Seeing my desserts through a lens, becoming the "director of photography" of my own baking ( and I say that in the lightest way possible, wink!)...I would have never thought I would enjoy it so much, live it so much and want to learn from professional food photographers. That's why I have always refrained from answering readers' questions about food photography, (vast and subjective topic) but when Leemei from My Cooking Hut asked if I'd be interested to write about my experiences as a food blogger-photographer, I figured it was a sign I needed to sit down and do so.
We all blog differently, we all photograph differently and we all think about it differently, but in the end we all try to do something that is enjoyable and fulfilling for where we are at that moment in our life. Since some of you asked, I hope that you will take this guest post as it is: an account of my experiences and doings in "dessert photography" and not as a "photo 101". I leave that for the books and the pros, who will always be my source of inspiration.
Click for the photography guest post. Thank you Leemei for the opportunity!
That would be rude to leave you without a dessert and a recipe wouldn't it? My photo subjects for the guest post were chocolate buttermilk cupcakes with cream cheese buttercream. No intense bubbling sugar or multi layer dessert. I know how to kick back and relax too!! Actually I live surrounded by cupcake fiends so once in a while, it feels good to let loose whilst in the middle of baking and photographing for the book. There is something really satisfying in a simple chocolate cupcake, whether it be unwrapping that mini cake or adding sprinkles to it. Something so essential and basic when you are solitary writing and baking, that it brings you back to reality in just a few bites. Especially when your little nephew asks "Auntie Helen, can you make me chocolate cupcakes with snow frosting and plenty of sprinkles on top?"....Ah the simple things are good....
Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes:
Makes about 18-20 depending on the size.
4 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 cups hot brewed coffee
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
¾ cup canola oil
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly coat the inside of your cupcake wrappers with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the chocolate and the hot coffee and let stand, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. With your electric mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until pale and thick (about 5 minutes). Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and the previously melted chocolate mixture to eggs/sugar mixture. Beat until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 increments and beat until smooth. Divide the batter among your cupcake liners and bake for about 25 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
For the cream cheese buttercream:
1 1/2 sticks (170 gr) butter at room temperature
4 oz (120gr) cream cheese, softened
3 egg whites
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 Tb water
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste or 1/2 vanilla bean split open and seeded.
In the bowl of stand mixer, whip the egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine 2 Tb water with the sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled. Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curdle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the cream cheese, the same way, a little at a time until everything is smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, or paste or bean. Keep it in the fridge up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
The second part of my interview with Anita for the release of her book "Field Guide To Cookies" is up in the latest edition of Desserts Magazine! Watch out now....it's a whole issue of just cookies! Perfect for this month of gift giving. No, I don't get a cent for promoting the magazine, I just get excited when I see quality work and passion shared for food and baking in particular. Sharing....it's all about sharing. Now...go get Anita's book ok?!!!