Friday, May 27, 2011

Chris Colfer Celebration Cloud Cakes

Ok, yes I over did it with the alliteration in the title, but alliteration is fun! Anyways, for those of you who smiled as soon as you read the name “Chris Colfer” and automatically thought of Glee, these cupcakes should make you smile even more. For those of you who are going “Eh? Who the heck is that?” I will tell you. Chris Colfer plays Kurt Hummel on a TV series called Glee, and today is Chris Colfer’s 21st birthday! Yay birthdays! (Hence the “Celebration” part of the title.)

My sister is so obsessed with this show, and Chris Colfer and his co-star Darren Criss (who happens to play Blain, Kurt’s boyfriend). I personally like the show as well and Chris/Kurt is in the top 3 characters that I adore on the show. My sister, on the other hand, basically has a panic/excitement attack whenever anything/one is in any way associated with the show or even if she sees a picture that reminds her of the show. She has even memorized Kurt’s wardrobe! Someone save me from the insanity (just kidding, I love my little sister).

Now, Chris Colfer seems like a real sweetie in real life and he is all cheery and just all around happy, and that is why I chose to make Angle Food cupcakes on honor of his birthday and him because he is so delicate, like an Angle Food Cake and his hair, oh my his hair. I am jealous of his lovely, dark, thick mane. That is why I chose the frosting that I did, which you will read about in like 30 seconds.

I found the cupcake recipe on Skinny Taste. I’ve made a couple of her recipes before and they aren’t too bad, so I decided to try one of her cake recipes. Well I had the idea of only making a couple of cupcakes because I didn’t want the typical dozen that most cupcake recipes yield, so I cut the recipe in half and after many conversions (because I don’t have cake flour I had to do some math to figure out how much corn starch to add to the flour) I finally got the recipe cut in half, only it wasn’t half. I still got 12 cupcakes! I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it kinda is, because if these cupcakes only turned out to be so-so, then I would be stuck with 8 more cupcakes and I can’t give them to my neighbors because I’m sure one hates me for no other reason that I could think of except that I go to school with him. The other neighbor, I don’t really know and the other’s, heck I don’t even know their names! (Don’t move to the west, unless you really like your privacy and don’t mind not knowing your neighbors.) I decided to keep the cupcakes anyway and let them cool and then I made the most marvelous icing!

I am not usually a fan of frosting/icing because whenever I make it at home, it tastes like straight powdered sugar, no matter what I do to it and I just can’t take that. With that in mind, I decided to make a different kind of frosting; a toasted marshmallow frosting! I was a little hesitant about making it because it involved egg whites and then cooking them over simmering water, but I eventually got the hang of it and it turned into marvelous marshmallow topping. The only thing is that I didn’t get it to be as stiff as I would have liked, but that’s ok because the taste was so good it reminded me of s’mores and summer vacation (which I am now officially on).

All around, the cake was ok next to the frosting. I don’t think I cooked the cake all the way through, but it was still pretty good, maybe if I had added a little more flavoring, the cake would stand out more. And I don’t need to tell you twice that the frosting is my new best friend and I love it.

Mmm, toasted little cake. I was actually stunned by the powers of the broiler!

Close-up. I think this is one of the best pictures I've ever taken.

Time to unwrap the little gem and inside is a soft and fluffy cake, just waiting to be gobbled up by yours truely.

Cloud Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Skinny Taste
the recipe bellow makes 12 cupcakes

*Note: These cupcakes are best eaten the day they are made if you use the marshmallow meringue. The cupcake still tasted just as good as the day before, the meringue just doesn't taste as fresh and putting it in the micrwave doesn't do much help.

¼ cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup (minus 2 tsp) flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup cake flour
1/8 tsp salt
4 egg white, room temp.
1 oz water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners and set aside until later.
  2. If you are making your own cake flour you will need to sift together the flour and the cornstarch about 3-4 times.Then sift the flour mixture along with the powdered sugar and the salt If you are using regular cake flour, sift together the powdered sugar, cake flour, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, water and cream of tartar on medium-low to medium speed until foamy. Add in the granulated sugar slowly and once peaks start to form add in the vanilla and mix on high for a minute or two. Only mix until soft, floppy peaks form and the batter is somewhat glossy.
  4. Sift the flour mixture into the egg white mixture in two stages and gently fold to incorporate the ingredients.
  5. Scoop batter into the cupcake tins until the liners have reached full capacity (they will not rise very much). Bake for 18-20 minutes. Set on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes and then transfer cakes out of the pan and back onto the cooling rack for further cooling.
Marshmallow Meringue
recipe cut down from The Urban Baker

2 egg whites
½ cup sugar
small pinch cream of tartar
½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Put a small sauce pan with about an inch worth of water onto the stove and bring to a simmer
  2. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar into the bowl on a electric mixer and place ontop of the pan to creat a double boiler. Whisk constantly until the sugar has disolved and the mixture has reached 145 degrees F. This will take some time.
  3. Remove from heat and attach bowl onto the electric mixer and with the whisk attachment, whisk on medium until the egg whites start to foam. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat on high until stiff peaks form and meringue is glossy.
  4. Pipe into a bag and frost cupcakes.
  5. If you want a toasted marshmallow topping, place an oven rack on the highest position and set the oven to broil. Place the cupcakes onto the rack and broil for no more than 10-20 seconds.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1 cupcake
Calories 77.6 Total Fat 0.0 g Saturated Fat 0.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g Cholesterol 0.0 mg Sodium 51.9 mg Potassium 15.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 17.4 g Dietary Fiber 0.1 g Sugars 14.6 g Protein 4.3 g

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cake Slice Bakers - May 2011: Orange Almond Caramel Upside-down (Cup)cake

It’s the 20th again and that means Cake Slice Bakers will be posting all about this wonderfully moist cake from Cake Keeper Cakes by Laura Chattman. This months cake is called the Orange Almond Caramel Upside-down Cake, and it is delicious!

I didn’t want to make a full on cake this month because I felt that it would probably just sit on the counter forever. Thus, I make cupcakes. However, I didn’t want too many cupcakes, so I cut the recipe in half. By cutting the recipe in half, it gave me six cupcakes, and if you really, really try and squeeze out every last ounce of batter, you can get seven cupcakes. This, I think, is the perfect amount because after one night, there were only four cupcakes left, which seems a little less daunting to consume than nine.

This cake is supposed to have a brown-sugary almond top once the cake in inverted. Now, I kinda knew that this might not work with the cupcake, but I decided the try it anyway and put the topping on the bottom and I planned to take the cupcake liner off and turn it upside-down. Let me save you the trouble if you plan on making this in the form of cupcakes, put the topping on top of the cake, not on the bottom. I got a little bit of topping, but not much and I tried to scrape it off of the liner and onto the cake, but it just didn’t work. Oh well, we learn from our mistakes. Now, I’m just making this sound like a too complicated cake; it’s really not very difficult at all and the end result is a very tender and moist and just all around awesome cake!

I’ve never made cake with sour cream before because as a food, I don’t like sour cream. However, I will never snub my nose at a sour cream cake ever again because I now know the magical powers it possesses; it makes cakes super duper moist without the cake being kinda liquidy (has anyone had that experience where the cake is really moist {albeit it still tastes good} but it’s kinda wet it’s so moist?). This cake is so soft I’m pretty sure that I could replace it with my pillow. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad bit, but seriously, this is good stuff. The only thing I wish I had done was add the orange zest (I didn’t have an orange and didn’t want to go to the store). It would have definitely amped (ampt?) the orangey flavor of the cake because the orange juice alone was not enough for me.

I was afraid these hadn't cooked all the way because they seemed so springy when they came out of the oven. However, 15 minutes and 30 seconds was deffinately the right amount of time for these beauties.

As you can see, the topping really didn't stick to the cake; it stuck more to the liner. It still tasted very nice though!

Orange Almond Caramel Upside-down Cupcakes
barely adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes by Laura Chattman
makes 7 cupcakes

¼ cup sliced almonds
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2.5 tbsp honey

¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
¼ cup sour cream
1 egg
2 tbsp orange juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, soft
½ cup sugar
½ tbsp orange zest

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tin with paper liners. Place the alomds onto a nonstick baking pan and put them in the oven for about four minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, heat a small sauce pan on medium low and melt three tablespoons butter. Whisk in the brown sugar for two minutes. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake liners. Sprinkle some of the toasted almond ontop of the sugar mixture and finish off the "topping" with a drizzle of honey
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the four tablespoons of butter and the sugar until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, orange juice and vanilla extract and light whisk until combined. The result with be thick and creamy.
  3. Add the sour cream mixture into the butter-sugar mixture and beat on medium for a few minutes. As you wait for that mixture to come together, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then, with 1/2 cup intervals, add the flour mixture into the creamy mixture. After the last addition, beat for 30 seconds on medium speed.
  4. Using a protion scoop, spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes. Once baked, transfer onto a cooling rack and let stand for a few minutes. You can serve these warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1 cupcake

Calories 287.6 Total Fat 14.0 g Saturated Fat 0.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g Cholesterol 59.3 mg Sodium 146.5 mg Potassium 58.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 38.8 g Dietary Fiber 0.8 g Sugars 28.9 g Protein 11.1 g

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chocolatey Chip Cookies for a Gloomy Day

Sorry I haven’t been posting recently. My cousin’s wedding was last weekend and my family and I flew down to South Carolina for that and I just didn’t have time to bake anything. I’ve noticed that whenever there is some kind of holiday, I make all of these plans to bake marvelous things and then events pop-up and I don’t have time to make them. Oh well. The wedding was very beautiful and fun. However, there has been a lot of rain down in South Carolina and on the wedding day it rained and rained and rained; it didn’t seem like it would stop. However, the sun magically came out and all of the rain dried up in a matter of hours, which was a relief. Coincidentally, it has been doing nothing but rain every single day here in Colorado. Yes, I love the rain dearly, but for the past 5 days, nothing but drain drops (raindrops are fallin’ on my head…). And yesterday was my first day working at Elitches (Six Flags for the people on the east coast) and that was not fun at all. So, in order to make myself feel better about the bad day of working in the rain and cold, I made chocolate chip cookies.

I have not made regular chocolate chip cookies in what feels like a million years, and it’s sad, because I love chocolate chip cookies. The only, thing though, is that I can’t find the perfect recipe for me yet. I’m wondering if such a recipe exists. Well, I searched for chewy chocolate chip cookies on Google (the thin and crisp chocolate chip cookies are a big no no in my book). I came across three different cookie recipes that looked really good, but one was for jumbo cookies and I didn’t feel like having to guess at how many that made. The third cookie recipe was a gluten free cookie and I’ve always wanted to try and make something gluten free. I almost made these, but when push came to shove, I felt too lazy to try and find some kind of x-something- gum and buying three types of different flours. So that left me with the middle choice, and I’m not disappointed in the taste at all!

These cookies are terrifically soft and have just the right amount of chew. The person who I got the recipe from didn’t specify how many cookies it made so I automatically cut in in half because some recipes make like 5 dozen cookies and I’m not sure if I would want to be tempted by all of those. I did make the cookies using a small ice cream scoop, figuring they would spread a little, but they didn’t which is fine because if they had spread I don’t think the chew factor would be right. However, next time I make these cookies, I’ll probably use a little bigger portion scoop, but so I can get a slightly bigger cookie, but for now I am very content with my little cookies.

Yummy, yummy, soft dough! I would not mind eating this entire bowl just as it is.

I also did some adaptations to the recipe. I really like the flavor of brown sugar and this recipe called for more granulated sugar than brown sugar, so to receive a more intense flavor of brown sugar I just switched the two proportions, and I’m not sorry I did!

I also swirved from my usual Nestle Toll House chocolate chips and splurged for some Ghirardelli semi-sweet. Best decission I ever made! :)

These little things are so great to eat and so easy to pop in your mouth.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Bakergirl
makes 3 dozen cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, soft
½ cup brown sugar
¼ + 2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
½ tbsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ salt
½ cup chocolate chips

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until fluffy. Once combined, add in the egg and wait for it to fully incorporate into the mixture. Once the mixture has become somewhat creamy, add in the vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add into the butter-sugar mixture in ½ cup intervals until all the flour is incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips (you may need to use your hands). 
  4. Using a portion scoop, place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 2 cookies
Calories 146.7 Total Fat 6.9 g Saturated Fat 1.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g Cholesterol 23.6 mg Sodium 107.0 mg Potassium 20.0 mg Total Carbohydrate 20.3 g Dietary Fiber 0.7 g Sugars 11.6 g Protein 8.8 g
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