Monday, 10 February 2014

Robicelli's meet the "The Sleazy Bakeshop" (yes that is my kitchen).

I have no words.  Well this is a lie as it would be a very short post if that were true, and this is going to take a while, so stay with me, it will be worth it.

There will also be many swears in the post, if the swears are a deal breaker for you, then our time together is done.  Sorry, it's not me it's you.  It got emotional and the swears were needed.

I can't tell you how much I love this film.
In the words of the great Julie Andrew, "let's start at the very beginning" *sings the rest of the sound of music internally*  So we did.  After spending all of Saturday evening reading the beginning of the book.  Learning about different types of salt, butter, sugar and oil.  *Fun fact, did you know that canola oil is not, in fact made from a mysterious plant called a canola?  I didn't.  It stands for Canadian oil, low acid.  There you go.  This is what happens when you read the beginning of cook books.  You learn shit.  It's made from rape seed (I still can't say this without cracking up now, you should have seen us in the super market).  I grew up in an area where they grew rape (giggidy) so I am aware of what it is.  Guess calling it Rape oil would give people the wrong idea, and no marketing executive in the world can make that shit work.*  I digress, (shockingly)
Seriously?  Is this not a pun just waiting to happen?  (yes I know I am going to hell)

I learned what Xanthan is, and what it does (I had never heard of it, have you?) and what leavening is. I have also learned,  that "Nature hates us and doesn't want us to have nice things".  A whole section on how humidity and barometric pressure can fuck up a perfectly well prepared frosting.  (This was learned the hard way.  More on the later)  Words like "hygroscopic" are bandied around and you don't feel like a total tit for not knowing what it means. (she explains everything).  I was mesmerized. This is a first for me it has to be said.  I hated Chemistry at school.  In fact I want the Robicelli's to write a book on baking chemistry.  Write it the way they wrote intro to their book, use simple words and pictures with stick men so that us mortals can understand.  It would make a lot of people very happy.  Fact.

Li and I decided to start on the first recipe.  We thought this would ease us in nicely.  It did.  Sort of.  We intended to start cooking around oneish.  This was thwarted by the Monkey (my soon to be 2 year old daughter).  Who decided to pitch a shit fit and needed to burn off some energy.  One hour later, after splashing in puddles, schlepping to the park and back and enduring more toddler tantrums we made to the grocery store.  There was juvenile giggling in the oil section, and we were positively buoyant (it took me four trys to spell that. Damn you spell check) with enthusiasm. Armed with our goodies we set off back home to mise en place the shit out of these cupcakes.

Kitchen was cleaned, ish.  Well as much as it can be when you have a lethargic greyhound who moults like a SOB and a toddler that is secretly a teenager, leaving a trail of destruction and discarded half masticated food and miscellanea in her wake.

Let the preparation begin.

This is my baking drawer.  It is shameful I know.  I have a tenancy to just shove it all in there.  Occasionally the mood grabs me to organise it.  This will happen soon I promise.

The drawer of baking shame.

This is my baking cupboard.  Yes that is a "juice box" up there too.  This too will get
organised.  I promise.  At the moment it is all just rammed in there.

What do you do when you have limited counter space?  Why you use chopping boards on the stove
of course.  That, and get the Puerto Rican in to do the manual labour.

Mise en place'd the shit out of these cupcakes.
Yes this is what mise en place looks like.  We could have tried to fancy it up, but crappy plastic bowls are what you get when you have a toddler.  I am so happy we did this as there was nearly a butter incident through a misread quantity.  What I read as a "fuck load" of butter only needed to be a "shit load".  These are actual measurements.   I will hear no other word on the subject.

First up we had to put the sugar and pistachios into a food processor.  Food processor?  Oops crap.  Nope, I don't have one of those.  A quick rally and I remembered that I do have a hand held staff mixer with a wee pot thing that can go on the bottom. So we went all Ghetto food processor and did it in batches.  This is what it turned out like.

Lord have mercy!  The smell!  The colour! The taste.  I want this on everything from now on.  It is divine. The oils come out and infuse into the sugar.  I encourage everyone to do this.  Now, seriously right now.  Go on do it.  You will thank me.

Next up was beating of eggs and then slowly adding the melted (warm but not hot) butter.  Once again going all Ghetto on this, as I don't own a stand mixer, but I do have a hand mixer.  Li mixing, me pouring.  Go Team Sleazy Bakeshop!  I would have taken a picture but sadly all hands were needed. (I am so glad this is a team effort). Then the milk, vanilla and salt.  It looked wonderful.

Finally we added the dry ingredients.  I would have taken a photo but I was too busy licking cake batter. Seriously!  You have no frikkin idea how good this cake batter tastes.  We were uncontrollable.  Maybe our batter was a tad on the runny side, but I have no way of knowing what the viscosity should have been.  (Yeah, I used viscosity in a sentence.  Pretentious? Moi?).

Pretty huh?
This is actually the second batch.  The first batch were made in small cases.  They turned out wonderfully, but yes I forgot to photograph them too and they are now in my belly.

This is where the plot thickens.  Many high fives, jumping chest bumps, spiking of imaginary balls and a moon walk or two later, we were giddy on our success.  Cupcakes! Yeah!  We did that shit!

The frosting though, proved to be a trifle more tricksy.

Robicelli's, I love you.  We followed your recipe to the letter, I promise.  Experience has taught me that when making frosting, the butter (and other goods) have to be at room temperature, but unless I missed it (and I possibly did) you don't mention what temperature it has to be at.  Now I accept full responsibility for the first batch.  It was all a bit too cold I think.  But your (frankly) awesome cartoon say to;

"Throw everything that isn't sugar into the bowl" - Check.

""Beat the fuck out of that shit"- double check.

'When the shit's fluffy start adding your sugar" - Fluffy did not happen though.  How can this be?  We nailed the shit out of the cupcakes.  They are there sitting on the cooling rack looking magnificent.

Over confidence perhaps? To many jumping chest bumps? (You never want to witness that.)

Instead, this happened.  Booooo.  Luckily for us, I made the executive decision to only make a half  batch.  So we had one more shot at this

The next batch looked even worse.  Like soupy cottage cheese.  Shit!  I was not to be thwarted.

Now, I know this is due to humidity and other such nonsense, and that shit happens, but upon closer reading in the funky little comic, in box number 6 you say we have to;

"whip some cream in bit by bit to make it your bitch".  Wait what?  Didn't we already add the cream?  Is that not covered under the afore mentioned "throw everything that isn't sugar into the bowl" part?  Could this be the reason for my soupy frosting?

Time started to slip away.  Hungry families were (literally) calling, and bad parenting and an overdose of Dora was making for a cranky toddler.  Li, packed up some cupcakes and some sketchy frosting to take home to her family and I promised to find out what the hell happened.

Never before have I read so much on saving butter cream frosting.  In the end, I decided to warm it up slowly and then whisk it while it cooled.  This seemed to work.  I popped it in the fridge with fingers crossed that it would still be homogeneous (boom! another big word) in the morning.  I got up this morning and it was.  Not as smooth as I would have liked, but I am putting that down to the Ricotta, so don't go bursting my bubble on that.  But it tastes like cannolli and that is good enough for me.

My first attempt. As you can see it is not super smooth.  

Some strategically placed props and gosh how pretty.  But you can see the size difference in the cases.
Who knew that they came in loads of sizes?  Well not us.  

I didn't have and candied lemon so I just used good old lemon zest.

So pretty.
 So we did it.  We made a cupcake.  Lots of drama for such a little thing.

On a side bar I will add the the Robicelli's now know we are undertaking this endeavour and posted it on their Facebook wall.  Li lost her shit and had to "calm her tits".  (One day I will so a whole post on Li-ism's.  They are staggering.)  I did wonder why I had so many hits on the last posting.  So thank you guys.  We will try not to go all creepy stalker on you.  Well I will, I make no promises about Li.  Next up Tarte Bourdaloue.

I hope we don't let you down and seriously why are we not best friends?  (Too much, too soon?)

Thanks for getting to the end of a spectacularly long and windy post.  You rock.  Now go make yourself some pistachio sugar, you earned it.

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