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Snowy Chocolate Cupcakes

Home-made chocolate cupcakes Self-raising flou...

Image via Wikipedia

Source: chefpriyanka.wordpress.com

Did you ever want to make just a few cupcakes for maybe you and your immediate family or some friends? Isn’t it annoying when recipes are written to serve like 24 cupcakes- does anyone reallyneed to eat 24 cupcakes? No. Aside from the fact that it’s not healthy, it’s just completely unnecessary if you’re not having a party or get-together. So, I decided to make these cupcakes in a small batch, therefore nothing goes to waste and no one is compelled to eat more (even though they’re so delicious you’re going to want to eat like 5 of them at one sitting :) ).

Scrumptious chocolate cupcakes topped with lucisious dark chocolate frosting and snow! And by snow I mean sweetened coconut flakes- yummy! They’re easy to make and even easier to eat! And the cake is unbelievably moist because I used homemade buttermilk of course! Oh, if you’re wondering what kind of cupcake liner I used, they’re Reynolds Wrap! I did not use mybabycakes machine with this recipe- I know surprise surprise! I was in the mood for a regular sized cupcake :) .

Snowy Chocolate Cupcakes:

1. PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup cupcake sheet with PAM and place liners in each cup. Set aside.

2. Melt the chocolate squares in the microwave and set aside to cool a bit. Meanwhile in large bowl beat together softened butter, brown and white sugar until creamy. Add the egg and beat until combined well about 2 minutes. Using a spatula stir in the melted chocolate.

3. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa. In a small bowl combine buttermilk and vanilla- set aside.

4. With the mixer on low, add in about 1/3 of the flour mixture and blend well. Then add about 1/3 of the buttermilk mixture and blend well. Continue adding the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, alternating and mixing well between each addition. Scrape sides of bowl with the spatula. DO NOT OVER MIX.

5. Pour about 2 hefty tbsp of mixture into each cup. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and cool before frosting.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

  • 4 tbsp Melted Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2  cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I used Ghiradelli Brand)
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate melted (I used Ghiradelli 70% Cacao Bar)
  • 3 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp Milk (I used skim plus)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1. In a large bowl combine melted butter and cocoa. Add the melted chocolate. Mix well until lumps are smooth. Using a hand mixer beat in confectioner’s sugar and 2-3 tbsp of milk. Beat until thick and creamy- I like my frosting really thick because it’s easier to pipe that way. However, you can add more or less milk depending on your desired consistency.

2. Place frosting into a piping bag with a medium round tip, or cut off a small corner of a big ziplock bag. Pipe into swirls on the cooled cupcakes. Top with a generous amount of sweetened coconut and serve!

Makes about 2 cups

Like Cupcakes? Try These!

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cupcakes

Vanilla-Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberries

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Walrus Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Devil's Food Cake With Vanilla Icing

Image by SimplyAvoir via Flickr

I recently was gifted the recipe book– ‘What’s New Cupcake?’ by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Let me just say this is probably my new favorite cookbook! Every cupcake is like a cartoon! Bears, race cars, golf course- you name it, it’s a cupcake! The first one to catch my eye was the Walrus!

I think walruses are cute in generally- so lazy and blubbery and CUTE!! And these cupcakes looked just like that! I attempted to re-create them. They weren’t difficult to make, but I will say that you need to allocate a couple of hours for the whole process. The recipe called for boxed Devil’s food cake and canned frosting. But, the foodie in me decided to make everything from scratch!

Chocolate Cupcake:

I used my Snowy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe- just doubled all the ingredients (except increase 1/4 cup Buttermilk to 1 cup.)

Dark Chocolate Frosting:

I used my Dark Chocolate Frosting Recipe– can be doubled if you desire more frosting, but these measurements sufficed.

  • 2-3 cups of frosting

Topping:

  • thin chocolate wafers- i used 100 chocolate wafers (that’s the only thing they had at the grocery store!)
  • 12 glazed doughnut holes (I used Entemann’s Pop-Em’s)
  • white nonpareils
  • 4-6 marshmallows
  • chocolate covered black sunflower seeds (or mini brown m&m’s)
  • chocolate sprinkles (jimmies)

Process:

1. Using an off-set spatula mound about 2-3 tbsp of the frosting on each cooled cupcake. Spread evenly. Place the doughnut hole towards the edge of one side of the cupcake. Place the cupcakes in the freezer for about 20 minutes to set.

2. While the cupcakes are freezing cut the marshmallows in half diagonally, then cut again diagnally, to produce 4 corners. Cut each corner in half to produce spikey tusk. Shape as necessary in order to resemble tusks.

3. Cut each wafer in half- 2 halves for fins, and one for a tail. Take the remaining wafers and crush in a ziplock bag using a rolling pin, or pulse in a food processor until finely ground. Pour into a shallow bowl.

4. Using the off-set spatula use about a 1/3 of the remaining frosting to completely coat the donut hole and any gaps that remain. You want the cupcake to be nicely coated in frosting, with no gaps or bare donut showing.

Carefully dip the cupcake into the cookie crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the frosting to stick. You want it to completely coat the cupcakes and start to resemble the shape of a walrus.

5. Place the remaining frosting in a ziplock bag and cut the corner about 1/8 an inch. Pipe two small circles on the head portion for the snout. Carefully place the tusks, topping with a bit more frosting to stick. Dip your finger in water and then in the white nonpareils and place on the frosting snouts.

Place a black sunflower seed sideways in the middle of the frosting snout- this is the nose. Take one chocolate sprinkle, dip into a little bit of the frosting and place above the snout as the eyes. Place some frosting on the edge of the chocolate wafers and place as the flippers- 1 on each side and one horizontally on the back.

6. Refrigerate so the frosting sets. Before serving, remove form the fridge serve at room temperature.

Makes 12 Walruses

Like Chocolate Desserts? Check these Out!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate-Rasberry Frosting

Mini Spiced Apple Tartlets w. Chocolate

Rose Infused Red Velvet Cake Pops

Peppermint Bark


 

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Carrot Cake Balls, perfect for Easter Treats

Carrot cake in pan

Image via Wikipedia

Carrot Cake Ball

I bake desserts all the time. I try to make sure we have something home-baked and sweet in our refrigerator for every week. It’s comforting after a long day at work, I can come home, whip up a quick dinner, and still have a home-baked dessert to finish the meal.

One of Hubby’s favorite desserts is carrot cake. Carrot cake is something I rarely make from scratch. Why? Because I hate grating the carrots. If I had a food processor, I’d use that, but despite how much I bake and cook, I don’t own a food processor. Or a heavy duty mixer. I either hand-knead bread, use a whisk to whip cake batter, or sometimes a very old, somewhat functioning hand mixer. Someday, I’ll have a shiny new food processor and mixer, but I’m not counting the days since it may not be until I’m too old and weak to hand-knead bread ;-)

Back to the cake balls. I found a Duncan Hines carrot cake mix that has dehydrated carrots and raisins that you rehydrate, not “carrot flavored pieces” like other cake mixes. So, I bought a box and carrot cake balls were quick to follow.

CARROT CAKE BALLS:

  • Preheat oven according to cake package directions.
  • Line a baking pan with foil leaving some hang over, grease and flour, and set aside.
  • Make 1 box Duncan Hines Classic Carrot Cake Mix according to package directions and bake according to package directions depending on the type of pan you are using. – FYI, this is one of the best cake mixes I’ve ever tasted, which means I may never even consider making carrot cake from scratch. A little sweeter than I’m used to for a cake, but so moist and flavorful.
  • Once cooked through, use foil to remove cake from pan and cool on wire rack.
  • Once completely cooled, use your hands or a food processor to break the cake into fine crumbs.
  • Slowly add cream cheese frosting to the crumbs and mix thoroughly until the crumbs stick together. I never measure the frosting, just use however much it takes to form a “dough” with the crumbs. I had leftover homemade cream cheese frosting (recipe below) that I used.
  • Pinch about a tablespoon-sized portion of the crumb/frosting mixture and roll between palms of hands to form a ball; place on parchment paper, and repeat until all crumb/frosting mixture has been used. I got about 65 cake balls from one box of cake mix.
  • Melt 1 package of Ambrosia brand white candy coating, or any white coating chocolate.
  • Dip cake balls one at a time into the candy coating, cover completely, set on parchment paper to dry, and top with desired sprinkles.
  • Once the coating is cooled, use a fine-tipped knife to cut away any excess coating that spread away from the cake ball to form a clean ball shape.
  • I store mine in gallon-sized plastic bags in the refrigerator. To serve to guests, place in mini cupcake papers.

TIP: I melt half the package of candy coating at a time so that it doesn’t cool too much and become stiff before I get to all the cake balls. I only had green sprinkles, though I wished I had orange for the carrot cake.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • Mix 1 8-ounce package lower fat cream cheese with 1/4 cup Earth Balance Margarine with a hand mixer until soft and combined.
  • Add 2 cups powdered sugar and mix thoroughly, adding more sugar as needed.
  • Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and mix until combined.

Cut Carrot Cake Ball

YUM, YUM, YUM! I took some to work and passed one out to each of my immediate co-workers to share a little carrot goodness. You should definitely make these for Easter and find some fancy sprinkles to dress them up.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

Source: http://gourmetmemoirs.com/2011/03/22/carrot-cake-balls-perfect-for-easter-treats/

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Candy, Sweets

 

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Raspberry Trifle Cake Recipe

Ten days ago (that would be 8 March 2011) was a very auspicious day.  It was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (go us!), and it was also Pancake Tuesday/Mardi Gras.  AND.  And.  It was my birthday.  I turned TWENTY-NINE.  Holy smokes.  That’s a prime number.

In honour of the occasion (and because I need to perfect my fondant for Chel‘s wedding cake in June), I made my own birthday cake.

This is very loosely based on a cupcake the Pie and I made for our ownwedding back in August 2009.  The cupcake itself came from Susannah Blake’s Cupcake Heaven, but I think I’ve sufficiently changed this so I can call this recipe all my own.

Some of this stuff you can do ahead of time, like the fondant and the buttercream icing, and just put them in the fridge until you need them.

For the Cake:

Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter two 8″ round baking pans.  Line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper and butter those too.
Beat together 1 cup butter, softened, and 1 cup granulated sugar, until pale and fluffy.
Add in 4 eggs, one at a time, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Sift in 2 cups self-rising flour (or 2 cups all-purpose flour and 3 teaspoons baking powder) and fold it in.
Fold in 2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed and drained.  Save about half a cup of the juice you’ve drained off for your icing.  You could use fresh raspberries if you’ve got them but it seems kind of a waste if you’re just squishing them into batter. 
Spoon the batter into your prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes, until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove the pans to racks to cool completely.

For the Fondant:

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip together 3 teaspoons vanilla1 cup butter, softened but not melted, and 1 cup corn syrup.  If you want your fondant to be white, use the light corn syrup, as the dark stuff I used gave the fondant a creamy complexion.

When the mixture is creamy and fluffy, reduce the speed to low and add 1kg icing sugar, a bit at a time.  If you do it all at once, or if you do it on high, you will get a mushroom cloud of icing sugar everywhere.

And it might even get on your dog.

When it is all incorporated, you will have a large doughy mass. 

Tip it out onto some waxed paper and knead it into a ball. If your dough is too tacky you might find that you want to add more icing sugar.  To do this simply dust a work surface with icing sugar and knead it in.

When the dough has reached the consistency that you are happy with (i.e., not sticky, but not so dry that it cracks), then you can colour it.   It helps to wear gloves for this part.

Spread a few drops of food colouring over your dough and knead them in until the colour is uniform. 

It will take a while to get it the colour you want it.

I was aiming for a pale pink but because of the yellowish tinge due to the dark corn syrup it came out more flesh coloured.  Or at least, MY flesh colour.

I pulled off an extra bit of the newly coloured dough here and added extra food colouring so it was a darker pink than the rest. 

I will use this for the decoration part.

When you have kneaded to your satisfaction, wrap the dough tightly in waxed paper and seal it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you need it.

For the Buttercream Icing:

In a stand mixer, whip 2 cups softened butter until pale and fluffy.  

Beat in 2 cups icing sugar until you get soft peaks.

Add in 4 tablespoons raspberry jam.

And that 1/2 cup reserved raspberry juice

Mix well.  It may be slightly grainy, but that’s okay for our purposes.

Plop the icing in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

To Decorate:

Remove the icing and the fondant from the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature.

Tip out the cakes and peel off the parchment paper.

Slice off the round top of each cake, if you care about such things.  I didn’t, because I wanted the top to be rounded slightly, and so I flipped one cake upside down and put the two flat sides together.  Cut each cake in half horizontally.

I am spreading raspberry jam here in the centre, with custard on the bottom and top-most layers.  I did not make the jam or the custard myself.  I suppose you could create some form of preserve with fresh raspberries, but at this point I think I’ve done enough. I tried to make custard by hand, but I messed it up twice and that’s my limit on egg-wasting.  I suppose you could use pudding if you like, but I didn’t have any on hand.
So here’s the custard.
And here’s the jam.
Then there’s another custard layer.
Don’t go all the way to the edges, because the cake’s weight will force the filling out and down the sides.

Spread a crumb coat of buttercream on your cake (just a thin layer to trap the crumbs) and place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutesuntil the icing has set.  Remove the cake from the refrigerator and use the remaining buttercream to smooth out the surface.  Chuck it in the refrigerator again until the second layer of icing is set.

While the cake is chilling, roll out your fondant on a surface dusted with icing sugar or corn starch.  You will want to roll it to about 1/4″ thick.  Any thinner and you will be able to see the flaws in the cake through it.  Any thicker and you will have trouble stretching it properly.  Make sure to take off your rings and watches while you do this so you don’t mar the fondant surface.

To determine the surface area you will be covering, measure the height and width of your cake.  You will need to create a round surface of fondant that is a diameter of twice the height plus the width of your cake.

Gently lift the flattened fondant over your rolling pin and use it as a lever to help you lay the fondant over your chilled cake.  I found that approach didn’t work for me, and I had to try several different methods before I found one that worked.  I rolled it out over waxed paper and used the waxed paper to do the transfer.  The only problem is that my waxed paper was too narrow and I had to double it, which resulted in it leaving a line on the fondant.  I will have to find some industrial-width waxed paper for next time.

Using your hands, gently lift and press the fondant into the sides of your cake after smoothing the top.  Don’t pull on the fondant or it will crack — lift instead and flatten out the wrinkles with the palm of your hand.  It may seem counter-intuitive, but you’ll see what I mean when you do it.  Notice the strong colour resemblance between my hand hand the fondant?  Yes, I am pale and pasty and spring can’t come soon enough.

Trim off excess fondant at the base of the cake.  Otherwise you will have a cake that resembles a demented jellyfish.  Or some bizarre prehistoric alien life form that may slowly yet inexorably expand, engulfing your family, your house, and then the entire planet.  THE THING THAT TIME FORGOT.

So yeah, you want to trim that sucker.

There are such things as fondant smoothers that you can use to even out the fondant surface.  I didn’t have one, so I used a flat-sided plastic cup.  And that excess icing sugar or corn starch on the surface?  Don’t worry about it.  It will either come off by itself in the course of you smoothing and shaping, or you can wipe it off with a wet finger.It’s far from perfect, but quite impressive for a first attempt, if I do say so myself.

Here I have rolled out the darker fondant onto a sheet of waxed paper and traced on it a design.

Cut out the design with a sharp knife and pull off the excess, leaving the design on the waxed paper.

Lightly brush the top of the fondant pieces with water.

Carefully roll the design on the paper face down on top of the cake and press down lightly.

I took a deep breath after I’d done this.

Even more carefully, peel off the waxed paper, leaving your design on the cake.  Smooth the sharp edges with your fingers.

You can also freehand other elements out of the leftover fondant, as you see I did here.  You can also store the scraps in the fridge in an airtight container, just in case you want them for something else later.

Chill the cake to harden the fondant before serving.  Then eat as much of it as you can handle.

I would definitely recommend storing this cake in the refrigerator and eating it within a few days of making it.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Baking, Dessert, Fruit, Sweets

 

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Betty’s St. Patrick’s Day Grasshopper Pie

In this video, Betty demonstrates how to make St. Patrick’s Day Grasshopper Pie. The only connection this pie has to St. Patrick’s Day is that it is a gorgeous green color. The pie is made of marshmallows, crème de menthe, crème de cacao, and whipped cream. It is served in a Chocolate Crumb Pie Crust and garnished with sweetened whipped cream, chocolate curls, and green maraschino cherries.

Ingredients:

1 baked Chocolate Crumb Pie Crust (You will find a recipe for this in bettyskitchen. If you prefer, you may use a ready-made chocolate pie crust.)
32 large marshmallows
2/3 cup milk
¼ cup crème de menthe (You may substitute 1 tablespoon mint flavoring for a non-alcoholic version.)
3 tablespoons white (clear) crème de cacao—or crème de cocoa (You may substitute 2 teaspoons white chocolate flavoring for a non-alcoholic version. If you cannot find white, the color of the chocolate flavoring will darken the coloring of the finished pie.)
1 ½ cups chilled whipping cream
½ cup additional chilled whipping cream
small amount of confectioner’s sugar
dark chocolate curls or shavings (You will find a Quick Tip on making chocolate curls in bettyskitchen.)
green maraschino cherries

Heat 32 marshmallows with 2/3 cup milk in a saucepan over low to medium heat, stirring constantly until marshmallows are melted. Reduce heat if the sauce begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, and continue to stir continuously. (If the sauce sticks to the saucepan, it will brown slightly, causing small brown flecks in your pie mixture.) Chill sauce until thickened. Blend in ¼ cup crème de menthe and 3 tablespoons white (clear) crème de cacao. Use a mixer to beat 1 ½ cup whipping cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into marshmallow mixture. Pour into baked chocolate crumb crust. With a mixer, beat ½ cup whipping cream until stiff. Add confectioner’s sugar, to taste. Place dollops of sweetened whipped cream evenly in a pattern on top of pie. Sprinkle chocolate curls or shavings on top of the whipped cream (or over the entire top of the pie). Place a green maraschino cherry on top of each dollop of whipped cream. Place pie in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or more), so that it will become firm. Cut individual slices and place them on nice dessert plates. This is a showy, dramatic dessert that tastes wonderful, and it allows you to have something green for dessert on Saint Patrick’s Day! I hope you enjoy this St. Patrick’s Day Grasshopper Pie! Love, Betty ♥♥♥♥♥

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Betty's Kitchen

 

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