Sunday, October 19, 2014

#9 The Duckwalk, aka: The one that almost got away!

Boom, guess what?
Z - And by back she means we are trying to catch up on the back log. This hot little number was made in June.

Lots of stuff got in the way of this post (Li's tits). Mostly, life, family vacations, and technology malfunctions (seriously, we could not get the freakin' photos off the camera). But it's all good now, and for that you get to enjoy The Duckwalk - a vanilla cupcake with blueberry port mascarpone cream and port blueberries three ways (giggity). So find a chiffon scarf and cue some 70s porn music, we're gettin' involved!

So, we got a little excited about the good weather (it can go from gorgeous to the North Sea spanking you like you stole something from your grandmother's purse), and singing and dancing happened because hell yeah sunshine! Naturally gin and tonic also had to happen. This became problematic, as we were focused on the cocktails and not on getting our shit together.

After a run around the kitchen that made The Three Stooges look graceful, we realized we didn't have any sugar. HOW THE HELL WAS THIS POSSIBLE? One frantic phone call to my husband Rene,. who thankfully arrived with all the sugar I had in my house. We were back on track and then...

I restrained myself admirably. 

...VANILLA DISASTER! We were all out of the good stuff and Dr. Oetker just does not cut it (I want to find this Dr. and punch him in the sack for inventing such crap vanilla. Trust me, it's that bad). So we opted for the real deal and used seeds from a vanilla pod.

Cue the kitchen dancing and cute toddler busting out some moves.

Then it was onto my new favourite kitchen porn toy, a Kitchen Aid! I was happier than happy-filled happiness when it arrived. Zoe turned into a total pornographer and was leering at it like she had a pencil-thin moustache and gold chains and wanted to take photos of it in a wood-panelled basement. To combat this creepy image I decided to name the mixer Pickles. She hates pickles, so that will keep her away, right? Oh Li, I want to pinch your cute little cheeks. Nothing will keep me from Pickles.

This cake was simple to mix and of course delicious, but for some reason we had a lot of leftover batter. We think it's because we now  have scoops so the kitchen looks like less of a train wreck after we pour the batter into the baking tins. We will not stand for wasting batter, so we took the spare blueberries and added them to the batter for a little cake of its own. Because spare cake it a thing in our lives, like back-up bacon and emergency sugar. Back up bacon!!!!!!!

No cupcake is complete with out me doing dirty things to batter and The Monkey getting involved.

May we pause for more hot blueberry action... Hot Hot action. boomchickawaawaa!

It was onto the frosting. Now you know how awesome this frosting is, and then the Robicelli´s made us use some of the blueberry port syrup. Damn you Allison, damn you to hell and back woman! This frosting needs a safe-word because it was so painfully delicious. The safe-word is squirrel. Maisy (the Amazonion ginger free loader) wanted to do dirty, dirty things to it.

Now it was into phase three for the 3-way, (so many porntastic puns it is hard to keep up) which was letting the syrup cool. More gin and tonic and classic Zoe and Li antics ensued.

Swear Scrabble with alphabet puzzles, who amongst has not played this?) 

Hmmmmm Gin.

The blueberries were now ready to go for assembling the cupcake. Did you know port reduces to candy syrup if you reduce it? WINE CANDY, PEOPLE! Just come on!

So many feels.

As we are finishing these, the doorbell rings. Why it´s another member of TSB´s fans! These ¨fans¨ just happen to be in the neighborhood, typically a couple of hours after we check in to the Bakeshop. How convenient! To be fair, the cupcakes taste better when someone else makes them, so I have been told... (hint, ya´ll need to make me some damned cupcakes).

It got dirty, fast. I just wanted to bath in it.

So many happy faces, so much deliciousness.

We totally sacrificed our dignity by fellating the cupcakes like Linda Lovelace, so here it is, the money shot.

There you have it. Three ways. Not what they had in mind I'm sure, but it had to be done.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

#8 The Noah: Aka The Orgasmatron.

In the wee write up before this recipe, Allison writes about how this particular cupcake is named after a friend of theirs who originally came up with the name the "Orgasmatron." She explains that in an effort to keep their side walk menu PG (boo) they named it after him, The Noah.  After inhaling said cupcake, I refuse to acknowledge this mouthgasm as The Noah, as I feel its namesake was right. It is the fucking Orgasmatron! It's the Viagra of cupcakes!

I needed a cigarette after, and I don't even smoke.

The day started, shockingly with me not being hungover.  I repeat, I was NOT hungover.  I know right?!?! In fact, I was positively buoyant.  New hair, new glasses and finally finished making my first ever fitted shirt. Also I had managed to liberate Li's cowboy boots.  I was hanging out with my people, baking cakes and I didn't want to die. Yay me.  To make things even better, Awesome Friedel was back with her amazing camera with  "delicious dessert" settings.  We could actually look half decent again, to be fair, this particular day, my hair is doing strange things (the camera can only help so much,) but fuck it, today was going to be a great day.

Girl be trippin' if she thinks she is keeping my shit kickers.

It's the last of the "bacon" chapter *sad trombone* but ending with a bang.  The Orgasmatron is an apple cupcake with goat's cheese buttercream fosting, browned butter and bourbon sauce and candied bacon. Come on!  This was going to be legend.........wait for it, as you are going to have a heart attack at the end of this.... ary.

Doogie is currently playing Hedwig on Broadway. I am filled with musical happiness.

So apple cupcake was made.  Unlike NPH (if you don't know who that is, then jump of a cliff, seriously do it.  Neil Patrick Harris has taken wearing the suit to a whole new level.) this is not the sexiest of cupcakes. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious, but lets face it, like a waitress in Hooters, this bad boy is all about what's up top.
Delicious appley apple cake.  (Fun fact I just had to look up how to spell appley)
Today's tits level was fekkin enormous.  When it comes to a boob off, I am left looking like a twelve year old boy in comparison. Li was also sporting an amusing T-shirt (close up later.)  It made me giggle anyway.  Hmmmmmm meat. Moving on. I am sure we mise-en-place'd of sorts but there is no photographic evidence of this.  Sorry, but to be honest we were just very eager to get to the good part......

Li is obsessed with my teeny tiny grater. I totally need this grater in my life. 

 ....The sauce.  This is the good part. Oh, oh, oh this sauce.  Even now I am trying to thing of something to compare it to.  Every analogy I come up with, seems to fall short.  It made my friend Jess over at Aesthetic Fauna almost weep.  She then proceeded to put it on everything from our coffee to a back up cake she had in the freezer.  Yeah, that's how we roll. I rock up to her house in Amsterdam with a bag of left over frosting and sauce, she whips out some emergency cake.

So while the best fucking sauce in the universe was being created, toddlers happened.  Awesome Friedel's husband rocked up with my future son-in-law and Po.  Clearly Po needed some deliciousness too.  God damn you ovaries.  *harnesses ovarian finger guns*

Hear that? It's the sound of three women's ovaries collectively exploding. 

Goats cheese frosting up next.  President make a fine and reasonably priced goats cheese and a splendid choice for our frosting.  The goat on the package though, has a somewhat Mona Lisaesque expression.  It wigged Li out.

I ain't buying what this satanic-looking goat is selling.

Those eyes follow you, she looks like she is about to eat your soul. The goat, not Li.

What the hell am I looking at??????

Cupcake batter into the cases, spillage licked (hygiene first) and fluffy deliciousness comes out of the oven. Yummy chemistry at work.

There is a tiny towel on my finger. Just go with it people.

 As you can see we are now on cupcake number eight from the book, but making French buttercream frosting has become our thing.  We have this shit down.  (Personally I think we are keeping butter manufacturers in business with this endeavour.)  So it came as a bit of a shock when disaster struck.  The frosting was not "doing the thing."  Sloppy coagulated gunk was flying out of Woody as a disturbing rate. Oh, HELL no.

Butter!  We needed more butter!  When shit starts to split, add more butter.  Back up butter was retrieved from the fridge (yes your read that right, back up butter.) An intense ten mins followed with Li pacing up and down, hovering like an expectant father.  There was real concern.  Together we chanted "do the thing, do the thing" as another half a pack of butter was added.  Slither by slither it came together.

Tits level: nervous concern.
The relief was palpable.  Goats cheese added and happy happy joy joy ensued.  Thank you Ren and Stimpy.  Oh lord have mercy, I thought blue cheese frosting was amazing.  This shit is off the chart.

CANDY ALL THE BACON!  Or at least try. Today was not to be our day.  Once more complacency and all round cockiness struck.  We burned the bacon, it was a bacony carbonised mess.  Li marched off to the shame cave to retrieve the back up bacon.  (Yeah, that too.)  Li still hasn't forgiven herself.  Enough self flagellation to make the Opes Dei wince.  Never mess with a Puerto Rican and her pork. Back-up bacon. You're welcome for this pro-tip. 

I had to be coaxed out of the shame cave for this photo. I nearly turned in my Boricua card.
A sadder-sounding "wepa" has never been uttered. 

This is how it should be done.  The various stages of caramelised Sus Domesticus.  The common pig to you and me.  See how smart I am?

This is what happens when you get it right.  Two grown ass women, licking a window. (Let's face it folks, pride and dignity went out of the window when we started this gig)

Tits level: just give them an an area code already!

Lookie, Lookie.  This is how they came together, when everything finally went right.  Oh so very many feels. By far and away, this is my favourite so far.  That sauce will be a part of my life forever.

Jesus in a jumpsuit these were amazing.

And this is why it should be named The Orgasmatron.  Look at that face.  Nothing outside the bedroom should be able to bring out that expression.

I am SO glad my Mamas is not online. 

As is our tradition, toddlers first.  So much sugar, but the candied bacon is for me.  Sharing only goes so far.

Luke, on the other hand is notorious for his bacon thievery.  Good man.

Aaaaaand my ovaries exploded again. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

# 7 (sort of)The Bea Arthur: A golden cupcake for a golden girl.

I want to start by saying sorry.  I have been out of sorts lately.  I can put this down to many factors.  The moon?  Possibly.  Hormones? Almost definitely.  Mostly thought, I just couldn't be arsed.  I could come up with some a veritable slew of spectacular lies for you.  For instance, I mused about the fact that I was sent into witness protection due to a witnessing a maniacal mafia shoot out, but this is The Hague.  The closest we get to that in out neighbourhood is a show down over douchebag parking and or some renegade wisteria.

Seriously, The Hague, I am from the ghetto and know bad parking.  
I have even put out a chair to save my dug-out parking spot during massive winter snowstorms... 
...Ya'll have evolved douchebag parking into an extreme sport.

So with out further ado, we marched on.  High on our success of the Handmade Market, and nauseous from the sheer scale of butter that was used to accomplish this (seriously folks, it was enough butter to give Paula Deen pause) we took a break.  A wee hiatus no less.

You have no idea the wealth of Paula Deen memes I went through.
Paula Deen is totally meme-worthy. I especially like the photo of her riding a stick of butter. 
Leaping like young gazelles through the savannah we frolicked back to the kitchen once more.  When I say frolicked, I may mean staggered, possibly crawled, definitely whimpered.  Once more dear readers, I had made some questionable decisions the night before.  There was wine and, well more wine. (SO much freaking wine people).  Thinking that my new hair cut and some make-up would pull me together into some form of functioning adult I dragged my sorry ass to my front door to find Li, standing there radiant, positively eager.  Not a fucking whiff of the previous evenings shenanigans evident on her beaming face.  Naturally I wanted to stab it.  

I love Zoe even when she wants to kill me in the face. Totally true. 
I really AM that person in the morning you hate. 

Valiant efforts were made by (a possibly still drunk) me, to heroically "man up".  Frankly though, every time I bent over I wanted to die.  Repeat to yourself, Dutchess Drunky McHangover - "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

It's now that I probably mention that it was Good Friday. (Heathen.)  Li was going to spend Easter with her family and wanted to make a specific cupcake out of sequence.  (Occasionally we have been known to actually spend time with our families.)  The Bea Arthur. A black coffee (oh how I needed this) and chocolate cupcake, with cheesecake buttercream frosting and an espresso ganache.  

Pleij family holiday party! Aw YISSSS! My Dutch family rocks my face off and our seasonal parties are awesome. So much laughter and good food and general gezelligeheid. Man I wish this word existed in English. Festive and cosy just does not begin cover it. 

If you don't know who Bea Arthur is, then I don't know how to feel about you. (And you are officially dead to me. Tough love on this one all the way). The Golden Girls.  Go and watch it and then feel bad about yourself.  She was epic. Acerbic, sharp, fabulous and most of all a comic genius. Bea played Dorothy, the much maligned and resigned daughter of Sophia.  I tried looking for some quotes for you, but I lost an hour, laughed my ass off and still couldn't choose.  I totally understand why Allison Robicelli has dedicated an entire chapter of her book to these amazing women.  A show so far ahead of its time, so wildly inappropriate and wonderfully endearing it makes me smile when ever I think about it. This is how I imagine Me, Li and a few other friends will end up.  

I hope to be awesome as the Golden Girls when I grow up. 

Back to the cupcakes.  We mise-en-place'd once more.  Well we half arsed it by throwing everything on the counter and checking to see if we had enough.  We did.

It looked a little something like this.  Quality all the way.
And for the record that is the SEARS Tower. Save that Willis shit for the tourists. 
The executive decision was made for me to take on a more supervisory role.  So perched in my little nook, and having tried to fortify myself with home made chocolate chip cookies (the best damn cookie ever! Try it) I tried to be a team player.  Yes folks, that is me. Wedged between my baking drawer of shame and the dishwasher.  There huddled up on the floor with the crumbs, squished toddler debris and the dog hair.  It's where I belonged.

Oh, HELL no.

Li, tried very hard to hide her disgust.  Not so much at my hangover or lack of any constructive or discernible help, more at the intermittent whimpering and frankly the rank smell of stale alcohol that refused to shower out.  

Totally not even silently judging her. Also this is my mean face. Stop laughing. 

Reinforcements were needed.  Thankfully, Maisy answered the call.  Lured with the promise of cookies, cupcakes and the opportunity to openly mock a very weakened me, she skipped over, and took up the gauntlet (ok, well sieve, but you get the gist - that's what I get when I try to wax lyrical.)  Maisy, is a far superior me.  She also has magnificent hair.

Maisy is freaking hilarious. You need to know this. 
And her name is MAISY, how awesome is THAT?!

Time stands still for no hangover, so onwards my curly counterparts marched.  In a flurry of flour, chocolate, eggs and coffee, magical things happened as I loitered uselessly in the background like tits on a fish. To be honest it could have been a scene out of Disney's Fantasia in my kitchen, and I wouldn't have noticed.  (I now have an image of Li in Mickey Mouse ears with dancing mops and hippos.  Jesus that shit was trippy) Vainly I tried to figure out how to again become part of humanity and avoid having Li drive my head into the mixer, but to no avail. So. TEMPTING.

The smell of coffee and chocolate magically blended together was biblical.  It permeated my home and wrapped it up in a warm snuggley blanket of comfort and security.  Unfortunately I felt like my head needed to be down the toilet (potentially with Li's hand shoving it in there,) so my normal bowl licking duties were sacrificed for the sake of public hygiene and the fact that I couldn't peel myself out of the fetal position I seem to have found myself in.

Busy things happened, Busy things of which I had no part. My kitchen was a hive of activity as I observed from the safety of my chair.  Better for all involved for me to have hidden behind a cute toddler and pretend to parent.  I am not proud of this, but I'm also not above using my daughter as a human shield.

This is the result of the afternoons baking.  This oh so delicious and, sadly for me, a very unappreciated delight. The espresso ganache was magnificent.  The cheesecake frosting, a perfect rounding-off to balance and lighten the weight of the coffee and chocolate.  (The irony that I use the word lighten to describe the frosting is not lost on me.)  I did manage to pull my head out of my ass long enough to pipe the frosting, but this is where my input concluded.

See? She was not completely useless, just mostly useless! 

It finally ended with me having finally lost the will to live and praying for the sweet release of death. Monkey was packed off to nap and I finished up here. Spooning with the dog on the sofa under a pile of blankets and shame, I despondently vowed to never drink again.

Spolier alert: She is totally going to drink again.

Ok so I may exaggerate, but the guilt for my utterly ineffectual contribution to the day lasted as long as my misery and regret.  (Also until the next bottle of wine was opened.) Yeah, CALLED THIS. I'm like all psychic and shit. 

I am told that the cupcakes were a triumphant success.  I will take Li's word for this.

Please take my word on this. Happy Pleij's were happy and it was a great Easter/Mama Pleij birthday celebration. That's good enough for me.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Maltz AKA the most Zen mother fucking cupcake EVER.

“How many Zen masters does it take to screw in a light bulb? The plum tree in the garden!” 
Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality

Hello faithful readers, it’s Li taking on the challenge of writing about cupcake number 6, the Maltz. Gaze upon its deliciousness:

It was a sexy majestic thing of beauty. - Zoe

Now, after The Elvis, and acting a fool on camera for a few weeks, we were ready for a break and just wanted to get down to baking (also our awesome camerawoman is writing her own book, which we will tell you all about once it’s ready!). The Maltz delivered that break and so much more.  I also want it on the record that I dropped the zone.  It was not to be found which is why this post took so long to come out.  I am hoping to find it again soon. Now, at this point, we were a week away from selling our cupcakes to start funding our trip to the Promised Land (also known as Brooklyn, NY), and were beyond nervous about it. We decided, fuck it, let’s just enjoy baking a damned cupcake and if no one buys one our hips will be the only ones pissed about it.

I was trolling for something amusing about Zen but this was just cooler.
“For the love of all that is good and holy, BUY THEM.”  - Li’s hips, who clearly can take no more
I so want to add a photo of Li shaking her hips, but she is Puerto Rican and will cut me.  This is a fact. - Zoe
“Suck it up hips, you know they are delicious!” – Li
She really does talk to her hips you know. - Zoe
“I love you. You’re weird.” – Zoe

OK, let’s get on with it. The Maltz is a chocolate bourbon cupcake with chocolate bourbon buttercream and candied bacon. As we are in the Love Letter to Bacon chapter, this is apt. APT! Now, if you were sold on candied bacon from The Elvis, the Robicelli’s just stepped with this one and said, “BOOM, bourbon bitches!” dropped the mic and left us in boozy cupcake heaven. 

While I liked the Elvis, I was about to go all kinds of “Swimfan” on this cupcake and stalk it like no other.  YOU LOVE ME CUPCAKE, YOU KNOW IT!  No means no, Li.
It had nothing to do with the bourbon, nothing what so ever! 
Get in the pool kids.
First, hot lunch action - Zoe had extra pastry crust, so wiener (hehe wiener) rolls with cheese happened. Full disclosure: As you know I am from Chicago, and hot dogs piss me off here like no other food. I want them dragged through the garden, celery all the salt and I will punch you in the face if you ask if I want ketchup. Ketchup does not belong on hot dogs. EVER. You’re welcome, blasphemers. I have just shown you the light.

Yeah, yeah I did that.
OK, Back to the cupcake. But first:
A badass cupcake deserved a badass t-shirt. Enter my lovelies from The Chicago Outfit! Two weeks before I left Chicago I went to The Breeders show at Double Door. Before I left I made a few Kim Deal photo charms to wear but also to give to her, as she is one of my musical idols. I was about to throw it up on stage when one of the badasses from The Chicago Outfit threw her a t-shirt – apparently Kim had been at their bout before the show. I just turned to them and gave them the all of the charms I made. Because, you know, roller derby freaking rules. A few days before I was about to leave America to relocate to NL, I was selling my crafts at Cobra Lounge, and the bartender starts calling my name and saying I have a phone call – It’s Jabby Jabs from The Chicago Outfit, and the team wanted to give me a shirt as a thank you for the charms. So, she shows up and gives me the shirt you are looking at. It’s one of my favorite shirts, so it only seemed fitting to wear it while making a boozy bacon cupcake that rocks as hard as they do. Roll on chicas, you have a lifelong fan.  She takes this shit very seriously, and is not to be trifled with.  And she looks like a badass.

I am so happy this woman is my friend.
Anyway, you have not lived my friends until you have made a paste of bourbon and chocolate. It smells like a dirty, filthy, backseat heaven. I want to go to there and so do you. I mean, look at it! How can you not want to go to confession after this, and you’re not even religious!
At this point, Monkey is behind us yelling, “CAKE! CAKE!” So we give her the paddle. Hilariously regrettable photos I will show her as an adult ensue. We understand Monkey, this shit is delicious. Also please stop being so freaking adorable. I already have diabetes and my teeth are rotting due to your cuteness.

She is dedicated to her craft.
Her dad is our quality control. I think he approves. I approve of him because he lets me laugh obnoxiously loudly in his house as least once a week and hasn’t kicked me out. YET.
There is still time Li 

Husbands response - "This is acceptable to me." Fairly sure he scraped that bitch clean.
Next: People, let’s talk candied bacon.  Bacon is like The Dude's rug (if you need an explanation then you need a good hard slap and an education in Movie awesomeness) of cupcakes – it really ties the room together. 
Listen to The Dude, The Dude abides.

If you have still have not tried candied bacon before stop reading this blog and get your ass in the kitchen. It is life-changing. We cannot say this enough.  I can wax lyrical about it forever.  So many feels.

Because butter!  We de-camped to the dining table due to nap time.  Woody is a noisy old fucker.
Finally, let’s all ohm the fuck out on the frosting. We have made the French buttercream a few times, and now find ourselves zoning out while we do it. The wait for the soft ball stage of the syrup, the slow tilt into the satiny ribbons of whipped eggs so it doesn’t split...  A batch of frosting takes on average 45 minutes to an hour, but good God is it satisfying when it emulsifies and does the thing.  This is what we look like when it does the thing. 
We so happy.
Zen Like Calm. We has it.  Once more I went trolling for a Zen meme.  I found this.  You're welcome.

Gaze upon the chocolately bourbon goodness!
And deliciousness was had by all.

My husband, really taking one for the team week after week.

“This world is better than Utopia because - and follow this point carefully - you can never live in Utopia. Utopia is always somewhere else. That's the very definition of Utopia.” 
Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality

Bigass thanks to Brad Warner for letting me gank some quotes for this post. If you have not read his blog or books, get your ass over there and get you some rockin’ inner peace.