Archive | Cakes/Cupcakes RSS feed for this section

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Amazing Cupcakes

19 Jul

PBcupcakes7

When your BFF (Best Friend Forever – or at least for the past 15+years anyway) has a birthday, you go all out – especially when it comes to the dessert. Previous years have seen me making Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes and Rainbow Cake, but this year I had to go for her main love – PEANUT BUTTER. And what pairs better with it than CHOCOLATE? Nothing – the answer is nothing. It’s a match made in baking heaven

PBCupcakes1

I decided on Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes because we were going to one of those painting places (where you can bring wine, too!) and I knew I would want something easy to serve and that didn’t require cutting, or plates and forks. Oh – and I picked this recipe specifically because it featured Peanut Butter Cups INSIDE the cake – what a perfectly delicious surprise, right?

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes
(Recipe Courtesy Of Tastes Better From Scratch)

Ingredients
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
• 1 box chocolate cake mix
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 heaping Tbsp Greek yogurt
• 30 mini Reese’s cups , divided

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
-Line 2 regular muffin tins with cupcake liners
-Mix together the cake mix, milk, eggs, oil and Greek yogurt until smooth
-Spoon batter into cupcake pans, filling the liners 1/2 full
-Place a Reese’s PB cup into the center of the batter in each cup and gently press it down a little
-Bake cupcakes for 16-20 minutes or until done. Allow to cool completely before frosting

Some action shots of the baking process:

PBcupcakes2

PBcupcakes3

The peanut butter cups completely disappeared once baked – making them truly a surprise!

PBcupcakes4

So this came with an accompanying frosting recipe – but – I admit, I was completely UNsuccessful in getting it to work – which is why I didn’t include it here with my post. Seemed simple enough – peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, milk – so, I made it, and was wondering why it was so soupy/oily…then I tried to put it on the cupcakes and it just basically melted off – so I knew something had to be wrong. I followed the given amounts, but maybe I screwed something up along the way?? I was pretty confused – but luckily my husband was kind enough to give it a second go for me, and unfortunately, his results were even worse than mine!

PBCupcakes5

The super oily (and unusable) result of the frosting recipe provided with the cupcake recipe in the original link

Followed exactly, the frosting recipe provided in the above link just DOES NOT work – AT ALL. If you can get it to somehow come together and stay on the cake and not be gross – then kudos to you! But – since I was unable to get it together – literally – so I ended up googling peanut butter frosting recipes – and using the very first hit:

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
(Recipe Courtesy of All Recipes)
Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy

PBcupcakes6

Luckily – this one worked great on the first try (thank goodness – as I was running low on peanut butter at this point!) – and turned out exactly as promised – fluffy and smooth, sweet and amazing! I didn’t have time to pipe it on (since the extra batches put me just a bit behind schedule – oops!), so I slapped it on with my trusty offset spatula, and decided each one could do with another peanut butter cup – because – why not?

The overall taste was great – cake was moist and combined with the frosting was just perfect. Then the surprise of the peanut butter cup inside was great, too. A winner all around (once I found a better frosting recipe!), and my BFF loved it, too!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes = The Perfect Summer Birthday Treat!

15 Jul

When my BFF told me she wanted strawberry lemonade cupcakes for her 30th birthday cake – I was kind of surprised. I mean, I knew they existed, but it’s certainly not a “typical” birthday cake flavor – chocolate, vanilla, even red velvet – those tend to be the norm. But hey, it’s her birthday, and if she wants to try something new, I’m game!

So, I browsed the internet for a recipe (what did we do before Pinterest and Google? Seriously!), and got down to business!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (Recipe Courtesy of Eating On A Dime)

Ingredients
1 box White Cake Mix
1 box Strawberry Jell-O
2 tbsp Sweetened Lemonade mix
16 oz thawed package Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (or your could use FRESH strawberries when they are in season)
3 Eggs
⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
½ cup Butter
3 cup Powdered Sugar
⅓ cup Sweetened Lemonade mix
2 tbsp Water
Chewy Lemonheads candy (optional)

20160711_194157

Got all my ingredients – and I’m ready to bake!

 

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Stir together Cake mix, dry Jello and 2 tbsp lemonade mix
3. Puree strawberries
4. Add strawberries, eggs and vegetable oil to dry ingredients
5. Mix until smooth and blended
6. Place liners in cupcake pan and fill ⅔ full
7. Bake about 20 minutes
8. Allow to cool completely

20160711_193920

I don’t know about you – but I LOVE strawberries – and am stoked there are REAL strawberries in this cake recipe (instead of just like boxed strawberry cake mix or something)

20160711_194236

So pretty and pink!

20160711_194338

I can’t even describe to you how amazing this smelled while baking – the cake-y strawberry-y scent was great – and tempting – made me want to shove like 4 in my mouth immediately after they were done – but restraint was practiced – thankfully – since they would have burned my mouth anyway ha!

For Icing
1. Cream butter in a medium bowl
2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and ⅓ cup lemonade mix. Add water as needed, until everything is incorporated and frosting is right consistency
3. Transfer icing to piping bag or zippered bag and clip corner to pipe
4. Ice tops of each cupcake
5. Optional: dust with sparkling sugar and lemonhead (or a fresh lemon or candy lemon).

20160712_130303

20160712_130601

 

Just a few notes:
I doubled the frosting recipe as I was running out after I had frosted only half of them – and maybe I was a little extra generous with the frosting – but I am a HUGE frosting fan, and let’s be real – they are just prettier with more frosting! I also skipped the crushed candies and lemon garnish – they were way cute with just the straw!

20160713_205505

The Birthday girl really liked them – and I have to say, I really did too! The cake itself was moist, and had a great strawberry flavor, and the frosting – while a bit gritty from the lemonade mix, was still really good, was sweet but a bit sour too from the lemonade

20160713_205346

Everyone really liked them – including my men

(…of course, they like most baked goods, but still – I am glad they were well received!)

These would be perfect to bring along to a summer picnic – wouldn’t they look cute on the buffet line? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them – so much so that I might just make them again for fun!

“Better Than Sex Cake” – Weird Name, Delicious Dessert

28 Aug

A while back I made some insane Better Than Sex Chex Mix that was modeled after the infamous Better Than Sex Cake – and I realized that while I have gotten the chance to eat the cake before, I have never actually made it. Well – I decided that it was definitely time to change that!

In case you aren’t familiar with the “Better Than Sex Cake” – there are several recipes and variations out there, but the main idea is a base of chocolate cake that’s extra moist and sweet thanks to a drizzle of caramel, and then it’s topped with Heath bar bits, cool whip, and more caramel. Sounds good, right? Ok then – time to get started:

 

Better Than Sex Cake II (Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com)

Prep time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 30 min

 

Ingredients
-1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (plus required ingredients per cake preparation – eggs/water/oil)
-1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
-6 ounces caramel ice cream topping
-3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped
-1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

 

Directions
1. Bake cake according to package directions for a 9×13 inch pan; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom
2. In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour the warm topping mixture over the top of the warm cake, letting it sink into the slits; then sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm
3. Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with some more chocolate toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping. Refrigerate and serve right from the pan

 Cake Collage 1

This was easy to make, I mean, its basically a boxed cake mix with some snazzy extras – so pretty much anyone can do it!

Cake Collage 2

So much toffee – yum!

Cake CLoseup

Doesn’t this make your mouth water?

Cake Piece

I’m going to be honest with you – I do NOT love the name “Better Than Sex Cake” – because let’s be real – can a cake really be better than really good sex? Doubtful – but a cake CAN be easy to make, and taste delicious – which I would say this definitely succeeds at. You get the chocolate cake taste with a slight caramel kick to it, and its super moist, and the heath add just the right amount of crunch while the whipped topping gives it a creamy aspect too. I HIGHLY encourage you to bring it to your next picnic, girl’s night, work party, or just make it at home for you – a simply delicious indulgence awaits you!

This Rainbow Cake Will WOW Your Party Guests (PS – It’s EASY To Make Too!)

5 Aug

 

CakeCollage

The evolution of the rainbow swirl cake

You can’t have a birthday without some kind of cake – am I right? I mean, “cake” is loosely defined sometimes, as I have had birthday cookies, birthday cookie cake, birthday pie, birthday ice cream…ok so what I am saying is that the best way to celebrate turning another year older is with sugar. Lots and lots of it. And cake is the traditional choice – and with so many ways to make it, there’s no reason why you have to stick to the same old thing year after year

20140712_184752

My best friend turned 28 this year – and it’s hard to believe we have been friends for over 13 years! I always like to make her a cake for her birthday, and this year she requested a “rainbow cake”. Now, there are several ways to go about this, including making a huge layer cake with 6 different colored layers. While that would have been impressive, I knew I probably didn’t have it in me – precision is so NOT my thing. So I opted for the “rainbow swirl” cake – seemed simple enough

20140805_080625

I started with your basic boxed white cake mix, and divided it up evenly into 6 bowls, adding food coloring to each to make purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. It took some time to get the colors right – and some arm power to mix them all up too!

20140805_080658

Then it was time prepare the two cake layers – which I did by taking a ¼ cup measuring cup and scooping one of each color into each cake pan. Once I had all the colors in there, I carefully swirled them together with a butter knife – being careful not to overswirl. The ready to bake and baked versions looked pretty good to me, but I couldn’t wait until birthday time to cut into them and see how the rainbow turned out!

20140712_192902

Here’s the birthday girl with her decorated cake – I used my favorite Crisco frosting recipe and had a little decorating help from my husband – didn’t he do a great job?

20140805_075820

It turned out pretty awesome – and it really wasn’t much more work than just baking a regular cake from a cake mix. You could use colored cakes in a lot of ways – check out these other “surprise” cake ideas, and bake up something colorful and fun for your next birthday celebration!

Birthday Baking – Chocolate Cake Gets A Special Surprise Center

19 Jan

There are few things I love more than celebrating birthdays – and my husband’s 27th birthday was no exception! I was thrilled that he would finally be joining me and we would both be in our “late 20’s”, and I couldn’t wait to lavish him with presents, dinner and a party, and of course- BIRTHDAY CAKE!

I started with my Go-To Chocolate Cake Recipe, which has sour cream in the batter to make it extra moist
image
This cake is delicious, and pretty versatile too – which means there is some room for some experimentation…hmm…luckily, I knew just the thing to get my creative juices flowing

The_Dollop_Book_of_Frosting_thumb

This book of mouth-watering frostings is written by Heather Saffer – who is actually local to Rochester NY where I live, and she is a baker who owned a cupcake shop here, and she recently won Cupcake Wars on Food Network and now is a pretty big deal, with her book and doing all kinds of appearances – check out her website Here, and you can Buy Her Book on Amazon (you can get it for your Kindle too!)

So when I saw the Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe in the book I knew it would be the perfect “glue” between my two layers of chocolate cake
image_1
The Salted Caramel Frosting was very easy to make on the stovetop, and once I tasted it I knew it would compliment the chocolate perfectly!
image_2
Once I had the frosting made, I whipped up some Vanilla Buttercream to add to it to give it a perfect fluffy consistency
image_3
Ok so cooled cake layers = check
Chocolate frosting per chocolate cake recipe = check
Salted Caramel frosting = check
Vanilla Buttercream frosting – check

All the pieces were complete, and now it was time to assemble!
image_4

I mixed the caramel and vanilla frostings together and smeared them all over the bottom layer of cake, and I was sure to get it all the way to the edge – as this is a frosting you will want to savor with each and every bite of cake – trust me!

Once that was all set, I placed the top layer on and frosted it all up, and then stuck it in the fridge until party time

I must admit, I was nervous to serve it to my friends and family – as a layer cake isn’t exactly something you can inconspicuously try before the guests arrive (unlike Cookies which are perfect for pre-taste testing!)

image_5

But everyone (me included!) loved the way this turned out – the cake was nice and moist, the chocolate frosting sweet, smooth, and almost a bit tangy with the sour cream, and the salted caramel really stole the show here – it was thick, sweet, but somehow not overly sweet. Needless to say, there were no leftovers of this cake – which my waistline is glad for but is a little sad at the same time (no cake for breakfast? UGH!)

If you want to make your own salted caramel or Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, then I highly suggest you pick up a copy of Heather’s book – I know I can’t WAIT to try out more of her recipes (Cinnamon Whiskey Buttercream or Maple Bacon are calling my name I think…YUM!). My dad’s birthday is next month so you better believe I will be using The Dollop Book of Frosting again real soon!

The Flourless Chocolate Torte – Gluten Free, Decadent, And Delicious

28 Oct

I recently hosted a girls night at my house – and we all know that women love few things as much as they love CHOCOLATE – so I decided I wanted to make something new, something almost ridiculously chocolate-y – so when I saw this recipe for a Flourless Chocolate Torte in my Food Network Magazine, I figured this would be the perfect chance for me to try something new!

Flourless Chocolate Torte
Ingredients
• 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter or margarine, cut into small pieces, plus more for the pan
• 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 6 large eggs
• 1/2 cup sugar
• Pinch of kosher salt
• Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom and side of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the chocolate and 1 1/2 sticks butter in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until melted and combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let cool slightly.

 TorteMelting

Here’s my slightly makeshift double boiler – kinda wobbly but it worked!

Combine the eggs, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and thick, 5 to 8 minutes.
Gently fold half of the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until just combined, then gently fold in the rest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is no longer shiny and barely jiggles and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely in the pan. Remove the springform ring and transfer to a platter; dust with cocoa powder.

Torte1

Here it is before and after baking – even with no flour in it, it still did “rise” or puff up some in the oven

Torte2The yummy finished torte

It may look crumbly, but it actually has a nice rich, deep chocolate taste, and I really enjoyed it – and so did everyone else because its already gone! Anyone who needs a gluten free dessert (or who just wants to enjoy some chocolate-y goodness!) should definitely try out this easy, tasty recipe!

Sometimes, You Just Need To Eat Cake

12 Oct

I stumbled across this amazing looking Apple Pumpkin Spice Cake online and decided it was just the thing to whip up for a beautiful October day. It has it all: apples, pumpkin, applesauce – it’s a great fall dessert (and would be perfect for breakfast too!)

AppleCake Walter

My adorable sous chef is ready for action (and by action I mean “possibility of falling apple peels”)

 

Apple Pumpkin Spice Cake (Recipe courtesy of Once A Month Meals)
Ingredients:
• 0.5 cups butter softened
• 1.5 cups sugar
• 0.5 cups pumpkin puree
• 0.75 cups unsweetened applesauce
• 2 medium eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 0.5 teaspoons salt
• 3 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
• 0.25 cups powdered sugar (for serving day)
• cooking spray or oil for greasing pan

 

Applecake 2 batter

 

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar 2-3 minutes until smooth and pale, then add pumpkin puree and applesauce and beat to combine
-Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla extract
-In another large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
-In a separate bowl, toss apples with 2 Tablespoons of the flour mixture (This will keep them from sinking in the batter) Set aside
-Gently stir remaining dry ingredients into wet ingredients by hand, only mixing until just combined, then gently fold in diced apples
-Grease 2 – 8×8 foil baking pans generously with cooking spray or oil and pour batter evenly into prepared pans
-Bake 45-50 minutes in preheated oven (skewer inserted in the center should come out clean)
-Check cake half way through cooking time – If the top is browning too much, spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover
-Cool cake 10-15 minutes in the pan. Cut into individual portions and garnish with powdered sugar

applecake 3 oven

Ready to hit the oven!

applecake5 done

The finished product – which has filled my kitchen with the most AMAZING scent

Oh, and did I mention – this recipe makes TWO 8×8 cakes? So you can eat one freeze one, freeze two (or eat two – no judgment)
Freezing Directions: Cook as directed above. Cool cake 10-15 minutes in the pan. To freeze whole cake, cover with foil, label and freeze. To freeze in individual portions, cut cooled cake, place parchment paper in between pieces and divide among freezer bags, label, and lay flat to freeze. TO SERVE: Sprinkle thawed cake with powdered sugar using a fine sieve or sifter and serve

applecake4 close up

Sometimes, you really do just need some cake – the smell of it baking, the chance to share it with your loved ones, and the TASTE…speaking of taste, I’m off for a late breakfast of cake and coffee. Yum.