Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes: happy birthday to ME!

I do a lot of happy birthday wishing to a lot of different people on my blog.  This entry is a 100 per cent self-indulging birthday post to ME.  That’s right.  It is my birthday today and I am now 21.

My birthday celebrations, circa 1993. My cake was chocolate and shaped like a snake.

I wish I had time to post this earlier, but I’ve had an absolutely exhaustingly busy day.  Today in my television class we had our first same-day assignments due.  For those of you who don’t understand the j-school lingo, this means that we had to interview and edit a news feature piece on tight deadline.  It was a tad stressful in the end, but thanks to my two awesome teammates Ariel and Christine and a little birthday luck (also found wicked lucky quarter on the bus this morning), we got through it.

I didn’t actually intend to bake or cook anything special for myself, so when my class was cancelled yesterday morning, I spontaneously made the decision to spoil myself.  While I’m glad I did, my spontaneity left me with several kitchen dilemmas.  First, I had to rush to the local grocery store to buy milk, whole milk and raspberry jam.  Second, I realized after the oven was preheated and the cupcake batter was mixed that I was out of cupcake liners.  Oh terrible misfortunes!  THANK GOD I live in the best neighbourhood that has ever existed.  I quickly got changed out of my pajamas and rushed around the corner to Grace in the Kitchen where a speedy visit provided me with these semi-ugly but completely effective unbleached muffin liners.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  Also, while I was there I met one of the workers, Andrew, who says he has read my blog!  So what if this is mostly because I shamelessly plugged it to him when I bought a massive amount of white chocolate, it’s still neat.

Anywho, I got this fantastic recipe off of Tastespotting.  The blog is called A Spicy Perspective, and the original recipe was named “zingy raspberry lemon cupcakes.”  Two reasons I liked these: (A) the blogger totally made up the word “zingy” and (B) they were completely adorable.  As a half asian, I 200 per cent fulfill the stereotype of liking cute things.  I squealed with delight when taking the pictures you see below.

PS: Britt got me a brie baker for my birthday!  BRIE. BAKING. Need I say more?

Finally, can we please just appreciate the cool and creative qualities of iPhone photo apps (thank you Hipstamatic!)

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Two-tiered Chocolate Zucchini Yogurt Cake with Raspberry Yogurt Icing

Let me start off by saying I am very proud of this cake and its very long name.  This dessert represents a culmination of practicality and taste, the first because I got to use up so much stuff from my fridge, and the second because of the amazing deliciousness of combined raspberry and chocolate flavours.

The idea for this cake was born on Sunday night when I was bored at home.  I was feeling guilty for having so much stuff in the mini fridge that my roommate Britt and I share, and was in one of my inexplicable baking moods (normally these happen at around 9:15 p.m. on a school night).  In the fridge, I had a tub of plain yogurt that was very near expiration date, so I knew I had to use that up.  Since zucchini has become my favourite vegetable, I decided I might as well go all out and make a zucchini cake.  Google is the most wonderful tool for finding strange recipes.  This recipe came from the site Cooper’s Kitchen (this dude Cooper apparently has his own show) and was absolutely perfect for what I wanted to do.

Once my cake came out of the oven, it struck me that I needed to whip up some icing.  Since I also had a large amount of raspberry yogurt left, I trolled the Internet some more before setting on the raspberry yogurt icing recipe that I adapted for this cake.  I had a mini Hilary baking freak out after the icing was done since it was kind of liquidy still, but this was quickly fixed by a morning of refrigerated glory.  I didn’t have fresh raspberries to put on my cake, so I decided to pipe dollops of raspberry jam on top of it.  Way to use my problem solving skills, right?

When I was at my part-time job on Monday, I was talking to my co-worker Natalie about this most recent baking adventure.  I quickly rhymed off the name of the cake, and watched in horror as she crinkled her nose in disgust.

Apparently she thinks that yogurt and zucchini do not go together in a cake.

With the desire to quash Natalie’s uncertainly, I brought in a huge chunk of cake the next day to share with everyone in the office.  As I carried my tupperware container of cake across campus, I fumbled while putting on my mittens, dropping the tupperware and allowing the cake to somersault away from me.  By the time I made it to the office, the cake was a mess, and I had to carefully scrape icing off the lid and reapply it to the cake.  As I presented each of my co-workers with a piece of cake, I also showed them pictures of what my cake looked like pre-drop.  They needed to know that I wasn’t a completely incompetent cake decorator.

In the end, the cake turned out awesome.  The raspberry icing was the perfect contrast for the chocolate cake which, although a tad dry, was still tasty.  Since both contained lots of yogurt and zucchini, I’m going to write this cake one off as a “healthy meal” in hopes of justifying the fact that I ate it for breakfast two days in a row.

Recipe: Two-tiered chocolate zucchini yogurt cake with a raspberry yogurt icing
Cake
See recipe on Cooper’s Kitchen.

Raspberry yogurt icing
– 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
– 4 cups icing sugar
– 1/2 cup raspberry yogurt
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup raspberry jam

Using a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.  Add yogurt and vanilla and blend until smooth.  Using a piping bag (or a Ziplock bag) pipe small dollops of jam onto the cake.