Freshwater Academy

Fresh Water Academy was founded in 2010. It is home to four lovely young ladies of learning and their dedicated teachers. Located in the wilds of Wyoming, the name Fresh Water Academy was chosen as a Western analogy to Christ. Just as He is the Living Water, and we must have Him to have eternal life, any desert dweller knows the importance of fresh water to life, both for self, and the nourishment of crops or livestock. By taking nourishment in God and His word, we strengthen our own relationship with Him, our faith, and the quality and abundance of our fruitfulness.

Our keystone verse is from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

The fruit that we speak of is mentioned in Galatians 5:22
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

And the heat could be anything we experience that might test our faith in God; trials and tribulations, relationships, anything that focuses our love and attention anywhere but on Him...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cupcakes from the Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay

See my previous post if you're wondering who or what I'm talking about ;)!  Each of Jenn's books contains several recipes that have been used within the story.  I don't even like cake, but these recipes sounded so fascinating, that I had to try at least one!

This is the recipe that I played with.  

Cupid’s Bliss Cupcakes by Jenn McKinlay (Buttercream Bump Off)

A white chocolate cupcake with a  circle of white chocolate cream cheese icing around the edge with raspberries in the middle and drizzled with a raspberry syrup on top.

Cupcake Ingredients

1& ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs, room temperature

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon milk

Fresh raspberries

Frosting Ingredients

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

¼ cup batter, room temperature

1 ounce white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled (see directions to melt)

3 teaspoons milk or cream

2-3 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Syrup Ingredients

7 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thaw slightly)

¾ cups lemon juice

1¾ cups sugar

2¼ water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped white chocolate by heating it in 30-econd intervals in the microwave.  Stir well with a fork after each interval.  The chocolate is ready when it’s smooth when stirred.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the melted white chocolate and vanilla extract.  Alternate adding the milk and the flour mixture.  Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups..  Bake at 325 degrees for 20-23 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip.  Makes 18 cupcakes.

Frosting Directions: 

In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter, and melted white chocolate.  Beat in vanilla extract and milk, then add confectioners’ sugar gradually until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.  It should be a bit stiff to allow piping along the edge of the cupcake.  Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a circle on the outer edge of each cupcake.  Fill circle with fresh raspberries.  Drizzle raspberry syrup (see below) on top.

Syrup Directions:

Combine raspberries, lemon juice, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook until raspberries are soft, about 15 minutes.  Strain raspberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; use the back of a spoon and press down to get all of the juice through the sieve.  Discard raspberry seeds and pour extracted juices into pan.  Simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by one-half or to the consistency of syrup, 20 to 25 minutes.  Add vanilla extract at the end of cooking time.

My family absolutely LOVED these cupcakes.  They raved over them!  My husband scfaped all the crumbs out of the muffin tin, not even bothering with frosting or syrup for some!  They literally licked their plates clean!

I did have to make a few adaptations, because (and here's the disclaimer), I am not a baker, and I know nothing about plating elegant food!  She did describe how to do it, but I don't have cake decorating tools, and I didn't mess with piping a circle of frosting.  Also, raspberries are not something that are popular around our house, and not something I have on hand, so I substituted frozen strawberries.  
I do recommend READING all of the ingredients and double checking to make sure you have everything!  I am usually very exacting about this, but about halfway through production suddenly realized that I was out of cream cheese.  Not "oh I can scrape a little out of the bottom" out either, but completely out!  In a panic, I looked up substitutions, and discovered that you can substitute one cup of pureed cottage cheese, or 1 cup of plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth.  Now I didn't have overnight or cheesecloth, so we made do.  I just used the yogurt, and figured that it would probably not have the same consistency.

Don't forget to set your eggs, cream cheese and butter out before you get going so that they have time to acclimatize!   

Putting together the cupcakes themselves was a snap.  They were easy to build, easy to mix, and easy to put into  the pan.  I would definitely recommend dividing for the full 18 cupcakes, either using a bigger pan, additional pan(s), or making a second batch.  I only have a pan for 12, and instead of being patient I overfilled, resulting in cupcakes that rose way above the tops, melded together, and were difficult to remove.  I would also advise investing in the baking papers/cupcake liners.  I had a hard time getting my cupcakes out, even after greasing and flouring the pan.  I had no chance of even trying to plate them beautifully, because they all came out in pieces! 
Her description of  spring back when pressed with a fingertip" was great.  I had always done the knife or fork in the center trick, and this was much easier, faster, and didn't leave holes in my cupcakes.  It was about 25 minutes for us, but they were beautiful and golden.

The syrup took a really long time to boil down, much more than the 25 minutes suggested.  I'm not sure if it was because of the switch in fruit, or an altitude thing, but it was much more.  I think I might play with the water to sugar ratio or start earlier if I were to do it again.  I am also pretty sure I forgot to add the vanilla at the end by the time it was all said and done!

The cupcakes themselves were absolutely delectable!  They were light and fluffy, and just floated onto the tongue to dissolve into air in your mouth.  The frosting was not as thick as it would have been had I followed her recipe completely, so I can't comment on that, but the taste was glorious.  That white chocolate hint in both the cupcake and the frosting was oh so delicious!  And creamy!  And the syrup.  Oh the syrup was just a delightful crowning touch.  Like strawberry lemonade, that burst of sweet fruit with just a hint of juicy tartness just combined all the flavors together perfectly to make what is probably the most delicious cupcake I have ever eaten.  I will definitely be trying more of her recipes, but I'll be making sure I have all of the ingredients ahead of time!

Here is a link to the previous blog about Jenn's books:

And here is a direct link to Jenn's website:

Happy Eating!

1 comment:

  1. And the leftover syrup made really yummy strawberry shortcake tonight!