Saturday, December 24, 2011

Long Distance Baking Project #12!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Amber and I have finally completed our first Long Distance Baking Project!!!!! We already have plans for next year, hopefully to include cookies too!

This month we had to use peppermint!!! What would December be without peppermint!?
And what would peppermint be without chocolate!?

We were a tiny bit worried that this would be similar to March's recipe. Totally nothing like it!

She found this great recipe once again from Annie's Eats! These were so much fun to make...and eat! The frosting was a bit tricky to make. Mine was a bit runny and never actually peaked even after about 12 minutes of beating. Still tasted amazing!!!

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
From Annie's Eats

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 tsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs

6 large egg whites
1¾ plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tsp. peppermint extract
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir together. Combine the milk, coffee and peppermint extract in a liquid measuring cup.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Alternately mix in the dry and liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting
1. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.

2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

3. Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more.

4. Stir in the peppermint and vanilla extracts and mix just until incorporated.

I served these at our staff ladies Christmas lunch! Big success!

Sara's Name: Good enough to drink Peppermint Mocha cupcake

Amber's Name: We Wish You a Minty Mocha cupcakes!

Long Distance Baking Project #11!

Um....yeah...I'm so I've been all year. Not sure a New Year's Resolution can fix this...Moving on...

So I'm a HUGE fan of baking with pumpkin! My mom always makes a super yummy Pumpkin Pie Cake around Thanksgiving. Yellow cake mix, lots of butter and pumpkin pie filling. Yummo! It's one of my all time favorite desserts, hot out of the oven, or day old out of the fridge. So being November, I had to choose a recipe with pumpkin!

I also love coffee. So when I found a pumpkin spice latte cupcake, I couldn't resist. The coffee flavor is subtle and the whipped cream frosting is delightful!

I actually attempted these cupcakes in October for another occasion to be sure it was good enough for our LDBP of the month!!
Here's attempt number one:

Then I baked them again for Thanksgiving! Jon's parents came to Missouri this year! We also had the privilege of sharing a meal with Andrew Temm, David Anderson, Tabby Wilson, David Terry & Sharon Anderson. Great times with great friends!

So here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
From Annie's Eats

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbls espresso powder or instant coffee
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup strong coffee or espresso, for brushing

Whipped Cream
2 ¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 12-cup cupcake tins with liners.
In a medium bowl combine flour, espresso powder or instant coffee, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & salt. Set aside.

2) With an electric mixer, blend pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3) With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.
The batter is beautiful!!

4) Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full. Bake until cupcakes are dark golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

5) Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans. While cupcakes are still warm, brush them 2-3 times with coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating. Let cool completely.

6) To make frosting, place chilled heaving cream in a bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high. Blend in confectioners sugar gradually. Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overbeat. Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.

This is the 2 baking attempt. I actually had some butterscotch frosting left over from some other cupcakes (See below).


Amber's Name: "Sayonara Cancer" Spiced Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes (for a friend's remission party!)

Other cupcakes made and/or eaten this month:

Butterbeer Cupcakes for our Harry Potter Halloween Party!
From the Pastry Affair blog

Purple cupcakes in honor of Molly Kruse's birthday!

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes
From Annie's Eats

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Long distance Baking Project #10!

Yipee! Yipee!
Jon & I made a trip to Louisville to visit his family for a long weekend. And of course, since Amber lives there too, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to bake together in person. And it's a good thing we did this together! From getting the ingredients on the counter to cupcake in mouth, it took a good 4 hours! And it required the help of Jon's mom, as she cleaned up our messes so we could make a bigger mess with each step!

This recipe required attention to details, with lots of steps along the way, but it was worth it! I really, really love the apple cake! I could eat it like a muffin for breakfast! And the homemade caramel was a big mess, but tasted just like you want a caramel apple to taste like!

Since it only made 9 regular size cupcakes, we made 5 regular size and 9 tiny ones.

Here's the recipe Amber found:

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Yield: 9 regular cupcakes

Apple Cupcakes
2-3 apples, granny smith
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
½ cup oil
¼ cup apple juice
1 tsp vanilla

1) Rinse and core the apples. Place them on an ovenproof pan or baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft.
2) Remove the apples from the oven, let cool slightly, then remove peel and mush the apple with the back of a fork. Measure out 1 cup of apple mush and set aside to cool.
3) Combine flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4) Crack the eggs into a separate, medium sized bowl and beat with a form to break up. Add the oil, apple juice, vanilla, and cooled apple mush and mix to combine.
5) Combine the wet and dry ingredients until all ingredients come together.
6) Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 full so cupcakes will have a significant dome. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Filling
4 ounces Philly cream cheese
1/4 stick butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1) Be sure to bring the butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours. Then beat the butter vigorously with an electric mixer.
2) Scrape the bowl and add the cream cheese and beat until combine.
3. Add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Fill Cupcakes
1) Cut out a cone from each cupcake. Flip the cone and cut off the excess. Set the top aside.
2) Fill each cavity with the cream cheese filling.
3) Replace each top.

Thick Caramel
***NOTE: Don’t make this until the cupcakes are cooled & stuffed.***
½ cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
6 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbls heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt

1) Bring the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk to a boil over medium-high heat stirring to combine.
2) With a wooden spoon, stir all ingredients together and then slowly add the heavy cream.
3) Continue to stir for about 20 minutes until the caramel reached 248 degrees. It is important to continuously stir the mixture and to allow it to reach temperature.
4) 4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Transfer to a bowl and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes allowing the caramel to cool slightly.

Final Assembly
1) Using a small offset spatula, frost each cupcake with the caramel.
2) If desired sprinkle warm caramel with any number of toppings, like coconut or crushed nuts.
3) Transfer the cupcake into the freezer to allow the caramel to set without dripping over the edge of the cupcake paper.
4) Continue frosting and topping the cupcakes and try to work fast. As the caramel cools, it becomes less spreadable. If possible work in pairs and let your helper top the cupcakes and transfer them to the freezer. By the time you reach the last few cupcakes, you will not longer need to freeze them and you can take all the cupcakes out and transfer them to the counter.

We had so much fun! These were tasty apple cupcakes! The caramel was super chewy, but oh so yummy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Long Distance Baking Project #9!

We are back it this month with the same recipe! I got to choose this month!

I had to think a little about this recipe. It's September, which means it's fall...and the weather has been perfectly fall for the past couple of weeks. So I wanted a fall flavor, but didn't want to conflict with October's recipe (that Amber & I will get to back together!!) or with November's recipe which will undoubtedly include pumpkin. So I opted for this delightful almond/maple combo! I found this recipe at the Vanilla & Velvet blog

I'm not always the biggest fan of nuts. I rarely choose a cookie or brownie or piece of banana bread with walnuts when I can have it plain. But I do really like almonds because they are subtle. I put them in my homemade granola and they are just so tasty when covered in brown sugar & honey and on the crunchy side.

Vanilla Almond Cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Vanilla Almond Cake
(Makes 12)
Cupcake Ingredients:
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

1. Make the almond meal. I did it by grinding almonds in my coffee grinder. It made it finer than my food processor could, but not so fine that it was flour-like.

2. Mix together flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt.

3. Beat in room temperature butter (this seems a little weird since you normal cream the butter with sugar, but it worked nicely!)

4. Add sugar and mix thoroughly.

5. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each egg. Stir in vanilla and milk until just mixed.

6. FIll each cupcake liner a little over half full.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick into the cupcake and it comes out almost clean. This was also a little weird, as cupcakes normally bake at 350 for 20 minutes. I will bake them a minute or two less next time.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Beat the cream cheese and butter until blended, then begin to add powdered sugar. Beat until cream, then add the maple syrup and beat until well combined. I frosted my using a piping bag with a large tip.

Candied Almonds
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbls butter
2 cups sliced almonds
1 tsp vanilla

Add white sugar, butter & almonds to a med heat skillet and stir slowly and consistently until the sugar melts and the almonds turn golden brown. Keep stirring so the mixture doesn't stick to the pan. Remove from heat and add vanilla. It will sizzle and pop. Pour onto wax paper to harden. Spread as thin or as chunky as you like.

Garnish cupcake with as much as desired. YUMMY!!!

Makes 12 regular cupcakes

We're struggling with our names...stay tuned!

Long Distance Baking Project #8!

So this month, we decided to fly solo. We had some special birthday parties that required a little extra effort, so Amber & I let ourselves off the hook!

Here's Amber's extra special niece, Madison!! She turned 2!!

Here's what Amber did for her!!!

The ice cream cones were strawberry cake. The awesome little "smash" cake was funfetti. The purple cupcakes were chocolate cake; green cupcakes were white cake & yellow cupcakes were funfetti!

She went all out for Madison...and made a giant mess in her kitchen!! But it was totes worth it!


This month was also my Jon's birthday!! We decided to throw him an "apple" party!

Everyone brought his favorite twin tip sharpies! It will be a long time before he has to buy one again!

Here's what we wore!

Here's what I made!

These were super fun! I just made chocolate cake with white icing. I thought I'd try fondant for the apples, then realized that it would be a huge risk for my first attempt! So I found a sugar sheet by Wilton at Walmart. I made an apple logo template out of cardboard and used my exacto knife to cut them out. The apples turned our mouths black temporarily, but actually tasted okay!

This was a lot of fun for both of us!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Long Distance Baking Project #7!

Since it's summer and since I LOVE raspberries...I really wanted to make a raspberry sort of cupcake. I was talking to my friend Maggie, who told me her friend made some raspberry lemonade cupcakes. Ummmm....Yes please!!

And so began the search for a raspberry lemonade cupcake recipe...lots to choose from. Some with lemon pudding. Some with lemonade drink mix. Some with a raspberry on top. Hard decision! I went with the recipe that included a raspberry puree in the middle and in the butter cream icing. Score!

This was a fun cupcake to make as you actually made the raspberry puree, and used lemon juice and lemon peel from a real lemon. I got to buy cheese cloth! (Amber had no idea what this was! Glad I could edumacate her!)

Here ya go!

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Lemon Cupcake (makes about 12)

1/3 c. butter (softened)
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 c. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package (6 oz.) fresh raspberries – You can substitute frozen in a pinch

1. First, do your prep work! Make a raspberry puree by putting the fresh raspberries in a blender. Then, over a bowl, pour the puree onto a few layers of cheese cloth. Get your hands dirty and squeeze the puree through the cloth in order to strain out all the little seeds. Set strained puree aside; it will be used for both the cupcakes and the frosting.

2. Zest two lemons into a bowl – the zest will be used for both the cupcakes and the frosting. Squeeze those two lemons, careful to catch all the seeds, making sure that you have at least 1/4 c. of juice for the cupcakes themselves.

3. Now, get started on the cupcakes themselves! Cream together the softened butter and the sugar together. Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and blend until just combined.

4. In a measuring cup, combine the lemon juice and milk (do not do this too far ahead of time or else it will curdle!).

5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternate blending in the milk mixture and the flour mixture, ending with the flour.

6. Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 way up. Top each scoop of batter with about a teaspoon of raspberry puree. Now, add a bit more batter on top of the puree, making each cup 3/4 full.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Take into account that the raspberry may show on the toothpick. Just be sure that there’s no raw cake batter!

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. butter
2-3 c. powdered sugar (to taste)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. raspberry puree

Just like a standard butter cream, start by creaming the butter! Blend in the vanilla. Start to mix in the powdered sugar. Just before you reach a thick consistency that you want, add the raspberry puree. The frosting will be thinner now, so continue to add powdered sugar until you reach the taste and texture that you like. If the frosting is still thin, let it sit in the fridge before piping onto the cupcakes!

In make these, I would change a few things. 1. I would use 2 layers less of cheese cloth. My puree ended up more like juice. Tasty juice, but juice none-the-less. 2. I would use more lemon juice. Maybe double. It smelled lemony and had a hint of flavor, but I would have liked it to be a little more tart. 3. I would have beat my buttercream a little longer and would have added a little more powdered sugar. The puree that was juicy changed the texture just a little bit.

Sara's Name: All Puckered Up Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Amber's Name: Rainbows & Smiles Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Friday, June 24, 2011

Long Distance Baking Project #6!

Wow! June is almost over! This month's recipe might be both mine and Amber's favorite so far! She picked it and everyone we shared them with loved them! But as Amber said, the are "involved" but they are totally worth it!
The recipe came from

Banana Split Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. Buttermilk
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe banana

For the filling:
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and diced small
2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
12 oz. crushed pineapple, drained

For the frosting:
1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the ganache:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup

For garnish:
Multi-colored sprinkles
Maraschino cherries

1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in 1 the mashed banana until well combined.

3. With the mixer on low speed alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing only until just incorporated.

4. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the strawberry filling, combine the strawberries and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Toss well, smashing slightly with a fork. Allow the berries to macerate at least 20-30 minutes.

6. To fill the cupcakes, cut a small cone out of the center of each cupcake with a paring knife or small biscuit cutter. (The excess cake can be discarded.) Add a teaspoon or two of the strawberry filling to the center of each cupcake. Top with a teaspoon or two of the crushed pineapple, filling to the top of the cupcake.

7. To make the frosting, add the heavy cream to the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue to whip until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat! Blend in the vanilla extract.

8. Add the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe a swirl of the whipped cream onto each filled cupcake, covering the filling. Transfer the filled and frosted cupcakes to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.

9. To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate; let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk together until a thick, smooth ganache forms. Blend in the corn syrup. Let stand at room temperature at least 10 minutes so the ganache is not hot.

10. To finish the cupcakes, pour a spoonful of the ganache over the whipped cream topping of each cupcake. Garnish with sprinkles and maraschino cherries before the glaze sets. Chill the assembled cupcakes until ready to serve.

Makes 30 cupcakes!

I had a couple of baking assistants to help me, Jackie & Cassa!!

Amber's Name: Oh My Ganache Banana Split Cupcakes!

Sara's Name (not near as good as Amber's): Well Split My Banana Cupcake