Sunday, September 25, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate frosting...and a wedding

It was a beautiful wedding.

Yesterday Zack and I attended the wedding of two friends, Monica and Justin.  The wedding was beautiful, fun, and full of joy.  Everything a wedding should be.  In addition to being guests at the wedding, I was fortunate enough to be chosen by Monica and Justin to make cupcakes and a small cake for their wedding.  This was a fun project for me.  They ordered 150 cupcakes in four flavors, Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting, Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting (featured here), Lemon Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting, and my Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting.  I also recreated the Lilac Cake that was featured on "i am baker" earlier this summer.  I plan to share the rest of the cupcakes and cake with you in due time.  I really love the classic combination of chocolate and vanilla in this cupcake.  Top it with some rainbow sprinkles and I think it would make a perfect birthday cupcake.

Congratulations Monica and Justin!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

For the cupcakes:

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes.

For the Frosting:

1 cup butter, softened
6 cups confectioner's sugar
2/3 cup  cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk)
generous pinch of salt

Cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture, add salt and vanilla.  Slowly add the cocoa powder.  Add the confectioner's sugar alternating with the cream until the sugar and butter are blended and you reach the desired consistency.  Adjust the amount of cream as needed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Caramel Brownies

Gooey and delcious.

These brownies fit right in with the caramel theme that has been featured on Baked Perfection lately.  I actually made these a couple weeks ago and am just getting around to posting them now.  These brownies are truly over the top.  They are really rich and indulgent.  You definitely only need to eat one to satisfy  your sweet tooth. I found this recipe featured in a Taste of Home Brownies and Bars cookbook.  There are so many delicious recipes features in this book that it was hard for me to decide which one to make first.  I let Zack decide and he chose these.  Believe me, they did not disappoint.

Caramel Brownies
recipe adapted from Taste of Home

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz) package caramels, unwrapped
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9x13 baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, cocoa, oil, eggs and milk. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to egg mixture until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips.  Spoon two-thirds of the batter into greased baking pan. Bake 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the caramels and condensed milk over low heat until caramels are melted. Pour over baked brownie layer. Drop remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over caramel layer; spread  brownie batter with an offset spatula.

Bake 35-40 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 2 dozen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spritz Cookies

Dainty and Delicious. 

I truly love spritz cookies.  They are slightly sweet, buttery, dainty, and perfect for any occasion.  Earlier this summer one of my friends had a bridal shower.  I of course volunteered to help out with the desserts and favors.  For the desserts I made three types of cupcakes : Sweet Peach Tea, Lemon, and Mint Julep.  All of which will be featured on Baked Perfection in the future.  For the favors I made these cute little vanilla spritz cookies.  If you have a cookie press, these little cookies are perfect when you need to make large batches of cookies.  You can fit about 24 on a cookie sheet and they bake very quickly.   My friend's wedding colors are blue and yellow so those were my decorations of choice.  I typically make them for Christmas, but for one reason or another did not make them last year.   I will definitely be making them again this year after this delicious reminder.

On a random note, did anybody notice the way the bubbles in the tea cup formed a heart shape?

Vanilla Spritz Cookies
adapted from Williams Sonoma Vanilla Spritz Cookies Recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
assorted decorations

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and beat until well mixed. Slowly beat in the flour until well blended.

Fill the cookie press with dough according to the instructions and fit with the desired shape disk. Press the dough out onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart.

Bake until the cookies are lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Decorate as desired.  Makes 50-60 cookies depending on size.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Double Chocolate Loaf Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread

Now this is breakfast.

If you are one of the many people traveling this weekend or visiting with family, there is a good chance you are with a group of people. I bet those people are hungry...and they like chocolate which means this is the perfect cake for you . This is a super rich and delicious Double Chocolate Loaf Cake, which I personally feel should be served for breakfast. This past Christmas Zack bought be a copy of "Baked Explorations: Classic Desserts Reinvented". What can I say, the man knows how to shop for me. This loaf cake was actually the very first thing I made out of the cookbook. The cookbook is fantastic and I have honestly loved every recipe I have made from it. You may be thinking "Wow, it took you a long time to actually get around to making something from that cookbook!" Well, you are wrong. I made this cake last December when we had friends staying with us for New Years and I honestly forgot to share it with you. For a while I was just waiting for the right occasion, but after a while I simply forgot. Better late than never! Anyway, this cake is really delicious. best served warm with the peanut butter spread and a tall glass of milk.

Double Chocolate Loaf Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread
recipe slightly adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic Desserts Reinvented

Ingredients for the Cake:

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate coarsely chopped

Ingredients for the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread:

5 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
⅓ cup powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the rack in the center. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl mix together the brown sugar, cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until blended, then add the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Slowly beat the wet ingredient into the dry ones, mixing until just until combined. Stir in the dark chocolate chunks by hand.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the peanut butter spread, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. If you are not using the spread immediately, place it in a small container, tightly cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.