The Perfect Life

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I would hate to have a “perfect” life, I think it would get rather boring.  But sometimes, a little perfection would be welcome.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, especially since we have moved to the high country of Colorado.  That being said, Colorado is not very welcoming to those of us who like to call ourselves bakers.
My last post chronicled my first attempts at high altitude baking.  Things weren’t “perfect” but I learned a lot!  I found the “perfect” substitutions for flour, leavening, sugar and liquid.  The cupcakes were pretty good (after several tries), albeit not “perfect”.  I know that part of my struggle is the fact that I am WAY too hard on myself and my baking efforts; I am working on this.
Keeping all of this in mind, I am still testing recipes for my cousin Cindy’s wedding.  Chocolate cupcake = check!  Raspberry filling = check!  Peanut butter filling = check!

On to the vanilla cupcakes and the almond and chocolate fillings….

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Ingredients are assembled

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The first step is to make the chocolate ganache filling: Cream, bittersweet chocolate and confectioners sugar are melted together and cooled.

For the cupcakes: First of all I have to sing the praises of an ingredient I discovered a short time ago: Vanilla Bean Paste. It is sensational! There are times when vanilla extract just isn’t enough vanilla; a vanilla bean is needed. Unless you are a crazed baker like myself, chances are you will not have vanilla beans on hand. I usually do, but this is so much easier. It’s a little tricky to find but it can be easily found on Amazon.com

photo (30) The vanilla bean paste is added to sugar; the perfume that is released from this mixture is amazing.

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The vanilla sugar is added to the adjusted dry ingredients and then this mixture is creamed with butter.

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In another small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
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The egg mixture is added to the flour mixture and then milk is added to the batter until just combined. Cupcake liners are filled and a dollop of chocolate ganache filling is added to each cupcake. The cupcakes are baked until a toothpick comes out clean.
Here they are, out of the oven:

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Thoughts on these cupcakes: In a word..yuck. I actually made these twice and both times I was very disappointed. The ingredients are first rate, adjustments were fine, oven is working properly, but the cupcakes were pasty and raw tasting. I am not sure what happened, I suppose I could blame it on the altitude but I really don’t think so; the usual problems were not evident. Also, the filling sunk to the bottom of the cupcake. Okay, on to the next one: Brown Sugar Vanilla cupcakes.

The brown sugar vanilla cupcakes were extremely easy; everything is mixed in one bowl and then baked.

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The batter was luscious!  I decided to add the filling after these were baked.  Here they are after baking and filling:

photo (18)    Thoughts: These were wonderful!  Moist, not too dense and so flavorful!  Here they are after frosting:

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Okay, here’s the problem. The cupcake was great, the filling was awesome, but together…not so much. It’s just one of those things: not everything works together. Not everything is “perfect”. The same thing happened when I made the almond filling. Again, the cupcakes were great, the filling was flavorful and very almond-y, but together it didn’t work. Hmmm…….

After some thought and talking with my cousin,  I have decided to try Cheesecake cupcakes.  I think the fillings would be perfect (chocolate and almond) and sour cream frosting would be a wonderful topper!   My next post will hopefully be more successful…but wait, if I have learned something I am successful! It’s the “perfect” ending!

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Stay tuned,

Sweet Joan

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