Archive | June, 2011

What a Treat

15 Jun

About two weeks ago I got the shock of my little food-lovin’ life when I got an e-mail from Elle Magazine in SA asking if I’d like to be part of their August food story. I almost fell out of my seat and immediately proceeded to e-mail my best friend Caroline with the news before even knowing entirely what it involved!

Cheska, Editorial Assistant & Stylist from Elle proceeded to inform me (after I responded to her e-mail in a record 0.09 seconds saying “YES” that she’d found my blog and loved it (dies) and would like me to be one of about 8 contributors for the August food story on favorite childhood meals! My mind immediately started to run as I thought of all the many foods that I loved as a child. Too many to pick. But some of them were just downright classless and not what I really wanted to be known for by all the fabulous Elle readers, like, for example, Velveeta Macaroni N’ Cheese with Oscar Meyer hot dogs in them. Don’t judge ya’ll, that meal was and still is the GOING.

22 years ago!!

I finally decided to make my precious Pink Velvet Cupcakes. Duh, no surprise, cupcakes are my absolute favorite treats ever and ironically, they were the first things I ever learned how to make, followed shortly after by Sloppy Joes (barf).

I grew up in a town called New Rochelle in the suburbs of New York where I attended Hudson Montessori School for my first years of education. I don’t know if I could ever raise kids in the US, but if I ever do happen to, I will do everything in my power to make sure they attend that school. I learned so many intense things at such a young age from that institution and I am so grateful for it. I have distinct memories of standing up on a chair and using an electric mixer to mix the ingredients to chocolate cupcakes (obviously, using a Duncan Hines ready-made-mix, but hey, I was 6 after all). To this day, I still have a scar on my left arm from when I decided to not listen to my mother’s strict instructions and inserted my whole entire body into the oven in an attempt to remove my cupcakes from the singing hot device. So there was no two ways about it, I was going to make my famous (if I should say so myself) pink velvets.

I flew into Joburg (on a day I will not mention for legal purposes lol) and out just for this shoot. Same day. I felt so cool doing that. Why? I don’t know. The shoot was held at one of my favorite little spots in Jozi; Wolves. I first went to Wolves about two years ago for my best friend Milli’s birthday party and fell in love. It is so adorable and homely and I love all their baked goods. One day I hope to open a little patisserie that resembles Wolves. It’s so warm in there. Not literally, especially in this frigid weather, but you know. Anyway, as usual, I digress.

I got to meet so many amazing young women, and one guy, who share my love for food. Please check out their blogs ( Nomi’s, Thando’s and Janine’s). It was such an awesome day and a huge eye-opener to all the possibilities that are out there in this world of food!

Thank you Elle for a fantastic day and a fantastic experience!! LOVED IT!!!

Oh and the issue is coming out in mid-July guys, so please look out for it and buy a copy. I’ll be sure to post a link as soon as I get one!!!

The Sweet Boutique

3 Jun

For those of you in the Gaborone area, out of my concern for your best interests, it’s only right that I inform you that I currently operate a small baked goods delivery service under the temporary name: The Sweet Boutique. I hand-make and deliver all kinds of sweet treats for events, or just for personal indulgence. Whatever makes you happy.

As a lover of all things sweet, I always find it annoying when I can’t find my favorite treats (i.e. real cupcakes, with real frosting, that are bigger than a coin). So if you are same-same in that way, please drop me an e-mail at tlegwaila@yahoo.com or a comment on this page and I will send through my wonderful menu!!

Baby Shower Bonanza

3 Jun

A week or two ago, I had a huge order for a Baby Shower. I hate showers of all kinds (attending them), but I absolutely love making cupcakes for showers, especially baby showers. I feel like there is no other set of human beings who appreciate cupcakes more than pregnant women, don’t you think? I don’t know, I just always get this image of a pregnant woman diving into severe, unadulterated bliss at the sight of anything of the edible kind, especially cupcakes.

So, I made a whole trailer load of yummy cupcakes for this young lady’s bridal shower. On the menu Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, which were beyond divine, Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes, and of course the basic classic vanilla and chocolate!!!

I initially meant to make Blueberry Cheesecake Cupcakes but due to the fact that there were no blueberries in this entire nation (so freaking weird), I had to improvise and use raspberries. I was very doubtful as to whether this replacement would result in anything as good as Blueberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (there’s literally nothing better than those), but they turned out to be the most gluttony-inducing little things (yes, I had to try them to make sure they were okay for the customer, aka I had about 6).

So here are my delicious recipes for the Raspberry Cheesecake and Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes. No need to put my vanilla and chocolate recipes. Surely you’ve seen them before.

Note: I strongly believe the concept of buttermilk was developed from someone who was smart enough to realize that when it comes to baking, regular milk just does not cut it. So wherever it says milk, I usually substitute with buttermilk. The sheer level of creaminess and thickness that comes with buttermilk as opposed to regular milk makes cakes that much better (and your thighs, that much bigger).

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
Adapted from: Sprinkles’ Bakery

Makes 12

Ingredients

2/3 cup fresh or frozen whole strawberries (thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk , room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg whites , room temperature

Directions

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree. Add a few more strawberries if necessary, or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.

With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Strawberry Frosting

Servings: Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen whole strawberries , thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , firm and slightly cold
Pinch coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar , sifted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix, or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

And since I called them Strawberry Shortcake I obviously added crushed Eet-Sum-Mors to the icing. The mixture of textures when you take a bite is so fun and exciting. Ha! I’m such a food-a-holic. Who says stuff like this?

Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

150g Unsalted butter, softened
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 c Cake Flour
2 tbsp Milk, warmed for 10 seconds
1 ½ c Icing Sugar, sifted
150g Cream Cheese
½ c, plus 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
1 ½ tsp Lemon Zest, finely grated (or regular lemon essence for you lazy buggers i.e., me)
¾ c Raspberries (or Blueberries, up to you), fresh or frozen

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12-hole muffin pan (or 36 mini muffin pans) with paper cases.

Place 100g butter, 50g cream cheese, caster sugar, eggs, 1tsp zest and flour into a food processor.

Process for about 10-15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again briefly.

Pour in the warmed milk and pulse until combined (Don’t use buttermilk here, it comes out a bit awkard if you do, stick with whole milk)

Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared pans.

Scatter over the blueberries.

Bake for 17 minutes (10 minutes for the minis) or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Frosting

To make the icing, cream 50g butter and 100g cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Using a low speed, mix in 1 1/2 cups icing sugar and 1/2 tsp zest.
Pipe or swirl the icing onto the cooled cupcakes

To give it more of a cheesecake effect, I sprinkled the tops with warmed Marie bisquit crumbs!

And just because they came out so cute, my classic Vanilla cupcakes with Vanilla buttercream frosting

I’m sure Mommy and Baby had an awesome Saturday that day, I know I did 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day

3 Jun
Because I’ve been a wild wild mess helping with preparations for my older sister’s wedding, I had TOTALLY forgotten to update my blog. No bueno. Anyway, I’d written and saved this post around mother’s day and I’m not prepared to rewrite it because frankly, it suited the day. So just read it, and pretend this was about a month ago. Gracias.
I always associate carrot cake with mothers. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because my mom loves carrot cake and she’s the best mom in the world :-). This year for mother’s day, in honour of my mom, I made ridiculously yummy (if I should say so myself) warm, gooey (Everything is warm and gooey with me, neh?) carrot cake cupcakes with buttercream cream cheese frosting. The recipe did not call for cinnamon but I truly feel like cinnamon makes most, if not all, situations better. So add a dash of cinnamon if you feel the same way about it! Absolutely warm and comforting, just likea good mom 🙂

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting:

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 pound of carrots
3 large eggs
1/2 cup of buttermilk (or add a teaspoon of lemon juice to regular milk and allow to stand for 10 minutes)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of orange zest (or 3 tablespoons of orange essence)
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of allspice
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180F. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2. Rinse the carrots and peel the rough skins off, then grate the carrots.

3. Place the carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

4. In another bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.

5. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, being sure not to overmix. Fold in the toasted walnuts until evenly incorporated.

6. Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 to 3/4 full and bake for 19-21 minutes at 350F, being sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking. Afterwards allow to cool for 5 minutes before taking the cupcakes out of the cupcake tin and allowing them to fully cool on a wire rack. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
16 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until well combined. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.