This past week, I got married. It was last minute and unceremonious but I wanted to mark the day with some cake. Many years ago, when my partner worked at a German bakery, he loved a pear and chocolate cake that they made. For someone who claims not to like cake, this is a big deal. So, when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen (probably 5 years ago), I thought it looked very promising. I think at the time, I couldn’t make it right away because it is one of those recipes that really requires an electronic mixer, so I was patient, and came back to it after I finally got a handheld electric whisk. All of these years later, it’s one of the most delicious cakes that I have made. So, when I saw that I had some overripe pears, I knew immediately what cake I wanted to make.
These earl grey vanilla cupcakes are the second half of the potluck dish that I made earlier this week. If you didn’t see my last post, I brought these, along with my black sesame chocolate cupcakes, to a surprise baby shower. I don’t know if there are any fellow bloggers reading this (I guess this would also apply to the general public?) but I become slightly crazy when I take part in a potluck (especially if it is something that I’ve made for the first time and that I intend to post on the blog). I watch everyone’s face as they eat what I brought, judge how popular it is compared to other dishes, and feel compelled to keep tasting whatever I brought to make sure that I still think it is good. The best sign is if someone asks me for my recipe. That’s when I’ve succeeded at potlucking in my books. I recognize that this is probably not the best quality in a potluck participant but we all have our quirks?
Tonight I have a surprise baby shower to go to. It’s a potluck and at first I thought I would make a salad but a few hours later, I changed my mind. I decided I wanted to make some cupcakes. As always, I love making desserts for potlucks because it is the perfect excuse to share something that I don’t really want to (well, I want to, I just shouldn’t) eat a whole batch of. On the hunt for a cupcake recipe, I went straight to one of my favourite blogs: My Name is Yeh. I have been a fan of Molly’s food photography and writing for a long time now but surprisingly, I have never actually made anything for her website. After trawling through her recipes to learn as much as I could about cupcakes, I noticed that there was a lot of consistency in the base recipe, which must mean it’s awesome right? The only other thing to figure out was some exciting flavours to use and today I’m sharing the black sesame chocolate cupcakes, later this week I’ll also share the earl grey vanilla cupcakes that I made to go with them.
Last week, I was brainstorming what I could bring to a Thanksgiving potluck as dessert and my boyfriend just kept repeating “What about apple pie?”. In the end, the idea grew on me and I went straight to researching all sorts of different pies. The closest I have ever come to making a pie before was when I made a strawberry galette, last summer. After reading about countless different types of apple and other fruit pies I made a couple of key decisions. First, I wanted a simple, flaky crust but only on the bottom. I saw a bunch of pies that had a crumble topping and I thought it was genius: you get buttery pastry and a crunchy, nutty top? Definitely the best of both worlds. Also, so that I wouldn’t have to use too much sugar I decided to use both tart and sweet apples in the filling, spiced with some nutmeg and cinnamon. Lastly, because I wanted to put a little twist on things, I decided I wanted to put rosemary throughout the pie: in the crust, topping and filling. I love rosemary and apples (actually I love rosemary with fruit and in desserts, generally)! And that’s how this rosemary apple pie was born.