Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gingerbread Latte cups with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I was trying to figure out what to make for Teacher Treat Day at my son's school, a wagon rode by.
That's right... a wagon... a band wagon.

I jumped right on!
By that I mean, I was searching Pinterest for inspiration and came across an idea for these mini cupcakes. I noticed quite a few blogs are making their favorite drinks into cupcakes.
I say, why not!

 Bakers Royale made them with lemon frosting, but I thought cinnamon sounded better. YUM!

Personally I think a certain coffee company makes their Latte's too sweet. If they could make them to taste like these cups I would be there every day. Yes, they are that good.

Gingerbread Latte Cups with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 24 mini cups

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tbls unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/2 cup strong, very hot coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and the salt into a bowl.

Cream butter and granulated sugar in bowl and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy.

Add molasses and egg beat until the mixture is smooth. 

In a measuring cup combine the baking soda with 1/2 cup very hot strong coffee  and stir until baking soda is dissolved. (It will fizz all up and then settle down)

Stir the baking soda mixture into the molasses mixture (the mixture will appear curdled)  

This is what I mean by curdled. Have no fear, the flour will make it all better

Gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners halfway. Bake the cupcakes on the middle rack of your  oven for about 10 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

 Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 tbls (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
4-5 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 to 2 Tbls heavy whipping cream

Beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Sift in the sugar and cinnamon, beating well. I used about 4 1/2 cups.
Add the cream a little at a time, until desired consistency.

Frost and enjoy!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sprinkled Cake Batter Cookies

Wow! Tis' the season to be busy!
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday! I love the decorating, the cold (for a little bit), the cheer, the shopping and of course, the baking.

I have made three batches of cookies since Dec. 1st, but have not had the time to sit down and blog about it.
I finally have a second, seriously a second, which is why these cookies are perfect.
They are simple and won't use up all your flour and sugar. I can't tell you how much flour and sugar I buy. Don't get me started on the butter.

Meanwhile, the cookies.....

What you will need:
Makes just under 3 dozen

1 box vanilla cake mix, 18.25 oz
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 1 container color sprinkles

The key players.

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the sprinkles. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven.
I baked mine for 8min, they were still a little soft, but after they cooled they were perfect.
 Easy right?
Everyone needs a yummy easy cookie every now and then.

My boys loved these sprinkly cookies.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen, 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

50th Anniversary Cake

I hope everyone had a Fabulous Thanksgiving!
We had a great time here at my house.
Living away from family, we usually spend our holidays with just us, but not this time.

I was determined to find another family that lives far away from their loved ones.
I didn't have to look far, a family from my son's kindergarten class is also from California.
I saw this great idea to make graham cracker houses with the kids.
It was a great idea until I placed candy and royal icing in front of 7 kids. I think there was more eating and licking then actually creating. It was fun though.

We had such a blessed time! Thankful for new Friendships!

I was able to squeeze in a non-Thanksgiving cake that I want to share with you.

50th Anniversary Cake!

50 years! That is something to celebrate. I just adore this couple, so I was thrilled to make this cake for them. I love how it turned out.

The cake is a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
I have blogged about it before. I feel it is the best carrot cake EVER! I usually am not a fan either.
You can find the recipe here.
For the decorating inspiration I went to one of my favorite decorators, CorrieCakes.

I colored marshmallow fondant gold and then hand painted on some gold edible luster dust (you can find it at most Michael's etc) I will have to do a tutorial on the flowers soon, but I just googled ruffle flowers and found a decent tutorial.
I couldn't find gold pearls so I just luster dusted them with the gold.
Lots of hand lustering (yes, it's a word in my world) and love!

Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Ulmer!
Now on to Christmas baking!!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tale of Two Chocolate Pumpkin Cakes

I'm starting to think my friends have caught on.

They must have figured it out.

They know....

I love to bake! I knew it would leak out. I only put it in neon lights in front of my house.

They have been sending me subtle clues. Emailing me recipes, asking me if I could make "this" or have I heard of "that". My favorite is when they bring me bits and pieces of sweets they recently had a restaurant. "How do you think they made that?"

Seriously friends, just come out and say it. 
"Will you make this for me sometime in the near future?" Or more specifically, next Thursday.

There, was that so hard. You all know I love you just as much as I love caking.

I have two such cakes for you.

I was asked to make a chocolate pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting found on
Lady Behind the Curtain.

Looked like a yummy cake, but I was also asked to make a birthday cake for our dear Pastors wife. I wanted to do something similar but with my own flare. Soo...
I made another Chocolate Pumpkin recipe with Caramel Buttercream.

Let me tell you about them both.....
Let's start with the taste tester cupcakes.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream cheese frosting, topped with ganache.

I liked the LBtC cake the best, the pumpkin made it super moist. 

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Caramel buttercream frosting.

I liked the Caramel Buttercream the best of the two frostings.

Let me tell you why....

Cake: Amanda's cake tasted like a pumpkin pie cake, it was good, but maybe too much pumpkin flavor. It was still moist and delicious. LBtC's cake didn't really taste pumpkiny, but it was super moist. I suppose you will have to decide what flavor you are looking for.

Frosting: The Caramel Buttercream was made with my homemade caramel and I just really love it. I am not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting... I know.. .I'm weird.
I will say, I put Ganache in the layers of the cake with the frosting, you can never have too much chocolate.

Here are the Recipes......

First up, Pumpkin Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Lady Behind the Curtain

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (Dutch if you want a dark rich chocolate cake)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch ( I used 3 8-inch because I wanted a taller cake) with parchment paper and lightly spray with a non stick cooking spray.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.
Beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, come out clean–about 35 minutes. Cool layers completely before frosting.

Frosting Recipe


6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon orange food coloring


Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add 1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar, 2-1/4 teaspoons cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat on low until well combined. Transfer to a larger bowl. Clean the mixing bowl. Beat the heavy cream, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and orange food coloring on medium high to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides of the cake. Chill 30 minutes and prepare chocolate glaze.

Ganache recipe at end of post


Chocolate Pumpkin cake with Caramel buttercream topped with Ganache

cake inspired by Amanda's Cookin

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter softened
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine

Line your pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice and cocoa. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugars in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually add flour mixture until combined.
Toss chocolate chips with a Tbls of flour and fold in to the mixture.
Pour into pans and bake 30-35 minutes. 
Cool for about 5 minutes and turn cakes out.

Caramel Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2-1 cup caramel sauce (depends on your taste, I used about 3/4 cup)
1 Tbs heavy whipping cream (you could use milk too)

In the bowl of mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy.
Sift in 3 cups of the powdered sugar until combined
Add caramel sauce
Sift in the remaining 3 cups of powdered sugar
Beat until smooth add more caramel sauce if needed
Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth and fluffy adding more if needed

I usually beat on med-high speed for about 3-5 minutes to get it good and fluffy.

Ganache to use for both cakes

3 tablespoons corn syrup
6 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate, I use Ghirardelli choc. chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan combine the corn syrup and heavy cream.
Bring the contents of saucepan to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth

Stir in vanilla

I do hope this was helpful in decidng which Pumpkin Chocolate Cake you want to make... or eat.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Little Pumpkin 1st Birthday Cake with Caramel Buttercream

This last weekend I had the honor to make this little man's birthday cake.
He has a special place in my heart and it was such a joy making this one.

We were looking through some of my favorite cake decorators for inspiration and came across Corrie Cakes "little monkey" birthday cake. I thought perfect and my friend said what about "little pumpkin". Even better! It was a fall themed birthday party after all.

The pumpkin, letters and leaves are all marshmallow fondant. For the leaves I just rolled together some fall colors and used cookie cutters. They were so fun to make, I couldn't stop making them.

My bestie was very specific about what flavors she wanted. Let me just tell you, she had major surgery when she had this precious boy and couldn't eat for 9 months. Yeah, you heard me, 9 months! It was quite a story and miracle.

Needless to say, she wanted chocolate with caramel.

I made my favorite Chocolate Cake, which is an adaption from the Hershey's Chocolate Cake. I topped it with Caramel Buttercream, made with homemade caramel sauce.

First thing you want to do is make the caramel. You can buy the caramel ice cream topping, but the homemade stuff is liquid gold.

Homemade Caramel Sauce
for full directions with pictures go here caramel sauce

3 cups granulated sugar, divided (2 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 1/2 cups sugar, corn syrup, and milk. Stir continuously until the sugar dissolves and no longer has a granular feeling. Keep warm over low heat.
In a separate deep, heavy saucepan, add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and spread evenly over the bottom. Cook over medium heat without stirring until the sugar dissolves and begins to turn an amber color. You may “swirl” your pan if necessary to re-distribute sugar while cooking.
As soon as the sugar turns colors, carefully add the warm milk mixture into the heavy saucepan. It will bubble up vigorously and sizzle and the caramel on the bottom will harden.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the caramel dissolves and the liquid turns caramel color. Then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches soft-ball stage (235°F) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter until melted. Let cool

Caramel Buttercream

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup shortening
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2-1 cup caramel sauce (depends on your taste, I used about 3/4 cup)
1 Tbs heavy whipping cream (you could use milk too)

In the bowl of mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy.
Sift in 3 cups of the powdered sugar until combined
Add caramel sauce
Sift in the remaining 3 cups of powdered sugar
Beat until smooth add more caramel sauce if needed
Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth and fluffy adding more if needed

I usually beat on med-high speed for about 3-5 minutes to get it good and fluffy.

Hope you enjoyed little pumpkin Reed's cake....

I know he sure did!

Happy 1st Birthday Reed!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake with Ganache

Have you ever been accused of being high maintenance?

I confess, I have. Possibly on more than one occasion.

What does that really mean though? I enjoy the finer things in life? I require more upkeep then the average gal? 

I do know I am "high maintenance" when it comes to food.
I enjoy and appreciate quality food. I only eat fresh fish from a fish market. I only eat Mexican food from authentic restaurants...not chains.. ahem. Don't even get me started on desserts. If that makes me high maintenance then it's worth it to enjoy food that tastes Amazing!

Speaking of high maintenance, let me tell you about this cake I recently made.
A friend handed me recipe and asked if I wouldn't mind making it for her son.
He had found it online and wanted it for his birthday.
This is a boy after my own heart. 
Great ingredients come together to make an over the top chocolate pound cake! 
Oh yes, I wanted to make it.

What makes this cake "high maintenance"? Well, let me tell you.....

Read through the ingredients first, some of them are high maintenance.
Trust me, go the extra mile.

There are more directions then the average cake.

Some of the directions are tedious, but necessary.

Even the title is high maintenance.

End result.... Totally worth it!

Espresso Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Ganache Glaze
(adapted from Jane's Sweets and Baking Journal)

2 tsp. instant espresso powder (I used Nescafe Clasico instant coffee packets)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. hot water
 2 and 3/4 cups unbleached All-Purpose flour
 1/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Dutch processed cocoa
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups dark chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, with all lumps broken up
5 eggs, large
 1 cup sour cream, don't use light or non-fat, get the good stuff
2 Tbsp. heavy cream

2 Tbls light corn syrup

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2-2 cups dark chocolate chips (basically one bag)]

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease a tube/bundt pan with vegetable shortening or butter. Dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

Stir together the espresso powder, vanilla extract, and hot water in a small bowl.

Dutch processed cocoa makes a difference. I found mine at Fresh Market.
It does cost more, but so worth it.

Sift together the flour, cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium size bowl, toss the chocolate pieces with about 1 Tbsp. of this flour mixture. Set both aside.

In the large bowl of your mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl.
Pour in the granulated sugar in 3 additions, mixing for about 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the bowl frequently to ensure even mixing. Add in all of the brown sugar and beat for 1 more minute. Scrape again.

One at a time, add in the eggs, beating for 45 seconds after each one. Scrape!

Blend in the espresso mixture. 

On low speed, add in the sifted ingredients alternately with the sour cream (3 additions of flour and 2 additions of the sour cream). Scrape after each addition.

Blend in the heavy cream.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate pieces well with a spatula.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake the cake on the middle rack of your oven for about 70 minutes or more, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.
A helpful hint from Jane... wish I would have done this, my top was a bit overdone.
(I put my pan on top of a baking sheet to help prevent the possibility of burning the bottom of the cake. If you are concerned about this too, do the same. I also checked the cake about half an hour into baking, and covered the top lightly with foil to prevent over-browning. My oven is temperamental this way.)

 Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Invert the cake onto another cooling rack and invert the cake again so it's right side up. Allow the cake to completely cool on the rack.

To make ganache:
Heat the corn syrup and heavy cream in medium sauce pan until it reaches a boil.

Pour in chocolate chips and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
Stir in 1/2 tsp of vanilla if desired.

Let cool before pouring on the cake.

I poured the ganache over the cake, which is perfectly acceptable, but it just didn't look like I wanted it to. I decided to frost the cake with the ganache, that's what I was looking for.
Either way is great.

I did end up drizzling a bit more over the top and then I was happy. 

I know, I'm so high maintenance!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Linking up over at these awesome parties..

Foodie Friends Friday
The Mandatory Mooch

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mounds Brownies

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

How many of you now have that jingle in your head? I knew it, success.

Wait, you don't remember it..... now I feel old.

I have a dear friend who had surgery this week and I wanted to take her something to show my love. Since she knew I would want to bring her something, she put her request in last week. Gotta love a woman who knows what she wants.
Her request was "something coconut". hmmmm.... what to make.

Then! As I was "pinning" my day away, I came across Mounds Brownies.

Oh yes, this was perfect. Coconutty chocolatey goodness. 

I found a few recipes, but then decided to just go with what I thought would work best.

What you will need.....

Mounds Brownies

1 Family Size (9x13) pan of brownies, prepared
5 1/3 Cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
14oz Can sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ Cups powdered sugar

Ganache (recipe below) you will need:
3 tbs light corn syrup
heavy cream
10 oz dark chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare brownies according to package directions.While they are cooling, complete the remaining layers.
(not the greatest picture, but you get it)

Make Ganache:
Pour corn syrup and cream in a medium sauce pan and bring to boil. Pour in chocolate chips and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Let cool slightly.

In the bowl of your mixer combine coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and powdered sugar until all ingredients are incorporated.
Spread coconut mixture over brownies.

(My husband can't resist a warm brownie, so he sliced off the edge to "test" them)

Pour ganache over the coconut mixture. Let cool and set up.

Slice, enjoy and share the coconutty love!

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Bliss Fudge

Have you ever asked someone, "How are you doing?" and they say "good" or "fine", but look at you like this....

Seriously, that's not very convincing.
I didn't see the signs for Denialand when I drove up to church today.

I have,however, been guilty of doing the same thing. Why?
Do I want someone to notice that I'm lying so they will pry further?
Do I secretly want someone to feel my pain? 
I can't wait to catch my friend's eye across the church and give her the "girl, I need to talk to you" face.

Yeah, that's pretty much the face. She will understand or at least listen.

I have been going through some tests recently and told myself that it was my burden, no one needs to know about my "issues". However, I found myself telling people things like, I have been eating gluten free or that my stomach hurts after I eat. Amazingly enough, people have been sharing their stories with me, wondering if what they have is similar. They wonder what the doctors have found. What am I doing differently? Is it working?
One particular mom said her daughter has Celiac and struggles with what to take to school for lunch. Now I know and try to bring her gluten free treats when I make them.

Sharing my "pain" with others has opened new doors of friendship and allowed people to share their pains with me. 
Yes, there are some who take the "oh really" approach and move on. But that's because they don't have a story that relates and it's ok. Hopefully someone will come along that talks about their particular struggle and they will be able to share and relate with them.

Don't be afraid to share some of your struggles. There are people who want to listen or are waiting for someone similar to share their story with you.

I know all of you will relate to this fudge I am going to share with you.

Creamy goodness. I made it two ways, with two different chocolates. Here is the first version, next one coming soon.
It is a bit softer than the average fudge, but sometimes a softer approach is good. The fudge melts in your mouth.

Pumpkin "Bliss" Fudge
(adapted from Aunt Peg's Recipe Box)

2 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. butter (no substitutions)
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
4 oz. bakers white chocolate 

1 bag Hershey Bliss White Chocolates
1 (7 oz.) jar Marshmallow creme
1/2 c. chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish or line with heavy aluminum foil.

Unwrap and chop all the white chocolate. If you enlist helpers you may lose a few chocolates in the process. I may have eaten one too.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a heavy saucepan: cook over medium heat until the sugars dissolve.

Above picture is my sugars dissolve and it smooth.
Then continue cooking until the mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly.

Boil until a candy thermometer reaches about 234 degrees, the the soft-ball stage or rolling boil. I've heard it both ways.
It took about 30-35 minutes from start to finish. Alot of stirring.

Remove from heat, stir in the white chocolates and creme until they are all melted and mixture is smooth. About this point I thought my arm was going to fall off from all the stirring.

When the mixture is smooth stir in vanilla and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan, sprinkle on nuts and cool to room temperature. 
I only sprinkled half, I like nuts, but not everyone does and it was for my Bible study friends. Thought I would stick on the safe side.

Cut into squares, store refrigerated in an air tight container.
Since the fudge is soft I found it easier to put the fudge in the fridge to harden more and then cut it cold.

Makes approx. 60 pieces.

This fudge got rave reviews. It has a nice pumpkin taste and the white chocolate is perfect. I am not usually a white chocolate fan, but these converted me.

Using any white chocolate will work, but the Bliss candies make them super creamy dreamy.

Just want to ask you one more question and I would love to hear your honest answer. I seriously adore comments.

How are you?

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,


Linking up over at ....

Foodie Friends Friday

The Mandatory Mooch