Monday, September 27, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you enjoy the new look to my blog :-)

Back during my pregnancy with my now 14-month old daughter, I had some major cake cravings, especially during the last trimester. I would go to the local grocery’s bakery section and not resist getting a piece of (or a whole) red velvet cake. I loved the moist layered cake with the wonderful cream cheese frosting. If I got a whole cake, I could easily finish it all on my own in less than a week! 
Without realizing, this was the beginning of two of my current loves: baking and red velvet cake. Since then I have been searching for that perfect red velvet cake recipe. For me, a good red velvet cake has these three major qualities: moist, fluffy, and RED! I have come across this recipe recently from one of my favorite food blogs and decided to give the recipe a try. My goodness, did I like it! I got really excited when I started seeing the cupcakes dome up beautifully in the oven, and that is without any baking powder! This cupcake hit all the qualities listed above. I think that my search for the perfect recipe is over, but the countless times I make this recipe is just beginning! 
*One quick note, I modified the frosting recipe just a tad to make it a bit more creamy, although I would try using a colorless vanilla extract next time so the frosting has a nice white shade.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield: about 24 cupcakes

For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp heavy cream
3½-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Adapted from
Annie’s Eats

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bananamon Crumb Muffins

Hello again! I am trying to play catch up with my recipes, so here is my latest food adventure. At work, we recently had an all-day training session that required all of us to be fully functional at 7:30am. What better way to be up and running than with a nice breakfast muffin? With these yummies, we were able to tackle the training on full force (well, maybe just tackle the training, it was still a Monday hehehe).
The following recipe itself is a blend of 2 recipes I found from one of my favorite food bloggers (Annie’s Eats) and a great recipe I found on Foodbuzz, plus some of my own tweaks. I really like a crumb top layer on certain muffins, so I added it to the recipe. Since I was trying to finish my whole wheat flour, I only had about 1 cup left and ended up using AP flour for the remaining 2 cups. Next time I might just make the muffins with all AP flour instead of mixing, or if you feel like being a little more health conscious, then make it with only whole wheat flour. Hope you enjoy these breakfast treats, as my staff certainly did!

Bananamon Crumb Muffins
Yields 24 muffins

3 cups whole wheat flour (or AP flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
 3 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon butter   

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups.

Measure out the flour with a measuring cup and level with a knife. Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and the butter on medium speed with a mixer until well-incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Add the bananas, yogurt and vanilla extract. Beat together.

On low speed, add the flour mixture in increments. Beat just until blended.

Divide mixture between the muffin cups, about 2/3 full. I use a small sized ice cream scoop for this, which works great!
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 4 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.   
Bake about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Adapted from “Life’s Too Short to Eat Fat Free Cheese” Life’s Too Short to Eat Fat Free Cheese” and Annie’s Eats

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes

It has been an extremely long time since I posted last. Between my birthday, vacation, and work in general I have not had time to sit down and post about my latest food adventures. Also, I have been taking a cake decorating class (which I will post about once the class is over) and learning all these new tricks! It has been extremely fun, and my friends and family have all benefited from all the extra baked goods and frosting! :D
Anyways, these cupcakes were actually made while visiting my good friend Rachel and her family. My husband, daughter and I traveled about 4 hours to visit her house over Labor Day weekend. Rachel's hubby was having his birthday the following week, and to celebrate her this birthday a little early, I asked what his favorite dessert was. Well, he was quick to say “anything chocolate!”, and when I threw this cupcake as an idea, he loved it! So with the decision made, my friend and I made these cupcakes, which turned out just divine! My only change to the original recipe from Annie’s Eats is that we used brewed coffee instead of the instant espresso powder called for in the recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes
Yields 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup warm brewed coffee (or ¾ cup warm water with 1 Tbsp instant coffee)
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For brushing the cupcakes:
Kahlua liqueur

For the frosting:
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
7-8 tbsp. Kahlua liqueur
2 tbsp. heavy cream

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.   Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a large mixing bowl combine the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk well to blend.  Add the eggs, warm brewed coffee, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high speed until smooth, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake until the tops spring back when pressed lightly, about 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.  Poke a few holes in the top of each cupcake with the tines of a fork and brush with Kahlua while still warm.  Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated.  Add in the Kahlua and beat on medium speed until well blended.  Add in the heavy cream and beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats