Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

I started my 4th celebration a little earlier in the week. On Monday, I ordered--finally!--my long-dreamed upon kitchen gadget: the KitchenAid stand mixer. Amazingly, it arrived a mere 3 days after I placed my order...that's right, I had it in my grubby little hands when I got home from work on Wednesday.

Please meet Kitty the KitchenAid 5qt mixer. Isn't she just beautiful?

To christen her, I made a small batch of good old vanilla cupcakes to act as the canvas for my buttercream experimentation: roasted strawberry, as seen on Cookies and Cups, a food blog by a fellow Jersey girl!

It was surreal to just plop things into the mixer and then...stand there. My arm was like, "Wait...where's the hand mixer? I don't...I don't...have anything to do...?" AKA my upper body fitness gained by hand mixing all these years is about to atrophy. ha More reps at the gym, I suppose!

Cake batter came together in no time, and into the oven they went. While that was baking, I prepared the strawberries for roasting: sprinkle with some sugar and let them macerate while the cakes were baking up. Once the berries were roasted, I let them cool per the recipe, and then rather than dirty something else I'd have to clean (a blender), I just grabbed ye olde potato masher and smooshed the berries to puree them. (See, present me with an opportunity to use a machine and I still go for the elbow grease road. That said, I will never ever ever whip egg whites by hand. Nope nope nope.)

After reaching this point, I realized the frosting recipe was likely for 2 dozen cupcakes, so I decided to halve it, as I overfilled the cupcake papers and only got 9 cakes. But what to do with the extra puree...?

Duh...fill the cupcakes!

I then experienced the most relaxing buttercream making of my life: soft butter into the mixer's bowl, turn on mixer (using the GENIUS bowl-scraping paddle attachment that I've had since my bridal shower in 2011). Once that was creamed, dump the powdered sugar in the spout on the splatter guard, and enjoy not getting poofed with a cloud of sugar...UNHEARD OF! Lastly, I added in the strawberry puree and let that incorporate. The recipe noted that fruit buttercreams tend to get a bit curdled, but that is easily remedied by adding a bit more powdered sugar. I did that until it stiffened up to my liking, plopped it in a piping bag, and frosted the filled cupcakes.

End result: DELICIOUS. The roasted strawberries...out of this world. I'm already dreaming of doing lemon cupcakes with roasted blackberry frosting; lemon cupcakes with the strawberry frosting...oh dear, I could go on and on... But I'll stop myself and let you oogle the little darlings:

While I'm mentioning strawberries, here are some photos of the strawberry shortcakes I made at my dad's request for Father's Day. I baked the biscuits earlier in the day, and then made the strawberry filling and whipped cream just before serving. Recipe via The Candid Appetite. I shouldn't have to tell you there were no leftovers. ; )

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