Friday, July 15, 2011

Red Panda Flies To Turkey

I'll be flying to Turkey in a few more hours. I couldn't be more excited! Needless to say, the food is what I'm anticipating the most; everyone who's been to Turkey tells me the food there is indescribably good.
I'll only be gone for 2 weeks so not to worry, the baking will continue shortly after that. It might get a little quiet in here seeing as Ramadan is coming up, too. But we'll see how it goes.

I will miss you all and look forward to posting about my adventures in Turkey! Be safe and happy baking :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes With Dulce De Leche Frosting

As I type out this post in the middle of the night, I can't help but daydream (okay, I'm sorta half asleep already, so let's just say dream) about where I'll be in 8 days. Turkey: I just can't wait to discover your beauty! On Monday, I'll finally be done with my summer courses which have been a ruthless 5 weeks of endless assignments, exams and final projects. After the whirlwind that is university calms down and takes almost 2 months off, I will finally have the time to focus on other activities. I'll be able to dedicate more time to my blog (YAY!), read the whole stack of books that I bought 2 weeks ago and learn some more buttercream frosting techniques. But mostly, I'm just excited to be able to take a breather for a while.

If you haven't guessed it yet, I am obsessed with dulce de leche. I secretly wish I could make dulce de leche chips so I can carry a bag of them around with me and pop a few every once in a while. I think that would probably make life complete for me.

Sadly, that's not going to turn into reality anytime soon so, instead, I incorporate dulce de leche it into simpler things. I was getting a little bored of the usual vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting so I decided that a dulce de leche buttercream frosting would do the trick. After doing my research, I found that Joy the Baker's recipe was the keeper. This recipe is very versatile, too. I've tried it on chocolate cupcakes and fallen in love with the results. Looks like this frosting just makes anything taste good!

I promise that once you make these cupcakes, you'll have everyone coming back for more. I've been selling them at events and they are usually a best seller amongst the cupcake elitists. I've also managed to convert quite a few people into die-hard dulce de leche fans with this one, so I'm definitely doing something right.
I'd like to point out that there's no need to fuss with real vanilla beans for these cupcakes, they can definitely be made with vanilla extract or vanilla essence and taste just as good.

These cupcakes can be made to order, 1 dozen minimum. They are always made fresh. E-mail me for rates :)

Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
Makes around 45 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers
  • In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flours and add in four parts, alternating with the milk and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.
  • Spoon the batter into the cups about three-quarters full. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 to 22 minutes. 
  • Remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on a rack before icing. 

For the dulce de leche frosting

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup prepared dulce de leche
  • Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.  
  • Add cream, vanilla and salt and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
  • Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.  
  • Frost cooled cupcakes using a knife or a pastry bag and tip.

Happy Baking!