Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meteor Shower Cakes

Spice cake topped with cream cheese frosting, sprinkles, and an element of surprise

This image was taken in Colorado during the Perseid Meteor Shower. The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs every year in mid August when the Earth passes through the dust cloud of Comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet dust is vaporized as it enters Earth's atmosphere causing a bright streak of light. The Perseids is named such because all of the meteors appear to radiant from the constellation Perseus.

I made these cupcakes to kill time before we went up to the mountains to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower (we didn't leave until about 11:00 pm). There was an average of 142 meteors per hour this year making it a really spectacular show. It was amazing to be up in a dark secluded area in the mountains gazing at the night sky and seeing some brilliant meteors. Everything was so serene... that is until a bat flew into me.

I'm really glad I decided to make these though, the cake was moist and delicious with just the right amount of spice. The tangy cream cheese frosting really balanced out the cake very well. I left a few unfrosted and had one toasted the next morning with coffee, yum. I have a feeling that these cakes would also be fabulous with a streusel topping baked on top.

Spice Cake:
(Makes about 18, recipe adapted from Southern Food)
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups butter milk

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
3. Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; add sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
4. Add the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, mixing just until smooth.
5. Divide mixture amongst baking cups; smooth surface.
6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar then vanilla. If frosting is too thick, add a little milk until desired consistency is reached.

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