Month: July 2012

Teya’s Rainbow Cake

Creating this cake resulted in a comedy of errors. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Teya turned two years old earlier this month and she is obsessed with Barney. I foolishly thought that Barney had gone out of style in the late 90s but I was wrong! I couldn’t find a Barney cake pan or ANYTHING relating to Barney to help me make a cake. I decided to switch gears and just make a cake with green and purple accents.

I also thought to myself: what design is every little girl guaranteed to like? A RAINBOW! The cake is a 10″ square with two layers of white cake – one was dyed green and the other was dyed purple (I couldn’t snap a photo because I wasn’t around for the cake cutting).

In addition to not being able to carry out the Barney theme, other steps went wrong as well. One of the cake layers broke in half. My purple fondant was dried out and unusable (I will NEVER buy Wilton fondant again). I lost some of my pastry tips. It was just one thing after another, but I think it turned out to be a pretty cute cake!

Cinnamon Churro Chex Mix

Oh my oh my, have you guys tried Hershey’s cinnamon baking chips? They are so, so good! I found this recipe for cinnamon churro Chex mix on Pinterest and thought it was intriguing enough to try. As I have mentioned before on this blog, puppy chow is one of my all-time favorite treats, so I knew this recipe would be a hit for me. It’s just as easy to make as regular puppy chow — maybe even easier because you don’t have to blend and melt any peanut butter or chocolate.

Cinnamon Churro Chex Mix
Recipe source: Just Another Day in Paradise
Print Recipe

9 cups rice Chex cereal
3 cups cinnamon chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar (I used more powdered sugar… just a personal preference!)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Pour Chex cereal into a bowl. Set aside. Combine sugars and cinnamon in another small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a microwavable bowl, melt the cinnamon chips. Heat for 1 minute then stir. Heat for an additional 30 seconds. Stir. Continue with additional 30 seconds until completely melted. Pour melted cinnamon chips over the cereal. Stir until cereal is well coated.
3. Transfer the coated cereal to a Ziploc bag. Pour in the sugar + cinnamon mixture and toss to coat. If you find that you want more powdered sugar, just add more to your liking.

Marble Bundt Cake

I’m going to be 100% honest with you. The original intent behind this post was to make a zebra cake. I tried… and the end result didn’t look one bit zebra-like. It turned out to be a marble cake. I’m still not quite sure where I went wrong with the zebra-izing process (any suggestions, dear readers?). But I’m sharing this cake for two reasons 1) it was delicious and 2) I think it’s important for food bloggers to show something that doesn’t go perfectly. It’s too easy to believe that we’re all baking amazing things! All the time! Never failing!

So not true!

If you’ve got any advice on how to make a kick-ass zebra cake, let me know. I’m welcome to suggestions! Instead, enjoy this recipe for a marble Bundt cake. It was so, so delicious.

Marble Bundt Cake
Recipe source: Baker’s Royale
Print Recipe

3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
6 tablespoons water
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tub store-bought chocolate frosting (for the glaze)

1. Sift flour baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.
2. In a separate medium size bowl add in 1/2 cup of sugar, the cocoa powder, and water then whisk until mixture is smooth; set aside.
3. Place melted butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium high until mixture is blended, about 1 minute. Add in vanilla and beat until combined. Add and beat eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition. Once all eggs are added, beat mixture until it becomes light and fluffy (it will resemble pancake batter, but slightly thinner).
4. Turn mixer speed down to low and add the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions and mixing just until blended.
5. Add 2 cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, pour two scoops of vanilla mixture into pan. Now alternate and pour one scoop of chocolate mixture on top of vanilla mixture. Continue to alternate between vanilla and chocolate layers until bundt pan is filled. [clearly something went wrong in this step for me!]
7. Bake zebra pound cake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.
8. Once cooled and on a cake stand, prepare the glaze. I microwaved the store-bought icing for 10 second increments until the frosting was smooth and pourable (don’t over-do it though, you want to avoid having a soupy glaze). Pour the chocolate frosting over the cake & enjoy!

Sadly, not zebra-esque. Chocolate on the outside, vanilla on the inside. Damn tasty though..

Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes

All I can think of when I see these cupcakes is the moment, during the process of making them, when I dropped an entire jar of maraschino cherries on the floor of my kitchen. Cherries… lost. Kitchen floor… forever sticky. I mean, really, do you know how are it is to un-stick maraschino cherry juice?! I think I washed the floor 4 times. But these cupcakes were worth it. And yes, I used another jar of cherries instead of using those that fell on the floor.

Once I recovered from my cherry-spilling disaster, I had yet another accident. When removing the cupcakes from the oven, I dropped the pan. My klutz gene must have been turned on high that day. Luckily the cupcakes spilled into the oven and not onto the floor. But yikes! Some of them didn’t survive and most got a few more brown edges than they would have had otherwise.

All of those comical setbacks aside, I’m a big fan of all things cherry – especially sour cherries (but more on those later in the summer). Maraschino cherries always remind me of being a kid and ordering Kiddie Cocktails (with double the cherries, please!). The flavor combination of cherries and almond is really great, so give these a try.

Cherry-Almond Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe source: Better Homes & Gardens
Print Recipe

1/2 cup butter
4 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
12 maraschino cherries, halved
Maraschino cherries with stems (for garnish; optional)

Cherry-Almond Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice or milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Allow butter and egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line twenty-four 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups (or coat with cooking spray). In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup combine buttermilk and cherry juice; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and almond extract; beat until combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups. Press a cherry half into batter in each cup.
4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. Make the icing: In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in maraschino cherry juice and almond extract. Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar. If necessary, beat in additional juice or milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until frosting reaches spreading consistency.
6. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe icing over tops of cupcakes. If desired, top with cherries. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Blue Sky Cupcakes

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad. Well O-M-G… the show is back on Sunday evening for season 5! Sadly, it will be the show’s last season and I’m already missing Jesse Pinkman… and Marie’s obsession with all things purple… and Walter Jr’s love of breakfast foods.

For those that don’t know anything about the show, I’ll give you a brief, spoiler-free recap. The show is about Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who develops lung cancer. He turns to making methamphetamine so he can pay his medical bills. Walter enters the drug world and shit goes wrong. That just about sums up the show.

But why the blue rock candy? Walter’s special recipe for meth results in a product nicknamed Blue Sky. Blue Sky has it’s own wiki page, if you want to learn more. So I decided to make these cupcakes in celebration of Breaking Bad’s return to Sunday night television. It’s a fantastic show.

Blue Sky Cupcakes
Recipe sources: Sweet Peony Blog & My Baking Addiction
Print Recipe

2-1/4 cups cake flour (spooned & leveled to measure)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise & seeds scraped out)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and egg whites. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds at medium-high until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the wet ingredients in two batches and mixing just until incorporated.
5. Scrape down the bowl, then increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes to ensure proper aeration.
6. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with vanilla bean buttercream (recipe below) and decorate as desired.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened but cool
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise & seeds scraped out)
5-1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (to help maintain bright white color)
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and vanilla beans on medium-high until fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Add in vanilla and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk, blending until moistened. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat frosting for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add additional heavy cream or milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is to thin, add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it thickens.