Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Cake Awareness Conference and Neapolitan Cupcakes



Last night was the Second Annual Baltimore Cake Awareness Conference. This event is intended to raise awareness of cake, its social problems, and its place in society. We hear speeches on various cake-related topics and as an added bonus, we get to EAT CAKE! Lots of it!

While contemplating what I would make for this year's event, I found a recipe for making Neapolitan Cupcakes. (I don't have a link to the blog because...I lost it. But no, this was NOT my idea.) The recipe seemed easy, fun, and tasty.

So...I made them.

And they WERE easy, fun, and tasty!

So what's in them?

Neapolitan Cupcakes
Yield: About 36 cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 1 box Brownie Mix (prepare batter according to package directions OR just mix with 1 can pumpkin)

  • 1 box Strawberry Cake Mix (prepare batter according to package directions)

  • Vanilla frosting (prepackaged, or homemade. Recipe below)



Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350

  2. Prepare muffin pans by lining them with cupcake papers.

  3. Place 2 Tablespoons of the brownie batter into each cupcake paper


  4. Place 2 Tablespoons of strawberry cake batter into each cupcake paper


  5. Bake cupcakes for ABOUT 18-20 minutes


  6. Let the cupcakes cool completely and then top with vanilla icing.




Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 C margarine/butter (2 sticks)

  • 4C powdered sugar, sifted to get out lumps

  • 4 tsp Vanilla extract

  • 2-4 Tbsp milk/soy milk



  1. Cut margarine/butter into chunks and cream with an electric mixer until smooth.

  2. Add vanilla extract and continue to cream with mixer until combined.

  3. Gradually add powdered sugar in small increments, mixing until creamy after each addition.

  4. After all the powdered sugar has been added, add in milk/soy milk until the frosting reaches the desired texture.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Confession and a Dream (and French Toast, Too!)



Anyone who knows anything about photography knows that it takes more than an expensive camera to make someone a photographer. It actually takes skill, knowledge, and a lot of creativity.

And in food photography, that creativity requires the right props.

As I've surfed the blogosphere, looking up recipes and seeing other people's techniques, it's become abundantly clear that before I can get those REALLY awesome, mouth-watering shots of my cooking, I'm going to need a little more equipment.

I'm going to need nice dishes.

I'm going to need an attractive surface on which to place the dishes that DOESN'T have my messy kitchen in the background.

And I'm going to need a better memory. Because every time I go to cook something, I completely forget that I want to take pictures of the cooking process.

I suddenly remembered this past Friday, and started to take pictures of my chicken preparation.



Unfortunately, due to the lack of attractive dishes, the pictures came out so gross-looking that I actually deleted them (except this one, because I thought that with a little editing it would make a cool monster! Rawr!) And I NEVER delete pictures.

And this Sunday, I made french toast and it didn't even OCCUR to me to take pictures of the egg mixture, the soaking bread, and the toast in the frying pan.

But I did get a few shots of the finished product covered in DELICIOUS powdered sugar.



And my confession? I'm not a photographer. Not yet. I'm just a girl with a dream. A dream that one day I'll have all the necessary skill and gear to take awesome pictures like the ones my favorite bloggers take. For now, just bear with me while I'm learning the ropes. One day, I'll get it right. At least, I think I'm on the right track. :)

And my other confession? I ate a whole cup of that powdered sugar after we finished off the french toast. And I...don't...regret it...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fun with Photo-Editing

As you may remember (or maybe not) I took a few photos after that ice storm a few weeks ago.

Today I had jury duty, so I spent some time playing around with GIMP and seeing how I could improve my pictures.




Mostly, I used curves to mess with the light and colors.




I'm no professional, but it's a start to getting my pictures the way I want them.