Apparently cupcakes are my thing. So is making cupcakes for friends. Also my friends getting engaged left and right. That is so totally a thing. It’s a little crazy. Kind of mind blowing. My friends are growing up and being real people and I am putting that off as long as humanly possible. But I love it when they invite me to their weddings. So much that I bake them cupcakes in celebration of their upcoming new life with their new hubby. One thing to take from the old life to the new? Cupcakes obviously. Please take those wherever you go. Always.
When I first moved to DC I had a few friends but after moving from New York and leaving all my incredible friends there I felt lonely and out of place in this city. I embrace new adventures but they never tell you that the older you get, the harder it is to start over. Being 27 and jumping ship to a new city is very very different than being 22. One of my first friends, who wasn’t my boyfriend, was actually the sister of another one of my bf’s friends and is probably the cutest person alive. She is brilliant, a karaoke-master, and a baker like me. So, of course it was a match made in heaven. But not more than her and her-soon-to-be husband.
Have you all heard of this culty series: Game of Thrones? It’s kind of a big deal but it is a huge deal with Steve and his friends. When I first started reading them my boyfriend was on round number 3 and the conspiracy theory talks that go on between him and his nerdy circles left my head spinning and I came to the obvious conclusion: I need to read these books as fast as possible.
When the HBO TV show came out we had the brilliant idea to have a GOT premier party which turned out to be merely mead and lemon cakes. It’s all you really need right? These little cakes aren’t lemon cakes. But they are angel food cupcakes doused in lemon. One can not go wrong there. So in honor of Noa + Phil, these were made. And devoured.
So what have we learned? I like cupcakes. Everyone and their goldfish is getting married. Be my friend and I will make you cupcakes if you get engaged. Or just if you like cake and frosting. It pretty much works both ways.
Angel Food Cupcakes
*makes 15 cupcakes
- 1/2 cup cake flour (sifted)
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
- 6 large egg whites (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice (from ½ lemon)
- finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Line 16 muffin cups with paper muffin cups. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
- Sift the flour and powdered sugar together; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat or whisk egg whites with the salt until frothy. Add the cream of tartar; continue beating to soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
- With a spatula, fold in about 1/3 of the flour and powdered sugar mixture. Fold in another 1/3, then finish with remaining mixture. Gently fold in the lemon and vanilla.
- Fill muffin cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes.
- Cool for 5 minutes in pan on rack. Remove cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.
- Frost with Whoopie Pie Frosting and lemon zest.
Yep, I’m at it again. The boozy baker has returned, I know you were worried. And it’s totally ok because we are celebrating the booziest of holidays. I’m totally Irish but I never really embraced the heritage or the green holiday until I had an Irish-loving boyfriend. Not, he is not Irish, but he might as well be because he can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like the best of them. With all that has been going on lately (weddings, grad school applications, it STILL being winter) I totally dropped the ball this year. last year I had just finished a half marathon and all I wanted was a cupcake and a nap. But when your roof is bombarded by nearly a hundred drunk people that just isn’t in the cards.
I didn’t want St. Patty’s Day to pass me by without making something festive, and even if it’s a day late, please forgive me. Definitely worth it. Like any true Irish girl I am a sucker for Guinness, Whiskey, and Bailey’s. Last year I combined all three of my favorites into one holy little cupcake. I still think that those Car Bomb Cupcakes are the best things I have ever made. And it sparked my incessant need to bake with booze. Which happens more often than not. You’re welcome.
If there is one thing that defines the friendship I have with Sharon it would be tea and scones. And not just any tea with any old scone. It is these scones and this tea from this New York City tea house. Brunch is definitely my favorite meal and nobody does brunch like New York City. Brunch at Alice’s was a favorite activity of the Starbucks Morning Crew, something that always started with tea and scones and ended with croque monsieur, french toast, and more scones. It truly is an amazing brunch when you don’t need mimosas. Which I do. All the time. As the SMC dispersed, Sharon and I remained. Even as she moved to Astoria and I found comfort on the Upper Upper West Side near school, we always came back to Alice’s.
There is a rotating variety of scones at Alices, but the pumpkin scone is always there. Because it is the best. Pumpkin and I are totally in love. In all seasons, with all flavors. So my first time at Alice’s Tea Cup, of course I ordered a pumpkin scone. And I do every single time. Living in Washington, DC, I don’t get to Alice’s as often as I need to I’d like, which is why investing in the cookbook was the best decision ever.
I have tackled other things in this book, but nothing quite perplexes me as scone-making. This is my 5th attempt and I think my new mantra is going to be “5th time’s the charm.” I think I finally learned that you have to use cold butter, you can’t use double the butter and the same of everything else, mixing with your hands a good idea, just to name a few. And when your best friend gets married, you figure it out and don’t screw up. Because she is amazing. Pumpkin Scones are delicious, and that is just what you do.
*from Alice’s Tea Cup
*makes 12 scones
- 3 cups of flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
- ¾ cup cold butter
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 425.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soada, powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon.
- Work the butter into dry mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated and has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in buttermilk, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract. Combine ingredients wntil dry mixture is wet, do not knead.
- Turn mixture onto floured surface and gather dough together. Pat dough to make a disk, 1 ½ inches thick. Using biscuit cutter, cut out scones and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Repeat this process with remaining dough.
- Bake scones for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Allow scones to cool before glazing.
- To prepare glaze: Place butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until mixture is smooth. As mixture comes to light boil, add heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Whisk for 2 minutes, until glaze has thickened.
more scones lurking in the background. I wish I had a friend to share them with.