list of the meals I have planned for the next two weeks. My goal is to take at least one picture of each of them, and post the recipe.

Italian Sausage Spaghetti

Hamburger helper with peas and carrots. Yes, this does say Hamburger Helper Stroganoff. I feel like a failure that I cannot find a stroganoff recipe that I like that tastes as good as these luscious chemicals. Any ideas?

Turkey Cheeseburgers

Tacos with Black Beans

Hashbrown casserole in the crock pot.

Chicken and Rice (diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, spices) (possibly in the slow cooker)

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms over Pasta (though I will take pictures and post a better formatted recipe for this.)

Crockpot BBQ Chicken on hamburger rolls

Philly Cheesesteak


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Cupcake Tour: Austin, TX

Subtitle: How to Sell Cupcakes.

My cupcake “spiel” includes two questions:

1) Are your Cupcakes Powdered sugar based?
2) Are you on Twitter?

First, if you work as the salesperson at a place that sells baked goods (or any special type of food), you should know a little about your baked goods. Cakes and cupcakes only come with a few types of frostings, you should know something about their composition.

I asked one bakery if their frostings were powdered sugar based. They said “yes, except the cream cheese.” which wasn’t “based” on powdered sugar, but had it in the recipe. Not the same.

On the twitter, None of the bakeries I have been to this trip have been able to answer the “What is your twitter name” question. While I realize that social media and in person marketing are different, when I am tweeting pictures to the social media, it would be nice if I didnt have to search the internet on my cell phone to get your twitter name.

So far, cupcakes have been okay. Nothing spectacular, but nothing horrible either. (Well, except for the one that tasted like canned frosting, that was kinda weird.) Amy at Cupprimo (@cupprimo was extremely nice, and we had a great discussion of cupcakes, including the travels of her bakers to NYC. She also pointed out that it seemed like the Austin “foodie” scene liked cupcakes, but seemed to be fairly standard in their flavors, with only a few that are outside the box. Their red velvet was really red, and their Brownie Sundae was actually a brownie! The minis are a dollar each, or 6 for $5, or 12 for $10. Very reasonable, and tasty, and a good way to get a taste of all of the cupcakes offered.

6 delicious mini cupcakes

Cupprimo Mini Cupcakes

My second stop today was Be My Cupcake, in Round Rock, TX. These cupcakes were larger, but much more expensive. (3.75 for a large cupcake, and 2.50 for a mini.) They did advertise the cupcakes as “large enough for two.” I tried a Neopolitan Cupcake, which was a great mix of Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry in both the cake and the frosting. I also had a (2oz!) frosting shot of their Oreo Frosting, which was Amazing! I need to go back before my trip is done to try their Oreo Cupcake.

Array of Cupcakes at Be My Cupcake

Be My Cupcake

Currently, I have two more stops planned (One is Lick it, Bite it, or Both, because I want the cupcake and ice cream combo.) Otherwise, unless I hear of an Austin Cupcake place that sells Non Powdered Sugar Based Frosting, I am done.

Any leads? :)

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How many Frostings are There?

A lot. And, almost infinite variations thereof.

I created a list of the types of frosting. Some categories overlap, or some frostings can be considered in multiple sections. Butter means real butter, but in many instances, you can substitute Shortening.

Buttercream: Made with Butter without Powdered Sugar

There are many types of buttercream. For me, the best ones include butter and granulated sugar, with something to make it fluffy. (Scientific, right?)

  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Egg Whites are heated with sugar, then beaten until fluffy, then have butter added. (Such as my Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue)
  • Italian Meringue Buttercream: A sugar syrup is heated until it reaches 240 degrees, and then the syrup is added to beaten egg whites, and then butter is added.
  • (You can make Swiss Meringue and Italian Meringue by not adding the butter. Or, rather, make the meringue into buttercream by adding the butter.)

  • French Meringue Buttercream: Instead of egg whites, whole eggs are used. I have not made these yet, but the Robicellisuse French Buttercream almost exclusively, which is one of the reasons their cupcakes are awesome.
  • Pastry Cream Buttercream. I found this in CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch. it involves making a pastry cream with egg yolks and milk, and then whipping it and adding butter.
  • Heirloom Frosting (Often called a cooked flour frosting): A roux is made with milk and flour, and allowed to cool. Sugar and Butter are creamed together, and then the roux is added.

Other Cooked frostings

  • 7 Minute frosting Kinda like a swiss meringue, in which sugar and eggs are heated over the stove, but the mixture is beaten while cooking. This creates an almost marshmallow like consistency.
  • Marshmallow frosting: like a 7 minute frosting, but with additional ingredients to make it more like a marshmallow.
  • Fondant: Technically, Fondant is a candy. It can be made to be rolled out, or liquid to pour over cakes.

Powdered Sugar Based Frostings

These frostings contain powdered sugar.

  • Glaze: Powdered sugar is mixed with a tiny amount of milk, to create a glaze like substance.
  • Royal Icing: Powdered sugar is mixed with Egg Whites, to create a very hard setting frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar Buttercream: Solid Butter and Powdered Sugar are mixed together. You can add infinite flavors and other foods, such as Chocolate and Orange Marmalade
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream cheese and powdered sugar are mixed together. Sometimes this includes butter.
  • Brown Sugar Frosting: Butter and Brown Sugar are cooked together, allowed to cool, the mixed with powdered sugar.

Cream Based Frostings

Frostings made with cream.

  • Ganache: cream and chocolate mixed together. Depending on the proportions, ganache can be poured over (or inside) a cake, or cooled and whipped.
  • Whipped Cream: Cream is whipped, usually with sugar, and often with gelatin or other stabilizers.

Am I missing types of frostings? Please let me know in the comments!

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Weekly Plans

Today starts my attempt at the SITS Problogger Challenge. The challenge is a set of 31 things that I can do for my blog (post one is an elevator pitch) to increase how successful it is.

I have a few cupcake attempts in my future for this week. The first came from Cupcake Wars, in which one of the items was pulled pork, and everyone skipped it for the much easier bacon. If professional cupcake bakers shy away from it, I want to try it!

The second was a discussion of how the realities of my partner and myself overlap, as evidenced by this graph. Thus, I must attempt these cupcakes.

Exciting week! :)

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My First Cake

My first cake that I made up using formulas and percentages, that is.

I finally bought BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes, which is a Must Have for geeky cooks that want to make up their own recipes.

There are a few bakers formulas and percentages that I used, and all of these are by weight.

Eggs => Fat
Liquid+eggs = Sugar
Fat = 50% of Flour

I pretty much exclusively use King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour, which is a high protein flour. Adding cornstarch to all purpose flour creates something that is more like cake flour, which is why this step is there.

I am still unsure on the whole leavening thing. The Cake Bible, as also quoted in Bakewise, suggests 1 1/2 tsp baking powder for 6-8 inch cakes. There is also suggestions of 1 to 1 1/4th tsp baking powder per cup of flour. Also, in Bakewise, Shirley Corriher suggests keeping batters slightly acidic to help proteins set faster. This batter may be too acidic due to the buttermilk, as it did not brown that much on top. It domed pretty high, so perhaps too much baking powder? So confused!

My kitchen HATES the creaming method, because as I started making the cake (before preheating the oven), it was 85 degrees in my kitchen. Standing here, above the oven, it is now 98 degrees. So, any method that requires keeping butter in a solid state is pretty much not available to me during the summer. I used the “dissolved sugar” method, which is supposed to create a denser cake, but still moist.

Yes, this calls for an entire tablespoon of vanilla extract. Since I am not using butter, vanilla is the main flavoring of the cake. I noticed while looking at the recipe for Sweet Revenge’s Pure Cupcake, that she uses 3 tablespoons of Mexican vanilla! So, I have since felt more confident about using more extract.

Amanda’s First Cake
(Created with guidance from BakeWise)

6 oz all purpose flour
1 oz cornstarch*
7 oz sugar
3.5 oz canola oil
3.5 oz eggs (2 eggs)
3.5 oz buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp baking soda**
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract.

(In a totally unrelated story, as I was converting halving and converting Billy’s Bakery Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake recipe to weight, the proportions are almost Exactly the same :)

In a small bowl, combine eggs, 3 tbsp of buttermilk, and 1 tbsp of vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, combined flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and blend for 30 seconds. Add oil and remaining buttermilk. mix on low for 30 seconds, then medium for 1.5 minutes. Scrape the sides. Add 1/3rd of the egg mixture, mix for 20 seconds, scrape sides. Repeat twice until all the egg mixture is in the bowl.

Bake. I used a 6×3 pan. My cake domed quite a bit, and the edges were done before the middle was, so perhaps next time I might use another pan, like an 8×2.

The cake was dry. It tasted fine, just was a bit dry. Most likely it was overbaked, as the middle took ForEvEr to cook in the middle. I will perhaps try it again in a smaller pan.

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