Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Honey Bun Cake

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Coffee cake is one of my favorite things to make when I am entertaining. This super rich Honey Bun cake was a new creation in my kitchen and was fittingly named after the sticky cinnamon roll that is covered in a thin sugar glaze known as the, “honey bun.” I knew that this sweet and decadent treat would make a fun addition to our family’s Easter brunch and would be a great way to end our celebration.

The combination of sour cream, canola oil, and the addition of poured honey over the cake creates a moist cake with a dense crumb that begs to be paired with a big glass of milk. Once pulled from the oven, a final decadent layer of a sugar glaze is drizzled on top, which hardens to create a thin sugar glaze over the top of the cake.

Our family absolutely loved  this cake and I would highly recommend it for a fun way to end any brunch or paired with a little decaf coffee for a great way to end an evening when entertaining.


Honey Bun Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
A delicious cake that tastes just like a sticky cinnamon sweet roll.
Ingredients
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • For filling: ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • For sugar glaze: 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9" pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the cake mix, sour cream canola oil, and eggs in a mixing bowl.
  3. Blend on low speed for one minute. Increase speed and then beat another two minutes.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula.
  5. Add your filling. Drizzle the honey on top of the batter, then sprinkle your brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Swirl your topping through the cake to blend them slightly.
  7. Bake for 38-40 minutes (mine took about 44 minutes).
  8. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool.
  9. Prepare your glaze of sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl.
  10. Pour your glaze over the top of the hot cake and spread it over the cake with a spoon.
  11. Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes before cutting it into squares.
  12. Serve the cake warm with big glasses of milk.

Adapted from, “The Cake Mix Doctor,” Cookbook.

I also wanted to share with you some pictures of the things we did for our family brunch.

I picked up a supermarket bouquet of flowers for our centerpiece and then surrounded it with our eggs for egg decorating for the kids. I am loving my freshly painted white kitchen table and freshly reupholstered chairs. It is so nice not having to use a tablecloth when entertaining.

The kids indulged in Kool-Aid Egg Dying again this year and we loved the rich, vibrant shades of colors we were able to achieve.

I prefer to keep entertaining informal so the food was buffet style for our get together.  I served our Ham & Vegetable Strata, a Sausage & Cheese Egg Casserole, fresh fruit layered in a trifle bowl, my Bacon & Ranch Cheese Ball, the Honey Bun Cake (above), and orange juice or coffee for our guests. Everything was made the day before, except the cake, and it made entertaining on a busy Sunday morning very easy.

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Banana Crumb Muffins

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

I had a rainy day with nothing to do on the horizon. I put on a little Ella Fitzgerald on my laptop and headed into kitchen to spend the morning baking and thinking. I always do my best thinking in the kitchen, don’t you?  There is something about the mindless concentration of measuring, scooping, leveling, and mixing that appeals to me. With ripe bananas sitting on the counter, I knew these Banana Crumb Muffins would be the ideal treat for a sweet snack for my kids. Everyone has a favorite recipe for bananas and these Banana Crumb Muffins happen to be my favorite for putting those bananas to good use.

If you are looking for a bakery-worthy recipe, these muffins would be right at home in any bakery. The cinnamon and sugar streusel topping is really what makes these rather ordinary banana muffins stand out. The crunch from the topping with the moist cake makes these a winner in our family.

I love to double the crumb topping on these and keep this in my freezer. It is a fun addition to any of your favorite muffin recipes and makes the process of creating these just a little bit easier the second time around. When you want to use the crumb topping, just use a fork to break the topping up a bit and add as you normally would to your muffins.

Serve these delicious muffins with big glasses of ice cold milk for an easy and satisfying snack.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Banana Crumb Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
A light & fluffy banana muffin with a delicious cinnamon and brown sugar struesel topping.
Ingredients
  • Banana Crumb Muffins
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cups white sugar
  • 1 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅛ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • 1 T butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Lightly grease ten muffin cups or line with muffin papers.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter.
  5. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut the butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  8. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for eighteen to twenty minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.

 

Looking for other delicious muffin recipes? I love these Healthy Banana & Blueberry Muffins, these Apple Pie Muffins, and my Lemony Blueberry Muffins for some other fun muffin alternatives!

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Baked Snickerdoodle Doughnuts

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Baked donuts have become our family’s new way of celebrating all of the special occasions in our life and I couldn’t wait to share with you my snickerdoodle donut creation I made this week. These baked snickerdoodle donuts are a fun & frugal family treat that are easy to create with a simple nonstick donut pan ( we have two of these Norpro 6-count Nonstick Donut Pans) and pantry ingredients.

My husband celebrated his birthday this past weekend and I wanted to create something special for his birthday morning. Every year I try to find a snickerdoodle treat for him since it is his favorite cookie in the whole world. We have enjoyed everything from the cookies to snickerdoodle cupcakes to snickerdoodle biscotti in our house. It seems no matter what version of snickerdoodles we are creating, we love them no matter what. Who could resist that cinnamon flavor?

I will admit the first batch of these was a giant fail, although they photographed beautifully. I played with different leavening agents that yielded gummy and heavy donuts.  I ended up baking a second round later in the week using cake flour and it helped to yield a much lighter donut and more the consistency I was after. It is proof that sometimes it takes a couple of tries before you get it right when baking.

Each donut was dipped in butter and then dipped in a bowl filled with sugar and cinnamon. The coating adds that crunch and more cinnamon flavor that remind me so much of our favorite snickerdoodle cookie. We all agreed, that these donuts were heavenly and there was not a single one left once I perfected the batch.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Snickerdoodle Donuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
These baked cake donuts are full of cinnamon flavor with a crunchy cinnamon & sugar topping that you are sure to love!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cake flour (or 1¾ cup all-purpose flour + ¼ cup cornstarch)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon & Sugar Topping: ¼ cup of butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the cake flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Pour in the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Gently mix the ingredients together. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.
  5. Lightly grease a doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Carefully spoon the batter into the doughnut pan, filling each one halfway (you should get twelve donuts total)
  7. Bake the doughnuts at 400 F for eight minutes. The donuts will remain light in color, but should spring back when pressed.
  8. Allow to cool for five minutes.
  9. Unmold each donut gently and lightly brush each with the 4 tablespoons of melted butter.
  10. Dunk in a bowl with the sugar and cinnamon mixed in.
  11. Shake off excess sugar and serve immediately.

 

Emily & Ethan presented their Dad with these fabulous donuts for his birthday treat. We all sang to him and Emily presented just one more gift for her dad…

Her front tooth.

It is too adorable for words.

Looking for really great baked donut recipes? I have you covered!

1. Baked Apple Pie Donuts

2. Baked Blueberry Donuts with a Lemon Glaze

3. Fluffy Cake Donuts with a Simple Glaze

4. Fluffy Baked Chocolate Donuts

5. Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Syrup Frosting

6. Baked Glazed Gingerbread Donuts

What are your favorite ways to celebrate birthdays in your family? We would love to hear your family’s traditions for celebrating!

 

Submitted to Mouthwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale.

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Rainbow Cake in a Jar with Cloud Frosting

Monday, March 5th, 2012

If there is anything more fun than eating a rainbow in a jar than I don’t know what is. I have seen so many variations of this Rainbow Cake in a Jar floating around, but I was on a mission to make my own version of these to share with you all today for St. Patrick’s Day.

I was looking to create a version of this Rainbow Cake in a Jar combined with this Rainbow Cake in a Jar, but I wanted my jars to be small and I wanted a lighter frosting combination than a heavy and rich buttercream on top. The rainbow cakes that I had seen recipes for were traditionally in a quart or pint jar. While I am sure I could indulge in a quart of cake, these smaller versions are the perfect size for a fun treat to celebrate the holiday.

To begin, you will need to make your cake batter. The cake mix batter that you make from a box can be very runny and create muddy layer. Making your cake batter from scratch only takes a few more minutes, is made from ingredients you already have in your pantry, and will yield a thicker batter that is easier to smooth and create the stacking layers you are going for. No matter how you stack it, this batter will create individual colors for the perfect cake

Since this cake batter is thick, it can easily be scooped with an ice cream scoop. Two big scoops in each bowl of this batter and then add as much food coloring as you like for your rainbow layers. I love the Betty Crocker Neon food coloring, but if I am feeling fancy and professional, I love the Wilton food coloring for rich hues.

These 1/2 pint jars do have a more narrow opening than the wide mouthed jars, but I am not much of a perfectionist when it comes to cake. You will want to just make sure the interiors of your glass jars are sprayed lightly with cooking spray and then spoon in each layer of your rainbow colors (as perfectly or imperfectly as you like).

If you want the striping to be even, you can use a Ziploc bag and just cut the tip off of one corner and pipe each layer in to create perfect stripes. I prefer to be lazy and let the colors lie where they may. Either way should create beautiful rich rainbow colors. Be sure not to fill them higher than about halfway in your jar, otherwise your cupcakes will overflow.

Nestle your jars in a 9×13 baking dish with a rim on it. Pour 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of your baking dish to create a little water bath for your jars.  Wipe up any spills or drips on the edges of the jars before placing them in the oven.

Bake these at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Here are my rainbow cakes. They are definitely perfectly imperfect with the layers, but I still love them. How could a rainbow cake in a jar not brighten someone’s day?

I topped these sweet treats with my favorite 7 minute frosting. If you have never sampled the infamous 7 minute frosting, it is to die for! I am one of those weird people that prefers the whipped cream frosting over buttercream and I think that is why this recipe is such a favorite of mine. It is light and delicious and tastes like a little bit of marshmallow fluff on top of the cupcake.

The secret ingredient to this perfectly-perfect pantry recipe is just a  little bit of boiling water.  You stir the water into the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar, then beat the mixture for seven minutes.  With just these few ingredients, something magical happens and you end up with an amazing amount of frosting… four cups to be exact!

The next time you have no ingredients on hand or simply don’t have the energy to make a big batch of frosting, keep this recipe in mind for the most deliciously light and and easy-as-pie frosting you can ever imagine!

This is the perfect “cloud” topper to this vanilla cake. With a few rainbow sprinkles for a finishing touch, you have the perfect snack to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Rainbow Cake in a Jar with Cloud Frosting
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Individual rainbow cakes are a festive way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. These cupcakes in ½ pint jars are topped with a light frosting for a surprisingly light and fun snack!
Ingredients
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • Betty Crocker Neon Food Coloring or Wilton Food Coloring (for bright rainbow colors)
  • 8-10 ½ Pint Jars
  • Cooking Spray
  • Sprinkles
  • Cloud Frosting: ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 unbeaten egg whites
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Take off the screw caps on the jars. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth.
  4. Pour in sugar and beat well.
  5. Add 2 eggs.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk.
  8. Beat until it is mixed.
  9. Divide your batter into six separate bowls (approximately two large ice cream scoops of batter into each bowl for even distribution).
  10. Tint your batter the colors of the rainbow- Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, & Violet.
  11. Using a small spoon, carefully spoon in each color of batter into layers or use a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off one corner of the bag to pipe each layer into the jars.
  12. Place jars in a 9x13" baking pan (with rim) and fill with a ½ cup of water to create a water bath for your cake.
  13. Bake for 25-40 minutes or until your cake springs back and a skewer poked in the center comes out clean. (length of time will depend entirely on how tall you stacked your batter!)
  14. This should yield 8-10 rainbow jars.
  15. Allow to cool and begin preparing your Cloud Frosting.
  16. Cloud Frosting: Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites. Add boiling water. Beat on high until the mixture forms peaks, which should be just about seven minutes. Spoon cloud frosting on top of the cakes and finish with Rainbow Sprinkles.

Cake Recipe Adapted from Amy Sedaris’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
Inspired by: Off the (Meat) Hook
Submitted: Mouthwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale

 

 

 

All supplies for this month’s fun project can be purchased at your local Walmart store and this project is done in conjunction with the Walmart Moms program.

If you are making rainbows with your kids today, I highly recommend this fabulous tune for teaching them the colors of the rainbows. They Might Be Giants sing about a man named Roy G Biv that I happened to be singing in the kitchen while I made these cakes. You will never forget the order of the colors in the rainbow again!

I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.

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Frozen Hot Chocolates

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

 

Looking for a fun Valentine’s Day treat to share with your children? How does an icy frozen hot chocolate drink sound for a fun after school treat with your favorite kids?  My kids were so excited to try these frozen hot chocolates and we couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you.

This week I am over at the Kenmore Genius Blog sharing a delicious recipe for Frozen Hot Chocolates that you won’t want to miss! If you don’t happen to have the ingredients on hand, we all agreed that these Homemade Wendy’s Frosty Treats were just as yummy!

I am also sharing a few easy strategies for creating a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with your spouse when you can’t score a babysitter. Snag my recipe for Penne with a Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce and an easy dessert that you will really wow your hubby! I also have some wonderful other date night ideas on our site. Be sure to check out my Linguine with White Clam Sauce or how to have a Steakhouse Experience on a Poorhouse Budget for a few other ideas for fun celebration dinners.

We hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day however you choose to celebrate it!

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Warm Lemon Curd Sauce

Monday, February 6th, 2012

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to showcase another fun dessert that you could share with those you love. I have to say that nothing says love like a pound cake and I wanted to dress my pound cake up with some citrus fun this year with a little lemon curd sauce that could be drizzled on top of thick slices of this decadent treat.

Last week I shared an easy Red Velvet Cake that you could make from a white cake mix. Continuing with the theme, I wanted to showcase how you could make an easy pound cake from a cake mix. I mixed up the batter for a cake mix recipe I found for pound cake and it flopped horribly. The cake was dry, crumby, and fell apart when pulled from the pan. This was definitely not the cake I was looking forward to sharing with you. It is proof though that there is still so much for me to learn in the kitchen.

Pound cake is actually a little trickier to make than I had originally thought. Too high of a temperature yields a cake that is dry and brown on the outside while being too gummy and undone on the inside. Lower the temperature though, and magic happens as the cake cooks more evenly throughout.

The key with a good pound cake though is room temperature ingredients, a careful eye on the stove, and a little bit of patience. The only one I seem to possess is the room temperature ingredients.  Somehow it still turned out.

Lemon curd sauce is also so easy to make and despite it’s fancy name, it is made from simple egg yolks, cornstarch, lemon, and sugar. This warm sauce spooned on top of this rich pound cake cuts the heaviness and would be divine spooned over the pound cake with fresh blueberries or raspberries to really add a punch of color and deliciousness to this cake.


Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Lemon Curd Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 14
 
A rich and moist pound cake made from simple pantry ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1½ cups butter (room temperature)
  • 2½ cups white sugar
  • 6 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For Lemon Curd Sauce:
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs two at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the flour all at once and mix in. Add vanilla.
  4. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check for doneness at 1 hour. A toothpick inserted into center of cake will come out clean.
  5. For your Lemon Curd Sauce: Place the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the water. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture just begins to boil, 4-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Using a fork, lightly beat the egg in a small mixing bowl. Spoon in 2 tablespoons of the hot sugar mixture and beat vigorously with the whisk to incorporate. Spoon in another 2 tablespoons of the hot mixture and beat vigorously again.
  7. Place the saucepan back over medium heat, and pour the beaten egg mixture into the pan, whisking constantly. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute, whisking. The mixture will be thick. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice until they are incorporated.
  8. Spoon this warm sauce over cake or ice cream.
Notes
Store this warm lemon curd sauce in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Reheat it on top of your stove over low heat or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Looking for other fun cakes to celebrate with? Our Blueberry Muffin Cake would be beautiful with this Warm Lemon Curd Sauce.

I am participating in Mouthwatering Mondays on A Southern Fairytale

 

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Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Red velvet cake is a decadent little treat perfect to share for Valentine’s Day with someone you love.  I was excited to make my first red velvet cake this weekend.  We threw a party for a few of my husband’s co-workers and it gave me the perfect excuse to whip up something to share that we wouldn’t normally get the pleasure of eating.

This red velvet cake is made using a simple white cake mix, cocoa powder,  and the signature bottle of red food coloring that makes this cake this vibrant hue. It is rich, but moist and full of cocoa flavor. The tang of the cream cheese frosting helps to cut the heaviness of this cake and adds the perfect balance.

After watching a million Cupcake Wars with my kids, it seems every great baker has a signature red velvet cake. I have to say, that my signature comes with a little baking shortcut, but yields just as tasty of results without a lot of the work.

 

Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe:

 

Cake:

1 package (18.25 ounces) white cake mix

1 cup buttermilk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) margarine, melted

3 tablespooons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1 bottle (standard bottle of red food coloring gel) red food coloring

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Fresh raspberries (optional)

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.

Place the cake mix, buttermilk, melted margarine, cocoa powder, eggs, red food coloring, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well combined. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with your rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

Bake the cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 28-30 minutes (mine took 25 minutes). Remove the pans from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for ten minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of the each layer and invert each into a rack then invert again on another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow to cool completely, 30 minutes or more.

Meanwhile, prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below). Ice your cake and then decorate with fresh raspberries on top.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature (I used the reduced fat cream cheese)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus additional if needed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, blending with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Add more sugar as needed to make the frosting spreadable. Add the vanilla, then increase the mixer speed to medium and blend until the frosting is fluffy, 1 minute more.

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serving Size: 16

Source: Adapted from Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor

 

Of course, if Red Velvet Cake isn’t your cup of tea, may I recommend this Orange Chiffon Cake or our favorite Darn Good Chocolate Cake for celebrating the holiday with? Those are just a couple of cake options our family loves and also are prepared using simple cake mixes, likely already in your pantry.

As we touch on celebrations, our family happens to be celebrating a big moment this month.  MomAdvice.com celebrated her 8th birthday this month!  I wanted to personally thank you for your wonderful support over the years.  I am so thankful to get to do this every day and could not do it without you.

Thank you, friends! I hope you can enjoy a slice of this decadent cake for a fun treat with your family!

Linking up to Mouthwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale!

 

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Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes

Monday, December 19th, 2011

If there is one thing that I love it is cupcakes. Not just any cupcake though, it has to be a perfect balance of flavors for me. In my opinion, the word’s most perfect vanilla cupcake resides at Magnolia Bakery and no other cupcake could top it. While I was preparing to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, I decided to make this recipe for Magnolia Cupcakes for her birthday girl treat.  Being a little girl of sophisticated taste, I knew she would absolutely love these cupcakes for her birthday. I was right.

While I was in New York for BlogHer ’10, with my best blogging gal pal Jamie, I ended up walking right by Magnolia Bakery and just had to stop to sample the cupcakes. Sadly, there are no pictures of the actual cupcakes as I rushed right back to my hotel room and ate three of them. I have never eaten three cupcakes in a row in my life. I also had never watched Jersey Shore.  Bad things happened in that hotel room. I laid in my bed clutching my stomach with a bed full of crumbs as my brain turned quietly to mush.  I don’t think I will do either of those things again.

These vanilla cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery are divine and the buttercream icing is absolute perfection for piping and for eating. The icing hardens to add a bit of crunch texture to the top, while the vanilla cake itself remains moist and delicious.

For piping my cupcakes, I used this cupcake decorating tutorial from Glorious Treats and used a 1M tip for decorating. I also humbly bow to the cupcake queen, Liz over at Hoosier Homemade, as she always is baking up some fun cupcake that puts my cupcakes to shame.

Recipe:

Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes

 

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing:

Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

 

Vanilla Buttercream:

The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 8-1o hours

Serving Size: 24 cupcakes

Source: Food Network

 

 

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Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Photographed by- Kristen at Dine & Dish


Homemade marshmallows have been on my cooking bucket list for three years now. Making peppermint flavored marshmallows sounded far more intimidating that the process actually was and after making my first batch with great success, I can’t wait to try a few other flavors in my kitchen.

This year I vowed I would not talk myself out of  marshmallow making. With my big girl set to celebrate her sixth birthday, I thought I would make these for cocoa fun for her birthday party. Once I bought all the supplies, there was no turning back.

I was so nervous that I didn’t take a single picture while I made them.

What if I messed the whole thing up?

What if my marshmallows reached 241 degrees and the whole batch failed?

I followed the God of Cooking (also known as Alton Brown) and did everything exactly as instructed. Surprisingly, my stand mixer did the brunt of the work while I tidied the kitchen. Who knew that marshmallow making was so darn easy?  The taste? Better than any marshmallow I have ever tasted.

Photographed by- Kristen at Dine & Dish


I did pretty pink swirls through the marshmallows and added my peppermint extract to the batch to add a fun pink peppermint touch to our marshmallows.

The hardest part was waiting the four hours before I could cut them. With cornstarch and powdered sugar mixed together in a bowl next to my board, I just used my pizza cutter (dusted with the sugar mixture) and cut my marshmallows in squares. Each one was lightly dusted with  more of the sugar mixture and I stored them in a plastic container. You know…for storing….or for eating.

And eating.

And eating.

And eating.

I confess, I think I have a new food addiction.

These are fabulous, easy, and delicious.  They would make a fantastic gift to give this holiday season with a little of my favorite cocoa mix or served up with a fancy little hot cocoa bar like I did for my daughter’s birthday party.


Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 dozen
 
One of the easiest and most impressive gifts to give this holiday season.
Ingredients
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1½ cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp peppermint extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray
  • 4 drops red food coloring
Instructions
  1. Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with ½ cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining ½ cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the peppermint extract during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
  4. Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  5. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Drop red food coloring onto marshmallows and use a toothpick to swirl the food coloring into the marshmallows. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Source: Alton Brown, Good Eats

Special thanks to Kristen at Dine & Dish for sharing her photographs of these marshmallows with MomAdvice! What a wonderful friend!

 

What is something that you discovered was surprisingly easy to create in the kitchen that you always thought was intimidating? Feel free to share your kitchen adventures!

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Splendidly Homemade Magazine

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Today I am excited to share with you a fun  online magazine that you can enjoy all winter long. Splendidly Homemade Magazine is a beautifully designed magazine filled with great tutorials and pictures showcasing some amazing bloggers crafting and sharing their recipes for a perfect and joy-filled holiday season. You can learn how to do everything from making the perfect pie crust to adding adorable yo-yo embellishments to your holiday attire to creating stockings from old sweaters.

In this issue I have created a fun and easy No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake in a Jar that would make the perfect hostess gift.  I am also sharing some cute ways to package those jars that make this an elegant gift to share with someone special in your life.

If you want to see this project, just head on over to the magazine to get the scoop. Did I mention that this requires no baking?

Once you are done making these No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes, you can put your peppermint extract to work and whip up a delicious Homemade Peppermint Mocha with my easy recipe.

Just be warned…

These are highly addictive and taste like a little bit of heaven.

I had a hard time just eating one or having just one cup of coffee! You can blame me for your holiday weight this year!

You can enjoy wonderful holiday content from all of these fabulous contributors in Splendidly Homemade:

Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage
Liz from Hoosier Homemade
Barbara from Barbara Bakes
Holly from iGoBoGo
Tiffany from Eat at Home
Kellie from Nest of Posies
Laura from Real Mom Kitchen
Jessica from Kohler Created
Ashley from Ashley Pichea.com

Splendidly Homemade is available for free online and a Kindle version of this is available for a mere, $.99 cents.  Give them a Like on Facebook and follow their latest news on Twitter.

Happy Holidays, everyone!