Getting ‘high’ on cupcakes!

Taking up on a new cooking challenge: in order to help a fundraising bake sale, I’m getting back into baking. High altitude baking. That said, after having a long conversation with my [American] stove/oven, we came to the agreement that we’d become friends, not rivals.

If I’m able to get my mini cakes out, not deflated, nice looking, and attractive to someone else’s mouth, both of us would win: I’d promised to throughly clean it after I was done.

Strawberry cupcakes filled with ‘dulce de leche’ (caramel)
My ‘transcontinental’ margarita cupcakes: (tried and) approved by Brazilians, Mexicans & Americans!
my ‘assistant’…

Taking up on a new cooking challenge: in order to help a fundraising bake sale, I’m getting back into baking. High altitude baking. That said, after having a long conversation with my [American] stove/oven, we came to the agreement that we’d become friends, not rivals.

If I’m able to get my mini cakes out, not deflated, nice looking, and attractive to someone else’s mouth, both of us would win: I’d promised to throughly clean it after I was done.

Both of us [the oven and myself] smiled at the agreement [or at least I did, and maybe, in my crazy mind, my oven’s alter-ego did the same].

Moving on to the preparations. Simply followed a regular yellow cake recipe [oh, you, Martha Stewart!], as well as, a simple lemon pound cake recipe, and a fantastic recipe for strawberry cupcakes, from Yummy Cakes from Lynn, discovering [through extensive online research] a few tips/adjustments for baking at high altitudes [that’s why I’m calling this post ‘getting high (altitude) on cupcakes!].

La Paz, Bolivia, can be a great example of how frustrating it might be for a rookie baker! In order to remain in good terms with my kitchen oven, ‘we‘ decided to go for this ‘new & improved first-timer’ cake (batter) step-by-step: 😮

Flour: Increased by 2 Tbs per cup of batter

Baking Powder/Soda: Decreased by 1/4 tsp per tsp of mix

Sugar: Decreased by 2 Tbs per cup of mix [we’re always advised to go light on the sugar here, it’s healthier and better for the body’s blood pressure…]

Milk: Increased by 2 Tbs per cup of mix

Extra egg: added one more to the usual 3

Oven Temperature: Increased by 25 degrees

Baking Time: Decreased by five minutes per 30 minutes of baking time.

It looks like a lot of math, right? Adding this, subtracting that…. raising the oven temperature, decreasing the baking time… But it all makes sense – you’re looking for a less ‘runny’ cake mix/batter, and with  hotter oven, it’s logical (!!) to leave your ‘lovies’ in there for less time. At the end, it’s all about a great deal of TLC! ♥

Curious about the results?

Take a look, and let me know how you think the bake sale went with the ‘highest cupcakes I’ve ever baked’!

baking the strawberry cupcakes


Cupcakes filled with ‘dulce de leche’ (very popular in Latinamerica, similar to caramel)

decorating the cupcakes

Below, strawberry cupcakes, filled with fruit (jam) and topped with ‘bubble gum’ frosting [just came up with this recipe today… let me know if you’re curious about it!]

cupcakes topped with caramel

and lastly, a new version of the ‘margarita cupcakes’: lemon cake recipe, with light lemon frosting and of course, the mini-straws for the final touch! [again, another ‘creation from my kitchen’… happy to share the tips along!] 😮

Liked the La Paloma cocktail? Then, you’ll love this one! [sharing the love]

Thank you very much, SaborKitchen, for this fantastic piece! Better than just reblogging from their site, here is the whole description, recipe, and comments! Thanks, thanks for letting me share this! 😮

From the original author:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes ~ Proust

We all know what happened in 1492. Some Italian dude was commissioned by the Spanish King to sail around the world until he found Asia. His name was Christopher Columbus and he failed miserably, missing the Asian continent by several thousand miles and landing on some random island (Haiti) in the middle of the Caribbean – not a bad trade-off, if you ask me.  Vasco de Gama took the trophy instead, reaching India in 1512 and helping Portugal become the first European power with naval access to Asia.  This is what Charlie Sheen would refer to as “winning.”

Our friend Columbus wasn’t a complete failure, though.  He still discovered something, and that something turned out to be pretty damn important.  Ever hear of North and South America?  What about the United States?  Those things probably wouldn’t exist the way they do today if it weren’t for old Christopher’s epic fail.  Maybe we should start waving the Spanish flag on the fourth of July.  Kidding.

You’ve heard this “origins” story before, probably in a seventh-grade history class, so let’s examine what happened afterwards.  It goes without saying that the Spaniards were pretty damn bitter about Portugal making sweet commercial love to China.  They wanted a piece of the action, but all they had was this stupid continent in the middle of the Pacific with endless resources and weak, impressionable people.  Wait a minuteMaybe we can use this worthless landmass, they said in their thick, Iberian accents.  Columbus was totally on board (pun intended), eager to make a name for himself and prove to Vasco de Gama that he wasn’t a complete moron.  He laid out his evil plans quite clearly in his journal, writing that “They [the indigenous] would make fine servants . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all, and make them do whatever we want.”  Sounds kinky.

So for the next few decades, Columbus organized a series of expeditions to the “New World,” where he discovered new landscapes, new cultures, and new ways of life.  He brought gifts from Spain (mostly diseases) to the indigenous peoples, and returned every so often to share the bounty of the New World (mostly women) with his Spanish compatriots.  This colonization process, known as La Conquista, lasted several hundred years and witnessed a vast expansion of Spain’s empire, which at its height stretched from the tip of Argentina to the Canadian border.   They lost it all within a few hundred years, but that’s a story for another day.

In between episodes of conquest, murder, rape, and pillage, those dirty Spaniards worked up a serious appetite.  They were exposed to an array of new foods and cooking techniques in the New World, many of which were exported back to Spain and western Europe.  Ever hear of apotato?  It came from the Andes mountains and is easily one of the most important starches in European cuisine – without it there would be no french fries, “chips,” papas bravas, or gnocchi.  Other Central and South American ingredients – tomatoes, chiles, peanuts  – made their mark as well.  So from a gastronomic perspective, Spain wasn’t the only nation involved in La Conquista.  Many of the so-called “conquered” lands were, in fact, doing quite a bit of conquering themselves.

Today’s recipe is a tribute to the gastronomic volley that took place between Europe and the Americas during the age of colonization.  Old World meets New World in an 8-ounce pour that combines classic ingredients from each region (orange & sherry from Spain, tequila & lime from Mexico).  It’s a bit of a metaphor, a symbolic harmony of two formerly disparate cultures whose histories remain intrinsically connected – not only in the culinary arts, but in everything.  The synthesis occurs in the best possible medium – a cocktail – to stoke the spirit of cultural celebration.  So raise your glasses, my friends.  Here’s to new flavors in old places (and vice versa).

Ingredients:
2 oz orange juice
2 oz Spanish sherry
1 oz Cointreau (or triple sec)
1 oz tequila
1 oz lime juice
1 tbsp egg white
ice

Directions: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and pour into a highball. Garnish with lime wedge.  Bottoms up.”

****************************************************************************************

And here, remembering the La Paloma drink and the accompanying dessert, published earlier! 😮 Enjoy!

Sunday is always for food… what about, let’s say… dessert and drinks? 

Our “quasi-Mexican creative juices” are constantly boiling, and when there’s time to “experiment something new in the kitchen”, I’m all for it! This time, snapshots from two quick ideas:

One Mexican drink, “Paloma Cocktail” and one dessert, “Margarita Cupcakes”, all “adjusted” to our reality here in Brazil (it’s not always possible to find the perfect ingredients for that perfect recipe – also, I’m far from perfect, when it comes to cooking/baking/mixing, but I’m pretty venturous for trying to make something intriguing, interesting, or, at least, cool-looking…) 😮

How to make the ” La Paloma”?

For a refreshing, thirst quenching cocktail, the Paloma is definitely at the top of the list and it’s a favorite in Mexico. It’s a light, fruity drink with a fizz and one of the smoothest tequila drinks out there. With a splash of soda instead of a grapefruit soda like Squirt (or, in our case here in Brazil, “Sprite”!).

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz blanco or reposado tequila
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • salt for rimming (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Rim a collins glass with salt.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila and lime juice. Top it all off with a splash of Sprite. (need to share this with another fellow blogger, who loves “Brazilian challenges“!)

The original recipes for the margarita cupcakes may be found here: Margarita Cupcakes and here Margarita Cupcakes – I had to “adapt” a little, making the frosting myself with lime jello mix and chantilly cream – “Brazilian-style”, but it worked! 😮

 

Hey! We’re already missing some cupcakes!!!! 😮

From our kitchen to yours: Paloma Cocktail & Margarita Cupcakes!

Sunday is always for food… what about, let’s say… dessert and drinks? 

Our “quasi-Mexican creative juices” are constantly boiling, and when there’s time to “experiment something new in the kitchen”, I’m all for it! This time, snapshots from two quick ideas:

One Mexican drink, “Paloma Cocktail” and one dessert, “Margarita Cupcakes”, all “adjusted” to our reality here in Brazil (it’s not always possible to find the perfect ingredients for that perfect recipe – also, I’m far from perfect, when it comes to cooking/baking/mixing, but I’m pretty venturous for trying to make something intriguing, interesting, or, at least, cool-looking…) 😮

How to make the “Paloma”?

For a refreshing, thirst quenching cocktail, the Paloma is definitely at the top of the list and it’s a favorite in Mexico. It’s a light, fruity drink with a fizz and one of the smoothest tequila drinks out there. With a splash of soda instead of a grapefruit soda like Squirt (or, in our case here in Brazil, “Sprite”!).

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz blanco or reposado tequila
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • salt for rimming (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Rim a collins glass with salt.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila and lime juice. Top it all off with a splash of Sprite. (need to share this with another fellow blogger, who loves “Brazilian challenges“!)

The original recipes for the margarita cupcakes may be found here: Margarita Cupcakes and here Margarita Cupcakes – I had to “adapt” a little, making the frosting myself with lime jello mix and chantilly cream – “Brazilian-style”, but it worked! 😮

Hey! We’re already missing some cupcakes!!!! 😮
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