i really do admire her candor

the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Monday, April 11, 2011

Strawberry Perfection

I've been having trouble finding a good strawberry cupcake recipe that uses real strawberries instead of strawberry extract. Well, I did find one, and it's delicious, but it's more like a strawberry muffin than a cupcake. Today I decided to wing it and make my own strawberry cupcake recipe. I think it turned out pretty awesome, especially for a first try. I started out by thawing ~4 cups of frozen strawberries (it was a little less than three cups once they thawed). Then I pureed them in the blender. I reserved 4 tbsp. of the strawberry puree for the frosting and put the rest in a big mixing bowl (~1 to 1 1/4 c. of puree). Here's the recipe as I made it today, and it was delicious, but next time I might add a bit more strawberry puree to enhance the strawberry flavor (or scale down the rest of the ingredients to just make 12 cupcakes but still use 1 c. of puree). As is, this recipe made 18 cupcakes: Strawberry Cupcakes 1 c. strawberry puree 1/4 c. melted butter 1 c. sugar 1/4 c. vegetable oil 2 eggs 1/2 c. vanilla yogurt 1 3/4 c. all purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt

  • Preheat oven to 350F.

  • Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.

  • Mix strawberry puree, sugar, butter, and oil with a whisk or a hand mixer.

  • Add the eggs and mix well.

  • Add the yogurt and mix well.

  • Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

  • Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners and fill 1/2 - 2/3 full of batter (don't overfill).

  • Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

  • Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting or strawberry frosting (see my recipe below).
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (this makes a lot of frosting, enough to pipe a good amount of frosting onto 18 cupcakes; if frosting with a butter knife, I would halve this recipe) ~Another note on the frosting: 4 tbsp. of puree was probably too much, since the frosting was a little runny (consistency is fine if you refrigerate the cupcakes). Next time I'll try using 3 tbsp.

  • 4 tbsp. strawberry puree (see note above about using less)

  • 4 tbsp. softened salted butter

  • 2 tbsp. softened cream cheese

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 3 1/2 - 4 c. powdered sugar
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then add 1 c. of powdered sugar and the vanilla. Beat in the strawberry puree, and beat in powdered sugar 1/2 c. to 1 c. at a time until it reaches the desired consistency (it will probably take about 3 1/2 to 4 c. of powdered sugar since there's so much liquid from the puree).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Good Things Coming Your Way

I have recently become completely obsessed with baking. Today I am doing a little experimenting. You see, I really want to be able to make amazing cupcakes from scratch. Not from a box. The problem is, there's something Not Quite Right about every recipe I've tried.

Last weekend I pretty much perfected strawberry muffins, and today I think I've nailed chocolate cupcakes. I just need to scale up the recipe and bake a test batch, then I'll be ready to share, I think.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

We've all been sick here in LaTina Land, so the red velvet cupcakes I wanted to make for Valentine's day had to wait. Everyone is feeling better now, so I made them today instead.

I used Paula Deen's recipe, with some modifications. I halved the cupcake recipe (because the three of us don't need to eat 24 cupcakes - 12 is plenty) and added slightly less red food coloring than the recipe called for (I used about 3/4 tbsp. in a half batch - as you can see, my cupcakes were still nice and red). I also doubled the cocoa powder (1 heaping tsp. in a half batch), since I've seen a lot of red velvet cupcake recipes that call for 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder instead of the 1 tsp. in Paula Deen's version.

The cream cheese frosting in this recipe is delicious, but as written, it is enough to frost an entire two-layer cake. I made slightly less than 1/4 of the frosting recipe:
  • 3 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp. softened salted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 scant cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • a few drops red food coloring
Max wanted pink cupcakes, so I added a little food coloring to the frosting. This recipe made plenty of frosting for 12 cupcakes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Wow. It's been forever since I've posted anything at all here, and even longer since I wrote about anything serious. It isn't that I haven't had anything to blog about, more that I just haven't had the time or energy to do it. I don't exactly have the time right now, but I am full of nervous, anxious energy. So here I am.

Tomorrow my baby turns 3, and I am sick to death. Not really sick, but full of anxiety because now, for the first time in his life, Max is full of anxiety. Don't get me wrong, he's had the typical level of separation anxiety when I first dropped him off at daycare a few times in the past, but he's always calmed down the second I left. But now he spends the majority of his days at daycare sobbing, "I want my mommy." I've talked with his teachers about it and his doctor. I've been assured that this is a phase and will pass with time. In the meantime, I might go nuts, and I can't stop worrying about my kid.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Favorite Cookie Recipe

These cookies are AMAZING. Especially if you like peanut butter, which of course I do. I am sad for those who are allergic to peanuts because their tongues don't get to experience the pure joy of these cookies.

This recipe makes ~3 dozen cookies, and in my experience they are a huge hit at bake sales (because they look so pretty and taste so amazingly yummy!).


1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour (it's also good with equal portions of whole wheat and all-purpose flour)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (if you omit the chocolate chips, this is also a kick-ass peanut butter cookie)

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg. Beat in the flour mixture a little at a time. Stir the chocolate chips in with a spoon. Use a small cookie scoop to drop the dough onto cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute in the pan then move to a rack to finish cooling.

I have also doubled the recipe and made giant cookies using a 1/4 c. ice cream scoop to portion the dough onto cookie sheets (use the bottom of the scoop to smoosh them down a little bit or they won't cook all the way through before the bottoms burn). If you decide to try the giant-size version, reduce the heat of your oven to 350 F and bake for about 15-17 minutes (or until the bottoms of the cookies are brown). You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Just a quick note to tell everyone that my defense was quite successful yesterday. I feel like I talked for a REALLY long time (which I did - 50 minutes), but there was no other way to convey the results of the ridiculous number of experiments I did and tie them together in a meaningful way.

Anyway, the defense is behind me, and I can officially be called "doctor" now. Now to figure out what to do with the rest of my career and find a *gasp* Real Job. A very frightening prospect.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Case You Didn't Know...

The end of my career as a graduate student is finally FINALLY really truly concretely in sight. My defense date is set. August 18 at 3 p.m. Wish me luck.

As for all that other emotional stuff from the last post, consider it resolved. Things are ok. But my in-laws are still annoying.