Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Parties

My favorite part about this time of year is, hands down, all of the parties! Every Christmas party means a chance to bake something festive and to see people I love!

For my sister's Christmas party I made my famous Red Velvet Cupcakes

Lorin and I at her Christmas party

For my mom's birthday, I made Red Velvet Cupcakes as well because they are her all time favorite and she is my inspiration for creating and baking them. (These are actually the cupcakes that started it all back in my tiny kitchen on Coming Street in Charleston.)

The 5 of us at Valhalla for mom's birthday.

Then I got a great recipe for Eggnog Cupcakes from my all-time favorite food blog, Annie's Eats. When I got an eVite to the Franco's Christmas Party, I knew just what to bring! And I knew it had to be amazing because they have a competition every year and I'd like to have a chance at it this year :) So, I spent an afternoon baking Eggnog Cupcakes at Josh's (which is not a very equipped kitchen, but my sister let me borrow her KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, so I worked with what I had)


Final product

Eggnog Cupcakes

Yield: about 18-20 regular cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
¼ cup dark rum or bourbon (optional) (I used Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and it is NOT optional!)
1 cup eggnog
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar

For the frosting:
20 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2½ tbsp. eggnog
1 tbsp. dark rum (0ptional) (Again, Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum, NOT optional!)

For garnish:
Ground cinnamon or grated nutmeg
Cinnamon sticks

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, vinegar, and sugar. Beat on medium-low speed until well blended. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling the cups 2/3 full. Bake 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If making mini cupcakes, I bake for 11-13 minutes.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, 20-30 seconds. Add in the powdered sugar, salt and nutmeg, and mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the eggnog and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 minutes. With the mixer on medium-low speed, blend in the rum.

Fill a pastry bag with the frosting and decorate the cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a large Wilton 1m star tip for these cupcakes). Sprinkle with ground cinnamon or grated nutmeg, and garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Source: Annie's Eats; cupcakes adapted from Baking Bites, frosting adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Enjoy and happy holiday partying to you all!!

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