Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peach Pulsars

Vanilla cake with fresh peaches baked inside topped with vanilla cream frosting and peach sauce

This X-ray image taken by the Chandra Space Telescope is superposed with an image in visual light of a pulsar in the Crab Nebula. Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars.

Where on earth did the summer go? Well.... it actually happens to be approaching the southern hemisphere but that is besides the point. I realize now that I didn't do nearly half of the things that I set out to accomplish this summer such as:
-Finish reading Caesar's Gallic Wars in Latin as part of my "Summer of Latin"
-Visit the Very Large Array in New Mexico... or Roswell for that matter.
-Finish writing my science fiction themed short story
-Go to a concert at Red Rocks
-Party at the Jersey Shore............... just kidding with that one!

Things that I did manage to do this summer include:
-Making great food and enjoying it with friends
-Spending time with my family
-Stargazing in the mountains
-Lazy Sundays dedicated to my PJ's
-Going UFO Hunting while listening to techno music
-Spontaneous adventures and staying out late
-Picnicking by Boulder Creek
-Watch seasons 1-5 of the X-Files (I watched it spaced out over the entire summer, of course!)

All in all I had a great summer and although I didn't do some of the more ambitious plans I made I am happy that I spent my summer the way I did. I got a much needed break this summer and I think summertime is all about being relaxed and spending time with the ones you love rather than setting rigorous schedules (that is what school/work is for). One of my more favorite memories of the summer involves watching the movie Conspiracy Theory with Nick and making pizza and undercooked cookies while laughing hysterically at how crazy Mel Gibson is in that movie.

I'm a little late in posting this recipe, I actually baked this two weeks ago (on probably the hottest day this year in Boulder) and haven't had time to put up this post. I started classes last Monday and I'm excited to learn new things in all of the classes I'm taking (like the formation and evolution of black holes and of the theoretical existence of wormholes and time warps), BUT I'm not necessarily excited about all of the work that is going to entail. I can feel my coffee dependency slowly growing again... At any rate, my goal is to bake something at least once a week. Like last week I made homemade granola bars that I wrapped individually in saran wrap then took to class... I'm sure everyone was staring because of how amazing they smelled and not how ghetto I probably looked unwrapping the excessive amount of saran wrap I put on them to keep them fresh. Back to the cupcakes...

They have a great late summer flavor. I used Amy Sedaris' recipe for vanilla cupcakes and added fresh peaches and a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon to them. I dolloped them with Chantilly cream then drizzled a warm peach glaze over that. It is an extremely delicious (and addicting) version of peaches n' cream which is best if serving right away... and eating with a fork, otherwise the cream will melt and turn everything into a hot mess. I also made a vanilla butter cream frosting to frost the majority with so I could bring them to a BBQ as my contribution.

Peach Cake:
(makes 12)
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cups milk
2-3 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced into thirds

Best Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting:
1-2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt together; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in egg until well incorporated.
5. Beat in vanilla.
6. Add flour mixture alternating with milk. Fold in peaches.
7. Divide batter evenly and bake for 16 to 20 minutes.
8. Cool completely then frost and savor the taste of summer.

Beat butter and powdered sugar for about 3 minutes; add vanilla and whipping cream and beat for another minute.

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