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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Remember when you were a kid and someone's mom used to make Snickerdoodle cookies?

Not my mom...
My mom only ever made Italian Cookies at Christmas. And the occasional Chocolate Chip Cookies. It wasn't until I got older and moved out of the house and my mother really began to make other cookies.

And still only around Christmas.

Any rate, remember those Snickerdoodle cookies?
They were those light little round cookies sprinkled with cinnamon on top.

They were always so yummy. I always wanted to make them, but still never have.

The closest I came is making Snickerdoodle cupcakes. The recipe (posted below) found on Cupcake

An easy enough cupcake, the butter cupcake batter making a deliciously light textured cupcake. The frosting was totally not what I was expecting. I expected a buttercream-esque. Not Meringue Pie -esque.

I guess I should have known when the frosting recipce called for 3 Tablespoons of Meringue Powder. I have used the Wilton Buttercream recipe which calls for Meringue Powder so was expecting that. I have never made actual Meringue anything but I guess now I can't say that anymore.

I can't stand Meringue. Frosting that is. I am probably the only person on the face of this earth that actually scrapes the Meringue Frosting off my Lemon Meringue Pie.


The funny thing is my husband loved these cupcakes. And he is a classic tastes sort of guy. He doesn't like buttercream but loved the meringue on these cupcakes.
This was also my first foray into filling a cupcake. I have the filling tip #230 and while I thought it was easy enough I realize that I did not fill these with enough of the Cinnamon Cream Cheese filling as it was lost in the cupcake. Lesson learned.
See for yourself...

But for now, I'll stick to the cookies!
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

For the Butter Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 teaspoon No-Color Almond Extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In mixer bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond flavor. Mix flour with baking powder and salt.
Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour.
Pour into prepared pans. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack; remove and cool completely before decorating.

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling:

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup milk

In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon and milk. Beat with mixer until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Fluffy Boiled Icing:

3 Tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water

Beat meringue powder and 1/2 cup cold water until stiff, about 4 minutes. In microwave safe bowl stir sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. In microwave bring syrup mixture to a boil (approx. 5 minutes). Remove, let mixture cool slightly (1-2 minutes).
Slowly add syrup to meringue mixture. Beat on HIGH for 4 minutes.

For top of range: Mix sugar, corn syrup and water in 2 qt. saucepan. Bring to boil; cool slightly and follow directions above.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the icing for a traditional flavor!

Betty Crocker Fall Baking

I am the type of person that a grocery store owner loves.

The impulse shopper!

The longer I stand around in the grocery store, the more I buy. It doesn't matter if I have a list or not, I always seem to buy something that I don't need.

The worst offense is those small little cookbooks at the checkout stand. It used to always be the Pillsbury one but I have since bought a subscription. Now I am working on the Betty Crocker one.

I picked out the latest one for Fall Baking a couple of weeks ago and ended up making the Toasted Almond Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting for the market.

I have posted the recipe below and would love to know your thoughts and comments.

I loved, loved, loved the Caramel Frosting. So delicious, tasty and easy! I will definetly be making this again. I wasn't completely, hopelessly, madly in love with the cupcake though. They were good, they just didn't knock my socks off. The icing was what made the whole ensemble.

Perhaps it was my mistake.

The recipe as you can see calls for toasting a cup of the almonds and then grinding in the food processor to get a fine ground almond. I already had ground almonds in the cupboard so I decided to use this instead.

Now I know that 1 cup of whole almonds is way less when it's all ground down. I searched for a comparison but couldn't find one so I ended up using 1/2 cup of my ground almonds. I think in the long run it still ended up being too much. The cupcakes were a little dry, not because of the cake mix but because of the texture of the ground almonds. Not too much but just a little.

But still, they were a good seller and I would make these ones again! A really great Fall cupcake!

Toasted Almond Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 box of Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake Mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspooon almond extract
3 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow pan, bake almonds 6 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Reserve 1 cup almonds for garnish. In food processor, process remaining almonds until finely ground.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, almond extract and eggs on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. (Batter will be lumpy). Fold in ground almonds. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

For the Caramel Frosting:

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar

In a 2 qt. saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Gradually stir powdered sugar into brown sugar mixture. Place saucepan of frosting in bowl of cold water. Beat with a spoon until smooth and spreadable. If frosting becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Frost a few cupcakes at a time with 1 tablespoon of frosting each; press reserved almonds lightly into frosting. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Elvis Has Left The Building!

Last month I tried a cupcake recipe that I found on Bake & Destroy. Natalie that writes on B & D makes some of the most amazing recipes and I always love to just pop over and see what she has done now.

I saw her posting for the Elvis Comeback Special. A scrumptious banana chocolate shaving cupcake with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting, Drizzled with Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Cashews and a Cherry.

A great selling point with these cupcakes is they are Vegan. Now I have never cooked Vegan but after reading the recipe there was nothing that overtly special or hard about cooking Vegan. I have wanted to try Vegan cupcakes at the market for the simple fact that I think they will sell great.

So I made the cupcakes. And of course I forgot the soy milk and ended up using regular milk so the Vegan label went out the window but they still came out good.

These are now my most requested cupcake beating out the Cookies & Cream Cupcakes from "Crazy About Cupcakes".

There is just no other word to describe these cupcakes but scrumptious. They are amazing. My only complaint is they do cook up small but they are still wonderful. When I was pregnant I couldn't even smell peanut butter without it making me nauseous. Not only did the peanut buttercream taste delicious but I ended up eating the remainder of the frosting with a spoon! I topped mine with the sour cherry balls that Wilton makes. They worked beautifully.

Try the recipe for won't be sorry!

And in the words of Natalie from Bake & Destroy, "Now, if you really want to go nuts with the Elvis theme, bake these in a gold foil cupcake liner and sprinkle each frosted cupcake with pain killers and muscle relaxers."


Elvis Has Left The Building!
1/2 cup mashed over ripe banana
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
2/3 cup rice or soy milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your pan with paper liners.Throw your mashed banana in a blender or push it through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps in it.Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl, mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, soy or rice milk, vanilla, almond and mashed banana. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, don’t over mix or you’ll get tough cupcakes. Small lumps are fine.Fill liners 2/3 full, top the batter of each cupcake with 1 tsp of finely chopped chocolate and use a toothpick to gently stir them in.Bake 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the Peanut Butter Buttercream:

1/2 cup margarine, softened
4 Tbs. shortening
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 & 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2-4 Tbs soy milk

With an electric mixer, cream together margarine and shortening until smooth.
Add peanut butter, molasses if using and vanilla, beat until very smooth.
Beat in sugar, mixture will be very stiff.
Dribble in soy milk a little at a time, beating continuously until frosting is pale and fluffy.
Chocolate Ganache:

3 Tbs soy milk
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat soy milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Set aside to cool about 10 minutes, then use a piping bag or a fork to shake chocolate all over frosted cupcakes. The ganache will set up when cool.

I topped this with chopped cashews, you could use any kind of nut or some sprinkles. A candied cherry on top and the king has left the building.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla

I jumped on the bandwagon and tried Billy's Vanilla Vanilla last month.

I was so excited to try them too because I have heard how some bloggers thought they were so much better than Magnolia's and these "take the cake", if you will.

I even went out and bought Pure Vanilla Extract too.

I baked them up.

Decorated them.

Tasted them.

And was let down.

Form your own opinion and try the recipe. I didn't care for the texture and I thought his Vanilla Vanilla frosting was way too sweet.

Leave me comments and tell me what you think!

Here's the recipe:

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla

1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter.
Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake.
Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6-8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy.
If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Gone a whole month...

and not one post! How could I have let that happen. A whole month without posting not one of our weekly cupcakes.

So now of course I have to do a recap!