Friday, October 23, 2009

Baking Challenge #7: Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes

I thought that last week after I got back from Holland I would be able to start baking but then I came down with the flu. Blah! This puts me even more behind on my challenges, I better get crack'n!

This recipe is for all you pumpkin lovers! It's a simple recipe from the book Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunsky.

Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (can use ground nutmeg too)
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup toasted pecans coarsely chopped

Set oven to 350˚F.placing the chopped pecans on a cookie pan/sheet and baking them in the oven for about 7-10 min. At five minutes, stir the nuts around so that they can evenly toast. Check on your nuts after 7 min because they can easily burn if toasted for too long. Take them out of the oven to cool.

Line a standard cupcake/muffin pan with 12 liners.

Toast the pecans first. I do this by
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, sugar, oil and eggs. Add the flour mixture and whisk to combine completely. Stir in the chopped pecans.

Divide the batter into the prepared muffin cups and fill each about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean, 22-24 minutes (my cupcakes only took 20 minutes to bake so I would check them around 18 minutes to see how they are doing). Allow them to cool after you take them out of the oven.

For the Glaze:

Maple Glaze

1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed
1 tbsp whole milk (I used 1% milk and that worked just fine)
2 teaspoons maple extract (I used 2 tablespoons of maple syrup instead)

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk and extract or syrup until smooth. The glaze should be spreadable. If it seems to thick, whisk in additional milk or syrup a few drops at a time. You don't won't your glaze to be too runny and run all down your cupcakes so if it seems too thin , whisk in additional sugar one teaspoon at a time.

The cupcakes baked perfectly, incredibly moist and delicious!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

That Takes The Cake, San Francisco

That Takes the Cake
2271 Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

Cupcakes tried: orange zinger, Elvis, strawberry, chocolate espresso

Overall reaction: It almost took the cake, but we ain't playing horseshoes here

I had been meaning to try this bakeshop since its not too far from where I live. I have to say that the design of the shop is really cute and well done. However the cupcakes left much to be desired. I bought the cupcakes and headed home, enlisting my sister, Diana to help along in the taste test and here's what we have to say about what we tried.

First up was the Elvis cupcake. This cupcake tasted the way it was supposed to – peanut butter, honey and banana, exactly like the sandwich. The bad part, was that the cake was dry. Poor Elvis.

The chocolate espresso cupcake was not much better. The frosting was heavy and the cake was dense and dry. The espresso flavor was good but overall this cupcake was intense and what I mean by this, is that it just lumped in your throat and stomach.

The strawberry cupcake was ok. The cake was yummy, moist and tasted like strawberries. The frosting ruined it. Too sweet in a sickening sort of way.

The worst cupcake of all was the orange zinger. It takes the cake for the most horrible tasting cupcake! The frosting overpowered the cake which tasted like an orange rind and was incredibly dry. We couldn't even finish it!

My words of advice: In the shop you have the option of buying day old cupcakes for less money. The cupcakes we tried tasted like a few days old so I can't imagine what the actual day old ones would taste like! Maybe we just hit a bad day but I just don't think there is an excuse when each cupcake we tried was dry. My advice is to steer clear of this shop as the cupcakes did not take the cake!