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.