Hurricane Irene Baking

Saturday morning I strapped down my bee hives. We cleared the deck of all chairs, tables, and plants. The kids helped take down the screen tent and put the kayaks under the playhouse. Fifty-five gallons of water are stored in every conceivable container are scattered around the house. The emergency candle box has been found and brought up from the basement. I bought a pyramid of canned soup from the store, as well as essentials like tonic (wouldn’t want to run out of G & Ts during the storm). Then we picked up twenty-seven hours worth of videos from our local library. We were as prepared as we could get for Hurricane Irene.

"Beehives strapped down"

Beehives strapped down for the hurricane

"Pyramid of soup cans"

Pyramid of soup

"water for irene"

Vessels of water

"water jugs downstairs"

Water jugs downstairs

Then, for some reason before the storm hit I felt compelled to bake. We still had power, and the fridge did need emptying for the upcoming storm since we so often lose electricity during bad weather. I quickly whipped up a batch of chocolate cupcakes from the best chocolate cake recipe. It was the perfect base to test my cream cheese frosting recipe on. Isabelle’s friend Charline who is visiting from France had tasted it on the miniature chocolate cupcakes I’d made for her birthday the week before and wanted the recipe (along with some of you). Since I don’t usually work from a recipe when I make cream cheese frosting (I taste as I go) I’d promised to whip up a batch and measure everything so Charline could make it when she returned to France.

"Charline's birthday"

Strawberries, madeleines, chocolate cupcakes, and the birthday hat

"Charline's 16th birthday"

The birthday girl and friends

"chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and raspberries"

Charline's birthday cupcakes

As the rain poured down pre-Irene we watched videos, ate soup, and Charline deftly wielded a pastry bag. We didn’t have any raspberries that night so sprinkles showered over the cupcakes much as the rain was pounding down outside.

"charline with a pastry bag"

Frosting seven dozen cupcakes

"cupcakes being frosted"

"sprinkles raining down on cupcakes"

Raining sprinkles

Here is the frosting recipe in english and french. Merci Charline for helping with the translation and letting me play with your camera!

Cream Cheese Frosting

I pull the butter and cream cheese out to soften before I start to bake. In the time it takes to mix and cook the batter the butter and cream cheese are usually the perfect temperature. If they are still too cool to cream together because it’s really cold in your house or you forgot to pull them out in advance simply cut them into little pieces and place them in a bowl near a warm spot in your kitchen. You don’t want them to melt, just be soft enough to incorporate with one another.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, 6 ounces

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1  1/2 pounds powdered sugar

3-5 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl cream together butter and cream cheese. Add about half the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add three teaspoons of vanilla and beat in most of remaining powdered sugar. Add rest of vanilla if desired. The consistency should be spreadable – not too loose and not too stiff. The amounts will shift slightly depending on the weather outside, which is why I don’t have you adding all the powdered sugar at once.

For cupcakes I put the frosting in a pastry bag with a star tip. You could also use a plastic bag and cut off a small bit of one corner. Or you could use a small knife. Freeze any leftover frosting. I find this amount of frosting good for one double layer cake with some decorative work. You won’t need it all for cupcakes unless you like a mound of frosting as big as the cupcakes themselves.

Note: I originally posted this recipe for cream cheese frosting with a 2:1 butter to cream cheese ratio. A friend made it and thought it wasn’t “cream-cheesey enough”. I’ve changed it to a 1:1 ratio, though you could invert it so it is a 1:2 butter to cream cheese ratio too. The more cream cheese you add, the softer the frosting becomes. You can compensate for the softness by adding more powdered sugar, but that makes it sweeter. 

Glaçage à la crème de fromage

Je tire le beurre et le fromage à la crème pour les adoucir avant de commencer à cuire. Pendant le temps qu’il faut pour mélanger et faire cuire la pâte le beurre et le fromage à la crème sont généralement a la température parfaite. Si ils sont encore trop frais pour mixer, car il fait vraiment froid dans votre maison ou vous avez oublié de les sortir à l’avance tout simplement les couper en petits morceaux et les placer dans un bol près d’un endroit au chaud dans votre cuisine. Vous ne voulez pas qu’ils fondent, juste être suffisamment souple pour intégrer les uns avec les autres.

170 gr. de beurre non salé, ramolli

170 gr. de fromage à la crème, ramolli

700 gr. de sucre en poudre

3-5 cuillères à café d’extrait de vanille

Dans un grand bol je mixe le beurre et le fromage à la crème. Ajouter environ la moitié du sucre en poudre et battre jusqu’à consistance lisse. Ajoutez trois cuillères à café de vanille et battre la plupart du sucre en poudre. Ajouter le reste de la vanille, si désiré. La consistance doit être tartinable – pas trop lâche et pas trop raide. Les volumes se déplaceront légèrement en fonction du temps qu’il fait dehors, c’est pourquoi je ne vous ai pas fait ajouter le sucre en poudre tout à la fois.

Pour les cupcakes j’ai mis le glaçage dans une poche à douille avec un embout étoile. Vous pouvez également utiliser un sac en plastique et couper un petit morceau de l’un des coins. Ou vous pourriez utiliser un petit couteau. Congelez les restes toute glaçage. Je trouve cette quantité de glaçage bonne pour un gâteau à double couche avec quelques travaux de décoration. Vous n’aurez pas besoin de tout pour les cupcakes sauf si vous aimez un monticule de glaçage aussi gros que les petits gâteaux eux-mêmes.

"westbrook river raging"

The Westbrook River raging after Irene passed through

5 Comments

Filed under 50 Recipes

5 responses to “Hurricane Irene Baking

  1. marisa

    Ceil- I’m so in the mood for cream sheese frosting now. I am surprised that you don’t use a bit of lemon juice – yum!! the sweet and tart flavors are like ying and yang. xo

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