Tag Archives: frosting

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

Banana Fluffernutter Cupcakes

4 Mar

My mom is nuts for marshmallow fluff. Whenever I think of it, I picture her eating it straight off a spoon with a giant grin on her face. My mom is an excellent role model. She also demonstrated burping the alphabet and how she could squirt water through the gap between her two front teeth, both at the dinner table. The latter didn’t go well when my sister, who was about five years old at the time, attempted to do the same. She didn’t realize it wouldn’t quite work the same if you’re missing your four front teeth. That mess put an end to our water squirting at the dinner table, even if my dad was away on business.

Surprisingly, I never got on that much with marshmallow fluff. Maybe because I would always prefer to have chocolate. But this frosting changed my mind. I’ve never had a fluffernutter sandwich, but my mom always spoke of them fondly. To make a classic fluffernutter sandwich, you spread peanut butter and marshmallow fluff between two slices of soft white bread. I was thinking about this when dreaming up a new cupcake idea, and I decided that adding banana to the mix would be pretty awesome. Plus, I had some brown bananas I really needed to use. Thus, the concept for banana fluffernutter cupcakes was born: banana cupcake with peanut butter filling and marshmallow frosting. Unfortunately, these cupcakes disappeared before I could take one to my mom, but I might have to make another batch for her.

Cupcakes & Flowers

I started with a basic banana muffin. I thought something more muffin-like rather than cake-like would balance out the crazy sugar dose in the frosting.

I used applesauce instead of butter to be slightly healthier, and honestly, if you subtract the frosting, the banana/peanut butter portion of this recipe makes for an excellent and fairly healthy breakfast muffin. But if you wanted to go all out, by all means, use butter instead of applesauce.

A note about the applesauce: The first day, the paper completely stuck to the cupcake when I tried to peel it off. I recommend using butter or at least half butter and half applesauce. But if you do want to go applesauce all the way, not to worry. I took these to work on the third day after making them, and not only were they still moist, but also the paper peeled right off, no problems.

While they baked, I set out to make the marshmallow frosting. This stuff is SO GOOD. It’s just sugar with sugar, really.

After letting the cupcakes cool completely, I used my cupcake corer to remove the centers from each cupcake. This little guy is only 5 bucks and is seriously handy. You can get through a whole tray of cupcakes super fast. I definitely recommend it. But if you don’t have one, you can use a paring knife.

Not a happy day to be a cupcake.

Hardcored. Ha.

Instead of making a sugary peanut butter filling, I decided to fill them with plain peanut butter right out of the jar. I thought making a sweet filling might be too sweet when paired with the frosting. And most brands of peanut butter (like my favorite, crunchy Peter Pan) include a significant amount of sugar already. I used a little spoon to smush the peanut butter down in there.

Then I topped them with the marshmallow frosting, and there you go.

One Cupcake...

Super delicious. The blend of banana, peanut butter, and marshmallow is to die for. The flavors mingle so well together.

Two Cupcakes! Two! Ha Ah Ah. (Sorry. I just watched a video of The Count from Sesame Street. Don't ask.)

 

Banana Fluffernutter Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 individual serving) applesauce (OR 1/3 cup butter)

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

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

In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add sugar, egg, and applesauce. Mix on low until just combined. Mix in flour mixture on low until just combined.

Pour the batter into the cupcake pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes. They should spring back slightly when tapped.

Let cool completely. Core each cupcake and fill with peanut butter. Top with marshmallow frosting.

Marshmallow Frosting

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tub (about 8 oz) marshmallow cream

Sift sugar and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in 1/2 the sugar until combined. Add vanilla and the rest of the sugar and beat until combined.

Stir in marshmallow cream.

 

Aerial View

1 Cake, 3 Ways

24 Feb

I promised a cake to a friend because of a competition we held at work, and when the time came around, she wouldn’t tell me what kind of cake she wanted. But I owed it to her, so I didn’t want to back out or forget. So since I didn’t know which cake to bake for her, I just baked three.

But I thought this through. Mixing up three different batters seemed like it would take up a lot of time. Obvi. So I made up a basic batter without any flavoring, divided it into three bowls, and then added separate flavorings to each one. And while the cakes were baking, I made up 3 different fillings for each cake. And then I made one vanilla buttercream frosting to top everything off. Game plan: coconut cake with coconut cream filling and vanilla buttercream frosting, lemon cake with lemon filling and vanilla buttercream frosting, and almond cake with chocolate filling and vanilla buttercream frosting. Hells yeah.

I started by mixing up the base. I sifted together 2 1/2 cups flour2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, I mixed 2 cups white sugar3/4 cup butter, and 3 eggs with an electric mixer for about 1 minute. Then I alternately mixed in the flour mixture and 1 cup milk to the sugar mixture.

3 Cake Batters

I divided this base into 3 bowls.

  • Bowl 1: I added 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/3 cup coconut flakes.
  • Bowl 2: I added 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.
  • Bowl 3: I added 2 teaspoons almond extract.

With my batters ready, I baked them at 350 F in batches, as my cake pans allowed. I used Wilton’s Mini Tasty-Fill Cake Pan Set. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s cool. It makes mini cake halves with a depression in the center of each one so that when you stack them, there’s a hollow center to add filling to. Of course, if you don’t have a smaller cake pan like this, you could make cupcakes and fill those. My small cakes baked 22 minutes or so. Cupcakes would probably take 18-20 minutes, but just keep checking with the toothpick test until they’re done.

3 Cakes Baking

While my cakes baked, I made the fillings.

  • For the coconut filling, I made up a half batch of the same filling that I used in my Simpler German Chocolate Cake, except I omitted the pecans.
  • For the lemon filling, I made a slightly different version of the original recipe I found here. In a saucepan, I mixed together 2 teaspoons lemon zest2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon flour. I mixed that until it was smooth, and then I added 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and 3/4 cup sugar. While I brought that to a boil, I whisked 2 egg yolks in a bowl until smooth. I put a small bit of the lemon mixture into the eggs and stirred until smooth, then I added the egg mixture to the lemon mixture, stirring well. Do this part quickly so that the lemon mixture doesn’t boil for longer than a minute or so. Then I reduced the heat to low and stirred constantly for about 5 minutes. Then I removed it from the heat and let it cool. (Note: Don’t skip the step of stirring the eggs with a small amount of the lemon mixture first. That’s so you don’t cook egg chunks into your lemon filling.) (Other Note: I thought this was a little too thick. If I made this again, I would follow the original recipe more closely. I think I had too much sugar and not enough liquid.)
  • For the chocolate filling, I melted 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of a broken up Hershey’s Bar with Almonds in the microwave, stirring well every 20-30 seconds until smooth.

While my fillings cooled, I made the frosting. You can find the original recipe for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting at savorysweetlife.com.

Then it was time for assembly. I matched the cakes to their fillings and filled the center of each one. After I sandwiched them together, I frosted them all with the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

So that the recipient would be able to tell what’s what, I topped each with something to represent what was inside. Coconut flakes on the coconut cake, chocolate bar bits on the almond-chocolate cake, and yellow and white sprinkles on the lemon cake. I stacked them all on one cake tray, and that was that. 1 cake batter 3 ways!

3 Cakes

Almond Cake with Chocolate Frosting

12 Feb

This is more of a concept than a recipe, but I’ll at least post enough for you to re-create it on your own, if you were so inclined.

I’d really like to work more on my presentation skills, but I’m pretty terrible at decorating. Any time I serve up a dessert that looks like a big ole delicious mess of chocolate, I typically huff and puff and said something like, ‘It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it only matter that it tastes delicious!’ But seriously, it’s time to step it up a notch. Though I do believe that taste is more important than looks, it also doesn’t hurt to look pretty.

I got this idea from a blog whose picture I saw on Pinterest. (Oh, Pinterest. You are responsible for my craftiest of urges.) The blog is in Swedish, but you’ll get the gist.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison so you can see how good mine looks compared to the original. Considering that’s a top-notch Swedish creation, I’m pretty proud of mine. I mean, Swedish and flawlessly executed design are practically synonymous. We’re talking about a people who have brought us Ikea, Volvos, and meatballs.

Not bad, huh?

When I saw that picture, I decided I needed to try out that frosting technique. And ever since I bought some almond extract, I’ve been meaning to use it for more than just the truffles that I messed up so badly I had to throw away. Enter almond cake with chocolate frosting.

I couldn’t find a recipe for almond cake that pleased me well enough, so essentially I just made a white cake and added almond extract instead of vanilla. So here’s the recipe: Use whatever cake recipe or mix you like, add some almond extract, and taste the batter until you like it. I baked it in a springform pan so the sides would be straight.

Then I whipped up some of my Best Chocolate Frosting Ever. I spread a liberal amount onto the finished almond cake and then loaded the rest into my decorating bag. I used a #32 tip because that’s the biggest one I had, but really, you could use any large decorating tip. Betsy helped me out with this one by piping big dollops in a line around the rim of the cake while I went behind her with a spoon to flatten the drops out and spin the cake. Handy with two people, but certainly do-able on your own.

Dollop!

 

Spooning.

We left the center of the cake flat, free of dollops. I could say it was for effect, but really, we ran out of frosting. Looks good, though, huh?

Voila

I toasted some sliced almonds and pressed them into the sides, and voila – finished! (Actually, that’s not true. I burnt the first batch of almonds, toasted a second batch, and then voila.)

Yum yum

Enjoy this fancy cake served up right on fancy china.

 

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

31 Jan

O. M. G. This is so good, and so worth the hassle. Bear in mind that since it calls for fresh strawberries, the quality of your strawberry is going to be really important. You may want to save this one for the summer time. But, one reason I wanted to post this now is because it’s pretty common for grocery stores to get shipments of decent quality strawberries for Valentine’s Day. So if you’re looking for a seasonally appropriate frosting, this may be a great pick.

First, set out a stick of butter to soften and prepare your strawberries. I first cup them up, discarding the stems and slicing the rest into manageable pieces.  My pieces measure up to about 1/2 cup strawberries. (I would buy at least a pint, but probably two, just to make sure you have enough.) Then I use the back of a spoon to push the strawberry chunks through a fine-mesh sieve. The strawberry goo that comes out the other side of the sieve is exactly what you’re looking for.

Start out with 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter. Add it to your mixing bowl with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Beat with a hand mixer until soft and creamy. Then alternately add 4 cups powdered sugar and the strawberry goo, using the hand mixer to incorporate the new additions. That should do it, but of course you could add extra sugar, strawberries, or vanilla to your taste preference.

The frosting is a beautiful light pink color, usually with some pink specks in it. But since you pressed the strawberries through the sieve, it’s nice and smooth.

I topped vanilla cupcakes with this frosting for a pink-themed bridal shower:

Strawberry and Coconut Cupcakes

And I topped my rainbow tie-dye cake with some strawberry frosting:

Rainbow Cake with Strawberry Frosting

Fresas deliciosas!

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!