Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cupcake Corsages

Valentine's Day is almost upon us and I wanted to make some Sweets for my Sweetheart!  Sometimes all you need to do to make a special gift for a special occasion is to think outside the box.  This includes the recipe and the presentation.  Corsage Boxes and Long Stem Boxes are especially easy to work with and you get a sneak peak at your yummy goodies!

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1 Box Yellow Butter Cake Mix
1 Small Box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
12 oz.  Milk Chocolate Chips (Milk or Semi-Sweet)
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Cupcake Liners (foil lined only)
Baker's Secret Spray
4 eggs
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 cup Water
1 1/2 cups Cold Milk (whole, reduced fat or skim)
1 Medium Pastry Bag with Small Round Tip

Prepare instant vanilla pudding mix as directed and place in the fridge for it to chill and thicken.

Prepare cake mix as directed on the package (I always add an extra egg to each box - it just makes it so much more moist). 

Line your muffin pan with any foil lined cupcake liner.  It's important not to use paper liners as they tend to stick to your cupcake and they cannot handle the chocolate ganache.  I like to lightly spray my foil liners with just a spot of Baker's Secret baking spray.  Your cupcakes will come out just beautifully!

Fill each liner 2/3 full of cake batter.  Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until the centers are set in a pre-heated 350* oven.  Remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Don't get ahead of yourself...these need to be completely cool before filling.

Place the tip into the pastry bag (I have to confess it has been so long since I've piped frosting, I'd forgotten how to secure mine - second try was MUCH more successful).  Use a pointed small round tip.  I place my pastry bag in a tea glass then flip the edges of the pouch over the top rim of the glass.  Fill the pastry bag with the pudding mix.  Twist the top tight and insert the tip into a cupcake.  Squeeze firmly to insert the filling into your cupcake.  You will notice a slight "puff" in the cupcake.  Do not overfill.

Place heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan and heat it until small bubbles start to form on the edges.  Add chocolate chips and remove from heat.  Whisk constantly until all chips are melted.  Pour over the tops of the cupcakes or dip the tops into the Grenache if you prefer.  Word to the wise, this can get messy so be prepared.

Chill in the fridge for at least an hour or even overnight.  I keep mine chilled until just before serving.  They were FABULOUS! 

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

 1 Box White Cake Mix
1 Package of Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (generic is fine)
2 Cans of Prepared White Cake Frosting
Foil Lined Cupcake Liners
4 Eggs
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 cup Water

You'll need to crush the cookies, I use a gallon zip lock bag and a small baseball bat.  It's cheaper than therapy and I hate cleaning up the food processor.  I'm pretty mighty with the bat so I double bag my cookies.  Squeeze all the air out, seal the bags - step out onto the patio, name those cookies after what frustrates you and whack away!  :)

Mix the white cake mix as directed.  I use whole eggs but you may choose to use the whites only if you prefer. When the batter is ready, add 1 cup of smashed cookies (I usually add twice that as I like a LOT of cookie in mine.)  Some add a whole cookie to the bottom then 1 cup of bits.  You do what suits you best.

Place the cupcake liners in the muffin tin.  I really prefer foil lined as they make your cupcakes come out so beautifully.  I spray each liner very lightly with a spritz of Baker's Secret Baking Spray. Fill cups 2/3 full of batter.  Bake at 350* for 15 - 17 minutes or until the centers are set.  Don't over bake, your cupcakes will be dry and crumbly.

Remove cupcakes form the baking tin and cool completely on a wire rack.  Whip the canned frosting to make it fluffier.  I whip mine right in the container, it makes one less thing to clean up.  Frost the cupcakes and garnish with remaining cookie bits.  These do not have to be refrigerated.  They are very pretty in presentation and are especially addictive!

Strawberry Surprise

1 box French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 cup  water
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs
2 lbs Fresh Strawberries (18 to be capped and kept whole)
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp  vanilla
1/3 cup  powdered sugar (or more to taste)
1/2 cup strawberries chopped into really small pieces (or it will stuck into the piping tip)

Prepare cake as directed on the package and bake the cupcakes.  You'll need to let them cool completely before inserting the strawberries. 

When the cupcakes are completely cool, take a knife and hollow out a medium center of each cupcake.  Wash and drain strawberries and cap them.  Insert a full berry in the center of each cupcake.

Prepare the frosting.  Whip the cream, vanilla and powdered sugar together.  When it thickens, gently fold in the chopped strawberries.  If your frosting doesn't set well, add additional powdered sugar.

Frost each cupcake and keep refrigerated until serving.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Italian Pecan Cream Cake


I won a cake at a charity event last year and it was the most delicious thing I've ever tasted.  I have no idea who made it but I never spent $10.00 for anything better!  I've been searching around for some time for a recipe that I thought was close to the original thing,  I think this is pretty close.  Tomorrow is the Hubs birthday and I wanted to make something extra special for him this year. 

This cake is the real deal - sifting, measuring, separating eggs - the whole nine yards but some days you just want to get to basics and do it right!  Happy Birthday Honey!!!

You'll need:
Batter Mix

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup shredded or flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting
11 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons milk (preferably whole milk)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350*. Prepare three 9-inch round layer cake pans - spray pans liberally with baking spray.
    Batter Mix
    1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt together, sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
    2. In a small mixing bowl, stir the buttermilk and vanilla together. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter and shortening in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter and shortening about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter mixture, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
    4. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Each egg yolk should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg yolk, taking about one minute to blend in each egg yolk.
    5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the buttermilk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
    6. In a medium mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, and then fold the coconut and pecans into the batter.
    7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
    Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting
    In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter; beat together until mixture is smooth. Add milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar; beat until frosting is smooth and creamy. Stir in pecans. Using an offset spatula, spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake.
    Cover frosted cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate Leftovers