Wednesday, September 7, 2011

salutation salvation nation: lemon mascarpone cupcakes

My first tailgate post for the 2011 Boilermaker football season (woo-hoo 1 and 0, baby!) promised the recipe for lemon mascarpone cupcakes so while the adaptation is fresh in my memory I'll "come good" on my promise.  

cupcakes, what more do you need to say?
apparently plenty :)

Let's first discuss my post title.  This weekend lululemon athletica stores in the US and Canada are joining together in a never-ending "om" with all offering community yoga events from 9-10 am local time under the banner of "Salutation Nation".  Check your local store's page on lululemon.com or facebook for details.  I'll be leading my own little Salutation Nation celebration on the shores of Lake Michigan on our annual couples' trip up north.  I even have my playlist ready!  

Salutation quickly mutates to salvation and a few little thoughts I've meant to get from my cluttered little head to the keyboard.  The obvious salvation through lululemon is the perfect circle that took me from my first yoga class at the Broad Ripple showroom to an almost daily yoga practice at The Yoga Center of Indiana and back again to a great job at the Keystone store.  My yoga practice has of course kept me nice and fit and flexible, but more than that it's brought intention, gratitude and a quieter mind into my life.  My work is with amazing company whose culture is so positive and affirming that even today when I was feeling just a little sad with the empty nest I couldn't stay that way for too terribly long.  Who wants to buy the world's best stretchy pants from someone sad?  Besides, we play great music.  

And my final ramblings for today: earlier in the summer I watched an internal lulu video with athletes sharing what they loved about "sweating" once a day (while wearing amazing technical lulu things, but that's beside the point).  One handsome runner stopped for a minute and said how the pulsing energy made him feel so alive.  Okay, stick with me here.  So I'm playing in a hot hot tennis match (singles, so I'm my own cheerleader and coach) and we've been out there a while and I need to close it out on my serve.  I felt the flutterings of what normally I would interpret as nervousness and exhaustion but chose instead to think of as the pulsing energy of being alive.  There.  No nerves, just the wonderful feeling of being alive.  Able to play a long hot tennis match.  Breathing, moving, thinking and just being.  I remembered how nice it truly is to just be playing tennis.  Just pulsing energy.  There's another little victory for me in there.  

Ready to make cupcakes?  Sorry, just needed to do a little sharing.  I'm ready to bake too.  Actually, once this is posted another batch of the coffee crunch is going in the oven for the trip.  This recipe is adapted from a Giada cookbook.  She made plain vanilla cupcakes in mini form and dipped them in a strawberry glaze.  I only have two mini muffin pans, so I made standard size cupcakes.  I had a nice plump bag of "lemon bits" from King Arthur Flour and since it was going to be nice and toasty at the tailgate lemon sounded refreshing.  I iced mine with a little batch of vanilla buttercream.  Sometimes I make these without icing.  They're so moist it's not even necessary.  I'm pretty sure you can use any cake mix flavor you like, the mascarpone cheese makes the cupcakes so tender and delicious.  Yum!

Lemon Mascarpone Cupcakes

8-ounce tub mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 egg whites
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 box white cake mix
1 1/2 C lemon bits, optional

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line mini or regular muffin pans with paper liners.
In mixing bowl combine mascarpone cheese, egg whites and vegetable oil.  Using a hand or stand mixer beat until combined and creamy.  Add the cake mix and 1 C water and mix at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Fold in lemon bits if using.  Fill the muffin liners to just below the rim and bake the cupcakes until puffed and golden, 18-20 minutes.  Remove pans from the oven and cool about 5-10 minutes before turning cupcakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  
Ice as desired.  I made a little batch of vanilla buttercream frosting.

ingredients

getting creamy

completely optional, but delicious

ready to bake


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