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Friday, March 11, 2011

Green Velvet Cupcakes

Sorry mom, I’ve been bad this week. I haven’t eaten dinner all week. I know, I know, I’m terrible but I have some really good excuses! Let’s go through my week.

Sunday – Travelling back from New Jersey after a long weekend of unpacking boxes and moving furniture. My huge, strong, girl muscles were tired and it was all I could do not to fall asleep on the train. Making dinner was near impossible, so I decided to eat a brownie. Not even a good brownie, one that I had bought on Friday and was in my purse all weekend. I’m gross, I know.

Monday – Girls night! Okay, I actually did eat dinner Monday night, but it was not of my own doing. Recently I’ve been hanging out Monday nights with some awesome ladies from my department. We eat dinner, we gab and we watch silly girl TV. It’s excellent and a fantastic way to start the week. There are usually baked goods too, awesomeness.

Tuesday – I finally made it to the grocery store! I had big plans to leave work by six o’clock. This way I could walk home, get my car and be to the grocery store by six thirty. Thanks to a major accident on the highway, (right before my desired exit!) I didn’t make it to the store until seven thirty. Grocery shopping (plus a much needed trip to TJ Maxx!) done and I’m home by nine. Dinner was a banana. No, I’m lying; it was those rice crispy treats I showed you on Wednesday. They were delicious.

Wednesday - I’m now halfway through the week and you’re thinking I haven’t had a single real meal. Not true! The first two days of the week I had lunch at the food carts. Chicken and veggies over rice , it’s like having dinner for lunch. Which is good, because Wednesday I had Lettuce for dinner. The reason? I had grand plans of heading to the gym. With my gyms shoes on I get ready to head out the door and I glance at my computer. At some point in the evening I had picked up some malware and my computer was all jacked up. I spent the next two hours trying to restore my computer. Gym and dinner plans are thrown out the window.

Thursday – I decided I’m just going to start over next week with real food and I had toast for dinner. I slathered it with my own raspberry-peach jam. Then I made these, which will be quickly devoured by my coworkers. Then everyone will have green tongues. So festive!

Don’t worry mom, Friday comes with big plans! I’m taking the train to visit boyfriend and we’ll go out to dinner. I’ll have some protein and a whole lot of vegetables. I’ll even pay! I’m such a good girlfriend. Let’s not pretend that we’re going somewhere fancy though. Boyfriends new apartment is right around the corner from Panera and I’m going to get a salad.

Green Velvet Cupcakes
I made these to celebrate St. Patricks day early because we have a late night meeting on the 17th. I’m not sure who planned that one, but we’ll be listening to presentations when everyone else is out being raucous. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, so feel free to divide the recipe in half if you don’t want that many! The buttermilk and the combination of baking soda and vinegar, make this cake light and fluffy. I might have had one of these for dinner as well!

2 eggs (at room temperature)
½ cup cocoa powder
2 ounces green food coloring
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 and add cupcake liners to your cupcake pan. You’ll need 24 liners!

Mix green food coloring and cocoa powder in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix flour and salt. In a large bowl, beat shortening for about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add green cocoa powder and mix until color is evenly distributed.

Alternately add flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. In a small bowl, mix together baking soda and vinegar; then add to the batter. Stir until everything is combined and smooth.

Distribute batter evenly between 24 cupcake liners. I like to use to the 3 tbsp scoop from Oxo. Bake cupcakes for 15-17 minutes. A cake tester should come out with some crumbs attached, but no wet batter. Remove cupcakes from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
I was unsure of this frosting at first, but when I fed it to my friends they raved about it. Just be sure to cook the flour/milk mixture long enough and allow it to cool before adding to sugar mixture. That way you can avoid breaking the buttercream, like I did the first time I made this frosting.

3 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan combine flour and ¼ cup milk, whisk until smooth. Add remaining milk and whisk again. Heat over medium until the milk comes to a simmer. Cook for one minute then remove from the heat. Allow this to cool completely, the mixture will thicken slightly.

In a large bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat on medium to high for 7 to 10 minutes. The frosting should be light and airy. Transfer to a piping bag and make your cupcakes beautiful! (I used a Wilton 2D tip)

Oh yeah, this is what your sink will look like!

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