First post, here we go! A long time ago <cough>high school<cough>, I fancied myself a writer. Many years later, I’ve forgotten much of what I learned (unless we’re talking about writing engineering reports, because I can ROCK those!), so I’ve decided to write these posts as if I were talking to a friend. You’ll miss the facial expressions and hand gestures that go along with the conversation, but hopefully you’ll still feel like you’re talking to a friend!
Now that I’ve established the tone, here are a few other things that will help you get to know my baking style: 1) I don’t make my own cake mixes from scratch. I buy a boxed mix and then add stuff to it. Hey, I told you I was a lazy baker, so don’t look so shocked when I tell you that! 2) I love to bake cupcakes. The cupcake trend may be on the way out, but not for me! 3) I don’t use off the wall ingredients. I am sooo NOT Martha. I’m more of a chubby Sandra Lee. Maybe a little more than semi-homemade, but I definitely don’t make something from scratch that has been perfected by someone else and can be bought in the grocery store!
Soooo, let’s talk about baking with booze! For the record, I’m a HUGE fan! I’m always looking for ways to incorporate booze that compliments my flavor profile. BTDubb, I can only do this when I’m baking. I’m a crap cook. For reals. Ask my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat, I just don’t love to do the cooking. Enter husband, who worked his way through college as a line cook at various restaurants. Why should I cook crap food for us when he is more than capable of cooking good tasting food? Anywho, that’s how I rationalize my lack of cooking. 🙂 Back to baking with booze! One of my favorite liquers is Limoncello. I really love that stuff! If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s an Italian lemon liqueur. It’s sweet and lemony but without the sour flavor and since it’s made with vodka, it’s got a kick to it. I can’t drink it straight, it’s just too strong for me, but I LOVE to mix it in things, including this awesome berry pie that I make, the Limoncello Tiramisu I made yesterday (more on that in a bit) and my own personal, signature drink, the Randalicious (see recipe below)!
Once a month, we have this lunch meeting at work where the company supplies the lunch and I volunteer my baking services. This month (today actually) we had lunch from Buca di Beppo (Italian), so I thought Tiramisu Cupcakes would make an awesome dessert to go with, right? So I bought all the stuff, except for the coffee. My husband HATES the smell/taste of coffee, so I don’t own a coffee maker, and from experience I can tell you, instant coffee tastes like crap, so I meant to make some at work and then just bring a cup home to use with my baking. Except I forgot to do that. SO, I had to wrack my brain to come up with another dessert, Italian themed preferably, that would use the same ingredients with a little variation. I ALWAYS have Limoncello in the house, so I decided Limoncello Tiramisu Cupcakes had to be awesome. How could they not be? Except, I didn’t have a recipe for that. So I hopped online, Googled the hell out of it trying to find what I wanted to make and then cobbled together what was sure to be a rousing success. And it WAS! Though, it didn’t turn out as awesome in real life as it did in my head. I mean, it DID, but it didn’t. Know what I mean? What had happened was, my “frosting” didn’t thicken up the way it needed to in order for me to be able to pipe it onto the cupcakes. Rather than panic, I improvised! I peeled off the cute cupcake liners with bunnies and peeps on them, put the lemony cupcakes in small clear plastic cups and then spooned the Limoncello cream on top. It was EXCELLENT! Dessert wasn’t ruined! WOO! It actually tasted hella good, if I may say so myself! Here’s the recipe:
Lemon cake mix + ingredients listed on the back (see step one for other additions)
24 cupcake liners
2 12-cup muffin tins
24 small clear plastic cups
1/4 cup Limoncello
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup water
8 oz tub of mascarpone cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 box instant lemon pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 tub of extra creamy Cool Whip
Ready, set, BAKE!
1. Start with your favorite Lemon cake mix and the ingredients listed on the back. Now add 1 egg and instead of using water, use milk (I use 2% because that’s what I keep in the house). And in place of the oil that’s called for, use melted butter and double it (i.e. instead of 1/2 cup oil, use 1 cup of melted butter). Mix according to directions on the box. You may need to add some more milk if your cake mix is too thick (mine was too thick to use with my cupcake batter dispenser). These additions make your cake sooo moist and delicious!
2. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, so pick out your favorite cupcake liners and line two 12 cup muffin tins. Distribute batter evenly among the liners. I have a gas oven, so I put the temp on 350 to heat it up, then knock it down to 325 to bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. When time is up, remove from oven and cool completely.
3. Mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 cup of limoncello, 1/4 cup of water and boil it in a sauce pan until reduced or thickened. Stir it constantly so that you can take it off the heat as soon as it thickens. Set aside to cool.
4. Mix mascarpone cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Set aside.
5. Mix lemon pudding with milk, place in refrigerator til set.
6. Combine mascarpone cheese mixture, plus pudding and cool whip. Add a few tablespoons of Limoncello. Mmmm, boozy goodness! Let it set in the fridge for a few hours, until it’s nice and cold all the way through. I let mine sit overnight.
7. Poke holes in cupcakes and spoon about a teaspoon of Limoncello syrup on each cupcake and let it absorb in the cake.
8. Remove the cupcake liners and place cakes in individual clear plastic cups (short ones) (one cake per cup).
9. Spoon the cream over the cakes and serve immediately.
Let me know how your dessert turns out!
Asti Spumante, chilled
Fresh berries (I find blueberries and strawberries taste the best)
Optional Sprite (in case you want to water down the alcohol)
I’m not positive of the measurements here, but I use a champagne flute (a bubbly bevvie deserves a fancy glass!) and put the berries in first, then fill about 2/3 of it with the Asti, add the Limoncello – so I guess it’s 2 parts sparkling wine to 1 part Limoncello. Give it a quick stir and enjoy!
Hope y’all have enjoyed my foray in food blogging! Please let me know if you have questions or if you think I need to explain things better, please let me know. Thanks for reading!