Before I selected this recipe from Miette, I made sure to read the eratta that came out a bit after the book was published. There were a few errors. I printed it and tucked it into the back of the book for future reference. I was tipped off by the Food Librarian who received a new book from Amazon. Since my review copy came from the publisher, I was not so lucky.
Another gorgeous cookbook with scalloped edges, floral green and white endpapers, glossy pages, and pink, green, and black fonts. Photography by Frankie Frankeny details the steps in icing the Tomboy Cake, the perfected mass production of pink meringues, and droplets of dew beading blueberries in the fresh fruit tartlettes, and then some.
But, instead of making the cake, I decided to whip up cupcakes to share with my librarians. We meet each Wednesday morning as part of our website redesign and we take turns bringing goodies to share to make the work more pleasant. Since I'm not cooking much at all, other than the occasional bit of pasta for Elsa and I for dinner, and I've been dying to try a recipe from Miette for ages now, the gingerbread filled the bill.
Especially since it's made with Guinness. Naturally, when I bought the six pack I ran into a relative with whom I go to church and I felt as if she gave me the MAJOR STINKEYE about the Guinness in my cart, even though she didn't say a word about it. It's not as if I declared "The Guinness is for cooking" cause, y'all know I'm well over the legal drinking age, and as an adult it's not like I need to justify anything to anybody.
Although that's just what I did. Shoo. I swear. Must be living in Appalachia. Or just going to a family/community church. But she lives clear over in Virgnia and it's not like I expected for her to be 50 or 60 miles over in my town shopping at my hippie grocery store anyway!
Enough said. I love cooking with beer. I think that's my calling. Beer cakes, beer breads. The yeastiness is something to behold.
The preparation is similar to the Nigella Lawson Guinness chocolate cake that I love making wherein you combine beer with other items and let it warm in a large saucepan, stirring regularly, not letting it stick to the bottom, get overheated, etc. etc.
Plus, you'd think I'm such a beginner in the kitchen. And sometimes, I think I am. Instructions said to fill the cupcake liners with 1/2 cup of batter and be done. And that's good news to me because I usually overfill. It's that stomach bigger than the eye dynamic. Then my cupcakes expand and bake well over the liner or cupcake cup/holder, whatever you like to call them.
I'm not an expert at cupcakes. Nor at icing, either. I'm not a perfectionist. Styling a plate so that it looks picture perfect doesn't make my day. I'm more interested in how it tastes. Because plenty of things look pretty but don't taste worth a hoot. As you can see, my attempt at icing failed. I used my pastry bag with one of the nozzles. It was my first time! Ugh. Such a failure. I need lessons.
Next time I'll use a ziploc bag and no nozzle. Because actually I practiced this technique two weeks ago with deviled eggs at my sister-in-laws house. Her deviled egg mixture was very moist and had to be piped into the eggs whereas ours is usually thick and scoopable. So after an egg or two I had this technique down. Yet in these days of such specialization I know I can easily find a cupcake icing apparatus if I google such a creature. Dare I?
However, the icing was yummy: Typical cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and I added a smidge of peppermint extract. Or no, was that some other cupcake I made?
I'm easily confused.
Whatever. Regardless, the gingerbread was awesome. The recipe is a keeper. The cupcakes grew moister each day I kept them under my glass cake keeper. The blend of so many spices is key. And my use of Penzey's cinnamon (and I forget which one I used, exactly, because I have several blends) is really what made it's flavor so stellar.
And, I can't credit any foodies for turning me on to Penzey's. It was my knitting guru who introduced me to their fantastic products a few years ago. Yep. Awesome how serendipity plays it part.
So. Miette, from trying one recipe, I'm hooked on the cookbook and other than running my fingers along that sensual die-cut scalloped edge, I'll be flipping through the pages looking for more more more and cooking up more more more!