Sunday, March 18, 2012

green velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

the goods:

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz. green food coloring

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 bag powdered sugar
milk as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add in oil, buttermilk, vinegar, and vanilla and whisk until blended. Add food coloring and stir to combine. Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir together well. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or two until well combined and green! Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each cupcake liner. Bake for 17-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cool 10-15 minutes, then remove from pans.

While cooling, prepare frosting: Cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar until the desired consistency is achieved. Add milk as needed.

Top cupcakes with frosting. Now, here's where I blew it. I bought these adorable shamrock sprinkles and I waited too long to put them on my cupcakes and they wouldn't stick to the frosting. So if you have some cute toppings, put them on immediately.


Monday, March 12, 2012

cool mint oreo brownie cupcakes

the goods:

1 package Cool Mint Oreo cookies (don't let your husband get to these and steal 3 - you need all of them!)
1 box brownie mix
(ingredients on the box to make the brownies)

1/4 cup Crisco
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
dash of salt
6 drops green food coloring

Prepare brownie batter according to package instructions. Place half the Oreos (about 15) in a quart-sized Ziploc bag and crush (I used a rolling pin). You want them to be chunky pieces. Fold the crushed cookies into the brownie batter. Place liners in a muffin tin and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Fill the liners with about 1/4 cup of batter. You should get about 15 cupcakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Let cool for 20-30 minutes.

While they cool, mix together frosting. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and Crisco with a mixer. Add sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition to make light and fluffy. Add extract, food coloring, and milk and beat until incorporated and fluffy. Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled brownie cupcakes and place a cookie from the remaining package on top of each frosted brownie cupcake.

Monday, March 5, 2012

heart cake

Ok, usually I am a "from scratch" kind of girl, but when I decided to tackle this heart cake I decided to spend all my energy on making it look great, so I cut some corners and baked some box mixes (my family is all gasping right now, I just know it!)... try not to judge me too harshly!

 the goods:

4 white cakes (8" rounds)
1 red velvet cake (9x13 sheet)
frosting of your choice (I used 3 to 4 large cans of cream cheese)

Level all four white cakes. Add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup frosting to 2 white cakes and then put the second cake on top. You want two separate two-layer cakes at this point. Freeze the layer cakes for a couple of hours, this will make carving them so much easier!
Run a fork through the red velvet cake and add about a cup of frosting and combine well.

Take a knife and draw a shallow border on each cake (or if you're nervous, you can tie 2 toothpicks together with a string in between, place one toothpick in the middle of the cake and drag the other one around to make a perfect circle). Carve a v-shape out of one of the cakes (this should look like a big cone). On the second cake, start with your knife in the middle and carve out a little island (like an upside-down cone). Then move back to the outside border and carve a channel that meets the center cone. (I really should have taken pictures as I was doing this as I'm now realizing how hard it is to describe!) Now use a spoon to make your channel a little more rounded (think heart). Now fill each cake with the red velvet cake. Add some frosting to the edge of the bottom cake (make sure you remember which is which!). Now carefully flip the channel cake on top of the v-cake. Add some more frosting and do a rough crumb coat over the whole cake. Put this in the fridge for at least a half hour, or as long as overnight. Add more frosting and smooth it out, I had leftover red velvet, so I used that to garnish the cake, but if you don't you can always do some piping work! ;)