Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Hunger Games!

In honor of my midnight trip to the premiere of the Hunger Games I decided to make "Girl on Fire" cupcakes!  They are chocolate cupcakes with red hot cinnamon buttercream and decorated with gumpaste mockingjays and flames.

Here I am in line anxiously awaiting the premiere!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Special Request! Almond Poppy Seed with Orange Creamsicle Buttercream!

I have had a few requests for my cake and frosting recipe for the RS cake and cupcakes I did last week.  The cake is an almond poppy seed with an orange creamsicle Italian meringue buttercream!  Mmmmm!
This cake and frosting is always a favorite during the spring and summer with it's light and bright flavors!  Happy baking!

Almond Poppy Seed Cake
1 cup milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (6 oz), softened
½ cup poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease two 9 inch cake pans with vegetable shortening, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease the parchment paper and flour the pans. Or line cupcake pan with 24 baking cups.
Combine milk, eggs whites and extracts in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand (If you’re doing this by hand, sift the dry ingredients together and rub in butter).
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not overmix. Add poppy seeds and stir just to mix in.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and gently shake to smooth batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cupcakes bake for 20-25 min.
Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting. Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for 1-2 weeks.
Serves 12-16.
Orange Creamsicle Buttercream
1 pound unsalted butter, soft and cut into one inch pieces
3/4 cup and 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
zest of 2 oranges
1 ½ tsp orange extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place egg whites, with cream of tartar and 1/4 cup sugar nearby.
Heat 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved. When sugar reaches 230F on a candy thermometer, turn mixer on medium high. When egg whites are frothy, add cream of tartar. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar. When egg whites begin to form soft peaks, turn the mixer down to medium low and begin to drizzle in the boiling sugar mixture (which should be at approximately 245-250F, firm ball stage). When all of the hot sugar is added, turn the mixer up to medium high and beat until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch. Add the butter one lump at a time and continue beating until mixture is smooth and fluffy, approximately 12-20 minutes. It will look rather like ricotta cheese for a while – just keep beating!
Once it is smooth, stir in flavorings, if desired.
Keep at room temperature – do not refrigerate.
Makes enough to frost one 2 or 3 layer, 8, 9 or 10 inch cake.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cupcake of the week... Harry Potter style!

So I have decided to try a new thing called "Cupcake of the Week".  Each week I will try a new recipe and blog about my results.  (I figure this will get me to update my blog more often.) 

This week I tried Harry Potter Butterbeer cupcakes!  A-m-a-z-i-n-g!!  No, there is not actually any beer in them.  The recipe from amybites is simple and easy to follow with amazing results.  The cake is moist, but not too sweet and the frosting and filling give the added sweetness and buttery taste that makes these a winner!
The kids were certainly spellbound as we spent our FHE watching Harry Potter and eating these delicious Butterbeer cupcakes!

.Butterbeer CupcakesMakes 18
For the cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda
For the ganache:.
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream
For the buttercream frosting:.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
Splash of milk or cream (as needed)
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream your butter until light and fluffy. Add your sugars and beat until well-combined. Beat in your eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat in your vanilla and butter flavoring.
Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.
For butterscotch filling: In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Cool to room temperature. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.
For buttercream frosting: Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed. Frost cupcakes and top with a drizzle of butterscotch ganache.
Just so you can see how big a Harry Potter nerd fan I am, here is a pic of me at the midnight Deathly Hallows premiere!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Relief Society!

Tonight we celebrated the 170th Birthday of our Church's Relief Society.  We all had a great time visiting with friends, enjoying good food and festive decorations!  I was asked to put together a cake and cupcakes for the occasion.  So here is what I came up with.  Thank you to my amazing friend Shillawna for all of the gorgeous photos! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rise and shine!

This morning we woke up to squeals of delight from the kids!  Our three year old came running into our room screaming "hot-aw-bawoon"!  That's hot-air-balloon to the rest of us.  Turns out not only was there indeed a hot-air-balloon, but there was more than one.  We had 12 balloons peppering the sky right out our back window.  To the kids, this was very exciting stuff and warranted a whole conversation on the ups and downs of the brightly colored balloons.  They carefully watched and counted as balloons went up and down and disappeared out of sight.  For a peaceful 30 minutes we all stood at the window until just 2 balloons remained.  Then the kids went back to their normal morning activities of pestering each other and fighting over who got the most cereal in their bowl... business as usual.