Fundraising Project #1 - "The Man Who Never Cried"

A few weeks back I wrote a post about The Importance of Giving where President Clinton discusses ways we can contribute our time and skills to help others.  Since then, my mind hasn't stopped thinking about ways I can help and the differences I am able to make with the resources that are readily available to me.

My friend Andrew Lee has been busily working on a short film titled "The Man Who Never Cried" and together with his team, they've been  hard to raise money for the project.  Thus far he has raised a whopping $12,000 for the film but still has another $9,000 to go before reaching the budget needed.  Unfortunately I'm not a millionaire, or I'd throw a fat check his way BUT I do like to bake and photograph the things I make so I came up with a fun idea -- organizing a fundraiser by selling cupcakes to my friends and family!

This week I've written an article at Appetite for Good, a website geared towards promoting philanthropic organizations and events through food.  Be sure to read more about my first fundraising event and most importantly, don't forget to support!

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Ingredients for Lemon Cake: (makes 30 cupcakes)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/8 oz/226g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 (8-ounce) cartons dairy sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

Recipe from Diana's Desserts.

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F (180 C). Line thirty 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. (The batter will be thick.) Stir in lemon peel.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared muffin cup *(See Tip Below). Bake in preheated oven about 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frsoting and topping cupcakes with lemon or orange zest (optional).

Ingredients for Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (Makes 24 cupcakes):
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 12 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 c + 2 T sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled & coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tins.
Using a food processor or mortar, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter until it forms a coarse meal.  The crumbs should stick together when you pinch them.
Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin tin.  Bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes, let cool and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder & salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugar until light & fluffy and then add the vanilla & beat on a low-speed.  Then add half the flour mixture until incorporated then mix in the sour cream or yogurt.  Add remaining flour & mix until just blended.
In another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peak appear, about 2 minutes. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg into the batter until combined, do not over mix the egg whites or the cake will fall flat. Add remaining egg and fold in the chopped strawberries.  Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way and bake for about 17- 20 minutes depending on your oven.   You can test the doneness by sticking a toothpick through the center, if it comes out clean it is ready to take out ( I would recommend checking after 15 minutes)!

Ingredients for Carrot cupcakes (Makes 1 dozen):

  • 8 carrots (1 1/4 pounds), peeled and coarsely shredded (4 cups)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, toss the carrots with the raisins and pecans. Onto a large sheet of wax paper, sift the flour with the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the canola oil with the sugar at medium-high speed until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the carrot mixture.
Spoon the batter into the cups, filling them three-fourths full. Bake the cupcakes for about 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Ingredients for Moist Chocolate Cupcakes: (Makes 12-18 cupcakes)
  • 1 3/4 cup All-Purpose flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup coffee
For the chocolate cake, mix all of the dry ingredients together so they are evenly distributed.  Add the wet ingredients one at a time as listed, until fully incorporated.  This ensures the batter comes out nice and smooth. Line the muffin pans with cupcake liners and pour the batter about 3/4 of the way, leaving room for the cake to rise when baking.  Place in the oven for 20 minutes, you can check the doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle, if it comes out clean it is ready (Because oven temperatures differ, if the batter is still wet leave for 5 minutes longer, repeat until done.)  Set aside and cool.
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For the toppings of the cupcakes -- you can find the recipe for caramel here and the cream cheese frosting here and the candied carrots here.  The rest is pretty self explanatory and use your creativity to see what you can come up with!