She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Amy Sedaris: Queen of Cupcakes

Posted: June 27th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 4 Comments »

amy

If I have two passionate side interests in my life, they are baking and comedy. In fact, I was just chatting with Johanna last night about a comedian I recently discovered named Liam McEneaney, who is really, really funny. Seriously, you should look up his videos on youtube or something, unless you dislike laughing or being happy. But I digress. Because I love both baking and comedy, I worship Amy Sedaris. She’s hilarious. And none of the recipes from her book: I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence have ever failed me.

In this book, she has cupcake recipes, which I won’t copy here for fear of a lawsuit. But, I can say, they are the best standard/traditional chocolate or vanilla cupcakes recipes I have ever made (sorry, Martha). The cakes don’t come out too dry like those at a certain famous NYC bakery that people go nuts for whose name starts with M and ends with agnolia (yeah, I’m a hater). The frosting is awesome, and so simple! Butter, powedered sugar, a little milk… and she is the one who introduced me to the concept of substituting almond extract for vanilla extract. Such a simple idea, and such an amazing and tasty result! Seriously, try it in any cake or frosting recipe that calls for vanilla. You will not be sorry.

I know cupcakes have been getting so popular among the cool, obnoxious hipster set over the past few years, but cupcakes are so awesome that I forgive them. Easy to transport, perfect for parties where everyone is drinking and the idea of someone having to cut a cake (or anything) with a sharp knife is terrifying, they’re a great dessert.

And you can make any cake recipe into cupcakes. Just grab your cupcake tin reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes (watch carefully your first time and figure it out) and double the amount of frosting (well, I love frosting, so maybe that’s just me). So your favorite cake recipe (mine is a caramel cake from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook) can be made into delicious, perfectly proportioned mini cakes.

A side note, I met Amy at a book signing, where I bought her book for my parents. She wrote “I heard you both could use this book!” on the inside cover. I laughed out loud, and she said, “they’re going to be like, ‘what? no we don’t'” and I said, “oh, they’re my parents, and they throw a lot of parties and they’re wacky.” That’s right, I told a famous person that I love that my parents are nuts. I am just so charming and not at all awkward, aren’t I?

PS While they are a little nuts (and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), I love my parents dearly and they are in real life, very sweet and lovely people.


Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Posted: June 26th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 2 Comments »

I made Boston Cream Pie cupcakes for a party last weekend using a recipe from marthastewart.com.  (Link: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/boston-cream-pie-cupcakes?lnc=ae0cdc53f03ee010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&rsc=collage_food_cupcake-recipes).

Say what you will about Martha, but that lady can sure pull out an amazing baking recipe.  It’s important when you’re baking to actually follow a recipe.  It’s not like cooking where you can kind of make things up as you go along, which I can’t do to save my life, baking is more like a science experiment, and you need things in the right proportion to turn out right.

I have a new thing for Boston Cream Pie.  Maybe because it was invented in my hometown.  Maybe because it includes chocolate, vanilla custard cream and pound cake, together in a menage a trois of goodness.

Boston Cream Pie bought at the grocery store is often really soggy, which is gross.  The reason for this is mainly because it’s left out too long, and they use a runny, Jello pudding type custard.  Real custard involves egg yolks, cornstarch (a thickening agent) and sugar and milk.  It’s supposed to be thick, and does NOT have the consistency of pudding, which is a related, but different thing.

For this recipe, you should really double the amount she suggests so there’s enough filling for all the cupcakes.  I ran short.

A word on ganache, which is what tops the cake.  Ganache is just cream and chocolate.  Here, you add a little corn syrup, but that’s just for it to look shiny.  Since there are so few ingredients, you need to use a very high quality chocolate.  In things like frostings, where there is a lot of powdered sugar, this isn’t as important.  I like Ghiradelli, because it’s among the more affordable high quality brands.

They end result was messy!!! But isn’t that half the fun?