Tag Archives: powdered sugar

Chocolate Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting

For Christmas, I was going to make the kids in my life crayons out of the letters of their names.  I purchased what I thought was an oven-ready mold, but when it arrived it was a tiny, plastic, chocolate mold.  My mistake, but rather than resell it I thought I would utilize the chocolate mold by making alphabet suckers in primary colors for Tommy’s 1st birthday party.

 

After a series of unfortunate events, such as me forgetting to spray the mold before placing what turned out to be too soft of chocolate in, I pushed my hand through the plastic breaking the alphabet into an uneven half. (Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the bloody picture). But, I was still able to utilize the yellow melted chocolate on top of the cupcake frosting.

To make the cupcakes:

To make the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 fresh juice from lemon
  • Food coloring

To make the chocolate:

  • 1/4 bag white chocolate chips (a pricier brand, like Ghirardelli, will taste best)
  • 1 Tbsp. whole milk
  • Food coloring

Start by making the cake.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a mixing bowl, blend together cake mix, almond extract, oil, water, and eggs using an electric hand mixer.  Whirl around until smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Add in the chocolate chips and fold over with a spoon until they are well dispersed into the batter.

I chose to make mini cupcakes with mini, white paper cups.  If you are cooking these for yourself, you can eliminate the paper cups by spraying or Criscoing the muffin tin.  Fill each cup about 3/4 from the top. They will rise in the oven.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. To check if they are ready, simply stick a wooden toothpick in the center of a cupcake. If it comes out clean, they are done. If it has batter on it, they need more time in the oven.

In the meantime, you can start the frosting. With a clean electric hand mixer and bowl, combine together the cream cheese, lemon juice, whole milk, vanilla, butter and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. 

 Blend on medium speed until smooth, approximately 3-5 minutes, slowly adding in more powdered sugar, section by section, until you’ve used 1 1/2 cups (more if you like it a little stiffer for accurate piping, less if you like your frosting on the soft side). 

Finally, add in your favorite food coloring color (or multiple to make such colors as purple or orange).  I chose blue, using maybe 20 drops for a deeper hue.

Now is a good time to make the chocolate letters.  To make a double boiler, simply add in an inch of water to a large pan. Bring the water to a boil and place a smaller pan filled with your chocolate ingredients on the inside. Again, pick your favorite color to dye the white chocolate chips. Stir constantly, until the chocolate is melted enough to spread.  This method is a fool-proof way of not burning the chocolate. 

On parchment paper, create your letters by hand using a toothpick or small spoon.  Stick the parchment paper into the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

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When your cupcakes are cool, frost them using a spoon, piping bag, or, like me, a cookie press that also serves as a frosting gun.

Pull the chocolate letters out and immediately peel them from the paper. If you take too long, stick them back in the freezer for 5 minutes and finish the remaining letters then stick them into your frosted cupcakes. 

Though my friend was excited for chocolate suckers, as someone else also brought cupcakes to the party, these minis were delicious and easy to pop in your mouth without feeling guilty after a high-fat, filling dinner of Portillo’s Beef Sandwiches.  I personally enjoy minis because they not only look cute; you feel you can eat more because of the size. This isn’t necessarily true, but comforting during the process.

The addition of lemon and vanilla into the cream cheese frosting was my personal favorite.  It was subtle, not overwhelming, but noticeably different in comparison to previous cream cheese frosting recipes.  The almond extract in the chocolate was almost invisible, so feel free to add in another teaspoon, but the chocolate chips definitely initiated a heavier cupcake.  They melted leaving little pockets of condensed, smooth chocolate.  Finally, the chocolate letters were a fun addition, clearly stating the purpose of the cupcakes (“Happy 1st Birthday Tommy”), that people could take off and eat.  Next time I will arrange to take more time on this part so each letter is consistent and easy to read.

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Spice Cake Drenched in Cream Cheese Frosting

I obtained this recipe, after suffering its wonderous, moist, frosted phenomenon, from old family friends.  They deserve credit for this amazing cake I continue to make at least once a year. It’s perfect for that rich, Christmas or Thanksgiving dessert you were assigned to bring to the party.

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (cream cheese substitution is okay)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 heaping tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 heaping tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 heaping tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees Farenheit.  Grease and flour either a 13″ x 9″, 2 round cake pans, or a bundt cake pan (these would also make excellent cupcakes). 

Beat all ingredients with a hand mixer on low for 30 seconds.image  Beat for a remaining 3 minutes on high.image

Pour batter into your pan.  imageBake for approximately 40-45 minutes for a rectangular pan or 30-35 minutes for the round pans or bundt cake.  When a toothpick comes out of the center clean, the cake is finished cooking.

While the cake is cooling, whip up the frosting.image In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and vanilla together on low-speed with a hand mixer until smooth. image In doses of about one cup, add in the powdered sugar. image Cream together until frosting is smooth and spreadable. image

Spread cream cheese frosting over cake. Enjoy.image

I doubted the fridge’s holding of unexpired sour cream, and used cream cheese in the cake instead only to find out the next day we had not one, but TWO fresh cartons of sour cream. Whoops. The only difference I noticed was the dense cake was less moist than its sour cream compromised counter-part.  It was still enticing, then again, what, covered in cream cheese frosting, wouldn’t be?

I made a mini sampler size for taste testing, just in case the cake didn’t turn out using cream cheese inside the cake. Andrew refused to touch it, so I gave it to my mom and Dave first. They all agreed it was well-prepared and delectable, despite my impatience for both the trip to the store to buy sour cream and to allow the oven to fully heat up to 300 degrees Farenheit.

The spices remind me of sipping on a gingerbread latte from Starbucks, or slurping up some Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (minus the cayenne), not to mention it makes the whole house smell like a lit Yankee Candle.  Each bite is dribbled in luscious cream-colored gobs of icing.

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Paula Deen’s Buttery Lemon Bars

Gotta love those Paula Deen goodies. This one only requires two sticks of butter and a little extra to grease the pan.  I made these once before for Rosette’s family and they have been dying for us to make them again. So, we had a cooking and crafting Sunday night with the Bears on in the background (yes, they lost).

To make the crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter, and more for greasing

For the lemony center:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh lemons are best)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and greasing a 13″ x 9″ baking dish (preferably glass, the dark metal pan overcooked the crust the first time). 

Next whip together the crust flour and sugar ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  With a fork, take the room temperature butter and mash it into the flour/sugar combo until it becomes light and crumbly. 

Press the crust compound into the pre-greased baking pan, pressing up the sides about an inch or so.  Bake for 15-20 minutes (but watch it. It tends to overcook).

In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice. 

Pull the pan out of the oven and pour in the yellow hodgepodge of ingredients.

 Place back into the oven for a remaining 25 minutes. (I took  mine out early, so check it at 15 min. and again at 20 min.). 

Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

 

These gel-like lemon bars have a few textures. Initially, you sink your teeth into a soft, sticky gelatin that brings a rush of sweet tang .  Next your bottom pearly whites help the top ones to crunch into a semi-soft crust cradling the citrus insides in a sweet, flaky melt-in-your-mouth carbohydrate.

Rosette’s mom bugged us until we finally went upstairs to cook she was so excited to have these. They are that heavenly. Bring them to your holiday gatherings this year for dessert.

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The Moistest Banana Bars Ever

Wondering what to do with those brown bananas that are starting to attract fruit flies?  Well one concept is to peel them and freeze them for smoothies, but an even better idea is to make these breakfast bars from Gooseberry Patch.image

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar

Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt.  In another bowl mash together the wet ingredients: bananas, shortening, eggs, vanilla.

Next, combine the wet ingredients with the dry until the flour mixture is just moistened.

Grease a 13″ x 9″ pan and pour the batter in, spreading out evenly.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Farenheit for approximately 20 minutes.

When cool, cut into squares and serve using a sifter to sprinkle fresh powdered sugar on top.image

Another topping option I didn’t make because I was out of cream cheese, and not feeling like a 20 minute drive to the store, is cream cheese frosting. All you need to do is cream together one package of cream cheese, a stick of butter, 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.  Then top the frosting with chopped walnuts for an extra nutty crunch.image

I’ve never had banana bread this moist, fluffy or tasty before. The top stays sticky where the sugar seems to rise and sit.  The inside is extremely light and fluffy, unlike most banana breads, which are a little dense.  It’s not over-filling and makes a larger quantity than a small bread pan would.  My mom suggested it needed walnuts, which, if you make it with the cream cheese frosting, would be the cherry topping of the sundae.  It’s an easy, grab-and-go breakfast for the week.

 

 

 

 

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