Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Giving Back for Getting Me Through

Sometimes when you are having a difficult time, it can feel like your life is turned completely upside down.  That happened to me this year in my first year of graduate school.  I felt lost and confused and depressed and didn't know what I wanted in my life anymore.

When things feel like that, you need stability and someone to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  You don't need someone to tell you that everything will be OK, you need someone that has been there and survived and proven it.  That was the case in my severe depressive episode back in high school, and that was the case this year.  You need a role model.

My role model this year was my amazing fourth year peer supervisor, Lisa.  This girl's kind heartedness and compassion received me every week with open arms, and provided me with a safe space to vent, to ask for advice, and to question.  Lisa was everything I hope to be when I am in her shoes as a fourth year student.  She is not only genuine, but incredibly strong.  I found my strength to continue this year in her.

I simply do not have enough language to thank her for all she's done for me this year.  So, as usual, when words fail me, I show my love and appreciation through baked goods.  This is what I chose to say "thank you" to Lisa:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, filled w/ Raspberry Preserves, topped w/ Dark Chocolate Nutella Ganache and Fresh Organic Raspberries
Cake recipe adapted from the Hershey's Black Magic Cake
Yield: slightly over 2 dozen cupcakes
Cake Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup milk + 1 Tbs white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients
Whisk dry ingredients into wet until thoroughly combined (about 1 minute)
Line your muffin tin with super fun liners like these!
Fill the cups about 2/3 full.  Then bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from tins to finish cooling completely on the wire racks.

Filling instructions:
Core out the middle of the cupcakes using a vegetable peeler 
Add your filling of choice to a pastry bag 
Carefully fill each cupcake to the top (it should settle a little)

Once your cupcakes are all filled, prepare your ganache.

Dark Chocolate Nutella Ganache instructions:
1 12 oz bag dark chocolate chips
6 oz Nutella
2 Tbs vegetable shortening

In a double boiler, melt together all the ingredients until smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for one minute.

Spoon about a tablespoonful of ganache on top of the filled part of each cupcake and allow to set a moment to create a sort of seal.  Then add a second tablespoonful of ganache and smooth out over the top of the cupcake.

Garnish as desired.

Thank you, Lisa, for being my rock this year.  It really meant the world to me.  I wish you the best of luck in California, and I sincerely hope we always stay in touch.

Love and cookies,

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