Recipes and Tips for Foodies like you!

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

We have been searching for the best vanilla cupcakes. Sure, we have these Vanilla Yogurt Cupcakes and these Vanilla Cupcakes… but when trying to bake a big batch for a party or a bake sale as we were preparing for, a 12 cupcake recipe just won’t do. We tested about 6 recipes. All with different preparation methods, oven temperatures and ingredients, and we learned a few things.

But the main reason we have been searching for the perfect vanilla cupcakes was because we were baking plenty of cupcakes ourselves for #BakeADifference #CupcakesForToys. We baked 200 cupcakes, 100 chocolate and 100 lemon (a slight variation of this recipe that we will share on our post bellow). These cupcakes were exchanged for toys for the kids of DAR this past Sunday Dec 14th, so here is a big THANK YOU!

#BakeADifference

Thank you to all of you who got there early in the morning, just before lunch, or right after… We gathered so many toys for the kids. This was our first time baking so many cupcakes each, and we’re glad it went just as planned! Thank you also to the rest of the girls, Mariade and Chan from The Baking Room Magazine, Pili from Vitas Mercado Gourmet and Carmen from Cioccolato Arte en Chocolate. Thank you as well to our sponsors Centro Gourmet KitchenAid GuatemalaMeraki Guatemala (who lend us the gorgeous cake stands), Ghirardelli Guatemala, The Chef’s Store, Vivendo de Radiovisión, Vireo Foods, Harinas La Dueña, and Guenari. We couldn’t have done it without you.

#BakeADifference

This was a great activity were we all joined forces and baked 800 cupcakes to collect all of the toys! We had different flavors: Funfetti Cupcakes and Banana Caramel Cupcakes were made by The Baking Room Magazine; then, the Red Velvet Cupcakes and Carrot Cupcakes by Cioccolato Arte en Chocolate; Vanilla & Passion Fruit Cupcakes and Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes by Vitas Mercado Gourmet; and finally we prepared a classic Chocolate Cupcake and a Lemon Vanilla Cupcake.

#BakeADifference team

And if you still want to help out, you can always donate directly to DAR! Any donation, small or big, makes a huge difference in their lives.

You can donate here

Now, back to the recipe. Some of the things we learned is that Cake Flour is crucial for light vanilla cupcakes, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to bake them. You can easily make your own cake flour, we love this simple recipe from Joy the Baker: for every cup of cake flour you need, take out two tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift a few times and you’re ready to roll. Second, preparation. It’s crucial you do not over beat. This recipe bellow uses the all-in-one method. That is, dumping all the dry ingredients into the mixer, add the wet ingredients… and it’s done! This is one of the best ways to avoid over mixing. You can use this recipe as a base for many flavors! Check the notes at the end of the recipe for a lemon version of this cupcake.

Helga & Kitty

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Continue reading

Roasted Gem Squash

No matter what day of the week I visit my grandmother, it’s always good to get there with a little extra time. It seems, lately, that when I step in her house, time goes by faster than usual. Not only because I love to be there and as I cross the door all my worries go away, but also because it’s my second home. Last week I went to have an unexpected lunch at her place. I got there a little late, as the end-of-year traffic has already made an appearance, but still I got there to taste a delicious meal. And time did went by so fast… I wanted to stay a little more! Luckily, I got there with plenty of time, so we even had time for coffee and champurradas (for those unfamiliar with champurradas, they are a staple in Guatemalan cuisine, think big crunchy cookie!).

So for lunch, we had Chicken in a red sauce, white rice and squash with red bell pepper and onions. Only, this was a squash I’ve never seen before. It has thin deep green skin, when cooked has a very soft texture, and its pulp is yellow (and orange in some cases, the one here is orange). After we asked what its name was, we just got Ayote (a general term for squash). A few days later, we got one gorgeous Gem Squash as a gift, and when editing the pictures for this post, I started browsing around for its official name, and it seems it’s Gem Squash.

Since I’ve already tried it before, I wanted to… Roast it. I am loving this idea of roasted squash/pumpkin idea. To give it a little bit of more flavor, before roasting it, I added some olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin. And, because it was already cubed, it roasted completely in just 45 minutes (tossing them halfway through). Hopefully I can find some Gem Squash again at the store. This roasted along with bell peppers, shallots and carrots should be a winner!

Kitty

Roasted Gem Squash

Continue reading

Foodies Freebie: December 2014 Wallpaper Collection

You see the little ornament? Ok, it may not so little on-screen, but it’s almost 2-inches wide. This ornament, or set of ornaments, are those that we don’t stop adding to our christmas tree. My parents got those ornaments years ago when we were kids and we always put them on. And however we’ve upgraded the tree’s lights, ribbons, bows, ornaments, stars or angels we always use them. They remind me of our firsts christmas, with Santa letters that were very specific on my part. I even attached drawings or magazine clippings so Santa would get the presents right. Now, I see my nieces, nephews and TFK’s own little souschef, writing those letters and my heart just melts. Do you have a special ornament in your house? Some of our friends that are already growing their families, have cool traditions, for example, buying one extra special ornament every year to commemorate that christmas.

Red leafSpeaking of christmas trees, ornaments and all joy all around, a few weeks ago we found out that we have direct access to home-visits from Santa. Can you imagine that? Our friends from Dear Santa GT get him to come to your house and visit the kids, take pictures. The works. Santa is a very cool guy with a gorgeous suit! You can head over to their Facebook page or drop them an email to book their services. Between us, he is one of the best looking Santas in town! Make sure that the kids write him a letter so the gifts arrive just in time. Oh, and let them know Helga and Kitty sent you!

Here you go, below you can download the last freebie calendars of the year, for your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.  We hope you enjoy them!

Helga & Kitty

Foodies Freebie: December 2014 Wallpaper Collection

 

Continue reading

No-Butter Pumpkin Loaf with Chocolate Chips

After baking a pumpkin pie earlier in the month, and a couple of pumpkin soups later, it was time for something sweet again. I wanted to try something where I could use a little less fat (or no-butter at all) and more pumpkin puree. And, since I had a fresh batch of pumpkin puree, this recipe pumpkin loaf was a winner. Plus, this recipe has no extra spices (not everybody has a crazy love for spices as we do!), so it goes so well with the melted chocolate bits.

Even if you skipped the chocolate, this loaf will be flying off the table. It’s a great loaf to give away. I got three small loaves out of one recipe. You could also bake it to make a pumpkin bundt cake, but I would recommend the loaves as they are easy to give away (bake for a friend, don’t show up empty-handed!).

Let us know what you think and if you have a recipe you would want us to try!

Kitty

Pumpkin Loaf with Chocolate Chips

Continue reading