Tag Archives: Buttercream

Pumpkin Cake with Spiced Buttercream

29 Oct

It’s fall, and that means I’m craving all things pumpkin and chai. Or even pumpkin chai. (Ask for it at Starbucks. You’re welcome.) So after a few weeks of salivating over Pinterest pictures, I finally went out to buy some pumpkin and refill my flour and sugar stocks.

I whipped this up one afternoon before having dinner with some friends. I had already made some pumpkin brownies and had leftover pumpkin puree from that, so I needed to finish it off. Pumpkin cake it is. I mostly followed the recipe for Pumpkin Bread from NancyCreative, and topped it off with my own interpretation of Spiced Buttercream from Oh She Glows.

And oh my goodness it was so good. It was fall on a fork. Everyone had an extra slice, and then I sent them home with a little more. Our friend Jesse told me it was his favorite dessert I’d ever made him. So yeah, it was a hit.

Dig in!

The original recipe called for pumpkin puree, and I had accidentally bought pumpkin pie filling. But it made the cake that much sweeter, taking the recipe from a ‘bread’ to a ‘cake.’ And being originally designed as a loaf recipe, the cake was deliciously dense and moist. A little heavy, but I think that makes it perfect for a brisk fall evening on the porch.

Have I mentioned how much I love North Carolina in the fall? I’ve met my share of visitors who decided to put down roots in Chapel Hill after experiencing one of our lovely autumns. Beautiful leaves, beautiful weather. During the day, there’s that perfect Carolina blue sky. And then it gets just a slight chill in the evening, making it perfectly cozy for a sweater, a glass of wine, and a big slice of this cake.

"I'm ready for my close up."

So back to the cake, because surely you’ll want to know how to make it. It’s not hard — you can do it.

Pumpkin Spice Cake from NancyCreative.com

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (dark or light, doesn’t matter)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin pie filling*

(* If you only have pumpkin puree, you can easily use that instead. Open the can and reserve 2/3 cup of the pumpkin puree for another recipe. Then mix in 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves and 1/2 tsp salt into the remaining pumpkin puree. Substitute this mixture in place of pumpkin pie filling.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9″ round pan (I used a springform) with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined, and set aside.

In another bowl, beat eggs on medium-high speed for a minute or so. Mix in the following ingredients one at a time: the brown sugar, then the white sugar, then the canola oil. Reduce speed to low and add the pumpkin pie filling. Add half the dry ingredients, mixing until incorporated, and then the other half, mixing just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. While it cools, prepare the frosting.

Spiced Buttercream Frosting, with inspiration from Oh She Glows

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp milk (whole is best, but any milk will do)

Beat the butter in a bowl on medium until whipped. Add about half the powdered sugar, and mix well. Then add the vanilla and spices, and mix well. Add the rest of the sugar, and mix well. Add up to 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of milk, as needed to achieve desired consistency.

As soon as the cake is cooled, add the frosting. If you want, top it off with some chopped walnuts. Mmm… yum.

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Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Kahlua Buttercream Frosting

1 Jul

Or “chocolate drunkcakes.” Whichever name you prefer.

I made these for a coworker’s going away party. She loves Guiness, so I found this great recipe for cupcakes. They called for Irish Cream (like Bailey’s), but since she loves Kahlua and I already had a little on hand, I went with that instead. My sister came over to help, and we got started.

One perfect little drunkcake.

Cupcakes

I preheated the oven to 350 F while Steph got to work on the chocolate/beer mixture. In a medium saucepan, she added 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter and 1 cup Guinness beer. After she brought it to a simmer over medium heat, she whisked in 3/4 cup Ghiradelli sweet ground chocolate.

While she did that, I whisked together the dry ingredients: 2 cups flour1 cup sugar1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.

A little note of explanation here: The original recipe called for double the sugar but to use unsweetened cocoa powder. Since I only had sweetened cocoa on hand, I used that and halved the sugar. Between that and the yeasty beer, the cupcakes came out very bread-like. (When the BF walked in the house, he shouted, “Whoa, it smells good in here! Where’s the bread?”) Most people thought that with the super-sweet frosting, the less-sweet cupcake paired perfectly. But having a ridiculous sweet tooth myself, I thought they could have been sweeter.

Okay, back to it. In a large bowl, Steph beat together 2 eggs and 2/3 cup sour cream. Then we added the chocolate mixture and beat to combine. And then the flour mixture, beating just until combined. We lined the cupcake pan with paper liners, filled them about 3/4 way full, and then baked about 18 minutes, until they passed the toothpick test.

Frosting

While they baked, we got to work on this amazing Kahlua buttercream frosting.

While Steph beat 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter in a mixing bowl, I sifted about 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar. She added in about half the sugar and mixed that up, then we added 3 tablespoons Kahlua and mixed that in. We added the rest of the sugar, except a last little bit. Keep tasting your frosting and stop adding sugar when you think it’s good. You want to make sure you can actually taste the Kahlua.

While we waited for the cupcakes to cool, I made myself a white russian with the rest of the Kahlua. This is a key part of the recipe.

Once the cupcakes were cool and the frosting was ready, I loaded up my pastry bag and piped a healthy amount on top of each cupcake. Super delicioso!

DRUNKCAKES

Rainbow Tie-Dye Cake!

2 Feb

I jumped on the rainbow wagon to make this delicious cake for a friend a couple months ago. (Yes, a couple months ago — sorry, I lost the pictures till now. Geez. Back off.)

My friend, Julia, gets super excited about rainbows and colors in general, so I surprised her. I figured it would be a lot of work, so I did cut one pretty big corner: I started with a white cake mix. I mixed the batter according to package directions, and then divided the batter into 6 bowls. Then I dyed each bowl with gel food coloring, mixing a healthy dollop into each bowl until it looked like the right color. (Use gel instead of regular dye — you won’t need to use as much, so it won’t water down your batter.) Though I’ve seen neon, which looks pretty cool, I went with traditional ROYGBIV colors. Except I combined indigo and violet into one color, since they’re pretty much the same anyway.

Working backwards... VBVBG VBGYVBGYOVBGYOR. Or... ROYGBV.

After I mixed each color, I poured each layer into a bundt pan one at a time. (And yes, I did it in rainbow order.) I tried to pour it relatively gently so that the layers wouldn’t mix. But I didn’t worry too much about it because I wanted them to swirl a little to get a tie-dye look.

Bundt layers: VGBY

Red

I set the cake to bake according to package directions, and while it was in the oven, I got started on the strawberry buttercream frosting.

The cake passed the toothpick test, so I pulled it out to cool for 10 minutes or so. Then I flipped it out of the pan. I noticed that it didn’t rise very much in the oven. I probably over-stirred it while trying to get the colors mixed well. So word of warning — stir the colors in, but try not to over-stir.

After I frosted it, I thought it looked a little plain for something so super fantastic as a tie dye rainbow cake, so I added rainbow sprinkles on top. DOUBLE RAINBOW.

Rainbow Cake!

ALL THE WAY.

Peace, dude.

I really love that the end on the right almost looks like a peace sign. I’ll just pretend I did that intentionally.

The frosting really takes the cake (ha), so if you didn’t want the hassle of a full rainbow, you could just use any white cake recipe you like. Enjoy!

Mostly Organic Spinach Cupcakes

6 Apr

When I first started trying to figure out how to make leafy greens into a dessert, I thought of spinach. If you can make a carrot cake that doesn’t take like vegetables, why not a spinach cake? Thank goodness for the internet, because the only sweet spinach cake I could find was on this great blog about Turkish food. So I found Binnur’s original Spinach Cake (Ispanakli kek) recipe, adjusted it a little, and got to work.

I started with the spinach, which I bought organic since spinach is one of the Dirty Dozen vegetables. I bought 2 5-oz packages organic spinach, snapped the roots off, and pureed it all in the food processor. Side note: this was the first time I ever used a food processor, and it was amazing. I can’t wait to find other things to process.

BeforeAfter
I set the spinach aside so I could start the batter. First I preheated the oven to 375 F. In a large mixing bowl, I blended 3 organic eggs and 2 cups sugar with a hand mixer on low for about a minute. Then I added 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon organic vanilla, and all the spinach and blended until it all incorporated.

IngredientsThen I slowly added 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 tsp baking powder. I blended that for about two minutes longer.

Batter

Cupcake Batter
Then I scooped the batter into paper-lined muffin cups. I popped them into the oven and baked for about 18 minutes, until it passed the toothpick test.

Muffin or Cupcake? Muffcake!

Spinach Cakes

I tasted one and it was actually pretty good! It smelled like spinach but tasted like cake. Though I will say, I kept some plain ones in a sealed plastic container for a couple days, and when I took the lid off, that was some strong spinach smell. I decided it could use some frosting, so I whipped up some vanilla buttercream.

I dropped 1 stick softened organic butter (1/2 cup) into a mixing bowl and blended it with a hand mixer for just 30 seconds or so till it was smooth. Then I added 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and blended on low until incorporated. Then I added 1 tablespoon organic vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons organic heavy cream. I blended on medium for about 2 minutes. Once it was the perfect texture, I frosted the cupcakes.

Spinach Cupcake!The vanilla buttercream balanced the spinach cake perfectly and made for a pretty light but sweet cake. And unusual too!

How Sue Sees It:
– You could probably serve these without the frosting and call them muffins, but they’re still pretty sweet. And they’re better with the frosting anyway.
– This is a great option for people who need to hide vegetables in food in order to get kids or spouses to eat them, a la Jessica Seinfeld.
– This would also be great to serve for a St. Patrick’s Day party!
– I took them to a party and was very hesitant and almost apologetic about serving spinach cupcakes. I explained what they were, and then went back outside to move my car to a more legal parking spot. By the time I got back 10 minutes later, there were only 3 left! I guess they were good.

Like hotcakes!