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Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

22 Apr

How cute are ice cream sundae cupcakes?  I was looking for something simple, but a little different recently for a coworkers birthday and I decided to make a variation of ice cream sundae cupcakes.  The main variation is that I didn’t include cherries on top, though that would have made them look significantly more like sundaes.  My reasoning – coworker isn’t a fan so why would I do that?!  Considering I do not like cherries I wasn’t too heartbroken 🙂

Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the Cupcakes
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (11.35 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool

For the Frosting
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Ganache
1 bag good quality milk chocolate chips

Directions:
For the Cupcakes
Set oven rack in middle position.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake wells with cupcake liners.

Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

Divide batter evenly between cupcake wells, about 2/3 full.  Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes for full size cupcakes (15-18 for mini cupcakes)

Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes before removing and leaving to cool on wire racks.

 For the frosting
With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium and add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  After every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frostong, then return to medium.

Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth.

For the Ganache

Melt chocolate chips on medium power in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted.

For assembly

Top the center of each cooled cupcake with about 3/4-1 tablespoon melted chocolate, allowing to spread a little before topping with frosting.  To frost use a pastry bag with a large round opening tip, such as Wilton #1A.  Garnish with sprinkles, chopped nuts, cherries, etc. as desired.

Sources: Cupcakes – adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles    Frosting – Martha Stewart Cupcakes   Ganache – original “recipe”

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes for Super Bowl

6 Feb

Super Bowl is one game that brings everyone in America together.  Whether your’re a football fan or not you’ve most likely watched a Super Bowl in the past, if not making an annual tradition with friends and family.  While I’m more of a hockey or baseball girl I do enjoy watching football games with friends and family, especially the Super Bowl!  In fact, one of the most memorable football watching experiences in my life was Super Bowl XLI (2007) – Colts v. Bears.  I have no allegiance to either of those teams (though I do love Peyton Manning so I was rooting for Indianapolis!) I will always remember watching the game in Riviera Maya, Mexico with my then new husband on our Honeymoon!  It was such a great experience to watch with complete strangers and see how the resort outdoor auditorium was segregated in to Bears fans and Colts fans.

One of the things about Super Bowl that brings everyone together, regardless if you’re rooting for opposing teams, is the food!  There is something about game day food that makes everyone happy!  Chili, Wings, Pizza, Potato Skins, Nachos, Salsa, etc.  The list goes on and on, but I always ensure that I bring a dessert every year for Super Bowl, regardless of where I’m going.  This is one night of the year that there is never too much food!

After reviewing my list of cupcakes I need to try I decided on Cookies & Cream cupcakes. I love Oreos, and my friends love Oreo Truffles so I thought this way I could do both!  I sampled one a little bit ago, and let me tell you that these cupcakes will definitely please my friends.  Not to mention, these may be my new favorite cupcakes, tied only to the Snickerdoodle cupcakes.  Not only are these everything you expect in Cookies & Cream, how do you not love an Oreo Truffle as garnish?!

I decorated the cupcakes to support both teams, and though I don’t have an allegiance to either team this year – ever since high school I’ve been a Green Bay fan thanks to pre-scandal Brett Favre.  So, this year I’m letting it known that I am team Green Bay.  Go Pack :)!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo Truffles, or Oreo Cookie halves

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.  Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.  Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves or truffles.

Source: Annie’s Eats and Beantown Baker

Cinnamon Spice Cheesecake Layer Cake

16 Dec

When looking for cheesecake ideas online, I stumbled across this delicious looking cheesecake on Erin’s Food Files.  A red velvet cake with a NY Cheesecake middle layer!  I immediately wanted to make it knowing it would impress, however I was not feeling Red Velvet.  Knowing that the holidays were right around the corner and that I had a few Red Velvet desserts planned, I decided to switch up the cake, using the same basic idea overall though.  I love cinnamon flavors, especially this time of year so I looked for a Cinnamon Spice cake that would pair well with a cheesecake middle layer.

Once finding the recipe I wanted to go with I was so excited to try this cake out.  Disappoint it did not!  Although the picture above is not fantastic (I didn’t have time to take any pictures before serving, and this was the one last slice leftover for Rob and I to share – which I dropped) I couldn’t wait to share this fantasticness with my friends and readers.  Two (well, three with the frosting) relatively simple recipes combined to make one show-stopping dessert.

Cinnamon Spice Cheesecake Layer Cake
Ingredients:
For the cheesecake:
20 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the parchment paper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (original recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon which wasn’t enough for me!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

For the frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
For the cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Set a kettle of water to boil.  Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl.  Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy.  Beat in lemon zest and juice, and salt.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition.  Beat in sour cream.

Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of the spring-form pan.  Wrap bottom half of the pan in foil.  Pour in filling; place in a roasting pan.  Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of spring-form.  Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes.  remove pan from water, let cool 20 minutes.  Run a pairing knife around  edge; let cool completely.  Cover; chill overnight.

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two 9-inch round cake pans.  Line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the paper.  Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour with the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with sugar at medium speed until  fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated.  In 3 alternating additions, add the dry ingredients and sour cream, scraping down the side of the bowl between additions.

Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pans.  Bake the cakes on the lower and middle racks of the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden and springy and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Transfer the cakes to racks and let cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.

For the frosting:
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined.  Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.

For assembly:
Place bottom layer on cake stand.  remove cheesecake from pan and remove metal bottom and parchment paper.  Place cheesecake layer on the top of the bottom layer of the cake.  If the cheesecake is wider than the cake, trim it with a knife.

Place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake.  Coat with a generous layer frosting to act as the crumb coat.  Refrigerate about 30 minutes then frost with as much of the remaining frosting as desired.  Top with garnish of your choice.  I sprinkled cinnamon over the top, and lined the bottom with cinnamon sticks.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  The cake does not have to be kept in the fridge until immediately before serving.  It’s OK to sit out a bit!

Sources:
Cheesecake, Frosting, Concept: Erin’s Food Files, originally adapted from Apple a Day and Martha Stewart 
Cinnamon Cake: Food and Wine

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

12 Oct
Fall is without a doubt my favorite season.  The list of things I love about fall is pretty long:
  • Mums
  • Fall Decorations
  • Halloween and all that implies
  • The smell – leaves, grass, pumpkin and cinnamon candles…
  • Fall foliage
  • Baseball playoffs – when the Cardinals are actually in it 😦
  • HOCKEY SEASON!!
  • Hoodies in the evening
  • Open windows in the house and while driving
  • Curling up on the weekends with a hot drink and a good book or uber-girlie movie
  • Yoga pants and long sleeve t-shirts all weekend long
  • Bulky cardigans
  • and most importantly – THE FOOD!!!

Fall weather has been hit or miss here this year, but that doesn’t deter me from participating in some seasonal baking and cooking.  One of the first seasonal inspired items I’ve baked were these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with a Maple Cream Cheese Filling.  If you like pumpkin you definitely need to try these.  They’re sweet and spicy, the perfect combination for Fall, and then you add a little maple syrup cream cheese filling and they’re positively decadent.  
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Filling 

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk to sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly.  
Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.

Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop heaping TBSP of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. They will look more like mini cakes then cookies, so don’t panic about that.

Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Filling
Ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese an beat until combined.

Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful no to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.

To assemble Whoopie Pies:Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe filling (about a TBSP) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

Chocolate Sauce and Semi-Homemade Chocolate Angel Food Cake

14 Aug

I have no aversion to semi-homemade meals (minus Sandra Lee’s “tablescapes” – seriously?!), however if I’m going to use a box mix, frozen something, etc. I like to add something special to the plate.

Recently I was making a Chocolate Angel Food Cake and while I love chocolate angel food cupcakes from scratch, I just didn’t feel like separating a dozen eggs.  I looked in to doctoring up boxed cake mixes and found that you can easily add in cocoa powder to a boxed angel food cake mix and bake as directed.  Score!!  At the end of the day – I may have enjoyed this recipe more than the one from scratch.

That being said, as I mentioned above, I like to add a little something special.  I was not able to attend the party at which the cake was served (thankfully a slice of cake was saved for me), so I wanted something simple and easily transportable to add that special touch.  While the cake was baking I happened to be looking through The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz and I saw this recipe for a super simple chocolate sauce that I thought would go really well with this cake.  Not only was it fantastic with the cake, it was just as delicious with ice cream (a given as it was found in an ICE CREAM recipe book).  This was so easy – I don’t think I’ll ever buy packaged chocolate sauce again!  I will admit though that I made a pretty hefty adaptation though – the original recipe doesn’t call for sugar, but I felt like it needed some sweetness for my purposes.

“Lean” Chocolate Sauce
Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process  cocoa powder
1 cup light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet)
1/3 cup sugar

Directions:
Whisk the water, cocoa powder, corn syrup and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to very low and simmer 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate pieces, stirring until melted and smooth.  Serve warm.

Tip: This sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 2-weeks.  Rewarm it gently in a microwave or by stirring in a saucepan over very low heat.

Semi-Homemade Chocolate Angel Food Cake
Ingredients:
1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions:
Combine cake mix and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl.  Prepare and bake as directed on cake mix packaging. Garnish as desired.

Sources:
Sauce: adapted from The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz
Cake: Nestle Toll House

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

6 Aug



I have to admit something – I’m not a huge sweets person.  Coming from someone that loves to bake that may sound a bit odd, but honestly, my favorite part of baking is sampling the doughs and batters.  Though I’m not much of a sweets person I do love (and I stress love) to lick the beater, spatula, etc. before everything goes in the oven.  And, it just doesn’t get much better than snagging some delicious chocolate chip cookie dough straight from the bowl.  


As soon as I saw these cupcakes on Annie’s Eats I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist them too long.  Cookie Dough batter, filled with cookie dough, and then still topped with a cookie dough flavored butter cream?!  Hello lover!  I knew that I would have to make these with the specific intent to giveaway, or for a large crowd, because I would be too tempted to eat all of the batter myself.


Of course, though I don’t eat a lot of sweets, I still always eat some of everything I make.  I am so glad I tried one of these cupcakes.  OH SO GOOD!!!  Decadent, sweet, moist, rich… the adjectives go on.


Cookie Dough Cupcakes 

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)


For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For the frosting:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.

To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake.  Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.

Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips and topping with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration.



Source: Annie’s Eats

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

26 Jul
If you like Snickerdoodles you MUST. TRY. THESE. NOW!!!  Seriously, one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.  They were moist, buttery, sugary and cinnamony.  Yes, I realize cinnamony is not a word but these were so good I just don’t care!  
The recipe, from Martha Stewart’s cupcake book, suggests pairing with her Seven-Minute Frosting, however I paired with a Vanilla Bean Buttercream.  Top with cinnamon and sugar for a spicy sweet finishing touch.  If I’d have had a little extra time I would have made mini Snickerdoodles for a cute little garnish, but alas, time just was not on my side.  
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare cupcake pans with liners.  Sift together flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.  
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat until combined.
Fill your prepared cupcake pans 3/4 full.  Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.