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Posts tagged ‘cream cheese frosting’

Summertime on Cloud Nine

Let’s play a game.

It’s called “Where Is This Blog Post Being Written?”

Here are the rules:

Guess where this blog post is being written. Complicated.

Don’t cheat. (If you do, that just means you’re a creepy stalker. I don’t think you want to live with that.)

I think you’ll do fine.

So, here goes.

I have a (free) mimosa in my hand.

Tiny ear buds are humming Frank Sinatra’s voice into my head.

I’m in a pretty comfortable leather seat.

I’m looking at tiny blips of white surrounded by large areas of green and brown thousands of miles beneath me.

There’s also a layer of mashed potatoes underneath me.

Not too far behind me is a small child, who initially decided to scream its head off, but then (smartly) ceased.

Where am I?

In the air!

If you guessed anything but an airplane, I’d like to know your answer and then pick at your brain.

I’m well on my way to Seattle, Washington to visit one of my very best friends in the world. Yay!

I feel like I’m on Cloud Nine right now. The past week at work was not only tolerable, but I generally had a good time. What?! Cray. I know.

Last night I was lucky enough to enjoy a late-night after-work IHOP run with my darling boyfriend. I (shamelessly) scarfed down some blueberry pancakes. I was also told I have giant eyes. Whatever that means.

I woke up this morning, got dressed, put my face on, had a nice little conversation with a coworker, and headed to the airport. Did I mention I’m flying First Class?

Yeah, I’m flying First Class. I’ve never done it. The best part so far, aside from the complimentary mimosas the stewardess is throwing at me, is the line cutting! Mwahaha. I must have saved about an hour of waiting because of this “First Class” status.

When things like this excite me, does that mean I’m getting old? I mean, first I’m overly stoked about my new car having amazing gas mileage, and now I’m excited about short lines?

Stewardess! I need another mimosa. This is too much to handle. I’m not old…yet.

 

Speaking of getting old, my birthday is soon. Which, ehh, I’m not overly excited about. But it does make me think back to when I was a kid. Sleepovers, Back-to-School Nights, Poptarts for breakfast…ahh to be a child.

One thing I vividly remember as a child, is lemonade stands. My next-door neighbor and childhood BFF, Jessica, and I used to have one every year. I mean EVERY year. Tradition. It always seemed to be right after the gardeners overly trimmed the trees. I’m sure the majority of our sales came from our parents and other close neighbors, but it didn’t matter. It was fun. We were fun. We were cool kids.

Some smartypants friend of mine suggest Pink Lemonade Cupcakes to me a few weeks ago. GENIUS!

The cake has a slightly tart taste, and paired with the cream cheese frosting (infused with lemon-lime soda) and you’ve got yourself a lemonade stand in a cupcake wrapper. That can’t possibly be wrong, right?

Enjoy, my fellow childhood lemonade-standers. Reflect on the goofy memories. Smile.

In the meantime, I’ll be frolicking in Seattle, being fabulous as I take a huge bite of a much-anticipated Trophy Cupcake and laughing over God knows what with an amazing friend. “She’s good for your soul,” says my mom. I must agree.

MAKE THESE CUPCAKES!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour minus 6 tbsp
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 cup sweetened instant pink lemonade

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake wrappers.

2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and instant lemonade in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Beat butter until fluffy and pale.

4. Add sugar and beat until smooth.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

6. Add vanilla and strawberry cream cheese. Beat well.

7. Alternately add milk and flour mixture, beating well between each addition.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes and let cool before frosting.

Lemon-Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz packages cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.

2. Add vanilla and beat until well-combined.

3. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, until completely blended.

4. Add soda and lemon juice and beat until just combined.

5. Allow the frosting to set. It will initially be runny.

6. Frost them cupcakes! Then shamelessly shove it in your mouth.

For instructions on how to candy the lemons, see this recipe for Grapefruit Cupcakes and you’ll be all set. 🙂

Like what you see? Check out the Pink Cake Party Kit over at Event Blossom!

I think they complement these little beauties quite well. 😉

Bon appétit!

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Fall-ing in love with pumpkin spice

Ohhh man, I’m excited.

It is fall.

Now I actually really hate the dry air, the Santa Anas (if you live in the Orange County area you probably feel my pain), and cold mornings that somehow turn into afternoons that make me sweat off 50 lbs. Fall is the most bipolar season of all.

But there are a few reasons why I LOVE fall:

1. The beginning of fall means that winter and the holiday season are only a few short months away.

2. Halloween. Everyone loves wearing clothes they would never consider any other night of the year and consuming crazy amounts of alcohol while doing it. *college life*

3. Scarves. It’s too hot in the afternoon to wear them, but it’s just cold enough in the morning to justify it. Same goes for…

4. Coats! I just got them dry-cleaned the other day. I’m ready! 😀

5. Thanksgiving. Great food, football, friends, family, and wine. And pie. Pie is its own delicious category on Turkey Day.

6. Pumpkin-spice things. Lattes, cupcakes, cookies, pie (mmmm…pie) and…

MUFFINS!

Oh yes, my friends. Pumpkin-spice cream cheese muffins. This is real. Not a figment of your pumpkin-spice-loving imagination.

These are everything you want in a breakfast pastry. Or dessert. Or lunch. Or snack. Or…

just eat them. They’re good. Even better on day 2.

Muffins are tricky. If they’re too dry, they’re gross. If they’re too moist, they’re gross. If they taste like flour…you get the picture. So let’s do a little check before I present this recipe to you.

Moist? Check.
Pumpkin-spice-y? Check.
Cinnamon-y? Check.
Streusel-y? Oh yes. Check.
So good that I’m making up words? Check.
Sweet cream cheese accompaniment? Check, check, checkedy check check check.

These are not for anyone who doesn’t or only “kind of” likes pumpkin things in the fall. These are for people who await the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte like a dog awaits his owner to come back from the store. Sad? Perhaps. Don’t care? Def.

The combination of pumpkin and cream cheese could be described as fall’s PB&J (although PB&J is good any time of the year). It’s true though. There are a ton of other fall-friendly flavor combinations – apples and cinnamon, caramel and pecan, cranberry and almonds, brown sugar and basically anything, and so much more.  But pumpkin and cream cheese is the epitome of fall-flavored, soul-comforting, stay-inside-if-it’s-raining-to-watch-an-old-movie-and-eat-delicious-food flavor combination.

Fall and winter are the ultimate comfort food seasons. Your taste buds will be jumping for joy for the next few months. Your pant size…not so much. But that’s what this time of year is for. Getting fat. If we all do it together then it’s not an issue…right? (I hope so.)

When it’s cold and you have nothing else to do, bake these muffins. Then put on a coat, wrap a scarf around your neck, and bring them to your friends so you can enjoy the pumpkin-spiceness together.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Muffins
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

*side note* The layout for the recipe is a little different this time due to the different steps you have to take at different times. Just go with it. 😉

Muffin:

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cup pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp of pumpkin butter (you can find this at Williams-Sonoma)

Cream Cheese Filling:

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Prepare the cream cheese filling –>
a. Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar until evenly executed. Add vanilla and combine until smooth and even in color.
b. Place mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and form a 12-inch log. Wrap it up, and freeze for AT LEAST 2 hours (possibly more).

2. Prepare the streusel –>
a. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans until even.
b. Add melted butter and vanilla and mix with a fork until the mixture separates and forms crumbs.

3. Muffin time!
(preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin pan!)
a. Whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda until well combined.
b. Mix sugar, pumpkin, oil, eggs, salt and vanilla until well combined. Do not over mix. Gently add pumpkin butter.
c. Using a rubber or wooden spatula, fold dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Again, do not over mix. Muffins are finicky like that!

4. Assembly…mmm…
a. Slice cream cheese log into 12 1-inch pieces.
b. Fill prepared muffin pan 1/4 full.
c. Place a slice of the cream cheese in the center of the batter.
d. Fill the pan until it reaches about 3/4 full. (If you have extra batter, feel free to fill them up. Huge muffins never hurt anyone.)
e. Sprinkle streusel on top of each muffin. Add just enough to cover the top of the muffin, and press lightly to make sure the crumbs are secure.

5. Bake the muffins for 20-23 minutes or until the muffins reach a golden brown color.

6. Allow them to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

7. Eat the muffins and feel the warmth of fall. Share them if you feel so inclined.

Awwww yeahhh…it’s as good as it looks.  Scouts honor.

Bon appétit!

Pucker up!

I am in denial.

There’s no way around it. I just cannot face the truth.

What is the truth?

Summer…is over. Yuck.

It might not be over for you quite yet, but it definitely is in my world as of 7pm tonight, when I walk into a classroom for the first time in several months.  That’s real pain, people.

It’s over, and I’m left with nothing but a faded tan and hair that is terrified for Fall.

Fall = wind. I really, really dislike wind. Breeze? Lovely. Wind?  No.  Go away.  Bye.

But a few days ago, something wonderful happened! A gluten-free friend of mine gave me a recipe that screams summer! Grapefruit cake!

Grapefruit? Genius! Way to keep summer going, Sam! 🙂

While she is making the gluten-free version of this recipe (which she will write about on her own blog, “Excuse Me, What?”), I made the regular gluten-filled version.

So grapefruit is obviously not something you think about when you think “cake.” And this recipe is NOT what I think about when I think “Paula Deen.” Why? Because this recipe contains no butter. I’ll say it again…

This Paula Deen recipe does not have a drop of butter in it. I didn’t even know how to react to this. I was in such denial about the lack of butter, I bought some when I went to the store anyway. Perhaps I am the one with the butter problem, not good ol’ Miss Deen.

As far as the recipe goes, the flavor was deeeeeelicious. I upped the amount of zest and juice in the batter to give it more shazaam. The cream cheese frosting was odd. It didn’t turn out quite the way cream cheese frosting usually turns out, and I omitted the crushed grapefruit and again just added more zest. Flavor? Awesome. The texture of the cake was soft and very light.  Dainty, if you will.  Personally I prefer a heartier cupcake, but this one is pretty darn good.  I think it’s just cake flour that I don’t care for. It’s just not my thang.

Oh and I got a little fancy and candied some grapefruit rinds! 🙂

SO. Next time, regular flour. My own frosting recipe. Possibly buttercream…the cream cheese is a little heavy for the flavor of the cake.

Grapefruit (and Sam) – thank you for reminding me that summer can live on!

Grapefruit Cupcakes
from the wonderfully charming Paula Deen! (with a few minor changes)

1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
4 tsp grapefruit zest
5 tbsp grapefruit juice
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with papers.

2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Create a well in the center of the mixture.

3. Add egg yolks, water, oil, zest, and juice to the dry mixture. Beat until well combined.

4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

5. Fold the egg whites into the wet mixture until just combined. Do not stir! Fold! (You’ll take all the air out of the whites if you’re not careful.)

6. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 9-11 minutes.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting
also adapted from Paula Deen

2 pkgs of cream cheese
4 tsp grapefruit juice
2 1/2 tsp grapefruit zest
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1. Beat cream cheese until light and slightly airy.

2. Add juice and zest until evenly combined.

3. Add powdered sugar and beat until well-combined.

4. Allow to cool in the fridge until ready to use.

^ He’s smirking!  I guess my mom never told me not to play with my food…

Candied Grapefruit Rinds

1 grapefruit, peeled…eat the fruit.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water

1. Slice the peel into thin strips, about 3 inches long. It’s okay to leave a little part of the white rind.

2. Grease a wire rack and cookie sheet. Set rack in cookie sheet and set aside.

3. Boil the sliced rinds in a medium sauce pan for about 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In another pan, bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil or until all the sugar dissolves. Add rinds.

5. Allow the peel to boil in the sugar mixture for about 15 minutes. You’ll notice that the sugar syrup being absorbed into the rinds. Remove from heat, and transfer rinds onto wire rack. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

6. Fill a shallow bowl with the remaining cup of sugar. Lightly roll each candied rind in the sugar, and set back on the wire rack to set and cool completely.

Sprinkle with sugar, and love.  Then eat.

Bon appétit!

I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s so darn tasty!

I have these moments every once in a while where I feel I need something more than a cupcake.

Yes, those moments exist. They are rare, but they do exist.

And because it was quite warm, and for whatever reason my fire alarm beeps whenever the apartment gets over 77 degrees, I figured that turning on the oven was not the smartest idea.

Yes, of course, these little treats are delicious, but more importantly they are fun to make!  You’re molding chocolate with balloons.  Come on, you know that’s pretty cool.  It feels like a party the whole time you’re in the kitchen.  It’s pretty sweet.  (Pun intended.)

The chocolate looks awesome, but it’s the filling that’s the real star.  It’s similar to cream cheese frosting, but lacking the firmness.  It’s more of a cream cheese frosting-custard (what?), minus the eggs.  So it’s obviously delicious.  And the best part?  There’s Bailey’s Irish Cream in it!

It is rich, tasty, and you certainly won’t find yourself thinking, “Where’s the Bailey’s?”  It’s there.  You taste it.  It’s good.

It’s no secret that chocolate cake, a good old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie, or a spoonful of peanut butter make me happy.  But one thing you don’t know about me, is that homemade whipped cream is one of my favorite things of all.  It reminds me of Thanksgiving, where my mom taught me how to make it several years ago, and now every year it’s my job to make it.  It’s practically the easiest thing to make, but I love that.  And now that I’m all grown up older I’m infusing the sweet innocent treat with booze.  Go figure.  It’s okay, my mom would approve of this.  I know it.  She is my mother, after all. 😉

The point of all this nostalgia is that I made whipped cream to top the dessert.  And although I only used but a smidge for each serving, it packs a punch.  Yes, it too contains the luxurious flavor of Bailey’s. I went all-out. No holding back. When it comes to something as delightful as Bailey’s, how could you possibly resist putting it in almost all aspects of the dessert?

Are you understanding that I love this liqueur?

So let’s recap:  It’s in a fancy little chocolate bowl, filled with Bailey’s cream cheese frosting/custard, and it’s topped with a dollop of Bailey’s whipped cream.

Where’s my spoon?!?

Bailey’s Cream Cheese Chocolate Cups

The chocolate cups

1 16oz pkg of chocolate (your choice – hint: use a high-quality dark chocolate; simply divine.
1 scant tsp veggie oil
1 pkg of small balloons (water balloons would work best)

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Inflate the balloons. Set aside. If you are using balloons larger than water balloons, inflate them to about the size of a water balloon. It’s common sense, yeah?

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwaves, 30 seconds at a time. Stirring WELL between each interval. It should only take about 2 times for it to melt. Add the oil, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Okay…this is the fun part!

4. Dip the rounded side of the balloon into the melted chocolate. Make sure there is a good, thick coating. Set the balloon round side down, on the parchment paper. It will stand up, don’t worry.

5. WAIT until the chocolate is completely cooled and hardened. You’ll know it’s completely dry when it has a matte finish.  You may also lightly touch it.  If it feels even slightly sticky, it needs to set longer.

Oh, and I lied before…THIS is the fun part!!

6. Pop the balloons! Just do it. You can poke them with a pin, cut the tops and watch them deflate, whatever! Just get the air out! Some of the balloon will stick to the chocolate, so just lightly tug and it should peel right off. Set the cups aside.

BUT MAKE SURE THEY ARE COMPLETELY DRY!

Feeling impatient?  So was I…

womp womp wooommmmppp 😦

Please learn from my mistakes. That’s why I’m here.

Do yourself and this dessert a favor and give your impatience the cold shoulder!

This is what it should look like!

Much better. 🙂  And don’t worry if the bowls don’t come out perfect.  If you’re feeling like a perfectionist you may even them out later with a knife.

Bailey’s Cream Cheese Filling

1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar together until combined.

2. Add heavy cream, Bailey’s, and butter and beat until well combined and smooth.

3. Set in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to set.

Bailey’s Whipped Cream

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream

1. Beat the heavy cream on high until you can see that the cream is getting thicker. Do not over-beat at this stage. It should barely form a very soft peak.

2. Add sugar and beat until well incorporated, but do not over-beat. At this point, the cream should form soft peaks.

3. Add the Bailey’s, and beat on high until you reach desired consistency (about a minute or so). Be very careful not to over-beat the mixture, otherwise you’ll end up with chunks, or worse, with butter. Eww.

Fill the cups with the cream cheese custard and top with a dollop of whipped cream!

Bon appétit!

Have your cake and eat it too…with cookies…and peanut butter.

I did something fabulously sinful.

It was dirty.

It was wrong.

It was down-right filthy.

I want to tell you about it, but even the thought of it makes me blush.  Brace yourselves, and cover your children’s eyes…

What the h-e-double hockey sticks is this?!  Well for starters, it’s a cupcake…duh.  More questions?  No problem, I have answers.

Yes, that’s a chocolate cupcake.  Yes, it’s filled with peanut butter cookie dough, and yes, that’s cookies n’ cream cream cheese frosting.  Your questions are oddly specific – smarty pants!

I’m in love with the idea of filling cupcakes. As if cupcakes weren’t great enough on their own (which they totally are), some genius had to go along and just cut a hole in one and put more sugary goodness inside!  Man, I wish I was that innovative.

Boom.  It’s like magic.  Corer goes in, twist, the cupcake comes out.  Looking for a cupcake corer?  You can find one at Williams-Sonoma.  You can find one elsewhere, but if you get it there you also get to browse around at all of the nifty things they have!  Win.

This cupcake is simple – if you like Oreos, you’ll enjoy this.  If you like peanut butter cookies, you’ll enjoy this.  If you like chocolate cake, you’ll enjoy this.

I’m only keeping your marvelous taste buds in mind when I make these things, you know.

The chocolate cake recipe is easy as pie.  The cookie dough isn’t really cookie dough (for baking) at all, considering it doesn’t contain any of the stuff that will make you sick if you eat it raw.  So if you’re feeling hungry during baking (which, hellooo, always happens), you may nibble.  What am I saying?!  Was I just rationing your cookie dough intake?  I’m sorry.  Don’t nibble…you can munch. By the spoonful, if you feel so inclined. (Not by the handful though, let’s keep it classy, people!)  I won’t judge you.  I’ll just grab a spoon and help you polish the bowl off.  Then I’ll go halfsies with you at the grocery store when we’re buying new ingredients to remake the dough.

Do I sense a vicious cycle?  Nahhh.

Well okay yeah maybe a little bit…

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cookies n’ Cream Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes
recipe slightly adapted from Organic and Chic

2 1/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup veggie oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp coffee
2 cups cold water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Whisk vanilla, oil, vinegar, and water in a separate bowl.

4. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, being careful not to overmix. It is not a thick batter that most recipes produce. This is a-okay.

5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake for 20-24 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. Place them in the freezer until you’re ready to assemble.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbsp peanut butter (to taste…if you really like peanut butter, like me, you’ll use 3ish going on 4.)
1 tbsp Oreo crumbs (finely ground)

1. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy.

2. Beat in peanut butter, and stir in vanilla.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and Oreo crumbs until thoroughly combined.

4. Pour dry mixture into the wet mixture, stirring until completely combined. Feel free to add chocolate chips or larger cookie chunks if you’re feeling extra indulgent.

…ASSEMBLY…

1. Core the frozen cakes using a cupcake corer or small spoon.


–> Why frozen? Less crumbs and easier to handle. Plus really cold chocolate cake is heavenly. And what else are you going to do with those miniature cylinders of cake? Throw them out? I’ll disown you. Just kidding, I could never do that. But I will give you the silent treatment for a good 5 minutes. Oh yes, I’ll go there.

2. Transfer the cookie dough to a frosting bag or ziplock bag and cut a small bit off the corner of the bag, as if you were about to frost a small cupcake.  The hole should be about the size of a dime.

3. Squeeze dough in the center of the cupcakes until they’re full. You’ll know when that is, because it will start to overflow at the top. After a few you’ll get a feeling of when they are full and you’ll have less spillage (not that a little overflow of cookie dough is a bad thing).

Peanut Butter Cookies n’ Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
(this is enough to liberally frost 24 cupcakes)

16 oz cream cheese
5 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 – 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup crushed Oreos

1. Beat cream cheese, peanut butter and vanilla until combined.

2. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat just before you’ve reached desired consistency.

3. Add crushed Oreos and combine on high until thoroughly combined and frosting is a thick consistency.

4. Do yo thang and frost them cupcakes!

Bon appétit!