Saturday, February 7, 2009

Go America! Happy Hour

I'm in a PhD program in political science, and American politics is my area of study. This past Friday, four of us so-called "Americanists" got together to host an America-themed happy hour for our department. I did a days-worth of baking (fun, but exhausting...I could never be a professional baker!), and we also had American cheeses (including one of my very favorite cheeses, Humboldt Fog), American wine, and American beer. Here's what I baked:

Red, White, and Blue cupcakes
Hummingbird cupcakes with cream cheese meringue frosting (from the American South)
Martha Stewart's Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream (because Martha Stewart is the ultimate American baker/crafter/decorator/etc.)
Sourdough bread (in honor of San Francisco)
Chocolate chip cookies (invented in Massachusetts, and recipe from San Francisco chef Elizabeth Falkner)

All of these had components that I'd made before because I didn't want to screw everything up for a big crowd! So, I've linked to the original recipes in the list above, and I'll post later in the week about the two new frosting recipes I came up with (both based on a Martha Stewart recipe).

Fellow Americanist Peter and I pose with all the goodies; Devin was taking the photo and John was in search of a cutting board.

These Red, White, and Blue cupcakes were a crowd favorite, and they couldn't have been easier to make. First, I baked up a double recipe of Elinor Klivans' quick vanilla cupcakes (you can use 3 whole eggs in place of the egg and egg yolk when doubling the recipe). After they cooled, I whipped up two cups of heavy cream along with sifted powdered sugar to taste until the cream could hold its shape well. I mounded the whipped cream on the cupcakes and topped them off with fresh raspberries and blueberries.

Here are the cupcakes all packed up and ready to go in my trusty cupcake caddy.

Finally, here's a shot of the sunset from the window of our grad lounge...that's San Francisco in the background. I love living in the Bay Area!


  1. Yum! Your baked goods look delicious as always, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm jealous of your view from your grad lounge - they stuck us in a cockroach-infested basement with windows too high to really see much more than the occasional feet of a passerby. We made it more cheery by painting the walls bright blue two years ago :)

  2. Your food looks amazing. I especially like the "frosting" on the cupcakes. It looks sooo good. But my favorite thing is the cupcake carrier. Now that is something every girl needs :)

  3. @ Erin:

    Thanks! Indeed, we do highly appreciate our grad lounge (and are a little suspicious that some day they are going to turn it into professor offices or something). Yay blue walls...did I see your grad lounge when I was in Cleveland, or was that your office? (Of course, my office is nowhere near as nice as the grad lounge...BUT at least they repaired the leaking roof yesterday? So that's something.) ;)

  4. Hey, I used to have almost the same view... I lived in Berkeley and Richmond when I was newly out of college. Such a beautiful area to live.

    Anyway, I love the red white and blue cupcakes! Sounds like a fun party.

  5. AHHH I have that cupcake caddy too! I love it, it's such a godsend - super cute :)