Thursday, November 29, 2012

Browned-butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spice Latte Frosting



Ok, so I'm just going to come out and say it. These cupcakes have got to be one of the best I have ever made, and I think EWeage would have to agree. Reasons you may ask?

1. Its pumpkin. I mean, come on. 
2. Browned butter, need I say more?
3. Oodles of delicious spices.
4. They were so moist!
5. The frosting was pretty fantastic too. Subtle hint of coffee and pumpkin was the perfect accent to an already amazing cupcake.

Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes 
with Cinnamon Frosting 
(From SprinkleBakes)
Yield:  About 24 cupcakes                                                        

Cake:
¾ cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. allspice
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
½ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with papers.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns golden brown. Pour the browned butter into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not solidified.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and allspice.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk 1 ½ cups of pumpkin puree with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and sour cream until well combined.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  Whisk in the browned butter until well blended.  
Divide batter between cupcake liners.  Fill them about half full.
Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed in the middle.



Pumpkin Spice Latte Buttercream

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk (Or use some coffee instead)
~4 teaspoons instant pumpkin spice latte mix
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
dash of cinnamon and allspice

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add mix, coffee, and spices. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

 
Here's another one of those recipes that I knew must be made as soon as I saw it!  Last year my roommate introduced me to the chocolate and pumpkin combination.  The furthest I was willing to go was throwing in a few handfuls of chocolate chips in my pumpkin bread.  But this year, I was ready to dive head first into chocolately pumpkin goodness!  Especially when Bridget of Bake at 350 reports reviews like this: "If my girlfriend made these, I might have to buy an engagement ring."

We enjoyed these on Wednesday before Thanksgiving because we already had planned the menu for Thursday, but they still needed to be made.  There was a little too much pumpkin to the amount of brownie for my taste, so the recipe is altered here for more perfect ratio.  Wednesday night we warmed them in the microwave and served a la mode.  Thursday morning we had them straight out of the fridge.  Chilled had the vote of all.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (adapted from Bake at 350)
Serves 16

Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 eggs

In in a mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and the spices.
Once well mixed, add the yogurt and eggs.
Set aside.

Brownie Layer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Over medium heat, melt butter in a sauce pan.
Once melted, add sugar.
Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder, baking powder, and vanilla.
After sufficiently cool, beat in eggs.
Mix in flour just until well combined.
Pour into greased 9x13 pan, reserving 1/2 to 3/4 cup for top.
Spread cheesecake mixture evenly over top.
Add spoonfuls of reserved brownie batter to top.  Swirl with butter knife.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans on top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 until cheesecake is set.
Cool on wire rack, cover and chill in refrigerator before serving.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Grass-fed beef Meatballs and Marinara-- Paleo style



This post will be more of a photo tour than a real recipe given that I made these like 6 months ago and have never gotten around to posting them, so sorry for the lack of precise amounts. 



Meatballs:
Grass-fed ground beef
minced onion
oregano
basil
egg
(if you aren't paleo, feel free to throw in some breadcrumbs)
garlic powder
salt
pepper

Mix all together in a bowl and form into balls. 

Marinara:
can of diced tomatos (or dice your own)
onion
bell pepper
oregano
basil
garlic
salt
pepper
brown sugar or balsamic vinegar (for either a sweet or tangy sauce)





Mix together the ingredients and simmer on stove on low for how ever long you have. The longer you simmer the better :)

Add the meatballs and simmer until they are cooked through.

In the mean time, slice up some zucchini and saute them and/or some green beans until just al dente.

Serve the sauce and meatballs over the zucchini and green beans. Garnish with some freshly grated parm and some fresh basil.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookie Chocolate Cupcakes

If you've skimmed the recipes here, you have probably noticed KWeage and I pretty much adore anything peanut butter and chocolate.  While browsing Annie's Eats, my go to for cupcake inspiration, I saw this recipe again.  My co-residents this month had a heads up about my baking from a med school classmate.  As there are two days left of this rotation, I took advantage of my extra day off to spend a little extra time in the kitchen.

Peanut Butter Cookie Chocolate Cupcakes (from Annie's Eats)
Makes 28 cupcakes

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Its a boy!

This weekend a friend, AT, had a baby shower, and unfortunately because of a conference, I was unable to attend. But I was able to bake cupcakes and send them instead :) 

I talked to AT's husband ST, and he said that she really loved buttercream frosting, so I set out to find a cupcake with a great buttercream frosting.

I realized that most of the cupcakes I make a pretty girly, and the baby is a boy, so I went to my favorite food blogs for inspiration. I ended up finding a Lemon Blueberry cupcake recipe and thought it would be perfect. 



Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes. (inspiration from annie's eats, recipe adapted from yourcupofcake.com).
Makes 24 cupcakes.

Lemon Cake:

1 box of yellow cake mix (or lemon if you have it)
4 eggs
2/3 cup of oil
1 cup of milk
1 small package of instant pudding (I used vanilla, I would recommend getting lemon if you can)
1/2 cup greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons lemon extract (don't use as much if you used lemon cake mix or pudding)
zest of 1 lemon
1 small package of blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line pans with cupcake liners and spray with non-stick spray.
Distribute the blueberries evenly between the cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, oil, milk, yogurt, and extract together.
Add cake mix and pudding mix, stir until combined.
Pour mix over the blueberries (I usually use a 1/4c measuring cup to fill them.
Bake for 17-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
(I ran into a small problem of the cupcakes collapsing a bit, so make sure they are really done... the toothpick did come out clean, but they were only in for 17 minutes...)

Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

3 cups of powdered sugar (plus a bit extra to get the consistency right)
1 stick of butter (cold)
1+ teaspoon of lemon extract
juice from 1/4 lemon
a dash of half and half
Food coloring

Using a stand mixer and the whisk attachement, beat the butter until it is smooth. Add in the powdered sugar slowly so it has a chance to blend well.
Add the extract and juice.
Taste and add more extract if needed.
Add food coloring to desired color
Add either half and half or powdered sugar to get it to the right consistency.
Pipe using 1M tip.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kristi

This cake was sooooo worth the wait!  I think its been on my radar for two years, but I've never had the right reason to make it (after eating it, I'll make it again for no reason at all).  But Kristi's birthday was just the reason I've been waiting for.  And it didn't take much convincing at all to have her pick a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache poured on the top.

She loved the chocolate to peanut butter ratio, I could have used a little more peanut butter and a little less chocolate.  But its all personal preference, I suppose.  I've altered the frosting recipe just a bit as I found there wasn't quite enough to prevent crumbs from peaking through.  As the original recipe suggested, I popped the cakes in the freezer for a bit before frosting as they are quite moist.

Don't make the same mistake I did... bake this up for your next party, not two years from now!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Celebration Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)
Serves at least 16

Cake Batter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together dry ingredients, flour through salt.
Combine oil through vinegar in a mixing bowl.
Add beaten eggs.
Gently fold dry mixture into wet.
Divide evenly into 3 greased and floured 8" cake pans.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Cool on wire rack and then freeze until ready to frost.

Frosting
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar


Beat cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter together with electric mixer.
Add powdered sugar one cup at a time.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble, frost each layer of cake and refrigerate.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

Melt chocolate and peanut butter in a double boiler.  Stir occasionally.
Once melted, mix in corn syrup.
Take off heat and whisk in half and half.
Let cool briefly.  Pour on top of frosted cake while still warm and let drip over edges.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me :)

My birthday was this past Wednesday, so I did what most people do, and I made cupcakes :) 
EWeage and I thought we should try something we've never done before, and given that I love chocolate, and coconut, and almonds, these seemed like a great choice. Everyone loved them! (Except for those crazy people who don't like coconut... :-P ) 


We had some difficulties with lighting and getting a good picture of these cupcakes... hence the picture with my hands because it had the best lighting!


Almond Joy Cupcakes. (from yourcupofcake.com)
Chocolate Cake:
1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
4 eggs
2/3 cup oil
1 small pkg. chocolate instant pudding
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Coconut Topping:
1/4 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups chocolate Melts
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
Spray liners with non-stick spray.
 In a large bowl, gently whisk eggs, oil, milk, sour cream and vanilla extract together
Add cake mix and pudding mix, stir until combined.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Topping
Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add shredded coconut and vanilla, mix again. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
Spread topping onto cooled cupcakes.
Place chocolate melts in a microwave-safe bowl and melt and stir until smooth.
Dip cupcakes into chocolate and then place an almond on top.




Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Twice is Nice :)

Both EWeage and I had friends celebrating birthdays the same week, so we decided to whip up two new and improved versions of our favorite cupcakes. They are very similar to posts we have done before, but we made a few minor (yet tasty) changes you can find below. 

S'mores Cupcake


After pouring the batter into the cupcake pan, put a dollop of Nutella in the middle of the batter. Delish!

Raspberry-Limeade Cupcake


Find the recipe here: http://simplebakingmachines.blogspot.com/2012/05/happy-belated-madi.html

Instead of using lemon juice/zest for the curd, replace it with lime juice/zest. Also, for the cupcake batter, we didn't have a lemon cake mix. We substituted a white cake mix and then added lime zest, 1/8 tsp lemon extract, and some green food coloring!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Goat-cheese-raspberry-fudge-cicles

So yesterday, EWeage and I were sitting in our dinning room discussing the weekly grocery list when she says, "We need to use up that goat cheese in the fridge." 

Apparently that is all you need to say around this house to get yourself an amazing dessert. 
Exhibit A:


There was a bit more to the story than that. It mostly involved the two of us yelling a conglomeration of: GOAT CHEESE ICE CREAM!! WITH RASPBERRIES!! AND CHOCOLATE!! IN THE NEW POPSICLE Mold!! And that is how this delightful dessert was born. 

Now, for most people, dessert isn't the first place their mind goes when goat cheese is mentioned. But, two years ago for Christmas, our family went to Chicago. We tried to disguise the trip by planning other activities, but the entire reason we went was to enjoy dinner at Rick Bayless' restaurant, Topolobampo. Every part of the meal was wonderful, but JWeage and I picked out the best dessert: Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Sauce. It was to die for. We're more than willing to give Chef Bayless "inspired by"credit on this creation!

I have to confess, we were not patient when it came to waiting to eat these. We ended up scooping out less than frozen popsicles into bowls so we could eat some before we went to bed last night. 
Yes, they were that good. And just as good completely frozen for desert this evening.


Goat-cheese-raspberry-fudge-cicles: (Inspired by Rick Bayless)
5 ounces goat cheese
2 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
Sanders hot fudge

Blend together all the ingredients except the fudge. (I have a mini food-processor that worked perfectly). Heat the hot fudge in the microwave until it can be easily spooned.
Spoon layers of the goat cheese mixture followed by the fudge into popsicle molds. 
Freeze.
Eat.
Hide leftovers from your sister in the back of your tiny freezer. Oh wait... You didn't hear that from me. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

American Flag Cake

Better late than never, right?  Life has been a little crazy around here since starting residency.  I just might have to start baking seasonal treats a month in advance, so I can share on here in time for you to make them!!

This cake looks like a traditional white layer cake... until the first cut is made.  Then its true colors show!  An American flag (without stars, still brainstorming that one) on the inside.
American Flag Cake
(makes 1 cake with lots of leftovers for cake truffles or a smaller, backward flag)

Cake
2 white cake mixes
blue and red food coloring

You'll need 2 red, 1 blue, and 1 white 8" round cakes.
Bake as directed and cool on wire racks.

Frosting
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup room temperature butter
3/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat milk and flour over medium high heat.
Stir constantly until a thick paste forms.
Transfer to bowl.  Set aside and let cool.
Beat butter, shortening, and sugar.
Add cool flour mixture.
Mix a bit.
Add vanilla.
Beat until you can no longer feel the sugar granules on your tongue.

To assemble:
Slice white and both red cakes in half.
Use a 4" bowl to cut a circle out of the center of the blue cake.
Using the same bowl as a guide, cut out the middle of one half layer of both red and white.
On your serving plate, layer red, white, and red cakes with a thin layer of frosting in between.
Carefully, transfer the outside ring of blue cake to the top.
Inside the blue cake, layer the small circles of white and red cake with frosting between.
Cover the whole cake with a really good crumb coat of frosting, then generously frost.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vanilla Mocha Bundt Cake

This was a cake of firsts.  First baking in the new house (without Kristi... we're brainstorming something out of this world for our first joint effort).  First treat to share with my resident colleagues.  First recipe from Joy the Baker's Cookbook.  First Bundt cake success since the lemon disaster several years ago!  I even photographed the un-iced cake to prove its in one piece and without cracks.

The coffee flavor in this moist cake is quite pronounced.  I planned to use hazelnut coffee, but we didn't have any in the house, so vanilla it was.  I can only imagine how wonderful this would be with Nutella frosting and a few toasted hazelnuts on top!  Mint mocha is another flavor I have tucked away for future use.  It is incredibly easy to change this cake with a switch of coffee flavors.
Vanilla Mocha Bundt Cake (from JTB Cookbook)
makes one Bundt cake

Cake Batter
1 1/4 cups hot vanilla coffee
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
Butter or shortening, and flour for Bundt pan

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare Bundt pan with LOTS of butter or shortening and flour.  Set aside.
While coffee is brewing, cream together sugar and eggs.
Add sour cream, yogurt, and oil.
Mix in salt and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, whisk together coffee and cocoa powder.  Let cool slightly.
Slowly pour coffee mixture into eggs while beating.
Add flour 1/2 cup at a time.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Cool cake in pan for 20 minutes.
Invert onto wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
See that plate just waiting for a piece of cake?!  Annnnd the no-crack Bundt cake!
Icing
3/4 cup butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vanilla coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream

Melt butter and chocolate together over double boiler.
Add coffee and vanilla.  Cool slightly.
Beat in sour cream.
Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Beat until fluffy.
Frost cooled cake.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Madi's birthday cupcakes part 3!  Kristi and I have seen "hummingbird cake" on several of the blogs we follow recently, but had never heard of it previously.  We wanted something non-chocolate and preferably fruity to balance out the selection and this seemed like the perfect recipe to try.

I thought the cake alone was a little too dense (could be the excessive amount of butter!) and muffin-like, but with the frosting they're pretty tasty!  Many of the adults at the party really enjoyed them, too.
Hummingbird Cupcakes (from Annie's Eats)
makes 24 cupcakes

Cake
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
11 teaspoons butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2/3 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine dry ingredients, flour through cinnamon, in a bowl.  Set aside.
Cream butter, vanilla, and sugar on high.
Add eggs one at a time.
While mixing, slowly add dry ingredients.
Mix in banana and pineapple.
Fold in coconut.
Divide the batter between lined cupcake pans and bake for 20 minutes.
Cool on wire rack before frosting.

Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter together.
Add vanilla.
Slowly mix in powdered sugar.
Blend until smooth.

Pineapple Flowers
2 whole pineapples

Peel the pineapple, being sure to remove all the spiny parts and seeds.
Slice very thinly and arrange on cookie sheets.
Bake in a 250 degree oven in 30 minute increments, until dried out, about 2 hours depending on how thinly you can slice the pineapple.
Remove from oven and while still warm, place in cupcake pan and leave overnight.  The pineapple slices will retain the shape and look like flowers.

To decorate cupcakes, frost (as neatly or messily as you prefer a it will be covered) and top with a pineapple flower.  Add the flower just before serving because they absorb moisture from the frosting and start to get sticky.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Turtle Thumbprints

Today we take a little break from sharing Madi's birthday party cupcake recipes to bring you turtle thumbprints.  And the debut of photos snapped with my graduation present, a Nikon D3100.  A big thanks to my family for such a great gift!

These cookies are a delightful, fudgy brownie texture.  The pecans become perfectly toasted in the oven.  And the caramel isn't too sweet.  While the cookie dough is only enough for 2 dozen cookies, there is plenty of leftover caramel.  To solve this "dilemma" make a double batch of dough, or use the caramel as ice cream topping.

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies (from America's Test Kitchen)
makes about 2 dozen

Cookie Dough
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Cream butter and sugar together on high until fluffy.
Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
Mix in salt and cocoa powder.
Slowly add flour.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
While the dough is the the fridge chop the pecans and begin the caramel.
 Once chilled, roll dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter.
Dip in egg white and roll in chopped pecans.
Place on cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray about 2 inches apart.
Use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to make "thumbprint" indent in center.
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.
Caramel Filling
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Heat milk in a double boiler for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Allow to cool and using a spoon fill the centers of cookies.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Peanut butter and chocolate.  Who doesn't love the combination?  But, this flavor was actually chosen for Madi's party because I wanted to use a cute decorating idea from Pintrest, not because the two should just be together.  Months ago I was searching for cupcake ideas and saw these cute "mini cupcake" toppers.  And, they were surprisingly easy.  Just frost the top of a bite size Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and place it on top of a cupcake.  Brilliant!
 Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes (inspired by OH! Cupcakes)
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cake
Favorite chocolate fudge cake mix
Two single serve packets of coffee (decaf, if serving kiddos)

Prepare cake as directed, mixing coffee with water before adding to batter.

Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter and peanut butter together.
Add milk and vanilla.
While mixing slowly, add powdered sugar.

Use a large star tip, like Wilton 1M, to frost 24 mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to look like cupcakes.  I left the paper on to make them look more like the real deal.
Frost cupcakes and add a mini cupcake topper to each.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Belated, Madi!

Last weekend was full of celebration for our family.  Saturday was our niece's first birthday party, my hooding ceremony was Sunday and Tuesday I graduated from medical school.  Obviously, Kristi and I were put in charge of the cupcakes for Madi's party.  We'd been brainstorming our list of flavors for quite some time and finally agreed upon peanut butter and chocolate, hummingbird (because everyone is doing it), and raspberry lemonade.  More people RSVP'ed for the party than anticipated, so we added red velvet (with Mom's amazing frosting) and party in your mouth last minute Saturday morning.

We'll start with the raspberry lemonade because it was certainly the most popular with the adult guests.  Kids, of course, devoured the party in your mouth cupcakes topped with a cupcake shaped marshmallow in no time!  The lemon cake base was brightened up a bit with the zest of a whole lemon, filled with a raspberry lemon curd, and topped with raspberry lemon whipped cream.  I could have (and maybe did) eat the filling and frosting by the spoonful.
Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes (adapted from The Family Kitchen)
Makes 24 cupcakes

Lemon Cake
Favorite brand lemon cake mix
Zest of one lemon

Prepare as directed, adding the lemon zest.
Allow to cool before filling or frosting.

Raspberry Lemon Curd Filling
1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, defrosted
Zest of 2 lemons
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
Pinch of salt

Allow berries to defrost, then mash through sieve and collect juice.  Set aside.
Beat together zest, butter, and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.
Pour in raspberry and lemon juice.  Add salt.
Cook over low/ medium-low heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.

To fill cupcakes, use cone method to core out a hole in the center.
Reserve 1/2 cup of curd for frosting.
Spoon in curd until even with the top of the cupcake.  Do this last minute, as the curd will soak into the cake.
Raspberry Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cold raspberry lime curd
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Beat cream on high until stiff peaks form.
Mix in powdered sugar and curd.
Frost filled cupcakes as desired just before serving.
Refrigerate any leftovers.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Cake

This is going to be a short post given that I am supposed to be studying for boards right now...
With Mother's Day occurring yesterday and my mom's birthday today, I thought I should make a cake.
As you can see from the previous post, I'm on a chocolate-almond kick. This cake fits with my kick.

Realizations while making this cake: 1) I have never made a 2-layer cake on my own. 2) I don't own a cake stand. 3) I don't own a cake caddy. 4). I don't own an off-set spatula. 5). You should not attempt to frost a mostly cooled cake in a warm kitchen. Your decorations will attempt to jump off the sides of the cake. (Okay, so I knew this was going to be a bad idea, but I couldn't help myself, my roomie and I are both impatient). 5) I need some serious decorating practice.


Wonderfully Moist Chocolate Almond Cake (modified from foodnetwork.com)

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken (Make your own with 1Tbs lemon juice/white vinegar + up to the 1 cup mark with milk, let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. (I don't own parchment. I used vegetable shortening and then coco powder, worked just fine)
Sift (I never sift...) the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread a thin layer of frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake (more decorating instructions below).
Almond Buttercream Frosting (modified from iambaker)
1 bag powder sugar (two pounds or about eight cups)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup milk (I used 1/2 cup)
Cream shortening and vanilla in mixer for 2-4 minutes. Add in powder sugar, one cup at a time. If you find your mixer struggling, slowing add in milk. Use more milk for a creamy consistency, use less milk for a stiff consistency.

How to frost with rosettes:
Honestly, I just followed the instructions from iambaker. I skimped on the crumb layer because I was worried I would run out of frosting. Don't do that. Silly me. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Wow, it really has been a long time since I have made a post. To be fair, I have been studying extra long hours for this last block of school/finals which ended on Friday. Its official, I have now completed my second year of medical school (with the exception of taking Step 1 USMLE which is coming up in June). I decided to take the weekend off before diving in to the 10-12 hour-a-day study routine that will be my life for the next 5ish weeks. Great life choice.
So far this weekend I have attended a crawfish boil with friends, cleaned my apartment, gone for a hike, bought a bridesmaid dress, gotten groceries, watched an entire season of a TV show, had dinner with friends, went for a hike (and am going on another in a few hours) and now, baked biscotti.
Confession: I have only once made biscotti, and it was grain-free.
Confession: I am currently obsessed with almond flavoring, and after a discussion at dinner last night, I decided I needed to bake something with it, so here you go.




Chocolate Almond Biscotti (Adopted from smitten kitchen)


3/4 cup toasted almonds (roughly chopped)
2 oz coarsely chopped dark chocolate
2 1/2 cups flour, plus flour for work surface
1/2 cup Dutch-style cocoa powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cups sugar




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds either on the stove or in the oven, whichever you prefer and however you can do it without burning them :).
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, dark chocolate, salt, baking soda and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Beat eggs lightly, just until blended, in mixing bowl with whisk or in electric mixer. Remove two tablespoons of egg mixture to small dish and set aside. Add in almond extract. Beat sugar into remaining eggs until blended. Stir in flour mixture to form soft dough. (So I mixed the eggs into the flour instead of the other way around, I wouldn't recommend that direction, it was difficult to get all the flour incorporated). 
4. Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a well-floured work surface. (She is not kidding about this.) With floured hands, pat it into a six-inch square. Scatter half the almonds on the dough and press them into the surface. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12 to 15 inches long. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the roll of dough on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the tops of both rolls with the reserved egg. (If you don't have a pastry brush, no worries, I don't either, I used my fingers... its a little sticky but it gets the job done).
5. Place in the oven and bake about 20 minutes, until firm to the touch. Transfer to a cutting board and cut on an angle into slices one-half-inch thick. (I let them cool a bit then scored the top with a serrated knife and then actually cut them with my sharp chef knife) Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 20 minutes, until they are crisp and dry. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.







Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes


If you are like me, it doesn't matter what time of year it is, peppermint mocha is always a good combination. Sometimes the barista at SB will look at you funny if its the middle of summer, but hey, if it tastes great in winter it tastes great in summer too.  I used the guise of Valentine's Day to make these and took them to school. Two days later I found myself making another batch for my roomie and her roomie from college. Yes, they are that good. (I made these a while back, but only recently wrote the post. Oddly enough, the green ones go well for St. Patrick's Day, which I spent studying at a coffee shop...)





Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes (from Annie's Eats)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 tsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir together.  Combine the milk, coffee and peppermint extract in a liquid measuring cup.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the eggs one at a time.   Alternately mix in the dry and liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.





Peppermint Buttercream Frosting (from Wilton)

Makes: About 3 cups of icing.

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening  
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened  
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract (I substituted half for peppermint, be careful not to put too much in!)  
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)  
2 tablespoons milk  
Food coloring of your choice

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla/Peppermint. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
For multi-color frosting: divide frosting in two. Dye one bowl with food coloring. Fill up one side of the pastry bag with one color, and the other side with the other. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Strawberry Pineapple Crumble

I love Joy the Baker.  My amazing sister pre-ordered her recently published cookbook for me for my birthday last month.

It arrived on my doorstep the day it was published.  Amazon is a wonderful thing.

I've yet to bake anything out of it.  But, I have drooled over every photo.

I don't claim to have even half of Joy's kitchen genius, but I did tinker around with this recipe just the same.  Kristi has encouraged me to go as gluten-free as possible and eliminating the flour from this recipe seemed easy enough.  Flax seed, coconut, and pecans are added to the oatmeal crumble.  I had intended on a bit of cinnamon, but it slipped my mind before the pan slipped into the oven.  Sliced banana might also bump up the tropical flavor.
(Gluten Free) Strawberry Pineapple Crumble (adapted from JTB)
makes 6 servings

1 pound strawberries, sliced 
1 pound fresh pineapple, sliced 
pinch of salt 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats 
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flax seed
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix strawberries and pineapple in a small casserole dish (8x8).
In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients.
Spread oatmeal crumble evenly on the fruit.
Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Until the fruit is soft and bubbly.
Allow to sit for 15 minutes (if you have that much self control) before serving with ice cream.  I had Moose Tracks in the freezer.  Surprisingly, chocolate and peanut butter goes well with pineapple and strawberries.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oysters in White Wine Cream Sauce


This dish is the result of another Kroger manager's special. While picking up a few groceries on Saturday afternoon I walked by the fresh fish counter and noticed fresh oysters on special. I couldn't pass those up, so I also added some heavy cream to my basket. I also looked over the fresh herbs, but I couldn't decide on what would go well with oysters, so I just decided to wing it once I got home.

Ingredients:
  • Fresh oysters
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Cream
  • Dry white wine like Pinot Grigio
Open the oysters and drain any liquid into a skillet. Wash the oysters under cool running water. Add the oysters to the skillet and turn the heat to medium. Season with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. Add a good amount of white wine to the skillet, so there is about 1/4 inch of liquid. Add some dried basil and parsley, or use fresh if you have it. Simmer the oysters until the liquid is mostly gone, turning the oysters several times. Make sure the oysters are done - they should be tender all the way through. If they aren't done, add some water and continue to simmer. Once the oysters are cooked and the liquid is mostly gone, check the seasoning, then add some cream. Simmer the sauce a bit more until it is nicely thickened then serve.

Honey-Ginger-Soy-Lime Yellowfin Tuna


This is a very simple, yet delicious recipe for those who like tuna.

Ingredients:
  • Yellowfin Tuna Steak
  • 1 Tbs Honey
  • 2 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 Tsp Fresh Grated Ginger
Combine the honey, soy sauce and lime juice. Stir until the honey is dissolved then add the ginger. Marinate the tuna steak for about 20 minutes in this mixture. Sear the tuna in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, just enough to to lightly brown each side. Serve the tuna steak cut into 1/4 inch slices, with your choice of vegetable.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pan Seared Trout with Oven Roasted Root Veggies

Sometimes I just get a foodie urge to cook something with great ingredients. Today was one of those days. I hit up the local Whole Foods and perused to see what was on sale and what just looked fantastic. I started in the produce section and filled my basket with wonderful organic veggies like carrots, turnip, purple sweet potato, and rutabaga. I moved on to the meat/fish counter and stood there for a while whilst being asked several times if I had been helped, but I needed time to 1. decide which protein to buy and 2. decide what to do with said protein. (Sometimes those two happen at the same time, sometimes #2 happens which then determines #1...) This time I decided on the trout that was on sale. The only bad thing? It still had its head!! Fortunately the lovely worker decapitated it for me, so I didn't have to do the dirty deed myself. 


Pan Seared Trout
1 whole de-boned, de-headed, de-scaled trout
salt
pepper
garlic powder
panko bread crumbs
Butter.

Generously season the fleshy side of the fish with the salt, pepper, and garlic. Add a light dusting of the bread crumbs (just so you end up with the lovely golden brown crust). Heat up a saute pan with a lump of butter. Gently place the fish in flesh side down in the hot pan. Listen to the wonderful sizzle as you create the crispy brown crust. Flip the fish over to finish cooking. (No idea how long it took, but the fish was really thin, so I would guess only about 5-6 minutes total).

Oven Roasted Root Veggies
1 parsnip (peeled)
4-5 small carrots
1 sweet potato
1 rutabaga (peeled)
1 small onion
Olive oil
Salt & pepper & garlic

Pre-heat oven to 350F (or hotter if you are in a hurry). Slice/dice the veggies into reasonable "bite size" pieces. Toss with olive oil. Spread out on baking sheets (I used two). Generously season with salt, pepper, garlic, or whatever spice you want. Bake for 20 mins. Stir the veggies. Bake for another 20-30 mins, depending on how big of pieces you used.