Tag Archives: Boston Red Sox

Zucchini Banana Snack Cake with Bourbon Icing

10 Jul

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One of the joys of summer is having a small garden to tend to. Nothing too large, just a little patch in the corner of the yard where I can plant a few tomatoes, a pepper or two, some basil and mint (gotta have those mojitos!) and of course, zucchini. This was something I looked forward to every spring –  turning over the earth, planting my little seedlings, knowing that with the help of the summer sun and pop-up rain showers, in a few weeks I’d be harvesting my abundant bounty of fresh summer crops.

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Until Mr. Groundhog arrived. Mr. Groundhog, along with his wife and two small children, first appeared in my backyard 3 years ago, and have returned to my yard every year since. (Actually, I suspect it’s a new litter of pups each year, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same fat, old Mr. Groundhog.) That first year, Mr. Groundhog and family proceeded to make themselves right at home by gnawing holes in the fences on both sides of my property, presumably one for ingress and one for egress. I tried patching the holes, to which Mr. Groundhog responded by tunneling an enormous trench under each fence, the better to pass his prodigious fat self through, I suspect. That first year, the Groundhog family then proceeded to take advantage of my generous hospitality by sampling one half of each of my ripening tomatoes and squashes, and devouring entirely the blossoms off any and all flowers growing in any reachable container on my deck, petunias apparently the popular favorite.

Slow, but determined learner that I am, the next year I again planted my little seedlings, watching as they grew, looking forward to those summer-ripened vegetables. However, Mr. Groundhog, evidently having wintered under my deck, was more than ready to go and hungry from hibernation, wasted no time decimating those plantings before even the first tomato blossom appeared. That was also the year I switched from container flower gardens to hanging baskets.

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This year, I gave up. No garden plot for me, just a lush, green patch of grass where then garden used to be, and which Mr. Groundhog and family seem to enjoy nibbling on immensely. Evidently groundhogs are not picky eaters.

Which leads me to my current predicament – depending upon the mercy of others for their surplus garden produce. And which is how I ended up with one of those baseball bat-sized zucchinis – compliments of my sister, who came back from vacation and found her (groundhog-free) garden full of enough oversized gourds to supply the entire batting line-up of the Boston Red Sox. And which is what led me to stirring up a batch of this fabulous snack cake.

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I was in the middle of pulling together what seems to be the obligatory summer zucchini bread recipe, and was literally just about to measure out the vanilla extract when I was struck by a flash of inspiration. This recipe doesn’t need vanilla. What this recipe needs is bourbon, and lots of it! So I subbed in a healthy teaspoon (or two) of Maker’s Mark, threw in a couple of over-ripe bananas and topped the whole thing off with an amazing bourbon icing, and there you have it – zucchini banana snack cake with Maker’s Mark icing. A delicious, easy, healthy (sort of) summer snack cake perfect for the picnic basket or backyard barbecue…..just be sure to keep it away from Mr. Groundhog.

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ZUCCHINI BANANA SNACK CAKE

Recipe adapted from One Ordinary Day

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Maker’s Mark bourbon

1 cup shredded raw zucchini

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bundt pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and Maker’s Mark until combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add shredded zucchini and mashed bananas and combine until well blended.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10  minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.

MAKER’S MARK ICING

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons Marker’s Mark

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon over warm or cooled cake.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Neapolitan Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberry Buttercream

9 Feb

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St. Valentine’s Day is soon upon us and I can’t believe it’s mid-February already. Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone and Tom Brady still reigns supreme – sorry, Peyton, it’s all in the bling of the rings.

Usually February drags on and on for me….Patriots football is over and Red Sox baseball hasn’t started yet. Sure, there’s the Bruins (No. 1!) and the Celtics (not so much this year), but it’s not quite the same. February is usually spent counting the days ’til pitchers and catchers, then spring training and then jut a few more weeks until Opening Day!!!

This year, we have the Winter Olympics, which helps. And the Westminster dog show, which I always watch, but don’t know why. Without a doubt, it’s always some little micro ball of fur that wins the cup. And every year, my German Shepherd and I just look at each other and shrug, never understanding what the judges see in those little things.

But I do enjoy the Olympics, watching the athletes from all over the world giving it their all and putting out some pretty spectacular performances. And I always get sucked into the back stories and the come-from-behind athlete who wins the gold, despite all odds. It’s kind of corny, but it does inspire.

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It’s this same international competition that was the inspiration for my Valentine’s Day cupcakes this year. Both Paris and Rome are thought to be the most romantic cities on earth.  Why not include some of that “romance” in a cupcake? How about a little French Chambord and Italian Amaretto sharing the love in rich chocolate cupcake, looking oh so chic in a tres Neapolitan design.

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The recipe looks long, but it really isn’t very difficult at all, and everything comes together nicely in the end. After all, baking for that someone special, especially on Valentine’s Day, is always a labor of love. And these cupcakes are so worth it…how do you say, ooh-la-la!!!

Chocolate Amaretto Cupcakes

This cupcake recipe is actually vegan, but don’t let that deter you. These turn out perfectly every time, and they’re not too sweet, a perfect base for the rich filling and frostings.

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons amaretto

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond milk and vinegar. Set aside to curdle.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add sugar, oil, and amaretto to almond milk mixture and beat until foamy.

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in 2 batches and beat until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake tins 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and cool completely before filling and frosting.

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Chambord Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons Chambord

1-2 tablespoons milk

In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Add remaining sugar, salt, and Chambord. Mix until combined, then beat at high speed 5 – 6 minutes, adding enough milk until desired consistency is reached.  Set aside 1/3 cup of frosting in a small bowl and immediately fill pastry bag with the remaining frosting. Set aside.

Chambord Filling

1/4 cup raspberry preserves

2 teaspoons Chambord

1/3 cup Chambord frosting

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until combined. Set aside.

Amaretto Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

4 cups confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons Amaretto

1-2 tablespoons milk

pinch of salt

In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Add remaining sugar, salt, and Amaretto. Mix until combined, then beat at high speed 5 – 6 minutes, adding enough milk until desired consistency is reached.  Fill pastry bag with the remaining.

While the frosting is beating, use a small melon-baller to scoop out center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with about 1 teaspoon of the filling.

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Using the Amaretto frosting, pipe a circle of frosting on the outside edge of each cupcake. Fill in, using the Chambord frosting. Sprinkle with chocolate jimmies.

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Enjoy!

Fenway Park Cupcakes with Sam Adams Boston Lager

2 Aug

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I’m sitting in the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park, ice cold Sam Adams in hand, watching my beloved Red Sox trounce the evil Yankees.  Everyone has a vision of what heaven will be, this is mine. Yes, I’ve been to Fenway more times than I can count, I was even there for the big 100th anniversary celebration, but I have yet to score Green Monster seats. Someday….someday…

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I’ve been ruminating all summer over what kind of cupcake I could make as an homage to the best (and oldest) ballpark in all of America.  My favorite cupcake bakery, Kickass Cupcakes in Boston, has a Green Monster cupcake that is to die for. But I wanted something a little more ballpark-ish. Classic ballpark fare like beer, peanuts and caramel-ly Cracker Jacks all came to mind, but would they make a great cupcake? Sure they would.

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I kind of assumed Sam Adams would be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox, but I was wrong. Turns out, Narragansett Beer out of Rhode Island used to be the official beer until about 1975. But when I tried to research the current official beer, I hit a dead end.  As far as I’m concerned, Sam Adams ought to be the official beer of the Boston Red Sox. I mean, when you think “Boston” and “beer”, Sam Adams is what springs to mind. So that’s what I went with, in the form of the classic Boston Lager.

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A visit to the Sam Adams website, http://www.samueladams.com offered up some wicked awesome recipes under the Food & Beer tab. I attempted to make the chocolate cupcake recipe, but it totally flopped. (I suspect there may be a typo in the flour measurement.) But no matter, that’s what mixes are for, right? And besides, their recipe for Boston Lager Caramel Sauce more than makes up for it. It is pure perfection. Truly. The website’s recipe for frosting also inspired what I decided to go with for my Fenway Park cupcakes. And so I was ready – Sam Adams Boston Lager cupcakes, a caramel sauce evocative of Cracker Jacks and a sprinkling of that ballpark staple, freshly roasted peanuts – this is one cupcake that knocks it out of the ballpark.

FENWAY PARK CUPCAKES

Like my other beer-infused cupcakes, I find a box mix works really well. And because the caramel sauce does take a little time, it makes the over-all recipe a little easier.  I recommend following the directions on the box, but substituting the amount of water called for with Sam Adams Boston Lager. I used a Betty Crocker mix for these cupcakes and so I’ve listed those ingredients here. Other brands may differ slightly. Makes approx. 18 cupcakes.

1 box chocolate cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 cup Sam Adams Boston Lager

Combine all ingredients in the large bowl of a stand mixer, Mix on low for 30 seconds, then medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill paper-lined muffin tins about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. Cool completely.

SAMUEL ADAMS BOSTON LAGER CARAMEL SAUCE

From the recipe found at http://www.samueladams.com

2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Sam Adams Boston Lager

4 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups heavy cream

In a heavy pan, dissolve the first five ingredients over low heat, stirring constantly. When the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to  boil and cook without stirring, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and gently stir in the vanilla. Allow to cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly stir in heavy cream until smooth and glossy. Store in the refrigerator.

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BOSTON LAGER FROSTING

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 – 5 cups confectioners sugar

2 – 4 tablespoons Sam Adams Boston Lager

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 to 4 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons lager and vanilla, mixing at low speed until combined and then at high speed until light and fluffy. Add more lager and/or sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Frost cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle cupcakes with chopped peanuts, then drizzle with caramel sauce.

Enjoy!

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