Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July is such a great holiday, I think. I mean, aside from the whole “winning our independence” thing, which is obviously the most important, this is such a fun-loving, happy holiday.  Who doesn’t love grilling/eating hot dogs, watching baseball, setting off fireworks and being with friends and family? That’s what it’s all about, to me. When I was a kid, we had a lake house where we would spend every single 4th of July- we’d sit out on the boat dock eating watermelon and shooting off fireworks. I always loved the sparklers. Some of my very happiest memories come from those 4th of July celebrations out at the lake house. Such good times. This year (like last year), we’re going to a baseball game – baseball, hot dogs and fireworks- is there anything more American? We just love it! In honor of the good ‘ol 4th – I decided to get a little patriotic in the kitchen and bake up some red, white and blue cupcakes. Nothing fancy, just simple white cake with a kick-butt buttercream. As always, I chose Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for her perfect party cake- it never fails. I also went with the standby Magnolia Bakery buttercream and topped it off with some patriotic sprinkles. Happy 4th of July, everybody- ENJOY!

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes
-Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the buttermilk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the buttermilk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Using a small spoon, fill each cupcake liner 1/2 full with the batter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting them.

Vanilla Buttercream
-Magnolia Bakery

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used a good Mexican vanilla and it was fantastic!)

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading or piping consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.

**For red, white and blue cupcakes- separate the cake batter into 3 different bowls. Add blue food coloring (I use gel) to one bowl, the red to another, and leave the third bowl as is. Fill each cupcake liner with a small, even layer of blue, then white, then red on top. Mine didn’t exactly come out perfectly straight- I ended up with more of a “wobbly” effect, but it really doesn’t matter as long as you get the three colors! I thought it looked kind of fun, actually! :)

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Sing For Your Supper Turns TWO!!

Wow, 2 years!!  It seems like just a couple of months ago I was writing the post for my 1 year anniversary! A lot can happen in a year’s time- my site got a completely new (and awesome) redesign, I left Tuesdays With Dorie after 2 years of faithful participation (and even got a sweet email from Dorie herself!), I created a cookie that went on to win a contest, I helped to overhaul and revive an awesome pie-making club with my good friend Jessica, and surprisingly conquered my fear of yeast. Not too bad for a year’s work. But I’ve been thinking. All these things are great and all, but none of it, not one single thing, would be possible without my husband. Seriously- if he hadn’t been willing to build me a site (completely from scratch, mind you) two years ago and devote lots and lots of hours to it’s upkeep (really, you have NO idea all the problems we’ve dealt with because of this blog!), Sing For Your Supper might still exist, but it wouldn’t be nearly what it is today. Joel puts in so much work for me and my passion of food blogging; I feel like I should thank him, publicly, for his hard work and devotion.

So Sweetie, this post is for you! :-)

I’ve been thinking long and hard for months what I would make for my 2 year “blogiversary”. For awhile I thought I might try something really difficult and impressive…but the more I considered the idea, the more I realized that’s not me at all. Nothing about my blog or my food is “difficult” (or all that impressive, really) – just simple and tasty. I’m more of a “make-what-I-want-and-people-can-either-like-it-or-not” type of gal. That’s why I ended up choosing what I did: Lemon Mini-Cupcakes with Lemon-Vanilla Buttercream. Perfectly simple, sweet, and I’ve got to say it, down right delicious. I used Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake as a base and sort of went from there. These were the perfect size- one bite of sweet, lemony goodness. Like a bite of sunshine. Which is why I decided to call them “Sunshine Bites”.  Joel even agreed with me- as soon as he walked through the door, he was greeted with a cupcake being shoved in his face and me saying, “here, try this. Doesn’t it taste like a bite of sunshine?!”, to which he happily agreed (through a mouthful of cupcake).  These turned out to be the most delightful, flavorful, happy cupcakes, and I’m perfectly thrilled with my choice! So, happy 2 year blogiversary to me and to my hard-working, sweet, thoughtful husband, Joel!

Sunshine Bites
-Cake adapted from Dorie Greenspan, buttercream adapted from the Magnolia Bakery

For the Cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
juice of half a lemon

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees. Fill mini cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract and lemon juice, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the buttermilk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the buttermilk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Using a small spoon, fill each cupcake liner 1/2 full with the batter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a toothpick inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting them.

Lemon-Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice of one lemon

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk, vanilla and lemon juice. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly (I used yellow). Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.

And now, to help me celebrate a fantastic 2 years of food blogging, I’d like to give you a little something! I got this to give away a few months ago and I’ve been saving it for just this occasion! I have one copy of Bob’s Red Mill Cookbook: Whole and Healthy Grains for Every Meal of the Day to give to you. This is FULL of great looking recipes; from things like “Bodacious Blondies” to Stuffed Pork Chops to Easy Mexican Lasagna.

All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is leave a comment on this post. Flattery is accepted. Hehe, just kidding…..sort of. I’ll pick one winner randomly. You have until Thursday night 8PM Central Time.

*For extra opportunities to win, you can become a Fan of Sing For Your Supper on Facebook (there’s a little button just to the right of this screen that you can click).  Also, you can follow Sing For Your Supper on your RSS feed. If you already follow me on Facebook or through your RSS feed or both, all you need do is just say so for your extra chances to win! Good Luck and THANK YOU for helping me celebrate 2 years of food blogging awesomeness!!

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4th of July Cupcakes…

Yesterday we had a big family post-4th of July get-together at our house. My grandmother (Granna), my Aunt Josie and her family, my Uncle Alan and his family, my mom, dad, sister and nephew were all there. 16 people total. This was the first time for most of them to see our new house, so we were excited for them to come! I was especially excited for everyone to meet Izzy! Of course, she was (as always) the life of the party! Here’s Granna outside in our backyard getting acquainted little miss Izzy Bell…

(And yes, that is a dead hibiscus plant over there….I killed it a few weeks ago and now I’m trying to bring it back to life. We’ll see…)

I thought this would be a perfect chance for me to try out my new Martha Stewart Cupcakes book – I picked the Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting and they were SO good! I think this might just be my new favorite cupcake. The cupcakes are light and moist and the frosting is to die for! Everyone really enjoyed them.

They were supposed to have cute little stars and stripes piped onto them, but we had a minor catastrophe just before everyone arrived (my pot wrack fell off of the wall, shattering my brand new ceramic measuring cups and making a HUGE mess that took forever to clean up!), so I didn’t exactly get a chance to do it. Oh well. They still tasted great. And who doesn’t love a plain ‘ol vanilla cupcake anyway, eh? Ok, so maybe it would’ve been cuter with the decorations….OH WELL!!

Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes
-Martha Stewart Cupcakes

3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in vanilla.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
-Martha Stewart Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

I think everyone had a great time (especially the kids who spent almost the entire time out in the pool!), and I loved making these great cupcakes and having everyone over for a great 4th of July get-together! I hope everybody had a great holiday weekend with friends and family!

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Sing For Your Supper Turns ONE!!!

It has officially been ONE YEAR since my sweetheart of a husband created this blog for me and I entered the world of food blogging! I feel like singing..

Happy Blogoversary to me, happy Blogoversary to meeee, happy Blogoversary dear Sing For Your Suppeeeerrrrrr…HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY TO MEEEE!! Yaayyy!

Alrighty, thanks for letting me get that out of my system! It just feels good to sing, ya know?

A heck of a lot has happened in the past year – some good, some very, very bad, but no matter what we’ve been through, this blog has remained through it all. A way for me to escape from the busyness around me and just concentrate on something I have grown to love almost as much as I love to sing (almost)- food.

So to celebrate one year of this cute little food blog, I decided to make cupcakes! What better way to celebrate a 1st birthday than with cupcakes?! I chose the richest-sounding, most indulgent recipe for chocolate cake and buttercream frosting I could find, and in about an hour or so, I had sinfully delicious, indulgent blogoversary cupcakes! YUM! They were absolutely deeee-licious!! (and it worked out nicely because I sent the majority of the batch to work with hubby to celebrate the last work day of his closest co-worker – two birds with one stone! Yay!)

Black Magic Cake
-found on My Baking Addiction

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost as desired.
Yields 10 to 12 servings. *I got about 18 cupcakes out of it
* To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Buttercream Dream Icing
-found on The Repressed Pastry Chef

1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
4-6 tablespoons very cold milk

Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar a little at a time and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency. It should be light and fluffy.
The important thing is to work slowly when adding the milk. You can always add more… but you can’t take it away if you add too much and the icing is too thin. You want it to be thick enough to set up well… but you don’t want it so thick that you can’t pipe it out of a pastry bag or spread it with a spatula.
(*I made half of the batch and had plenty for all of my cupcakes)

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to stop by and read my blog – it almost wouldn’t be worth it without you! It’s so nice to know that people actually do read my posts, look at my pictures and try my recipes! THANK YOU!! And thanks for stopping by today and helping me to celebrate my one year blogoversary!!

Love,

Amy

I even wore my special cupcake pajama pants this morning for the occasion. (Izzy is helping me celebrate…) :-)

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This is going to be a fun post, I can tell…….

YIPPEE!! Its the week of Halloween!!! I love this holiday, people! Not just me, though – my family too. My mom, my sister and I always decorate our houses with cute Halloween decor – not creepy stuff, though – I don’t dig on having fake spider webs and black lights on my front porch. Cute stuff, like pumpkins, candy corn and cute, friendly little ghosts! Although I will admit that I have an embarassingly large collection of The Nightmare Before Christmas stuff on display every year (its my second favorite movie ever!), which is about as morbid as I get on Halloween (however, I guess the fact that I leave it all out on display until Christmas adds to the morbid factor a bit).

Sorry, just couldn’t resist!!

Anyway, back to my post….every year we all get together and watch fun stuff like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!, Hocus Pocus (boy, do I love Bette Midler!) and the Disney version of Ichabod Crane (you know, the cute animated version with Bing Crosby narrating? Golly I love that movie!) So obviously, Halloween is big in my family. Which is why I was SO excited when Clara of I Heart Food 4 Thought chose Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes for this week’s TWD recipe with the idea in mind that we could decorate them for Halloween!! How fun!! How clever you are, Clara!

Now, you’d think that a cupcake wouldn’t take much trouble…wouldn’t cause any confusion….no worries, right? W-R-O-N-G. We’ve had all kinds of nerdy food discussions all week about these cupcakes! Just look! Apparently these cupcakes came out rather dry for many of the bakers, and dry cupcakes just won’t do. So, the TWD geniuses started thinking of ways to make them more moist – sour cream, pudding, oil instead of butter, applesauce, less flour, etc – really good stuff! So I took their ideas and ran with it; I’ll give you the low-down:

  • Instead of using a softened stick of butter, I used half butter (melted) and half oil
  • Instead of 1/2 cup buttermilk, I used 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
  • I used half brown sugar, half white sugar instead of all white
  • I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet (for the cake and the glaze)

And there you have it. Its not much of a change but I’ll tell you, these were THE MOST AWESOME CUPCAKES I’VE EVER TASTED. Oh my heavens, that chocolate glaze….to die for!!! These were seriously amazing. Seriously. And oh-my-goodness, did I have a good time decorating them all Halloweeny-like!

I was planning on sending these to work with hubby tomorrow, but after tasting, I think these babies will stay right here with mama! Oh yeah!

You know, honestly, I’d love to know what these cupcakes taste like when using the recipe as written. I’m sure they’re still fabulous – but I just couldn’t risk a dry cupcake…nope, sorry.

Isn’t that little plate cute?! I got that at Hobby Lobby and I’m oh-so-proud of it!!

Ok, I suggest rushing over to Clara’s blog and getting the recipe for these babies…..they’re good. What a great party treat!

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