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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Monthly Archives: May 2011

I knew I had the recipe for these cupcakes tucked away and when my dad came home with a flat (12 pints) of strawberries one evening, I figured it was the perfect time to resurrect it.  As evidenced by the photos, the cupcakes were SO pretty, and yeah, they were just as good as they look.  The strawberry flavor isn’t super strong, but it is a nice undertone… it’s more like a vanilla cupcake infused with fresh strawberries, as opposed to a completely strawberry cake.

Strawberry Cupcakes – Sprinkles Cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen whole strawberries (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk , room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg , room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites , room temperature
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree. Add a few more strawberries if necessary, or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla and strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.
Strawberry Frosting – Sprinkles Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup frozen whole strawberries , thawed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , firm and slightly cold
  • Pinch coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar , sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined.
  3. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix, or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
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I have one rule in my kitchen — EVERYTHING is to be made from scratch.  Since the birth of BHTB, I have stayed true to this tenet… until I volunteered to make 150 cake pops for my sister’s choir concert.  I had visions of homemade cakes and frostings in exotic flavor couplings, enrobed in the finest of chocolate, but when I realized my time constraint, I knew that would be unrealistic.  Additionally, upon googling recipes for cake pops, I found repeatedly that even the professionals use cake mixes and canned frosting not only for ease, but also for texture and consistency.  What surprised me the most was that for the dipping chocolate, many sources say to use chocolate coating from no, not a gourmet market, but from KROGER, as all of the fancier chocolates are very finicky and melt at the slightest touch.  So, with judgements behind me, I made a beeline to the grocery store, and with the much appreciated help of Duncan Hines, I successfully made all of the cake pops with time to spare.  In spite of these “downgrades,” the cake pops were actually delicious, and the first thing to go from the sweet table — everyone loved them.  Sometimes, in some cases, rules are meant to be broken.

Cake Pops – Inspiration from Bakerella

Ingredients:

  1. 1 box cake mix
  2. 1 can frosting
  3. dipping chocolate
  4. decorations

Instructions:

  1. Bake cake according to instructions on box.
  2. Break cake into crumbs.
  3. Mix with can of frosting.
  4. Form small balls, and freeze for 15 minutes.
  5. Dip lollipop stick into chocolate and then stick into cake ball, no more than halfway through.
  6. Dip balls in chocolate and decorate.

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According to Oprah Winfrey, “at age 19, Maya [Angelou] knew one thing for sure—that her banana pudding was the best.”  At age 19, one thing I know for sure is that Maya Angelou’s banana pudding is one of the best desserts I have ever made.

Banana Pudding – Maya Angelou

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups milk (whole milk, no cutting calories here!)
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups vanilla wafers
  • 4 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt; stir until blended. Mix in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and boiling. Boil 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, then whisk in about 1/2 cup of hot custard until blended. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan of custard; cook over medium heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in butter and vanilla until blended.
  3. Place vanilla wafers on bottom of a shallow 2-quart casserole dish. Top with layers of banana slices and custard. Repeat layering, ending with custard.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar at low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar; increase speed to medium and gradually beat in remaining sugar. Beat until egg whites hold stiff peaks.
  5. Spoon meringue over hot custard immediately, making sure that meringue touches baking dish on all sides (this prevents it from shrinking). Transfer to oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove pudding from oven and cool 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

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I spent the last few weeks of my freshman year of college highly caffeinated; late-night studying required coffee, as did waking up for early classes.  With my finals behind me, I vowed not to drink any coffee over the summer…but I didn’t say anything about eating.  To satisfy my love of coffee, without totally cheating, I settled on this recipe.  I am proud to say, as an avid coffee drinker, that this pudding did not disappoint!  Everyone in my family LOVED the pudding, but the whipped cream stole the show; such a simple addition of espresso powder made all the difference in the transformation of this dessert staple.

Chocolate-Espresso Puddings with Espresso Whipped Cream – Bon Appetit Desserts

Makes 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder, divided
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

Whisk 4 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and 3 tablespoons espresso powder in heavy medium saucepan until no lumps remain.  Gradually whisk in milk.  Whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Divide pudding among 6 small ramekins or goblets.  Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Using electric mixer, beat cream, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon espresso powder in medium bowl until peaks form.  Top each pudding with dollop of espresso whipped cream.

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