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Friday, December 30, 2011

Mini Confetti Cupcakes

Who doesn't love sprinkles? They add color and pizazz to any boring vanilla cake. I was asked to bake mini cupcakes for a benefit and was told the flavors were up to me. I love vanilla cupcakes, but I wanted to make them a little less boring, so I added some sprinkles. They were a hit with both kids and adults! 

Mini Confetti Cupcakes
Source: adapted from Melissa Bakes

1 stick butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup colored sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a mini cupcake tin with 24 cupcake liners. (You may have some batter leftover.)
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and milk in three additions, ending with flour.
Stir in sprinkles.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 10 - 12 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Vanilla Buttercream
1 stick butter (room temperature)
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons water

Cream the butter. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and vanilla and water until desired consistency is reached and beat well.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stained Glass Cookies

I've wanted to make these cookies for a few years now, but I was always intimidated. This year when my cousins and I were deciding which cookies to bake at our 2011 Baking Extravaganza, one suggested something special. And what's more special than stained glass cookies? They are so pretty. My other cousin was determined that these would not turn out, since she made them once before and they were a disaster. I was so happy to prove her wrong. They were as tasty and they were pretty. I can actually say these weren't too bad to make. Mix up the dough, pop it in the fridge for a bit, roll, and cut. Fill the centers with your favorite crushed hard candy. I used Jolly Ranchers, but I think I'll branch out and use more Christmas inspired colors and flavors next year, as well as a Christmas cookie cutter. 

Stained Glass Cookies
Source: Woman's Day, December 2011

2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 and 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice (I used water.)
1 egg
About 16 hard candies, crushed finely and separated by color (I used Jolly Ranchers.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

Beat together butter, sugar, and lime juice on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well.

With the mixer on low, add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Divide dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Once dough has been chilled, remove from fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out middles.

Transfer the cutouts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spoon crushed candy into the centers of each cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are brown and candy has melted.

Cool on cookie sheets.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sparkling Butter Toffee Cookies

I tried these on a whim this year and they turned out to be a hit! We loved them so much, we made three batches. The cookies are soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. My husband declared them his new favorite and the perfect coffee-dunking cookie!

Sparkling Butter Toffee Cookies
Source: Recipe Girl

1 cup sugar plus additional sugar for rolling
3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup toffee bits (or more)

Optional: Sub sparkling white sugar for the rolling sugar.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla and beat at medium speed until creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture in batches, and mix until just combined.


Stir in toffee bits by hand.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets and flatten each with the bottom of a glass. If glass sticks, dip in sugar.

Bake 9 - 11 minutes until edges are just lightly browned. Optional: Sprinkle with additional sugar while warm.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pumpkin Pie


Every year, I must make pumpkin cream pie (also known as "The Pie That Won't Die") for Thanksgiving dessert. I've made pumpkin cream pie for the past 10 years or so every single Thanksgiving, not because I wanted to, but because I was told I had to. My family goes crazy for that pie. This year, I finally retired the pie. Once I told my family that I was making  mini apple cheesecakes, they forgot all about "The Pie That Won't Die." I was thrilled—that was until my uncle pouted that he wanted pumpkin pie. I was a little bummed since I wanted to break free from that pie, until he said he wanted PLAIN pumpkin pie. I happily obliged and made him a plain pumpkin pie. This pie recipe was your standard pumpkin pie. It had a custard-like consistency and a hint of spices. It was yummy, especially topped with fresh whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie
Source: Libby's

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I omitted.)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I omitted.)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 pie crust (unbaked)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves.
Stir in eggs and pumpkin. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted one inch from center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
Store in refrigerator.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Pie


Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. This year, I decided to turn them into a pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. No one missed the side dish, but they all raved over this sweet and sticky concoction. Be warned, while delicious, the marshmallow topping was very sticky, but worth the extra napkins. A quick note, don't leave your pie in the broiler too long or you'll over-brown the marshmallows like I did. 

Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Pie
Source: Everyday with Rachel Ray, November 2011

1 pie crust (I used pre-made refrigerated crust, don't judge!)
2 sweet potatoes (peeled, boiled, mashed, and cooled)
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unroll pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan.
Crimp edges and prick bottom of pie crust with a fork.
Cover crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Discard beans and foil and set pie crust aside to cool slightly.
Mix together mashed sweet potatoes, buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, and salt with a mixer on medium speed until blended.
Pour mixture into pie crust and bake for 50 minutes until the middle is set and puffed.
(TIP: Cover pie crust edges with strips of foil or pie crust saver about half-way through baking.)
After pie is baked, top with marshmallows and place under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until marshmallows are browned. You can always omit this step and leave the pie naked:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I saw this recipe and immediately had to make it. I love snickerdoodles and I love pumpkin, so this cookie recipe seemed like a match made in heaven. I really wanted to love these cookies, but sadly I did not. I didn't not like them, I just didn't love them. They were pumpkiny, spicy, and delicious, but they weren't mind-blowing like I thought they would be. Also they didn't spread as much as I would have liked.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
As seen on: Made in Melissa's Kitchen

2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the rolling mixture:
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside.
 
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.
 
Add pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
 
With the mixer on low, add flour mixture a little at a time and mix just until incorporated.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill at least an hour.

Mix ingredients for rolling mixture in a small bowl.

Roll dough into 1 and 1/2 inch balls and roll into rolling mixture until coated evenly

Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Use a glass or the palm of your hand to flatten the cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 14 minutes, until slightly firm.

Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels have been on my to-do list for months. After this month's What's Baking theme was announced: Savory Treats, I knew right away it was time. I don't know why I waited so long since these were really easy to make and only required four ingredients. The worst part was kneading the dough. After the dough is shaped into pretzels, they are boiled and baked. These were yummy (especially with cheese), but best eaten the day they are made.

Soft Pretzels
Source: Pastry Arts Class

For Dough:
1/2 oz. fresh yeast
1 and 1/2 oz. brown sugar
12 oz. warm water (85 degrees)
1 pound and 7 oz. all-purpose flour

For Boiling Mixture:
2 pounds water
3/4 oz. baking soda

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Bring water and baking soda (for boiling mixture) to a boil in a large pan.
Dissolve yeast and brown sugar in the water in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add flour and mix on high until blended.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 - 10 minutes)
Divide the dough into 12 even pieces.
Roll into a rope and shape as desired.
Drop pretzels into boiling water and boil until they rise (about 1 minute).
Drain pretzels and place on a greased baking sheet.
Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 475 degrees for 8 minutes.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

Coconut is one of my favorite flavors. I know coconut gets a bad rap, and many people don't like it, but they don't know what they're missing. I was asked to make special birthday cupcakes for my coworker, so I decided to make my go-to vegan chocolate cupcakes topped with coconut buttercream since she also loves coconut. I can't even begin to describe how awesome these tasted. The bittersweet chocolate topped with the sweet and creamy coconut buttercream was divine. These were perfection.





Coconut Buttercream

2 sticks butter, room temperature
5 - 6 cups powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 - 4 tablespoons water

Cream the butter. Add coconut and vanilla extracts and beat well. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and water until desired consistency is reached. Beat well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Edible Images Part 2

To go along with the Monster High cake, I made two dozen vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with edible rice paper images. These images were so much easier to work with because they didn't have a backing. All you have to do is cut them out and stick them on top of the cupcakes. Very easy and tasty! No complaints; just an observation: Since the paper quickly dissolves, I'd wait until right before you need the cupcakes to stick the images on top of them. If you look closely, you can see the sprinkles bleeding through the paper and some of the images beginning to smear. I decorated the cupcakes about three hours before I needed them, so next time I'd wait until about a half-hour or so beforehand to decorate them. All in all, the edible rice paper images were a success, the edible cake image with the backing, not so much. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Edible Images Part 1


This cake almost broke my spirit. A girl I went to school with contacted me for a cake and cupcakes. She asked if I ever worked with edible images and provided me with 24 edible images for cupcakes and one for a 9 X 13 cake. I never worked with edible images, but I figured it couldn't be that hard. The directions seemed easy enough: "Peel image from plastic backing and apply to cake."

Three hours later, I ended up with a headache, and a torn image. I did everything I could to free the image from the plastic backing. I Googled for help. I even watched YouTube videos. It looked so easy, yet my image was not coming off the backing. I again placed it in the freezer and it finally came free. Well most it! (The logo tore, of course!) All I had to do was apply it to the cake. Easy, right? Nope! I dampened the icing (that had since dried while I was fighting the image) and placed it on top. I smoothed the sides and guess what, it wouldn't stick! I peeled it back off and applied a bit more water and still nothing—well it did start to bleed.

At this point, I was ready to throw the cake in the garbage and start again. It was near midnight, though, and I was exhausted. Plus I still had to decorate two dozen cupcakes with more edible images. (I'll recant this story in another post later this week.) So I placed the image down as best I could and decorated around it. I hated this cake and it still makes me sick to look at it. The moral of the story: Never again will I use an edible cake image. (The customer loved it and was not mad at all, but it still broke my spirit a little bit.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I love the flavors that fall brings. Like many others, pumpkin is one of the fall flavors that I adore. I have been meaning to make pumpkin cupcakes for some time now, but I never got the chance. I was looking through recipes and was stuck between two. I visited The Way the Cookie Crumbles and low and behold, there was a pumpkin cupcake comparison. I decided to go with the recommended recipe from David Leite. I baked these for a friend of ours who recently celebrated her birthday. She is going through a rough time right now and she was in need of a pick-me up. She was surprised and loved them! These cupcakes had a light, moist crumb and a mild pumpkin spice flavor that was perfectly complemented by the tangy cream cheese icing.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Source: Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

1 stick butter (room temperature)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 18 cupcake liners.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy for about 5 minutes.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl and set aside. Add the vanilla to the milk and set aside.

Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture and mix on medium speed, scraping down the sides after each addition.

Turn the mixer on low and alternatively add the flour mixture and milk, ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and rap the filled pans to release air bubbles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely on wire racks.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What's Baking: October's Fall Flavors Round-Up

This month I challenged my What's Baking group to bake with fall flavors. I took the challenge a step further by asking everyone to get creative and try to choose a flavor other than pumpkin or apple—even though they're my favorite flavors! Whatever flavor was chosen, I was drooling over this month's submissions! Next month, Jey of The Jey of Cooking is hosting and the theme is savory treats. She asks us to challenge ourselves and bake something savory!

I made Butternut Cake with Buttered Rum Icing

Jaida of Sweet Beginnings made Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Icing
Heather Lynne of Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks made Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta Bake
sweet potato cupcakes 1
Jade of The Mess Pot made Sweet Potato Cupcakes
with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
Jill of JBean Cuisine made Applesauce Cake
Lindsey of Our Share of the Harvest made Pecan Pie Bars
Dani of Cloud 8½ made Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Melissa of I Was Born to Cook made Sour Cream Pumpkin Streusel Cake

Lindsay of Peace, Love and French Fries made Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Jey of The Jey of Cooking made Caramel Appledoodles
Carrie of Carrie's Sweet Life made Sweet Potato Banana Muffins
Catherine of Pursuing Domestic Goddess-ness made Apple Coffee Cake Ring
Cara of The Boys Made Me Do It made Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Yudith from Blissfully Delicious made Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread
Stephanie from Brownies and Blondies made Mulled Wine Cupcakes

Ammie of Adventures in My Kitchen made Sweet Potato Bread






Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Cupcakes


While Halloween is not my favorite holiday, I love Halloween-themed stuff. I've had my eye on a few Halloween baked goods to make and finally decided on cupcakes (although this ghost cake is still on my mind). I narrowed down my decorating ideas to Frankenstein, Jack Skellington, and jack-o-lanterns. Had I more time or patience, I would have also done mummies, spiderwebs, and possibly tackled that ghost cake. There's always this weekend, right? The cupcake flavors were apple topped with cinnamon buttercream and butternut with buttered rum icing. I got the idea for the Frankenstein cupcakes here.


Cinnamon Buttercream 
2 sticks butter, room temperature
5 - 6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 - 4 tablespoons water (as needed)

Cream the butter. Add vanilla and beat well. With the mixer on low, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat in cinnamon and beat until smooth and creamy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Butternut Cake with Buttered Rum Icing

I love the fall. I love when the leaves change and swirl from the branches of the trees to the ground. I love fall flavors of apple and pumpkin. Some of my favorites are pumpkin-flavored coffee, ice cream, and beer. For this month's What's Baking theme, I chose Fall Flavors. I also asked everyone to get creative and try to bake with something other than pumpkins and apples. I chose butternut squash as my fall ingredient and made an anniversary cake for me and my husband since we're celebrating our fourth anniversary. I decorated the cake to look similar to our wedding cupcake cake. I loved the way this cake came out. It tasted as great as it looked. The cake was moist, buttery, and nutty and the sweet rum-spiked icing was a perfect topping. 

Butternut Squash Cake
adapted from Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes

2 and 1/3 cups flour
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup butternut squash (cooked, mashed, and cooled)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used chopped walnuts.)
1/2 cup craisins (I omitted.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 24 liners. (I made two six-inch cakes plus 9 cupcakes.)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Add vanilla to milk and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on high speed until smooth. Add sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat butter and sugar an additional two minutes and then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in squash. With the mixer on low speed, alternatively add the flour mixture and milk, ending with the flour. Beat until combined. Stir in pecans and craisins (or walnuts).

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake 20 - 25 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool.

Buttered Rum Icing
2 sticks butter, room temperature
5 - 6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum
2 - 4 tablespoons water (as needed)

Cream the butter. Add vanilla and rum and beat well. With the mixer on low, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Here's our cake from the big day:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Puppy Cake


I was asked to make a last minute cake for Manny's first mommy. I was told she likes sprinkles and dogs. I didn't have much to go on, but I was pleased at how well this cake came together. I didn't really have a plan, but as I decorated I found my stride. The cake is a confetti cake (white cake with tons of sprinkles) and it's topped with vanilla and chocolate buttercream. To pull the cake together, I piped tan dog bones and pink paws on the sides. Manny's first mommy was a huge fan and wouldn't even let anyone cut it for two days because it was so cute.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

This month's What's Baking theme is "A Family Favorite." Besides pound cake, my family's favorite dessert is pumpkin cream pie. I've made it too many times to count and it's always requested at fall family gatherings. When my mom requested the pie for her birthday, I decided to come up with a new idea that takes the components of the pie instead. I came up with mini pumpkin cheesecakes. These little desserts were delicious and perfect for fall. The pumpkin and spices were perfect additions to the sweet cheesecake filling. They were delightful and made my mom's birthday a little sweeter.


Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Source: Adapted from Sweetnicks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 foil liners.

For Crust:
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and press mixture into the bottoms of 12 cupcake liners.


For Cheesecakes:
2 (8 oz.) packs cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Beat cream cheese for 1 minute on medium speed until fluffy.
Add sugar, vanilla, and eggs and mix on medium speed until well blended.
Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.
Bake 15 - 20 minutes until set. (NOTE: The centers will be a little jiggly.)
Cool and top with fresh whipped cream.
Store in refrigerator.




Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

I have never been a huge fan of cheesecake. I was asked to make mini cherry cheesecakes recently and I was going to use a recipe in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, but I read the recipe incorrectly and didn't have enough cream cheese. I searched the Internet and after reading a few recipes, I found one that didn't look too complicated. The only complaint with this recipe is that the centers sank after coming out of the oven. This wasn't a problem since I was filling them with cherry, so it worked out perfectly. I have to say these cuties were pretty addictive. The sour cherry pie filling was a great contrast to the sweet cheesecake and buttery crust. I enjoyed them so much that I'm already dreaming up variations.

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes
Source: Sweetnicks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 foil liners.

For Crust:
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix all ingredients together and press mixture into the bottoms of 12 cupcake liners.

For Cheesecakes:
2 (8 oz.) packs cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Cherry pie filling

Beat cream cheese for 1 minute on medium speed until fluffy.
Add sugar, vanilla, and eggs and mix on medium speed until well blended.
Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.
Bake 15 - 20 minutes until set. (NOTE: The centers will be a little jiggly.)
Cool and top with pie filling.
Store in refrigerator.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Banana Colada Cupcakes


This month's What's Baking theme is Celebrate Summer. We celebrate summer by cooking on the grill, swimming in the pool, and enjoying frosty beverages. One of those beverages that just screams summer is a pina colada. For this recipe, I decided to adapt my grandma's carrot cake recipe, which uses baby food. I subbed banana-pineapple baby food for the carrots and omitted the spices. I topped the cupcakes with coconut buttercream, a sprinkle of coconut, and white chocolate chips. I have to say the combination was pretty amazing, even though the pineaepple flavor was very light.

Banana Colada Cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
dash of salt
2 (3.5 oz.) containers banana-pineapple baby food
1 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with 24 cupcake liners.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Beat together sugar and oil until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, baby food, and vanilla and beat well.
Add dry ingredients and mix well. 
Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake 17 - 20 minutes.

Coconut Buttercream
2 sticks butter, room temperature
5 - 6 cups powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 - 4 tablespoons water

Cream the butter. Add coconut and vanilla extracts and beat well. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and water until desired consistency is reached. Beat well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Snickerdoodles with Rolo Centers

I love cinnamon and I adore snickerdoodles. I usually make snickerdoodles for Christmas and they are always a staple when I need a quick item for a bake sale. I love them, especially the crispy outside and the soft inside. I was in the mood to bake the other day, so I ran to the store to pick up a few items and while in the check-out line, I spotted Rolos. You remember those soft and chewy chocolate-caramel candies? They gave me an idea, so into the cart they went. I decided to stuff a Rolo into the center of each cookie. These baked up perfectly. They took a little extra time, but it was worth it when I bit into a soft cookie with a gooey chocolate-caramel center. 

Snickerdoodles with Rolo Centers
Source: Adapted from Hershey's

Ingredients
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar,divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
40 Rolos candies 


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and unwrap 40 Rolos.
Stir together 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Beat butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy on medium-high speed.
Add eggs and vanilla and beat thoroughly.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture beating on low speed until well blended.
Shape dough into 1-inch disk and place a Rolo in the center.
Shape dough around Rolo and roll in sugar-cinnamon mixture.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 9 -11 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Princess Castle Cake

I was asked to make a cake for my niece's third birthday. I was told she had her eye on a castle cake from  a local grocery store. I went to check out the cake and knew I could do better. Then there was a heat wave. I'm talking five days of over 90-degree temperatures, with one day coming very close to 100. So I decided to forgo the huge castle cake and make the birthday girl her own personal castle cake. This cake was very easy to make and came out better than expected, despite the weather. My niece loved it and was so surprised!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

My cousin is an artist in his spare time. His latest art show featured sea creatures done in ink and mixed media. He asked me to make mini cupcakes for it. Right away, I knew I would make red velvet with brown sugar cream cheese frosting, but I blanked on a second flavor. I wanted something summery and refreshing. The first thing to come to mind was lemonade, so I decided to make lemon cupcakes and top them with raspberry buttercream. They were the perfect summery flavor I was looking for. They were also a hit at the art show, as was my cousin's art.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

As soon as I saw the recipe for these brown sugar oatmeal muffins, I thought of the cranberry white chocolate chip cookies I make at Christmas time. I decided to use white chocolate chips and craisins as my mix-ins. I love that these muffins were a base for any ingredients you want to add. These looked and smelled amazing, but the texture was off. They were very moist and greasy. I double-checked the recipe and thought that it called for buttermilk. That must have been the problem, or the 90-degree weather we've been having. Next time I make these, I'll use the correct milk.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
Source: Ommy Noms

Ingredients:
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup mix-in of your choice
(I used 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup craisins)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

Mix together oats, milk, and brown sugar and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in egg, oil, and mix-ins (white chocolate chips and craisins).

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir flour mixture into oat mixture until just moistened.

Fill paper liners 3/4 full and bake 16 - 18 minutes. Transfer muffins to wire rack to cool.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wedding Cupakes (The Big Day)

I recently was asked to take part in a couple's special day. I was so honored to be asked to make a wedding cupcake cake. After a few weeks of planning and numerous test cupcakes, I was ready for the big day. I spent the week before the wedding making drop flowers for the tops of the cupcakes and side of the cake. Two days before the wedding, I baked a carrot cake and 120 carrot and vanilla cupcakes. On the night before the wedding, I decorated the cake and cupcakes to look like roses. On the day of the wedding, I set up the cake and cupcakes on my new Cupcake Tower, which I love and highly recommend. It was a lot of work, but I was thrilled with the way everything came out and the buzz the cake generated at the wedding. It was a hit! Congrats to Carol and Paul!


Here's a close ups of the cake and the cupcakes:


The white ones were carrot  with cream cheese icing and the purple ones were vanilla with vanilla buttercream. I decorated them with white edible pearls and purple and white flowers.

The cake was carrot with cream cheese icing.