Tag Archives: orange

RECIPE: Creamsicle Dream Cupcakes

It’s official. I am no longer a teenager. Yesterday I began my life as a twenty year old. Although it may seem like a traumatic moment for a lot of people, I was happy to leave my teenhood behind and enter a new chapter. In fact, I have kind of always felt like I was older than I actually am. But a big birthday is an occasion that requires a celebratory treat and I knew just the thing.

Various people suggested that I was crazy for making my own birthday treat. But I’m not crazy! Baking is one of my favourite things to do so the real treat was that I got to spend some time on my birthday doing something that I love. I had been eying this recipe for quite some time, but was saving it for the perfect occasion.

I attribute my love of creamsicles to my Dad. Orange and vanilla nicely compliment each other to create a delectable cool treat on those hot summer days (or cold winter nights…we enjoy a good creamsicle any time). When I saw a recipe for a creamsicle in cupcake form, my mouth was watering before I even read through the recipe. They are made with fresh oranges, topped with vanilla buttercream, and garnished with a homemade candied orange. I found the original recipe over at Annie’s Eats. This recipe was primarily developed by Annie but has a few minor changes because of my lack of vanilla beans. Be sure to head over to her blog for some beautiful photos and further inspiration.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the cupcake pans with paper liners. Cream together the butter, sugar, and orange zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the cream, orange juice, and vanilla. In another separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add the cream and flour mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Divide the batter between the paper-lined muffin cups and bake 22-23 minutes or until the tops are nicely rounded and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool further.

Meanwhile, prepare the candied oranges. Thinly slice 1-2 oranges until you have the desired number of slices (with a few extra). Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium-low and lay the orange slices in the liquid. Be sure that none of the slices overlap. Depending on the size of your saucepan, you may need to do this a few times but the same syrup can be used for all of it. Let the orange slices simmer in the sugar-water liquid for 10 minutes, then flip them over, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the slices and place in a container. When you are finished all of the slices, pour the remaining syrup in the container with the slices and allow to cool. It may be placed in the fridge.

To make the vanilla buttercream, beat the butter with an electric beater until it is smooth. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and cream and beat lightly until just combined. Increase the speed and beat for 3-4 additional minutes or until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with the desired tip. When the cupcakes and the candied oranges are completely cooled, top each with a swirl of buttercream and a candied orange. They can be stored in the refrigerator.

That’s all there is to it. The orange flavour of the cupcakes is not too overpowering and is balanced nicely with the vanilla buttercream. The candied oranges are one hundred percent edible. It was my first time making, or even eating, candied oranges and they were delicious. They are incredibly sweet. If you crave more of the orange flavour, you could easily add a little bit of orange zest and/or juice to the buttercream as well.

To leave off, I figured that I would do what I always do and share a few of the instagram photos taken on my birthday. I got treated to some delicious birthday waffles with lots of berries made by my wonderful sister, I found an old (and incredibly embarrassing) photo in my Grandma and Grampa’s basement (I was probably in Grade 4), and I was taken to our local thai restaurant for some delicious coconut rice and ginger beef birthday dinner (my favourite!) by some of my favourite people!

Once again, I apologize for all the recipe posts in a row. But like I said, it’s birthday week in our house which means cake is the only thing on my radar! I hope you’re all having a sweeter-than-sweet week. Just think…it’s Friday! Thanks for reading.

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Knitting 101: Double-Wrap Infinite Scarf

It’s almost the end of February. The sun may be staying out longer but the crisp air sure seems to be getting cooler with each passing day. Although we winter-haters can’t change the work of the weather clouds, we can make our bitter cold days a little bit cozier with a little handmade loving.

My friends will be the first to tell you that I have a scarf addiction. Not a day goes by without (what I like to call) a “fluffy” scarf wrapped around my neck. It could be a comfort thing, but the coziness of scarves help me get through these cold winter days (along with a few cups of tea, of course). Fun colours help make my day, and outfit, a little brighter.

This pattern is an adaption of a pattern on the back of a wool label. It is extremely easy if you know how do both knits and purls. I personally like really thick scarves so I opted to use a nice thick wool. One brand that has proven to be a wonderful brand for thick scarves is LOOPS & THREADS CHARISMA. You will most likely find it at any Michael’s Craft Store. It can prove to be a little bit expensive but if you are an avid flyer-browser you will quite often come across it on sale every now and then. If you can’t justify the price, check out some other brands too. Just look at the thickness and softness of the strand. I have used BERNAT ROVING and LOOPS & THREADS COUNTRY LOOM for other knitting projects in the past and they work pretty well too.

Another important thing to consider when making a thick and fluffy scarf is needle size. In my opinion, bigger is better. But remember that if you are going to use big needles, you need to have a thick wool.

 Alright. All of that is said and done–so let’s get to the goods!

MATERIALS

  • 2 balls of a thick wool, in any desired colour (the scarf in the picture is Copper)
  • A pair of 10mm straight knitting needles

PROCESS

Cast on 26 stitches. Starting with the first row, continuously repeat this pattern:

Row 1: Knit 2, Purl 2 (should end on a K2)

Row 2: P2, K2 (should end on a P2)

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: Purl

Continue this pattern through both balls of wool. When you have either reached your desired length or you are fairly close to the end of your second ball, finish the scarf on Row 2 before you cast the scarf off your needles. The scarf will be fairly long because it is designed to be a double-wrapped scarf. Finish the scarf by sewing the two ends together with the excess string of the wool. Sew in all loose ends (such as where the two balls were joined). Voila–you have a cozy new (and extremely easy to make) infinite scarf!

 VARIATIONS

Single-Wrapped Infinite: If you can’t handle being tangled in a double-wrapped infinite scarf, try adding more initial stitches to make the scarf wider. Add stitches in increments of 4 (such as 30, 34, 38, 42, 46, 50…etc.). If you use 50 initial stitches, it will most likely take the same amount of wool. Then just follow the pattern as stated above. Make it long enough so it wraps around your neck once.

Regular Scarf: If you hate infinite scarves and/or would rather have a regular scarf, this pattern can be adapted to do that. Just follow the pattern as instructed but don’t sew the two ends together at the end. Instead, just leave them as sharp edges or sew in strands of extra wool to the ends and tie. Be creative to determine different ways in which it can be “finished” to give it a unique quality.

There you have it. Even if you despise these cold winter days, this scarf will hopefully make your days a little more bearable. Now I’m off to have my cup of tea…

Happy Knitting!

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