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What do you make for the person who doesn’t like your traditional sweets, or, heaven forbid (!): birthday cake!? If you have someone in you life that is like my husband (who would sooner have a bowl of fruit to a buttercream frosted, chocolate cake…weirdo), I have a different recipe for you.
Trying to steer clear of something overly sweet, I baked a spice [cup]cake, with a splash of bourbon (for a Kentucky boy, of course!), topped with cinnamon dusted cream cheese frosting – a bit of an adult twist on a fall classic. Although Barr’s September birthday doesn’t fall into an autumn birthday this year (how weird is that? His birthday is in spring this year), the nutmeg, cinnamon, and star anise in these cupcakes definitely stir up fall-type tastes and feelings…almost makes me yearn for falling leaves, Halloween, and football season. Ill take the warmer temperatures and blooming spring though – no complaints here!
So without further ado, here’s the recipe as adapted from the Maker’s Mark site. Enjoy!
Recipe makes 1 dozen cupcakes
Cupcakes – yields 1 dozen
1/4 cup your favorite bourbon
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 star anise
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Sift all dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, star anise, and nutmeg. Put aside for later use.
2. Cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition and beating well.
4. Add the syrup and mix well.
5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk to the batter.
6. Add the bourbon, stirring well with a spatula. Fill the cupcake liners almost to the top and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Sprinkle frosted cupcakes with a bit of cinnamon, if desired.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting – yields ~2 cups
1-1/2 cups cream cheese (12 ounces), softened
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese well, using a wooden spoon or paddle attachment.
2. Add the softened butter. Continue to beat until well mixed in with the cream cheese.
3. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt. Beat until well incorporated.
Until next time…
After our many, many, many moves over our comparatively short marriage (Durham to Atlanta, Atlanta to Charlotte house #1, Charlotte house #1 to Charlotte House #2, Charlotte to Dubai, Dubai to Perth all in just shy of 3 years), we’ve become expert movers- I should hope so anyway! 🙂 Thankfully, this move was relatively easy as we didnt have to fuss with any furniture and our new landlords have been gems (this hasnt always been the case for us!) Yay for a move without having to pack or unpack boxes!!
Our new house is in a southern suburb of Perth – we actually have closet space and a non-gally kitchen (with a gas stove! And a KitchenAid mixer!) There’s a little “village” right around the corner with a grocery, butcher, coffee shops, boutiques, a chemist, etc, as well as plenty of bike and running paths. The location (so far) has been ideal. And until we get a car, there is a bus stop right around the corner – easy!
Without further ado, here are a handful of snaps:
Exciting aesthetic news for Abby’s Roads – an updated header! You may recognize the lovely work of Karen Ferris (KJane Studio shop on Etsy); Karen also painted the picture of the Dubai skyline, Barr, Dash and I from the previous blog header.
I emailed her when the move to Perth was confirmed to see if she could do another lovely skyline of our new city, and of course, I wasn’t disappointed with the finished product (no surprises there!) 🙂 I’m looking forward to hanging the framed version next to the Dubai skyline.
I love how she captured the iconic black swans paddling down the river that bears their name (the Swan River), as well as the festive ferris wheel from Fremantle (a bit south of Perth), and the fabulous greens and blues that I’m coming to associate with this lush town.
We’re moving into our new place (and out of the hotel!) later today – I can’t wait to unpack and cook a real dinner. Ill definitely post a few pictures later this week of our Aussie abode. Until next time…
Everything is so electronic these days – and dont get me wrong, I enjoy getting immediate news, updates, pictures, videos, books, shopping, etc, etc, etc (I mean, hello, a blog couldnt be anymore e-newsy! All things considered, though, a handwritten letter (or even an addressed envelope) goes a long way in 2014!
Check out our newly redecorated refrigerator – full of happy memories, pictures, Christmas cards, and invitations from friends and family stateside (and this wasnt even all of them that my mom brought to Dubai with her from Houston!) Seeing these each time I open the fridge (ahem, a lot), means more than I can express electronically 😉
Until next time…
Thank you for your outpouring of support and kind words regarding aid in the Philippines as well as for the safety of my little sister – she’s a good egg! 🙂
Switching gears as we (Barr & I anyway) head into the weekend, I wanted to write a quick post and review on some pillows I recently purchased from Aina – a local/regional lifestyle and accessories brand. I mentioned these pillows a few weeks ago as the potentially perfect accompaniment to our previously bare sofa and living room, and I took the plunge and purchased two fabulous Dalla/Combining Cultures pillows!
Aina, on their Facebook page (where you can view more of the amazing textiles, accessories and home goods), describes this pillow as such: Aina uses the “Ajrak” – a unique form of block printing from Pakistan, and combines it with the “Dalla” – the dirham symbol of the UAE, to create a fusion with the use of embroidery. This cushion illustrates character, culture and “منشأ”.
The fabric is soft and the pillows are well constructed – they’re something that we would never be able to find in the states and comes with it, a really special backstory. We’re really pleased with them! The pillows aside, Sidrah (founder and director of the brand), was a delight to work with…and so personable! Customer service was top notch!
If you’re interested in checking out the lovely work by Aina, head on over to the Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook pages – you can contact the fabulous Sidrah at email@example.com for more information on pricing and ordering information. Until next time…
Each time you visit this blog, you have the supreme privilege of viewing some amazing work. No, not my ramblings and shoddy photographs, but rather the lovely watercolor of my husband, dog and I painted by Karen Ferris, of K.Jane Studio.
Karen is the mother of a classmate and friend of Barr’s from business school, and from her daughter’s blog (a fellow expat), I saw Karen’s ethereal and gorgeous work. While Barr and I don’t have much art, what art we do have, I really like to have a story to it, to be personal; the painting you see in the header of the blog (and now framed and hanging in our Dubai home) is just that.
I contacted Karen previously for two other pieces for family and friends (see below), and liked both of those so much, I selfishly wanted one for our home as well. When we learned we were moving to Dubai, I knew what I wanted to commission Karen to paint. Here are some images of the work in progress – she is so diligent, considerate, communicative, and creative when it comes to the artistic process:
The piece definitely has a story, and we will forever treasure this work.
Now I mentioned that Karen did two other pieces: one of my in-laws’ lovely home and another of one of my bestest friends’ wedding bouquet. As you can see, Karen is no one trick pony! 🙂
If you are in the market for a exquisite, one of a kind piece of art (even if you’re not in the market!), I can’t praise Karen of K.Jane Studio enough. Definitely check out her Etsy and Facebook pages for more of her amazing pieces, and I can promise that from the first moment you start working with this kind, thoughtful and talented woman, you will be back for more!