Spring Fling Cake

Spring is finally here in Colorado, at least until today! But, what better way to celebrate the first few days of spring than cake? I first tried this cake at the Market in Larimer Square and I just love it! I adapted a recipe from Paddle Attachment,. Check out her photos step by step guide; it’s really helpful.

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For the cake:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Apricot jam and water to coat the fruit

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. I use baking spray with great results.

2.  Grate the zucchini with the “fine side” of your grater. In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded zucchini, eggs, sugar, oil, sour cream and vanilla and mix on medium to combine.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet with the mixer set on low. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the ingredients are well combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

4.  Pour the batter evenly into the baking pans and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, testing with a toothpick in the center. Cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean.

5.  Cool the finished cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pans and allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1  cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1.  Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium high until creamy and smooth (3 minutes or so). Add the vanilla and heavy cream and mix until combined.

2.  With the mixer set to low, gradually add the powdered sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until well combined.

Assemble the Cake:

I used strawberries, blackberries, mangoes, kiwis, and mandarin oranges, but you can us whatever fruit you want.

Directions:

1.  Cut the cooled cake layers in half lengthwise, making four layers.

2.  Spread even amounts of frosting between the layers and place fruit on top frosting with fruit.

3.  Frost the top and sides of the cake.

4.  Arrange the fruit in circles over the top of the cake, starting near the center.

5. I placed sliced strawberries around the sides of the cake, so I didn’t have spend a lot time frosting the cake.

6.  Melt some apricot jam and tablespoon of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a pastry  brush, lightly brush the melted jam over the fruit on the top of the cake.

 

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Days 198 to 209-Baking is Addicting!

Even though, I wanted to post every day. I have been baking and pet sitting more than usual lately. Here are all the photos from my recent creations:

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day 200 (1 of 1)

day 201 (1 of 1)

A first birthday part. Strawberry cake with Lemon buttercream.  (Above)

day 202 (1 of 1)

Mango French Macarons with Pineapple filling.

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Maple Bacon Cupcakes (also known as “The Spring Break Cupcake”from 2 Broke Girls) and my inspiration for the cupcakes. Chocolate Stout cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese frosting topped with Caramelized bacon.

day 202 (1 of 1)-3

Two tiered cake for a retirement party. The top layer is a Strawberry cake with Nutella filling and Italian butter cream. The second tier is butter cake filled with caramel and macadamia nuts with almond Italian buttercream.

day 203 (1 of 1)

Captain America cake for a seven year old’s birthday party. White cake with American buttercream.

day 203 (1 of 1)-2

day 203 (1 of 1)-3

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with White Chocolate buttercream and Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes with White Chocolate buttercream for my boss’s baby shower decorated with Peeps.

day 209 (1 of 1)

Chocolate cupcakes with Strawberry buttercream.

day 208 (1 of 1)

Gluten Free Lemon Butter Cupcakes (adapted Pamela’s Vanilla Cake Mix) with Raspberry Cream Cheese frosting. One day I will master gluten free baking!

day 207 (1 of 1)

Traditional Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting.

I am back on track with Project 365, and more than half way through the Project. Anyways, hopefully everyone is enjoying spring!

Day 117 and Day 118-Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

When I was a child, I would not eat anything with pumpkin in it, no pies or cakes. Then one day, I tried a pumpkin cake and I fell in love. Side note: I fall in love with food pretty often.

Recipe adapted from the Neely’s.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 (12-cup) muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and  salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the butter and the sugar. Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time. Incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixtures together until thoroughly combined.
  5. In separate bowl, mix together chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of flour. Fold gently into batter.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Bake until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting .

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter,in a large mixing bowl and blend for 2 minutes.
  2. Add salt, vanilla, and maple sryup, blend to combine.
  3. Add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time. Once all sugar is added mix for 2 minutes.

Assembly of Cupcakes:

  1. With desired pastry tip, fill pastry bag, save one cupcake without frosting.
  2. Pipe on cupcakes.
  3. Drop a couple of chocolate chips for decorations. Enjoy!

Day 44-Oreo Cheesecake

Yes, it is still summer; if you have not noticed. As I previously mentioned, summer has until Labor Day Weekend, then I protesting! Still, I want to bake or more importantly make desserts, I miss the smell of melting butter; it is the greatest smell in whole world (an exaggeration, I know)!

I decide to find some no bake desserts, and here’s the one that looked the best!

Recipe courtsey of Bakers Royale

Ingredients:

Crust: 1 1/2 cup crushed graham cracker 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 7 tablespoon unsalted butter(melted)

Cheesecake:

2 ¼ cups heavy cream

1 pound cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoon vanilla powder

¾ cups Oreo Cookies, crushed

Instructions:

Crust:

1. Combine graham cracker crumbs with sugar. 2. Add melted butter and blend until combined. 3. Press into pan. Set aside.

Cheesecake:

1. Beat heavy cream until medium peaks form. Set aside.

2. Add cream cheese, sugar, salt, vanilla powder, lemon juice to a bowl and beat with a paddle attachment until smooth (approximately 3-5 mins). If you do not have a stand mixer or a paddle attachment a hand beater will work as well, but will take twice as long to achieve a smooth consistency.

3. Add cream cheese mixture to heavy cream and beat until incorporated.

4. Gently fold in Oreo cookies.

5. Fill chosen pan with a slight mound at the center, as the cheesecake will become slightly sunken at the center.

6. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours to set or overnight for best results.

7. Remove from refrigerator and smooth top to level with edges. Serve with whipping cream and garnish with mini Oreos.

Enjoy!

Day 24-Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are really the child of cookies and cupcakes, they are a combination of the best parts of cookies and cupcakes!

I discovered this recipe for red velvet whoopie pies in 2010, and  made them for a White Elephant party. I had never made whoopie pies or had even tasted one at that point. Lets just say, I was impressed!

Whoopie pies (one of my friends calls them: cupcake tops!) are the greatest things ever, a mix between a cookie and cake with a soft, gooey, sweet filling, plus the name is just so fun to say!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, recipe courtsey of Mowielicious:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp red food colour paste

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone mats.

2. Whisk together the butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, blend the red food colour paste with the cocoa powder

3. Whisk in the egg until completely incorporated, then add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix in the red cocoa powder mixture.

4. Fill a piping bag and pipe 5cm rounds onto the lined baking trays.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when touched. Allow to cool before filling with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter,in a large mixing bowl and blend for 2 minutes.
  2. Add salt, vanilla, orange zest and juice, blend to combine.
  3. Add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time. Once all sugar is added mix for 2 minutes.

Traditional Red Velvet, Creation #9

This Wednesday I will be back in Louisiana for the first time since November 2010 and I will be baking at sea level again (Yeah!). Every year for my mom and grandmother’s birthday, I make them red velvet cupcakes, and this year will be no different. My mother is an expert judge in red velvet cupcakes; therefore perfection is a must.

I have searched for the perfect red velvet cupcake, and it was a difficult task. While watching Cupcake War (I know I am obsessed), Florian Bellanger said a red velvet cupcake should be colored mostly from the cocoa powder, not just from food coloring. So, I found awesome cocoa powder, and pretty great recipe.

Recipe courtesy of the Food Network

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with line regular-size cupcake  pans with 24 regular cupcake liners.
  2. In mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. In another mixing bowl, stir together the eggs and oil.
  4. In a mixing cup, mix together the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract and lightly whisk.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture to the egg mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. We are trying to make a dark brown, red cupcake color, so add more cocoa powder, if the red is not deep enough.
  6. Then add the batter to the mini cupcake liners until they are 3/4-full and bake for 13 to 14 minutes, or until done. Alternately, fill the regular-size cupcake liners and bake 22 minutes, or until done. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter,in a large mixing bowl and blend for 2 minutes.
  2. Add salt, vanilla, orange zest and juice, blend to combine.
  3. Add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time. Once all sugar is added mix for 2 minutes.

Assembly of Cupcakes:

  1. With desired pastry tip, fill pastry bag, save one cupcake without frosting.
  2. Pipe on cupcakes.
  3. Crumble saved cupcake and sprinkle over cupcakes. Enjoy!

Blackberry and Pink Velvet Cupcakes, Creation #5

I have always loved red velvet cupcake, and while I was watching Cupcake Wars, someone made Blue Velvet, and I think that is awesome! I did not make blue velvet this time, I did make pink velvet, it was a color scheme thing! The red velvet cake recipe is not one I would use for a traditional red velvet cake, but all the components of this cupcake work really well together.

Any Color Velvet Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of pink food color or few drops of red food color

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 24 cupcake liners.
  2. Place the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together and slowly add to the mixer on low speed. Scrape down the bowl thoroughly, as needed.
  4. Add the food coloring in a steady stream until desired shade is achieved; it should appear light pink. Beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl one last time and mix for 30 seconds by hand.
  5. With ice cream scooper, fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full with batter and bake until they form a semi-hard crust on top, about 25 minutes. Immediately remove the cupcakes from their pan and place on a cooling rack.

Blackberry Curd:

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Bring the blackberries and water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Turn down the heat to low and simmer until the blackberries are soft and separate easily, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a sieve and pass through using a spoon to help mash the blackberries. Discard the pulp and reserve the juice.
  3. Place the flour and sugar in a clean saucepan and slowly pour in the blackberry juice, reserving 2 tablespoons. Whisk constantly. When thoroughly combined, add the whole eggs and egg yolks, whisking and cooking until the mixture thickens.
  4. When the curd has formed, after about 7 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator until fully chilled.

Blackberry Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons reserved blackberry juice, from curd filling
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 orange, zested and juiced
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 24 whole fresh blackberries, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until pale and creamy (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the blackberry juice, orange and lemon juice and lemon and orange zests, continue to beat until the color is even.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and slowly begin adding the confectioners’ sugar. Keep adding until the frosting has a medium-stiff consistency.
  4. Beat on high speed for a further 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Assemble the cupcakes:

  1. Remove the center of each cupcake using anything with a 1 inch diameter, I use a thermometer cover, thrifty I know, but you can use an apple corer.
  2. Fill the center with the blackberry curd until it is level with the top of the cake.
  3. Pipe the frosting on top using a desired pastry tip.
  4. Garnish with a whole fresh blackberry, if desired.

Enjoy!