White chocolate-studded vanilla cupcakes with Swiss meringue buttercream piped roses from Linda Lomelino's new book, My Sweet Kitchen!
I started following Linda’s work well before the thought of creating my own website even entered my head. Her innovative recipes and decadent flavour combinations from her blog, Call me Cupcake, are down right drool-worthy (to say the least), but it was her photography and styling that really turned me from casual follower to super-fan. In her latest book, My Sweet Kitchen, Linda has done it again! With page after page of gorgeous cakes, pastries, and pies, I’ve been wow-ed and inspired to step into my own (sweet) kitchen and get baking.
It was baking blog “pioneers” like Linda, Naomi, Aran, and Helene that pushed the limits when it came to photography and really set the bar for newer bloggers, like me. When I started this space, I’d already been baking professionally for years, but I had no idea how to translate my tasty recipes in the real world to an online community on a computer screen. It was these women who deeply inspired me with their stunning photography and helped me understand that, in the blogging world at least, you must first feast with your eyes. Secondly, they showed me that food wasn’t merely for consumption, but that it should tell a story (hello, gorgeous food styling!). Just take a look at their work, and you’ll see what I mean!
When I first transitioned from a baker to blogger, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out my camera, shape light, and style my treats in the most appetizing manner. It took a lot of practice (please promise you won’t look too far into the blog achieves, lol). It took a year of serious trial and error to develop my own style, and then another to really hone in on it. My photography is still evolving, and I hope it never stops, but it certainly is a process.
Lucky for us, and anyone else still trying to find their own food photography style, Linda has not only packed the pages of My Sweet Kitchen with the most delicious recipes, but she has also included a section on photography and food styling. How awesome is that?!?! Linda helps transform ordinary desserts into beautiful, show-stopping treats, AND THEN shows you how to photograph them! Because really, if it didn’t happen on Instagram, did it really happen at all?
If you are already a fan of Linda’s work online (or are just hearing about her now), I promise you will be BLOWN AWAY at how amazing her desserts look in print. Thanks to the gracious folks at Roost Books, I am giving away one copy of her new book! If you want tips and expert advice on how to bake, decorate, and photograph your own creations, be sure to jump down to the bottom of this post to enter! And if you don’t win, be sure to run out and purchase a copy anyway. It really is a great book to add to any cookbook collection, and Linda is just about the sweetest ever.
White Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from My Sweet Kitchen
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 ounces white chocolate
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and mix until slightly combined and the chunks of butter have worked into the dry mixture - no larger than the size of an almond.
In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. With the mixer on low, stream in the egg mixture. Mix until just barely combined.
Stop the mixer and fold the batter until the last of the dry streaks disappear. Fold in the white chocolate. Even distribute the batter between the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
To ice the cupcakes, I used my go-t0 Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Linda uses a similar icing and tints it with pureed and strained raspberry juice. You may opt to use gel food coloring as I've done so here, or try her delicious berry version! Add in a tablespoon of raspberry puree at a time until desired consistency and flavor is achieved.
For the Decoration
Fit a piping bag with a small petal tip (I used Wilton 104), and fill halfway with buttercream. For the center of the rose, pipe a tight spiral keeping the tip perpendicular to the top of your cupcake with the narrow end pointed up. Always with the narrow end away from the surface of the cupcake, pipe THREE overlapping petals around the center. Next, continue around with a new layer and pipe FIVE overlapping petals around the center. For the last row of petals, pipe SEVEN to EIGHT petals.
I could go on about how to pipe a buttercream rose in more detail, but let's just do ourselves all a favor and go search YouTube instead, hehe. Seriously, I could try to describe how to do it, but there are already so many great resources and videos online that really show you how to do this.
But, if you'd rather see me in action... be sure to follow me on Instagram! I'll be uploading a how-to video later this week =)
Last, but not least, be sure to enter to win a copy of My Sweet Kitchen!