Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

He Said/She Said: Ad Hoc at Home

We had a beautiful Victoria Day this year. There was sun, barbecues, fireworks, and time well spent with family and friends. Plus long weekend cupcakes to top it off! This is what inspired the lovely layers:

Ad Hoc at Home
Written by Thomas Keller
With Dave Cruz, Susie Heller, Michael Ruhlman, and Amy Vogler
Photographs by Deborah Jones
Blackboard art by Dan Bunter and Nick Dedier

ISBN 13: 9781579653774
ISBN 10: 1579653774
Publisher: Artisan
Hardcover: 368 Pages

S: There was so much buzz about Ad Hoc at Home that it piqued my interest. I usually look for baking or dessert books, so it is rare that I want to look through a regular cookbook.
H: This book stands out thanks to the size and the design. We both really liked the chalkboard art.
S: It has the coffee-table feel to it which does make it bulky in the kitchen. I usually copy down the recipes now, because I have found small amounts of flour or icing sugar in my cookbooks before.
H: However, we did take this book to the kitchen and it didn't take up too much space on the table. Of course that depends on your kitchen size.
S: We wanted to share a few spreads with you here. Unless your local bookstore has an open copy, the book is plastic wrapped so you can't browse through. The table of contents:

Some of the recipes include a photo, so here is a sample layout:

If you're wondering, this cookbook includes three cupcake recipes! White, Chocolate, and Carrot, along with recipes for vanilla and chocolate buttercream and cream cheese frosting for the Carrot cupcakes. Cake recipes include Coconut, Pineapple Upside-Down, and Grapefruit. I am very excited to try the Grapefruit cake next!

Finally, my favourite part of this cookbook:

Isn't that just a great photo? Chocolate chip cookies! I really liked it because it reminds me of us bloggers. A lot of my favourite bloggers lay out all the ingredients for the recipe they're using in their photos. It is always helpful to have visuals, especially when you're trying a new recipe! There are a few of these photos in the cookbook, that one was in the Dessert section.
H: We always like to try a recipe for our reviews, so we made the Carrot Cake Cupcakes:

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
(Makes about 24 cupcakes)

2 cups of cake flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1/4 cup of whole milk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1 cup of canola oil
3 cups of finely shredded carrots
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and have all ingredients at room temperature. Also have your cupcake liners and pans ready.
  2. Wash and peel your carrots. Using a grater, shred your carrots and set aside.
  3. Using your stand mixer, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.
  4. Add in the oil.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ground cinnamon. Slowly add this and mix.
  6. Add in the shredded carrots.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven) or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cupcakes and let it cool to room temperature.
  10. Note: I cut down on the granulated sugar, it should be 1 cup. I also omitted the 2 1/2 cups of chopped toasted walnuts that are supposed to be added in after the shredded carrots.

Shredding carrots was harder than I thought.

Almost 1 cup! We need 3!

Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
(Makes about 3 cups)

1 package of cream cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 cups of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  1. Have all ingredients ready at room temperature.
  2. Using your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Include the pure vanilla extract.
  4. Beat in the icing sugar until frosting is smooth.
  5. Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost and eat! They are best on the day they are baked, but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  6. Note: I cut back on a few items since I didn't have them and most shops were closed on Victoria Day. The original recipe calls for 1 pound of cream cheese, 2 sticks of unsalted butter. I did add more icing sugar, the recipe only asked for 1 1/2 cups.
S: My mom really likes carrot cake, so she was our first taste tester. She ate the cupcake first before I had frosted it - fresh from the oven. She said it was really good and told me to keep the recipe for her. Next, she tried one with the cream cheese frosting and liked it too! I was very surprised! I did cut back the sugar in the recipe for her because I know she doesn't like to eat overly sweet desserts. She said that the cupcake and frosting were both the right amount of sweetness! Do you know how rare that is? Hurray! She even asked to save some for Dad. =) Having both of my parents approve is unheard of, so that gives Ad Hoc at Home huge bonus points.
H: Overall, it is a very easy to follow cookbook with really nice photos. Good tips and techniques, a few with step-by-step photos for us beginner cooks to follow.

A very nice weekend treat. Carrot cupcakes with a dab of cream cheese frosting!

A very hot afternoon (27°C), I quickly saved the rest in the fridge and ate cold red fruits.

Thank you to Chrissa, Lydia, and Amy from Artisan for providing us with a copy for review.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mario and Luigi Cupcakes

I have always wanted to do Mario-themed cupcakes after seeing the ones on hello naomi (she makes brilliant and super cute cupcakes). It was quite perfect for the long weekend. My brother came home and we played Mario Party 8 on the Wii. I never made it to the star. Fail. I have really bad luck in that game.

So here we have Mario and Luigi!

Mario is an Italian plumber who lives in the Mushroom Kingdom and Luigi is his younger brother.

Here is the star my character never reached. *Sniff Sniff*

However, I did get a bonus star in the end... for landing on the most green spaces that would send me flying back to start.

Boo-ha-ha! My brother was playing as Boo and he won.

I say boo-urns to that!

I made this set for Bev's godson, I hope he had a fantastic 12th birthday party!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Old Firehall Confectionery

Do you remember this tweet?

Square cupcakes? Must go see!

You know what? Despite the fact that my parents couldn't remember the name of the place or gave me no clues whatsoever, the place was easy to find.

Laura, Howard, and I just followed the aroma:

Old Firehall Confectionery
170 Main Street
Unionville, ON L3R 2G9
(905) 415-9192

I hopped, skipped, and jumped to the square cupcakes!

Then I stood up and looked further down... gasp!

Cupcakes to the right, truffles at the bend. The truffles! We ended up getting 5: green tea, Bailey's, white chocolate mango passion, raspberry, and lemon raspberry.

Fudge, biscotti, rolled waffles, and pretzels - all dipped in chocolate!

Cookies on a stick! I want one!

That was just one side of the Old Firehall Confectionery. The other side had frozen treats! Ice cream, sorbet, yogurt, Dippin' Dots with cones or waffles!

Ok back to this square cupcake business:

They are called "Square Top Cupcake" even though the bottom were in a square shape too. They had two sizes, large ($3.99) and small ($2.89), and are on the expensive side. I am going to guess that the large ones have the ganache filling, since the two small ones I got did not have any filling.

I ended up trying the "Creamy Maple" and "Smackingly Strawberry:"

The strawberry buttercream smelled so good, but when we ate it, it tasted like butter! Howard said there was too much butter. Laura said it had a bitter after taste. Mom said it wasn't sweet at all. I have to agree with all of the above. There was no strawberry flavour, just the aroma. The buttercream tasted to be tinted pink butter to all of us. However, the vanilla cake was really good. Everyone agreed that the cake had a good texture and flavour too it.

After the disappointment with the buttercream, we had the Maple one left to try. Again, this smelled so good, I personally thought that the buttercream had a hint of maple flavour. No one else agreed and said it was too much butter. The vanilla cake was still the best part.

Despite that we didn't like the cupcakes, we would still go back to the Old Firehall Confectionery to try the other treats. The place is just fun to be in, there is so much eye candy and the service is good. The five truffles we had were delicious and I really want a to try the fudge and cookies on a stick next!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Dozen Cupcake Sketches from TCAF 2010

TCAF!!! Did anyone else go?

This year at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, I went around with my friend Jen (she also did the NYC Cupcake Tour with me last year) to collect a dozen cupcake sketches! This is how it went down: we politely asked for a cupcake sketch (anything as long as there is a cupcake in it), I would snap a quick photo of them sketching (which is why no one is looking up), and then we would ask what their favourite cupcake is.

Here are the 12 in the order they were collected:

Ray Fawkes
What is your favourite cupcake?
Vanilla or angel cake.

Michael Cho
What is your favourite cupcake?

Eric Kim
What is your favourite cupcake?
Every kind!

Brian Hoang
What is your favourite cupcake?
Chocolate cupcake with a custard filling topped with mint frosting.

PS: Brian did 2 drawings, but I won't be posting that 2nd one here! ;)

Evan Munday
What is your favourite cupcake?
Chocolate cupcakes with lemon frosting.

Jason Loo
(I'm so sorry I didn't get a photo of you sketching!
If you send one in, I'll post it here!)
What is your favourite cupcake?

PS: Brian Hoang, Evan Munday, and Jason Loo are a part of Sketchkrieg!

Jason Bone
What is your favourite cupcake?
Any with pink frosting on it - which is usually strawberry or cherry.

Chip Zdarsky
What is your favourite cupcake?
Every kind, but probably chocolate.

Hilary Leung
What is your favourite cupcake?
Belgium chocolate cherry!

Tory Woollcott
What is your favourite cupcake?
The Elvis Presley (banana cake with peanut butter frosting dollop) from Hearts n Flours!

PS: Tory drew me in there!!! =)

Ramón K. Pérez
What is your favourite cupcake?

PS: Michael Cho, Eric Kim, and Ramón K. Pérez are a part of TRANSMISSION X.

J. Torres
(He's the one sitting down and quite possibly rolling his eyes at me in the photo below.)
What is your favourite cupcake?
Red velvet cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

PS: This is a rare sketch from writer J. Torres!

I got a sketch from one other artist too, but it didn't turn out to be a cupcake? So I won't post it here. There were some other illustrators I wanted to see and ask, but I didn't have enough time. =(

For those that did sketch for me, thank you! I know that some of you do not sketch at TCAF, but you did it for me anyways. So many thanks and I hope to see you next year (or sooner)! =)

This just in! I should add a disclaimer: I work with J. Torres, Jason Bone, and Ramón K. Pérez. Jen is friends and/or has worked with Ray Fawkes, Michael Cho, Eric Kim, Brian Hoang, and Jason Loo. We both know Evan Munday and Tory Woollcott since our paths cross in publishing.