Buttermilk Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


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Words cannot express how excited I am to be back in the kitchen and hanging with my NCJ Peeps again!  Jamison is now eight months and I sort of have this whole Mom thing down (or at least I’m not pulling my hair out) so I felt like it was the right time.  But I really missed you all!  For a while there it was a major accomplishment for me to take care of my son and bathe myself so I couldn’t imagine trying to bake a cake and take pictures of it!  Yeah right, I thought, but I was determined and so here I am folks.

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I made this cake for my dear hubby’s birthday.  Even though he said, “Oh it’s just another day, don’t do anything for me”, I gave him the side eye and completely ignored him.  We all know guys like to be spoiled sometimes and what better way to say I love you than with some yummy cake.  This was my first time making Spice Cake so I was kind of nervous but it was so good, like really really good!  Luckily I dropped it off at my husband’s office for him and his coworkers so I wouldn’t eat half of it and go into a sugar coma.

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Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

Roasted Walnut and Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
3/4 pound (about 3 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup roasted walnut pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans or one 13/9 inch pan. 

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. In two small bowls separate the egg yolks from the whites. 

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the brown sugar and butter, about 3-4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Alternately add 1/3 of the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well. With the electric mixer, in another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the cake batter with a spatula. Be careful not to over mix or the egg whites will fall and all that hard work will be for nothing!  

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake until the center springs back when touched, about 25 – 40 minutes.  Your cook time is going to greatly depend on what type of pan you use and how much batter you put into the pan.  The egg whites will cause the batter to rise a lot so only fill the batter about halfway in the pan.  Check cake with a wooden toothpick and remove once toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.  After the cakes have cooled, invert them onto sheets of parchment paper. Slice each cake in half and set aside.

On a cookie sheet, roast walnuts in oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Spread a layer of the frosting over 3 layers of the cake. Place the layers of cake on top of each other and top with the fourth layer of cake. Frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting leaving the sides exposed.   If you’re like me and want to keep things simple use a 13/9 inch pan, allow cake to cool in pan and spread frosting on top once completely cooled.  Sprinkle top of cake with roasted walnuts and slice the cake into individual servings.  

Roasted Walnut and Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the cheese and butter.  Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well. 

 

 

Recipe adapted from Food Network

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Corn Flour Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream {and Cookbook Giveaway!}

Hello NCJ Peeps!

Here is the winner of the Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food book giveaway:

#6 Jenna Z: “Wow, favorite veg dish of any kind?! I am a huge fan of dal, especially a red lentil dal spiced with cumin and garam masala. Yummy!”

Congratulations! (I will be also notifying you by email.)

And thank you to everyone for sharing their favorite veggie dishes!

♥ Nina

The Giveaway:


 

I am so proud of my friend, Alicia Simpson, for putting out her third cookbook this year!  So in honor of her latest achievement I will be giving away a copy of her latest cookbook: Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food.  Alicia and I go way way back to our college years.  We stayed in the same dorm right down the hall from each other and I distinctly remember some late night shenanigans that will go down in history, and stay there, LOL!  One day while I was perusing Facebook I saw her status update.  I was pleasantly surprised to see her writing her own line of vegan cookbooks and even though I’m not vegan the pictures had me drooling!  I was intrigued.

So what’s this book about?

150 satisfying, flavorful, all-new recipes to enjoy from breakfast to dinner and anytime in between. However you define “comfort food,” Alicia’s got you covered with down-home Southern standards, Tex-Mex fiesta favorites, backyard BBQ fare, ole-fashioned one-dish meals, riffs on classic takeout—and a few surprises destined to become new standbys.

And they do not lie.  It’s all that and more!  I love how Alicia uses fresh ingredients to make comforting food that is pretty much guilt free (think Baked Hush Puppies, Sweet Potato Salad, Carolina BBQ Sammich, Butter Rum Pound Cake, Mexican Hot Cocoa and more).  The recipes are easy to follow and the flavors and textures almost leap straight off of the page.   I am sincerely excited to make more recipes from her fabulous book, and I’m also excited that 1 lucky reader will win their own copy!   But, let’s talk more about the recipe I made to share with you, these Corn Flour Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream. . .

First, let me start by saying that I love meat and really enjoy eating it (ok that came out wrong) but you get what I’m saying!  Secondly, if you’re like me you’re probably wondering what the heck is the difference between vegans and regular vegetarians.  Well according to Wikipedia:

A dietary vegan is one who abstains from including animal products (not only meat and fish, but also dairy products, eggs and often honey, as well as other animal-derived substances) from his/her diet.

That being said you don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy vegan recipes!!  Amazing I know, but so true.  I will admit I was a skeptic but after trying some of the recipes in Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food I am a changed woman!  I had a hard time deciding what to cook for this post because there was so much that I wanted to try.  After a lot of debate I settled on Corn Flour Cupcakes with Raspberry Butter cream Frosting.  Sounds good, right?  Right!  The cupcake was delicious but the real star is the frosting.  Light and fluffy with a hint of raspberries (or more if you want).  I will be using this on my non-vegan cupcakes in the near future.  Every time I ate one of these cupcakes all I had to tell myself was this is only 178 calories!   I was sold.

Here are the details and how to enter this giveaway:

1. Leave a comment and tell me, “What is your favorite vegetarian dish?”

2. For an extra entry, tweet: ”I want to win a copy of @VeganGuineaPig’s book from @NinasCooking!” Simply come back here and leave a comment telling me you tweeted.

3. Contest ends Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 11:59 pm (EST) and winner will be selected using random.org and notified by email and announced here on the blog. You must leave a valid email address (will not be displayed) in your entry.

4. One entry per person, please (or two, with tweet). *Your comment may not appear at first, but it’s there.

*Prize courtesy of The Experiment Publishing. Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only.  This is the third in a series of cookbooks by Alicia, check out Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Food and Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations.

Good luck, everyone!

Now, here’s the recipe, shared with permission and as written in the book:

Ingredients

For corn flour cupcakes:

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup corn flour (can be found in the organic section)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup plain almond milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain soy yogurt  (can be found in the organic section)

For raspberry buttercream frosting:

1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine, softened
1 tbsp raspberry jam or preserves
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

For corn flour cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners.  Stir together the all-purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.  Add the shortening, milk vanilla and yogurt and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed, scraping the mixture from the sides often, until just blended.

Divide the batter equally among the lined muffin cups.  Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Let cool.

For raspberry buttercream frosting:

Beat together the shortening, margarine, jam and almond extract with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and whip until smooth.  Frost the cooled cupcakes using all the frosting.

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Late Night Baking Party – Cheddar Chive Cornbread

The first Late Night Baking Party on Nina’s Cooking Journey was a huge success!  There were submissions from several bloggers and NCJ Peeps and I cannot thank you all enough for joining me in this weird experiment of mine.  All the recipes looked amazing and I can’t wait to try some of them myself.  I even Ustreamed during the party and got to know some of you all a little better and hopefully you got to know me.  I will definitely be hosting another party so if you have any ideas for a fun virtual party please let me know!  I wasn’t able to share all of the posts but here are some of the recipes from some of my favorite blogger friends.  Feel free to check out a few more posts from NCJ Peeps on my Facebook Page.  A big thanks to you all…you rock!

 

Banana Pumpkin Nutella Bread from Christine’s Kitchen Chronicles

 

Old Fashioned Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce from Noshing with the Nolads

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes from Tortillas and Honey

 

Maple Bacon Busciuts from Dixie Chik Cooks

 

Chickpea Chocolate Cupcakes from I Breath…I’m Hungry


Apple Spice Cake from Cooking with Elise

 

And finally, my contribution Cheddar Chive Cornbread.  My mom makes THE BEST cornbread from scratch and usually doesn’t deviate from her recipe.  So I was extremely surprised when she put this on the dinner table one night.  I thought it would be perfect with the Spicy Chili I made the other week and I was right.  It adds a Tex-Mex feel to a traditional southern dish.

 Ingredients

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1¼ cups buttermilk
¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), melted over low heat and set aside
½ cup sliced scallions (about ¼ inch wide)
4 oz. sharp yellow cheddar, shredded (use more if you prefer)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Using a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.   Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisking well to combine.  Add melted butter to the batter, stirring slowly to incorporate.  Finish by folding in chopped scallions and cheddar cheese.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter and then pour in batter.  Bake until edges are a little crispy and top is golden brown, about 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and place skillet on a cooling rack.  The cast iron retains its heat and will continue to cook the cornbread.  Let cool a bit before serving to allow the cornbread to set.

Recipe adapted from Garden & Gun

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Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

You all know (or maybe you don’t, but now you do know) I LOVE chocolate so when I was trying to figure out what to make for my next post a light bulb went on right above my head.  Not literally but you know what I mean, lol.  Me and chocolate have a love / love relationship and it’s hands down my most favorite flavor of all time. From chocolate ice cream (what do you know about Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food?) to chocolate candy to chocolate cake; ok I think you get my point.

The ganache icing is the star on this cupcake.  I iced mine while the ganache was still warm by holding the cupcake upside down and swirling it in the bowl to create a thin layer of icing.  But if you like a thicker more substantial frosting simply refrigerate for about an hour, stirring every 5 minutes, to allow the frosting to thicken.  You will be able to frost your cupcakes just like you would with butter-cream.

Also, using coarse salt is very important.  I know it may seem counter intuitive but adding salt to sweet dishes actually brings out the sweet flavor.  When I ate these cupcakes every once in a while I got a little salty zing on my palate that made everything that much more yummy!  I will be making these at least once a month if only to satisfy the little chocolate monster inside of me.

Makes about 32 

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
For the frosting:
1 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tbsp chocolate sprinkles for garnish
Directions
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
For the frosting:
Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.  Beginning near the center and working outward, stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture is combined and smooth (do not over stir).
Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes, until frosting just barely begins to hold its shape and is slightly lighter in color. Use immediately (ganache will continue to thicken after you stop stirring).  Garnish with chocolate sprinkles.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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Peach Bellini Cupcakes

This is the first post in my week long series of “All Peach Everything” and I am so excited to get started.  One gem that I learned in class is that when fruits are at their ripest and in large supply the market responds by lowering the price (see I was paying attention like a good student!).  So this is a great time to visit your local farmer’s market and stock up on your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies.  I was amazed to find peaches on sale in the grocery store for only $1.00 per pound.  I’m talking about large ripe peaches and not the old soft squishy ones.  I took that as a sign that I was on the right path, so peaches it is.

I know this may sound weird but I don’t like most normal fruits.  I hate the smell of bananas, can’t chew the skin on grapes, don’t like the texture of apples and the strings in oranges get caught in my teeth.  There I’ve said it, don’t judge me.  Even weirder is the fact that I can drink apple, orange and grape juice but raw fruit is not really my thing.  However, I do love almost any other fruit like strawberries, pears, kiwis, plums and especially peaches.

Cupcakes are one of my favorite things to make.  I feel like that girl in the movie Bridesmaids…you know the scene where she stays up late making just one cupcake only to look at it’s beauty for all of five seconds then stuff it in her mouth.  Okay, I’m not that bad but there’s something about eating a cute little cake with just the right amount of icing that makes it taste that much better.  I swear I’m going to start posting more cakes but I had to share this recipe with y’all first.  There’s little peach bits baked in the actual cake plus there’s champagne and Peach Schnapps!  This yummy recipe had me at hello.

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Peach Bellini Cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 egg whites
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pink champagne (regular champagne can be substituted)
1/4 cup peach schnapps
1 small peach, peeled and diced

Peachy Champagne Frosting

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup pink champagne (regular champagne can be substituted)
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon peach schnapps
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 drops red & yellow food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In a mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  I use the 4th speed setting on my Kitchen Aid mixer.  Add vanilla, then beat in egg whites one at a time.

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In a small bowl combine the peach schnapps and champagne.   Blend in flour mixture and champagne/schnapps mixture  in three alternating additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Gently stir in the diced peaches.  Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

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To make the frosting beat together the butter and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar in one cup increments, then add champagne, milk, peach schnapps and food coloring.  Frost cupcakes once they have completely cooled.  Garnish with yellow or orange sprinkles for decoration.

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

 

Recipe adapted from Sing For Your Supper

 

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Dean’s Carrot Cupcakes

I’ve always thought carrot cake was so weird, I mean who would think that carrots could be a part of something so sweet?  Well as I’ve gotten older my pallat has matured and when I finally got up the courage to try this recipe I was pleasantly surprised.  This is actually my Dad’s favorite cake (hence the name) so I was happy to come accross this recipe that met his standards 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups melted butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, and raisins and nuts if desired. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
  2. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks, 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers.
  3. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

 

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Pound Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 Vanilla bean

4 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract

1 cup buttermilk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously butter pan using a paper towel to spread the butter evenly.  In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Beat together butter and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed (I use setting 4 on KitchenAid mixer) until pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla and lemon extract until well combined. At low speed (“stir” setting on KitchenAid mixer) add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing and spreading evenly. Gently tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake until the tip of a knife or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan 1 hour, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour more.

 

Vanilla Bean Glaze

Ingredients

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped OR 1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste – 4 oz

2-3 tablespoons whole milk

approximately 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into whole milk. Let sit in a spouted container, such as a large pyrex measuring cup, for about an hour. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually, whisking, until you get desired consistency–about 1 cup. You want to make sure that it’s not too runny, or it won’t dry white on the cake, and will run off too quickly. It should take a few seconds to whisk it, and it will feel too thick at first–keep whisking until you get desired thickness. If too thick, add a teaspoon or so of the vanilla milk.

Once the cake has cooled, drizzle glaze over top.

 

Adapted from: Sweetapolita (http://sweetapolita.com/2011/03/vanilla-bean-bundt-cake-with-vanilla-bean-glaze/)

 

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Classic cheescake with strawberries & blueberries

Believe it or not I did not eat cheesecake until I went to college.  And of all the places I could have tried, it was Walmart’s cheesecake that got me hooked.  I know, I know…who goes to Walmart for cheesecake right?  But they must have had somebody’s grandma in the back making this stuff from scratch because it tasted so good that I had to make one myself.  That was over 10 years ago and I haven’t made another cheesecake since, even though I’ve eaten plenty.  It’s one of those things that I always intended to make but never got around to.  So I figured the Fourth of July holiday was a perfect time to make this pretty cake.

This cheesecake is just what the names says, a classic.  The texture and flavor are perfect and the crust is just right.

 

Ingredients

For the crust:

1-1/2 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs

3 Tbsp. sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

 

For the cheesecake:

4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

4  eggs

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Mix graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.  Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.  Bake 55 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Top with fresh berries.

 

 

Adapted from: Kraft Foods, http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/philadelphia-classic-cheesecake-52544.aspx

 

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Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Love Snickerdoodle cookies? Well the cookie has been transformed into a yummy cupcake for our enjoyment by the lovely folks at Martha Stewart (or maybe Martha Stewart herself!).  As you all know I love cupcakes so adding cinnamon and sugar is a heavenly combination.  I ate two before I shared with my family, you know just to test them out, and they completely live up to the original treat.

I’m usually in the kitchen by myself trying new recipes but I was so excited when my younger cousin came over and offered to help me make cupcakes.  What’s even better is these cupcakes have simple ingredients and you should be able to make them with what’s in your cabinets.

 

Ingredients

For cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

For frosting: 

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature

 

Directions

For cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  4. To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco No. 809 or Wilton No. 1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake: Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

For frosting:

  1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
  3. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

 

Source:  http://www.marthastewart.com/316419/snickerdoodle-cupcakes

 

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Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

I have a confession, I used to hate mint chocolate.  I’m not a fan of Thin Mints, or Frango Mints or Andes.  I always felt like I was eating toothpaste!  But when I asked my friend and owner Shayna of Lizzie Lu Sweets in Atlanta to share one of her recipes I figured maybe, just maybe since it’s in cupcake form I might like it.  Cupcakes make everything taste better right?  Well I am proud to say that I am a changed woman because these cupcakes definitely have just the right amount of mint so it’s not too overpowering but you can still taste (and enjoy) the chocolate flavor.  And if you love mint then these are just right for you.  These cupcakes are a hit every time I make them.  I usually pair them with White chocolate cream cheese, regular cream cheese or vanilla buttercream frosting.

*Please note I have made some changes and the recipe below has been slightly adapted from the original. 

 

Yield: Makes about 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mint chocolate chips divided
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • 2 ½  cups, plus 5 tbsp of cake flour (do NOT sift!)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½  cups water

For the Frosting:

  • 4 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

For garnish:

  • Andes mints
  • Edible pearls

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and ½ cup mint chocolate chips and butter together in a double boiler over low heat.  If you don’t have an actual double boiler you can simply use a glass bowl that will fit over the top of a sauce pan.  Melt the chocolate in the bowl stirring frequently.  Be careful not to let the water touch the actual bowl or to boil.  Pour melted chocolate into mixing bowl.  Add eggs, vanilla extract, mint extract and water and stir until blended.

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In a separate bowl combine sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.  Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the mixing bowl and blend on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Repeat this twice with 1/3 of the mixture until well blended.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

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To make the frosting beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Mix in white chocolate and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is fluffy on high speed for 3 minutes. Mix in heavy cream.  Frost the cupcakes as desired and top with 1/2 of Andes candy cut diagonally and edible pearls for decoration.

 

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