Archive | June, 2012

Mini Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

22 Jun

Mini cupcakes are the most dangerous food. They just pop into your mouth and, before you even realize it, you’ve eaten 54 of them. Which is why I recommend them only for the most important of occasions, say, for example, a very special girl’s fourth birthday.

It was a great (although very, very hot) day, filled with shopping and slushies and even the best birthday surprise ever if you’re four: a pedicure! She was so amazing at sitting still and getting her nails done that she even got a beautiful flower with a rhinestone center on each big toe.

Everyone had such a good day, even though we all weren’t able to have a nap on the way home. And there’s no better way to top off having your toes bejeweled than a tiny cupcake (or four) with a cute little dab of marshmallow frosting on top. But don’t get carried away!

Mini Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

Adapted from Beth Michelle

Printable Recipe

3 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a mini muffin pan with paper wrappers. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time. In a small bowl, mix together vanilla extract and buttermilk. With the mixer running on low, add about half of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk mixture. Divide batter into the prepared pans (in many batches–by my count this recipe makes at least 90 cupcakes) and bake for about 10 minutes, until just barely golden brown.

Marshmallow Frosting

1, 16 ounce jar marshmallow creme

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

7 drops red food coloring

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and marshmallow creme together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, food coloring and vanilla and beat until frosting reaches the right consistency for piping. Pipe as desired onto the cupcakes.

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Shirley Temple Cupcakes

17 Jun

School’s out! I’m free! And it’s on to a summer of great western adventures…stay tuned!

Anyway, our last faculty meeting was Wednesday, and in the hopes of making it cute and party-like, I brought cupcakes. As it turns out, my cupcakes lent a definite cuteness but, unfortunately, a party-like atmosphere was not to be attained. In fact, we’re having a follow-up meeting later this week–I won’t ask you to stay tuned for that.

I thought what we really needed was a stiff drink, but as that is generally (always) frowned upon on campus, a Shirley Temple was the next best thing.

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Adapted from The Curvy Carrot

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup Cherry 7-Up

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon Maraschino cherry juice

7 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in vanilla and almond extracts and mix to combine. With the mixer running on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the 7-Up.

Transfer about 3/4 cup of batter to a small bowl. Using a spoon, mix in the Maraschino cherry juice and additional tablespoon of flour. Stir in the red food coloring. Distribute the pink mixture evenly among the prepared muffin tins, about 1 1/2 teaspoon per tin. Using the back of a spoon that’s been dipped in water, spread the pink batter so that it lays flat on the bottom of each tin. Then, using am ice cream scoop, divide the uncolored batter amongst the tins. Bake about 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cherry Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

pinch of salt

5 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Maraschino cherry juice

In a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and increase speed to beat on medium for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat on medium high until frosting reaches the right consistency. Pipe on frosting and garnish with a stemmed Maraschino cherry.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

10 Jun

Here it is. My first-ever gluten-free bakeventure!

We have a friend of the family who is very conscientiously working her way through an elimination diet  in order to alleviate pain that has been with her since early in the year. She invited us to her croquet-themed birthday celebration, and naturally I offered to bake something. I knew when I suggested I bring the dessert that her diet requires her to be wheat-free, so I thought I would make some cute-o macarons, which use almond flour, as a birthday snack for the party-goers. However, after more conversation with the birthday girl, she revealed that not only can she not eat wheat, but she can’t eat almonds, or chocolate, or peanuts, or citrus.

So. The macarons were out and the search began. This seemed to be a very particular challenge because the more I looked the more at gluten-free recipes the more I found that they mostly all were chocolate. And what have I ever made in my life that didn’t have lemon in it? It required a good three days of work, which I mostly neglected any other duties to perform. But it was totally fine because in the end it all paid off: I came across this beaut, ran the recipe by the recipient, and set to work.

I was nervous about the texture and durability of this cake. Gluten makes strands of protein which holds baked goods together–and this recipe calls for two cake rounds to be cut in half. I was sure they would crumble if I even just looked at them. But I had promised this cake and so I had to sally forthThis recipe was very well-received at the party–the cake itself is dense and not very sweet so it’s a nice vehicle for the sweet coconutty frosting.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

Adapted from Gluten Free Canteen

Printable Recipe

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs, plus 1 egg white

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour Blend)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 coconut, unsweetened and grated

3/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 8″ round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment and flour the pans.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. With the mixer running on low, add in the dry ingredients and coconut. Stir in the milk and sour cream. Mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 10 minutes, reduce oven to 325° and bake about 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely, and transfer to the freezer to make cutting the layers in half more manageable.

Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 tablespoons whole milk

about 2 cups coconut, unsweetened and grated

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until combined. Add vanilla and almond flavor and mix on high for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Gradually add milk to the mixture until it is the right consistency for spreading. Beat on high again for one minute.

To assemble the cake, cut each layer in half. Place the first layer on a cake stand or platter, and frost with a small amout of frosting, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Repeat with the next three layers. Using the remaining frosting, cover the whole cake. Press the grated coconut into the frosting–it’s yummy and it hides all manner or mistakes!