I wanted to make another batch of ricotta-sage frosted cupcakes. The 'frosting' I love, but I was just not that crazy about the 'bottom'.
In my mind I got this crazy idea that what I really wanted was some kind of honey/olive oil-y cake. I tried a few things out. First I went to Martha's cupcake book and made the honey cakes subbing olive oil for vegetable oil. The cakes came out OK... but they were kind of muffin-y. Not ethereal and fluffy. I tried tweaking the recipe a bit, but it was no use. These were great muffins, but no cupcakes.
Next I tried a recipe by Carine Goren for "fluffy orange cake" and while the texture was spot on, the cake had an overwhelming "eggy" flavor that I just didn't care for.
Finally, half giving up, I decided to make one last shot at this but this time I went with one of my favorite's, Martha Stewart's Buttermilk Cupcakes. The texture is amazing, light and fluffy -- a perfect vanilla cupcake. To tweak it, I swapped half the butter for olive oil and then added some orange zest. It came out just as I wanted it to!
The progression of cupcakes, the left four are the two attempts at "honey" cupcakes, the next two are the "orange cake" and the final two on the right are the buttermilk orange olive oil cakes.
Here's the altered recipe. Frost as you like (though I like my ricotta frosting, with or w/o the sage...)
Note: this makes 36 REGULAR size cupcakes. It makes ~100 mini ones. Yes, that's a lot of tiny cupcakes.
Orange Olive Oil Buttermilk Cupcake Bottom
3 cups cake flour (NOT self rising)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup good quality, fruity olive oil
2.25 cups sugar
5 whole eggs, room temperature
3 egg yolks, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with liners. Mix the dry ingredients: the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
2. Now the wet stuff: cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and then drizzle the olive oil in. Next, add the whole eggs one at a time followed by the egg yolks, one at a time. Make sure each egg or yolk is fully incorporated before adding another. Add the vanilla extract to the mix.
3. Add the flour to the wet mix. Add the flour in about 2-3 additions, alternating with adding the buttermilk.
4. Divide batter into lined cupcake tin. Do not fill more than 3/4 full, or else they will overflow. I like to fill ~1/2 full -- more room for frosting!
5. For large cupcakes, bake ~20 minutes (for small start checking ~12 min). Cakes are done when a toothpick through the center comes out cleanly. Try not to "overbake" the cupcakes or else they will be dry.
6. When done, allow to cool completely outside of the cupcake tin before attempting to frost.
7. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. For long term storage, consider the freezer as the fridge tends to dry out cupcakes. Cakes in the freezer can last up to 2 months. It's best to wait until the day you're serving them to frost them. And always frost at room temperature and then leave the cupcakes out at room temp until consumed (fridge + frosted cupcakes = dry dry dry bleh).
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Perhaps you've noticed some new, curious things appearing in your local farmer's market this spring. I've noticed all kinds of new spring onion-y things floating around, but one thing that really caught my eye were garlic scapes. What were these magical wand shaped things?
Apparently, the come from garlic bulbs and must be removed to help the garlic keep more resources for the bulb itself, rather than for the scape.
Lucky for us, we get to enjoy the stuff.
The scapes are VERY strongly garlic flavored (not for those garlic haters out there or um... vampires?...). We opted for a delicious garlic scape pesto which mostly got eaten on the end of carrot sticks, but was also delicious on whole wheat pasta.
Garlic Scape Pesto (from Dorie Greenspan)
Makes about a cup of pesto.
about 10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3-2/3 cup of grated Parmesan
1/3 cup of slivered almonds
Up to a 1/2 cup olive oil
salt, to taste.
In a food processor, place the scapes, 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese, the almonds, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Process. Add more olive oil and/or Parmesan to taste and texture preferences. Add salt to taste, mix well.
A tip from Dorie: if you're not going to eat the pesto immediately, place a piece of saran wrap over the surface to keep it from oxidizing and stash (covered) in the fridge. Covering is VERY important, this stuff will make everything else stink of garlic otherwise.