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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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January 8, 2011

Obsessed - Cupcake Wars while Tweeting with American Farm Bureau

It's official.  I'm obsessed with Cupcake Wars .  Okay that's not the only thing I'm obsessed with, if you ask Dominic he would say I am also obsessed with Twitter, social media and agvocacy and today it became clear to me {and probably him} just how obsessed I am.

The day today, here in northern California is a foggy, damp 40 degree one.  So what better to do than sit on the couch in front of a cozy fire, Droid in hand following the hash tag of #AFBF11 on Twitter{American Farm Bureau's annual meeting is being held in Atlanta} and simultaneously watch Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. But that all ties into together doesn't it?  Cupcakes, butter, cream, food network ~ farming, farms, food, Farm Bureau.  Works for me.

Okay, if you've never heard of Cupcake Wars, let me let you in on it.  Cupcake Wars starts out with four teams that face off against each other in three elimination challenges until only one cupcake baker remains.

I don't know why I watch.  After the shows over, all I want is to bite into a creamy, buttery cupcake.....not so good for my post Christmas sugar detox.

Here's a couple of recipes from the show that I'm sure to try in the up-coming weeks......

Strawberry Thumbprint Cupcakes


2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup pureed strawberries, frozen and thawed, or fresh
1 cup chopped walnuts
Strawberry preserves

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line regular sized cupcake pans with 15 liners.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream. Fold in the pureed strawberries.

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until baked through and golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely.

Fill a piping bag with strawberry preserves. Cut the tip of the bag off and insert the tip into the center of a cooled cupcake. Squeeze to allow a small amount of mixture into the center. Release and remove the bag from the cupcake. Repeat on the other cupcakes.

For the frosting: In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream and vanilla until fully whipped. Remove from the bowl. In the same bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until blended and smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the whipping cream. Mix until just blended. Fold in chopped walnuts.

To assemble: Generously frost the cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Enjoy!


This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Almond Cake with Fig Filling and Maple Buttercream


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
4 large eggs
2 cups superfine sugar
2 3/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 24 count regular-size cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a heavy-duty mixing bowl, cream together the butter and shortening on medium speed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time until, completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the superfine sugar with the mixer set to low speed. Once combined, set the mixer to medium speed and mix for 5 minutes.

Sift together the cake flour, almond flour, salt, and baking powder. Begin to add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter, alternating with the warm milk. Fold in the sliced almonds.

Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 16 to 20 minutes. Use a toothpick to poke in the center of the cupcake and if it comes out clean then the cupcakes are done. Remove from the pan and place onto a tray to cool.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, fill the center of the cupcakes with 1 tablespoon Fig Filling. Using a pastry bag and piping tip, frost the cupcakes with the maple buttercream. Pat the sides of the buttercream with the toasted almonds.

Fig Filling:

10 ripened black figs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 minute. Once blended, move the mixture into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until thick, about 2 minutes. Mix well after microwaving.

Maple Butter cream:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
7 cups powdered sugar, divided
3/4 cup non-dairy whipping cream
1 tablespoon maple extract

In a heavy-duty mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and pour in the non-dairy whipping cream. Mix on low speed until completely mixed. Add the remaining 4 cups powdered sugar. Fold in the maple syrup.

Do you have a Food Network or other obsession?

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ellie k said...

I like cupcake wars, some of the bakers are so smug when it starts and then they seems to come down to earth after the first round. The judges tell it like it is. I also like cupcakes, they are the perfect siza and I am not temped to cut a bigger piece like I might with cake.

Kathy said...

We like cupcake wars in this house and the Food Network Challenge. But, our obsession is Saturday afternoon at 5 PM we sit down and watch Iron Chef! All my kids are 3 and under and we love it! We talk the food, secret ingredient and make it apply to this house. I think it's why they like to help me cook.

Nancy~The Wife of a Dairyman said...

@ellie, cupcakes are my favorite also....although it's difficult to stop at one for me!

@Kathy, The Food Network channel is such an educational opportunity to teach our kids! Love it!

Katie said...

I missed this blog post until today Nancy! Cupcake Wars? I haven't seen it but now I need to. I am totally trying the Almond Fig recipe you list above. YUMMY. I bought figs when I went to the Sun-Maid store near Fresno in December. So glad you enjoyed following the Twitter stream from AFBF. And my husband would agree I am obsessed with similar topics and things as you!