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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes and Whipped Frosting

I'll call today "let's make my favorite cake batter into cupcakes day". Guess what? It was a total success. Well, not total. The frosting was a little weird for me today. The coloring started to separate from the icing, which gave it a marbled effect, which was kind of cool,  and I have no idea why, really, no idea. But a friend of mine said today and I quote "this is the best cupcake I've ever tasted." Can't beat that, right?

I promise you that if you make these cupcakes and frosting, people will say "ooh and ahh". Definitely my favorite cupcake combo. 

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes and Whipped Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour two 8-inch round baking pans and set aside.  This recipe also makes 24 cupcakes.  
In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything is well mixed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.  
In a small bowl whisk together flour baking powder and salt.  
In a separate small bowl combine the milk, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.  
With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture in three batches.  Start and end with the flour mixture.  When the batter is just combined, shut off the mixture and thoroughly incorporate the dough with a rubber spatula.  
Divide the batter between the two pans.  
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a pale golden color, and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  For cupcakes bake 25 to 30 minutes.  
Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool.  Frost and berry only when cakes are completely cool.

Vanilla Whipped Buttercream Frosting
3 sticks (1.5 cups) organic unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cup organic cane sugar
1.5 cup organic whole milk
3/8 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tablespoons organic vanilla extract

Cream the butter on medium speed, 3 to 5 minutes, in a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer until soft, adout 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.  
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup mil with the flour and vanilla extract.  Whisk together until there are no lumps.  Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cups milk, whisking constantly and cook until the mixture comes to a low boil.  
Reduce the heat to low and continue mixing until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.  
When the mixture starts to thicken, immediately remove the pan from the heat but keep stirring.  After you have removed the pan from the heat, the mixture will continue to cook for a minute or two on its own.  
If you overheat the mixture and find that you have some lumps, try to whisk them out with a little elbow grease, or pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.  Place the mixture in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up the process.  
With the mixer on low speed, slowly poor the milk mixture into the butter and sugar mixture.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grapefruit Honey Yogurt Scones

Let me start by saying that I like food. I like butter. I like grapefruit. I like to say that I like things. These take "like" to a whole new level. I love these. I gasped out loud in ecstasy as I tried one of these scones. I planned on only eating a bite, and ate the entire scone within a minute, and I didn't look back. 

That's how good these are. A little melted butter on top, and oh my gosh. There just isn't any dessert that tastes better. There is nothing better than this. I just can't help but keep saying like. Like like like like like, these are the best, thing, ever.

Before being baked these get grapefruit sugar sprinkled generously on top. The sugar is rubbed together with grapefruit zest until it turns a pale orange color, and smells of fresh grapefruit.
Grapefruit Honey Yogurt Scones
Makes: 6 scones
Thank you to Joythebaker for this wonderful recipe!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 Ruby Red grapefruit, zested and segmented
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.  
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
Zest the grapefruit and combined zest and granulated sugar on a clean cutting board.  Rub together the zest and sugar with the back of a spoon or a plastic bench knife.  The sugar will be tinted a pale orange color and smell of grapefruit.  Measure 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit sugar and whisk into the dry ingredients.  Save the remaining grapefruit sugar for topping the scones just before baking.

Segment the grapefruit next.  Slice off the bottom and top of the grapefruit, exposing the wheel of grapefruit flesh inside.  Use a sharp knife to cut away the peel and pith of the grapefruit, exposing the pink grapefruit flesh.  Slice in between the white skin segments to the center of the fruit, at a slight angel, circling the grapefruit.  Little grapefruit segments should fall from the fruit as you slice.  Set segments aside.

Dice cold butter into small chunks and add to the dry ingredients.  Using your fingers, and working quickly, break the butter down into the flour mixture until butter chunks are the size of oat flakes or small peas.  The butter and flour combined will resemble coarse meal.  Add the honey, plain yogurt and grapefruit segments.  Toss together with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the yogurt and  honey.

Turn the scone dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Form into an 8 inch circle, about 1 inch thick.  Use a knife or a bench scraper to cut the dough into six scone triangles.  Place on the prepared baking sheet.  Lightly brush the tops of the scones with milk or buttermilk, and sprinkle generously with grapefruit sugar.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden brown on top and firm but soft in the center.  Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve warm with butter and jam.  These scones are best served the day they’re made.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

 I found this recipe and I had to try it. The result was delicious. I have one of these muffins in front of me (not to brag), and you need to try these! Yum! Brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, I don't really know what else to say.
Easy Cinnamon Roll Muffins
Based off of recipes from: Joy the Baker and Baking Bites
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast

2/3 cup warm milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

2 tbsp butter, room temperature

2/3 cup brown sugar

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch ground cardamom


1 cup powdered sugar

1-2 tbsp milk or cream

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. 

Let rest for 15 minutes.
 While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly.  Divide the batter between 8 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)

Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.
 Bake for about 20 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.

Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Brown Sugar Whiskey Plantain Bread

 Whiskey, and lots of it. Too many choices! I went with good Old Grand-Dad. Once it's baked, it really doesn't matter how good of a quality whiskey you use. This bread was a gamble for sure. I mean, plantains are practically aliens to me. Being as I don't love bananas after they become ripe (I like them a little green still), black and yellow spotted plantains, which seem to closely resemble bananas seem a little bit scary. I did get over this fear today, and I sliced and diced and sautéed with butter and brown sugar, and the plantains were delicious, and this bread is delicious.
 I sprinkled brown sugar on top the second the muffins and bread came out of the oven, and lightly patted it into the bread, which made the top a sweet crunchy kind of top, and who would complain about that? Not I.

 This may kind of freak you out. But I'm coming down with some sort of nasty chest cold. I love to bake when I'm sick. For some reason, it's just still fun. I didn't cough while making the bread though, don't worry. Aaaaannnd, it's baked for a long time at hot temperatures so germs wouldn't stand a chance! 

P.S. I love my dogs, so much. They are our children, our babies. They bring me such joy, each and everyday!

Brown Sugar Whiskey Plantain Bread
Will make 6 muffins and 1 bread
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2-3 plantains
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/12 tbsp whiskey

1/4 cup butter
2-3 plantains, chopped
1/8 cup brown sugar

Butter and flour loaf pan, line muffin tin.

Saute chopped plantains in 1/4 cup of butter for a minute, add 1/8 cup brown sugar and saute for additional 3 minutes. The color of plantains will darken and plantains will soften. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and whisky and mix again to incorporate. Add eggs one at a time, mixing for one minute before the next addition. Add plantains and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Add flour and cream in three additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. After last flour is added, mix just until incorporated, then use spatula to fold mixture together.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and loaf pan.

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes,  and bake bread for an hour or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Sprinkle brown sugar onto top of bread and muffins right out of the oven. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before inverting on cooling rack.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


In light of the events in Japan, I won't post my cupcake recipe today. 
Just these photos. 
My thoughts are with Japan and their extreme loss and sadness.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Homemade Walnut Honey Butter

I'm not sure about you, but I love going to Outback Steakhouse. Not just for their steak, but because if you're smart, you'll know to ask for honey butter with the fresh loaf of bread that comes out *wink wink*, not just plain old butter (which let's face it, is amazing). I think plain butter is so amazing, I actually named a blog after it. Hey check it out, it's this blog right here. Wait a second..

I decided to make this butter because it's really easy to do, and eating honey butter on bread just makes me happy. And it seems so appropriate coming from me.
Butter and I go way back. Back to when I was a kid, and dreamt of eating a whole stick of butter plain. To this day, I still haven't done it. I guess I'm waiting until I get older, or until a day where I say "the hell with it, today is my butter fantasy eating day". But that day isn't today.

Today I get to enjoy this honey butter, with walnuts, on bread. And today, I get to say yum.
Homemade Walnut Honey Butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 (or more depending on your liking) cup good quality honey
1/4 cup crushes walnuts

Pour whipping cream in food processor. Let run for 5 minutes, or until cream begins to thicken, and until liquid begins to separate from solid. Pour honey into processor in two additions, letting processor run for 30 seconds in between each addition. Add in crushed walnuts. Mix until desired butter consistency. Drain as much liquid as possible. Spread on your favorite bread. Enjoy. Delish.

Butter will keep in refrigerator for 5 days in air-tight container.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Orange and Whipped Cream Pie

Something about winter citrus makes me feel warm. I think it's the whole Florida thing. Making a pie like this makes me think of palm trees, warm oceans, sandy feet, and laughter. 
Also, whipped cream is just delicious on top of this creamy orange mixture.
I put my graham crackers in the food processor until crumbs formed, then added the butter, cinnamon and sugar to form this delicious crust.
I made two of these crusts today, sadly. As I baked the first one too long. Honestly, it tastes just as good not-baked as baked, but bakes is amazing also. It is a bit crumbly though.

Letting it cool in the refrigerator for three hours is the hardest part, as it is so delicious warm, that I could spoon out the entire pie. But I won't. Promise. 

Orange and Whipped Cream Pie

Loosly adapted from myrecipes.

For the crust:
about 13 crushed graham crackers (
1 2/3 cup)

1/4 cup sugar

dash of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons salted melted butter*

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter until evenly moistened.  Press into a 9-inch pie plate and bake at 350 degrees F for 4-8 minutes, until lightly golden.  Cool before filling.

For the filling:

3 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3 large egg yolks
1 cup half and half
1 cup heavy whipping cream (for the whipped cream top)

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, zest yolks and half and half in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.  Cook until thick, stirring constantly.
Add butter and stir until melted.  Cool the mixture for 15 minutes, then add the sour cream.  Stir to incorporate.  Pour into cool pie crust and chill for 3 hours. Cover your pie loosely if you’d like.  Whip up the cream, adding a few tablespoons of powdered sugar if you’d like, then spoon on top of the orange filling.

*unsalted butter can be used 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cute Cupcake Ideas

I love winter, I love skiing, I love rosey cheeks, I love eating fresh snow, (ha, yes, I am weird, you see?)
I also love spring. I like being outside without being freezing, light weight coats, leggings, leaves, birds, running outside (when my shin isn't hurting). But, spring also makes me sad, because winter isn't around anymore, which means no more ski trips this season.
There is only thing that can cure my ski fever. 
Cupcakes. Cupcakes make me happy, verry happy.  I know it isn't officially spring, but oh well. Spring inspired cupcakes!

Can I admit something to you? I was so excited when I was decorating these cupcakes, that I was dancing. Why? Because decorating cupcakes is too much fun, like amusement park fun, but without the nausea. 
When I decorate them I feel like a little kid again.
Tomorrow I'll be making cupcakes with my favorite cake batter and icing, but these were just a simple yellow cake, and simple vanilla icing to practice using my decorating skills.