Currently viewing the tag: "frosting"

parsnip cupcakes
Parsnips are often overlooked when it comes to baking. I’ll admit I’ve walked straight past them in the produce section, their pale white exterior ignored for other, flashier vegetables. The bold-colored flesh and feathery tops of the parsnip’s neighbor is more familiar, and the root that one associates with muffins and quick bread. So it’s the carrot that is placed in my shopping cart, and then ends up in my cake.

But Martha Stewart changed my mind. Her lovely book Vegetables showed up at my front door, and after thumbing through so many amazing recipes (Skillet Pizza with Greens and Eggplant! Corn and Scallion Chilaquiles! Beet Risotto with Beet Greens! Broccoli Rabe and Ham Croque Monsieurs! Squash Blossom Frittata! Frisee and Roasted Pear Salad!), I (of course) found my way to one of the few desserts in the book, and decided to start there. I’m glad I did.
cupcakesa

Martha Stewart
A few things:

It’s not too late to enter my giveaway! If you’ve pre-ordered my cookbook, you can enter to win a Vanilla Bean Baking Book apron and tea towel set. See this post for details.

Last week my site was down for a little bit, and I lost three posts. I was able to get them back, but sadly all the comments were deleted. So if you left me a question and I didn’t get back to you, please try again! Sorry about that.

It’s less than a week from Election Day, which is also the release of my cookbook. The lovely FauxMartha and my husband helped me come up with the perfect hashtag to celebrate both events: #bakeamericacakeagain. I think we could all use a little extra love while we move closer to Tuesday, and baking cake and sharing some is the perfect way to do just that. Tag your cakes on Instagram to play along! 

Although I thought we were terribly clever, there are already a bunch of fun cake/bake hashtags playing on ‘Make America Great Again’ on Instagram. NPR has a post on the history of Election Cakes that you can read about here.

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buttermilk cake with blood orange frosting | the vanilla bean blog
If you follow along on my instagram account, you may have noticed I’ve been baking quite a bit since September (well, quite a bit more than usual, if that’s possible). The reason is that I have been recipe testing like a mad woman, working on my first book.

I’m still pinching myself about the whole thing. I spent all middle school and junior high writing short stories, novellas, and poems in the free time I had, dreaming that maybe one day my work would make its way to book form. So while ‘cookbook’ was never in my plans (I was always working on some Nancy Drew enters Narnia with Sweet Valley High make-out scenes type book), I am so excited to have this opportunity.

I still have a lot more work to do, but my cookbook will be coming out Fall 2016, and is being published by Avery in the US and Penguin in Canada. It will be a book focused on baking with a handful of favorites from this space, but will mostly contain new recipes. I will also be photographing the entire book.
buttermilk cake with blood orange frosting | the vanilla bean blog

buttermilk cake with blood orange frosting | the vanilla bean blog

buttermilk cake with blood orange frosting | the vanilla bean blog
So, how about cake to celebrate? I’m enamored with blood oranges, and decided to top a buttermilk cake with some blood orange frosting. The bright purple juice naturally dyed the icing a light shade of pink, and I couldn’t be happier. Gold sprinkles never hurt anything, either (and the color combination was inspired by these plates, which I have fallen so hard for). Hip Hip Hooray!

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spice cake with cardamom-coffee frosting | the vanilla bean blog
I’ve been sick for quite some time – going on 6 weeks, in fact, with this on again off again cold and cough nonsense. I’ve spent the last 3 days under my covers, rereading comforting books and pinning my little heart out. I have lots of things racing through my mind (it always seems to happen when I’m sick), but I just don’t quite have the energy to articulate them. Somehow I did find the strength to sneak out of bed and bake a cake, but, well, I just couldn’t help myself.

So, here is a cake, and here is a recipe. My thoughts I’ll keep for now.
spice cake with cardamom-coffee icing | the vanilla bean blog

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cinnamon rolls + a giveaway
cinnamon rolls + a giveaway | the vanilla bean blog
A year and a half ago I started working for Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, the authors of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day Cookbooks. While I write some blog posts for them and spend a good deal of time pinning to their Pinterest boards, one of the highlights of my job is helping them work on cookbooks. A little over a year ago we spent a whole week together, along with photographer Stephen Scott Gross, mixing buckets of dough and baking piles of bread for their book, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.

I was a fan of the Bread in Five series before I met Jeff and Zoë, and now after spending time with the two of them, I can’t rave about them, and their books, enough. I’ve made boules, baguettes, bagels, doughnuts, beignets, coffee cake, sandwich bread, dinner rolls, bostok, and cinnamon rolls with their dough. It’s all been amazing. And so to celebrate, I am giving away 5 copies of the new book! Leave a comment here (with your email, please) and I will pick a winner next week (the giveaway is only open to US residents, sorry!). Winners have been picked and contacted!
cinnamon rolls + a giveaway | the vanilla bean blog
cinnamon rolls + a giveaway | the vanilla bean blog
cinnamon rolls + a giveaway | the vanilla bean blog
Oh, and these cinnamon rolls. Made with brioche dough and smothered in cinnamon and cream cheese icing, they were a perfect start to our weekend.

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a happy birthday

this evening, I sat by an open window
and read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride the day down into night,
to sit alone, and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

-Ted Kooser
[This poem reminds me of my dear friend, Melody, (happy birthday!) who is frequently reading, and writing, and dreaming of stories. She is a fantastic writer, in fact, you should read some of her work! You can find a lovely piece here.]
I have a thing for vegan desserts. I’m not a vegan, but every January [A] and I partake in a vegan diet to cleanse our systems and add more fruits and vegetables into our bodies. When we first started doing this, way back in college, it was rather difficult to find good vegan food. It had just started to become mainstream, and we didn’t realize all our options. We were constantly starving, roasting up potatoes and cracking open a can of corn for every meal. Seriously. The day we came across natural peanut butter in our tiny little co-op was like Christmas; we almost ate a whole jar on some apples. Now-a-days it’s rather ‘easy’ to eat meat and dairy free – there are so many choices in the grocery store, and most coffeehouses and hip restaurants serve something that caters to this life choice.
I’ve always been interested in vegan food because the time each year I eat vegan, I want some great options. Fresh fruits and vegetables are obvious, but this girl can only hold out on baked goods for so long. It’s become a sort of secret challenge – coming up with vegan desserts that taste as good as anything made with butter and eggs. We have several dear friends who are vegan, and I’ve wanted to have a good selection of meals and desserts that I can serve them when they come over – something we’ll all enjoy. It’s so important to me that the people dining at my home feel comfortable with what we are eating.
So about these cupcakes. My dear friend Bethany approached me to make desserts for her sister, who is vegan. I had a great recipe for vegan chocolate cake, and experimented with making it into cupcakes. It worked like a charm: these cupcakes were just as good as my dairy version. I had also previously experimented with a dairy free version of cream cheese peanut butter frosting, so I stepped it up a bit and added bourbon – yum. I mean, super-yum. The chocolate frosting worked great, too; we had winners. Really, it didn’t taste like a granola girl concoction. Imagine dreamy, creamy chocolate or peanut butter frosting on top of moist, rich chocolate cupcakes. Time to call up your vegan friends and have a party.
Purchase my cookbook!

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