Bridal Shower Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

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This is it guys, I’ve made it!

I just made my first batch of cupcakes for a client!

Granted, it was one of my good friends… but she still chose to ask me to make the cupcakes for her best friend’s bridal shower instead of buying them from a cupcake shop! I was so honored and flattered!

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She said that I could make whatever I wanted and she needed 2 dozen.

My Classic White Cupcakes were to-die-for, so I revisited that recipe for a sure-fire yummy hit. I wanted to do something new and fun, given the time of the year I was thinking light and fruity.

STRAWBERRY!

Doing a strawberry cupcake gave me a pretty pink color that wasn’t overpowering, and it’s a pretty safe flavor that most people would love to gobble up!

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I found the recipe for Sprinkles famous Strawberry Cupcakes on Martha Stewarts website here and decided to go for it.

I used my vanilla buttercream frosting recipe that was provided on my Chocolate Cupcakes post.

I made an extra cupcake (a baker’s dozen) so that I could taste the cake and make sure I was giving a quality product and oh my this was so so good. I can’t wait to hear how they went over. And I decorated them so beautifully, if I do say so myself!

Strawberry Cupcakes

Prep: 15 minutes     Yield: 1 dozen

Ingredients

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

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Enjoy!

Irish BOOZE Cake

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I know, I am a little behind in posting this delectable Irish treat, but better late than never!

Especially when it comes to this irresistibly rich and perfectly boozy dessert!

My dad brewed his own Irish Stout for St. Patrick’s Day, so of course I wanted to incorporate it in to the traditional family meal of corned beef and cabbage somehow, and what better way than mixed with chocolate in a cake!

I came across a food blog called Food Babbles which posted this amazing Irish Car Bomb cake recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, and it was just too perfect to pass up!

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Jameson with my whiskey ganache.

 

It has all of the elements of the Irish Car Bomb beverage:

Irish Stout beer, Jameson Irish whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Isn’t the point of St. Patty’s day to get your drink on? This cake is the perfect compliment to whatever you find yourself sipping on.

Irish BOOZE Cake

Ingredients

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Cake

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness, I used my dad’s home brewed Irish Stout)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache

Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (I used Jameson and at least doubled the recipe- add to taste)

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8″ cake pans with parchment circles on bottom. (I also sprayed with nonstick spray)
  2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.
  4. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the two cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake until tester inserted in center come out clean, about 10 minutes longer. Cool completely on rack.

Ganache

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

  1. Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth.
  2. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature and until thickened a bit.

Frosting

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

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Enjoy!

Classic White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

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Okay so the other day when I baked Chocolate Cupcakes for my staff, I also baked some Classic White Cupcakes per Wills request. When I asked him what his favorite kind of cake was, he said white. WHITE of all things. I thought HOW BORING.

But my god these cupcakes are good.

I came across a Simple White Cake Recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com that just got rave reviews, so I decided to give it a whirl- and let me tell you these little nuggets are the bomb-diggity (Yes. Yes. I just said ‘bomb-diggity).

I got so many compliments on these cupcakes, “Oh My God did you make these?”, “My whole family was fighting over these”, “They’re the best cupcakes I’ve ever had” – you get the picture.

The buttercream recipe was also divine and can be found at the bottom of my Chocolate Cupcakes post 🙂

Classic White Cupcakes

Prep: 20 minutes     Bake: 30 minutes     Yield: 12 cupcakes

IMG_5960Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when it springs back to the touch.
  4. Finish with buttercream frosting!

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting!

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Oh my goodness.

I have not posted in nearly a week, and I am NOT happy with myself about that!

However… I do have good reason: I interviewed for a special education preschool position last Monday, started Thursday, and am still trying to wrap my head around my new students, classroom, curriculum, staff, and school!

I TEACH PRESCHOOL NOW.

Hilarious. We sing a lot of songs. Like A LOT.

I wanted to get back to my baking basics and make something that can show my appreciation to my support staff for being so amazing this week, so I decided to gift them some thank you cupcakes! I really don’t know what I would have done without them.

I decided to follow Martha Stewart’s recipe for her Chocolate Cupcakes, and Savory Sweet Life’s recipe for Classic Buttercream Frosting.

The cupcakes themselves are dense and intensely rich little nuggets. The consistency is between a brownie and a cake as these babies are moist but heavy. They are also somewhat bitter so the buttercream frosting helps balance the flavor.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep: 30 minutes     Bake: 20-25 minutes     Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
  3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then finish with buttercream frosting!

Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Prep: 5 minutes     Yield: 2.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate STOUT Cake

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Happy 24th Birthday to my little sister!

She has been a little depressed about this birthday, moping around the house, saying things like “I can’t believe I’m so old”, “it’s all downhill from here”, “look at my grey hairs” etc.

I wanted to surprise her today with a very special cake, one that combines the celebration of her birthday with her love of stout beer. (A love we don’t share)

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Mission accomplished. It was almost too obvious, right?

Chocolate STOUT Cake!

I found this recipe on http://www.epicurious.com that was originally published in Bon Appetit by Barrington Brewery, MA in 2002. I used the Chocolate Bunny Stout from Rhinelander Brewing Co. instead of Guinness! YUM.

Chocolate STOUT Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream

Icing

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • * I added 1 single-serve pack of Starbucks Via instant coffee

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
    Butter and beer.
    Butter and beer.
  2. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

Icing

  1. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate (and instant coffee) and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.
Cooling cakes

Cooling cakes

The cake looked and smelled beautiful throughout the creating process. However, after reading some of the responses to the original recipe posting, I decided to let the cakes cool almost completely in the pans before transferring them to a wire rack. MY CAKES STILL STUCK! The parchment on the bottom of the cake pans is a MUST! I had a nightmare trying to frost the cakes back together. Also, the three tiered cake was a little tall, when making this recipe again I will either do 2 cakes or a bundt cake.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

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Home for Sunday dinner and it feels so good.

I graduated with my Masters in December, cannot find a job, and Wills left me for the Canadian Wilderness for over a week… naturally I came home to wallow in my boredom with my family… and bake.

One of the best things about being at home is Sunday dinner when my Grandma Ruby comes over and we spend the day preparing something delicious. My part in this feast is typically dessert, and this week is no different.

My brother requested cheesecake and I have been craving something rich with chocolate so naturally when I found the recipe for a ‘Decadent Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake’ (p. 127) in the Better Homes and Gardens Best-Loved Reader Recipes magazine (2012), I almost jumped for joy- like literally!

The perfect marriage of everything I love!

Decadent Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Prep: 40 minutes   Bake: 45 minutes   Cool: 45 minutes   Chill: 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed chocolate graham cracker squares
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sugar

    Just out of the oven!

    Just out of the oven!

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. For crust, in a small bowl combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl beat one package of cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and ¼ cup sugar until combined. Fold in one egg; set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan cook and stir chocolate pieces over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Cub the remaining cream cheese; stir into melted chocolate until smooth. Stir in milk and vanilla. Fold in two eggs. Spread half of the chocolate mixture over crust. Spoon peanut butter mixture over chocolate layer; gently spread to cover. Spread the remaining chocolate mixture over peanut butter layer.
  4. Bake about 45 minutes or until top is set when gently shaken. The outer 2 inches of the top will be slightly puffed and dry-looking; the center will look darker and wet.
  5. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen crust from sides of pan; cool for 30 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan; cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with peanuts*.

* I cut up Reese’s eggs and sprinkled them over the top instead of peanuts

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake...mmm...Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake…mmm…

Enjoy!