Monday, August 22, 2011

Black Forest Cupcakes

As promised..
 I had some family over for dinner the other night and thought it might be nice to have some cupcakes. I Googled 'Black forest cake recipe', chose one that looked relatively easy to make and whipped it up (with a few modifications)! After the cupcakes had cooled, I used a paring knife to cut a dime-sized hole into the top middle and packed in some sour cherries that I had gotten from a tree in my front yard. Then, I whipped up some buttercream icing, piped it onto the cupcakes, and voila!

Easy Black Forest Cake (makes 24 cupcakes)
· 1 cup milk or cream (I used half and half milk and cream because I ran out of milk) 
· 1 tablespoon vinegar
· 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
· 2 cups white sugar
· 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 2 eggs
· 1/2 cup vegetable oil
· 1 cup strong instant espresso, cold
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 2 cups sour cherries 

· Preheat your oven to 350° F
· Put muffin papers into muffin pan.
· Make sour milk by combining milk and vinegar. Set aside.
· Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
· In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, coffee and vanilla. Stir in the sour milk. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated.
· Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
· Allow cakes to cool
· Cut out a dime-sized hole from the centre of the cupcake, going to approximately the middle of the cupcake in depth.
· Fill hole with sour cherries (2-3, depending on how many you can fit so that the top of the last cherry is flush with the top of the cupcake), make sure to reserve 24 cherries for the tops of the cupcakes
· Frost cupcakes, and add cherry on top of frosting as shown above.

Buttercream Icing (*Caution, this recipe will only ice 8 cupcakes in the fashion shown above. I ended up having to make this twice to get the correct amount of icing)
· 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
· 1 1/2 cup icing sugar (Sifted)
· 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
· 1-2 tbsp milk

· In a mixing machine, beat butter until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes, depending on temperature of butter)
· Slowly add icing sugar
· Add vanilla extract
· If the icing is not at a spreadable consistency, slowly add the milk 1 tsp at a time until spreadable.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Easy Baby Blanket

For the next few posts I am going to be exploring different kinds of art that are quite different from my usual paint and ink. I hope you all enjoy!

I made this blanket for a friend who is expecting her second baby. It's approximately 5.5ft x 3.5 ft, and very light and cozy. This is a very customizable pattern
Chain until you have reached the desired length of your blanket
Row 1&2: Single stitch in each stitch
Rows 3- Desired width: Chain 3 (Counts a a double), Double in next stitch, *Skip next two, Double in 3rd stitch, chain 1, double in same stitch, chain 1, double in same stitch (fan made)* and repeat until you reach the last 5 stitches. Repeat fan, double in last two stitches.
Row x: After you have reached the desired width, single stitch along the top of all of the double stitches, turn
Row x+1: Single stitch in all. Fasten off.

Optional edging:
 For the edging, I went around the blanket twice using single stitches to create a nice border for the blanket.

This is a quick and easy blanket that is very customizable. I have not specified a hook size or yarn weight so that you can decide how you want your blanket to look. The one above is made using a very light weight yarn and a 12mm hook. I have made it other times using smaller hooks, which results in a tighter blanket.
For something different, try using multiple strands of contrasting colors (I have made one using burgandy and forest green before also), or play around with yarn weights to make heavier or lighter blankets.

Coming up next...
 Black Forest Cupcakes!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Day...

Last one for now in the black and red.
This one can be symbolic for anyone who feels that they are stuck in a place that they cannot get out of, but have a yearning to see what's on the other side. Obviously a fish could never leave his bowl, but we have the power to create our own circumstances and to experience what is outside of our 'bowls'. The text behind the fish's tail reads 'Some Day'

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ying Yang heart

This sketch is the reason why I had chosen to use the graph paper for these series of sketches.  I tried to ensure that both sides of this heart were completely identical to each other.
This sketch is suppose to represent that the heart is not made from 'one-ness' but from two coming together to join and intertwine to become one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Free Bird

The next few posts will be show casing sketches done with black and red ink on graph paper. The red contrasts the black quite sharply, allowing for experimentation with lines and shapes that would not have stood out so dramatically if a different colour had been chosen to contrast with the black.