Monday, May 21, 2012

Meet Julie @ White Lights on Wednesday {large intro post & giveaway}

Hi Everyone!
I'm Julie from White Lights on Wednesday!
I'm really exciting to be sharing on Lena's blog today and meeting all of you!


Since we don't really know each other, and I'm totally awesome - haha! - here's a little about me.
I live in Arizona.  Yes, it's stupid hot in the summer.  I love to cook and bake.  I read when I can find time.  I am obsessed with freshly clean sheets, they're amazing!  I like wine and whiskey.  Not together though...ewww.  I LOVE Love love to eat cookies.


There.  Now we can be friends.  :)


To give you an idea of what goes on over at my blog, here are 3 of the top 5 of my readers' favorite posts.




(1) Thin Mint Knock Offs
(2) Chocolate Wasted Cake
(3) Get Organized: The Blog


I've been a reader of Lena's blog for a while now. Lena's the reason I found out about the Covert Robin gift swap over at Imagine Gnats.  Too fun!  So I entered and made this gift for my swap partner Becky.  I had so much fun with making something extra special just for Becky, but I never expected to win one of the prizes.  Then one day, Lena emailed me and said I had won a sponsor spot on her blog and the opportunity to guest post.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??  I was floored!  So here I am.  Kickin' it with all of you and bouncing with excitement in my chair as I write this post.

Readers digest version of how this post came to be - I'll be short and sweet, I swear.  So every week I feature an amazing food picture on my blog's side bar for Food Porn Friday.  The cupcakes I'm sharing today were my first victim.  My friend Jaime - who is not into sweets at all - said these cupcakes sounded awesome and I should make them.  Well, Jamie's birthday was the 14th and that was all the reason I needed to finally make these bad boys.  Jamie got her cupcake on, I baked with a new ingredient, and now I get to be on Lena's blog.  Triple threat.



Honey Lemon Lavender Cupcakes
From Hooray for Off Weekends


Ingredients:
Honey and Lavender Cupcakes
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers **
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder


Honey Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Purple food coloring (optional)   {I mixed red & blue. I paid attention in 1st grade.}


Directions:
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Put sugar and lavender into a food processor and pulse until well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, lavender, and honey until pale yellow.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and lemon zest; mix to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl,combine flour and baking powder.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 2 additions.  Mix until dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Batter will be moist and thick - it should not be runny.  
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool completely.
Frosting
  1. Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and honey in a large bowl and beat until combined and a smooth base forms; scrape bowl sides as needed.
  2. Add vanilla and lemon juice and mix until smooth.
  3. Add food coloring and mix one more time.
  4. Pipe the icing on to the cupcakes.  Garnish with lemon zest curls or dried lavender or yellow sanding sugar,if desired.


**Dani said she was able to find the dried lavender at Whole Foods.  I had no such luck.  I tried AJ's, Amazon, and Whole Foods.  Luckily the guy at Whole Foods took pity on me and gave me a card for Desert Sage Herbs - a local herbalist/aromatherapy shop.  They had dried lavender!! 



If you can't find dried lavender easily, skip the search.  Desert Sage Herbs ships!  The minimum purchase for  their herb selection is 1 ounce.  {You can imagine I have A LOT of leftover lavender, but I have plans.  Oh do I have plans for that lavender.} Desert Sage Herbs only charges the USPS shipping price, nothing extra or crazy like the $25 shipping cost I ran into from one vendor on Amazon.  If you're local in AZ, there is a $5 minimum purchase to run your card and they're closed on Sundays.



The frosting and cake combination for these cupcakes is really sensational.  I liked the cake by itself, and the frosting alone too.  I mean come on cream cheese frosting, easy sell!  But together.  Wow!  The lemon flavor is exponentially multiplied and all the flavors play off each other beautifully.

Thanks so much for having me today Lena!!
I had an amazing time baking with Thing 1 and putting together this post.

I hope to see you all over at White Lights on Wednesday really soon!

*****************
Julie has also been kind enough to host a giveaway today too! 
Here she is to tell you a bit about the cookbook a lucky ready will win for themselves!!
Thanks again, Julie!


*****************

I love to cook with alcohol.  I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but here I am, making Chocolate Jack Daniel's Cupcakes and Guinness Gingerbread.  So this year for my birthday I couldn't think of a better present than Booze Cakes.  I mean come on...this cookbook is going to look perfect next to SprinkleBakes and Alton Brown.  Booze Cakes is going to be my present to myself for my last non-30 birthday.  Let's not discuss the impending number more than we have to.

Since I know I'm treating myself to this cookbook and since you're all so great and since Lena has been so gracious to let me guest post - I'm giving away a copy of my birthday present to one lucky reader!



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7 comments

  1. Love cooking blogs! Thank you for introducing us, so happy to meet new blogging friends :)

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  2. always loving new recipes!!

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  3. I wish I could eat gluten, so I could try these! :D

    My very first learned recipe was Kahlua Cake, so I'm excited to check out that Booze Cakes cookbook. Thanks!

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  4. I made the Chocolate Wasted cake for my hubby's birthday in February :)

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  5. No way Christine! That's awesome. What did you think? I swear the actual cake is like the best chocolate cake I've ever had.

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