Happy blogiversary to me! Happy blogiversary to me!
Happy blogiversary, dear poet in the pantry… Happy blogiversary to me!
One year ago today, I had this overwhelming urge to re-enter the blogosphere and thus, poet in the pantry was born. Has a year gone by already? Amazing!
So much has happened since this blog’s inception:
- The format of this blog itself changed from random, local musings to a more focused food blog in December, when I embraced my inner baker and let her loose.
- I completed my last year of college and finally graduated with my BA in English in May! Woohoo!
- I planted my first fruit and vegetable container garden. AND it’s still (mostly) alive!
- 6 years of sporadic (and then chronic, rapidly-intensifying) back pain peaked with a disectomy in May.
- The whole summer was, subsequently, spent convalescing while trying to focus on the blog more. It was a difficult balance to maintain and quite the experience learning how to work with the limitations my body has put on me.
- My daughter started first grade in August. I can’t believe she’s old enough to spend whole days at school!
- I finally get to spend some one-on-one time with my little guy! He’s a wildly-imaginative, lovey-dovey little boy who really blossoms when his sister isn’t around.
- I broke my foot. Again. More learning to work with limitations and figuring out how to keep them from holding me back.
- After a 4 1/2-year hiatus as a stay-at-home mom, I’m trying to rejoin the work force. Another chapter of my life will be opening soon.
- And, of course, I’ve baked. And baked. And baked. A lot.
Lots of ups and downs, but I’ve made it! One year later and I’m still here. I haven’t managed to fall off a building–yet. That’s near-miraculous, with the luck I’ve had lately. And my complete lack of balance and grace. Maybe I should go knock on some wood…
Out of this experiment have come some of the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet! I had my first blogger meet-up in February at Dorie Greenspan’s CookieBar NYC pop-up. I participated in #BHF11PP, the event of the year–and I didn’t even have to leave my bed to be a part of it! I connected with Kate at Food Babbles, who is now my partner in crime for First on the First. I joined the muffin madness with An of Baker Street’s Muffin Monday. And the list keeps growing. Thank you, all, for a wonderful year! I can’t wait to see what the next one brings!
What kind of party would this be without cake? So I’m bringing these delicious Samoa Cupcakes to the table. They have to be THE BEST dessert I have made. Ever. Which is so reassuring after my mishap on Friday with trying to make Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake. I answered a very important phone call at a critical moment and burned the caramel. Only I didn’t discover its…overdoneness…until after the first bite. Oops. At least it looked pretty.
These cupcakes, however, were raved over. Many times. They are a winner and you simply MUST make them. Then put a candle on top, light it, and sing a song for poet in the pantry. You can pretend you’re here at my party, celebrating with me!
Here’s to year two!
- 2 cups organic sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large cage free eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coconut flavored coffee
Coconut Caramel Topping
- 1 cup 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut toasted
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake tins with paper cups and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry ingredients for the cupcakes: sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Turn the machine on and let it spin on low a few turns to blend it all together.
- Add to the dry ingredients: eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Beat for until just combined, then turn the machine on low and slowly add the coffee. Mix until just combined. This will be a very thin batter, but don't worry--it works out okay.
- Using a large cookie scoop, fill cupcake liners about halfway. I ended up with 33 cupcakes from my batch, so be prepared for a lot of them.
- Bake on the middle rack (up to 2 cupcake pans at a time) for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake!
- Cool for 10 minutes in the cupcake pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Coconut Caramel Toppping
- Wash and dry the mixing bowl for your stand mixer. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add to it the dark brown sugar and salt, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.
- Boil for 2-3 minutes, then add the milk. This will bubble up quite a bit, so back away and once the bubbling ceases, stir in the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture returns to a boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Transfer to the mixing bowl for the stand mixer and set aside to cool about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the coconut. You can either spread it out on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, stirring periodically to ensure none of it burns, or in a cast iron pan on the stove, stirring constantly. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Once the caramel has cooled, mix in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut.
- Add powdered sugar and beat on medium speed for 10 minutes. Warning: this does not get to be a thick frosting you would pipe out, but more like a thick glaze. This is okay.
- Put the chocolate chips in a zip top bag, leaving the top open, and then put the bag in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute, squish contents around a bit, then microwave for another minute at 50% power.
- Spread topping on top of cupcakes.
- Snip a small portion of the corner off the bottom of the zip top bag with the melted chocolate chips and make wavy lines across the tops of the cupcakes with it.
- Sprinkle reserved toasted coconut over the tops of the cupcakes.
- Store, covered, up to 3 days at room temperature.