Pi Day Special

Pi Day Special

3.14. I think is my favorite math-related holiday! I mean, given that there aren’t any mathematical plays on cupcakes, Pi Day is the default winner. Plus this year 3.14 at 9:26:53 was particularly special. It only happens once a century! Well, twice, if you’re on AM/PM time; I have my clocks set to military time. I’m done nerding out about math.

Therefore, this pi day, I give you two pies and two recipes! These were the second and third times I’ve made pies. The first was a couple of weeks ago, when I tried making one to practice. Hey, if this date only comes once a century, I have to nail it. And it turns out, pies are so easy to make! Why didn’t I previously try them? I might move to pie making rather than cupcakes. Just kidding…and as a shameless plug: stay tuned for later this week for a St. Patty’s day surprise cupcake!

The pie on the right was a scrumptious Irish Cream double chocolate pie. Oh my gosh, was it a good pie! I started with one simple pie crust and realized that I didn’t really plan it out. What was the filling going to be? In a mad dash, I scoured the internet and my pantry for anything that could potentially resemble a filling. It was pretty amazing to watch the simple ingredients to come together to form a solid, sturdy filling that I would spoon into the pie crust.

The main pie is an apple pie. It’s a classic–need I say more? I’m thinking not. Happy baking!

Xo,
JJC

Irish Cream Double Chocolate Recipe
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Irish Cream, to taste

1. Combine the milk, vanilla, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Stir over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
2. Stir in the egg yolk until the mixtures just barely comes to a boil.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and Irish Cream.
4. Pour the pudding into the pie crust and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered.

Apple Pie Recipe

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Pie Crust (yield 2)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into small pieces
8-9 tablespoons ice water

1. Combine flour and salt in large bowl
2. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Note: after the butter is cut, you may want to use your (clean) fingers to make sure it’s mixed well.
3. Stir in enough water with fork just until flour is moistened.

Divide dough in half; shape each half into ball. Flatten slightly. Wrap 1 ball in plastic food wrap; refrigerate.

Apple Filing
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan. Press firmly crust against the pan
2. In a large bowl, gently mix the ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate.
3. Top with second crust. Wrap excess top crust under bottom crust edge, pressing edges together to seal. Cut slits or shapes in several places in top crust.
4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch wide strips of tin foil after first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

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Hard Cider Cupcakes

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Would you believe it? It’s Thanksgiving weekend and almost December. I can’t believe how the year had gone by so quickly. Given the time of year, it’s prefect for the cupcake of the week: hard cider cupcakes! So what exactly do I mean, you might ask? This cupcake is an apple cider cupcake with a cinnamon whiskey buttercream. And yes, it’s as good as it sounds.

There of course is a back story behind each cupcake I make. For this one, I need to thank Janie and Denise for the idea and also sharing the Buzzfeed post about cupcakes that “will get you drunk.” After doing the math, unless you want/can eat at a minimum 30 cupcakes, there is no possible way to get drunk off these cupcakes. Nonetheless, these were really fun to make and scrumptious desserts at Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.

I based the recipe off one of the Buzzfeed recipes but ended up adding a lot more spices and ingredients to make the cake flavorful and fluffy. In the cake, I also used spiced apple cider from Trader Joe’s rather than traditional apple cider, which I imagine would be just as delicious.

While I normally am not a fan of frosting, this cinnamon whiskey buttercream was really delicious. The whiskey provided a nice kick to the sweet cinnamon vanilla. I ended up adding a dash of salt as well to “cut” the strength of the whiskey.

Overall, the cupcake was delicious and a hit at Thanksgiving, and I loved pairing it with some hot apple cider as well. Enjoy!

Xoxo,
JJC

Recipe
Cake, yield 15
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup sour cream

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the apple cider and sour cream.
7. Fill 15 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 325F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon whiskey (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, cinnamon, and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_0516

Apple Cupcake with Maple Peanut Butter Frosting

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This week it finally begins to feel like autumn. I think it was the first time I actually felt cold this October. But what better thing is there to do other than stay inside bake some goodies and drink hot apple cider? I contend, again, that autumn is the most delicious season of all–and it finally feels like it.

This week I wasn’t exactly sure what type of cupcakes to make and started to troll Pinterest (where else?) and found a nice recipe for apple maple cupcakes. The cake was a delicious and easy to make. After the pumpkin cupcake incident, I was wary of putting too much apple in. However, by using two medium sized Macintosh apples from Trader Joe’s, the apple provided a nice moisture to the overall cake. I liked this cake because it wasn’t too sweet, as the maple (with peanut butter) frosting was a bit on the sweeter side.

Honestly, I had a bit of trouble with the maple frosting. When you make a buttercream, you add confectioner’s sugar to thicken the frosting. But when you add maple syrup on top of the normal amount of sugar, you may end up having to schedule a visit to the dentist’s office. While I knew that, I still put too much maple syrup in the frosting, making the butter a strange sticky concoction. It looked as if the frosting would fall off, but the maple syrup acted like glue. To thicken it without putting too much sugar, I dropped in a glob of peanut butter. The peanut butter immediately thickened the mixture and added a slight savory flavor to the sweet frosting.

Ultimately, the cake and the frosting were really delicious and basically have been getting me through midterm season. If you are not currently considering moving your bed to a library, then I’m sure that these are best enjoyed along some simmering mulled wine or spiced apple cider while relaxing on comfy couches.

Enjoy!
JJC

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Recipe
Cake, yield 16
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups shredded apples (I used Macintosh apples)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the apples.
7. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, peanut butter, and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_0450