Chocolate and Strawberry Battenburg Cake

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As an (almost) Canadian and an avid baker, I was incredibly excited when I heard that Canada was hosting a version of the Great British Bake off. Eagerly I hopped on the website and started reading the application, only to find the eligibility criteria stated that contestants must be “Canadian citizens or permanent residents.” At the time I was only on a work permit (#americanproblems so I did not qualify. Crestfallen, I resolved to watching the show with a mixture of admiration and envy, wishing that I was in that glorious baking tent.

But, if there’s a season 2, you can bet your bonnet I will put my name into the hat as I now am a permanent resident! And what better way to prepare than to attempt the challenges on the show. Cake week’s technical challenge was a Battenburg Cake, which I had never heard of before. So obviously, I decided to recreate my own version in my kitchen.

This is not an easy cake, as you may have guessed. It made a complete ridiculous mess of my kitchen. Gooey marshmallow was everywhere. (They say marshmallow fondant is easier than making the regular fondant… if that’s true, heaven help us). Honestly, I think I should get credit for making my own marshmallow fondant and marzipan, because I’m pretty sure the contestants didn’t have to do that. This cake is legitimately from scratch.

I also didn’t feel like scouring the grocery store to find pistachio paste, and I had strawberry flavouring and jam, so I switched up the flavours for my version. Chocolate and strawberry is a bit more appealing than pistachio and cherry, in my very humble opinion.

I sincerely apologize to my British readers (if they exist?) if changing the flavours of this cake is a disrespectful bastardization of a true Battenburg. But if there’s anything us Americans are good at, it’s taking a perfectly good thing and ruining it, like this horrific combination of donuts and burgers.

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Long instructions:

Alright, so let’s start with the cake. Easy peasy. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Cream together 1 1/3 cup room temperature butter and 1 1/8 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 5 eggs one by one until combined. Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. (Sorry for the weird quantities, I converted from grams to volume because that’s how I bake).

In a separate bowl combine 1 7/8 cups flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and combine.

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Think KitchenAid would sponsor me for this product placement??

Split your batter evenly into 2 bowls. To one bowl, add 1/8 cup of cocoa powder. To the other bowl, add a couple drops of strawberry flavouring and red food colouring. Mix both well.

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Mmm two delicious flavours, strawberry and chocolate!!! So much better than pistachio and cherry ūüėČ

Prepare your pan by greasing the bottom and sides. I apparently do not own a 9×9 pan because I am a poor student, so I jerry-rigged a 9×13 to do the trick by implementing a false tinfoil wall. I suggest you make life easier and find a 9×9 pan. Take a piece of parchment paper and fold it up in the middle to make a little barrier between the two sides.

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Yep. I did that. And it worked. Surprised even myself.

Then fill one side with the strawberry and other with the chocolate batter.

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And bake! It should take approximately 25-30 minutes.

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After they cool for 5 or so minutes, turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

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Clearly some trimming needs to be done here. You can see all the parchment paper grooves.

And now the fun part – marzipan and fondant! Let’s start with the marzipan. Now I will warn you that the only time I had heard of marzipan before this recipe was the character Marzipan from Homestarrunner.com, so I had absolutely no idea what I was making while I was making it, but it seemed to turn out ok.

Either get some whole almonds and grind them in a food processor, or buy ground almonds. I ground my own. You want 1 3/4 cup of ground almonds chilling in a food processor.

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Stir together 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 tablespoons water in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and sugar has dissolved.

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Pour this sugar mixture into the food processor with the almonds while it’s running, until it’s one big goopy mess. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract.

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Does this seem right? I honestly had no clue.

Pour the goop onto some plastic wrap, shape it into a log, and let cool at room temperature.

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Not too shabby!

And now the marshmallow fondant. Good luck. Deceptively simple looking because of how few ingredients it requires, but working with melted marshmallows is a level of sticky hell.

Melt 1 bag of mini marshmallows by microwaving for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between.

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Once melted, combine the marshmallow with 3 cups of powdered sugar. I tried to use my¬† hand mixer but it really did not work too well, sticky marshmallow all over my hands, the beaters, my counter…… so I think it might be easier just to get in there with your hands. There are not many pictures of this process as I was a sticky mess.

Knead this mixture until soft and shiny, adding the last cup of sugar bit by bit and adding a little water at a time if it feels dry. Eventually you’ll have a ball of edible model magic (grade school, anyone?). If you want you could knead in some food colouring at this point, but I chose to leave it white. Wrap in plastic wrap until you’re ready to work with it.

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This lump of fondant is probably your sugar quota for the year. Or decade. 

And now… the assembly!!! Where you discover whether your hard work will pay off with a technically inspiring masterpiece, or look like a wonky sad cake that looks like it’s had better days.

Prepare the jam by putting 3/4 cup of strawberry jam in a small saucepan and warming on the stove.

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Then press the jam through a sieve to strain out any lumps or seeds. You should have a bowl of smooth jam.

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Take the cake and stack on top of each other. Trip the edges until you have 2 identically sized rectangles. If you need to, trim the top so it’s level as well. This will create many delicious cake pieces for you to snack on while trying to conquer this challenge.

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My favourite part of baking:  snacking as you go

Then, cut the rectangles in half so you have 4 rectangles.

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Little cake bricks waiting to be assembled!

Coat the inside long edges of two of the opposite coloured rectangles with jam and stick together horizontally. Do the same with the other two. Then, coat the top of two rectangles with jam and place the other two cake rectangles on top, alternating the colour of the rectangles. You should get a checkerboard. Essentially, you want the 4 pieces of cake together with jam lining all the seems to glue them together.

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The jam is the glue, so be generous, unless you want your cake to fall apart. Which you don’t.

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So pretty! Starting to look like a Battenburg

Sprinkle your counter generously with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a thin rectangle.

battenburg (38)Make sure it’s 4 times as wide as your cake is wide, as it’ll need to wrap around all 4 sides. Coat the top of the cake with jam and then invert, jam side down, onto the middle of the marzipan. Then, coat both long sides and top with jam and wrap with marzipan, like you would a present. Don’t worry about the checkerboard ends, as you’re trimming them off anyway.

I had a horrible time with this step, as you can see below, because my marizpan was not rolled out big enough. Make sure you roll it out big – you can always trim the excess. Thankfully, you can cover this layer with fondant, so all is not lost.

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Yep. This was really sad… who knows what the judges would say if they saw this sorry mess.

Do the same with the fondant – roll out into a thin rectangle on a counter dusted with icing sugar.

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Brush the marzipan with water, then place in the middle of the fondant and wrap. Trim as needed so that the ends meet perfectly in the middle. Then place seem side down on  your serving dish.

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Nicely recovered, you can’t tell the marzipan is in pieces! Looking good. I never thought I’d say this, but thank goodness for fondant!

Trim off the edges so that you have a nice clean open face cake and let that checkerboard show!

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You may notice the sides are gaping a bit. That’s because I forgot to coat all sides with jam. So learn from this and coat every freaking side with jam.

And lastly, garnish the top. I topped with a dusting of cocoa powder, a strawberry rose, and some strawberry slices, but feel free to be creative!

And voila! A yummy chocolate strawberry Battenburg that is sure to impress your friends and family.

Ingredients:

  • Cake
    • 1 1/3 cup room temperature butter
    • 1 1/8 cup white sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1 7/8 cup flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 drops strawberry flavouring
    • red food colouring
    • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • Marzipan
    • 1 3/4 cup ground almonds (you can grind yourself in a food processor)
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 Tablespoons water
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Marshmallow fondant
    • 4 cups icing sugar
    • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • For assembly:
    • 3/4 cup strawberry jam
    • cocoa powder
    • 2-3 strawberries

Short instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Cream together 1 1/3 cup room temperature butter and 1 1/8 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 5 eggs one by one until combined. Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine 1 7/8 cups flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and combine.

Split your batter evenly into 2 bowls. To one bowl, add 1/8 cup of cocoa powder. To the other bowl, add a couple drops of strawberry flavouring and red food colouring. Mix both well.

Prepare your pan by greasing the bottom and sides. Take a piece of parchment paper and fold it up in the middle to make a little barrier between the two sides.

Then fill one side with the strawberry and other with the chocolate batter.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.

Let the cake cool for 5 or so minutes, turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Marzipan:

Place 1 3/4 cup of ground almonds in a food processor.

Stir together 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 tablespoons water in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and sugar has dissolved.

Pour this sugar mixture into the food processor with the almonds while it’s running until combined. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract.

Pour the mixture onto some plastic wrap, shape it into a log, and let cool at room temperature.

Marshmallow fondant:

Melt 1 bag of mini marshmallows in the microwave by nuking for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between.

Once melted, combine the marshmallow with 3 cups of powdered sugar.

Knead this mixture until soft and shiny, adding the last cup of sugar bit by bit and adding a little water at a time if it feels dry.¬†Wrap in plastic wrap until you’re ready to work with it.

Assembly:

Prepare the jam by putting 3/4 cup of strawberry jam in a small saucepan and warming on the stove. Then press the jam through a sieve to strain out any lumps or seeds.

Take the cake and stack on top of each other. Trip the edges until you have 2 identically sized rectangles. If you need to, trim the top so it’s level as well.

Then, cut the rectangles in half so you have 4 rectangles.

Coat the inside long edges of two of the opposite coloured rectangles with jam and stick together horizontally. Do the same with the other two. Then, coat the top of two rectangles with jam and place the other two cake rectangles on top, alternating the colour of the rectangles. You should get a checkerboard. Essentially, you want the 4 pieces of cake together with jam lining all the seems to glue them together.

Sprinkle your counter generously with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a thin rectangle.

Make sure it’s 4 times as wide as your cake is wide, as it’ll need to wrap around all 4 sides. Coat the top of the cake with jam and then invert, jam side down, onto the middle of the marzipan. Then, coat both long sides and top with jam and wrap with marzipan.

Do the same with the fondant – roll out into a thin rectangle on a counter dusted with icing sugar.

Brush the marzipan with water, then place the cake in the middle of the fondant and wrap with the fondant Trim as needed so that the ends meet perfectly in the middle. Then place seem side down on  your serving dish.

Trim off the edges so that you have a nice clean open face cake.

And lastly, garnish the top. I topped with a dusting of cocoa powder, a strawberry rose, and some strawberry slices, but feel free to be creative!

Recipe adapted from:

http://www.cbc.ca/food/recipes/recipe-battenberg-cake

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/homemade-marzipan/16562/

https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/how-to-make-marshmallow-fondant/

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Pie

Can’t decide if you want cheesecake, cookies, or peanut butter? Well, solve that dilemma with this three in one decadent dessert. Super delicious and not at all nutritious.

And yes, I have been away from the baking blog for a while. Life gets busy! But, now that I’m going back to college for Public Relations and my college is on strike (with all other Ontario colleges), let’s just say I have a little extra time in my hands and I was itching to get back to blogging.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely did bake a lot in the last two years! You can’t keep me out of the kitchen. I just didn’t blog it. Here are a few highlights (you can follow me on Instagram @emining23 so you never miss one of my delicious concoctions):

Peanut butter cheese cake with a brownie bottom and topped with fudge sauce, peanut butter, chocolate whipped cream, peanut pieces, and peanut butter cookies

Cookie dough cake roll

Maple bacon creme brulee

Chocolate ganache strawberry pie (there’s a layer of ganache on the bottom)

Red velvet and vanilla Canada cake (to celebrate my permanent residency!)

But now to the main event of today – the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Pie. Mmm. I know it looks fairly flat, but it is incredibly rich so a slice is plenty! The occasion: my 26th birthday. Officially in my late 20’s, I probably should have life figured out a bit more. But currently I’m sitting on my bed at 4:35pm on a Monday afternoon trying to resist the temptation of another slice of this delicious cake.

25 was a good year, and the last 12 months have been full of changes and exciting memories; I met my current wonderful boyfriend, transitioned from full-time work back to school, took a pottery class, moved to Toronto, went on a road trip to Louisiana and back, battled rats in my basement, survived apartment hunting in Toronto, and got my Canadian permanent residency. But here’s to making new memories and moving on to bigger and better things. Hopefully by this time next year, I’ll be a gainfully employed public relations professional. We’ll see!

Long instructions:

First we need to make the “Oreo” cookie crust. Now, I would never buy name brand Oreos for baking because I’m frugal. I forgot to pick up off brand sandwich cookies during my shopping trip and returned home cookieless. My closest convenience store only had name brand Oreos for $5, which is ridiculous in my opinion. So I decided to go with these slightly less expensive fudge sandwich cookies. And they worked quite well! So really, feel free to use about 300 grams of whatever sandwich cookie that happens to occupy¬†the shelf of your local grocery store.

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the cookies in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs.

Will it blend??

Of course! It’s cookies!

Then, add 5 tablespoons of melted butter and mix around.

Yummm butter and cookies… what a great combo

Press into whatever container you are making this pie in (I chose a spring form pan, but you could do a normal pie pan as well).

This is the crust pre-baking. Turned out super buttery. But that can only be a good thing.

Bake the crust for 8 minutes and let cool.

Next, the peanut butter cookie dough layer. Mix 1/4 cup melted butter with 1/3 cup peanut butter with an electric mixer until smooth.

Then mix in the 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk.

Yes, I have a spatula that says I love baking. Because I do!

Once that’s all creamy and smooth, mix in the flour on slow speed.

And try to resist eating the whole bowl. It’s hard I know.

Lastly,  stir in (not with the mixer, with a spoon or spatula) 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Dump the cookie dough on top of the completely cooled cookie crust and flatten down to make an even layer of delicious peanut butter cookie dough.

And now, the last layer, the cheesecake! Take your room temperature 8 oz of cream cheese and mix in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Don’t forget the most important step – licking the beaters! ūüôā

Now smooth it over the peanut butter cookie dough layer. I got the top extra smooth by using my icing spatula, which was a bit awkward sized and did not reach the middle of the pie. Still, we will cover that with whipped cream, so not a huge deal. Chill for at least an hour.

Icing spatulas come in handy!

Aw yea. So smooth. Except for the middle…

 

I felt bad using natural peanut butter for this because I’m basically violating it with sugar… but… that’s the peanut butter I have!

Now the peanut butter crumble. The original recipe didn’t have the crumble, but I thought it just would go perfectly with this pie (and it did!) Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup peanut butter together with a fork until crumbly. Then sprinkle the crumbs over the cheesecake.

Looks unassuming… but will soon be delicious.

 

And, lastly, the whipped cream. Whip 1/2 cup of whipped cream up until it forms stiff peaks with an electric mixer. Once stiff, mix in the 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoons powdered sugar.

Plop that cream into a piping bag and pipe away, in whatever designs you like. I apparently chose concentric circles.

Tah dah! The target… is deliciousness.

And voil√†, a delicious layered triple threat pie ūüôā

Look at those layers of goodness.

Can you eat just one slice?

Ingredients:

  • Crust
    • 300 g of sandwich cookies (Oreos or similar)
    • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted
    • 1/3 cup peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon milk
    • 1 cup flour
  • Cheesecake
    • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Brief instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the cookies in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Add 5 tablespoons of melted butter and mix. Press into baking dish (pie pan or spring form pan) Bake the crust for 8 minutes and let cool.

Next, the peanut butter cookie dough layer. Mix 1/4 cup melted butter with 1/3 cup peanut butter with an electric mixer until smooth.¬† Then mix in the 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk. Once that’s all creamy and smooth, mix in the flour on slow speed. Lastly, stir in (not with the mixer, with a spoon or spatula) 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Dump the cookie dough on top of the completely cooled cookie crust and flatten down.

For the cheesecake, take your room temperature 8 oz of cream cheese and mix in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Smooth it over the peanut butter cookie dough layer. Chill for at least an hour.

Now the peanut butter crumble. Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup peanut butter together with a fork until crumbly. Then sprinkle the crumbs over the cheesecake.

And, lastly, the whipped cream. Whip 1/2 cup of whipped cream up until it forms stiff peaks with an electric mixer. Once stiff, mix in the 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoons powdered sugar.

Plop that cream into a piping bag and pipe away a pretty design.

 

Recipe adapted from https://www.crazyforcrust.com/peanut-butter-cookie-dough-cheesecake-pie/

Sweeter Than Your Sweetheart Strawberry Cupcakes

Sweeter than your Sweetheart Strawberry Cupcakes: A lighthearted, sweet, strawberry cake littered with real strawberry chunks, topped with scrumptious white chocolate buttercream, a luscious, juicy hidden strawberry middle, and an elegant strawberry rose perched on top.

Mood:¬†That feeling when you’re hanging out with that special someone, and you look¬†over at them¬†for no particular reason and you’re hit with a wave of affection, your stomach filling with butterflies and your mouth breaking into an unconscious beaming smile;¬†in that moment, there is nothing sweeter to you than their presence in your life.

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Doesn’t that sight just make your heart melt? ūüôā

Wow. I am super behind in the blogging. I guess that’s what a full time job will do to you- not much will power to keep up with the ol’ baking blog. Loyal fans, I’m sorry that I’ve deprived you from my crafty wit, delicious photos, and fun recipes. My bad.

I made this recipe around Valentine’s Day (yes, I’m literally 5 months late on this one. Oops.) because I thought it was seasonally appropriate. Even though I myself did not have anything close to a valentine in my life when I made these, I suppose the bitterness of my last breakup had worn away enough that the mere thought of a romantic cupcake did not make me want to vomit. Progress!

But really, ever since the inception of “Eat My Feelings” I had plans for this cupcake, because as we all know, love is a strong emotion that deserves a themed cupcake of its own. Strawberry just seemed to be fitting- apparently they’re red and faintly heart-shaped and people associate them with romance or something. I dunno.

My friend Heather came to visit the weekend that I decided to create these literal love muffins, and helped me with the strawberry roses. Let’s just say… it was a time for both of us! It is harder to make a strawberry rose than those online tutorials would have you believe! Internet trickery. We did it though, and as you can see, they’re still fairly impressive (yes, I’m tooting my own horn. You know I have a baking ego don’t be surprised. I’m basically a wizard).

So here you go. All you lucky people who have significant others that you enjoy, use this recipe to woo them and make them realize that they are damn lucky to have someone as amazing as you making them these awesome, delicious, sweet, delectable bundles of joy. Edible love. And then give me full credit for the success of your romantic life.

And for you reluctantly single people out there, make these for that crush in your life. After you feed them these cupcakes, they definitely won’t be able to resist you. Just make sure you’re physically there when they chow down. They’ll falsely attribute the happiness they feel from eating the cupcake to being caused by your presence, and fall madly in love with you. Attribution error. Basic Psychology.

When these cupcakes positively impact your love life (and they will), I expect compensation. Obviously not creating this one for myself, as I have no use for romantic cupcakes. It’s all for you. I know, I’m so selfless, you’re welcome. Now pay up ūüôā

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Yes my friends, these cupcakes are basically a strawberry explosion. Strawberry on top, strawberry on the inside, and even strawberry bits scattered throughout! A strawberry delight.

 Long Instructions:

First pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Then, prep your strawberries. Chop 3/4 cup of strawberries into small pieces. Hull the equivalent to 1/2 a cup as well (for the puree) as 12 additional strawberries (for the filling).

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This is approximately the size you’re going for. You might want bigger or smaller chunks. You do you my friend. You do you.

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Look at those strawberries, all hulled and ready to go into your delicious baking. They’re so excited!

Also, take 1/2 cup of whole strawberries (hulled) and pop ’em in a blender. Blend to make 1/3 cup strawberry puree. If you have slightly more or less don’t worry too much. Your strawberries might be bigger or smaller or whatever. If you don’t have enough, blend more! Problem solved! I believe in you.

Mix the 1 2/3 cup flour, 3/4 t. baking powder, 1/4 t. baking soda, and 1/4 t. salt in a medium bowl. Pretty basic. Yawn.

In another large bowl, whip the 1/2 cup butter until nice and fluffy. Add the 3/4 cup sugar and whip together. Then whip in the 2 eggs, one at a time. You want these cupcakes to be the lightest and fluffliest that anyone ever did see. Like you’re eating a cloud. A cloud made of strawberries.

In yet another bowl (small), combine the 1/3 cup strawberry puree, 1/2 t. vanilla, and 1/4 c. buttermilk (alternatively 1/2 cup regular milk and 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar, my favourite buttermilk substitute. Who actually has buttermilk on hand? Definitely. Not. Me.). Then, add everything together! Alternate adding 1/3 of the dry and 1/2 buttermilk mixture  to the butter/sugar mix, beginning and ending with the dry.

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Using strawberry puree instead of strawberry flavouring is such a good choice. Then you get hte real deal

Stir in the chopped strawberry bits.

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Eating batter is probably one of my favourite parts of baking. Almost as good as the finished product ūüôā

Stick your finger in the bowl and eat a glob of batter. Yes that is a necessary step. I see you there, you salmonella-phobes, horrified of eating raw egg. Well, I say to you, you only live once. #YOLO. Just eat the batter. You *probably* won’t die.

Pour batter into 12 lined cupcake wells.

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This was a great excuse to use up some of my pink cupcake liners. I hate the colour pink, so I try to avoid using them at all costs. However, here they are the appropriate colour.

Then, Take a whole hulled strawberry and place it smack dab in the middle of the cupcake. Whoa, crazy I know. I came up with this on an  impulse because I had extra strawberries, and had no idea how it would turn out, but it was amazing. No regrets. A nice change from my usual ganache filling.

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So much strawberry goodness I know. Your heart will probably explode.

Bake for 20-23 minutes.

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These poor naked cupcakes. Quick, cover them with icing so the strawberry inside is a delightful surprise! I love surprises.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare the icing.Melt the 4 ounces white chocolate using your favourite method, whether in the microwave or on the stove. Then whip up the 1/3 cup butter until very light and fluffy. Slowly add in the white chocolate, 1/3 t. vanilla, and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. Whip together and set aside.

Now the strawberry roses. See the tutorial¬†for how to make the roses. I’m so very sorry I don’t have step by step pictures of the rose making process, I somehow failed to take pictures. I have failed you my dear readers. Hopefully you will forgive me and allow this charming man with a southern accent to walk you through the mystery and magic that is creating a strawberry rose.

Once the cupcakes are done, squeeze out some icing swirls and then top with a luscious strawberry rose.

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Pre-rose. They look pretty plain and unassuming. But just wait!

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BAM! Cupcake made. Now go woo your lover.

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes):

  • 1 2/3 cups white flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup fresh strawberry puree
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (or regular milk mixed with 3/4 teaspoon vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup diced strawberries
  • 12 whole strawberries

Icing:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces white chocolate
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish:

  • 12 whole strawberries (or maybe a few extra in case you mess up. You probably will. Sorry!)

Brief Instructions:

FIrst pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Then, prep your strawberries. Chop 3/4 cup of strawberries into small pieces. Also, take 1/2 cup of whole strawberries (hulled) and pop ’em in a blender. Blend to make 1/3 cup strawberry puree.

Mix the 1 2/3 cup flour, 3/4 t. baking powder, 1/4 t. baking soda, and 1/4 t. salt in a medium bowl.

In another large bowl, whip the 1/2 cup butter until nice and fluffy. Add the 3/4 cup sugar and whip together. Then whip in the 2 eggs, one at a time.

In yet another bowl (small), combine the 1/3 cup strawberry puree, 1/2 t. vanilla, and 1/4 c. buttermilk. Then, add everything together! Alternate adding 1/3 of the dry and 1/2 buttermilk mixture to the butter/sugar mix, beginning and ending with the dry. Stir in the chopped strawberry bits.

Pour batter into 12 lined cupcake wells. Then, Take a whole hulled strawberry and place it smack dab in the middle of the cupcake. Bake for 20-23 minutes.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare the icing.Melt the 4 ounces white chocolate using your favourite method, whether in the microwave or on the stove. Then whip up the 1/3 cup butter until very light and fluffy. Slowly add in the white chocolate, 1/3 t. vanilla, and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. Whip together and set aside.

Now the strawberry roses. See the tutorial for how to make the roses. Once the cupcakes are done, squeeze out some icing swirls and then top with a luscious strawberry rose.

Cupcake recipe¬†adapted from Cooking Classy –
http://www.cookingclassy.com/2014/06/strawberry-cupcakes-strawberry-buttercream-frosting/

Icing recipe from Food and Wine –
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/white-chocolate-buttercream

I’m Snow Happy Eggnog and Rum Cupcakes

I’m Snow Happy Rum and Eggnog Cupcakes:¬†A smooth,¬†rich¬†eggnog cupcake with a splash of dark rum to give it depth, filled with divine white chocolate ganache, frosted with eggnog and rum butter cream, and topped with a delicate white chocolate snowflake.

Mood: Just picture yourself curled up on the couch with your coziest blanket, a hot mug of tea in your hand, warmed by a crackling fire, watching the snow fall gently out the window and carpet the ground with a soft white blanket which softens the harshness and nakedness of winter, transforming it into a magical winter wonderland. That is what this cupcake tastes like, the bliss and utter contentment you can only find watching the snow fall on a cold winter night.

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Man if it snowed cupcakes, that’d be the tastiest winter ever. I’d be ok with that.

I LOVE winter. Absolutely love it. I might even say I have an unhealthy emotional attachment to snow. Even though February 2015 has been one of the coldest Februaries experienced in a long time in Southern Ontario, I’m not ready for winter to be over and am quite saddened by the melting snow and above-freezing temperatures that are coming this week. I mean, really,¬†we only got 2 months of actually good proper winter and it’s already starting to warm up! 2 months out of the year! How am I supposed to wait a whole 10 months for it to come around again?

I think I need to move further north…

I understand that most other people don’t share my enthusiasm for winter but I do not care! I will frolic about in the snow like a young filly in a grassy meadow and I will never not love winter. The instant the first snow fall of the year dusts the ground, my heart soars with yearning anticipation for the cold harsh beauty of winter to finally settle in our corner of the world yet again.

Also, you can see why climate change distresses me. You thought I was an environmentally conscious person- ha! I fooled you! I only care about my favourite season. Though so far it seems to have brought us some extreme cold weather, in general an average warming of the planet is the absolutely last thing I want. Who cares about saving the planet, I want to save winter! Somehow I doubt that many people would join the cause if I phrased it that way…

“Ok Ok we get it Emily! You’re a crazy person who loves winter. Enough already.” Fine sorry guys I could go on about my love for winter forever. The point is, to me, snow makes me so unbelievably happy that of course I was going to make a happy cupcake that was snow/winter themed. Obviously I thought the rum and eggnog went well as rum and eggnog is a holiday drink, and around Christmas time most people still feel positively about snow as winter is still in its infancy. So even if you’re not a crazy winter person like me you can still feel happy about snow and the holidays. And if you also hate Christmas and winter and eggnog and think these cupcakes are ridiculous, not my problem! Make your own damn happy summer cupcakes. I hope you choke on them (not really please don’t die I’m sure you’re a lovely person).

I made this cupcake specifically for the office Christmas potluck; yes, definitely trying to impress the co-workers. (And it worked- they loved them by the way. How could you not they were delicious!). And also why they’re gluten free- it would just be cruel of me to make these amazing cupcakes that could not be enjoyed by all of my co-workers!

Enough chitchat already- let’s start baking!

Instructions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line your cupcake pan with 18 paper liners (to go with the theme I recommend a pale blue or white. I used white).

Make the ganache- take a half cup of whipping cream and bring it to a boil in a small saucepan. Then pour it over the cup of white chocolate chips, let set for a minute, and stir together until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

In a bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups flour (gluten free or regular), 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I know that there are tricks to gluten free baking that are fancy, but I just substituted 1 for 1 and they were delicious anyway sooo if you want to be all fancy with your gluten free baking you go figure that out. I thought it worked out satisfactorily.

In another bowl, mix together with an electric mixer the 1/4 cup of dark rum, 1 cup of eggnog, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 cup of white sugar. The original recipe says that rum is optional, but I do not. Don’t be a pansy and just put the liquor in- and feel free to use the “shot for me, shot for the cupcakes” method, generally makes baking more fun. It is essential to deliciousness.

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Rum and eggnog, a match made in heaven. You can imagine what happened with the leftover eggnog and rum… yup. #noregrets

Add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. Divide among the muffin cups and bake for 22-24 minutes. Woo. If you’re doing gluten free, they probably won’t puff up as nicely as normal gluteny cupcakes. Just be aware of that- that’s why mine look kind of flat!

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Slightly flat but still hella tasty!

While the cupcakes are baking, make the snowflakes. Melt 1/2 cup of white chocolate on the stove. If you’re feeling lucky and are generally an attentive person, do it right in a stove pot. Otherwise make a double boiler type setup to be safe and not burn chocolate. I mess up melting chocolate all the time because I am too lazy to double boiler. Don’t be me. If you screw up or need more chocolate, melt more.

Then take wax paper (or if you’re fancy like me a nonstick silicone baking mat) and spread it out on the table. Put the icing into either an icing bag with a super small tip or a plastic bag in which you can cut a very small hole. Then pipe out the shape of a snowflake! I tend to make mine like little asterisks (*). Do a lot, including some extra, as you will likely break some by accident like myself, and not all of them will come out as you hope. Stick them in the fridge and let set.

Now¬†prep the icing. Take your 1/2 cup of softened butter and whip it up in a mixer until nice and fluffy. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of rum and vanilla and 1.5 tablespoon of eggnog and blend well. Gradually add 3 3/4 cup of powdered sugar until well incorporated. Tasted the icing because it is unreasonably delicious. Feel free to add more rum/vanilla/eggnog if you feel like it could use more flavour, but I feel like the icing should be a more subtle eggnog flavour than the cupcake, which is where it’s at.

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Mmmm frosting. So great.

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Into the icing bag it goes- I always like to use a cup to hold open the bag, works well.

Now fill the cupcakes by cutting the cones out of the top, putting in a dollop of ganache, and putting the cone back on (again, detailed instructions can be found in my Going Banana’s Cupcake Recipe).

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Filled with the nectar of the gods- white chocolate. Mmmmm yes.

Pipe on the icing in a nice delicate swirl. Take your snowflakes out of the fridge and carefully (VERY CAREFULLY) peel them off of the wax paper/silicone mat, and stick them onto your cupcakes! And there you have it folks. Once you try one of these cupckes you’ll be “snow happy” I guarantee it!*

*Disclaimer* I don’t actually guarantee it I do not know your baking skills. You could have totally screwed them up and that is not my fault. My cupcakes were awesome. So I suppose I should say if you do it correctly and then eat them you will be “snow happy.” But probably not if you screw everything up. Sorry kids.

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Tell me these aren’t happy cupcakes! They’re just sitting there all happy and snowy and wonderful. Winter in edible form.

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*happy sigh*

Ingredients (Makes 18 cupcakes)

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/3 cup flour (either gluten free or all purpose)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup dark rum (mandatory)
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white sugar

Icing

  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter (1 stick/8 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 tsp.¬†rum
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tbsp. eggnog
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Ganache

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup white chocolate

Snowflakes

  • 1/2-1 cup white chocolate (depending on your snowflake making skill)

Brief Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line cupcake pans with 18 cupcake liners, preferably white or light blue.

Make the ganache by bringing 1/2 cup of whipping cream to a boil. Right when it starts boiling pour it over the 1 cup of white chocolate. Let sit for a minute then stir together. Put in fridge to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix 1 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  In a mixer, blend together 1/4 cup dark rum, 1 cup eggnog, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 cup white sugar. Add the dry ingredients.

Pour into cupcake liners and bake for 22-24 minutes; cool.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the snowflakes by melting 1/2 cup of white chocolate. Put the white chocolate into a piping bag with a very small tip or put in a ziplock bag and cut a tiny hole out of the tip. Pipe snowflakes onto a piece of wax paper and make lots of extra! Place in the fridge to cool.

Prep the icing: whip up the 1/2 cup of butter. Add the 1/2 tsp of rum, 1/2 tsp vanilla, pinch nutmeg, and 1 1/2 tbsp. eggnog. Then gradually add 3 3/4 cup of powdered sugar until well incorporated.

When the cupcakes are cool, cut out cones in the top, fill with chocolate ganache, and put the cone back on. Then pipe on the icing, carefully peel the snowflakes from the paper, and set on top!

Sources:

Blood Red Velvet Cupcakes

Blood Red Velvet Cupcakes: A rich red velvet cupcake, filled with caramel flavoured sweetened condensed milk, topped with white chocolate cream cheese icing, caramel flavoured candy glass, and drizzled with more sweetened condensed milk.

Mood: Did something just make you so angry that you want to stab an inanimate object with a sharp piece of glass? Take your aggression out on this cupcake, stabbing it with candy glass until delicious red goo oozes out. Red to match the rage you feel inside.

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I am an employed human now. I have a job, I go to work, I come home and veg out. But that can get kind of boring, and I like hanging out with people that aren’t on a television show. Also, I love to bake, but I don’t share groceries with anyone in my house. So I don’t bake much at home, because I never feel like finishing a whole batch of cupcakes by myself.

How do I solve these two problems you ask? Why, by invading my friends homes and baking them delicious treats and distracting them from their studies. Ah yes, a delicious distraction. The way to your friends’ hearts is always through their tummies.

I had wanted to make “Blood Red Velvet Cupcakes” for a while now, but hadn’t really had the right occasion to do so. Now was my chance! My friends already know I’m a slightly crazy person, and won’t be weirded out by the fact that I’m stabbing my cupcakes with shards of glass and making them ooze sweet, edible blood. Perfect.

And thus began the creation of one intense cupcake. I realize this cupcake would have been seasonally appropriate in Halloween, but tough cupcakes¬†cookies. I make¬†what I feel like making when I feel like making it. That’s the entire point of this “Eat Your Feelings” recipe series.

Also I feel like I should warn you, these are sweet cupcakes. Not sweet as in awesome, but sweet as in your dentist would cringe if he even so much as looked at one. The sweetened condensed milk with frosting and basically pure sugar glass on top? So if you don’t like super sweet cupcakes, maybe only drizzle the condensed milk on top and don’t fill it. Or add less sugar to the frosting. But if you have a crazy sweet tooth, then go to town!

Instructions: 

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. My friends had little silicone cupcake molds which were super cool and reusable! First time using them. I liked it.

Sift together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. In another bowl, beat the 1/4 cup of butter until soft. Then add the 3/4 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat together.

Then, in a glass measuring cup or a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar (or buttermilk if you prefer). Let sit for a few minutes, then add red food colouring. I used “Christmas Red,” which by the way I think is extremely absurd. How can a holiday claim an entire colour? Christmas doesn’t get a monopoly on red. There’s plenty of other things that are red. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Freaking Christmas, thinking everything is about it. Well it’s not. What an egotistical holiday, supposing¬†it can have a whole colour to itself. Christmas.

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Bright pink milk. So appetizing. Reminds me of the time my brother and I put food dye in the milk for April Fools day. We had to drink blue milk for a few days.

Anyway. I just added enough to make this bright pink colour. It doesn’t need to be super red because when added with the brown cocoa powder it’ll make a nice dark red.

Now time to mix it all together. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour (so flour milk flour milk flour).

In another small cup, combine 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and let it fizz. Fold it into the cake batter.

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See, told you it would get darker with the cocoa powder. The lighting isn’t the best but this is a classic red velvet dark red colour.

Divide the batter into your 12 lined muffin cups and bake for 18-23 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of your biggest cupcake comes out clean.

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Let’s put some buns in the oven!

While those cupcakes are baking, it’s time to start on the glass. Prepare a pan by taking wax paper and placing it over a pan, or use a silicone no stick baking matt. Spray it will cooking spray.

Take 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons¬†cup light corn syrup, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of flavouring (I used caramel flavouring, but you can use something else if you wish) and bring to boil in a small saucepan. I made twice that much so it’ll look like I have a lot more candy glass, but it was completely unnecessary.

I also did not realize why you would want light corn syrup and used regular, so my glass had an amber tint. Not the worst thing, but if you want clear glass use light corn syrup.This amount should be plenty. Stir until the sugar has dissolved but then don’t stir; just let bubble for 5-7 minutes. I didn’t let mine boil for quite long enough, so my glass wasn’t as hard as it should have been. You want to let it boil for as long as possible before caramelizing basically.

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Just like making caramel, just don’t let it boil as long and caramelize!

When it’s done, immediately poor the sugar onto the prepared pan. Smooth out with a spatula or spoon, and FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY do not touch the hot sugar. I accidentally did and burned my fingers. Sugar sticks to you so it burns pretty badly. I had a gross blister for a week. Don’t. Touch. The. Sugar.

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Sooo shiny! Looks like real glass almost ūüôā

Let that cool on the counter, and then stick in the fridge.

Next, the blood. Take a can of sweetened condensed milk and dump about 1/2-3/4 into a bowl- I didn’t end up using the whole can so you probably won’t either, and it’ll save food colouring if you don’t colour some unnecessarily. Mix in a teaspoon of flavouring (again, I used caramel. It would make more sense to use something associated with red like cherry, strawberry, or raspberry, but they do not carry that at my local Zehrs. Go figure).

Then comes the tricky part; making it look like blood colour. I kept forgetting what blood looked like, so I would drizzle it on my hand to see if it looked convincing. I ended up doing a bunch of red colouring, with a touch of blue and a bit of brown. But really just a smidge of blue so it doesn’t turn all purple. Mine ended up a bit more purple than I would have liked but it was pretty ok. A good way to start is take a bit of milk and put it in a separate dish, and experiment with colour. Just red and black together would also look great, I just don’t have black food colouring.

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These are the colours I used. Gel food colouring is good to use because it’s so concentrated.

When you get it to look like what you want, then do that to the larger bowl, trying to recreate the proportions of colour you did with the little sample. That way if you screw it up you don’t screw up the whole bowl.

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My bowl of blood. Mwahaha. So gruesome!

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I’m bleeding!!!!

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Ah yes, sorry doctor, I stuck my hand into a blender while it was on. Got cuts all over my fingers.

Anyway. After you’re done playing with the blood (which I had a lot of fun doing), make the icing. Beat together 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup of butter, pinch¬†of salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat in 4 cups of powdered sugar (or to tasted, depending on how sweet you like your icing. Lastly melt a cup of white chocolate on the stove over medium low heat, and beat into the frosting. I debated making the frosting black because white isn’t exactly an angry colour, but though then there wouldn’t be much contrast to see the blood. If you feel like black rage then by all means colour it black. This cupcake would also look stunning with black cupcake wrappers if you know where to find them. I do not- let me know if you know the secrets to black food colouring and black wrappers.

Our favourite, assembly time! Cut a small cone out the top of each cupcake and fill with the sweetened condensed milk blood.

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So deliciously goopy!

Put the cone back on top, and pipe on the white icing. Then get your glass out of the fridge, peel off the wax paper, and snap off pieces. If you have a bit of a hard time peeling off the wax paper, you can run them under water for a bit and try to scrub the paper off with your fingers.

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Careful! Broken glass- you could cut someone with that.

When you get some shards you like, stick them in the icing. If you’re feeling particularly angry, you can stab them vehemently. With vengeance.

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The cupcakes have just been stabbed! Quick, swab the glass for fingerprints.

Then drizzle the sweetened condensed milk blood over top. And there you go! Blood red velvet cupcakes.

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All done! How fantastically gory.

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Also, if you’re anything like me, your kitchen will look like this when you’re done.

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I may have slightly dyed part of their counter with food dye… oops… thank goodness it’s not a white counter!

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, or 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • red food colouring (I prefer gel)

Candy Glass

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavouring (I used caramel, you can use whatever you want. Cherry, raspberry, or strawberry might work nice with the red theme)

Fake Blood Filling

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • Red, brown, and blue gel food colouring (or red and black food colouring)
  • 1 teaspoon flavouring (probably the same you used for the glass)

Frosting

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips or baking chocolate
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar

Brief Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. In another bowl, beat the 1/4 cup of butter until soft. Then add the 3/4 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat together.

Then, in a glass measuring cup or a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar (or buttermilk if you prefer). Let sit for a few minutes, then add red food colouring.

Add¬†enough to make this bright pink colour. It doesn’t need to be super red because when added with the brown cocoa powder it’ll make a nice dark red.

Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour (so flour milk flour milk flour).

In another small cup, combine 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and let it fizz. Fold it into the cake batter.

Divide the batter into your 12 lined muffin cups and bake for 18-23 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of your biggest cupcake comes out clean.

While those cupcakes are baking, it’s time to start on the glass. Prepare a pan by taking wax paper and placing it over a pan, or use a silicone no stick baking matt. Spray it will cooking spray.

Take 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons¬†cup light corn syrup, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of flavouring and bring to boil in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved but then don’t stir; just let bubble for 5-7 minutes.

When it’s done, immediately poor the sugar onto the prepared pan. Smooth out with a spatula or spoon. Let that cool on the counter, and then stick in the fridge.

Next, the blood. Take a can of sweetened condensed milk and dump about 1/2-3/4 into a bowl. Mix in a teaspoon of flavouring. Then mix in red, brown, and a tiny bit of blue food colouring to make a dark blood colour.

Make the icing. Beat together 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup of butter, pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat in 4 cups of powdered sugar (or to tasted, depending on how sweet you like your icing. Lastly melt a cup of white chocolate on the stove over medium low heat, and beat into the frosting.

Cut a small cone out the top of each cupcake and fill with the sweetened condensed milk blood. Put the cone back on top, and pipe on the white icing. Then get your glass out of the fridge, peel off the wax paper, and snap off pieces.

When you get some shards you like, stick them in the icing. Then drizzle the sweetened condensed milk blood over top. And there you go! Blood red velvet cupcakes.

Sources:

Feeling the Lemon Squeeze Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

Feeling the Lemon Squeeze Cupcakes: A tart, lemon cupcake with lemon curd filling, topped with meringue icing and a candied lemon on top.

Mood: Are you stressed beyond belief? Do you feel like life is squeezing you to a pulp? Then this cupcake is for you!

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As I read in my employee manual when I started my new job, it’s customary for people to bring in office treats on their birthday. And wouldn’t you know, 1 month into my job, it was my birthday! What better an opportunity to show off my mad baking skills to my new co-workers?

But of course I needed to go all out and make these cupcakes to die for. I mean, you only get 1 chance to make a baking first impression after all. I though briefly about making my “Blood Red Velvet” cupcakes, but then decided that might leave a rather… strange impression. Instead, I decided to try my stressed lemon meringue cupcakes.

Unfortunately, by the time I got the cupcakes to the office, the meringue had wilted a bit. So they were slightly less impressive looking than I had hoped. Still, there’s always the Christmas party, a chance to get back into my game! I will conquer all and win the baker of the office award yet! (That award doesn’t actually exist, but if it did I WOULD WIN).

I think I need to take my baking ego down a notch.

Anyway, here you go. Feeling the Lemon Squeeze cupcakes.

Instructions:

First you wanna get started on those candied lemons. Cause they take for ever. Prepare an ice bath (a bowl full of ice and water). Slice a lemon into thin slices (you’ll need at least 6 but can probably get more than that out of a lemon). Pick out the seeds.

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Tart for now, these lemons will soon be super sweet with sugar!

Then bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Take it off of the heat, add lemon slices, and stir for a bout a minute. Drain the water and put the lemon slices into the ice water.

Bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to boil in a medium skillet or pan. Dissolve the sugar, and when it boils reduce heat to medium low. Add the lemon slices so they are in single layer.

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I didn’t quite achieve the single layer thing. But it worked.

Simmer until the rinds are translucent, so for about an hour. When they’re done set them on parchment paper and let stand. Once they are cool, cut them into halves or quarters, depending if your cupcakes are mini or not. Mine were mini so I did quarters, but if you have normal sized cupcakes halves will probably do.

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Candied lemons! So fun. Making the inedible edible since 1991.

While you are letting those lemons become candy, it’s time to work on the cupcakes themselves. Step number 1 as always: preheat the oven to 350 F. Zest 3-4 lemons. (Yes I know we’re using a crap ton of lemons. They’re lemon cupcakes. Get over it).

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I use this tiny grater. It works wonderfully. A steak knife will also do in a pinch.

Then, whisk together 5/8 cup of milk and 3 3/4 teaspoons lemon juice. Add the 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 egg whites, zest of 2 lemons (s0 2/3 of the zest that you zested earlier, you’re saving the rest for the curd), and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

In another separate bowl, combine the 1 1/8 cup gluten free baking flour (I made them gluten free because one of my co-workers is of the gluten free variety. Tasted good either way. You can use regular flour and it’ll still work out fine), 3/4 cup white sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Add them together and mix it up. Woot. I didn’t take pictures of these steps because you probably know what cupcake batter looks like. If not google it. Seriously.

Spoon the batter into baking cups. I used mini baking cups because I thought people might not want a whole cupcake (people can be weird like that). You can make full sized if you want. Whatever floats your boat.

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In the oooooovveeeeeen! Baking it up.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Alright now time for the lemon curd. While your cupcakes are baking, combine 4 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the frosting), zest of 1 lemon (leave 1 tsp for the frosting), 1/3 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed if possible. Use the lemons you zested), and 1/2 cup sugar.

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My super cool lemon juicer i got at the thrift store! Love thrift stores.

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Yep! That’s the curd.

Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, or about 12 minutes. Add the pinch of salt and 5 Tablespoons of butter (the butter should be added in chunks) and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the film down so it lies on the surface of the curd, and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.

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Ready to go in the fridge!

Now in case you haven’t noticed, by this time I had quite a lot going on- cupcakes in the oven, lemons candying on the stove, and curd cooking. Was that enough? NO! I also had to rehydrate my chickpeas. I am maybe a crazy person. Well really I’m a hummus addict who really really needed to make a new batch of hummus.

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Just in case I didn’t have enough stove elements going on at the same time. I had to simmer these suckers.

The last portion- the meringue frosting! Oh meringue. How I loathe you. Slightly. It just is not the easiest thing to make.

So fashion yourself a double boiler. I just sat two pots on top of each other, put some water in the bottom one, and made it boil. Basically you want some water boiling below a pan. Make it happen.

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This is my pro double boiler set up. SO pro.

Whisk the 4 egg whites, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, pinch cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the top pan. Continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves (1-2 mins).

Then put it in a stand mixer (or a bowl that you can use with a hand mixer.

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Oh stand mixer, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. I remember the days I had to whip up egg whites by hand… not fun.

Beat on medium high speed until meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak. Now for some reason mine never quite reached the stiff peak stage, it kinda just stayed as a soft peak. So sad. Still worked though, just didn’t stay as stiff as I would have liked. Maybe add more cream of tartar? Still delicious!

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That was about as stiff as mine got.

ASSEMBLY TIME! Hopefully your cupcakes are done baking by now. Take the cupcakes and cut a small cone out of the top of each (if you’re confused, see some of my previous posts where I explain this method in detail). Fill the hole with lemon curd and put the top back on.

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Why do you fill me up, butter cup baby (yes, a flower song pun)

Pipe the frosting on top. I used one of those round bits because I thought it would work better with meringue. It did. Yum.

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So shiny! If only they had stayed this stiff 12 hours later… :/

Then place a wedge of candied lemon on top and you my friend have just made your own “Feeling the Lemon Squeeze” cupcakes!

feeling the lemon squeeze (35)

All done! ūüôā

Fun story: After I was done my cupcakes, I still had a decent amount of meringue left over. So I thought, why not try to make meringue cookies? They’re tasty! I knew you either baked meringue super hot for a quick time or super long at a lower temperature, and being too lazy to look it up, turned the oven to 425 F. I put the meringue blobs in, and 10 mins later the outsides were crispy and the insides were super gooey. They then deflated completely into flat discs. Such a fail.

Moral of this story: Always double check your instincts against the internet. Always.

Also if you have left over lemon curd, you can make lemon bars. Delicious.

Ingredients (makes 24 mini cupcakes or 12 regular sized)

Cupcakes

  • 5/8 cup milk
  • 3 3/4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/8 cup gluten free flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Icing

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt

Lemon Curd

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 Tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

Candied Lemons:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar

Brief Instructions:

First you wanna get started on those candied lemons. Prepare an ice bath (a bowl full of ice and water). Then, slice a lemon into thin slices (you’ll need at least 6 but can probably get more than that out of a lemon). Pick out the seeds.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Take it off of the heat, add lemon slices, and stir for a bout a minute. Then drain the water and put the lemon slices into the ice water.

Bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to boil in a medium skillet or pan. Dissolve the sugar, and when it boils reduce heat to medium low. Add the lemon slices so they are in single layer.

Simmer until the rinds are translucent, so for about an hour. When they’re done set them on parchment paper and let stand. Once they are cool, cut them into halves or quarters, depending if your cupcakes are mini or not. Mine were mini so I did quarters, but if you have normal sized cupcakes halves will probably do.

Next the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Zest 3-4 lemons.¬†Then, whisk together 5/8 cup of milk and 3 3/4 teaspoons lemon juice. Ddd the 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 egg whites, zest of 2 lemons (s0 2/3 of the zest that you zested earlier, you’re saving the rest for the curd), and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

In another separate bowl, combine the 1 1/8 cup gluten free baking flour, 3/4 cup white sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add them together and mix it up.

Spoon the batter into baking cups. 12 if regular cupcakes, 24 if mini.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Lemon curd time- While your cupcakes are baking, combine 4 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the frosting), zest of 1 lemon (leave 1 tsp for the frosting), 1/3 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed if possible. Use the lemons you zested), and 1/2 cup sugar.

Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, or about 12 minutes. Add the pinch of salt and 5 Tablespoons of butter (the butter should be added in chunks) and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pushing the film down so it lies on the surface of the curd, and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.

The last portion- the meringue frosting! Fashion yourself a double boiler. Whisk the 4 egg whites, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, pinch cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the top pan. Continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves (1-2 mins).

Then put it in a stand mixer (or a bowl that you can use with a hand mixer. Beat on medium high speed until meringue is cool and holds a stiff peak.

Assembly! Take the cupcakes and cut a small cone out of the top of each. Fill the hole with lemon curd and put the top back on. Pipe the frosting on top. Then place a wedge of candied lemon on top and enjoy!

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Beaming Butterscotch Cupcakes

Beaming Butterscotch Cupcakes: Butterscotch chip cupcakes with butterscotch filling, salted caramel buttercream icing, and butterscotch drizzle.

Mood:¬†This is the cupcake for when everything is going your way, and life is so sweet you can’t stop smiling.

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As previously stated in Party Like It’s Your Birthday Cake Cupcakes, I threw a party in celebration of my recent employment, and for said party I made 2 kinds of happy “Eat Your Feelings” cupcakes. This one, Beaming Butterscotch, is full of butterscotch and caramel goodness! I hope you enjoy them as much as my party guests did :).

Instructions: 

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Then, mix together the dry ingredients (1 1/2 cup flour, 1 2/3 t. baking powder, 1/3 t. salt) together in the smaller of 2 bowls. In the larger bowl, whip up the 2/3 cup of softened butter. Add the 2/3 cup of granulate sugar. Then add the 2 eggs, one at a time and the 2/3 t. vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and the 1/2 cup milk to the wet ingredients, alternating (add dry, milk, dry, milk, dry). Mix it together really well, and then fold in the 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips.

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The butterscotch chips mixed in the batter! Mmm yum.

Divide between 15 lined cupcake wells (I did 18, but as you can see from the pictures, did not adequately fill the cups so the cupcakes were a little short. my guess is that they may adequately fill 12-15 cupcakes. Use your judgement. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake comes out clean.

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Look how sad and short they are! Save your cupcakes from this same fate and do not try to stretch the batter too far.

Now for the butterscotch sauce. Put the 1/3 cup butter¬†in a saucepan on the stove. Heat over medium heat to melt. Once melted, whisk in the brown sugar, whisk in cream, then let it bubble and thicken for 5 minutes. NO STIRRING. I know you’ll be tempted but don’t do it. Once it turns a caramelly brown, remove from heat and whisk in 2 2/3 t. vanilla extract and 2/3 teaspoon salt. Let it cool either on the counter or in the fridge.

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Side note: If you’re like me and make a ridiculous amount of cupcakes, you may have frozen heavy cream in the freezer because it’s cheaper to buy in large quantities. But unlike me you should try to remember to thaw it out before you start making cupcakes. Needless to say, I, being the brilliant human being that I am, did not thaw it out. Sooo I ended up hacking away at a frozen brick of cream, which looked like this: I then melted it on the stove before proceeding like normal with the rest of the sauce.

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Doesn’t it look appetizing? Nope.

Alright now we just have to make the icing! The tastiest part of any cupcake. Since this is caramel icing, we need to make the caramel. Combine 1/6 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/3 T. water in a small pan on the stove. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, and cook, without stirring, until it turns the colour of coffee and two creams, or a dark amber colour. Don’t worry if you burn it, just start over again, I burned two batches before I got it right. Caramel is tricky! Use hot water to clean the pot if you’re having trouble- sometimes I boil water and let it sit in the pan to dissolve the sugar. Slowly stir in the 1/6 cup heavy cream and 2/3 t. vanilla extract. Don’t worry if a few chunks form, just don’t put those chunks in the icing, but the slower you add it the less chunks will happen.

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Boiling the sugar water. Mmm.

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This is what it looked like after I added the cream and vanilla.

Congrats you ¬†just made homemade caramel! Wasn’t that fun? Ok so let it chill until cool to the touch, in the fridge is fastest. Then with a mixer combine 8 T. butter and 1/3 t. salt on medium high speed and mix until fluffy. On low speed, slowly add the 2/3 cup powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Make sure the icing is mixed well, then add the caramel, beating on medium-high speed until thoroughly mixed.

Now time to put it all together! As usual, we’re going to fill these bad boys. Cut a cone out of the top of all the cupcakes, fill the hole with the butterscotch sauce, and put the top back on.

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Mmm filled with yummy butterscotch

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Just waiting patiently for the icing

Put the icing in a piping bag (or a plastic bag with a hole cut out the corner if you’re cheap and or do not have icing equipment) and pipe it on. Then drizzle the leftover butterscotch sauce. And there you have it! Beaming Butterscotch cupcakes, sure to make you smile all day ūüôā

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“Eat me!”

Ingredients (Makes 15ish cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 2/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, coursely chopped

Icing:

  • 1/6 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 tablespoon water
  • 1/6 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar

Butterscotch Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 2/3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt

Brief Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Then, mix together the dry ingredients (1 1/2 cup flour, 1 2/3 t. baking powder, 1/3 t. salt) together in the smaller of 2 bowls. In the larger bowl, whip up the 2/3 cup of softened butter. Add the 2/3 cup of granulate sugar. Then add the 2 eggs, one at a time and the 2/3 t. vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and the 1/2 cup milk to the wet ingredients, alternating (add dry, milk, dry, milk, dry). Mix it together really well, and then fold in the 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips.

Fill lined muffin wells 1/2-2/3 full of batter. It should make 12-15 cupcakes. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before decorating.

For the butterscotch sauce: Put the 1/3 cup butter in a saucepan on the stove. Heat over medium heat to melt. Once melted, whisk in the brown sugar, whisk in cream, then let it bubble and thicken for 5 minutes, and do not stir. Once it turns a caramelly brown, remove from heat and whisk in 2 2/3 t. vanilla extract and 2/3 teaspoon salt. Let it cool either on the counter or in the fridge.

For the caramel icing: Combine 1/6 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/3 T. water in a small pan on the stove. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, and cook, without stirring, until it turns the colour of coffee and two creams, or a dark amber colour. Slowly stir in the 1/6 cup heavy cream and 2/3 t. vanilla extract. Let it chill until cool to the touch, in the fridge is fastest.

Then with a mixer combine 8 T. butter and 1/3 t. salt on medium high speed and mix until fluffy. On low speed, slowly add the 2/3 cup powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Make sure the icing is mixed well, then add the caramel, beating on medium-high speed until thoroughly mixed.

When the cupcakes are cool, cut cones out of the tops of each of them, fill the hole with butterscotch sauce, and replace the top. Then pipe on the icing and drizzle more butterscotch sauce on top of the icing. And, enjoy!

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