Month: March 2010

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

Sometimes simple is better. A simple vanilla cupcake paired with simple buttercream frosting. Of course, no cupcake would be complete without a ton of sprinkles!

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe Source: Billy’s Bakery
Print Recipe

1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature.

The Repressed Pastry Chef: Buttercream Icing
Recipe source:

1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract**
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
4-6 tablespoons very cold milk

**the CLEAR extract is very important if you want WHITE buttercream. Most buttercream tends to have a yellow-ish tint if you use real vanilla extract.

1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer.
2. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well.
3. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition.
4. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.

Guinness Brownies

I had some Guinness leftover from last week’s Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, so I decided to make brownies! Thank you to Kate for the recipe. :)

Guinness Brownies
Recipe Source: Kate Gilson
Print Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup Guinness Stout beer, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick foil (or regular foil coated with nonstick spray); or, use a nonstick pan coated well with nonstick spray.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt; set aside.
4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave: In a medium glass bowl, or other microwave-safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate, white chocolate and butter. Microwave on medium power for 45 seconds and stir. Continue microwaving and stirring at 30 second intervals, reducing to 15 second intervals as the chocolate is nearly melted. Stop just when the chocolate is smooth (all microwaves are different, so take care not to burn it). Set aside. (I used a double-boiler – I think it’s a much easier way to melt the chocolate consistently without burning)
5. Combine the eggs and sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and mix on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
6. Add melted chocolate in two additions, beating on medium speed until combined.
7. Add flour mixture in two additions, beating on medium speed until combined.
8. Add one-third of the Guinness and whisk until combined. Repeat two more times with remaining Guinness.
9. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan, cut into 24 squares and serve.

Peeps Sunflower Cake

Ah, Peeps. You either love them or hate them. I tend to lean more toward the side of hating them, but each and every spring I buy a box and eat a few of the fluffy little marshmallow animals. They remind me of my childhood and the Easter baskets I used to run around the house trying to find.

Since today is the first day of spring, I thought I’d post the cute and EASY sunflower Peep cake that I made. I think cakes are notoriously tedious – they can be tough to make entirely from scratch and decorating them is usually fun, but so time consuming. This cake is different – so easy and fast to make!

Peeps Sunflower Cake
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix, your choice (plus the ingredients for the mix, such as eggs and vegetable oil)
16-18 yellow Peeps
Chocolate chips
Mini chocolate chips
Chocolate frosting (store-brought or you can make your own)

1. Make the cake according to the box directions and frost with chocolate frosting.
2. Place the yellow Peeps around the outside edge of the cake.
3. Fill the center with chocolate chips – using more mini-chips as you get toward the center of the cake.

That’s it! An easy and adorable spring cake!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day is mere hours away – the day where we all get to be Irish, eat corned beef, and maybe even drink green beer. And this year, I can eat Irish Car Bombs in cupcake form. Enjoy the sugar high and not the hangover :)

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen
Print Recipe

1 cup Guinness
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 tea. salt in large bowl to blend.
4. In another bowl, beat eggs and sour cream together with an electric mixer.
5. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine.
6. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
7. Fill the lined cupcake pans 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. Bake 17 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack.

Ganache Filling
4 oz. bittersweet baker’s chocolate
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon Irish Whiskey

1. Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heat-proof bowl.
2. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute and then stir until smooth. This should sufficiently melt the chocolate — if not, use the microwave to help things along.
3. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.
4. Let the ganache cool and thicken. Meanwhile, using a knife, cut out 1-inch circles in the cupcakes. Remove the centers of the cake, going about 2/3 of the way down into the cupcake.
5. Put the ganache in a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Bailey’s

1. Cream the butter with an electric mixer.
2. Gradually add the powdered sugar
3. Add the desired amount of Bailey’s (or milk, if you don’t like Baileys) to the frosting to make it a little creamier.
4. Ice the cupcakes and decorate.

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies

Mmmmm mint chips. It took A LOT of willpower not to eat that entire bowl of mint chips – especially given how stressed out I am with school! But I persevered… the chips were used for these delicious cookies. Which I may or may not have eaten about 8 of in one day. They taste a little bit like mint Oreos – dark chocolate, rich, and deliciously minty.

The only downside, however, is that they are the world’s ugliest cookie…

See, I told you so. But trust me, they taste SO GOOD!

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies
Recipe source: Two Peas & Their Pod
Print Recipe

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa (make sure to use dutch process for a rich/dark flavor)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 bag of mint chips (I used a bag and a half… cause the more mint the better, in my opinion!)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, and set aside.
3. Beat the butter on medium-high until light and add sugars, creaming well.
4. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth.
5. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well.
6. Stir in the mint chips.
7. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes. (You can make the dough a few hours or 2 days before baking and it will be fine. Just wrap it up and keep in the fridge.)
8. Scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet, press down on them slightly, and bake for 14-15 minutes.
9. Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet, they will set as they cool.  Cookies will stay fresh for 2 days in an air-tight container.