Tag Archives: dessert

Not so Spooky Halloween’s Eve Cupcakes

30 Oct

I had every intention of making devil’s food cupcakes in honor of it being Halloween Eve.  I was missing some key ingredients though, so I turned to a much less spooky, more ‘angelic’ sort of cake.

But this one still got some candy corn devil horns =]

I was a bad blogger and didn’t take any pictures of the process, but I promise it’s totally easy.  And after a whole batch got gobbled up in a day, I knew I had to share the recipe with you.

Plus there’s a good story behind these cupcakes.

I always make cake for birthdays in my family.  But whenever I take a fancy cake over to my mom’s house to feed my little sisters (they’re 5 and 7 now), they never eat it.  I made a spice cake with espresso buttercream.  They didn’t eat it…fair enough.

So I made a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and raspberry puree in the middle.  Kids love chocolate, right?!  They didn’t eat it.  Really?

So then I decided to make the most boring, kid friendly cake I could think of.  Sure to impress even the pickiest of children: a vanilla milkshake cake.  A malted vanilla cake, filled with pastry cream (which is more or less a vanilla ice cream base), and frosted with a sweet vanilla buttercream.

The main problem with this was that there are very, very few malted vanilla cake recipes out there.  Chocolate malt cakes are all over the place, but vanilla? No dice.

So I was pretty proud at having to adapt this recipe from the one malted cake recipe I could find to taste more like a vanilla milkshake…

The cake still doesn’t taste like a vanilla milkshake, but it is still one of my favorite vanilla cake recipes.  These cakes rise perfectly, they are moist and spongy on the inside, and the malt powder gives a depth of flavor missing in your average vanilla cake.  Frost with a vanilla buttercream that ‘tastes exactly like vanilla ice cream’, and the milkshake is complete.

I’m sure these will make it through a few more trials…eventually I will create that perfect vanilla milkshake taste.  This batch got pretty rave reviews regardless, so for now, make yourself some delicious malted vanilla cupcakes.

Oh, and in case you were wondering…the kids still didn’t eat my vanilla cupcakes.  But I hope you will!

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Malted Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from Annie Eats
Makes ~12 cupcakes

¼ + 1/8 cup all purpose flour
¼ + 1/8 cup cake flour
½ cup malted milk powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 T vanilla extract
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1/3 cup buttermilk

‘Tastes like Vanilla Ice Cream’ Buttercream
From Sweetapolita
1 stick of butter, softened
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
1 T heavy cream (or whole milk)
1 tsp  vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

I halved the frosting recipe and only had enough frosting for 9 out of my 12 cakes…so either make half a batch and go light on the frosting (not recommended), or make the whole batch and eat the extras with a spoon (you should do this)…or freeze for later use.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, malted milk powder, baking powder, and salt, and set aside
  • In a large bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and oil, until well combined and light in color.
  • Alternate additions of the dry mixture with and the buttermilk into the egg mixture, starting and ending with dry.  Pour in 1/3 of the dry mix, stir gently until combined, then pour in 1/3 of the buttermilk, stir gently to combine, then repeat (ending with dry mixture).
  • I used a 1 oz ice cream scoop to measure out the batter evenly into 12 cupcake tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make frosting: On low speed, beat together butter and powdered sugar until well combined.  Add in vanilla extract, salt, and the heavy cream.  Beat at high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
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Hurricane Sandy and Candy Corn Rice Crispy Treats

29 Oct

Hunkering down for the hurricane getting you down?  You probably need some treats of the Halloween themed variety to get you back in the festive mood.

I think the worst is over here in Norfolk.  The winds have died down quite a bit, but it’s still pouring.  The backyard is about halfway underwater, and I’m pretty sure most of the roads are flooded, but the house is dry and the power is on, so I’m happy.

Ew, look at all that trash.  Kids, don’t litter or pollute your water.

Rice crispy treats are actually one of my favorite desserts.  I don’t make them that often, and I don’t think about them that often, but once I get my hands on a plate of those chewy, crunchy, marshmallowy squares of goodness, there’s no stopping me.

So I made some rice crispy treats on a dark and stormy hurricane morning, and then I threw some candy corn in there…because I have most of a 4lb bag of the stuff I’m still working through.  And they were delicious.

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First, assemble your ingredients.  You will need to work relatively quickly, so make sure you’ve got your candy corn, marshmallows, and rice crispy cereal ready on your counter.  And grease your 8×8 pan very well, and set aside.

Melt some butter and candy corn in a medium sized saucepan over low heat.

Melt? Candy corn?  Whattt?  Yes, it will melt.  You may have to crush it and stir constantly, but it will melt…it’s essentially made of just sugar and corn syrup you know (which also means you can make some other fun candies out of it, but that’s for a later date).

The candy corn and butter won’t necessarily combine very well, but stir them together as best you can.  Once everything is mostly melted, stir in the marshmallows!

Yeah, I used some funny colored halloween type marshmallows.

It made for some funny color marshmallow goo.  At this point, cut the heat, and stir in your salt, cereal, and additional candy corn.

It’s super sticky, and you want to work quickly.  Once everything is combined, pour into your greased pan, and pack down gently to even it all out (best accomplished by smearing some butter on your fingers or spraying them with non-stick spray first)

And that’s all, folks!  Allow to cool…as long as you can wait, and then enjoy!

I know, the lighting is wonky…I blame the storm…

I wouldn’t say these treats taste strongly of candy corn, but the flavor is there subtly.  They are sweeter and chewier than your average rice crispy treats, which is reminiscent of a chewy candy corn.  I think they’re totally delicious, and I hope you do too…I’m sure you’ve got some candy corn lying around, and rice crispy treats couldn’t be easier to make.  So give these a try =]

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Candy Corn Rice Crispy Treats
2 T butter
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup candy corn (divided in those amounts)
1/2 a 10 oz package of large marshmallows (or 2 cups of miniature ones)
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups crisped rice cereal

  • Assemble all your ingredients so they are ready when you need them.  Also grease a 8×8 or 9×9 pan and set aside.
  • In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter with 1/3 cup of candy corn over low heat.  You will need to crush and stir the candy corn well, but it will melt.
  • Once butter and candy corn are melted, stir in the marshmallows
  • Once marshmallows have melted, turn the heat off.  Stir in the salt, cereal, and 1/4 cup of candy corn.  Work quickly, as the mixture will be quite sticky.
  • Pour into your greased pan, and press down gently to smooth with a greased spatula or your greased hands.
  • Allow to cool slightly before slicing into squares and enjoying

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

22 Oct

I have a great dinner to share with you.  Remember when I made thai turkey burgers and said they reminded me of meatballs I ate as a kid?  I made those meatballs, and they were excellent!  I didn’t feel like wading through the pictures though.  Instead, how about some delicious whoopie pies?

I made whoopie pies once before.  They were chocolate cookies with homemade marshmallow fluff squeezed in the middle.  Both components were delicious…marshmallow fluff is actually incredibly easy to make with a candy thermometer and a stand mixer (or a third arm).  Otherwise it’s tricky, but much better than store bought.  As for chocolate cookies?  Oh boy, I have the best chocolate cookies to share with you later.

But back to the whoopie pies.  The chocolate cookies were dense and heavy, and the marshmallow fluff was soft and runny.  It was a mess.  So here’s what you need to consider when making any variety of whoopie pie:  soft, cake like cookies, and a firm filling.  It’s that easy.

And here are some that fit the bill.

Fluffy, cake-like cookies, with the fresh taste of pumpkin an intense pumpkin spice blend.  Not overly sweet, and perfectly paired with a thick, creamy, sweet maple cream cheese filling.  The perfect little fall bites.  And totally quick and easy to make.

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Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and seasonings in a medium sized bowl.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the sugar and oil, then vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.  And an egg…which I don’t remember adding.  Oh well.

Add your flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture in three increments (I used the mixer to beat in the first third, then a spoon to mix in the rest).  Stop once the flour is just mixed in.  Don’t overmix!

1-2 tablespoons of batter per cookie, placed an inch or so apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until they look like cooked little cakes and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean.

Then it’s just a matter of letting these cool completely, making a quick cream cheese filling, and assembling your pies.

Cute, festive, and delicious.  What more could you want?

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For the Whoopie Pies:
Makes ~24 small cakes; 12 pies

1 ½  cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cloves
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin, ideally chilled
1 egg*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ – ½ tsp maple extract (optional)
Pinch of salt

*I made half of this recipe, and definitely did not add egg.  My cakes were fantastic!  Without the egg, they’re also vegan!  (The filling’s not though)

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bading soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  Set aside.
  • In a separate, large bowl, beat together the oil and sugars, then beat in the pumpkin, vanilla, and egg
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet.  Do this in three increments.  Use the electric mixer to beat in the first third of the flour mixture, then stir in the next third, and then the last third until just combined (do not overmix!)
  • Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out cookies, placing each an inch or so apart on the baking sheet.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes until the cookies look like a baked cake on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before filling.
  • To make filling: beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Then beat in the maple syrup and extracts.  Finally, beat in the powdered sugar and salt.  Start on low speed, then increase to high when the sugar is incorporated enough to not fly all over your kitchen.  Beat on high speed for a few minutes until nice and fluffy.  Be sure to taste…you can add more maple, powdered sugar and salt to get the flavor just right.
  • To assemble the pies: find pairs of cookies that are of similar shape and size.  Turn one over, and either pipe or spoon filling onto it.  Press the other cookie on top and press gently to seal.  Store in the refrigerator.