Friday, May 18, 2012

Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

I got a KitchenAid mixer, which I LOVE, for Christmas this year and I couldn't wait to bake a cake.  I had an idea for a strawberry cake that I wanted to try.  I tried it and loved it so when I need to make a dessert for a church picnic a few weeks ago, I chose to make strawberry cupcakes using the same recipe.  They were a big hit!

This recipe is my variation of KitchenAid's white cake recipe.

White Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (I use coconut oil)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons strawberry extract
4 egg whites
1/2 to 1 cup of fresh strawberries (chopped)

Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl.  Add shortening, milk, and flavorings.   Mix about 1 minute at low speed.  Stop and scrape bowl.  Add egg whites.  Mix at medium/high speed about 1 minute.  Add strawberries and mix at medium/high speed until smooth and fluffy.

Pour batter into cupcake cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Frost.

Buttercream Frosting
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cream or evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons strawberry extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
milk, if necessary

Place butter in mixer. Beat at medium speed about 1 minute, or until creamy.  Stop and scrape bowl.  Add cream, flavorings, salt and 1 cup powdered sugar.  Mix at very low (stir) speed about 30 seconds.  Stop and scrape bowl.  Mix at low speed about 1 1/2 minutes, or until well blended.  Stop at scrape bowl.

Decrease to stir speed.  Gradually add remaining 3 cups powdered sugar and mix until blended.  Stop and scrape bowl, if necessary.  Add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary.  Beat at medium speed about 1 minute, or until smooth.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Origami Flowers

A while back, I saw some origami flowers on  I have always thought that origami is pretty cool, and even learned some basic origami while on mission trip to Japan so I decided to making some flowers.

Japanese Kusudama
I really like the brown ones (Japanese Kusudama).  The one downfall is that you have to make five separate pieces and then glue them together.  I found that they held best if I used clear tape to hold them while the glue dried.  I put the clear tape between the pieces so that you can't see it.  The tape will not hold long term on it's own so you will want to use glue as well.
Simple Lily

The lilies are made from one piece of paper.  They are much more complicated to create, but it's fun!

I originally tried using a Japanese website for instructions.  I was able to to make the Japanese Kusudama using the pictures, but needed explanations (in English) to make the lilies.  I used Tipnut for English instructions.  Tipnut includes instructions for all kinds of paper flowers.  The origami flowers are near the bottom of the page.