A Gift From Savoie + Slight Sacrilege

Scandalous post title, right? To temper expectations, I’m not talking about anything too crazy. Simply, a dessert besides cupcakes appears in the pics below. By way of reason, they were a gift, they were pretty, and I’ve never said no to anything with sugar in it.

They were a gift for a week of celebrations! New team at work and lots of work ahead that I’m excited about. They were also an incentive to train harder for the upcoming Portland Marathon…and totally worked… (Hey, I put it in writing on here- now I have to do it).

There have also been an abundance of really upsetting natural disasters this week, around the country and close to home. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by the hurricanes, and the fire in the Columbia Gorge. Place any order placed over the next 30 days, and 100% will be donated to organizations helping those in need get back on their feet.

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But the real star of the show is Jean Vullien, a perfect sparkler for just about anything. She, too, was a gift and a beaut at that. I’d never seen her before at my regular bubbles haunts, but research showed that she’s available at Elephant’s Deli, a Portland favorite of mine.

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She’s a girly girl. She’s full of tiny pink bubbles: 50% Chardonnay grapes, 30% Jacquere, and 20% Altesse. All are from France, specifically the region of Savoie. Notice how her region of origin is just as large as her name on the label? Savoie is no Champagne, but it’s close enough to be home to many delicious sparkling wines.

This beauty has floral and citrus notes, with a touch of something nutty- almond or hazelnut. Upon first sip, second sip, first glass, second glass, I noticed a creaminess and interestingly enough, a little bit of mint. The mint made it a bit of a palate cleanser- perfect for the different types of macarons. One fun fact that intrigued me was that 10,000 bottles were produced. Honestly, I was unsure whether that was something to write home about or not. I did some research and found this article to be helpful.

For less than $20, highly recommend… If you can find her…

Hope everyone has a wonderful and SAFE week.

Xo,
Jenna

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Boston Cream Pie and a French Sparkling Brut

Hello all!

Hope you had a wonderful week. I think there was a very pronounced hour last Sunday, early morning (let’s call it Daylight Savings for kicks), when Portland decided to immediately transition from 60-70 degrees each day to 40-50 degrees. And decided to add rain. Sometimes sleet… I’m whining but it’s my favorite weather, ever. I’m sure that a resident of any city would champion the foliage and panoramas of their homestead, but it has been decreed that they’re wrong. Portland, Oregon is the most beautiful city in the world in the fall.

Rain on a Sunday in the fall means a long run, catching up with my family, and then an afternoon of bubbles&sprinkles. The cupcakes on these days take a little bit longer, they’re a bit more labor-intensive. But when they’re done and I can listen to the rain pounding outside while enjoying a cupcake and a glass of bubbles, I am one happy lady.

So, Boston Cream Pie. Vanilla pudding- check! Chocolate ganache- check! Fluffy white cupcakes- check! (Look at all of that productivity on a Sunday.) Fits squarely into comfort food. I actually haven’t had a Boston Cream Pie in years, and I love turning other pastries into cupcakes, so this seemed like a perfect fit. They’re a little bit messy, and a little bit rich, and cover all necessary ingredients to send you into a food coma before a busy Monday morning, whoops.

Recipe (makes 12):

Cake-

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pudding-

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp butter

Ganache-

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake ingredients and beat until smooth. Fill cupcake liner and cook for 15 minutes. Beat pudding ingredients and place in fridge to cool. Heat corn syrup and heavy whipping cream until simmering. Remove from stove and add chocolate. Cover for eight minutes. Stir and add vanilla.

Hollow cooled cupcakes and fill with pudding. Replace tops. Dip in ganache and cool. Time to enjoy!

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Jacques Pelvas French Sparkling Brut Rosé is one of the most popular sparkling wines from Provence, partially due to its affordability and to its diverse flavor story. It’s made from the Grenache grape, a grape seen in many of the European romance countries.

The wine is pale pink and super bubbly. You’ll get strawberries and apple on the rose. It’s well-balanced and has a huge follow through, no matter what you’re enjoying it with. The acidity and the vanilla pudding of the cupcakes were two peas in a pod. I’d also recommend it with a salty salad or fish dishes.

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Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna

Orange Sherbet and a Poptop Rose

Working my way through a backlog of random flavor requests and Corrie, your number is up.

While it’s not the most “fall like” of flavor profiles, Orange Sherbet sure does hold Queen in her court. She’s sweet, and fluffy, and tangy and creamy and pretty much the epitome of a cupcake princess. She was a little high maintenance and a little bit of a sweetheart and…I can only handle her in small doses.

After a long absence, it was back to ‘stuffed’ cupcakes for me– working on a better name– and surprisingly, this was a wonderfully successful experience. Corrie had requested “Orange Sherbet Cupcakes” and I wanted to oblige her request, but I was at a bit of a loss. How does one achieve a sherbet flavor? Every recipe I searched encouraged a straight-up layer of orange sherbet on top of regular cupcakes, but I was not a fan of losing any additional sleep for freshly frozen cupcakes. So I went after my next favorite element of orange sherbet- the texture. A whipped orange creme filled orange-yellow-cake cupcakes and were topped with a light orange buttercream frosting. As aforementioned, small doses recommended.

Recipe (makes 12):

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin. Mix cake ingredients until smooth and fill liners.

Orange Creme

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp orange extract
  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Bake cupcakes for 17 minutes. Once cooled, remove tops of cupcakes. Whip Orange Creme ingredients until frothy. Let sit for 1 hour in fridge to cool. Then drop a dollop of creme in each cupcake.

Frosting

  • 16 oz confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Mix frosting ingredients and frost cooled cupcakes as desired. Share with others and eat sparingly.

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I didn’t feel any sort of exiled drinking Lise and Bertrand’s Exile Rose Petillant from the Loire Valley. Though the opening of the bottle was more similar to that of a beer than a bottle of traditional Champagne, it didn’t stop this sparkling wine from tasting just as decadent as the cupcakes. ‘Twas vibrantly pink and 100% Gamay. Smells like hard cider, but tastes deeper than that. There are savory components on the finish. Great choice for the nights when you just don’t want to take yourself too seriously.

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Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Cheers,
Jenna

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Hello, hello!

A busy week traveling, working, having the BEST reunion with an old friend in SF and running my hardest race by far– the inaugural Shamrock Half Marathon in Portland. It was dumping rain, a majority of it was uphill and I was surviving on very few hours of sleep after an evening flight. BUT the finish line was crossed, and for that, I am grateful!

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I chose a Baileys cupcake this year for St. Paddy’s day (PLEASE spell it correctly if you’re going to be around Irish folk for the festivities). It’s simple, creamy, not overpowering and caters to the chocolate crowd and the vanilla crowd.

Recipe (makes 12):

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package chocolate pudding (Yes, chocolate pudding. Portion size- snack pack)
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter

Frosting

  • 16 oz confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (note, this is half the amount I normally use for buttercream)
  • 1/2 cup Bailey’s

Set oven for 375. Line cupcake tin with your most festive liners. Combine ingredients and beat until smooth. This will be thicker than many of the cupcake batters detailed on this site, thanks in part to the pudding. Fill liners about 2/3 full and bake for 16 minutes.

While they cool, beat frosting ingredients. You may want to add a little bit more Bailey’s, that’s your preference. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost and enjoy!

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I always struggle with alcohol related holidays. I’ve never been able to choose a Champagne that compares/complements whisk[e]y, tequila, rum, etc. So I always end up adding said alcohol or a nod to it, to the cupcake. In essence, I’m just trying to get you twice as intoxicated. Enjoy 🙂

This week’s sparkling was a gift from one of my dearest girlfriends for my birthday. She surprised me with a bottle of Chandon Rosé the day of and it was consumed shortly thereafter. Interestingly enough, the Chandon may have paired well with this cupcake. It had crazy acidity, far more than I thought it would, which the Bailey’s would cut through. It was also a little bit bitter which I did not anticipate. At the time I was eating a spicy shellfish dish, which I would not recommend pairing it with, but it would go nicely with creamy pastas or cheese.

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Hope everyone has a wonderful week and parties safely 🙂

Cheers,
Jenna

Blackberry and a Tart Rose

Winter is coming (finally!). That means this girl eats a lot more. Sorry co-workers, if the cupcakes are a success, chances are high that I will consume the majority of them immediately after cooling 🙂 Although my creativity level wasn’t at its peak this weekend, I did utilize a fruit that I rarely consume.

Blackberries are an underrated fruit. Sweet and tart with a funky texture to boot. I don’t integrate them into my diet enough and decided to change that this week. It’s also been a minute since I explored stuffed cupcakes, so the timing was perfect for blackberry compote stuffed cupcakes.

I’ve found the perfect ratio of wet to dry ingredients for the cupcakes, causing them to rise fabulously. I attempted to utilize a new frosting tip this week, to moderate success. I’ve been playing around substituting different dairy ingredients for milk. My faves so far have been sour cream and heavy whipping cream.

Recipe (makes 12)

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter

Blackberry Compote

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. hot water

Frosting

  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake tin. Combine cupcake ingredients and beat until smooth. In small pan, boil compote ingredients for about 12 minutes, until berries have a mushy consistency. While cupcakes bake for 17 minutes, mix frosting ingredients until the consistency is thick but not too sticky. If in doubt, add more confectioners sugar. Once cupcakes have cooled, hollow out center and fill with berry compote. Frost using desired frosting bag tip and enjoy!.

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It’s a rare occasion but from time to time I do run into a sparkling wine that I don’t agree with. Unfortunately, this week’s was one of those. I purchased the Trevisiol with the hopes that its advertised light berry and apple flavors would compliment my blackberry cupcakes. Interestingly enough, this sparkling wine was very bitter, a jarring contrast to the tart flavors of the berry compote. I can see how it might go well with salty noodles or pasta, but just wasn’t my cup of sparkling wine. Not to say it did not get consumed 🙂

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On a related sweet note, I wanted to share a fun Kickstarter I’ve just learned about. It’s called HunnyMilk, hopefully opening in Portland in Spring 2015. We’re talking some of my other favorites things, decadent ice cream treats and donuts cooked to order. I wanted to share it with my readers in case you guys feel like being a part of it. Check out their Website for more info.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Cheers,
Jenna