Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year & Cheers!

2011 has been filled with cakes, pies, cookies, empanadas, donuts, cinnamon rolls...even pie-cakes and cookie in a cookies.  It has been a lot of fun starting this project...having no reason to bake stuff but just doing it just because I love it or because I wanted to take my mind off of work or life or just escape for a whisk away a bit.  

To be completely honest, when I started this I wasn't sure I would actually keep it up, you know how you start a new project and only finish it half the time.  Well this year has been great, and thanks to the willingness of friends and coworkers acting as my guinea pigs I have gotten to try 62 different recipes.  Thanks for the help, for SERIOUS, I could not have done it without encouragement and help consuming these goodies.  

This year has also been filled with fun trips; with great memories.  I can't wait for the ones in 2012!  There has also been lots of change, lots of ups and downs and lots of things learned.  But I think in 2011, I have really learned to be not try and be what others want me to be and to just have fun...oh and run, run, run.  (See below...1424 our team name was Banana Bacon Victorious Relay)

How was your 2011?  What's new?  What are your resolutions for the New Year?  I plan on baking more, running more, continuing to try and smile as often as possible, and maybe bring a bit more joy to other people lives through their bellies.  

Happy 2012 everyone!  Oh and to ring in the new year let's pop a little bubbly and toast with a champagne cupcake with champagne buttercream frosting.  Thanks for the picture James!  Happy New Year Everyone! Cheers!

"Cheers to an elegant cupcake topped with delicate frosting exemplifying the essence of champagne." -James & Melissa

Champagne Cupcakes: (Recipes adapted from Booze Cakes)
*makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg whites
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Champagne or sparkling wine

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake tin with paper or aluminum liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until well combined.

3.  Whisk in vanilla extract and 3 of the egg whites, set aside.

4.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

5.  Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the champagne to the wet ingredients just until combined.

6.  In a small mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, mix remaining 3 egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into cake batter just until combined.

7.  Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, fill liners 3/4 full with batter.  Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  While cupcakes are cooling prepare champagne frosting.

Champagne Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tablespoons champagne at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, cream butter until light and fluffy, then mix in the vanilla extract until well combined.

2.  On a lower speed, mix in champagne.  It may not fully incorporate, but will fully mix in when adding the powdered sugar.

3.  Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until it has reached the desired consistency.  Once cupcakes have cooled completely, frost and Enjoy!

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