Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thanksgiving Cupcakes!


I haven't been doing much baking lately...busy with work...holidays...birthdays...I'm lazy...

I did, however, do some baking for Thanksgiving.  It was to be the very first time anyone in my family would taste my baking!  I was a little nervous.  Ok, I was a lot nervous.  Have I mentioned that there are some fantastic bakers in my family?  So...I decided that it was better to be safe than sorry...I decided to bake a cupcake I had already baked before.  Kinda.

I opted to make the ultimate vanilla cupcakes and then frost half with pumpkin crème brûlée and the other half with a Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting.

I didn't have time to bake before making the trip home.  So, here was the plan - I had to leave Kansas on Tuesday after work and then drive to Iowa, leaving me Wednesday to bake my cupcakes and also spend time with my family.  I did, however, find the time to pre-make my caramel.  Here is a picture of my caramel...doesn't it look lovely?


Monday, December 5, 2011

And This Is Why We Have No Good Pictures

Ian recently asked me why we don't have very many pictures of the two of us.  Truth is, we have a couple of good pictures together, but most of the time I just forget to take out the camera and take pictures.  So this past weekend while I was home and we were both looking so nice, I decided I would snap a cute new photo of us.

And this, I think, is the real reason why we don't have very many good pictures...

Photo 1 - notice the hand placement...


Photo 2 - is he looking down my dress??? (Either that, or he sneezed)


Photo 3 - eh...this one is...ok...we both look kinda goofy but at least we are trying...


Photo 4 - what?  No smile?


Photo 5 - Seriously?  What are you doing???


And, finally, Photo 6 - finally a decent one... 


Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Opinion on Things You Don't Want My Opinion On

1.  I just finished the book The Night Circus, which you can and should buy here.


I loved this book.  Its the story of a mysterious circus that shows up at various locations around the world and is only open from dusk until dawn.  More than that, it is the story of the performers within the circus (as well as the people who created the circus and the patrons of the circus).  Within the circus, there is also magic, an intense competition, and a love story.  It's a story you can get completely lost in.  I was especially impressed that this was the author's first novel!  LOVE!  So...if you enjoy a good love story wrapped in a little bit of magic and mystery, you should definitely read this book! 

2.  Last night, most of the female attorneys in my law firm went out for drinks and then went to a late showing of the latest installment of the Twilight series:  Breaking Dawn Part I.  We sat in the balcony of the theater where we could order food and drinks (and our seats had seat warmers...seriously!).  It was a really fun time...and the movie was...fine...I guess. 

There were A LOT of awkward moments...as expected. 

There were some hilarious moments that I'm not entirely sure were meant to be hilarious (like the talking werewolves...WTF?).

There were not nearly enough shirtless running men.  Just saying.  Very disappointed in the lack of shirtless running men. 

Maybe they're saving the shirtlessness for Part II?  One can only hope...

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Brought a Torch to Work!



A few weeks back, I got an email from a local restaurant advertising a wine and tapas pairing dinner.  I get about two or three of these emails a week and I'm always tempted to go...but I never really want to spend $75 for dinner.  This one, however, sounded really good and I thought it might be fun if I could convince a couple of my friends to go with me.  I sent out an email gauging interest, and got a response back from a friend almost immediately suggesting that instead of going to a pairing, she host one at her house! 

So, we decided to have a big girls' night where everyone was responsible for bringing one dish paired with one alcoholic beverage.  I obviously offered to be in charge of the dessert.  I decided to make crème brûlée cupcakes (found at the Cupcake Project, obviously!).  These cupcakes are vanilla cupcakes with a pumpkin crème brûlée.  I've never made crème brûlée before, so that was challenge number 1.

So...here's what you need to know about this crème brûlée recipe - you need 6 ramikins, or you need to plan on baking your crème brûlée for much, much longer than 40 minutes! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Love My Job!

As with most jobs, there are days when I love mine and days when I don't.  I feel very lucky that most days are days that I love it.  This week, I am happy to report that I love it times a million.  Because this week, my job allowed me to be publicly snarky to someone who totally deserved it.

Currently, I am working with a partner on a case we are appealing to the Kansas Court of Appeals.  A few months ago, the partner and I wrote a brief in support of our case, and last month the opposing party wrote a response.  In their response, the opposing party, talking about one of the cases we cited in support of one of our arguments, wrote something along the lines of that they had scoured the page that we cited, and the quotation that we cited does not exist on the page.

We had pin-cited the wrong page.  Sometimes that happens.  Our bad.

The opposing party had obviously read the entire case as it was the case they cited throughout their entire brief.  Their little comment re: our missed pin-cite really bothered me...

It obviously bothered the partner I was working with as well because in our reply to their response, the partner asked me to correct the pin-cite and draft a footnote responding to snark in their brief...here is my reply:

"In the opening [brief], [we] inadvertently included the wrong pinpoint citation to the [] decision, which was cited as authority for the proposition [supporting our argument].  In its brief, [opposing counsel] brought this mistake to [our] attention, arguing that it had been unable to find the quoted language on the cited page.  [We] hope that by correcting the pinpoint citation in this Reply, [opposing counsel] will be able to locate the [] quotation in [our] opening brief."

Ok, so it isn't all that snarky, but it is enough to be like a little slap in the face at their childishness...which I love.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes and a Bachelorette Party



Ok, first things first - if you are 1 of the 5 people who looks at this blog occasionally, you will notice that I have changed the name and the URL.  I'm sorry if this caused any confusion/if you attempted to find my blog and were prevented due to the change.  However, it was a necessary evil.  Some of you may be aware that there is a cookbook entitled The Boozy Baker, which is all over the place right now.  Considering the book was published long before I started my blog (and the fact that it is now a well recognized cookbook), I assume that someday in the near future, the author (or her attorneys) is going to being the process of doing random Internet searches for people who are infringing on her intellectual property...at which time she would find me and I would receive a cease and desist letter.  So, to avoid that, I changed the blog name (and have already had one complaint...)

NOW ON TO THE FUN STUFF!

It has been a while since my last post, and for that I apologize!  I've been spending a lot of quality time in my office lately and haven't been baking as much as I would like to.  However, I did break away from the office a couple of weeks ago to attend an awesome bachelorette party of my hair stylist turned workout buddy and all around friend, Evy.  She and her beau eloped in Vegas...but before that, we had a crazy night filled with mullets, alcohol, dancing, and a party bus! 

I offered to bake Evy cupcakes for the party, and asked her what kind sounded good to her.  She, like most people when asked that question, said she didn't really care...but then she mentioned strawberry margarita cupcakes about 10 times in the course of a week.  So, it was decided.

I've already made margarita cupcakes and decided to just use that same recipe, but find a way to make it much more alcoholic and strawberry flavored.  I also fell in love with the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting...so I decided to find a way to make that alcoholic.

Both of these changes were really simple...or would have been for someone who wasn't me. 

To make the cupcakes strawberry margarita flavored, I decided to try this filling I found at The Baker Chick.  The Baker Chick's blog post on strawberry margarita cupcakes is great, and she even tells you how to get the filling into the cupcakes.  I thought I knew better.  I was wrong.

So...I recently found this while shopping:



This is supposed to help you remove the center of your cupcake to add filling...for me, all it did was mash the center of my cupcake, making it ugly and malformed.  I only used this "handy" tool on one cupcake, and then I gave up.  I'm sure that it is very useful...and someday I may even find a way to use it...but I assumed I had a better idea.

I WAS WRONG.

Remember my Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling?  For those, I just put the filling in a pastry bag, put the tip of the pastry bag into the cupcake, and squeezed gently.  It was super simple...so I figured I would try that again here.

The filling in this cupcake is essentially tequila and strawberry puree.  Mistake number 1 was thinking that I could keep LIQUID in my pastry bag without spilling it everywhere.  I could not.  I ended up with puddles of strawberry tequila all over my kitchen floor.  Mistake number 2 was thinking that strawberry puree would come easily out of the tip...it did not.  The seeds got stuck in the tip...I ended up squeezing the bag a little too hard...when the LIQUID finally came out of the bag, it didn't come out nicely.  It squirted.  Everywhere. 

I did finally get my cupcakes filled...by following the directions provided by The Baker Chick.  So...take a small paring knife and cut out the center of your cupcake:


Using a spoon, fill the hole with your filling (no judging my messy baking skills):



Then replace the centerpiece.  Some people say you should cut off the tip so it fits more easily back on the cupcake after you have added filling.  My take on these cupcakes was that I was going to be frosting them with the cupcake swirl, so a little extra volume in the middle of the cupcake wouldn't hurt anyone!



For the frosting, I remade the Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting...but this time, instead of adding strawberry puree to flavor it, I made a strawberry margarita and dumped it in.  I thought it worked well! 

These cupcakes were AMAZING...and they were definitely the most alcoholic cupcakes I've made to date.  Seriously, when I opened up the box at the dinner, you could smell the tequila!  It. Was. Fantastic!


Obviously, these cupcakes being for a bachelorette party means there had to be a penis straw for the bride:


In case you were wondering, the bachelorette party was an AMAZING time...and I was NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE MULLETS! 



(Ok, the second one was a wig...but the first guy...hardcore mullet).

I'm not re-writing the recipe for you...just follow the link! 

Strawberry Margarita Filling -
1 8oz container of strawberries
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup tequila
2 tablespoons sugar

In a bowl of a food processor (I used a magic bullet), add the strawberries, lime juice, lime zest, tequila, and sugar.  Puree until there are no chunks of strawberry.

Strawberry Margarita Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting -

Follow the frosting recipe until the point where you add the strawberries.

Make a strawberry margarita (I mixed 6 ounce of tequila, 4-6 ounces of tripple sec, 4 ounces of strawberry puree, and 2 ounces of fresh squeezed lime juice).  Dump the strawberry margarita into the frosting and mix until combined!

Fill your cooled cupcakes with the filling (using the method above, trust me), then frost...I like the cupcake swirl for these ones (mostly because I now know how to do the cupcake swirl). 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting


This week, something very exciting happened for me...I was approached at work by a couple of coworkers who basically wanted to order cupcakes from me.  The thought of this happening had never really occurred to me...I mean, I am learning to bake, I'm not a baker...so the fact that someone wanted to buy my cupcakes and serve them at an event was very exciting for me!  It also caught me off guard (I mean, how do you know what to charge people for things like this?).

These cupcakes were made for a baby shower.  The baby is a girl, and the mom is apparently obsessed with the Beatles.  So, the people hosting the baby shower decided that in light of the Beatles' song "Strawberry Fields Forever," strawberry cupcakes with a pink frosting would be perfect. 

The baby shower is tomorrow (Sunday), but I told my coworkers that I would try to bring the cupcakes to work for them on Friday so they didn't have to make a special trip to the office to pick them up.  Unfortunately, I hit a little baking snag.

You see, I find my recipes online, but then I print them off and work from the printout at home.  I also am not one of those good people who measures out all of their ingredients before starting to mix everything together (please don't tell my high school home-ec teacher!).  Instead, I read the step by step instructions and measure things out as they are called for.  This lead to a major cupcake default on Thursday night.

You see, the website and the printer had a disagreement, I think, and part of the directions didn't actually print off...but they looked whole, so I didn't notice.  I did my thing, mixing my ingredients and filling my baking cups and baking my cupcakes.  Then, when I pulled the first 24 cupcakes out of the oven, I noticed it...an unopened bag of sugar on the counter.  At this point I thought to myself, "Um...did I add sugar to these cupcakes?  I don't think so....I wonder how important sugar is..."

It turns out, SUGAR IS VERY IMPORTANT. 

The cupcakes LOOKED like cupcakes.  The cupcakes TASTED like biscuits with strawberry bits.  The cupcakes ended in my trash can covered with leftover batter and I went to bed knowing I would need to try again another day.


On Friday, I went back to the store, got replacement ingredients, and obsessed over the fact that I WOULD NOT forget to add the sugar this time!  And I didn't! 

These cupcakes came from Amelia's favorite baking blog, Annie's Eats.  The process of baking these cupcakes had its highs and lows...

Highs -
  1. Working with new ingredients (like cake flour)
  2. The cupcakes are delicious
  3. learning how to separate an egg! 
  4. The frosting is fantastic!
  5. I LEARNED HOW TO DO A CUPCAKE SWIRL! (I watched a tutorial video...)
  6. I made strawberry puree (which I had seriously never considered was JUST STRAWBERRIES...that you puree...)


Lows -
  1. My food chopper (used to chop strawberries) decided it didn't want to come apart to be washed and that lead to me banging it on the counter.
  2. Cake flour is hard to sift...so I had to hit the sifter with my meat mallet to get the flour through and that took a really long time.
  3. Because I was making these cupcakes for other people for a special occassion, I couldnt just say, "well, that was a flop!  Guess I will just try again next week!"  Instead, I had to try again the next day!
  4. I may have filled my cupcake liners too full, causing the cupcakes to be a little malformed.

I think my favorite part of these cupcakes is the frosting.  The frosting is a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream...and it is so rich and creamy and delicious!  It was also one of the more difficult frostings I have made, so after the cupcake flop, I was nervous...

This frosting involves heating egg whites and sugar over simmering water until the mixture reaches a certain temperature and the sugar dissolves...


I don't have a thermometer, so I had to just eyeball it! 

Then there is A LOT of mixing (thank God for the KitchenAid).


The directions I followed were very helpful.  She was very optimistic and warned of problems that may happen in the frosting making process (like the frosting gets runny (which happened) or the frosting curdles (also happened))...and how all you have to do is KEEP MIXING and it will turn out just fine.  And she was right! 

So, my suggestion is that if you want a really rich, creamy, and delicious frosting and you have some extra time, you should try a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting (apparently there are many different flavors you can make!)!  Definitely worth it!  I have a lot of extras and love it so much that I am trying to convince someone else to bake a cake and frost it with my leftovers just so it wont go to waste!

I think these cupcakes are DELICIOUS!  They are light and fluffy and very moist with a good strawberry flavor.  I have no idea what the babyshower people will say...but I will update if I get any comments! 




Strawberry Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I didn't know cake flour existed until this recipe...)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (I still can't get my vanilla opened, so I used vanilla bean paste)
2 cups chopped strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pans with liners.
  2. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl (may require a meat mallet to beat the sifter...).  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter AND SUGAR until light and fluffy (remember, sugar is important!).
  4. Add eggs one at a time until combined. 
  5. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and beat until combined.
  6. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  7. Fold in chopped strawberries.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  10. Cool completely on wire rack.
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 oz), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. Place strawberries in food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth.
  2. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees ferinheit and the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes (the bowl should be cool to the touch).
  4. Reduce speed to medium and add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer).
  5. Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Put in pastry bad with desired tip for decorating.
If you run into issues with this frosting and you need a pep talk re: it will all work out, go here...it helps! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Baby Lawyer Tries to Mediate...

One of the best, and worst, parts about being a baby lawyer is all of the new experiences associated with having never done anything before.  It is simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating the first time a partner lets you do something, ANYTHING, on your own.  It is like a emotion roller coaster...and the best/worst part is that you don't really have a choice.  These are assignments...like being at school.  So, ready or not, you are pushed into the deep end to either sink or swim...and usually there is a record for someone to pick up at a later date to evaluate your performance (or, at the very least, there is a client and another attorney in the room to verify that you were either excellent or a total flop). 

Today I had one of these experiences.  Today, I did my first mediation.  It was...interesting.

In this case, I represent the defendant.  The plaintiff has sued my client to recover $15,000 in damages...our last offer to settle was around $1000.  Because of a statute, if the plaintiff recovers more than $1000, he will also be entitled to attorneys' fees.  I have been preparing for this mediation for a while, and I feel very comfortable with the case and my (and the partner's) determination that our initial settlement offer is fair.

So, this morning I wake up and put on my lawyer suit, get in my car, and drive two hours to the mediation (and get lost thanks to the awesome GPS on my phone...).  I arrive at the mediator's office and find my client.  The plaintiff is already there, but we don't actually see him.  We are taken to the mediator's office where he tells us what he thinks of the case, asks me if I am ok with him swearing (me being the only lady in the room and all), and takes off to meet with the plaintiffs to get the mediation ball rolling.

Shortly thereafter, the mediator comes in and says that their first offer is to settle for $15,000 (for those of you keeping score, that is exactly what they claimed for their damages...) and will agree to not seek attorneys' fees.  Ok, great.  Not exactly what I was expecting, but I've discussed my first move with the partner on this case, and I know exactly what our first counter-offer is.  My client and I discuss, we provide some more information to the mediator, we do some math (did you know you have to be able to do math to be a lawyer?), and then we tell the mediator that our counter-offer is $3,000.  Mediator takes the offer to plaintiff.

About 10 minutes later, the mediator comes back into the room and says, "Well, the chickens have flown the coop."  Apparently displeased with our counteroffer, and unwilling to come down from $15,000, the plaintiff just decided mediation was a waste of time and left.

So...I tried to mediate.  Mediation failure. 

The good news = I may actually get to try my first solo jury trial!  There's always a silver lining!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


In keeping with the previous cupcake, this cupcake is the result of a special request from a coworker.  You may have noticed that I have been much better as of late in keeping with the "boozy" theme of this blog.  Personally, I have rather enjoyed the booze addition to my baked goods.  However, we have a few people at the Firm who, for various reasons, do not drink.  One of these people is Brad.

Brad is a toddler associate...meaning he is in his third year here at the Firm (in a comment to a previous post, I was asked if the designation of "baby lawyer" was something that the partners actually call us around here.  The answer to that is no, it is just my way of describing what I feel I am)!  He is on my team and offices just two doors down from me.  Brad doesn't drink.  He does, however, enjoy baked goods.  On the day of the delightful Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes at work, Brad came into my office to tell me they looked delicious...and then to request that I make a cupcake or two sans the booze so he can also participate in eating them.

Because Brad was the person who requested the non-booze cupcakes (and because I didn't have any non-booze cupcakes on my baking list), I let him decide what flavor of cupcakes he was looking for, and he settled on banana.  After a scavenger hunt through various baking blogs, and multiple emails, he decided on Chocolate Banana Cupcakes from The Cupcake Project. 

He wasn't picky about the frosting, and said he trusted my judgment on that one.  The recipe called for a Macadamia Nut Butter Frosting, which I wasn't really in the mood for.  I decided I would rather honey cinnamon cream cheese frosting...which I found various recipes for all over the Internet, and used the one at the bottom of the page, but cannot for the life of me remember where it came from. 

Anyway, baking this cupcake was...well...interesting.  The week before I baked these cupcakes, I had some bananas in my fruit bowl that were ripe, and friends told me to freeze them to save them for baking.  I've never frozen a banana before and then defrosted them to bake with.  Let me tell you...it was DISGUSTING!  The banana was all limp and floppy and brown...there were juices...definitely not my favorite part of the baking process.  But, it worked.

The batter was also strange for this cupcake.  I made a double batch of the cupcakes, which amounted to 36 cupcakes.  I only have one cupcake pan (I used to have two, but apparently soaking a cupcake pan for two days leads to rust.  Who knew?!), so I had to bake my cupcakes in three different installments.  Scooping out the batter into the pan for the first 12 was no problem.  But, as those 12 cooked, I think the melted chocolate used in the batter started to harden back up, because the batter was definitely more clumpy the second time around.  The third time around it was dang near impossible to work with.  But, it worked and all the cupcakes turned out just fine!

My absolute favorite part of this cupcake was the frosting, and I think a lot of that has to do with the HONEY!  Ian and I recently went to his cousin's wedding.  His aunt and uncle have 6 beehives and recently harvested their honey for the year, and all of the wedding guests got a cute little container of fresh from the hive honey to take home with them! 



Cute, right?  The only downfall to using this fresh from the hive honey?  I used it all in my frosting...now I definitely need to get more because it was DELICIOUS! 

Overall, I wasn't overly thrilled with these cupcakes.  I thought the chocolate tasted weird, there wasn't enough banana flavor, and the cupcakes were dry.

EVERYONE ELSE seemed to like them.  No one agreed that they were dry, the cupcakes disappeared faster than any other batch (maybe because people finally know where they are coming from and have learned to trust that I'm not going to give them food poisoning?), and overall I had really great reviews.  I did have some agreement that there needed to be more banana, so if you choose to make these, add a banana for more flavor!

Absolute best part of this cupcake, though, was the frosting, hands down! 


Banana Chocolate Cupcakes - (makes 18...if you only make 18, do 1/2 the frosting!)
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla (vanilla bean paste)
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
8 oz dark chocolate, melted.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs, sour cream, flour, and baking soda.
  4. Add vanilla and mashed bananas.
  5. Stir in melted chocolate.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Honey Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting -
1 cup butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
4-8 cups powdered sugar
  1. Cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add the cream cheese and beat for another two minutes.
  2. Mix in the honey and cinnamon.
  3. Gradually add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until you get your desired consistency. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (aka - the orgasmic cupcake!)



I have officially been baking cupcakes and bringing them to work long enough that people have started making requests.  Well, maybe not people...maybe just Amelia...

Amelia is one of our newbies and we originally met when we interned together at the Firm.  At the time of our internship, I was in between my second and third year of law school, and she was a year behind me.  Amelia and I became very good friends over the summer, and I am VERY happy she is finally working with me!

Amelia LOVES pumpkin spice lattes.  Apparently this isn't that rare...although I personally am not a fan (I don't like anything coffee flavored).  One day at work a couple of weeks ago, Amelia walked into my office and handed me this recipe and said, "Please make these for me!"  So I told her it would go on the list (and I seriously have a list of cupcakes that I want to make!  Actually, I have multiple lists but I keep losing them)!  

Well, I finally got around to making these cupcakes, and let me tell you, they are a crowd pleaser! 

So, I didn't follow the recipe completely on this one...and I think that may be a first!  The first change I made was driven my desire to (1) not include coffee in the cupcake (although I couldn't get rid of the espresso powder) and (2) to include BOOZE!  So...instead of brushing the still warm cupcakes with coffee, I brushed them with Kahlua!  Yummy!

The second change I made was to the frosting.  The whipped cream frosting just seemed...so...BORING.  So instead, I made Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, which is probably one of the best things ever!  The cinnamon frosting was an excellent addition to these cupcakes (also, delicious all on its own...)!

So, here's the bad news - I didn't like these cupcakes.  All I could taste was the coffee...

Now, for the good news - EVERYONE ELSE LOVED THEM!  I had TONS of people stopping by my office and emailing me all day to tell me that these were wonderful.  I had two separate people tell me that these were the best cupcakes they had had in their entire life...and, now for my favorite compliment...one coworker said the cupcakes were almost orgasmic...and then added "it was good for me!"

So...if you are looking for a seasonal crowd pleasing treat, these are an excellent option!



Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Kahlua for brushing (you can also use coffee or espresso)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.  Stir together and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and oil.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  4. With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. 
  6. Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Let cool in pan for five to ten minutes.
  7. Remove cupcakes from pan to a wire rack.
  8. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the Kahlua (you can use coffee or espresso for a non-alcoholic version), allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cupcakes cool completely.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (half stick) butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (add more to taste)
2-3 cups powdered sugar (add more or less to make it a stiffness that you like).
Caramel
  1. Mix cream cheese and butter well.
  2. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
  3. Add powdered sugar to stiffness you want.
  4. Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes. 
  5. Drizzle caramel on top.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pina Colada Cupcakes

I was going to say something here about how I was on a roll, posting twice in a period of two days...that was when I started to write this blog just a day after my last post.  Obviously, that is no longer true...no roll here!  But, a new post today so YAY! 
Ok, so Pina Colada cupcakes came from, you guessed it, the Cupcake Project! 

I LOVE these cupcakes!  They were really moist and delicious!  I did, however, run into many, many, MANY issues in the baking process (aka - I learned a lot of important baking lessons!).

First, I learned that it is easier to put a lid ON a can of vanilla than it is to take a lid OFF...or I was apparently stronger when I made the margarita cupcakes than when I made the Pina Colada cupcakes...because I couldn't get the lid off the vanilla.  No worries though!  I used vanilla bean paste instead and everything worked out fine.  I'm not really sure what lesson I learned from this experience.  Grow bigger muscles?  Don't put the lid on the vanilla all the way (once I finally get the lid back off, that is)?  Who knows...

The second issue I had was with my silicups...you see, with my first 12 cupcakes, about 5 came out of their cups just fine.  The other 7, however, were stuck.  One of two things happened here.  Either I (1) did not spray the silicups with Pam, or (2) these cupcakes were just stickier than other cupcakes I have made.  I'm guessing that it was my failure to spray them.  Either way, I switched to paper liners with the remainder of the cupcakes.

The third lesson I learned was to pay attention when purchasing ingredients.  This recipe calls for pineapple juice.  So, I went to the store, found pineapple juice, purchased it, and then used it to make my cupcakes.  After the cupcakes were done, I decided to make myself a drink.  Since I had purchased both Malibu rum and pineapple juice just for this baking experience, that's what I made myself.  It was at that moment that I first actually looked at the tiny cans of pineapple juice I bought and realized that they were really pineapple orange juice.  Oh well!  No one noticed!

The fourth, and probably most important lesson, I learned with these cupcakes is THERE IS A REASON RECIPES SAY TO USE ROOM TEMPERATURE BUTTER AND CREAM CHEESE IN THE FROSTING.  I just assumed that my Kitchen Aid was good enough at its job that I could pull the cream cheese and butter out of the refrigerator and use them chilled, and, for the most part, my frostings have always been fine (even if a little lumpy).  This time, however, I actually used room temperature butter and cream cheese and THE FROSTING WAS ACTUALLY SMOOTH.  It was amazing!  So...use room temperature ingredients if the recipe calls for it!  Seriously!  It makes a difference!
Finally, I learned that sometimes you just don't need to double the recipe!  This recipe should make 18 cupcakes...I doubled it thinking I would have 36...I actually had 40.  When you are baking for no one in particular and no special occasion, 40 cupcakes is definitely too many.  Luckily, I work with PLENTY of people who are ready, willing, and able to assist me by eating them!

These cupcakes turned out very well, but I believe the Margarita Cupcakes remain the crowd favorite!


Pina Colada Cupcakes
1/3 Cup Malibu Rum (or any other rum you want to use)
3/4 Cup coconut milk
1/4 Cup pineapple juice (or, you know, pineapple orange juice works too)
1 teaspoon vanilla (or vanilla bean paste)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1 Cup shredded baker's coconut
1 Cup crushed pineapple
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and vanilla.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Alternatively add the flour mixture and the rum mixture, beating well after each addition.
  7. Fold in the coconut and pineapple (I'm not sure what fold means...so I just mixed in the coconut and pineapple, and all turned out well).
  8. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched or a toothpick comes out clean.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, ROOM TEMPERATURE
1/4 Cup unsalted butter, ROOM TEMPERATURE
2 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons coconut cream
  1. Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  3. Mix in coconut cream.
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes.
  5. Mix shredded baker's coconut with your favorite color food coloring (I used pink) and then top your cupcakes! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes and My First Solo Jury Trial (kinda)



Hello to you, the people who read this blog!  So, it has been FOREVER since my last blog post.  As you would expect, I have a perfectly good excuse for my lack of blogging - I was simply too busy!

In the last two months, my work life has exploded!  I have been staying late and working weekends all to prepare for my FIRST SOLO JURY TRIAL.  Preparing for a trial is A LOT of work.  My case was a car accident/personal injury case.  The defense (aka - my argument) was that the injuries the plaintiff was complaining about were not caused by the accident.  I spent countless hours pouring over medical records and deposition testimony, creating a timeline of injuries as she explained them and comparing them to the injuries as they were documented in her medical records. 

At some point, the plaintiff's attorney must have started to do the same thing...because less than a week before the trial was set to begin he called and said that he was preparing a settlement offer for our client.  Up to this point, we had offered $7,000 to settle, and they said they would not take less than $100,000.  Well, just three business days before the trial, we received their offer - $18,500.  We countered with $8,000 and they accepted.  So...I did all of my prep work for my first jury trial...and then settled.  It was very anticlimactic, but a very good learning experience.

After the case settled, I have continued to work crazy hours in an attempt to catch up on the rest of my cases!

NOW, on to the cupcakes!

During my busy time at work, I have had very little time to bake (and even less time to blog, duh!).  However, I did find time to make some margarita cupcakes! 

I found this recipe at the Cupcake Project, which is fast becoming my favorite baking blog.  The changes I made (which might not be changes because she doesn't really specify in her recipe) are basically just quality changes (I also didn't follow the vegan recipe...cause I am not vegan).  I am a tequila/margarita snob, so I used fresh squeezed lime juice.  I also used Milagro tequila (shown here on another night when Ian made homemade pizza and I made homemade mango margaritas!  YUM!).


Edit:  Picture of tequila on baking night -



I also used cute little candy lime/lemon/orange slices for my decorations, which I thought fit better with the margarita theme.

The biggest issue I had with this recipe was the frosting.  First, it refused to thicken.  On the first cupcake I frosted and tried to add the colorful rim to, the frosting dripped down the side of the cupcake, the rim completely came off, and the cupcake didn't even look frosted anymore.  I added more powdered sugar to the frosting and whisked it more...and then I stuck it in the fridge for a while, and eventually it was thick enough to stay on the cupcakes while I decorated them.  Then I quickly put the cupcakes in the fridge, where the frosting hardened.  It was a process, but it ended up working well! 

The second issue with the frosting is that I made WAY TOO MUCH.  I never intended to make a double batch of frosting.  But apparently doubling the cupcake recipe confused my brain, because I just automatically started doubling my ingredients for the frosting.  It wasn't until I started adding the powdered sugar that I even realized I was doing it! 

In the end, I thought these cupcakes were fine.  They weren't my favorite, but they were tasty. 

Other people, on the other hand, LOVED these cupcakes.  I had more people request the recipe/stop by my office to tell me how much they loved these cupcakes than I have ever had before...so they are definitely an office favorite!



Margarita Cupcakes - (makes 12, so I doubled this recipe)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 tsp lime zest (about 1 lime)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp tequila
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, lime zest, milk, oil, tequila, vanilla, and sugar.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the lime mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Divide evenly among 12 cupcake liners.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed.
Margarita Frosting Recipe - the Cupcake Project recommends cutting this recipe in half if you only make 12 cupcakes...I made 24 cupcakes and doubled the recipe...obviously I ended up with too much frosting.
1/4 Cup butter, melted
1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp tequila
2+ cups confectioners/powdered sugar
course colored sugar (and a little salt) for the "rims"
Candy lime wedges for decorations
  1. Cream together butter, heavy whipping cream, lime juice, tequila, and confectioners' sugar.
  2. Add in more sugar as needed to make the frosting smooth and spreadable.
  3. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
  4. Combine the colored sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Roll the edge of each cupcake in the sugar/salt mixture.
  6. Top with the candy lime wedges.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

This is officially my first blog post about a cupcake that was made AFTER I decided to start a blog, which doesn't really mean anything to you except MORE PICTURES (which Ian makes fun of...but I don't know anyone who would want to read a blog about baking and wouldn't want to see pictures.  Do you???). 

So, I found the recipe for Caramel Apple Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Frosting on the Cupcake Wars website during my first scan through their recipes and I was very excited to try them.  In my excitemed state I wanted to share my new recipe finds, so I sent links to the three cupcake recipes I really wanted to try to Megan (one of my best friends who is from Kansas, but now works in Iowa).  She looked at the recipes and said that they looked interesting, but that she wasn't really interested in eating any of them because she doesn't really care for sweets.  Well, she wasn't interested in eating any of them except the caramel apple cupcake.   

Megan came to visit me (and her family) a couple of weeks later, and I decided that between work and our dinner reservations, I would make these cupcakes so she could try one! 

The cupcakes themselves were very simple to make; however, there were a few interesting aspects.  First, the recipe calls for four apples, peeled, cored, and cut.  I don't really like using knives (I'm fairly certain I am going to cut off my finger...and my skittishness while using them probably makes that more likely...which makes me more skittish...and around and around we go).  So, to peel the apples, I used a potato peeler, which worked rather nicely.


Next, it was time to cut the apples.  Many of the people who commented on the original recipe suggested that shredding the apples worked better in the recipe.  Again, I don't like knives, so anything that keeps a knife out of my hand is a good option.  However, I've also never shredded fruit...so I was very uncertain how that would work.  Turns out, it works rather well!


I have to admit, that after I had mixed all of my ingredients, but before I added my apples to the batter, I was really concerned.  This batter was unlike any other that I have made.  Usually the batter is semi-runny...this time, it was just a clump of ingredients.  But when I added the apples, like magic, the batter actually looked like batter (ok, it isn't magic...it is the fact that apples have juice)!  I still thought this batter looked funny with strings of apple in it, so I took a picture to share with you!


Yummy, right?

I also had the opportunity to use some fun ingredients in this recipe.  First, I have a sister-in-law, Amanda, who is very crafty.  On one of my last trips home, Amanda told me that she had made her own vanilla extract!  I was thoroughly impressed, and she gave me some to take home with me!  This isn't a very good picture...but here it is!


You can't see them in this picture, but there are actually vanilla beans in that jar.  Apparently all you do is put vanilla beans in a jar and cover them with alcohol (vodka or bourbon will work) and then let everything sit for a while!  I LOVE my vanilla!

The second fun ingredient is also vanilla.  This vanilla is vanilla bean paste, and it was in the frosting.  I purchased mine at William Sonoma.  The difference between the vanilla bean paste and the vanilla extract is that in vanilla bean paste, vanilla beans are actually chopped up in the paste.  Vanilla bean paste is much thicker than vanilla extract, but it is still a liquid.  Apparently you can substitute it anytime your recipe calls for vanilla extract.  Here is a picture of the bottle that I purchased...and here is a picture of what the actual paste looks like (along with a better description of what it is and how/when to use it!).


The last fun part of the caramel apple cupcakes baking experiment was finding new baking cups and trying them out.  Obviously, for the past couple of weeks (a month, maybe?), I have been baking lots of cupcakes.  One thing that always drives me crazy about cupcakes are the little cupcake liners.  First off, I'm cheap and I don't really want to buy expensive liners.  However, the cheap liners are...well...cheap.  They are very thin, they pull away from the cake, and they leave the cupcakes looking like crap.  However, when I was at William Sonoma purchasing my vanilla bean paste, I found what I hoped would fix my issue with cupcake liners:  SILI-CUPS!

 

Sili-cups are silicone cupcake liners (baking cups) that are completely reusable.  Being a cheap person, this was one of those purchases that I justified by saying I would spend a little more now (about $25) to make the initial purchase, but I will use them so much that I will make up for it in the future!  Whether my justification pans out remains to be seen.  I purchased the sili-cups and tested them out with this recipe by lining one cupcake pan with normal paper liners, and a second cupcake pan with the sili-cups (notice how colorful the sili-cups are! I love them!).


In the end, I decided that I like the sili-cups better than regular cupcake liners (which is good...because I couldn't have returned them)!  Once the cupcakes are cool, you can just pop them out of the liners before decorating them (I had an irrational fear that the cupcakes would lose their cupcake form if I removed them from their liner...which is NOT true!).  They wash up really easily and are dishwasher safe.  They were a great purchase!

At the end of the day, I learned a couple of important baking lessons with this recipe.  First, don't frost cupcakes while they are still hot (or warm).  I had a little frosting melting problem.  This didn't effect the excellent taste of my cupcakes, but it did make them look a little bad.  Woops!

Second - don't soak cupcake pans.  They rust! 

I did finish my cupcakes in time to share them with Megan and her family (but the need to finish early contributed to the frosting fiasco!), and I can safely say that everyone who ate one of these cupcakes LOVED them.  So far, these have been my personal favorite!



Caramel Apple Cupcakes
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped (recommended: 2 Granny Smith and 2 Fuji) (I shredded the apples)
Caramel Syrup (garnish)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two regular size cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, combine the sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract until blended.  In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low until blended.  Stir in the apples.
  3. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter and bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched with your finger (15 to 20 minutes).  Let cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (the cooling is important...)
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8-oz bar cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla bean paste until smooth and thoroughly blended. 
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and salt. 
  3. Mix until smooth.
  4. (try not to eat all of the frosting!)
  5. Pipe or spread the frosting onto your COOLED cupcakes and then garnish with Caramel Syrup!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My First Year as a Baby Lawyer

Today is my first anniversary at the Firm and yesterday three new associates started, so I am now no longer the newest attorney here!  My life has changed significantly in this past year, and I have to say that every single day I feel so lucky to have found a job that I absolutely love!  So, my highlights from my first year as a baby lawyer are:
  1. Participating in my first jury trial!  I never expected that a mere 4 months after I started here a partner would ask me to participate in a jury trial.  During jury selection, the partner  told the jury that I had only recently passed the bar, and the entire group of potential jurors gave me an ovation (which is rather odd in a courtroom).  I gave my very first opening statement to a jury of 12, and it was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time!  I also directed a witness.  All in all, the experience was WONDERFUL and only reaffirmed my desire to be a trial attorney.  The best part, however, was listening as the verdict was read and realizing that we had won!
  2. Having free time!  All throughout college and law school, if I ever complained about life being hectic, a common retort to my complaints was, "Just wait until you get into the real world!"  I am happy to report that I am now in "the real world" (although I fail to understand how law school is somehow not the real world) and I have more free time than I know what to do with!  It is AMAZING!  Obviously there are times when I have to put in late hours at the office or come in early.  I work the occasional weekend.  But on the whole, I have more me time than I remember having at any other point in my life!  I read FOR FUN!  I watch TV, go to movies, hang out with friends, BAKE, and do all other sorts of fun stuff.  Free time is definitely a highlight!
  3. Taking my first deposition!  Just a couple of weeks ago I took my very first deposition.  I was very nervous going in, but by the end of the afternoon I was relaxed and comfortable with what I was doing...and I left with a story to tell.  My first deposition was such a good experience I will be devoting an entire post to it once I get the transcript! 
  4. The people I work with.  Personally, I think that coworkers can make or break a job.  I LOVE my coworkers at the Firm!  We have attorneys' nights out where we eat greasy hamburgers and drink beer, we play poker, we host baby showers, we have happy hours about once a month, we play practical jokes, and we produce good work.  I love the fun atmosphere combined with an opportunity to learn from some very intelligent and highly respected attorneys!
Of course, no job is amazing all of the time, and there have definitely been some rough spots as well.  For me, the worst part of this year was when the associate I started with decided to take a job offer in a different state to be near his son.  Obviously, I was very happy for him to have the opportunity to spend more time with his child, and it was definitely the right choice for him, but I was sad to see such a good friend and confidant leave! 

Another difficult part of this job is being so far away from my family and other loved ones!  In my perfect world, everyone I love would move here...obviously, that isn't happening anytime soon (other people apparently don't have the same affection for Kansas as I do!)!

So, in the end, I am happy to report that having completed my very first year as a baby lawyer, I am still convinced that I made the right career choice for me and I still go to work every morning excited for my job (well, not every morning...I'm not really a morning person...)!  In honor of this milestone, I finally brought my diploma to work and hung it on my wall, thus making it much more difficult for me to make a fast and unnoticed escape!  So, here's hoping that year two goes just as well (seriously, I still have a lot of student loans...)!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes and Irish Cream Frosting

If you have actually been reading all of my blog posts, chances are good that by now you are thinking to yourself that this blog may be misnamed.  Maybe you think that I have lead you astray.  Well fear not, I finally bring you a cupcake filled with booze!

Over the summer my law firm brings in summer associates to work for ten weeks, and at the end of ten weeks we decide whether we want to hire them to work here full time after they graduate from law school.  Because I am the newest associate at the firm (until Monday!) and because I tend to enjoy the social events throughout the summer (I really like places where there is free food and alcohol), I spent a lot of time with the summer associates this summer.  I also spent a lot of time with their significant others.  During one of the many social events, my cupcake baking came up and of the significant others said, "Oh, you must love Cupcake Wars."  I had no idea what she was talking about.  It turns out that there is a show on the food network that is all about baking cupcakes...who knew?! 

Personally, I prefer to watch crime dramas and the occasional reality TV show featuring trashy women (hello The Bachelor, I'm lookin' at you!).  But, I figured I should at least check out the Cupcake Wars website to see what it had to offer.  It was AWESOME and I immediately printed off three recipes that I knew I wanted to make.  I let Ian make the ultimate decision about which cupcake to try first, and he chose the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting.

These cupcakes were a little more complicated to make.  For instance, you make the batter in a saucepan, which meant no using my/Ian's Kitchen Aid.  However, they were still rather simple if you follow the directions. 

I did make one modification to the recipe.  The recipe recommends that you use Guiness as your Irish stout.  However, you are using it to make chocolate cupcakes, and I KNOW there are more chocolaty Irish stouts available.  So, I went to my local liquor store and requested to be pointed in the direction of the stout with the best chocolaty flavor.  The very helpful gentleman told me that the best and most chocolaty stout that they carry is Rogue Chocolate Stout, which is what I used.  Now, the recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of Irish stout...but the Rogue Chocolate Stout comes in 16 ounce bottles...so I had to drink the leftovers.  Personally, I am not a huge fan of stout on its own, but a good chocolate stout mixed with and equal amount of Lambic's (I prefer raspberry, but you could also use cherry, peach, or any of the other flavors) makes a delightful chocolaty/fruity drink!

Unfortunately, after the filled cupcake and the upside down cupcake, this cupcake had big shoes to fill, and it came up short.  Don't get me wrong, the cupcake itself tasted fine...but it was just fine.  It was a chocolate cupcake that took more effort to make than my other chocolate cupcakes but tasted just like a regular old chocolate cupcake. 

The frosting was the best part about this cupcake.  I always take all but two of my cupcakes to my office on the Monday morning after I bake because the people in my office will eat anything in about an hour at the most.  Sometimes after I leave the cupcakes in the cafeteria, I will stop by to see if anyone is actually eating them (they always are, but I have this illogical fear that no one is going to take them).  This time when I came back to check on the cupcake eating progress, I noticed that someone had taken the frosting off of one of the cupcakes, but left the cupcake in the container.  My guess is that they had already eaten one and just wanted more frosting...but I am really not sure what happened there!

In the end, these cupcakes were good, but the first two I made were better.  These ones were definitely better after I chilled them in the refrigerator overnight.

Oh, this was also the first time I ever attempted to decorate a cupcake with frosting out of a pastry bag.  I originally did this...



Ian promptly made fun of my inability to frost my cupcake and tried to teach me proper form...but all I ended up with was this:




Which I tend to think looks like a mound of dog poo.  So...obviously my frosting technique needs some work. 

Lesson learned about frosting made mostly from butter = it melts.  Especially if you frost your cupcakes, remove it from the cupcakes, frost them again, remove it again, etc.  Beware! 

The recipe is here,
but I will also write it below to make it easier! 

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups Irish stout (I recommend Rogue Chocolate Stout)
4 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cups sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a cupcake pan with 24 regular-size cupcake liners.
  2. Place the stout and butter in a medium-size saucepan and whisk together on medium heat until the butter is melted.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder into a medium-size bowl and add the sugar.  Slowly whisk into the stout mixture. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and lightly whisk until smooth.  Add this mixture to the saucepan and whisk thoroughly (it may appear lumpy). 
  5. Sift the flour and baking soda together in another small bowl and then add it to the saucepan, mixing a final time until the color is even.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full with the batter and bake until the cake spring back after touching, about 27 minutes.  Cool the cupcakes in their pan for five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Irish Liquor Frosting
1 pound unsalted butter
4 tablespoons Irish cream liquor (Baileys)
4 cups confectioners' sugar (if you are like me and don't know...this is powdered sugar).
  1. Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until pale.  Turn the mixer on low speed and add the Baileys in a steady stream.  Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until a creamy consistency is achieved.
  2. Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes using a large plain tip.  Dust with cocoa powder if preferred (I didn't do this).