Food Glorious Food
Two of my lovelies celebrated an anniversary of sorts this weekend – the first anniversary of their band, Arizona Lily. In honour of the occasion, a small gathering of a few friends and more than a few cocktails was held Chez Murdoch where a good time was had by all.
In addition to a couple of bottles of cheer, I decided I wanted to contribute some sugar & chocolate to the mix and came up with a pretty tasty concoction, if I do say so myself.
More than one of these pretties, however, will most likely throw you into a diabetic coma… so tread lightly, if you do decide to try out this recipe. These are neither calories-wise nor fat free. I make no apologies.
Mocha Rock Star Cupcakes with Buttery Bailey’s Coffee Icing
1 C strong black coffee (or 2 tbsp. instant coffee + 1 C warm water)
½ C (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 C granulated sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 C all-purpose flour + 1 C whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line standard muffin pan with baking cups (recipe makes 24)
- If you keep such a thing in your home (blargh) combine instant coffee and water; mix well and set aside.
- In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time; mix well.
- Add melted chocolate (there are a few ways to melt chocolate; I prefer the microwave method), vanilla and coffee mixture; mix well.
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl.
- Slowly add to butter mixture; mix well.
- Spoon into baking cups.
- Bake 18-20 minutes or until center of cupcake springs back when lightly touched.
- Cool cupcakes in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from pan; cool completely before icing.
3.5 C confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 C butter or margarine, softened
2 tbsp. strong brewed coffee
1 tbsp. Coffee Flavoured Bailey’s
In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder. In another bowl, beat the butter until creamy, gradually beat in the sugar mixture, being sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, occasionally. Finally stir in the coffee, and beat until smooth.
Decorate as you please!
I don’t believe in doing things small. As an example, my first real foray into decorating anything edible took place last summer when I convinced my mom that the very best wedding cake would be one of her making. Despite her initial reservations, she agreed with the stipulation that I help her decorate. In fairness, she did all the hard parts what with creating three separate cakes, each more delicious than the next, and ensuring that the delicious butter cream icing covered any crumbs (no small feat, let me tell you) so everything looked all pretty & wedding-like. All I had to do was add the bling. And bling, I added. Heh.
I’ve always had a bit of a knack for whipping up tasty treats. Making them pretty, however, has never really been my strong suit (although I must admit, I’m pretty pleased with my wedding cake efforts; not too shabby for a rank amateur.) So when Groupon had a one-day event a few months ago for a discounted Cupcake Decorating Class, I jumped at the opportunity.
This Sunday, I attended a two-hour class at Le Dolci Cupcake Decorating Studio. Happily, it’s located right downtown at King & Portland – just a quick stroll from home (hooray! no need to add TTC aggravation to my weekend!)
Our hostess, Lisa, started Le Dolci two years ago while living in the UK (London, to be precise) but decided that being closer to her family in Canada (and being able to afford space enough in which to grow her business) was all the reason she needed to bring her sugary venture to the Great White North.
The class I attended was for absolute beginners, but Le Dolci hosts a number of classes featuring a wide array of themes and varying degrees of difficulty. (I’m hazarding a guess that cleanup after the Mommy/Daddy & Me class is a fun time.)
Lisa provides you with everything you need to decorate & bring home a dozen sinfully sugar-laden cupcakes (right down the lovely bakery box for transport!) And the great part about this class is that the cupcakes are all pre-baked, cooled & ready for decorating (which is ideal if you’re like me and you already know how to make things taste great but need some help with the aesthetics.)
As you can see, the class does merit results!
Each and every person involved in this past weekend’s Toronto Bakes for Japan charity event should be well pleased with their efforts: to date, the tally of monies earned sits at $27,819.41. And the counting hasn’t quite finished.
My contribution included some prettily packaged Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Muffins & Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies for the Liberty Noodle location. I enticed LX into helping me cart everything over with the promise of tasty confections that I’d buy, in return, for us to take home and enjoy. My not-so-clever ruse – while entirely transparent – worked like a charm and I attained some hired help for free.
After treating ourselves to a coffee at Balzac’s, across the street, we wandered back to check out the sale once things got underway at 11am. Not surprisingly, LX instantly zeroed in on some Bacon Buttermilk Tea Biscuits. I lost my heart to a Green Tea Cupcake and a single-serve Not Your Momma’s PB & J Pie. I know. I made the Cupcake my brunch. The PB & J Pie? I needed alone time for that: I did an extra workout and set aside a substantial chunk of my daily calories for that bad boy. And, no – I didn’t share.
Day One (Saturday) saw glorious weather and over $5 grand raised at just the Brickworks location, alone.
And while the weather was less than agreeable for Day Two on Sunday (seriously, Mother Nature – you couldn’t give us this one?) it didn’t seem to stop hordes of folks from coming out in droves to satisfy their sweet tooth. In fact, Liberty Noodle & the Rivoli had such a turnout that they decided to extend both end times until everyone and everything was gone.
That’s dedication. The weather, as it turned out, agreed and the thundershowers cleared up and gave way to a bright, sunny afternoon.
I’ll be whipping up several dozen prettily packaged bits of yum to be put on offer at Toronto Bakes For Japan; so it’d be fantabulous if you could drop by and stroke my ego a tiny bit by making a donation in return for the privilege of taking one of them home with you!
If you can’t drop by either the Saturday (April 9) or Sunday (April 10) event, then you can still help out by donating online in the form of cold, hard cash. The process is simple & secure and all donations will go directly toward the total amount collected from the bake sale.
You don’t have to be from Toronto, either. You just have to be generous.