Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cookies 'n Cream Cupcakes

Hi. I haven't updated this blog in a while, but again I will put all the blame on school. I don't want to be a Debby Downer so I'll just leave it at that.

I made these cupcakes for the first time in mid-December. I was with my cousin and she wanted me to bake her something, so I texted her a few pictures so she could decide what she wanted.

My cousin, along with my aunt and basically her entire family, so not cook, like at all. I had to keep asking my cousin if she had measuring cups and spoons and if she had sugar and eggs. She had no idea about anything, so not only did we end up buying every single ingredient called for in the recipe, but a few of the measuring essentials too.

As I was making these cupcakes my cousin just kept looking on in astonishment. I felt kind of bad since she’s all like “Why do you have to do that?” and “Why can’t I just use the glass thing to measure the flour?” It was kind of bad, so I got her to crush the Oreos and so a little of the folding too. By the way, my cousin in six months older than I am, so if I’m portraying her as a little kid, I’m not. It shocks me every time I make something so simple and my aunt and her family are beyond impressed.

Anyways, these are some freaking fantastic cupcakes. I decided to make them again for my roommates to try and one roommate accused me of putting crack in them because she kept going back for more.

The cake part is really delicate, until you bit into the Oreo base and get a good chunk of Oreo in the bite, then these are just heavenly. The only part I kept having trouble with is the frosting. It’s dang good frosting, but it’s so…loose! The pictures make it look like this is an Oreo cheesecake, but it’s not. Besides the frosting being so limp, it’s great and soft and delicious.

Cookies ‘n Cream Cupcakes
Makes 8 cupcakes

4 whole Oreos
¾ cup (90 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ + 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (96 g) sugar
1 egg white, room temperature
¾ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole Oreos, coarsely chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 1/3 oz. cream cheese, chilled
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 whole Oreos, pulverized into crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake/muffin tin with paper liners. Twist the 4 Oreos so you have 8 cookies in total. Place one Oreo cookie, cream side up, in the paper liner.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set the bowl aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg white. Mix on medium speed until foamy and voluminous. Stir in the vanilla. Mix in half of the dry ingredients until combined. Add all of the buttermilk and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in chopped Oreos.

Distribute batter among the prepared liners. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

As the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl on medium speed until smooth. Blend in vanilla. Slow the speed down and gradually add the powdered sugar. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed and whip for 4 minutes. Frost cupcakes as desired (remember, the frosting will be really goopy). Sprinkle tops with Oreo cookie crumbs. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cake Slice Bakers - March 2013: Honey Bee Cake

Where did the month go? It seems like only yesterday was the beginning of March, and now it’s the 20th! My goodness. Anyways, you know what the 20th means, right? If you’re thinking cake, you’re absolutely right!

This month the Cake Slice Bakers chose to make the Honey Bee Cake found on page 36 of Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson. I really encourage you to buy this book, or borrow it, or check it out from a library, either way get your hands on this book soon! I’m on my third year with this group and I have never been so pleased with a cookbook in my life! Every cake we have baked has turned out fantastic, including this one, despite my little missteps.

I mentioned last week how my weeks have been hectic and I haven’t had much time for baking. By the way, don’t worry about the lack of posts. I have a few recipes in the archives; I’m just trying to stretch them out so I can get some more goodies cracked out of the oven. So basically I had to crank this cake out soon because time was running out before I went on spring break.

I totally forgot how much butter this cake called for and I only had one stick in the fridge and the rest stored in the freezer, which I didn’t remember until I started getting all the ingredients out on the table. Well, I did was any other baker stressed for time does, I stuck a stick in the microwave and hit the defrost button. I was careful to stop every five to ten seconds to make sure my butter wasn’t melting, but I couldn’t stop it from becoming real gushy like. I was kind of worried about that, but I wasn’t going to waste that whole stick of butter, so I just hoped for the best. Then I reread the ingredient list and I needed an additional two tablespoons of butter, so I said screw it and left out the extra butter, since the half stick I saved was going to be for the honey brown sugar glaze.

Other than the little butter fiasco, everything turned out perfectly! The gushy butter wasn’t nearly as melted as I thought it was and the cake turned out beautifully! The glaze that goes on top created this soft and spongy texture. That little centimeter of gooey cake was definitely the best part of the cake I thought.

My roommate, P, doesn’t usually get excited about my baking adventures. She kind of just stares at me as I get excited about smells and textures. But with this cake she was totally into, even before it went into the oven. Then she went to go take a nap. When she woke up and came out of her room she kept asking when she was allowed to dig into the cake. To be completely honest, her excitement made me real happy.

By the way, I left the almonds out of this recipe because I’m not a real big fan of almonds, unless it’s in that Nature Valley sweet and salty almond granola bar, but that’s not relevant right now.  

Honey Bee Cake
Adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson
Makes one 9-inch round cake

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ sticks (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature

½ cup honey
¼ cup dark brown sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until blended. Increase the speed and beat for 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, adding the next one once the previous egg has disappeared. Decrease the mixer seed to low and add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, starting and ending with the flour. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition of flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface over with a rubber spatula. Rap the pan firmly on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Place the pan on the center rack and bake for 40 minutes or until the top starts to turn a light golden color.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze by placing the honey, brown sugar, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir ingredients until melted and combined. Bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. Turn the heat off, but leave the pan on the burner to keep warm.

Remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. Pour the glaze over the cake and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for about an hour before releasing from the pan. To remove the cake, turn the cake upside down onto a plate (not the serving plate), remove the parchment paper from the bottom, and flip the cake back over onto your serving plate. Serve warm.

This cake keeps for up to 5 days when wrapped up tightly and stored at room temperature.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Donuts

The last three weeks have been so well for lack of a better word, like hell. I’m allowed to say that on the Internet, right? Well I hope so, because I’m not deleting the word because that is how my life has been. I know that my last couple posts have been about how school is rough and is taking over my life, and you’re probably not interested in how I’m struggling, but this is a way to vent, either that or cry, which I have done a few times.

Anyways, after Wednesday last week everything got a lot better. I was actually able to relax and just enjoy life. That’s when I decided over the weekend I would catch up with baking. I made three things over the weekend and I plan on making something later in the week so I can take it to my aunt’s house for Spring Break (yeah, four more days ‘til Spring Break – I honestly cannot wait!). Oh and I also had enough time to sit on the couch and read for four straight hours. I started and finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower in those four hours. It’s a really nice and easy read for anyone looking for a book recommendation.

For those of you who came for baked goods, here you go: chocolate glazed chocolate donuts!

Yes, these donuts were the first thing I decided to bake over the weekend because baked donuts are as easy as 1, 2, 3, really.

The sun was out too, so I think I got some pretty decent pictures out of the experience.

If you leave off the chocolate glaze, you better not tell me because I will smack you upside the head, because this is the BEST chocolate glaze I have ever tried. The glaze is nice and thick and is just pure heavenly. As I was glazing the donuts, I caught my roommate’s attention and she was just speechless. I let her east the rest of the glaze with a spoon, because I’m nice like that.

The chocolate donut part is also really delicious. I usually have trouble finding chocolate flavor in chocolate cake type things, but with these donuts I could definitely taste the chocolate.

So if you’re having a really tough week, take just thirty minutes out of your schedule and make these. They will help a lot; trust me.

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Donuts
Adapted from Food, Family, and Finds
Makes 6 donuts

1 cup (120 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup + 1 tbsp. (60 g) sugar
¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup + 3 tbsp. milk
1 egg, room temperature
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 6 cavity donut pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make sure the cocoa powder lumps are broken apart. Add the milk and stir. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and butter. Stir until smooth.

Fill each donut cavity about 2/3 full. I used a small cookie scoop and each cavity had about 3-4 scoops in it. Bake in the center on of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the donut. Allow the donuts to cool for 5 minutes before removing onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled, top with glaze.

To make glaze: whisk together 1 2/3 powdered sugar, 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, and 3-4 tbsp. milk.   
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