Category Archives: Recipes

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, my dislike of sweet potatoes has peppered any remarks around holiday recipes/meal planning. So this year I decided to set aside the distaste and give it another chance. I mean I eat broccoli now, and no one saw that one coming. Tastes change, right? Supposedly? Maybe? Okay, maybe not in this case. The cupcakes are good, but I’m still not a huge fan. My taste testers really enjoyed them. Oh well, at least I tried right?

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato
  • 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Frosting

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 4oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cream together sweet potato, brown sugar and butter until smooth.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Sift together flour and baking powder.
  6. Add milk and flour mixture alternating until everything is incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  8. While cake bakes, brown butter in a pan and set aside to cool.
  9. Cream together cooled brown butter and cream cheese, then add vanilla.
  10. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency.
  11. Thin frosting with cream if it becomes to stiff.
  12. Frost cooled cupcakes, top with toasted pecans and enjoy!

Note: Now something I feel like needs to be said is that these are not your traditional light fluffy cupcake, they are a bit more dense. Still good, but more of a “one with a cup of tea” and less “holy crap, how did I already eat three of these”.


Happy Halloween! I Made a Spider Web Cake!

Happy Halloween, everyone! As I sit here trying to keep myself from eating the candy we got for trick-or-treaters – between Andy and myself we are down three Twix and two bags of Peanut M&M’s; those kids better walk faster-, I wanted to share with you something I made this weekend. A Marshmallow Spider Web Cake.

Okay, I know it isn’t the most challenging thing to do, but I had a blast and didn’t completely destroy my kitchen. Which is always a plus. I used this tutorial by The Cake Blog. I wanted to try this last Halloween, but time got away from me so I felt like I had to wait another year before giving it a try. Checking another one of the list. You guys have fun, be safe, and remember you have to be at work tomorrow!

 

Halloween banner by Chickfetti.


Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

What do you do when your favorite west coast chica decides to make an appearance a mere 4 hour drive from you? You make her cupcakes and meet her in Orlando, of course! Since I never get to bake for said friend, I knew I wanted to make something special, but what? So many recipes, and so little time! Then it hit me, there was only one recipe that would work for the woman who introduced me to my favorite indulgent cool weather beverage, the chocolate chia latte. I had to make Chocolate Chai Cupcakes!

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/3 veggie oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4-6 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line your cupcake pan.
  2. Combine all cake ingredients and mix on medium until thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide the batter between the 12 liners and bake for 16-18 minutes (may take more depending on oven).
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Beat room temperature butter until smooth, then incorporate cinnamon and cocoa powder.
  2. Beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  3. If frosting becomes too stiff, beat in heavy whipping cream a tbsp at a time until it loosens.
  4. Add vanilla and beat on high for one minute.
  5. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Ganache:

  1. While cake is baking, combine heavy whipping cream and semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Heat for 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously after each, until the ganache is completely smooth.
  3. Set aside to cool. Hot ganache will melt the frosting.

Assmble:

  1. Dip cooled cupcake into ganache and let set for about 15 minutes.
  2. Frost cupcakes with chocolate cinnamon frosting and then drizzle with remaining ganache. Top with a chocolate truffle and enjoy!

You may have noticed that I’ve been using pre-packaged mixes for my cake bases as of late. I have two reasons for that. The first, a lot of the things I bake go to work with Andy, and they have to last a couple of days. Scratch baking, while delicious, doesn’t have the longest shelf life; box mixes have a bit more longevity (a tip I picked up watching archived episodes of Good Eats). Also, I have been baking a lot more so I can practice piping and cake stacking. Using a mix as the base and then adding in my extras saves me a bit of time and allows me a little more energy for getting creative with frosting, fillings, and garnishes. Baking is a lot of fun, but don’t take the fun out of it by trying to do everything from scratch and all at once. It’ll help keep things fun 😉


Simple Delicious Fruit Dip

The other day I found myself packing up fresh berries to take to a friend’s house for game night. As I  looked at the containers of fruit, I kept thinking “this needs something.” Which queued memories of the many, many, southern church pot lucks I went to growing up. I remembered this delicious, tangy dip that my mom frequently had to remind me to share or to leave some for other people, but I couldn’t remember how to make it. Fortunately, we live in a world of Pinterest, and while I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, I did find something close, and with a tweak here and a reconfiguration there, I think I’ve gotten it exactly right. It seemed to be a hit with everyone who tried it, and the cats attacked the almost empty bowl when I gave it and the mixing spoon to Andy to “finish off.” I am thinking it would also be pretty wonderful layered into a tart shell with some of that fresh fruit layered on top…..a recipe for a later day.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz of cream cheese (I used the 1/3 fat from Philadelphia)
  • 3/4 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and vanilla yogurt until uniform in texture.
  2. Next, beat in powdered sugar and almond extract until completely incorporated.
  3. Chill covered until ready to serve.

Super simple, but now I know the secret and you guys do too. People seemed to really like this with strawberries, but I think it also works well with tarter fruits like granny smith apples. I’d be interested to try to veganize the recipe, since I’ve had both vegan yogurt and cream cheese and I think the flavors/consistency are close enough to work. With so many friends with different dietary restrictions, it’s nice to have something you can put together quickly and reliably.


Brioche French Toast Casserole with Struesel Topping

Breakfast/Brunch is always a lot of fun for me. I think it comes partially from when I was much younger and my mom and I would clean and make a big breakfast every Saturday morning. The week was always super busy, and we were mostly a cereal/toaster pastry family, especially in high school when my classes started at 7:15. Sunday was church day, so Saturday was the big day. The breakfast tradition carried over into college where my roommate and I threw quite a few brunches, not to mention brinners. We kicked ass at brinner.

 This casserole was the result of me going to a brunch pot luck and not being able to find exactly what I wanted on Pinterest. So I combined the bits and pieces that I liked best. A brioche base here; a modified streusel topping there. It was almost blueberry, but I asked one of my friends her opinion on fruit options and she said anything but blueberry. So that put the kibosh on that. Apple cinnamon was my other contender so here we are. 

Ingredients:

Casserole

  • 9 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 lb brioche bread
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tspn salt
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Directions:

  1. Cut brioche breads into cubes and dice the green apples. Layer into the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cream, both sugars, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
  3. Pour mixture over the bread and apples and cover. Set in the fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight, so the bread can soak up the egg mixture.
  4. Bake casserole in the 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.
  5. While the casserole bakes, whisk together the dry streusel ingredients. Melt the butter then stir into the dry ingredients until crumbs form.
  6. 10 minutes before the casserole is done baking, pull from the oven, sprinkle on streusel topping and put back into the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.

* This recipe works even better if the bread is slightly stale. I unwrapped the loaf and left it in the toaster oven (turned off) overnight. I’ve also cheated and popped the cubed bread into a 200 degree oven for 45 minutes, turning over about half way through, to dry the bread out.