6 July 2014

Hurri-cake Season

When it's too windy to get any outdoor work done, there's not much left to do but make cupcakes.

Summer is for outdoor projects, but hurricane storm systems occasionally make that impossible.  Unprepared for serious indoor work, all there is left to do is bake.

Spruce Drizzle Cakes

(adapted from the pancake princess)

4 tbsp hand-crafted butter (okay, or commercial butter if you must)
3/4 c. spruce sugar (see below)
4 egg yolks
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk (see?  might as well make your own butter...)

for the drizzle:
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp spruce sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Grease a muffin tin/ cupcake pan (or any pan made for baking 12 little cakes).

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolks one at at time, mixing until the batter is smooth.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  

Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in alternating additions, ending with dry ingredients.  Mix until smooth.

Divide the batter across the 12 cups in your baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until done (cake is firm but springy to the touch).  Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

While the cupcakes are cooling in their pan, mix the lemon juice, spruce sugar and icing sugar together, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.  

Turn the still warm cupcakes out of their pan and arrange on a plate or tray in a single layer. Pour the drizzle over top.  When you eat them, feel free to dredge them in the excess drizzle that collected on the plate...

The lemony drizzle for the spruce cupcakes will drip and collect on the plate.  If I were you, I'd go ahead and soak some of that up with the cupcake I'm eating...


How to Make Spruce Sugar

(adapted from Along The Grapevine)

Infusing sugar with ground spruce is a fantastic way
to preserve spring spruce buds for the rest of the year.
1 cup spruce tips, papery caps removed
1 cup granulated sugar

In a spice grinder, working in batches as necessary, grind together spruce buds and sugar.  The spruce buds are moist and sticky, so you want to clean your spice grinder immediately after you've finished (ask me how I know... it may be months before our spice grinder recovers from an unfounded belief that somehow it would be easier to clean when the spruce sugar remnants had dried into a cement-like crust on the bowl of the grinder).  

Spread the sugar-spruce mixture onto a baking tray and dry in a 150F oven for about an hour.  If you live in a dry climate (we definitely do not), you might get away with air-drying.  

Store in a clean jar, breaking up large clumps as you fill.

This recipe is easily scaled larger or smaller (one part spruce bud and one part sugar by volume).


We're in the midst of fence-building chez The Moose Curry Experience.  This has been a long process involving measuring tapes, string, a million sketches, tearing down the old partially-rotted-but-surprisingly-difficult-to-destroy fence.  Oh, and the chatting with the neighbours about The Fence Project.  

We live in a small town.  Instead building a fence that looks exactly like what we demolished, we are building something different.  In a small town, these kinds of unnecessary changes can make people nervous.  We have enthusiastically described our beautiful mid-century modern vision to assure them it will be alright.  Somehow, this does not seem to put them at ease.  Just wait until they find out we intend to stain it blue...

We had a lot of work to get done today.  The wood is here, so holes need to be dug for fence posts.  The lawn needs cutting, the early greens desperately need thinning, the third sowing of lettuce needs doing, tomatillos need transplanting... but no luck.  

Well, not exactly NO luck.  We were lucky enough not to be in the direct line of the tropical storm formerly known as hurricane Arthur, but we are on the edge of the system. (Spring arrived too late this year, hurricane season has started too early.) 

It's windy enough that our deep and well-protected harbour is choppy.

It's really windy.  It's the kind of windy that blows around you in circles making you feel crazed.  The kind of wind that means you need a lid for the container you are attempting to fill with garden greens, lest they get swept away.  The kind of wind that means you spend a lot of time shouting "I can't hear you!" to someone who is a few feet away probably shouting the same thing.  The kind of wind that blows the dirt from your fence post holes into your mouth and nose and eyes... and, well, back into the hole.

Eventually we had to admit defeat.  Faced with no indoor jobs on the list, there was nothing left to do but bake.


  1. You omitted something..."When it's too windy to get any outdoor work done, there's not much left to do but make and EAT cupcakes." ;) As Tasmania thinks that it is part of the Arctic circle at the moment and we have a lot of conifers around the place including the ubiquitous spruce, methinks these particularly scrumptious looking little babies might have to make a detour from your neck of the woods and into our winter neck of the woods where they would be woofed down with great delight and gusto. Isn't that a great word? "Gusto!" Sounds like a plan! Off to brew a vat of water for my bucket of tea to go with them :)

    1. Spruce always tastes like Christmas to me, which is in winter up here, so it very much makes sense to me that you should eat some of these in winter. With GUSTO. :)


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