The Buttery Blog

Everything's better with butter.

Dumplings and Cake. Oh Baby! October 25, 2009

Filed under: Baked Goods/Pastries,health/diet — butteryblog @ 9:19 pm
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The NYC Dumpling Festival was held yesterday. The only reason I’m aware of this is because one of my (very brave) friends participated in the dumpling eating contest. Seeing pictures of his feat put a huge smile on my face, and for some crazy reason, even though everyone looked a little sick at the end, I had a craving for dumplings.

Off to Vanessa’s Dumpling House on the Lower East Side. Compared with most dumpling spots in the area, Vanessa’s is considered a “splurge.” Eight vegetable dumplings for $3.00 and Peking Duck on a Sesame Pancake for $2.25. The Peking Duck sandwich was delicious, and the size of a large man’s hand. Seriously, not to up their prices, but they could easily sell that thing for $4.00! Next time I go there I’ll try their pan-fried pork dumplings (4 for a $1.00). It’s a great place to stop and get a snack in the middle of shopping or sight-seeing.

Vanessa's Dumplings

Vanessa's Dumplings

Just a few blocks away is Babycakes, a well known vegan bakery visited by many celebrities. I had heard the name before, but it wasn’t until Lady Butterbuns asked us East Coast Buttery sisters to investigate that it was officially on my radar. “Can it really be that good?” Lady B asked, considering it’s wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free (the only thing it’s not is nut-free)?

I tried 3 of their offerings, and here is my professional buttery opinion, in order of taste-test:

Mini Chocolate Brownie: A two-bite brownie. It was moist, chocolately, and had just the right amount of sweetness. It also had chocolate chunks inside, which enhanced the texture. If someone had told me it was a regular-ol’ brownie, I would have believed them.

Just like the real thing: mini chocolate brownie

Just like the real thing: mini chocolate brownie

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting: Disgusting. The cake was so dry and it had a definite cardboard taste. Don’t even go there.

Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting: Very nice. It was more of a muffin texture than cake. What it had going for it was the pumpkin, which makes anything moist, and the spices. A key to making a low fat, low sugar food taste better is adding spices. And this one worked nicely.

Chocolate: Thumbs Down/ Pumpkin: Thumbs Up

Chocolate: Thumbs Down/ Pumpkin: Thumbs Up

Babycakes is totally cute. From the name to the storefront design, it beckons you in. If you’re vegan, it’s probably a little bit of heaven on earth. When I ordered, I was asked if I had any food allergies, so you know that there’s a greater purpose behind it than just baking cupcakes. For someone who’s not a vegan, and has no food allergies, it’s a trial and error type thing. I’d definitely go back for the mini brownie if I just happened to be passing by.

Too Cute

Too Cute

There’s a small park about a block away with a beautiful red bench to enjoy your vegan treats:

Sit on Me. I'm Pretty.

Sit on Me. I'm Pretty.

I ended my adventure with Where the Wild Things Are. A lovely Sunday afternoon indeed!

♦ Buttery B


Red Velvet May 30, 2009

Filed under: Desserts — butteryblog @ 1:25 am
Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet

When we were trying to name this blog, we briefly considered the name, Red Velvet Armadillo. I loved it for a few reasons.

1. I love red velvet cake more than almost anything else.
2. I love the movie, Steel Magnolias. I cannot not watch it when I see it on television. I cannot not cry. And I absolutely cannot not say the lines along with the actors. It’s like I’m a 12 year old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.
3. I love the tagline, “Nothin’ like a good piece of ass!” I love the word “ass”. And it’s true- there isn’t.

Since I love Red Velvet cake, I’m always on the search for a good recipe. So when I found this one at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, I knew I had to try it. All I needed was an excuse…. enter Memorial Day. I felt like adding a little bit of a twist so I made one batch of red and one of blue velvet. Same recipe, just replace the red food coloring with blue.

So here’s the recipe (adapted from Mrs. Wilkes’ Boardinghouse Cookbook: Recipes and Recollections from Her Savannah Table by Selma Wilkes at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody):

Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 3 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
5/8 ounce bottle red food coloring
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vinegar. Sift the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa together. Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients while beating. Slowly add the buttermilk. Let it incorporate (I love when Emeril says that) and then add sour cream. While still beating, add the vanilla and the food coloring. Pour into cupcake pans and bake for 10-15 minutes. They’re done if they bounce back after you press them. Makes 12-15. *The sour cream was my addition and upon reflection, it’s probably not necessary. The cake would have been pretty moist without it. I hate that word- moist.

Red Velvet Cake Frosting
1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 (1 pound) box confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the cream cheese and butter and melt over very low heat. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a little milk. One recipe covered both batches of cupcakes. *The pictures make this look like a glaze. That’s what happens when you leave cupcakes in the sun for 15 hours. But it worked.

This seemed to go over pretty well among the Memorial Day crew. I was a fan. I don’t know if it will become my definitive Red Velvet recipe, but it’s definitely in the top three.

I love you more than my luggage,
Ms. Butterpants

P.S. The cupcakes are housed in a Cupcake Courier.  I do not get kickbacks, but I am a superfan.  You can get it at Williams-Sonoma.

Red Velvet

Red Velvet