Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm ready for spring!

I'm ready for some less chilly weather, the last few days have been really nice, sunny with the most beautiful blue sky. It's still a bit cold but it gives me a glimpse of spring.

SO...I wanted to make a spring cupcake. I've made chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry cupcakes. I wanted to do something fruity, fresh and of course yummy! I decided to make some orange cupcakes since I found some pure orange extract in the pantry and I had just bought some nice oranges. I also wanted to try a new recipe for cream cheese frosting. I have to say that I think I found THE BEST recipe for it. I've made it a few times before but even though it came out ok I wasn't convinced, but this time I really found (to me at least) the best one.

Orange Cupcakes via My Baking Addiction

1/2 cup unsalted butter, (room temperature)
2/3 cup granulated white sugar or Baker's Sugar
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of pure orange extract
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. Place the sugar and orange zest into the bowl of your mixer and blend until moist and fragrant. Add in butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and orange extracts.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

*Makes 12 cupcakes

-I think this recipe could easily be adapted for other citrus fruits, grapefruit, lime, lemon...I think I'm going to try a lemon lime one with lemon buttercream...yummy!
-I used Baker's sugar which is also called castor sugar, it's finer than granulated sugar but not as fine as powdered. It really is a great sugar to work with if you are going to cream your butter and sugar for any cake batter. I've noticed the difference.

THE BEST Cream Cheese Frosting via Cupcake Bakeshop

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar (more to reach desired consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. Add half of the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until combined
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

NOTE: I put more sugar than what the recipe says, I like my frosting a little more sweet and the consistency a little more firm. I didn't really measure but it was more than 4 cups for sure, I just kept putting half cups in until it reached the right consistency for me.

I'm really enjoying all this baking I've been doing lately, Have gotten requests to do a few parties...Not sure where this will lead me but I'm really enjoying all of it :) I haven't forgotten about my sewing, right now I've been working on a quilt for my bed. I hardly make projects and keep them so I'm excited to be working on something for myself!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day and Frosting.

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's a perfect day to make cupcakes. This weekend I decided to try a cream cheese frosting recipe. I ended up having mixed feelings about the way it came out. Flavor wise it was really yummy, but the consistency wasn't to my liking. I know that generally that kind of frosting is going to end up a little softer than I like. One solution would have been to add more powdered sugar but then it would be too sweet. It piped ok, but I still like my buttercream frosting the best. I think the cream cheese frosting would be better as a filling than a frosting to be honest. My mom's friends were the taste testers this time and they did all loved the cupcakes. As for the cake, I went back to the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe this time because I know that my boyfriend loved it, and that's who these cupcakes were really for anyway.

I ended up making a buttercream for my boyfriend's batch and really liked how it came out this time. It was less yellow and more creamy white since I used the clear vanilla instead of the regular extract. It also pipes amazing!

I had fun with the simple decorations for these cupcakes. I still have to practice styling the cupcakes but I think I'm getting a bit better with the pictures.

Hoping my boyfriend likes them, dinner date tonight for Valentine's day :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Who doesn't love strawberries?!

I decided to try another "from scratch" cupcake recipe. I mean seriously I'm on my way to becoming a pro! Ok not yet but hey I'm on my way! Last time I made the frosting with a hand electric mixer and although it turned out great, my hand was a little tired and cramped from all the mixing. I remembered that my parents have KitchenAid stand mixer that they haven't even used yet, so I thought hey! I'll break it in for them! I have to say it was so much more convenient and fun.

So niiiiiice! Ok so back to the cupcakes. Browsing the different dessert and food blogs I read daily, I came upon a recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Buttercream. I mean really! Of course I immediately put it on my list to try next. I love strawberries no really I LOVE them. Ok so this isn't really a totally "from scratch" recipe but it's semi-from scratch. It uses a box strawberry mix but then it adds some other ingredients that make it so fluffy and light and yummy. It definitely does NOT taste like cake from a box. I mean I'm not gonna say that I will never use a mix ever again but I'm going to try to do my baking from scratch. It gives me more satisfaction when people try it and they love it and I can say to myself that yes I CAN bake and people LIKE it!

Do you see a pattern? Pink has been my color lately. I think because I love pink and it's Valentine's day coming up so I went with more pink on pink. Yes a little obnoxious but cute :) I also wanted to try out my new little cake/dessert stand that I got at the antique shop. So pretty and delicate.

Recipe from Gimme Some Oven...Visit her blog she has amazing recipes and an extensive index to choose from.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes


Cupcake Ingredients:

1 (18.25 oz.) strawberry cake mix
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) lemon juice
4 eggs

Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup pureed strawberries (made from fresh or frozen strawberries)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
3 – 4 cups powdered sugar (adjust to achieve desired consistency)


To Make Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

Add the cake mix, buttermilk, oil and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Add eggs one at a time, until the batter is well-mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy, 2 minutes longer.

Pour or scoop the batter into the paper liners until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.


Cream butter in an electric mixer on medium-speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Then add in the strawberries, vanilla and lemon juice, and mix on low-speed until combined. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes. (Add in more powdered sugar if consistency is too thin.)

*I doubled the recipe for the frosting as Ali (Gimme Some Oven) recommends since I wanted to have a generous amount to frost 24 cupcakes.

Next up: Either some Mocha Cupcakes or Champagne cupcakes. Oh and a simple tutorial on how to make your own cake stands using plates and candle holders you have around the house or from thrift stores.