Thursday, November 4, 2010

perfect vanilla cupcakes

I have been on the lookout for the perfect cupcake for at least 3 years. Most recipes are either too spongy, too dry, too crumbly, or simply flavorless.

Not this one. This one is flawless. Light, but dense, tons of flavor (probably from the cream and vanilla!) and risen to perfection. Pair it with salted buttercream, and you've got one delicious dessert!

If there is one made-from-scratch cake recipe you are going to try, this should be it. I promise it won't disappoint.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes: Adapted from A Sweet Spoonful

1 cup whole milk (or 3/4 skim plus 1/4 cream)
4 large egg whites
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line pan with cupcake wrappers.

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the milk with the egg whites and vanilla extract. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of milk until blended, then beat at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, beating the batter on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.

In another bowl, using either a hand-held mixer or the stand mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the batter, then fold in the rest with a spatula. Using an ice cream scoop (best tip ever for uniform cupcakes) fill the cupcake liners. Bake for 19-24 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched. Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely. Makes about 36 cupcakes.

*To make the cute decorations on top, just heat one part water with two parts sugar until golden, and drizzle over a greased piece of parchment paper. Carefully remove after cooling and poke in top!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Ideas

Isn't halloween fun? :) Here are a few fun crafts and recipes that I've found while looking at blogs over the past month.

I love halloween trees. They seem so easy to make and would be great centerpieces! This one is from Martha Stewart. I think they show you how to make the little pumpkins and cats, too.

There are TONS of halloween cupcake ideas out there, but these are my favorites this year. It's surprisingly easy to make decorations out of melted chocolate, and I'm sure you can find these little spiders at any craft store. These were found on Country Living.

My friend Brooke got me hooked on halloween wreaths. Her blog has so many great ideas... click here to see them (and most of them have tutorials!). This is another of my favorites because it looks a little bit spider-like but still elegant. It was also found on Country Living.

Caramel apples are my favorite thing about fall. We have an apple tree outside our apartment, so we've been making tons of them! These beautiful apples are what inspired the craft, and the website they come from has the BEST caramel recipe. It sticks to the apples and is really easy to make. Click here to get the recipe.

I thought this was a great craft idea. I hate when halloween decorations just look like cheap clutter, and this one definitely does not! This was posted by Becky Higgins on Eighteen 25.

I saw this cute idea on foodgawker today from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen. I love halloween treats!

Happy halloween!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coconut Wedding Cake

Ready for a surprise? I'm the one who got married! The food at my wedding was also special because my family and friends made it. ALL of it. I am the luckiest girl I know.

One of the wonderful women who helped pull this all together was Peggy Nelson. You can find her blog here. I was planning on making both the wedding cake and groom's cake, but as I should have guessed, time ran out! Peggy and my sister came to the rescue by frosting and decorating the groom's cake... didn't it turn out wonderfully? She also made the beautiful mexican wedding cookies in the pictures above. She and her family have been good friends of ours for years, and I was incredibly grateful for the help.

The wedding cake was five layers, each with a different flavor: carrot, spice, vanilla with raspberry, coconut, and plain vanilla. All of it was covered with cream cheese frosting and coconut. It was certainly a labor of love, but it was fun to try something new (and saved us a lot of money!).

The pictures above are all from Tami Shellenburg. Remember Tami? I did her wedding cake last year when she was married. Her photography business is thriving and you can find her website here. It's so great to have talented friends!

And.... here is a picture of my new husband! We obviously both liked the cake. Isn't he cute?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Cupcakes I Will Never Make

I love cupcakes. All kinds. So it figures that I would marry someone who doesn't particularly like any cupcakes, and who HATES cupcakes with any type of fruit or vegetable in them.

I'm sure I will find some excuse to make these fruity treats during our lifetime together (there will be plenty of relief society/primary parties that call for festive cupcakes, right?), but for now I am posting the cupcakes are being put on hold. Hopefully you can make them and tell me how wonderful they are. :)

These are strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting... and the best part? They are semi-homemade! Yep... made with a box cake mix and some strawberry jello. The recipe (and more pictures) are from Stupendous Treats. I recently re-discovered Haagen Dazs's strawberry ice cream, so I REALLY want to try these!

Peaches and Cream cupcakes from Cupcake Project. I'm afraid of these turning out like muffins with frosting on top, but maybe if they were made with angel food cake and whipped cream frosting... mmm!

Aren't these cute? I loved these in the summer when I was little. It's amazing enough that they look like the popsicle, but they taste like it too! (Or so I imagine from the recipe.)

Pistachio cupcakes. These might only sound good to me (which I conclude after countless attempts to buy pistachio pudding in the grocery store while my siblings or friends would tell me it was "so disgusting"). The interesting thing about this recipe is that it uses Dream Whip in the frosting! I've never worked with Dream Whip, but I'm told I am missing out on something great. It's definitely worth a shot.

I can't imagine what Orange Cupcakes would taste like. At all. Citrus into a bread product seems hard to do, but I'm sure I would love them! They look especially cute for a Halloween theme. (Side note: how did the author of My Baking Addiction get the frosting to look like that? Are there XXL frosting tips out there that I'm not aware of?)

Pineapple and Coconut Cupcakes sound genius. My mom used to make a wonderful pineapple upside-down cake when I was little and I imagine these taste similar.

These Zucchini Spice Cupcakes can be found in the Martha Stewart Cupcake book. Zucchini bread is awesome, so I don't see how these could go wrong.

Okay these are getting closer to something Dan would like, but they still have fruit in them. Bananas and chocolate are perfect together. One of my favorite treats in high school was Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolate-dipped bananas. Eating them in cupcake form would just be that much better! The recipe can be found on the Love and Olive Oil blog.

Well, happy baking everyone. Let me know if you try any of these! In the meantime, I'll try to convert my fruit-in-baked-goods hating husband and join in on the fun.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Look!

Ta Da! A new look.

And a new direction. I simply don't have enough time to bake while I'm in school, but no posts= really lame blog. So, I'm going to post my favorite finds from other blogs regularly, and throw in my own creations from time to time. How does that sound?

Today's post: Little girl cakes. I'm FAR away from having my own baby girl, but I thought these were such cute ideas. The aloha cupcakes are from Bakerella, where she gives a tutorial on how to make them.

I love this "ribbon candy" frosting. This photo actually comes from a featured table on Amy Atlas's website-- and if you don't know who she is, I highly recommend checking out the site. I love the gorgeous dessert tables she makes!

Triangle banners are apparently all the rage right now for kid party decorating, and this one looks simple and classy.

More cakes to come... happy decorating!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May Weddings, Part 1

Here are some pictures of the wedding cakes I've been making this month. One was for my dear friend Karen, and the other was for her sister-in-law, Lauren. The bottom cake was made with Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Recipe coming soon). May has been busy! Get ready for a posting of two more cakes in the next week! :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

It was my wonderful fiancé's birthday last week, and he requested a german chocolate cake. I've never made one of these before! I did some research though, and did you know that german chocolate cake didn't come from Germany at all? It came from a guy in the United States named Sam German who worked for Baker's Chocolate Company. He invented a mildly sweet dark chocolate, and they named it after him. Hence, German Chocolate! Now for today's recipe...

Coconut Pecan Frosting
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup granulated sugar
3 beaten egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
1 cup roasted pecans

Add everything except for the coconut and pecans in a 2 quart saucepan. It is very important that you add the egg yolks when everything is cold, because they will scramble if you add them later on. Cook this mixture over medium heat for about 12 minutes, then add the coconut and roasted pecans. (Note: to roast pecans, I just spread them out on a baking sheet and broil them for a couple of minutes. It's really easy.) The frosting will be too thin to spread at this point, but it will thicken as it cools. I recommend using this as a filling and topping, but if you want to use it to cover the entire cake then I would double the recipe for sure. Happy eating!