sunshine in winter {cooking}

i get depressed in winter. and baking makes me happy. :) AND i'm still obsessed with cupcakes. AND i'm reading 'the particular sadness of lemon cake' which happens to have a huge picture of lemon cake with chocolate icing. can't look at that every day and not be tempted. so i tried out this recipe, but made one smaller cake and 24 mini cupcakes. it turned out pretty well! i think i'd add more lemon juice next time, however.

the recipe suggests a thin lemon glaze, which admittedly is healthier than the buttercream frosting that i chose to add. for half of the frosting i added cocoa and vanilla to make my own chocolate buttercream. mmm.

happy weekend!

i <3 cupcakes {cooking}

let me preface this by saying i am by no means a baking expert. i love unique cupcakes, and i love cooking, so i wanted to try a few recipes and see how i did! my friend kate and i made 4 different kinds of cupcakes, and even though they aren't as good as my favorite (rocket queen - if you are in the corvallis/albany area, try them immediately, they are addictive), they'll make nice chanukah presents for my dear family. [caption id="attachment_780" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption=""red" velvet with buttercream frosting // flourless chocolate with cream cheese frosting"][/caption]

the first recipe was for red velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting (modified from ming makes cupcakes). My dad hates red food coloring, so I used beet juice, which turned the cupcakes into "purple velvet". still pretty!

the flourless chocolate cupcakes (recipe from ming makes cupcakes) were amazing! the batter was so good that i barely even wanted to bake them. if i use this recipe again, i will fill the cups more - they are a bit flat. the recipe calls for fresh whipped cream to serve - but i'm waiting to try that until i get them to my parents' house in bellingham on wednesday.

[caption id="attachment_781" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="pumpkin's pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting"][/caption]

i can't remember where i found the pumpkin cupcakes recipe - but it sure is delicious. i would add a lot less honey, however - they are almost too sweet for me. the frosting also calls for powdered cactus honey (which i have never heard of, and decided not to bother with). i also used rice flour for this recipe instead of wheat flour.

i used the same cream cheese frosting recipe for the pumpkin cakes as for the carrot cupcake recipe (also from ming makes cupcakes, and might i add, the very best cream cheese frosting ever). i am shamelessly plugging ming's site because a) the recipes are delicious and b) there are very few ingredients, which i always appreciate.

[caption id="attachment_782" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="carrot cupcakes, unfrosted"][/caption]

i used rice flour instead of regular flour for the carrot cupcakes as well.

[caption id="attachment_783" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting"][/caption]

i am a big fan of homemade presents. fun to make, fun to give, and from the heart. i'm heading to my parents' house on wednesday for a much-anticipated mini-vacation during thanksgiving and the first night of chanukah. happy holidays, everyone! <3