Thursday, March 1, 2012

club sugar and butter

This past Sunday I attended the first-of what I hope to be many-meetings of the Halifax Baking Club. I can tell you are jealous already. Started by the beautiful and talented Kelly Neil of Bacon and Baileys (yes, not only is she a fab food blogger who has the deepest appreciation for bacon and Baileys but she's also a sick photographer...I mean have you seen her photos?!), the Halifax Baking Club is really just a way to meet others interested in baking and celebrate all things sugar and butter. Sounds amazing I know. But whats really cool is that there is a theme each meeting revealed a week before. This past week's: New Year New Recipe. Having baked for quite some time including several times a day in the planting world, I admit I was at a loss to find something new. I was gonna go all crazy and make turnovers with homemade puffed pastry but then some drinks at the Carleton the previous night foiled my plans. After surveying the fridge, I found fresh thyme, lemons and, damn, not much butter. A quick search of the net and I had found my new recipe. Introducing: Lemon Thyme Olive Oil Cupcakes with Balsamic Buttercream.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Neil
Thanks to The Cupcake Project for providing the recipe and inspiration. Here's the deets but I did add twice as much lemon zest for a tangier cupcake. Also, instead of the Balsamic Whipped Cream she paired with her cupcakes, I used what little butter I had for a balsamic buttercream.


1 c. sugar
2 T. lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
2/3 c. olive oil
3 eggs
2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 T. thyme fresh, chopped  finely

Balsamic Buttercream
2 T. balsamic vinegar
pinch brown sugar
2 c. icing sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
splash milk/cream

garnish - sugared lemon rind, thyme leaves

Mix lemon zest with sugar. Rub it together to release all that lemony goodness. Lick your fingas when no one's looking. Whisk in the olive oil til combined then the eggs, one at a time. Sift dry ingredients together. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with half the lemon juice. Repeat. Fold in the thyme. I made daintly lil' mini cupcakes (greasing the pan with grape seed oil) but go for the original size if ya like em big. Bake at 350 for about 12 min for the minis or 20 for the regular. (Note: her recipe says 375 but my oven is carazy so I constantly have to adjust.)

I totally didn't use a recipe for the buttercream but it went a little something like this: reduce the balsamic (to about 2 t. or til syrupy) by simmering with a pinch of brown sugar.  Beat the butter til soft, gradually adding sifted icing sugar til soft and fluffy. Add in the balsamic reduction once cooled. Add in some milk to reach desired consistency.

And there you have it, new year new recipe. A total success. Not only were these tasty little bundles of sweet and tangy, but they were a hit with everyone in attendance. But what, you ask, did everyone else bring? Well head on over to the Halifax Baking Club's Facebook page and have a peek. Kicking yourself for not going? Yes, yes you should. But all the more reason to 'like' that page and get on board for the next meet up. Because, let's be honest, there ain't nuthin' wrong with a little sugar and butter.