Monday, October 15, 2012

Ginger-Molasses Whoopie Pies

I find most of my inspiration for things I bake in cookbooks, blogs, and of course now, Pinterest.  But let's not forget the "old-fashioned"way of doing visiting a local bakery.  I spent the last few weeks in sunny California and visited a bakery there called SusieCakes.  Pretty much the most darling storefront ever.  Lot's of robin's blue and pastel pinks.  In any case, besides having a variety of cupcake flavors and layer cakes, they also had huge cookies, pies, bars, and my sister's favorite item...their Whoopie Pie.

SusieCakes Whoopie Pie was two large double-chocolate cookies with vanilla buttercream slather between.  It was pretty delicious.  Now I've made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies before, but they had more of a cake-like texture, and I've made Peanut Butter Oatmeal Pies, which is along the same lines of SusieCakes, but for Fall, I decided to try a new flavor mixup must more my style.  Remember, I'm not a huge chocolate fan.  

May I present, Ginger-Molasses Whoopie Pies!

Two ginger-molasses cookies with a cinnamon cream cheese filling.

I made these cookies last year and claimed they were probably my favorite cookie ever...that statement still holds true.  I always forget how amazingly delicious these cookies are.

This cookie sandwich is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy with a little creamy.  Cookie love.

Here's the recipe for the Ginger-Molasses Cookies.  The cookie recipes makes two dozen cookies or 12 cookie sandwiches.  My recipe for the frosting below makes a LOT.  I had some leftover in my freezer so you can either half the recipe or make a full recipe and freeze it for later! Enjoy :)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp vanilla
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add vanilla. Gradually add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until desired consistency.  Add cinnamon.  

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

It's that time of year again and I. am. so. excited.  I love Fall and Winter baking...pumpkins, apples, and lots of spice! 

My first "Fall" recipe this year is Caramel Apple Cupcakes.  I saw a picture from one of the local bakeries here in Austin for their Caramel Apple cupcakes and decided to try my own version.  Unfortunately, I can't share the exact recipe I used with you for the cake because of a secret project, but I've browsed a couple of recipes so that I can share links with you and hopefully you'll find a recipe you love!  

I started with an apple spice cupcake and topped it with homemade cream cheese frosting.  

After icing the cupcakes, I put them in the fridge for 2 hours so the frosting would harden a little.  I melted Kraft Caramel Bits according to package directions, then quickly dipped the cupcakes into the hot caramel sauce and placed back into the fridge to cool. 

For decoration, I cut candy lollipop sticks in half and tied a little twine bow around them.  Too cute!

Here are some links to some apple spice cupcakes recipes!
Caramel Apple Cupcakes from Juneberry Lane
Caramel Apple Cupcakes from justJenn
Caramel Apple Cupcakes from Your Cup of Cake

Happy Baking!

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 package cream cheese, room temperature
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add vanilla. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until desired consistency.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


The heat in Texas makes for less than optimum baking weather...aka I haven't wanted to turn on my oven and warm up the house.  But a quick hello and to show you have a few things I have made lately...

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake
(same cheesecake recipe I used last year but added sliced strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate)

Another repeat, the hub's favorite birthday cake- Tres Leches.

 Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting to celebrate the discharge of one of my little ones---based on my favorite onesie that he wore.

Pistachio Cupcakes with Almond Cream Cheese Frosting
(need to tweek the recipe, but it will be up shortly)

And last but not least, Fall Cookies-my attempt to welcome the season!

Hopefully with cooler temperatures in the forecast, I'll find motivation to bring my pretty pink mixer back into action!  Will be back soon. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Pucker Up"

It's been a few weeks awhile since I've posted and I don't even know what to say.  Looking back at my past few years of blogging, it seems like I always take a baking hiatus in the Spring.  Might have to do with the fact that I'm all 'baked-out' from the Fall/Winter holidays, coupled with beautiful Spring Texas weather where the last thing I want to do is stay inside and bake.  Whatever the reason, I have a few recipes to share today.  :)

A few nights ago I hosted a "Pucker-Up for your Sweetie!" bridal shower with a few ladies from work.  The theme idea came from Pinterest, of course, and turned out precious.  Lemons, limes, oranges, sweet and tangy candies, grapefruit margaritas, lemonade, and more!

My contribution for the shower was the desserts.  I found a recipe for Pink Lemonade Cupcakes that looked cute and sounded tasty.  These cupcakes were so easy (love glorified boxed mix recipes) and the frosting was perfect-tart and sweet!

Next I made "Lemon-Cheesecake Shooters" which were a graham cracker crust, my whipped cheesecake filling, and homemade lemon curd, topped with a raspberry, all served in a cute little votive.  So delicious- I love this combination!


For the recipes, just follow the links above!  Here are a few other pictures of the sweets table :)

Pucker up!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rosette Cake

Last weekend was this crazy girl's third birthday...

You may remember that for her first birthday, I made her a very pink strawberry cake with whipped cream-cream cheese frosting and for her second birthday a cherry cheesecake.  

While I should probably learn how to make gourmet dog treats to celebrate her birthday, I usually just end up making her something pretty and tasty.  She We like pretty things.  This year, I had my heart set on finally trying to make a rose cake.  

Nelly approved.

I actually took a shortcut on the cake and doctored up a boxed red velvet mix.  I only had one day off this weekend and quite frankly didn't feel like buying ten ingredients for a cake, sifting it all together, etc etc.  So, there you have it.

It's recommended to use a sturdy, crusting buttercream for rosettes, but I really wanted a red velvet with cream cheese frosting, so I just added a little extra powdered sugar to the icing to make it a little thicker.  

Turned out pretty well and very tasty.  

I used the Wilton 1M tip to make the roses.

 Happy 3rd Birthday, sweet Nelly! :)

(For the record, I let her lick the icing off of the displayed cut piece.  But no cake since it was chocolate.  She thoroughly enjoys cream cheese frosting...don't judge)

Red Velvet Cake
(adapted from MyBakingAddiction)

1 box red velvet cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup oil
1 package instant chocolate pudding 
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine all ingredients in bowl and blend until thoroughly combined.  Split between two 8" cake pans or 24 cupcakes.

Bake for 30-35 minutes for 8"cakes or 18-20 minutes for cupcakes.  Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
6-8 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter together in bowl until smooth.  Gradually add in one cup of powdered sugar at a time until desired sweetness and thickness.  Add vanilla extract and beat on medium speed 3-4 more minutes.
Frost and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lemon Cream Cake

This weekend we celebrated my mother-in-law's "not a day over 30"-th birthday.  For this special occasion, I made Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake---Tara style.  (Same cake recipe I used for the Lemon cupcakes) The original recipe is a very white lemon-scented cake with an 'egg-white' buttercream, layers of raspberry preserves, and covered in coconut.  I made a lemon cake with homemade lemon curd filling and a lemon-cream cheese-buttercream.  Mmmm....

I originally intended to just use the buttercream recipe that the cake recipe called for, but I wasn't a huge fan. So I added some cream cheese and a little powdered sugar and ended up with a delicious fluffy, whipped cream cheese frosting.  

The lemon curd recipe was from Ina Garten and it was absolutely delicious.  Tart and sweet.  I have the extra bit in a container in the fridge and have been eating it by the spoonful. 

Once again, didn't get good quality daylight pictures of the cake when we cut it, but you'll get the idea from the ones below.  

The frosting was very delicate so the cake needs to be refrigerated.  I brought it out about 2 hours before serving and you can already tell that it was getting pretty soft.  

I loved this cake.  The lemon-scented fluffy white cake with a fluffy white frosting that wasn't too sweet and the tangy lemon curd...YUM.  Will definitely be making this again.  If you don't want to go through the trouble of making the egg-white buttercream, I think just a traditional lemon cream cheese frosting would be great, as well. 

Lemon Cream Cake

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake 
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2- 8 inch cake pans.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the lemon extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Evenly distribute batter into cake pans. 
Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cakes to cooling racks.  Cool completely before frosting. 

Buttercream (modified):
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 oz) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 large lemons)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

Put sugar and egg whites into large heat proof bowl and fit bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat until hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.  The sugar should be dissolved and mixture should look like shiny marshmallow cream.  Remove bowl from heat.

Working with the whisk attachment, beat the meringue on medium speed until cool, about 5 minutes.  Add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.  Once all of the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium speed until it is thick and smooth, 6-10 minutes.  During this time, buttercream may curdle or separate, keep beating until it comes together again.  

Modified version:
Add package of cream cheese to buttercream and blend until smooth.  Gradually add in 2 cups of powdered sugar or until desired consistency or sweetness. 

Lemon Curd (Ina Garten)

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick), room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice, 3-4 lemons
1/8 tsp salt

To make lemon curd:
Removed the zest of 3 lemons and place in food processor with sugar.  Pulse until zest is finely minced with sugar.  Cream the butter in separate bowl, add in sugar/lemon mixture.  Add eggs, one at a time, until combined.  Add lemon juice and salt.  Place in saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  (about 10 minutes or 170degrees). Remove from heat and cool, then refrigerate in air tight container. 

To assemble cake:
Using a sharp serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally.  Put one layer or cake plate or cardboard cutout, spread layer of lemon curd, followed by layer of frosting.  Place 2nd cake round on top and repeat.   Continue until last layer then use remaining buttercream to frost top and edges.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Funfetti Cupcakes

Happy New Year! Browsing through recipes, I tried to come up with the perfect cupcake to start out 2012.  

Well my friends, here it is, for the kid in all of us.  

A homemade funfetti cupcake.  :)

I used Jessica's cupcake and buttercream recipe, just used regular sprinkles in the batter instead of the nonpareils.  

Straight out of the oven, these cupcakes were moist and delicious.  Unfortunately, the next morning the cake seems to be a little on the dry side, but still tasty!  My goal is to tweak this recipe to perfection, then repost.  

The icing I'm not tweaking though. It's fabulous.

These cupcakes make me smile and like I said before, despite being a little on the dry side, they are really quite tasty.  

Happy 2012!

Funfetti Cupcakes (makes 1 dozen)

Funfetti Batter

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with liners. 

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Add half of dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Add in milk until combined.  Add remaining flour mixture.  Fold in sprinkles.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Let cool then frost.  

Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks of butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk, if needed

Cream butter until fluffy.  Gradually add in powdered sugar until combined.  Add in vanilla and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes.  If frosting is too thick, add 1 tbsp of milk at a time.  I didn't need to use any milk.