Hi guys, I hope you’re having a fabulous summer 🌞
How the heck are we almost at the end of August already? Seriously. It feels like it was only a few weeks ago that we ‘celebrated’ Summer Solstice. Yes those quotes are intentional because while the solstice marks the official start of summer and it’s the longest day of the year, it also means the days start getting shorter again. Wahhh! (I take my sunshine seriously, ya’ll).
We’re having the best summer ever here in Ottawa, though most of my local pals probably won’t agree (and might have even re-read that sentence to make sure they read it correctly haha). Sure, we’ve definitely had way too much rain but we haven’t had that much humidity this summer, thankfully. While I love me some summer heat (the hotter, the better), I just can’t stand the humidity. So this summer has been chock full of mostly hot days and cool nights, which is perfect to me. And my hair is very appreciative of the lack of humidity as well. Just sayin’. #frizzyhairproblems #the80scalledtheywanttheirhairback.
Who here likes cherry pie? I know, silliest question ever.
There’s something about a slice of fresh, homemade cherry pie that screams summer to me. But since you’ve probably already had lots of cherry pie already this summer (at least I hope you have), I thought I’d change it up and take cherry pie to a whole new level.
Behold: The Cherry Pie Cupcake. Heck yes!
(Recipe below this post)
A vanilla cupcake is slathered with a fresh cherry buttercream and then drizzled with cherry pie filling. It’s basically a combination of a cupcake and a slice of pie in one easy hand-held treat. How awesome is that? And, these cupcakes are actually quick & easy to make if you’ve already got some cherry pie filling leftover from your recent pie bake-a-thon.
What? You usually don’t bake one pie, let alone a bunch of them? Now who’s crazy? 🙂
Speaking of pie…this past July marked my very first PIE Anniversary! Yep, it was last year on Canada Day while making a Strawberry Balsamic pie for the festivities that I decided to forgo the usual lattice crust and do something a little different. I took advantage of the fact that the berry filling was red and created a Canadian flag out of the top pastry. It worked out deliciously well! Turns out there’s a whole other world beyond a lattice crust. Who knew? I was immediately hooked on pie design.
It didn’t take me long to start with the geeky pies, not too surprisingly (for those who know me, anyway). I made a Star Wars-themed pie for a friend’s birthday shortly after this one, and have made many a Superheroes/Star Trek/Star Wars pies in the past year. I’ve developed a Geeky Pie addiction, and not seeking any treatment for it whatsoever 🙂
This is one of my favourites: A Wonder Woman pie for the new movie– which came out this past Spring. It was my first time ‘drawing’ on pie crust and I had a lot of fun with it. Considering I hated art class in high school and I was pretty bad at it (worst marks, by far), my drawing isn’t all that terrible—surprisingly.
So, this year for Canada Day I made a fun pie to share with friends for our country’s 150th Birthday celebration.
Can you really get any more Canadian than a pie with a moose and a beaver in a canoe with a Timmies coffee? Probably not…
I also made a 4th of July pie for our lovely neighbours to the south. It’s a no-bake pie with fresh strawberries and blueberries and then I decorated it with pastry stars and whipped cream. It was deliciously American!
I also tried my hand at a braided pie crust. I’d been admiring all my lovely pie friends’ fantastic braided pies recently and just love the pretty effect. The braids especially stand out with a triple berry filling.
You guys might laugh at me but while I was standing in front of my pie with pastry strips all ready to braid, I drew a complete blank. Somehow I’d completely forgotten how to braid!! Crazy, right? As a kid I could braid with my eyes closed and probably in my sleep, too. My friends and I would braid each others’ hair all the time. I think it is (or was?) a rite of passage and a very popular pastime for a teenage girl. Mind you, I haven’t braided anyone’s hair (including my own) since 1989, so I guess it has been awhile.
So I felt a bit silly entering ‘how to braid’ on the google machine but as soon as I watched the first 2 seconds of a Youtube video it all came back to me and I was braiding my pastry strips like a pro.
And then suddenly a huge wave of nostalgia swept over me and I was immediately transported to the summer of 1988 where I spent every. single. day at the pool hanging out with my friends. We’d sunbathe, swim, talk about boys, bugged the lifeguards (especially the ones we liked), AND braided each others’ hair. All whilst listening to the ballads of Corey Hart (swoon!) blaring from the radio. Ah, the good ole’ days. I miss the 80s…
Since I’m going down memory lane, and had also recently come across a few old photos, I thought I’d share a couple just for fun. Because who doesn’t like cheesy 80’s photos anyway, right?
This is my good friend Andrea and I sitting poolside while chatting and working on our tans. She was one of the lifeguards that I’d befriended and we kept in contact long after she moved to BC. She inspired me to become a lifeguard (a few years later) but the summers here at the pool just weren’t the same without her.
Would you believe that we actually slathered ourselves with BABY Oil in order to get the best tan ever? And sometimes (man, I can’t believe I’m actually admitting this), we even used Crisco Oil! I know….craZy! Thinking back, I can’t believe we actually thought that was a good idea (especially in this day and age with our sunscreen obsession) . But our tans were fabulous and we often smelled like french fries–which is never really a bad thing, right?
Don’t forget to also admire my “highlighted” hair. Anyone remember ‘Sun-in’? I know, orange is SO not my colour but it was all the rage back then. Oh and before we move on (to slightly embarrassing photo #2), don’t forget to check out my snazzy t-shirt I was wearing as well.
Yep, it’s Corey Hart! I got that shirt at his concert when he was here in Ottawa in the late 80s. It was my very first concert and I couldn’t talk for a few days afterward because of all the screaming we did. If you ever hear his version of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ around the holidays, you may notice that it’s live. He recorded that song here in Ottawa, even though it was July. We were very confused when he started singing a Christmas song, but we still screamed for the entire duration of the song and if you listen closely, you might recognize my voice. Okay, maybe not… but I still enjoy hearing that song and remembering: ‘Wow, I was one of those crazy gals screaming at Corey while he’s singing Christmas songs in the middle of the freaking summer’ haha.
Here’s a photo of my girlfriends and I hanging out in the pool office. We were pretty fortunate the lifeguards liked us enough to let us in their private ‘office’. It seemed a lot more exciting at the time…
Oh and before you ask, that’s me on the far left with the football shirt and (almost) mullet. HA! This was the very start of my tomboy phase. I hope you’re not laughing too hard. I thought I was cool at the time and I wore that shirt over my swim suit almost every day (when I wasn’t wearing my Corey Hart shirt, that is).
At this point you might be wondering…why did I even both to change my blog if the name is different but I’m still only sharing travel stuff and 80s pics? Well, my friends, I thought I’d ease you guys into the whole food blog thing before I start sharing a lot more of my recipes. I’m pretty sure you’ll come back again in hopes to see more cheey 80s photos though, right? hehe
Okay, here is the recipe for my Cherry Pie Cupcakes. Hope you guys enjoy them, and the rest of summer, too! I’ll be back with another recipe shortly. Pinky promise.
Cherry Pie Cupcakes
For the Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups Gluten-Free flour Packaged or your own mix
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum omit if it's in your flour mix
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter room temp
- 2 large eggs room temp
- ½ cup milk any--cow, almond, cashew, coconut etc.
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean extract or reg vanilla
For the Cherry Pie Buttercream
- 1 cup butter room temp
- 2 cups powdered sugar or use more if you like your frosting sweet
- 1 tablespoon or more whipping cream, coconut cream or milk
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean extract or regular vanilla
- 1/3 cup Cherry Pie Filling- homemade or store-bought my simple recipe below
For the Cherry Pie Filling (if not using pre-made or store-bought filling)
- 1 cup sweet or sour cherries if using frozen don't thaw first
- 3 Tablespoons granulate sugar you can use brown or coconut sugar if preferred
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or omit and add an extra tablespoon of your preferred sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or regular vanilla
For the Cherry Pie Filling (if not using a pre-made or store bought pie filling):
In large saucepan whisk together sugar, maple syrup (if using), cinnamon, sea salt, and tapioca. Add cherries (pitted first, if using fresh cherries) and mix into the sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring often. I often use a potato masher to break down the cherries while the sauce is cooking. When it begins to boil, cook for another minute or two until thickened. Remove from heat and add in vanilla. Use immediately or store in the fridge until ready to use for the buttercream and topping for the cupcakes.
For the Vanilla Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
In medium bowl add flour mix and whisk well (I always whisk gluten-free flour really well first), then add sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add butter to the flour/sugar mixture and, with a hand mixer, beat on low-speed until thoroughly mixed. It will be crumb-like in texture, similar to coarse sand. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until blended.
Pour in the vanilla and then slowly add milk. Beat on medium for about a minute or so, until batter is fairly smooth (since GF flours don't contain gluten, you don't have to worry too much about over-mixing). If batter's too thick, gradually add an extra couple of teaspoons milk (you probably won't have to add extra milk if you're using reg vanilla extract). Batter should resemble a soft frosting when it comes together.
Fill liners with batter to almost ¾ full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes--but I usually check them in about 15 minutes. When they're slightly golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, they're done. Allow them to cool completely.
Frost with cherry buttercream (below) or your favourite frosting.
For the Frosting:
Using a mixer, beat the butter on high for a minute or two.
Turn speed to low and add confectioners sugar--but only a half cup at a time to gradually incorporate the sugar into the butter. Add salt.
Slowly mix in vanilla extract and cream (or milk) and cherry pie filling and continue to beat on medium-high for a minute or two. After it comes together, increase speed to high and continue to beat for several more minutes (aim for 5 or more minutes, for best results).
Frost cupcakes and drizzle each with reserved cherry pie filling.