Posts Tagged ‘family’

cuppy cakes!

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Despite my solemn promise of a cuppy cake recipe yesterday, I totally did not share a cuppy cake recipe.

Why am I saying cuppy cake? Because I’m currently super adorable, I guess?

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See?

Oh, that’s not adorable.

That’s the kind of thing that happens at a 5 year old’s birthday party.

(Crockett’s nephew turned five. Wearing that mask is one thing I did yesterday that was not publishing a cupcake recipe.)

(Apparently seeing myself in a Spiderman mask was enough to knock me out of that ‘cuppy cake’ nonsense.)

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We also helped my mom move a couch into her garage. It’s a nice leather couch. It’s for sale on Craigslist – let me know if you’re interested (and not halfway across the country)! It’s from Scandinavian Designs but was the only piece of furniture in her guest room and does not make much of a guest room bed.

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We went grocery shopping and brought home whatever we felt like for lunch. Crockett apparently felt like a tiger roll.

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I, less sensibly, felt like a big sweet chili tofu steak.

We shared, because he did not begrudge me my odd choice.

Now, without further ado… Cupcakes!

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(What? I told you I forgot to take pictures of them!)

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Here’s what you need to know about these cupcakes. They have been gradually and professionally optimized by me to consistently bake up gorgeous at 5000 feet, give or take. In other words, this is a high altitude recipe. It will probably be fine at sea level, but if your’e up in the air with me know that this does not need any alterations, mmkay?

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 30 cupcakes – can easily be halved or two-thirded (two thirded? really?)

15.5 ounces all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 salt 
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
13 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 tsp white vinegar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup water
3 eggs

Heat your oven to 350. Line your cupcake tins with papers.

Note: remember what I said last week about making buttermilk with milk and vinegar? That’s not ideal here – buttermilk is actually the flavor of red velvet, so use the real stuff if you can. If you really think you’ll never use it again and want to buy just half a pint, make up the extra 1/4 cup with 2% milk.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder with a whisk.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar with the oil until combined and then add the remaining ingredients and whisk until uniform. Add half to the dry ingredients and stir until they’re all moistened, then add the rest and beat the crap out of it by hand for about two minutes or by machine for about twenty seconds. You don’t usually do that with cake batter, but the amount of acid in the batter means it’s going to stay tender and this will help give you a light texture by putting a bunch of air in the batter.

Using a half cup measure or a half cup ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake paper. If you’re making all thirty and using regular tins with space for twelve cupcakes, leave the center two empty in each. If you’re baking them in batches, which I suggest, beat the batter for a second before filling the liners each time.

Bake for between 13 and 17 minutes – I would tap the top at 13 and if the dent sticks, give it two more minutes. If it still feels a smidge squishy, give it one more. No more than that. Seriously, don’t do it. You’re asking for dried out cupcakes. Turn out of the pans to cool and frost or wrap well and freeze.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (three packages)
1 pound butter (four sticks)
1 – 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar (it comes in one or two pound bags)
2 tsp vanilla

Bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Seriously. This is the most important part. DO NOT SKIP THIS PART.

Blend the cream cheese and butter together until TOTALLY combined. It will seem ok to have little lumps but it is NOT OK. If you see a lump and you think it’s the last lump, it is not the last lump. Keep mixing.

Sift over about 1/2 pound of your powdered sugar and carefully beat. (This will be messy. It’s worth it.) Do it again, mix in the vanilla, and taste. If you want it sweeter, which I usually don’t, gradually add what you have left, tasting as you go. It’s easy to over power the cream cheese tang, so proceed carefully.

Use to frost your cupcakes. You’ll have a tiny bit left over, so you should probably just eat that.

 

Well, I feel reune-ed

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

This weekend was my family reunion (for my mom’s side of the family). It was in Woodland Park at a place called Triple B Ranch, so on Friday afternoon Crockett and I packed up the car (and the dogs) and headed down.

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There was a considerable amount of confusion on the part of the small furry members of the family.

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We stopped a couple of times along the way for supplies. Namely, wine. Lots of wine.

I was a little stressed, you guys. See, my mom is one of twelve children, and only one of her siblings wasn’t there. When you include my grandma, my aunts and uncles husbands and wives and a few (but not nearly all) of the grandkids and some of their significant others, we had about forty people. And one cousin and I were in charge of food.

Since I had to work Friday, my mom and that cousin did the shopping – and since they were doing the shopping, I took it on myself to turn our meal plan into a list with quantities. I was nervous about putting together food for that many people.

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Here’s some of them at our pancake breakfast. See? Lots of people!

We did do things other than eat, of course.

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We danced, and sang karaoke, and walked the dogs. The ranch had horses, so some people rode. (I opted to not smell like horse all weekend, so I passed.) We hung out with the puppies in the room and played charades. I supervised pool volleyball…

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With the help of a solo cup of wine and my kindle. Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead is a strange, compelling book, y’all.

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I cooked. Good heavens did I cook. This is a just one of the tables set up for one of the meals – the tables go off to the left and all those tables in the background were full of eating people in just a few minutes.

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I set aside food for myself while no one was paying attention. Grilled corn, turkey burger, half of a beef burger, broccoli salad, caprese salad (it’s back there, I swear), avocado, and some pita chips.

It turns out I love pita chips.

I may have gained five pita chip related pounds this weekend.

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Cloey enjoyed watching the world go by…

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and Maida enjoyed sitting under people’s chair and catching stray pieces of food.

Unfortunately, Crockett had to go home Saturday evening, so on Sunday my mom and I drove back together.

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The car was full of leftover food and exhausted, farm smellin’ dogs.

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We stopped for Coffee Light Frapuccinos (I don’t drink these very often, but when I do I’m always pleasantly surprised by how much tasty coffee bitterness they manage to maintain – are the non light ones that way too?).

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When I made it home, I gleefully shopped for a week’s worth of food for two people. Two. Yogurt, scallops, salad – it all fit into one tiny cart.

It was glorious.

If you’re interested, this was the meal plan for the weekend, with my commentary and quantities (and weird blog formatting that I’m too lazy to fix, sorry!):

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I especially like the last line. I’m so sensitive.