Monday, February 15, 2010
Love Is All You Need
Think of Valentines day as the Super Bowl for women.
We are girls.
If you are a boy and don't want to be romantic, then marry a boy.
Otherwise bring on the bon bons and kisses.
I personally would rather have creative romance than a gift.
Creative romance takes a lot of thought and feels so much more loving.
Gifts are cool too.
Especially big sparkley ones.
Or 5 pounds of Godiva chocolates.
Or beautiful lingerie.
Or a pretty Range Rover.
But plan a romantic dinner in the snow under the moonlight with a bonfire, I am yours.
Write me a love letter like men used to when they were away at war, I am smitten forever.
Blindfold me and....oops, I can't write that here.
Back to Valentines day. Yesterday.
Sophia is my valentine of course (see fluffy white photo on the right).
One day, perhaps there will be a human one.
But Sophia can't eat sweets because she is shall we say, extra fluffy.
That means that most of these went to work.
Either that or I become extra fluffy too.
The cupcake recipe began here and ended up quite different. With so many egg whites in this batter it is somewhat like an angel food cake. They smell lovely baking and the cake is dense and lemony.
Filling the cupcakes is not hard to do although I did a different method this time. The recipe is from Giada de Laurentiis and is so creamy and luscious with a bit leftover, perhaps for some crepes. The filling is the reason for making these and could actually just be used on each other to make Valentines day even more fun.
And the frosting is a bit tart, which you can vary by how much lemon and powdered sugar you choose. I like it a little tart which I think works well with the filling and cake.
LEMON ANGEL CAKES WITH STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE FILLING
makes 24 cupcakes
3 c cake flour
2 t baking powder
8 large egg whites
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 c sugar
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
Zest from 2 lemons
1/2 c half and half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.
Finely zest 4 lemons and set aside (some will be used in the frosting).
Then juice the lemons, strain and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder.
In another clean medium bowl, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy.
With mixer running, gradually add 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes, and increased to about 4 cups, set aside in refridgerator.
In a large bowl, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
Add vanilla to butter mixture.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to the butter sugar mixture in three parts, alternating first with the flour, then the lemon juice, then the zest, then flour, then half and half and ending with the flour; beat until just combined, set aside. This will be a fairly heavy batter.
Gently fold 1/3 of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined.
Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.
Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, until cups are 2/3 filled.
Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Invert cupcakes onto wire rack; then reinvert and let cool completely, top sides up.
If the batter is overfilled the cupcakes may stick to the pan a little. Use a rubber spatula and gently release them.
When completely cooled, begin to fill cupcakes with strawberry mascarpone filling.
2 8oz container mascarpone cheese
1 c fresh strawberries or thawed and drained frozen strawberries
1/2 c sugar
2 T lemon juice
In a food processor combine the mascarpone cheese, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.
Process the mixture until smooth.
Chill about 2o minutes if it is too runny.
Using a melon baller or a serrated spoon, cut a hole through the top of the cupcake making a reasonable size space for the filling, saving the cut tops.
With a spoon, fill the hole almost to the top.
Replace a slice of the cut top piece to sort of seal the tops.
Proceed with frosting.
Below is the way I normally fill cupcakes but this cupcake recipe was too dense for this method and does not expand and open up a space.
*Chill the strawberry mixture for 20 minutes if it is a bit runny.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small-medium tip.
Push the tip gently through the top and almost to the bottom of a cupcake and squeeze in the strawberry mixture until the cupcake plumps but before it cracks.
Continue with the remaining cupcakes.
LEMON BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 1/2-3 c confectioners sugar
1/2 t vanilla
4-6 T fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
With an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.
On medium speed, beat in confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until you have added 2 1/2 cups, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as necessary, add more as necessary.
Mix in 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Then lemon juice.
Increase speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Then lemon zest beating briefly.
Frost cupcakes with buttercream, piping or swirling to cover.
Chill the cupcakes for 20 minutes, but remove before serving.
I did figure out that if you use the sawtooth piping tip there is a lot more room for error thankfully.