Monthly Archives: January 2011

Island life

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Next month is my best friends 35th birthday, but she decided to celebrate it a little early this year.  And naturally, I offered to create her cake.

A simple deserted (or is that desserted?) island. 

It’s our inside joke – a secluded destination for when times get chaotic, hectic and more specifically when our husbands are driving us crazy.  Hmmm, that seems to be more the reason than anything else.  Hehe.  I also figured it was an appropriate theme considering she has a February birthday and our party locations are usually indoors because of the weather!  (For my birthday, I’m making up my own cake … very tired of little bunnies … I’ll explain later)

So what a better place to daydream about and simply enjoy than an island…. well maybe, an island made of banana marble cake.

The Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday “C”!!!

L

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Bacon & Chocolate?

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So I’ve been reading alot of other blogs and posts about this unusual combo lately.  And wondering to myself, do I dare?  I have to it admit that it’s intriguing because for most people it seems so unusual to combine the two.  The reactions I got from my friends when I mentioned I’d be making it sometime in the near future was a cross between doubt and intimidation. 

But really I can see why they can go well together.  It’s the salty-sweet element that many of us crave. Okay, at least I do….

So I started off cooking half a package of bacon.  I really should have cooked up more, because I have an 18 month old little boy who adores bacon and once he figured what I was doing, well, he turned into the most sweet faced vulture I have ever seen.  Let’s just say, the ones that made it into the cupcake batter were the lucky ones.  Hehehe….

Once they were cooled, I started chopping them into smaller pieces . 

You want to make enough to make at least half a cup when cut up into small pieces.  I think I made just enough to reach the half way point – remember my little vulture ate some of them too.

Instead of making a chocolate batter from scratch, I took the easy route and simply used a chocolate cake mix.  Sometimes you can’t beat using a cake mix…especially when you know you’re running low on ingredients to make cupcakes from scratch and it’s too cold to go out to the store and the snow is blowing…. hmmm I digress…

Anyways, mix all the ingredients according to the box instructions.  I added bacon last because I didn’t want them breaking to even smaller pieces, and just simply folded them into the batter, until it was completely incorporated.  Then pour into cupcake lined cupcake pan and bake according to the box and wait….

Tah-da!

Yah, I know it looks like your everyday chocolate cupcake …( this one is topped with a sweet maple buttercream icing) but oh, how looks can be so deceiving.  Biting into this cupcake, you are hit with both chocolatey sweetness and tiny spots of salty bacon spotted through-out. 

It’s really crazy, but oddly it actually works.  Enjoy!

L

Get the Scoop

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My newest toy to help me out in the kitchen.

Yep – an everyday run of the mill ice cream scooper.  The kind that pushes out the ice cream when you squeeze the handle.  BEST INVENTION EVER! Especially when it comes to cupcake batter.  Not only can I get an equal amount of batter to every cupcake pan, it’s not as messy as using a laddle as I have been using in the past. 

Oh ice cream scoop, where have you been all my baking life?  😉

L

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts….

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Yummmy…. Oh, how I love white chocolate and coconut ….

This is one of my little indulgences I completely enjoy.  Finding this bar at the store, I was beyond thrilled that I ate most of it while at work – it didn’t quite make it home….

So of course I wanted to come up with a cupcake that reflected both white chocolate and coconuts.  As my own little challenge for these cupcakes, I played with my own recipe – this is the first time I’ve done that!  I incorporated coconut flakes and coconut milk into the batter and viola….

What came out was something moist, light and fragranced with the sweet smell of coconuts.  I’m in heaven….

The white chocolate element of this special combo cupcake I introduced into the frosting.  Okay I’ll admit that I got a bit lazy here, and instead of creating something from scratch, I melted half a package of white chocolate chips in the microwave and then added it (when slightly cooled) with a container of cream cheese frosting.  It came out very loose and didn’t hold it’s shape as other frostings, but who cares – it tastes great!  WOW!  Then I heated up some additional coconut flakes in a skillet until they were slightly browned and sprinkled them over top.  I’m all about the presentation! 

Love it!  Hope you do to!

Coconut Cupcakes

  •  1 -1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sweetend coconut flakes

Heat oven to 350F.  Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.  In large bowl, blend all ingredients at low speed until moistened.  Pour batter into cupcake pan.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool … and frost with white chocolate and cream cheese frosting … and enjoy.

L

Butter Crumshus Cupcakes

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Happy New Year!

I figured as part of the new year I’d start playing with new recipes.  A few years ago a friend of mine gave me her old copy of Pillsbury: The Complete Book of Baking. 

Aside from a fantastic peach crisp pie I made this past summer (I’ll share that later with you all), I haven’t really created anything from this book.  Sigh … procrastination – how you have a hold on me …. Well, not this year.  Like I said, I vowed to play with some new recipes.  And Butter Crumshus Cake caught my eye.

Several things about this recipe had me hook, line and sinker.  The name alone sound interesting.  The second thing that caught my eye was that cream cheese was an additional ingredient – and no this wasn’t even a cheesecake.  I have used sour cream before in a recipe.  Not cream cheese, so of course I was intrigued.  And there was a brown sugar topping baked on …. yum.

Instead of baking it in a cake pan, I divided the batter through the cupcake pan and baked for 20 minutes or until baked through.  Let me tell you the finished result was fantastic! 

Okay they don’t look like much.  In fact they look broken and misshapen.  The cupcakes that had ended up touching the pan, stuck to the pan, so pulling them out created a bit of a challenge – especially since they were VERY moist.  And then after sometime on the cooling rack they seemed to “sink” a bit.  No worries – they still taste great.  The cream cheese lends to a very moist texture … it literally seems to just melt in your mouth.  And the brown sugar topping is a great little “crunch”.  I’m in heaven!

For a touch of extra measure (and because I had them in my pantry anyways) I added in a cup of white chocolate & semi-sweet chocolate chips combined.  YUM!  I don’t think it overwhelmed it in any way, but if you don’t want to you don’t have to add them.  Serve warm or room temperature they are wonderful…. I should know … they’re all gone today…..

Butter Crumshus Cake

(Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury: The complete book of baking)

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 (3 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
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Topping:

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350F.  Generously grease and flour bottom only of 8 inch square pan.  In large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add flour and remaining cake ingredients.  Blend at low-speed until well combined, beat 2 minutes at medium speed.  Spread batter evenly in greased and floured pan.

In small bowl, combine all topping ingredients until crumbly.  Sprinkle topping evenly over batter.

Bake at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes (for cupcakes I baked for 20-25 minutes) or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Serve warm or cool.

Serves 6 to 8 (cake) or approximately 16 cupcakes.

Enjoy!

L