Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

So February is around the corner... which means in 15 days a lovely holiday that everyone tends to love or hate comes around. Some call it Valentine's Day, some call it Single's Awareness Day.... I call it Really Yummy Baked Goods and Other Chocolate Delights Readily Available Season. Thanks to the fact that the grocery store likes to decorate the store at least a month before any said holiday remotely comes to fruition ... I was delighted to see that my local Kroger has started putting out their annual crop of medium-sized (i.e. Kendallina sized) heart-shaped cookie cakes. Now I don't think about how these cookie cakes will be stale as all hell by the time Valentine's actually gets here... I know that Kroger makes these cakes for fat-girls like me. Fat girls who plan on eating their feelings long before the actual holiday arrives. Cause on January 29 I buy a Kendallina sized heart shaped cookie cake all for my self.

The check out woman takes and scans my lone purchase and eyes me like:
"Don't think I don't know that you plan on eating this all yourself you fat, sad, lonely, girl. Maybe if you stop eating cookie cakes by yourself a nice young man would buy you a cookie cake for you to share 2 WEEKS FROM NOW WHEN THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY IS"

Actually it was more like:
1. Blank stare
2. Do you have a Kroger Card?
3. Cash or Credit?
4. Sign.
5. More blank staring.

.... But I know what she was thinking....


This little encounter reminded me that Valentine's is close, and for those of you who were fortunate/unfortunate enough to be trapped in Bloomington, Indiana in a very boring Vocal Pedagogy graduate course .... you will remember that I decided to make cupcakes for everyone on V-Day. Just cause you are single doesn't mean that you should be deprived yummy baked goods, and Kendallina was there to make sure everyone (at least in class that day) was taken care of:

Now for those of you who would like to take a stab at these to bring some Valentine's Day joy to others .... or if you just want to make them to eat your feelings.... here is the recipe:

Servings: Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 vanilla bean , scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar (1 pound box), plus more if necessary
Cream the butter in a medium-sized bowl until very smooth. Stir in the vanilla-bean seeds until they are evenly distributed. Add the salt and milk, and stir until combined. Sift the sugar over the butter mixture and stir the mixture until it's perfectly smooth. If the frosting is too loose, add a few more tablespoons of the confectioners' sugar, and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap until you're ready to use; mix well just before using.

RED VELVET CUPCAKES (Stolen from the famous/infamous MAGNOLIA BAKERY in NYC)
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.

To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers, then ice the top and sides of the cake with Icing.

But how do I make them pretty like you did Kendallina?

Well the decorations are made with Fondant. Hardcore people make their own fondant.... I'm not THAT talented so I bought some Wilton pre-made Fondant. You can buy it at any Hobby Lobby or art supplies store that sells cake decorating tools. To make the colors you just add food coloring to the fondant and mix. Then cut out little shapes and things.

For more info on what the hell fondant is exactly and how to use it go HERE.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Style Icons Past and Present

Before I start commenting on current fashions and style in general, I think it's only fair to first share with you the fabulous women that have heavily influenced my personal style and tastes.

"Only idiots refuse to change their minds"

Of all the women's styles I admire, I think personally I draw from Brigitte's French je ne sais quoi the most. Big teased long blonde hair, sultry lined eyes, pale pout. While everything about her is sexy, she almost always left a little to the imagination. Cleavage or Legs... never both. (A fashion tip I wish more girls *cough hookers cough* I see in bars would take note of). Usually erring to highlight her gorgeous gams.... from knee high boots to lady like pumps. She encompassed it all - drop dead sex appeal but with a "little girl lost" type innocence. Her coquettish dichotomy encompasses all that is wonderful about female beauty ... which is probably why she as an unknown was chosen to star in Vadim's "And God Created Woman".


"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

Audrey to some (and what should be ALL) is the female personification of class. Her style is classic. Simple lines, simple colors, just the right touch of accessories, and ALWAYS ladylike. Although many identify Miss Audrey with Chanel (perhaps for her affinity of black and white?), it was actually Givenchy that really defined what we associate with Audrey's style today. They met on the set of Sabrina and it was love from then on out. He went on to design almost her entire wardrobe in the rest of her movies. Women are multi-faceted creatures, and although it's fun to dress the flirt... when it comes to dressing like a lady... Audrey is your go-to gal.


"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

I am Italian. And to me Sophia embodies the quintessential Italian style. Smoldering, va-va-voom, curvier than a highway in Chianti, old school glamour. Italy is a land of sensuousness. Take one bite of real Spaghetti Carbonara and you know these people take pleasure seriously. And Sophia's style was all about that. The plunging necklines, the curve enhancing silhouette, the teetering stilettos, the bejeweled extremities. This woman WAS sex and she in no way apologized for it. Indulgence in human form. Now this is not a look that you would want to go for every day, but every woman knows there is a time an a place where its absolutely gorgeous to celebrate everything it is to be a woman.


"I have a dress-up chest at home. I love to create this fantasy kind of thing."

Kate Moss. Perhaps the last of the "Supermodels". Accused of single-handedly creating the Western obsession with being a size 0 by starring in Calvin Klein's "Heroin Chic" campagin of the 90's. Although these days she is so much more than a model. She may be the most influential trendstetter alive today. Her style runs from bohemian, to biker chic, to all out sequined glam - sometimes all
within the same outfit. Literally whatever she decides to wear out
that day becomes the "hot new trend". Her style and creativity is
one of a kind.... but now thanks to her new Topshop line we can all
dress like hot anorexic models who date cracked out rock-stars.
Hallelujah praise be to Kate.

76/100 Kate Moss

What exactly is going on here...

So for those of you who don't know I'm "Kendallina". I'm going to avoid putting up my full name for the sake of not being Google stalked. I am a fledgling opera singer who just finished up her Master's degree at Indiana University in Voice. I've always been told I am a bit of a 'character' and slightly 'larger than life'. Perhaps this is why I belong on the stage.

But alas, several of my friends have told me that I should start blogging.... For a while I avoided it, because what the hell do I blog about? I'm not indulgent or emotionally open enough to write about my feelings or whatever... And I have the most eclectic taste in just about everything... aren't blogs supposed to have a "focus"? What on earth would I focus on?

Well since I am currently unemployed, out of school, and scatterbrained in general....... my life seems to lack "focus". So this blog is just going to be "Whatever Kendallina thinks is cool and wants to write about so you should think it's cool too... and if you don't... well screw you and stop reading."

Some rough ideas of what to expect though are things related to:

Music (everything from Lady Gaga to Puccini to Pete Doherty)
Cooking and Recipes
My random and sometimes snarky opinions on current events/pop culture/things I find entertaining
And the General Hilarity that often surrounds my daily life

Essentially ... all things that encompass the inner world of Kendallina's Dolce Vita.

So there ya go, it will be our little adventure together to see what transpires here hm?