Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

What do you do when you have over ripe bananas staring at you from across your counter?  The obvious choice would be, make banana bread.  But I've been there, done that.  I love the idea of searching for new recipes, and low and behold this one popped up on my radar while searching on my favorite pin board site, yes, Pinterest.  That place my friends, is amazing.  Not only can I organize my um obsession with food blogs, but I can keep track of all the yummy recipes I want to try.  My padre asked me once if I actually try the recipes I pin, and yes, yes, folks, I do.  Here is one I highly recommend.  I changed the recipe somewhat, and used almond milk instead of coconut milk.  I also left out the cinnamon. Switched the frosting as well.  I like chocolate frosting, but my kids love peanut butter frosting right now.  And who doesn't like a peanut butter, banana sandwiches with chocolate chips?  Never tried it?  you should.

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes the original recipe can be found here

1 cup almond milk (I'm pretty sure you can use milk too)
1 cup mashed banana, about 2 overripe bananas
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (opt)

preheat your oven to 350 and prepare your muffin tins with cupcake liners.  In a bowl, combine almond milk, banana, oil, sugar and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine.  In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk until combined.  Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.  Slowly stir, incorporating the wet with the dry and mix until just combined.  Place in your cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Let cool and then frost.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups powder sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream or milk
Cream the butter in your mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter and cream until combined.  Scrape down sides.  Add the powder sugar slowly, (unless you want to look like a snowman) and then increase speed, let the mixer run for about 2-3 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy again.  Add the vanilla and whip cream, or milk.  Continue to mix for about 2 more minutes.  Place in a piping bag fitted with your desire tip and frost your cupcakes.  Sprinkle with chopped salted peanuts if desired.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Cake Order

A good friend of mine asked me last weekend if I would make a cake for her parents in law's 50th wedding anniversary.  I jumped at the chance to make a cake.  And then received the news that he had dietary needs.  No dairy.  Okay, that was doable, I hoped.  The cake part, was easy.  And in the next post, I will sharing a very yummy, very moist, and delicious chocolate cake that is dairy free.  But the frosting.  That my friends is another story.  I love me my butter cream.  I could eat butter cream all day.  I thought maybe I could try Italian butter cream...yeah, i should have realized that it um, has butter in it?  So, the next step was finding something that would work.   So, plan B.  Seven Minute Frosting.  I made several batches of seven minute frosting in the past week.  each time the sugar was grainy and not smooth.  I don't know what i was doing wrong.  I have never had that problem before.  But too my complete frustration, grainy sugar kept appearing.  So..I added powdered sugar instead.  And SUCCESS.  Who knew?  Apparently, I did.  Things that I learned this week though:

1) I don't make two tier cakes, this was my first attempt.  I was stressed about this cake, the entire week.  Which equaled one night where I woke up at 2 AM thinking about this cake, and couldn't go back to sleep. Almost my entire week was consumed with thoughts about this cake. I don't make fancy cakes.  Read that.  I don't make fancy cakes.

2)  I really don't know what I'm doing..I have a lot of learning still to do.

3)  There is a reason I like making cupcakes. They are small, not very complicated and they forgive me with one bite if I mess up.

4).  Seven Minute Frosting is fluffy, pretty and white.  I love it.  It however doesn't like gravity.  But seriously, make a chocolate cake, like, four layers, layer that baby with seven minute frosting and slather it all over it honey.  Oh MY GOODNESS.

5) should have started at the bottom of the cake when decorating.  it would have made my headache  ease up a lot sooner. But here is the end result.  I needed more frosting.  But after making four rounds of the seven minute frosting, I was sort of done.  See, cupcake kind of gal here.

All in all, though, the cake turned out pretty.  i needed like five more rounds of practice I think before I would be completely happy with it.  I am sort of a perfectionist when it comes to my cake making..which when you think about it, is rather odd, considering I don't usually make cake.   and all previous attempts haven't been the greatest in the past...rewind to the Mario Cake, or the Fire Truck..or Sariah's Cat cake..see, so um.  Cupcakes, yes, cupcakes are my first love ladies.  Want to order some cupcakes?  I could use the cash......

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Seven Minute Frosting

I was asked to make a celebration cake for a 50th wedding anniversary.  I am testing out recipes this week. My family should feel very blessed, and my waist line, well, maybe I'll see my toes again one day.  The thing about my very first cake order, (I'll pretend I am not nervous in the least) is that this couple has dietry needs. I have to make a dairy free cake.  GASP.  Is there such a thing as dairy free cake?  I am all about the butter, ladies.  Slather me up and call me Bessie.  I love me some butter.  So, I have to wonder, would a dairy free cake even work?  I have this week to test the cakes out.  My first attempt, well, the end product was alright, but a little too rustic for my needs.  So, second attempt and I might just never go back to my old stand by vanilla.  Double GASP.

I found this recipe somewhere on the web.  It was late, I think I just started typing in dairy free cakes and hit upon this website.  The cake just came out of the oven.  I would recommend trying this recipe.  If you are interested in cooking vegan, I think this would be a great addition to your recipe book, or if you are like me and just need an alternative to butter add this to your recipe book.  For those times when you have run out of butter and you are dying for a cupcake!  (trust me, we all have those days)

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. All purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cup Soy Milk (I used unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk)
1 Tbsp. Cider Vinegar (I used White Vinegar)
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare baking pans if using or prepare your cupcake tins. In a bowl, add flour, baking powder and soda, salt and sugar.  Whisk together really well until all ingredients are incorporated.  Add soy milk, vinegar, canola oil, and vanilla and whisk together until the batter is very smooth.  Place in prepared pans or cupcake liners and bake in the oven.  25-30 minutes for cake, or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes, or until the cake bounces bake when lightly touched.  Let cool slightly in the pan and then let cool all the way on a wire rack.  Frost and serve.

You are welcome.  (pictures will be forthcoming...it's late and I haven't made frosting yet. Sue me, it's Father's Day.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

How many ways can you make a chocolate chip cookie?  I was surprised by how many recipes there are.  Thanks for my slight obsession with pinterest, I have tried a few.  This recipe is adapted from one I found on the blog, The Girl Who Ate Everything.  Which is a cute blog, and she has some amazing recipes on there.  I was drawn to this recipe because one, it used my new kitchen gadget, the food processor, and two, she used hard boiled eggs in the recipe instead of raw eggs.  And because my in laws love me, they gave me a 18 carton of boiled eggs.  All of the colored and all of the going bad in the fridge.  So, what better way to use them up then by making cookies?  I tried her recipe first, and I liked it.  The taste was a little off for me though.  I don't know if it was the hard boiled egg, or the vanilla.  But it just didn't seem exactly right.  I did however love the texture, it reminded me a little of a pastry.  Which, essentially, it is.  Because you start the recipe by making a basic dough like a pie crustt.  So, back to the good old drawing board I went.  I wanted to see if  could come up with something else that was similar but that I would like a little more.  It never hurts to try a new recipe.  And my kids weren't complaining.  It has been a while since I baked anything sweet.

For the hard boiled egg recipe, you can follow the link here

Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from the girl who ate everything.

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup coconut oil, solid form
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large raw eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

In your food processor (if you have one) mix together the flour and coconut oil until the dough comes together and makes a slight crumbly mixture.  Add the baking soda and salt mix until just incorporated.  Add the eggs, sugars, and vanilla and mix until the dough comes together.  Place chocolate chips in and stir with a spoon until the chips are well mixed with dough.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spray or line baking sheets with parchment.  Scoop out dough into balls, and flatten slightly on pan.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.  Let rest 1 minute on pan and then let cool on a wire rack.  These cookies do not spread.

I liked the coconut oil addition, and found that the raw versus hard boiled egg did not alter the recipe much.  The only issue with this adaption, was the coconut oil doesn't like a hot kitchen.  But you couldn't taste the coconut at all, it was very slight.  I loved the texture of this cookie.  It reminded me of a pie crust, just thicker and with chocolate chips!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes

I try really hard to be conscience of what I eat.  Sometimes I fail at this, (don't we all?) but for the most part I eat a healthy diet full of vegetables, some fruit, whole grains and little meat.  I also love to bake.  So, I bake.  And I don't feel too bad about it.  After all, I've compared my cupcake recipes with a Hostess cupcake, and seven ingredients versus, um, 38..well, baking a cupcake for my kid doesn't seem to be wrong.  My son wanted a Twinkies, of all things today at the store.  His grandpa loves them, he wanted one.  He was going to cry until he got one..but I told him that I would amke him cupcakes instead.  He wasn't thrilled, but once he tastes these, he might just forget about Twinkies.

This recipe was found at Chocolate and Carrots 

BB Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 12)

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cup
4 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
5 Tbsp coconut oil or unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

preheat oven to 350.  Line your muffin tin, and spray the paper lightly with cooking spray.  In a blender or food processor, blend together black beans, eggs, vanilla, and coconut oil or butter.  Blend until smooth.  Add the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.  Blend until well incorporated and smooth.  Fill your cupcakes.  Bake 25 minutes, let cool and frost.  I added a Cadbury egg to each cupcake before baking.  YUM>

I used my standard buttercream for the frosting.

Review:  I loved this recipe.  The cupcakes turned out great, and I didn't notice the black beans at all.  I'm wondering if there is a way to make this recipe completely dairy free...something I am willing to try.  I think you should try this, make it when your kids aren't home so they aren't grossed out by the beans.  :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

My husband loves chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  I love cupcakes.  It's a win-win combination in my opinion.  So, I know this cupcake idea has been around for a while, it isn't new.  I have made this combo before.  But I thought I would post it on my baking blog.

For the cupcake, use your favorite vanilla cake recipe, or a box mix, whatever you fancy.  I used my favorite recipe which is as follows:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla.
Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with paper cups. In a mixer, mix the butter alone for about 1 to 2 minutes, let it get light and airy. Add the sugar and this important, beat the sugar and butter together for 2-3 minutes. This will seriously help your cupcake out! (trial and error) Add the eggs one at a time, allowing the egg to mix for 30 seconds each time...again, this is an important step you don't want to miss! Add in the baking powder, and then gradually add in the flour and last, the milk. Seems a little weird..usually you alternate..but trust me, this recipe works! Add the vanilla, and mix until just blended...be careful not to over mix! (at this point, you could add chopped chocolate pieces in with this if you want a more intense chocolate flavor to your cookie dough palate.) Fill each cupcake paper with about 2 tablespoons of batter, or if you have a ice cream scoop, use that. I tend to under fill the liners, unless I have the large nut cup size Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake bounces back up if touched with your finger..let cool mean while....

Cookie Dough Filling:
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips..and sense I didn't have those on hand, I just chopped the chips I had into smaller bits..

Cream together the sugar and butter. Add in the flour and then the condensed milk with the vanilla. Mix in the chocolate. You can let the dough chill if you want too...I did not and am glad I went with my gut on this one...I will explain later....

Brown Sugar Buttercream
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1/4 cup or so of brown sugar
mix these together until the sugar is dissolved in the butter and then add:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or whip cream
1 tsp vanilla

mix until smooth, add more milk or cream if needed.  You want the frosting to be spreadable.  

To assemble your cupcakes, Cut a hole in each cupcake using a paring knife, I have also used the back end of a frosting tip..cut the excess cake off the top of your piece of cake you just cut. Fill a piping bag with the cookie dough filling..see, if it was chilled, it would be harder to work with, and I am all for easy steps! Place the top part of the piece of cake you cut back on the cupcake, hiding your filling, and then pipe on the buttercream, sprinkle with chocolate chips...sit back with a glass of milk and bite into heaven!!! :) Oh yeah, repeat the first couple of steps until all the cupcakes are done!