Monday, October 19, 2009

001_ICE 2.0-MUSIC

Welcome back to the 2nd year of Iron Cupcake Earth where the first challenge of the year is music! Iron Cupcake is trying to get onto the Ellen show and since Ellen Degeneres has such a love for music, this first challenge is dedicated to her. Therefore, we were given the opportunity to pick any song and develop a cupcake around the title. In my case, I went with "October" by U2. Fitting? I thought so.
What you see here is a pumpkin muffin bursting with plump raisins and chopped pecans. The muffin was moist and cake-like with just enough hint of cinnamon, all spice, ginger, and nutmeg. The raisins and chopped pecans added more flavor and crunch. I topped each muffin off with a cream cheese glaze and garnished with a pecan half.
This pumpkin muffin recipe came from Dorie Greenspan's: Baking From My Home To Yours bake book. I would most certainly make these again. Bring on the pumpkin season!

Be sure to vote for my "musical" Iron Cupcake submission on Friday October 30th at No One Puts Cupcake In A Corner. Voting will be open through November 5th.

Pumpkin Muffins
From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Makes 12 regular sized muffins or 6 jumbo muffins

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch allspice
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup plump raisins (soak in hot water first if yours seem too dried out) (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
unsalted raw sunflower seeds, for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F / 200C. Grease your muffin tin or fill it with paper muffin cups (unless you're using silicone bakeware, which needs no greasing).

In a small bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each one, then add the vanilla. Lower the mixer speed and add the pumpkin and buttermilk.

With the mixer on a low speed, add the dry ingredients. To avoid over mixing, I tend to have the mixer on for only a couple of seconds when adding the dry mixture, then to turn it off before everything is completely incorporated and finish mixing by hand. Dorie recommends this too! Stir in the raisins and nuts, if using.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and sprinkle a few sunflower seeds over each muffin, if using. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes (mine were done in 18 mins), until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (jumbo muffins will take longer).

Cream Cheese Glaze
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups confectioners sugar

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, at medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time. Mix until incorporated. Yield: 2 cups glaze.

Friday, October 16, 2009


It has been exactly 1 month since I've posted. If that's not reflective of how busy my schedule has been, then I'm not really sure what is! You see, yesterday was graduation day! In case you are a first time reader, I've been enrolled in a baking and pastry arts program at a culinary school in Manhattan dating back to last May. As part of my final exam, an individual wedding cake was to be presented at graduation. Well, it is!

My chef was pretty lenient as to what style wedding/celebration cake each person was to make. Many of my classmates went super modern when it came to decoration and detail. But me? I went down the traditional avenue of wedding cake decoration. My wedding cake was reminiscent of a classic, elegant cake that was the standard for several years before modern cake decorating became the norm. With that said, here is what you're looking at:
-2 tier yellow cake consisting of a 10 inch round and 6 inch round. The 10 inch cake was split into 3 layers all filled with french vanilla buttercream. The 6 inch round was split into 2 layers.
-Each round was covered in fondant which I colored ivory. I used royal icing to make the uniform white dots.
-The rose bouquet and leaves were made out of gumpaste which I petal dusted to give it a realistic effect.
-Each layer was wrapped with a champagne colored ribbon at the bottom.

I took a ton of pictures, so here you go! Your thoughts?