Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tiramisu Cupcakes

For some reason I was in the mood for coffee yesterday.   I gave up caffeine in college and I usually hate the bitter flavor of coffee.  As my mom informed me during my wine tasting last night, that means I have more taste buds than those who love the taste of coffee...  

I took full advantage of my strange craving and got a caramel blended thing-a-ma-jigger at Caribou.  Don't ask me what these things are actually called... They're some sort of full fat coffee plus milk plus sugar combo. 
While I was flying high on my coffee buzz, I whipped up some tiramisu cupcakes I had been dying to try for days.  

It was a semi-homemade type recipe using a box mix, which made the cupcakes very fragile.  I might someday try to adapt a real cake mix, but with all the extra steps in the cupcakes: coring the cooled cakes, piping the spiked marscapone into the cupcake, swirling some jacked-up whipped cream over the top, and finally sifting some cocoa powder over the whole shebang...  I decided enough was enough and bought the cake mix.  

This isn't your mama's cake mix recipe though... Well, it would probably be my mom's cake mix recipe, because she isn't a fan of the by-the-box mix either.  You add some coffee (which I had my mom bring in a travel mug because I don't have a coffee maker) some sour cream... Buttermilk.  nom nom nom.  


Anyway, they were a huge hit.  However, I couldn't taste the hint of coffee, so I might suggest a stronger brew or even some coffee flavoring in the mix.  But it definitely gets the essence of the tiramisu in a hand-held container. 
(My goofy autocorrect wants to change Tiramisu to Semiramis...   and Marscapone to Marchioness)

(Taken from www.yourcupofcake.com)
 Tiramisu Cupcakes
Yield: 24 Cupcakes


1 box White Cake Mix
2 egg whites
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup strong coffee
8 oz mascarpone
1 tablespoon strong coffee
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Whipped Topping:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with cupcake liners.
2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, gently whisk egg whites, egg, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla.
4. Stir cake mix into wet ingredients.
5. Using half of the batter, fill cupcake liners about 1/3 full.
6. With the remaining cake batter, add the strong coffee and mix. (You may need to add 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour to thicken the batter.)
7. Scoop the coffee cake batter over the regular batter so that each cupcake liner is filled about 3/4. (So you have one layer of vanilla cake and a top layer of coffee cake.)
8. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
9. Filling: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl using a spoon.
10. Topping: Using a whisk attachment on your stand mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add vanilla. Slowly add in heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form.
11. To assemble, cut a cone shaped piece of cake out the top of each cupcake (make sure cakes are cooled). Generously spoon in your filling. Pipe your whipped topping over the hole with the filling and top with chocolate shavings and cocoa powder

Friday, March 23, 2012

Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away

 I've been sprucing up my place and doing a little spring cleaning.  
I was using my chalkboard wall as a calendar, but I looked at it tonight and realized it was still September... 

So I got a little creative.   

 Just a few cute windows, because there aren't any in my dining room.

And a little song that reminds me of when I was a little girl... 

In Alisa drama...  

I got a little note on my car yesterday.

I had a million questions!
Who is this? 
Are we talking 5 p.m.? Because if you think I'll be up at 5 a.m. you've lost your mind...

And a few guesses...
Is this the Oprah show?
Golden Apple?... no wait, that's just for teachers.
Publishers Clearning House?

Nope! It was my dear coworker Taswan with a brand spankin' new George Foreman for me!  
Look out chicken breasts.  Here I come.

It did bring out a little green in the eyes of the BF... I'm not mad about that.  :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trestle Trail! I'm a little obsessed...

 My bike rides last year were carefully planned out between runs and swims.  I had mileage spelled out in my date book week by week and rides felt like work.  It was all in my head, and when I got to RAGBRAI, I was completely brainwashed.  The heat and the hills were hard, I was sick, I was recovering from mono... I talked myself into hating my bike and my tent, two of the things I love more than anything!

This winter I got hooked on spin classes.  It was a different ride.  I "spun" twice a week at least.  I loved that I didn't know how far I rode and I didn't have to go if I didn't want to.

When the weather started to turn unseasonably warm a few weeks ago, I took my bike out to check out the High Trestle Trail.
I was expecting a struggle, but I got from Madrid to the bridge in no time flat, and I was loving it! I rode the rest of the way to Woodward and sat down to catch my breath.

I was loving the wind in my face so much that I didn't notice how tired my legs were.
I took a little break to have a snack... When did I become a rabbit? Eh...
And rode back.
12 miles in all, and I considered another 5-6... I went out once more last week when I was having a rough day.  Just rode to the bridge and back.  I found myself smiling on the drive back into town.  All of a sudden when I'm not "training", riding has become a love of mine again.  So I'm not going to train for a triathlon this year, I'm just going to work on my relationship with cycling and enjoy a leisurely ride for what it is. 

On another note, I always try to fill my gas tank and grab a Gatorade at the local gas station in Madrid when I ride the trail.  Just doing my part to boost the economy and give a little "thank you" to the community for building the trail through their back yard. 

I'm no longer the "mayor" of the YMCA on foursquare, but I'm a day away from being the "mayor" of the High Trestle Trail.  And I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with 7 Minute Frosting

After a little jeep crisis, I went to Ames to spend the afternoon with my little cousin.  I made her tie-dye cupcakes for her birthday, and after she ate them she said I should be on Cupcake Wars. 
So, I told her I would come over and we would have our own cupcake war during Spring Break.
 So we made some chocolate cupcakes with my grandma's favorite 7 minute frosting.  My grandma puts this on all of the cakes she makes... And it tastes like fluffy marshmallow cream.  

We also painted some adorable bird houses.  I bought these for $1 at JoAnne's right before I headed to Ames.  Great buy! 
My cousin's is on the right.  I personally think hers ROCKS.  I love the clouds on the roof!
But anyway... back to the cupcakes. 

Just made a simple chocolate cupcake.  I can't even remember where we got the recipe.  But any chocolate cupcake works with this white 7 minute frosting. 



  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put all of the ingredients except the vanilla in a double boiler and whip with a handheld mixer for seven minutes.  I didn't time it, but I think it might have been a little longer than 7 minutes. 

It will be light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and some food coloring.
Swirl the good stuff on!
Nom nom.  These were tasty.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cheese 101 at the Cheese Shop of Des Moines

I went to the Cheese Shop of Des Moines (@CheeseShopDSM) with my mama today for a Cheese 101 class.

We were greeted with some sparking wine and almonds while we watched the monger (that's okay to call him that...) plate the cheese.
Check out all those wine glasses. :)

The Cheese Shop is a pretty new local establishment over on 42nd by La Mie.  They have great american cheeses and the staff is all really excited about wine and cheese and chocolate and everything that makes life worth living.
How cute is this label?

We sat down and tasted 7 different types of cheese from Bloomy Brine to semi soft to Blue Cheese.

The fresh cheese at the top was the most delicious for me.  It was a whole milk ricotta from Cali.  You could really taste how fresh the milk was.  My mom said she would even eat it with a spoon.  I would have to agree.  Ricotta isn't just for lasagna folks.

The washed rind cheese is the one on the left of the plate with a red rind.  It was FUNKY.  The monger was wearing a shirt that said, "Embrace the Funk" But I couldn't quite embrace that.  It just couldn't get past the smell.  And even if I didn't sniff it first, you could smell it on my breath after... That needed a nice red wine swish.

My mom marked almost every cheese as her favorite.  I was a little more picky.

In the end I came to the conclusion that my parents need to buy a cow.  She didn't go for that.

Alisa, you look so cute! Oh, this old thing?

Absolutely stop in and ask them about their events.  They have another one coming up where they pair cheese with wine and beer and then you vote on which works better.  This class is booked for the next two months, but I'm really considering the wine vs. beer class. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Food Processor... Cashew Butter and Banana Ice Cream

I got a new food processor with my sweet Target gift card! (Thanks Danielle)

So tonight I was leaving work and I had 3 choices:
1. Random box of cheesecake in the work fridge that I'm pretty sure was for someone's birthday
2. Shamrock Shake
3. Make stuff with my food processor.

I chose the cheesecake.  obvi.  So I opened the fridge and it was GONE!  UGH.

So I started to drive toward my apartment.  I didn't choose to turn into my driveway until I was RIGHT in front of my place.  Alas... I knew a shamrock shake would upset my tummy right before bed.  I still haven't had one this year!

It took about 20 minutes to figure the dang thing out.  But when I finally did... oh buddy!

I started with some simple cashew butter.
2 cups cashews
2-3 T vegi oil
a squeeze or two of the honey bear

Processed it all up and look how delicious it is!  Yum.

Then I moved on an Iowa Girl Eats recipe: One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Guess what the ingredient is...



I'm not a huge fan of this recipe. 
I felt like maybe the bananas were in the freezer for too long... but then I realized I just don't like bananas.