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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bundt cake cookbook

One lazy day this past weekend, I stumbled into Williams Sonoma (and by lazy, I mean hectic errand-running weekend that brought me within a few feet of Williams Sonoma).  I checked out the baking tins and trays, and then meandered over to the cookbook section.  Two caught my eye.  One was a bundt cake cookbook and the other was a cookbook from a local bakery.  I wanted them both but didn't have my Williams Sonoma gift card on me, but I couldn't completely delay gratification nor did I have enough time to go back later that same day to buy them, so I bought one. 

I love that this book has a variety of different kinds of bundt cakes - mainstream, fancy....and even minis!  I think I am most excited to try the Lemon Basil one.  Partly because I'm intrigued, and partly because I think my sister will like it, and she isn't big into sweets.

Check out the book:

And I was sure to put my gift card in my wallet as soon as I got home so that next time I pass a Williams Sonoma on one of those "lazy" days, I can pick up the other one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vanilla (yellow) cupcakes

Vanilla is.....boring.  I'm sorry if you're a huge vanilla fan, and I really don't have all that much against it, it's just that I think chocolate is so much richer tastingmore flavorful.  better.

But after the "complex" cupcakes I made last week, a friend requested a vanilla cupcake.  Plain vanilla.  I don't get it, but being a people pleaser, I decided I'd make those vanilla cupcakes.  I've made the recipe before in mini cupcakes and a cake, and since they were so good those times (even to me, the vanilla non-lover), I stuck with that recipe again.

And then I did something so uncharacteristic of me....I made (gulp!) regular-sized cupcakes.  And then I decided to quarter the recipe, since I was making cupcakes for two people and didn't want tons of cupcakes (I still got 9!).  But, in true fashion, I made a chocolate icing.  Originally, my goal had been a vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing as I knew my friend is a huge vanilla fan, but my vanilla buttercream recipe is time-intensive and I simply didn't have the time today.  Years ago I had made a really good easy chocolate icing, so I googled that, but couldn't find it.  So I googled "easy chocolate buttercream" and found the icing I ended up using.  It is SO good!  And, I actually made it with a whisk -- I didn't even need to use a hand mixer or my kitchenaid!

For the yellow cake cupcakes, click here.  Again, I divided the recipe by 4 and ended up with 9 full-sized cupcakes.  That would be 36 cupcakes for a full recipe, but the original says 22-24.  Someone's math is wrong, and I don't think it's mine.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream (I used skim milk, since it was all I had as I had used all the cream in my apartment to make homemade vodka sauce today)


Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed (I used a whisk and did it by hand). Turn off the mixer.
Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl.
Turn mixer onto the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.
Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes.
If frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar/If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

30th birthday Oreo pops

Besides 3 varieties of mini cupcakes, I also made chocolate covered Oreo pops for my friend L's 30th birthday party.  As I may have mentioned before, her favorite color is pink, so when it came to making the Oreo pops, I debated making milk chocolate-covered Oreos with pink 30s versus pink-dyed white chocolate with 30s on them.  The answer was easy - both!

The 30s are made of rolled fondant.  I let it harden a little bit and then sprayed it with pink edible food spray.  Then, I let them dry again.  I affixed them to the Oreo pops when the chocolate/CandiQuik was still wet.  I also used pink nonpareils and coarse pink sugar to decorate the pops.

Just two notes - (1) I didn't use white chocolate, I used vanilla flavored CandiQuik.  (2) When coloring white chocolate or vanilla CandiQuik, make sure you use powdered food coloring.

All the yummy desserts set up!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Red velvet cupcakes

The 30th birthday bash for my friend L was last night.  We went to a great dinner, and then to a fantastic bar for drinks afterwards.  I brought the treats to the bar....mini cupcakes and chocolate covered Oreo pops (that post will be up in the next few days).

L's two favorite desserts are tiramisu and red velvet cake, so those cupcakes were givens for the party.  I also made some "Death by Oreo" cupcakes; as I stated last night "no self-respecting woman would show up with cupcakes and not bring chocolate ones." 

So I set out to make the cupcakes the night before and that day.  Three types of mini cupcakes, three different icings.  Three different piping tips.  Several washings of the kitchenaid bowl and attachments.  Two loads of dishes run.  But it was worth it - in taste, in presentation, in everything!

I made the tiramisu mini cupcakes and "Death by Oreo" cupcakes before.  I thought I had made red velvet cupcakes on here before, too, but a quick search through older posts proved me wrong.  Check the above links for the other two cupcakes, and below for the red velvet ones.  FYI, I halved the red velvet recipe and got 48 minis and 4 full-sized cupcakes.

I'm also posting a picture of all the cupcakes together:

Red Velvet (mini) Cupcakes

Ingredients (for the full batch):

3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons red food coloring (I use gel coloring, and use less than the recipe calls for as it is very strong food coloring)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

(their recipe uses a vanilla icing, but - in case you didn't know - red velvet (at least in my opinion, but I'm not the only one) should have cream cheese icing, so look below for that recipe)


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
Or use cupcake papers if making cupcakes or mini cupcakes.

In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla.
Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk.
Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour.
With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda.
Add to the batter and mix well.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes (my mini cupcakes took about 8 minutes), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool.
Ice the cupcakes with:

Cream Cheese Icing
(this is originally from Epicurious but I can't find the original recipe anymore.  Since I make it all the time, I've somewhat memorized it....see below)


3 8-oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
3-4 cups of powdered sugar (I think the original recipe called for 4 cups, but I usually go by taste, because I don't like it too sweet)
Vanilla to taste (I used 1 tsp)


Blend together cream cheese and butter
Add vanilla and incorporate
Add powdered sugar, half to 1 cup at a time, to taste.