I often get asked by my friends how I got in to food blogging. Of course, by my potluck posts you guys now I hang out with people who are seriously in to food, but what they want to know is what made me decide to take the plunge and write, photograph, and talk about it every day. Well a little over a year ago, Raul introduced me to TasteSpotting. I have to admit, I had not really heard of recipe blogs before then. Oh sure, I was vaguely aware of the Julie/Julia thing (especially after reading the script for the movie a long while ago), but besides that I had no clue that there was a whole world of people at home writing and photographing and thinking about recipes the same way as me. Once I discovered TasteSpotting, I got really into it. I would check several times a day amazed by the lovely pictures and words that people were coming up with. Like everyone, I was devastated when it was down for a bit last year, but it came back along with a ton of other great sites for sharing pictures. I longed to be a part of it and that's pretty much how this blog was born. I normally don't like to boast about things like this, but I was quite happy to get my 100th post on TasteSpotting yesterday. So happy in fact, that I made cupcakes to celebrate. I am such a nerd. I didn't really make the cupcakes to celebrate the occasion, I actually am quite the hoarder of cake and cupcake recipes because I have been wanting to decorate my own cake ever since I got my decorating tips a couple of months ago. I was originally going to do a chocolate cupcake, but then I came across these vanilla pistachio cakes and I just had to try them. The cakes are really moist and there is a nice crunch from the pistachios in the batter. I decided to frost them with a chocolate buttercream because I really like the combination of chocolate and pistachios and I had a bit of chocolate left over from my distarous Daring Bakers challenge.
Not to sound like a cheeseball, but I want to share these cupcakes with all of my fellow bloggers who are such an inspiration to me every single day.
Vanilla Pistachio Cupcakes
(From A Good Appetite)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 6 muffin tins.
Cream the butter and the sugar together until light & fluffy. Beat in the vanilla & vanilla seeds. Add the baking powder, baking soda and 1/4 cup flour, beat until just combined. Beat in half the buttermilk. Beat in 1/4 cup flour. Add the last of the buttermilk and finally the last of the flour.
In another bowl beat the egg whites until glossy, stiff peaks are formed. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Once combined fold in the remaining egg whites. Gently fold in the pistachios.
Fill each muffin tin with 1/4 cup batter. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes, a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Allow to cool completely on a rack.
(Adapted from Ina Garten)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until completely melted, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. Slowly beat the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.