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.)