Happy Easter!

Man oh man, do my teeth and stomach currently dislike me. They’re so over sugar-laden snacks that just NEED to be sampled. (Market research, right?) Even with the reprieve of my recently-shared Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes, they’re feeling quite disapproving.

Luckily, after this weekend, the Hallmark holidays take a breather for a minute. So I, and the rest of the five-year-old population of Portland, just HAD to indulge in all of the sweets I possibly could for Easter.

Pre-Easter, I was lucky enough to visit Tra’Renee Chambers and the team at Afternoon Live. So I brainstormed. I phoned a friend. I played the 50-50 game. And I asked the audience. The audience (thanks, Lori and Debbie!) was immensely helpful. With their recommendations, Easter Surprise Cupcakes were formulated. Inspired by the (sometimes polarizing) Peep, this dessert is so light and airy, you might feel like you’re floating away. Full video and recipe shared here.

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 9.45.40 PM

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday, and that you’re looking forward to an amazing week ahead.

Xo,
Jenna

Happy Easter!

For those celebrating, the happiest of Easters! As with all holidays, hope you’re surrounded by good food, yummy beverages and great friends and family. I definitely was, and am very thankful for each and every food coma  this weekend. I planned ahead for the mass consumption of deliciousness by running my first half marathon yesterday– the Hop Hop Half. Highly recommend for all runners wanting to try one. It was a beautiful course, 10 miles of which were directly along the Columbia River. Portland weather behaved for about 85% of it before dumping rain/wind/questionable hale (?) on me during the last two miles 🙂 Very glad to check that one off the bucket list, and feel even more entitled than usual to sugar and booze during the rest of the weekend.

Carrot cake cupcakes were a bit of a no-brainer today 🙂 Disclaimer– I normally don’t like carrot cake. I won’t say “hate”, but it’s been a long-time dislike, due to the texture that the carrot creates in what I believe should normally be smooth and (moist). Now however, I think I’ve changed my tune. I’m going to thank my new food processor for that. Less than a minute created a smooth puree of apple sauce, walnuts and carrots which all added their own dynamic layers to the flavor of the cupcakes. Frost with a batch of the most sinful cream cheese frosting I’ve made to date, garnish with an Easter candy of your choice and enjoy with loved ones.

easter 1

easter 4

easter 2

easter 3

Recipe (makes 12):

Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups mini carrots (peeled)
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 16 oz powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp heavy cream

Blend apple sauce, carrots and walnuts in food processor until pureed. Combine with dry ingredients and add eggs/vegetable oil. Beat until smooth. Fill cupcake liners and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. While cooling, combine frosting ingredients and beat on high power for 4 minutes. Frost and garnish with candy of your choice– jelly beans, Peeps, chocolate, etc. Enjoy!

Any kind of sparkling wine is especially applicable on a fun holiday like today, but in my personal opinion…it should be pink. And pink it was. Lunch today offered multiple complements to the Charles Smith Secco Rosé 2012. The Secco Rosé is super drinkable with flavors of strawberry, cherry and biscotti. It’s a blend of 80% Raboso Piave and 20% Pinot Noir hailing from vineyards in the Piave Valley  in Italy. No photos of the bottle, but here’s an image as reference to find.

secco

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna

 

Spicy Red Velvet– Kicking Things Off With a Bang

It’s been a muggy, rainy day in Portland and after I got my full monthly quota of sun yesterday, it seemed like the perfect day to kick off my cupcake and champagne education.

I went back and forth about a good style to start with. I kept reminding myself that cupcakes are a comfort food, and while my goal is to work up to culinary works of beauty, today was all about the “yumminess” factor.

I decided to make a red velvet with cream cheese frosting– and then add a spicy kick. About half of cup of chili powder went into the cupcakes and a couple table spoons of Siracha into the frosting. Totally a risk– there’s only so much that testing the batter can tell you, but I was thrilled with the end result. You get a light zing throughout your bite, but the aftertaste isn’t too intense. About two cups of tiny rainbow sprinkles went into the frosting for an slight crunch and cute/fun/silly factor that I think is essential with any cupcake.

Cupcake 1- Spicy Red Velvet

I’ve tested a couple of sparkling wines this week and I was looking for one that would balance the spice, but not be overpoweringly sweet. I found my winner in Jacob’s Creek’s Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut Cuvee from SE Australia.

Brut Cuvee’s are going to be more dry than Extra Bruts and less dry than those labeled Suc. This one has a citrus-y kick to it, which worked surprisingly well with the cocoa and spice in my cupcakes.

Jacob's Creek Champ

I’ve kind of given in to the fact that Sunday afternoons will be spent in loose, elastic clothing from now on, but week one was definitely a success. Hope everyone at work is ready for the deluge of cupcakes that are coming in tomorrow. The champagne on the other hand, will definitely be gone by then.:-)

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna