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One-Year Blogiversary and Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

3 Apr

Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

Today is the one-year anniversary of my blog (a.k.a. my blogiversary)! Truthfully, I never really anticipated this day because it was hard to picture myself keeping up with it for a whole year, but I have, and I feel pretty good about it. And then in another way, it feels easier than I thought it would be. I saw this inspirational quote the other day, and I couldn’t agree more as it relates to me.

One-Year Blog Anniversary

I can be pretty hard on myself. Sometimes I’m afraid to even start something because I don’t know how it will turn out. Will I fail? Will I waste my time? Will I embarrass myself?

Truth is, time will pass anyway, so just get over your fears and go for it! No matter what it is.

Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

Speaking of time passing, this recipe was passed to me from my grandma and originated from my great grandma. This cake, along with Sam’s Chocolate Cake, always accompanied birthday dinners and family parties. This recipe is a comfort food, no doubt, and I wanted to share something extra special  on my first blogiversary.

Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

The cake has an extremely moist crumb without being dense (thank you, molasses and applesauce). The spice combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg will make your house smell mouth-wateringly fragrant while the cupcakes are baking. In my opinion, no one spice overshadows any of the others; combined, they create a spice party in your mouth that will almost remind you of my your very favorite Pumpkin Muffins.

I use my ultra-light whipped frosting to top these cupcakes. The frosting is light, airy, and buttery, and I prefer less to more.

Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

Hope you enjoy this recipe. Thank you for your support during my first year of blogging. I love reading your comments and getting your feedback! Keep ’em coming! (more…)

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

20 Feb

Coffee Cake

Did you ever have adventures at grandma’s house? When I was a kid, my grandma’s house seemed like a magical place full of mystery and adventure. Going down to the basement was like visiting a 1920s’ speakeasy. Going up to the attic, trying on all those old dresses felt like fashion shopping in France. Piggyback rides on her massive German Shepherd were like riding a grand horse. Playing with the cousins upstairs was top-secret spy business. We usually stayed out of trouble.

But.

There was this one time at my grandma’s house that we tried to stuff me down the laundry chute. All in all, it was a terrible idea. At the time, we thought it was a great idea. And it had to be me to go down the chute because I was the smallest cousin. “Like riding a really exciting slide,” they convinced me. Luckily for me, we got caught in the act of stuffing me in. I probably wouldn’t have survived three flights of a dead drop. But it was exciting. Another adventure at grandma’s house.

Coffee cake screams grandma’s house to me. Fragrant cinnamon and moist crumb cake. Definitely grandma’s house.

This recipe comes from the Joy the Baker Cookbook. A welcome addition to anyone’s recipe library has got to be coffee cake. Any excuse to eat cake for breakfast, right?

Coffee Cake

Stir together your crumb topping. Set aside for now.

Coffee Cake

Stir together your yummy cinnamon filling layer. Set aside.

Coffee Cake

Mix together your butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs.

Coffee Cake

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Coffee Cake

Prepare your sour cream and milk combo. Whisk ’em real good.

Coffee Cake

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 2 additions.

Coffee Cake

Spread half of the cake batter on the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon filling layer.

Coffee Cake

Spread the rest of the cake batter evenly on top of the cinnamon filling layer.

Coffee Cake

Make a few swirls with a knife.

Coffee Cake

Top with the crumb topping and bake for 55 to 60 minutes until golden brown and crackly.

Coffee CakeLet rest for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving. (more…)

Red Velvet Cupcakes for Independence Day

2 Jul

What is it about bad fashion that I find so darn enticing? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some trendy styles, but I can’t help myself when it comes to the cheesiest, outdated fads.

One of my all-time favorite wardrobe pieces are jean overalls. Overalls, you’re thinking. You must be joking. Nope, not joking.

I think overalls are adorable. You can get them all dirty, you can wear them over anything, and they look cute on everybody. OK, that last part might be stretching it a teeny bit. Nevertheless, they won’t go out of style in my book.

Here’s something else timeless: a little, old recipe for red velvet cupcakes. This recipe comes from Ryan’s grandmother, loving known as “MomMom” to the grandkids. You know you can’t go wrong when you’re using a trusty grandma recipe. Thanks, MomMom.

This makes a rich, thick batter. The cupcakes themselves are nowhere too dense, though—they are the perfect balance of crumb and density. The frosting is light and airy. A perfect topper to contrast the indulgent cupcakes. See for yourself.

Ooh la la! (And not even frosted yet!)

Stir together flour and salt. Set aside.

Cream together sugar and shortening.

Crack in an egg.

Beat until smooth.

Combine cocoa and red food coloring.

Whisk away.

Add cocoa/food coloring mix to creamed mixture. Beat until smooth.

In 3 additions, add in flour mixture.

Alternating, of course, with your buttermilk in 2 additions.

 

Be a scientist and combine vinegar and baking soda. Watch it bubble.

Add baking soda/vinegar mixture to batter. Then add your vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Fill your cups 2/3-way full. (I love how red these are!)

Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool while making your frosting.

For the frosting, start by combining milk and flour in a small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until it thickens

Set aside to cool and cover with plastic wrap.

In another bowl, combine shortening, butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Beat until light and fluffy.

Add cooled milk mixture.

Beat until it’s the consistency of whipped cream.

Divide the frosting into half white, half blue, and frost away. Happy Independence Day! (more…)

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

18 Jun

Wrinkly feet. Constant sleeping. Even, open-mouthed breathing.

There is something magical about newborn babies. All you want to do is touch their perfect skin and smile at them. I got to hold my friend Tess’s baby girl this week, hence this pondering. And I’ve determined all is right in the world when you hold a tiny infant.

Or a kitten.

Or a puppy.

What is it about baby creatures that we can’t deny? For me it comes down to sweetness and cuteness. (The most important “ness-es,” probably.)

I like to think these cupcakes are sweet and cute. The chocolate cake is rich and oh-so-moist (thanks in part to the cocoa + boiling water and the buttermilk). The frosting flavor will remind you of ganache, and yet it’s thicker and velvety (thanks to the cream).

Whisk together the cocoa and boiling water. This makes the cake extra-rich.

This is what the batter should look like after the eggs are mixed in.

This is what the batter should look like after the flour and buttermilk have been added in.

Fill your muffin tins using a 1/3-cup scoop.

Bake until the cupcakes puff and the centers spring back when touched.

Frost your cupcakes. (more…)

Lemon-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

30 May

I guess I don’t like to read anymore. This is a thought that crosses my mind every few months.

Those of you who know me well may be saying, What? Yeah, right. You were an English major, for goodness’ sake.

Well, that last part is true. But the question do I still like to read? really does pop up in my head. It only happens after I finish a book and then don’t pick up another one for a while. Time passes, and I start getting sucked in to watching addictive quality TV shows like The Bachelorette (I am neither admitting nor denying that I watch shows like that—I am merely providing an example),  and I start thinking about how much easier it is to sit in front of my TV screen than it is to find a good book to read. Reading can be so hard.

But, alas, I eventually pick up another book thanks to a friend’s recommendation/best-seller list/or another worthy source. And then I embarrassedly recoil at my previous questioning of reading. I love to read. I really do.

Books are good. And so is lemon-blueberry breakfast cake—as you are soon to discover.

This cake is oh-so-moist thanks to the buttermilk. And the fresh blueberries’ blues and purples look so pretty after they burst during baking. Perhaps this cake was originally meant for breakfast, but I tell you, it makes a delightful all-day snack (or dessert for that matter).

Your batter will be thick and soft before you add your blueberries.

Toss those blueberries in flour. Give ’em a good shake or two.

Fold in your blueberries like so.

Sprinkle that cinnamon and sugar all over.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for as long as you can stand it, then go for it. (more…)

Weekend Challenge: Lemon Birthday Cake

19 May

On peoples’ birthdays, I like to treat them really special. I like to run around waiting on them hand and foot. I like to ask their opinion and then agree with everything they say. I like to heartily laugh at all their jokes.

People love being treated like this. Maybe you think you’re different. Maybe you think you wouldn’t want to receive this special treatment from me, but trust me, you would.

My objective on peoples’ birthdays is to react to everything they do and say as if it is either a) the deepest thought or b) the funniest joke. Really what more can you ask for than to be deep and funny? And if you think about it, the only reactions you need to get by in this world are mhmmmmm or hahahahaha.

Prior to Ryan’s birthday, I asked him what kind of a cake he wanted. He requested a white cake with white icing. Yawn. I mean, I know it’s your birthday and I should be agreeing with everything you say, but…come on. Challenge me! Instead, I eventually convinced him to come up with the brilliant idea of letting me make a lemon cake.

Here’s what I came up with.

Cut 2 rounds and 2 half-moon rounds out of your previously made half-sheet cake.

Throw some simple syrup and lemon curd on layer #1.

Smooth out the lemon curd and pipe the perimeter with lemon buttercream frosting. (My piping bag = a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off. Winning!)

Fit together those half-moon pieces and fill in the cracks with extra cake pieces for the middle cake layer.

Repeat syruping, curding, and piping.

For your final layer, all you’ll need is syrup and lemon buttercream.

Who can resist a three-layer cake??

Toss on some blueberries as garnish. Look how pretty and fancy, and I’m the worst at making cakes look pretty and fancy. (Don’t be alarmed: I am the best at making them taste good, though.)

(more…)

Happy Birthday to the Hubs

18 May

Wanna hear a cute story about a stalker? Say whaaaaaaat?

How can a story about a stalker be cute, you ask? Well because it’s about me, of course.

So I wasn’t exactly a stalker, but I did have a crush on this boy when I was a sophomore in high school. We had Spanish and geometry class together, and sometimes we would even joke around together. (Naturally I played out an entire romance in my head.)

Now because this boy was very shy, one of my BFFs (LYLAS Brandy! KIT! BFFs 4eva!) and I concocted an ingenious plot to lure him into my (loving) clutches. I secretly slipped a note into his backpack inviting him to go bowling, and she did the same to one of his friends. Double date = pretty harmless/smart/cool.

Well wouldn’t you know that the other guy called my friend back ASAP, but I never ever ever heard back from my boy. Humiliating, right? So embarrassing. Hang your head in shame and never ask a boy out again. Especially that boy.

Wrong. Two years later, after never speaking of said bowling invitation, I asked him out again. But this time it was different. This time it was on the phone, and this time he said yes.

Then we got married 5 years later. Awwwwwwww.

Is it wrong that I’m making this post in honor of my husband’s birthday when in fact he strictly forbade me from sharing this story on the interwebs? Dun dun dun.

This is all really just to say happy birthday to my hubs. Let’s go bowling.

And now let me entice you with the very beginnings of what I hope to be a pretty little incredible birthday cake.

Start with 10 eggs and sugar. That alone makes for an epic start.

Whip for at least 5 minutes on high until light and fluffy.

Fold in some flour.

Then fold in some melted butter. Fold, fold, fold.

Pour that dreamy goodness into a half-sheet pan.

Spread it evenly across the pan. Even the whole way into those corners.

Bake for a quick 15 to 20 minutes until light and springy. Then let that bad boy cool until you’re ready to cut out some rounds and make a layer cake. (more…)

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

25 Apr

I’m not one of those tidy, clean-up-as-you-go bakers. I’d rather whip up a treat in a frenzy and deal with the consequences later. I pride myself on being a fast baker. I can whip up a batch of cookies in 15 minutes flat. Cleaning up, on the other hand, not so fast.  (more…)

Weekend Challenge: Lemon Cheesecake

21 Apr

Sometimes I listen to rap music while I bake. I hope that doesn’t completely ruin your perfect little homemaker image of me in a pink frilly apron. (I do, in fact, have two pink frilly aprons.) The truth is, baking energizes me. I love dancing around the kitchen or, more accurately, shaking it in place while my stand mixer does the heavy lifting.

(more…)

Sam’s Chocolate Cake or Not-From-a-Box Chocolate Cake

13 Apr

On my mom’s side of the family, there’s a chocolate cake that always accompanies birthdays, picnics, Christmases, you name it. It’s known as Sam’s Chocolate Cake. Who’s Sam, you ask? Well, no one’s quite sure, but I assume he’s a long-lost great uncle or a cousin of a cousin of a cousin. My mom has been trying to get everyone to call the cake “Mom’s Chocolate Cake.” (“Mom” as in her mom—my grandma—
not herself, because she’s not THAT egotistical.) Anyway, her attempts to change the name are to no avail…this will always be known as Sam’s cake. (Nice try, though, Mom.) (more…)