March 20, 2012


With the title you can tell that I’m procrastinating today, and not just with one thing, but with many. In one sense I’m not really procrastinating because I got some work done for the summer program, even if it meant meeting a friend/former colleague for coffee and chitchat. I also did an errand or two for an upcoming craft fair I’m in (I have a problem with plastic bags). And I had lunch. Unfortunately the maple nut tart I wanted to try is getting pushed back to tomorrow and same with the maple raisin pound cake. I’m experimenting with maple syrup since I love it so much. When it comes to maple syrup, you go real or go home.

A cousin makes his own on the family farm and I always buy a box. Well, I can’t say ‘always’ because he sells out quickly and sometimes I’m not fast enough. It reminds me that with a big family you have to be quick.

I’m also putting off writing a letter to my family overseas. Easter is coming up and I need to get their cards out soon.

Maybe that’s why I’m not that great in languages; I need to feel like using it in order for it to come out. For the last week I’ve sat down with a pad and pen and nothing comes. Maybe my life just isn’t that interesting. Urgh.

One interesting thing is a spiced beer cake I made on the weekend. It was delicious and before you say ‘What?!? Beer?!?’, it was Nicklebrook’s gluten-free beer. I chose it because it’s a nice strong beer and it would be ideal in a cake (no watered down stuff for me thank you). The occasion was my and brother-in-law’s birthday, hence the shamrock and beer (we’re fans of both).

Happily everyone loved it, enough for seconds. It was moist and delicious, but I would have preferred more spice and beer flavour; it was quite muted. I made a simple plain buttercream icing and used sugar sprinkles for the shamrock, bringing out the artist in me. Maybe procrastinating isn’t such a bad thing.

Here is the recipe in its original form from Food & Drink. I changed the cider for the gf beer and next time, I’m going to double the spices and add a whole can of gf beer. If you decide to make a 9” cake instead of cupcakes, the baking time is around 30 minutes.

Cider Spice Cupcakes with Penuche Fudge Icing
Holiday 2005 (Marilyn Bentz-Crowley)
2 cups (500 mL) cake and pastry flour (replace with a gluten-free flour mix)
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) allspice
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) butter, softened
¾ cup (175 mL) cider
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla)

Penuche Icing
¼ cup (50 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) whipping cream
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla
1¼ cups (300 mL) icing sugar
1. To measure flour, stir, then spoon into measuring cup before leveling with a knife.
2. Preheat oven to 375º F (190ºC).
3. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly stir flour with baking powder, spices and salt. Add sugar, butter, cider, eggs and vanilla.
4. Using an electric mixer, mix ingredients until flour is moistened, then whip at high speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape sides of bowl; beat on high for another minute or until batter is lighter in colour and fluffy.
5. Dividing equally, spoon batter into cups. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes, still in muffin tin, on a rack.
6. To make icing, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add brown sugar and cream. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool 15 minutes in pan on a rack without stirring. Then stir in icing sugar until smooth. Immediately ice cooled cupcakes, as frosting sets into fudge within minutes. Covered, cupcakes keep well for 2 to 3 days at room temperature.
Makes 12 cupcakes


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