Coming Soon! Mini Blueberry Cupcake Recipe and a New Website

Okay folks, I have breaking news here at the Joy of Caking!

After years of procrastinating. I have finally purchased the web domain www.thejoyofcaking.com.  Yay – happy dance!  And soon (if all goes as planned) I will be moving my site from Wordpress.com to WordPress.org.

I hope (more like pray) that in the process I don’t lose all of you great people.  I have a philosophy about this transition which I’ll share with you, along with this great recipe for these delicious Mini Blueberry Cupcakes as soon as I get settled.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Wish me luck!

3 Favorite Recipes and 3 Years of Blogging

Today marks my 3 years in the blogosphere.  I hadn’t even given it a thought until WordPress sent me a congratulatory message this morning.

To celebrate my blog turning 3 years old, I decided a virtual party was in order, so here are a few of my favorite desserts for you to indulge in.

These HOMEMADE LEMON CUPCAKES are one of my favorite cupcake recipes. Moist and lemony – these are perfect recipe for any Spring or Easter celebration.

This OLD-FASHIONED CUSTARD PIE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE is one of my favorite pie recipes.  The smooth sweet taste of custard is countered with the tangy strawberry sauce.  This pie will delight your flavor buds – guaranteed.

And these CHOCOLATE COVERED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE BARS are one of my favorite bar recipes.  These cheesecake bars will take care of any craving you might have for chocolate and cheesecake at the same time.  The caramel is just a huge added bonus.

Thank you all, for reading my blog and helping it grow.  Without you, the readers, it wouldn’t be what it is today.  Your interest is what inspires me to continue baking, writing, photographing, and sharing glimpses of my country life.

 

 

Cream Puffs, You, and The Finger Lakes

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Cream puffs are one of my most favorite desserts to make.  I first made them when I was fairly new to blogging.  This was long before anyone knew who The Joy of Caking was.  Let’s just say I wasn’t on the radar back then.  And while I still don’t have one of the most popular blogs out there, TJOC has come a long way. 

I’ve made some awesome friends, established some very loyal followers, and had the opportunity to work with some great companies that have great products.  I feel very fortunate, and hope my blog continues to grow.  What do you think my chances are of replacing Martha when she retires?

This batch of cream puffs is in honor of all of you.  Friends, followers, and great companies with great products. 

I have often thought of how awesome it would be to have a huge blogger fest here in the Finger Lakes.  And if that ever comes to be, I hope for all of you to attend.  You really would be wowed with a visit to to my neck of the woods.  Wineries galore, beautiful lakes and New York State Parks, quaint towns, antiques, art, museums, history, and food.  That’s what the Finger Lakes is all about.

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Now, back to the cream puffs.  Don’t be scared of making them.  They are easy and delicious.  My suggestion; follow a recipe straight out of a dependable cookbook.  This batch was made from following a recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.  The ingredients are simple.  Water, butter or margarine, flour, and eggs.  That’s it! Baker’s note: I have had the best luck using margarine over butter.

Cream puffs can be filled with whipped cream, or in this case, I made a vanilla cream pudding from the same cookbook.  And on a scale of 1-10, the pudding was a 10. 

Have you ever visited the Finger Lakes, made cream puffs, or do you want to be the new Martha?

 

Blogging Fame and Glazed Strawberry Crumb Muffins

Do you ever wonder what life would to be like if you were suddenly catapulted into the category of one of the world’s top bloggers? 

What if it was your blog that landed you a  spot in a popular magazine?  Or brought you good fortunes like your own television show, the opportunity to contract with a well known book publisher, or promote brand name products? 

Would you graciously accept the fame and publicity, or would you run  from it as fast as your little feet would carry you? 

What do you think makes certain bloggers or their blogs popular? Is it the blog or bloggers personality?  Does hard work have a lot to do with it?  Is it as simple as pure luck?  How about the quantity or quality of posts?  

What do you think?

Now, hold onto your socks because I’m about to knock them off with this recipe for Glazed Strawberry Crumb Muffins I’ve come up with.

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Glazed Strawberry Crumb Muffins

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/4 c. butter, melted

1 c. sour milk

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped strawberries

Crumb Topping

2 tbsp. butter, softened

1/4 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. quick cook oatmeal

Using a fork, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside.

Glaze Topping

1/2 c. confectioners sugar

One to two drops of milk

Mix until sugar is dissolved; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, add oil, butter, sugar, and eggs; mix thoroughly by hand.  Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir until completely blended.  Add sour milk and flour by alternating; mix until all ingredients are combined.  Fold in berries.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown, or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Leave oven on, and immediately sprinkle crumb topping over muffin tops.  Return to oven for 2 minutes.  

Remove coated muffins from oven and cool completely.  Once cool, drizzle glaze topping over crumb topping. 

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Stop and smell the flowers

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I’ve been somewhat absent from my blog the last few weeks.  I don’t like it either.  I have a whole list of things that I want to write about, but no time lately to prepare each post. 

I promise I’ll be back in full swing soon.  In the meantime, stop and smell the flowers.

Lilacs and peonies are two of my favorite spring flowers.  What are yours?

 

 

 

Humility, Blogging and My Philosophy

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Do you have humility as a blogger?

Wikipedia’s definition of: “humility (adjectival form: humble) is the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.”

While everyone probably has certain criteria or expectations when it comes to blogging, I believe every blogger should exercise a little humility.  Wondering how I see a blogger showing their humility?

1.) They realize that everyone has a busy life, and while there are hundreds of thousands of blogs for people to visit,  they are fortunate that their blog was found and read by these busy people.

2.) They pay a return visit (even if just occasionally) to the blogs of other bloggers that have taken the time to drop by theirs.

3.) When visiting other blogs they take a minute from time to time to let the author’s know that they’ve dropped by; either by leaving a nice comment, hitting the like button, or sharing that post with others.

4.) They frequently reply to comments left on their own posts to graciously acknowledge them.

5.) They reciprocate and follow those who follow them on social media venues like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

6.) They answer emails from readers.

7.) They remain humble by never forgetting where they came from.

From time to time it’s understandable that a reader get’s missed in the busyness of it all, but that’s really no excuse.  Blogging isn’t all about taking, it’s also about giving.

I’d like to think I have displayed humility in blogging. Unfortunately, I have to admit I’ve seen the lack of it during the last two years since I created The Joy of Caking.  And while I’ve seen the lack of it, I’ve also seen an abundance of it.  I suspect most bloggers can easily answer the question I posed at the beginning of this post.

So, in case you don’t know it, I truly appreciate everyone that stops by to read my blog, comment, like, or follow me in some way.   Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Photo’s, a Pretty Little Primrose, and a Turkey

When I started blogging I didn’t realize how important a good photograph could be. I knew very little about depth of field, lighting, composition, and ISO. In fact, I started out blogging with an ancient digital point and shoot.

I also knew zilch about photo editing programs, other than how to hit the auto correct button that I frequently came to rely on, but found did little good.

I took pictures at the worst possible time of the day. There was no way in world I was going to get a decent picture while relying on artificial light in a dimly lit room. Especially without using any fancy photography lighting equipment or hint of natural light.

I discovered direct sunlight and flashes weren’t my friends either. Both created shadows that distracted from my food.

Aside from the lighting issues, I have learned to deal with the challenges of taking pictures of food in general. As you know, food quality changes quickly. A slice of bread will dry up, ice cream will melt, apples will turn brown, etc.

I realize I still have a lot to learn but I’ve found  one of the best ways to improve my pictures is to practice, practice, practice.  I do this by photographing things that aren’t going to melt – like this pretty little primrose or our turkey.

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