Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot.

It’s hot here in Texas. Like actually hot. Like, I don’t think you understand how hot I’m talking about. Let me break it down for you guys. The seven-day forecast, yeah it’s all between 98°F and 100°F. But that’s nothing! Last Saturday it was 108°F. Yeah, I know right?

Now, The Old Rachel, she would be complaining right now. She would be complaining about how the flies are out. Or how she’s constantly hot. Or how the power keeps going out, meaning that the AC keeps going out. Or how The Husband tried to kill her with a bike ride (which she loves) in 108°F heat (which she doesn’t love).

But that was so 2010! This is The New Rachel! Yes, it may be hot, no, really hot, no, REALLY REALLY HOT, but there are things to be happy about. Like how our garden is starting to take off. Or how the praying mantis have begun hatching.

Right now though, hands down, on the top of my list, are these beautiful flowers that are blooming right outside my kitchen window. Side-note, I’ve been thinking that these are birds of paradise, but upon some Google research, I’m starting to think otherwise. If you know what these are please let me know!

It’s funny. I always felt growing up, that heat was something tropical. Only places with palm trees and sandy beaches are supposed to be hotter than 90°F. These wonderful flowers make the Texoma heat feel just a little bit tropical.

Other than making me feel like I live in a tropical paradise, these flowers also make me think of someone VERY close to me. You see, I’m a pretty lucky girl! I grew up with my Mom and Dad and Sister. But my parents and sister aren’t the only people who are like family to me. Among others, who you’ll probably hear about here, is my Hawaiian Mother.

My Hawaiian Mother is amazing! She is the mother of two boys, well men now, a wonderful wife, a breast cancer survivor, and an avid reader of this blog. I’ve known her, and her family, five years shy of my whole life. I have fond memories of visiting her house, playing video games with her sons, and jumping on beanbag chairs. Her house is where I would go for New Years Eve. She is the reason I have a VERY strong urge to bang on pots and pans with wooden spoons when the new year comes a calling.

I’ve been in a bit of a baking rut. I had the strong urge to bake, I just didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t want anything chocolatey. And berries just weren’t going to hit the spot. Naturally, I did what any 20 something does these days, I reached out to my Facebook community. I posted “Could seriously use some baking inspiration…”. I got some funny responses, like “Ima punch you in the face if you don’t bake something”; not quite the inspiration I was looking for, but still inspirational nonetheless. The next day I woke up to The Hawaiian Mother suggesting something “tropical” like “mango bread”. PERFECT! But let’s switch that “bread” to CUPCAKES! And lets put some coconut buttercream frosting on those suckers!

I did some looking around and I found this recipe for fresh mango cupcakes. (Hey Vegan Friends! This original recipe is VEGAN!)

Now, I feel like I should confess something. You may have noticed that I never actually type out and have an actual recipe on this blog. It’s just not something I wanted this blog to be about. Well here’s a first friends, I altered this recipe (from vegan to non-vegan, I’ll make it up to you, vegans, promise!) so I guess that means I better type it out (or copy and paste, changing where it applies)! So here goes!

Fresh Mango Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting (Adapted from DESSaRTS): Makes 12

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

~1 ripe mango (a ripe mango is soft when squeezed, has red to orange hues and a strong scent)

~1/2 cup coconut milk

~3/4 cup buttermilk

~1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

~2 Tbs corn starch

~3/4 tsp baking powder

~1/4 tsp baking soda

~1/4 tsp salt

~1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

~3/4 cup sugar

~2 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan.

2. Puree the mango with 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture for the cake and reserve the rest for making the filling.

3. Sift flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and mix.

4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup, then the 1/2 cup of mango puree mix. It will look a little curdled but do not over-mix.

5. Alternate beating in the buttermilk and dry ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Mix until just combined.

6. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full and bake for 25-30 minutes. (I never really thought that these guys were really done. They came out VERY pale. And they were super spongy and moist!)

7. Let them cool completely.

8. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely and the filling is cooled, scoop out the centers of the cupcakes adding a spoon full of filling. You can replace the tops if you wish. I did because it can make frosting the cupcakes a bit easier.

For Filling:

~1/2 cup of mango/coconut milk mixture

~4 tsp sugar

~1 Tbs corn starch

~2 Tbs cold water

Directions:

1. Mix the con starch and water.

2. Heat the reserved mango mixture with the sugar over medium-high heat. Add the sugar 1 Tbs at a time, using more or less than the 4 Tbs, depending on how sweet the mango you’re using is.

3. Once it bubbles add the corn starch mixture 1 Tbs at a time while stirring until the mixture thickens. You may not need to use all of it.

4. Let it cool completely.

Ingredients for Coconut Buttercream Frosting:

~ 1 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temp.

~ 2 Tbs coconut milk

~ 1/4 tsp almond extract

~ 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

~ A bit of coconut for topping

Directions:

1. Beat the butter, coconut milk, almond extract, and half the powdered sugar until smooth.

2. Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

3. Frost cupcakes and add a small amount of coconut to the top.

These cakes were so good, if I may say so myself! Although I was worried that they might not be cooked all the way, the surprised me greatly. The coconut buttercream was such a great addition, making them feel just that much more tropical. And even though the filling can ooze out and become messy, it adds SO MUCH mango flavor that it’s worth it!

I also feel like I need to let you guys in on something. You see, I’ll be gone for a while again. Why, you ask? Well, The Husband and I are going to Maryland for the wedding of some of the most amazing people/friends. It looks like this will be my only post for June. I’ll see you in July with plenty of pictures.

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