I always loved putzing around in the kitchen and I seem to go through phases. For example, it was the winter of my discontent and Amy's Bread book. Spring found me focused on simple vegan cooking. Summer was cookies and tomatoes. In August I got an intense desire for homemade ice cream after eating some at a friend's house so I bought a nice Donvier (the environmentalist that I am) and made a batch of peach ice cream with fresh Delaware peaches. The second batch was vegan chocolate ice cream made with cashews which was amazingly creamy and chocolately. Then Cupcake Bake Shop inspired me to try my hand at cupcakes.
The first batch I made was pistachio cupcakes with rosewater cream cheese frosting. They were very yummy and even a pal who is not so fond of desserts gobbled it down.
Pistachio Cake (adapted from epicurious.com):
1 cup pistachios shelled
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if pistachios are salted)
1/2 cup whole milk (I used soy milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
A couple hours before baking, take out butter, eggs, cream cheese and milk and bring them to room temperature (this is a reminder for me).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake liners.
Pulse half of the pistachios in a food processor until finely ground (be careful not to overprocess into a paste). Sift 1 cup flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt into a large bowl. Mix in ground pistachios. Coarsely chop remaining pistachios and add them to the flour mixture.
Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add pistachio flour and milk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, and mix at low speed until just combined.Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 20 - 22 min.
Rosewater Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 t vanilla
1 t rosewater
3-4 cups confectioner's sugar
Blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy and smooth. Blend in vanilla and rosewater and half of sugar. Slowly blend in rest of sugar.