Monday, February 27, 2012

red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

the goods:

2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combing the cake flour sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt; whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.

Let cool in pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. While cupcakes cool, combine cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until totally incorporated, increase speed, then beat until smooth.

Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. I used a star-tipped piping tip to pipe frosting, but spreading it works fine too. Top with your favorite sprinkle, candy, or decoration!

Monday, February 20, 2012

strawberry heart-shaped oreos

the goods:

1 package strawberry cake mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup shortening

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, and shortening. Roll dough into balls.

Place two balls next to each other and pinch the bottom to create a heart. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

My hearts came out a little round, so immediately after pulling them out of the oven, I used a spatula to push the sides flat a bit more. Immediately transfer to a rack to cool.

With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla. Slowly add sugar, one cup at a time, until creamy.

When cookies are cool, with an offset spatula, spread frosting onto back of one cookie side, and sandwich with a matching heart.

Monday, February 13, 2012

blueberry-orange cornmeal muffins

the goods:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, plus 2 teaspoons orange juice
1 and 1/4 cup blueberries (7 ounces)
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, cornmeal, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, butter, vanilla, and orange zest. Add to flour mixture, stirring until combined (do not overmix).

In a medium bowl, toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to coat, then fold into batter. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake until puffed and set, about 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let muffins cool in pan on wire rack.

Stir together orange juice and confectioners' sugar. Drizzle over muffins and let glaze set, about 10 minutes, before serving.

Monday, February 6, 2012

vanilla surprise cupcakes with fruit glaze

The surprise? Cannellini beans replace some of the butter in this recipe cutting the fat from 9g to only 3g per cupcake!

the goods:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup fruit puree (from 9 ounces fruit, thawed and drained if using frozen, then puree in blender until smooth and pass through a fine-mesh sieve.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a food processor, combine beans, butter, and granulated sugar; process until smooth. With machine running, add eggs and egg whites and process until incorporated. Stir into flour mixture until well combined. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla.
Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until puffed and set, about 17 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks and let cool completely.

Whisk together confectioners' sugar and fruit puree until smooth. Dip top of each cupcake into glaze, letting excess drip off. Let glaze set 15 minutes before serving.