Monday, March 4, 2013

A Pretty Wedding Cake

I attended a wedding this past weekend and this was one of the more beautiful wedding cakes I've seen. This cake is the epitome of the word sweet, isn't it? Much like the rest of the wedding, this cake was graceful and elegant. Furthermore, the food was perfect, the flowers were tastefully done, and the band was hands down the best live band I've heard at an event. I wish all weddings were this fun. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cucakes

I've been on a cupcake kick lately, not wanting to bother with the torting and frosting of cakes that you're not even allowed to cut into and taste until the final presentation. I mean, how is it that people blog about making cakes for birthday parties and events and manage to shoot and style professional looking photos, complete with props and lighting? Just slide that little sliver back in and smooth more frosting over? Hmph. I tried out this "Sprinkles Cupcakes" peanut butter chocolate chip cupcake recipe out of curiosity. It's the one Candace Nelson demo-ed on Home with Lisa Quinn. Admittedly, I have never had the real thing since I usually stick to red velvet when I go there. I have to wonder, however, if it's the recipe for the ones they sell at the shop. In any case, it was a total win.

In summary, this was a great cupcake. I was worried that they were a little firm and muffin like (like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie), but they were wonderful when combined with the frosting. They were a little too crumbly, possibly due to the 2 cups of chocolate chips (per dozen cupcakes) so I'd reduce that on the next round. I also found the frosting to be a bit fussy, which may have been attributed to the natural peanut butter I used which is not as thick and smooth as the "conventional" brands. The ratio given did not work at all, producing something to soft and not sweet enough. "Not sweet enough" will usually pass, but in this case, the saltiness of the peanut butter needs that sweetness to balance and brighten it up. I ended up added about double the powdered sugar which produced a frosting that was still a little less firm and structured that I'd normally like, but tasted just sweet enough to lighten the already rich cupcake. Taste always trumps appearance.

These were a hit with the bf and his coworkers (since he usually ends up bringing them to the office on Monday mornings).

Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes Cupcake Ingredients

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup smooth all natural peanut butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine milk and vanilla in small bowl. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Beat butter and sugars in mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and blend until smooth. Slowly mix in peanut butter. Add half the flour mixture and blend slowly. When fully incorporated, add milk mixture. Continue to blend slowly. Add remaining flour mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and fold in by hand. Scoop into 12 lined baking cups and bake for about 22 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly touched and the edges are golden brown.


6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter, natural (or if you want a smoother look, go not-natural)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Combine sugar and salt in bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in bowl. Beat butter and peanut butter in mixer until smooth and creamy. Alternately add sugar and milk mixture until fully incorporated. Add additional milk for a softer consistency. Frost on top of cooled cupcakes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rhapsody 4th of July Cake

Every since I first got my hands on The Cake Bible, I have wanted to make the Star-Spangled Rhapsody cake. The thing about holiday cakes is, well, you've got to wait for the holiday to come around, and I was not going to miss this opportunity. I had been daydreaming about it for weeks. How many layers? What kind of filling? Keep the same decorative pattern?

As usual, the details of my cakes tend to result from what I have on hand. At that moment, it was a farmer's market with fresh ripe sweet strawberries, extra egg yolks from a batch of Swiss meringue buttercream, and two layers of white velvet butter cake I had in the freezer left over from baking for the Neapolitan cake last week. The cake was still not complicated enough for it to be fun for me, so somehow I decided it must be an ice cream cake. Must.

This was pretty good for a first ice cream cake. Although, I may have been a little obsessive with the over-freezing and dry ice transport. I might do a few things differently the next time.
  1. Turning my freezer to maximum seemed to make the ice cream too icy. This is probably not necessary next time.
  2. Making a Swiss Meringue buttercream is totally wasted here because the "best frosting I have ever tasted in my life" is completed dulled by the freezing process. Sadly, it became unremarkable.
  3. Freezing the decorative fruit made them all frosty! They were gorgeously vibrant right before I returned the cake to the freezer. 

Overall, I am simply very pleased with this cake. I think the red, white and blue just presents spectacularly as inspired by the Cake Bible showcase cake. This 8 inch cake also served 12 perfectly. There was apple pie too of course. So of course, you have to have both. You can't have 4th of July without apple pie.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tres Leches Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is one of my favorite cupcakes. It's sweet and rich, and surprisingly really satisfies my sweet tooth even without any chocolate. If you've never had tres leches cake (proudly displayed in Mexican bakeries and supermarkets), it's a white sponge cake completely soaked in a milk combination, topped with whipped cream and some combination of fruits or chocolate. It sounds odd if you've never had it, but hey, think about French dip and au jus - it's better when the good stuff is soaked in. Yuummm.

This recipe requires a little more work in beating up and folding in egg whites. Then the milk has to be infused somehow. And then, after all that folding and baking and infusing, you don't even get to enjoy it until you let it sit overnight. But like macarons, the wait is totally worth it. Plus, using a meat injector to soak the cake, and getting to wave my giant syringe around in the kitchen and jabbing it defenseless cupcakes is just something you know you want to try.

Naturally, this cupcake is frosted with a variation of Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC), utilizing dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is a sort of caramalized, sweetened condensed milk. Does that not sound like heaven? You can make your own, which I've done before, but I just don't always have the time so allowed myself a little shortcut and just bought a can of it. In my opinion, when you have make a SMBC base, you're allowed.

Tres Leches Cupcakes
Makes 14-16 cupcakes

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut milk (light is OK)

Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake wells with paper liners.


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined. Add the vanilla and combine. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Alternately add the dry mixture with the buttermilk to the creamed butter beginning and ending with the flour.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed with clean beaters until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into cake batter.
  3. Fill paper-lined wells 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack and set aside.
  4. Stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk. Use a meat injector needle to inject warm cupcakes all over with about 1/2 to 3/4-ounce of the mixture. (you can also poke holes in the cupcakes with skewers and pour the mixture over them). Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before frosting.
Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting

5 large egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2-1 cup of dulce de leche, room temperature

  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly. 
  2. Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until mixture cools and doubles in volume.
  3. Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. Add salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dulce de leche and mix to combine.
1. Frost cooled cupcakes with dulce de leche buttercream and either sprinkle lightly toasted flaked coconut on top or dust with grated chocolate.