Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thanks, cupcakes, and an award!

carrot cupcake

Spring break has been a mishmosh of carrot cake testing (the best carrot cupcake recipe is at the bottom of the post!) and college rejections. Despite all the bits of happiness, I feel lucky because I have a great support system and lot of love surrounding me. As corny as this all sounds, I'm very, very thankful.

carrot cupcake

So, to the few bloggers who have written me kind emails and left sweet messages, thank you, thank you, thank you. Your words mean the world to me.

And tada! My first blog award. Thank you, Irene!

"Here are the rules that each nominee should follow: 
  1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions made by the person who nominated you
  3. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
  4. Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to pass the award to and mention them in your post.
  5. Go to their blogs and let them know that they have been nominated
  6. No tag backs."

11 facts about me: 
  1.  I love mustard and wasabi.
  2. My beloved Sony DSLR broke due to water damage from Hurricane Sandy. I've been using a film camera and I love the look of pictures. A week or so ago, however, I was gifted a Nikon 5100. (I used it to shoot them cupcakes.) I'm trying to go back to digital.
  3. The only cupcakes I like to bake are carrot cupcakes. Vanilla? Chocolate? Meh. I'm never compelled to bake vanilla/cupcake cupcakes. Cakes? Yes. 
  4. I used to hate coconut... then I tried Samoas.
  5. The first food blog I ever read was Smitten Kitchen. During freshmen year, I was sick in bed and scrolled more than half of her incredibly tasty looking recipes in one day on my Blackberry Curve.
  6. Although that was the first blog I read, 17 and Baking inspired me to start a food blog.
  7. I've changed my blog's name, like, a thousand times. (Okay, more like ten, but it feels like a thousand when you have pics of old blog names watermarked on them.)
  8. Salmon sashimi dipped in wasabi soy sauce. The perfect bite.
  9. I'm Korean-American and so is my father's family. We eat lox and bagels on New Year's Day (before duk guk) and Italian food on most family gatherings. We really like food.
  10. I'm a native New Yorker and I plan on staying here foreevvaaaa.
  11. I suffer from a severe case of wanderlust. I love traveling. I love exploring.
Irene's 11 questions: 
  1. What is your favorite ingredient to cook/bake with? Cinnamon! I love cinnamon. Most of my favorite desserts (pumpkin pie, carrot cake, apple crisp) have cinnamon in them. 
  2. One thing you regret doing in life? Procrastinating. Multiple times. Le sigh. 
  3. Are you sweet or savoury type of person? It honestly depends on the day/hour. Sometimes, I crave a nice bowl of oatmeal with lotsa cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins. Other times, I want a juicy cheeseburger with the works. 
  4. Favorite place in the house? My kitchen, of course! Or the living room on a sunny afternoon. I have a large window and the sunlight beams through the window and lands on the wooden floors. It's a perfect place for reading. 
  5. If you can speak one other language, which one would it be? French. I was convinced by my mom to take Spanish in school but I reaaally wanted to take French. Or Mandarin Chinese. I started to learn when I was in grade school but stopped in junior high. I can read and understand but I cannot speak it. At all. It's embarrassing. 
  6. Personal guility pleasure? Cinnabons. Oooh, those ooey, gooey Cinnabons. And Netflix. 
  7. Favorite TV shows? The Mindy Project, Arrested Development, New Girl, Happy Endings, The League. 
  8. Instagram or Pinterest? Instagram, for sure. I got my iPhone when it was still relatively a new commodity. I wanted one because of Instagram! 
  9. What's your phone wallpaper of? Matthew Grey Gubler's reasons to stay alive list
  10. Favorite season? Fall or summer. Fall because of the cinnamon dessert overload and summer because... it's the summer. Watermelon, lemonade, sweet barbequed chicken. 
  11. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time? I'll be 27... Doing my residency at a hospital, having very little time to bake, trying to get married. Oy... 
My nominees: 
  1. Sixteen Beans
  2. Tickles my Tastebuds
  3. Crumbs and Cookies
  4. Fleur De Licious
  5. The Baking Bird
  6. Flour Child
  7. Toasty Biscuit
Please keep in my mind that I didn't follow the instructions when it came to nominating bloggers. These are blogs that I love and are not the incredibly popular ones, such as Orangette, The Wednesday Chef, Sweet Amandine, 101 Cookbooks, Apt. 2B Baking, etc. I think one or two have less than 200 followers. Please check them out! 
My questions: 
    1. What is your favorite breakfast? 
    2. If you had one weekday off from school or work, what would you do? 
    3. What day/time do you bake/cook the most? 
    4. What is your "signature" dish/baked item?
    5. How did you get into food blogging? What was the first blog you read? 
    6. What would you do with these following ingredients: flour, eggs, an onion, kale? You don't have to use all the ingredients and you can a few more, if you like. 
    7. What is your least favorite ingredients to work with? 
    8. Chocolate or vanilla? 
    9. What is your day job (aka what do you do when you are not food blogging/eating/sleeping?) 
    10. What camera do you use?
    11. What makes you happy? 
    carrot cupcake
    Carrot Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
    Adapted from Orangette and Wednesday Chef
    It is essential to coarsely grate the carrots. Do not make the silly mistake of tossing them in the food processor to make them into mush. Take the time to grate them; your tasters will thank you. Also, the carrots. Use long, sweet ones, not baby carrots.

    Makes 14 generously frosted cupcakes.

    1 c. unbleached, all purpose flour
    1 1/4 t. cinnamon
    1/2 t. ground ginger
    1/8 t. ground nutmeg
    1 heaping t. baking soda
    1 heaping t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt

    3/4 c. granulated sugar
    1/2 c. vegetable oil
    2 eggs, whisked
    1/4 c. sour cream
    1 1/2 c. grated carrots

    1/2 c. whole pecans (toasted and chopped)
    1/4 c. to 1/2 c. raisins (soaked and drained)

    Preheat the oven to 350* and line your cupcake pan.

    Soak the raisins in water. Toast your pecans. Sift together all the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix the granulated sugar and oil in a separate bowl. Add two whisked eggs and sour cream. Add the grated carrots and mix gently. Add in chopped pecans and drained raisins. Use a 1/2 c. ice cream scoop to spoon out the batter evenly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let completely cool.

    3/4 c. mascarpone
    3/4 c. heavy cream
    1/4 c. sour cream
    3/4 t. vanilla
    3 T. granulated sugar

    Add the mascarpone, cream, and sour cream in a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whisk until light, voluminous, and fluffy. Add in vanilla and sugar. Add more sugar to taste, if you like. I liked the subtle sweetness and the richness of the dairy. (You will have leftover frosting.)

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