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Showing posts with label Cakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cakes. Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

My last baking project for the year turned out the be one of the best tasting desserts I've ever made.  I wanted to make something special for New Year's Eve and I have always liked serving cupcakes, so these Reese's PB Cup-inspired cupcakes were perfect.

These little gems do require a bit more time to prepare, but the final result is worth it.  Making the cupcakes can be done a few hours ahead, then the filling and icing can be finished in about an hour.


I have always loved the idea of filled cupcakes.  You can use a simple pastry cream or a fruit-based filling, or something like this peanut butter filling which is a super easy mixture of peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar.  These cupcakes would also be delicious with an Irish cream or coffee-flavored pastry cream.  Oh, the yummy combinations are endless!

The tops of the cupcakes were finished with a rich chocolate ganache icing, which is a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and cream.  This was my first experience making this icing and it was a little tricky to work with, but I loved the way the tops were nice and shiny after they hardened.  But this step does require patience!  The trick here was to allow the icing to cool completely before adding the second layer of icing.  To help the hardening process along, I chilled the cupcakes for just a few minutes after the first layer of icing, then again after the second layer, and it worked out great.

You might notice the cupcake in the top picture is not quite as shiny as the others.  Ah, yes, patience!  Just in case you panic, like I did, and you're afraid the icing is not going to harden, adding a little sifted powdered sugar to the icing works well, also.  This will help the icing harden quicker, but the icing is a bit less shiny.  Be patient with the icing and it will work, I promise!  These cupcakes are incredibly good and well worth the extra time involved. Enjoy and Happy New Year!!

3/4 cup + 2 Tb  Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup  Boiling Water
1 cup  Buttermilk
1-3/4 cups  Flour
1-1/4 tsp  Baking Soda
1/4 tsp  Baking Powder
1/4 tsp  Salt
1-1/2 sticks  Unsalted Butter, softened
1-1/2 cups  Granulated Sugar
2  Eggs
1 tsp  Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup  Creamy Natural Peanut Butter
3 TB  Unsalted Butter
2/3 cup  Confectioners Sugar
1 cup  Heavy Cream
8 oz  Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 24 muffin cups with foil or paper liners.

In a medium heatproof bowl combine the cocoa powder with boiling water and whisk until a smooth paste forms.  Whisk in the buttermilk, stirring until combined.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine the the 1-1/2 stick of butter with the granulated sugar, blending until fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then beat in the dry ingredients and the cocoa mixture, alternating the flour mixture with the cocoa mixture.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake for 22 - 24 minutes or until the cupcakes are springy when touched on top.  Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, beat the peanut butter with the 3 tablespoons of butter.  Sift the confectioners sugar into the mixture and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Spoon all but 3 tablespoons of the peanut butter mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip.  Push the tip of the pastry bag into the top center of a cupcake, and gently squeeze the peanut butter filling into the cupcake.  You will feel the cupcake expand just a bit, as you do this.  Repeat until all of the cupcakes are filled.

In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat.  Add the chocolate chips to the cream and let stand for 5 minutes.  Whisk the chocolate into the cream until smooth.  Let the icing stand for 15 minutes so it will cool slightly.

Dip the top of each cupcake into the icing, letting the excess drip back into the pan.  Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and chill for about 10 minutes or until the icing has hardened.  Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the icing a second time, then place the cupcakes on racks and chill until the icing has set.

Spoon the remaining peanut butter filling into the pastry bag and pipe a small rose in the center of each cupcake.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gingerbread-Guinness Cake

This is a great cake recipe I came across several years ago and with this being St Patrick's Day, this was a great weekend to test a Gingerbread-Guinness Cake.  The cake was moist, rich and full of that distinct Guinness flavor, but it was not an overly sweet cake.  It needed a little surprise on top, and the final touch was a dollop of Cinnamon-Vanilla Whipped Cream and a drizzle of chocolate.


You will have to use some patience while cooking this cake.  During the cooking process it may seem like more of a science experiment than a recipe. The beer foams when combined with the baking soda and looks a bit like a small volcano.  But fear not, the foam will subside and leave a mixture that smells incredible.  The cake does a little more volcano action while cooking.  The top foams and rises, then relaxes and becomes something that looks more cake-like.  If you are cooking this for your family, not only will your kids love to watch this cake being made with all of that foaming action, they will love the end result. This cake received three thumbs-up from the under-21 crowd. Enjoy!!

1 cup  Guinness Stout
1 cup  Molasses
1-1/2 tsp  Baking Soda
3  Eggs
1/2 cup  Sugar
1/2 cup  Brown Sugar, packed
3/4 cup  Canola Oil
2 cups  Flour
2 TB  Ground Ginger
1-1/2 tsp  Baking Powder
3/4 tsp  Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp  Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp  Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp  Ground Allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper, then butter the parchment and the sides of the pan.

In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the Guinness and molasses and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat and add the baking soda.  Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes until the foam begins to dissipate.  Then stir for a few minutes until the foam is gone and the mixture has cooled slightly.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and both sugars, then whisk in the oil.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice.  Combine the stout mixture with the egg mixture, then whisk this liquid into the flour mixture, adding a small amount at a time, and stir until blended.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 60 - 70 minutes, or until the top springs back when gently pressed.  Do not open the oven door until the cake is almost fully cooked, or the center of the cake might fall slightly.  (Patience here, try to wait until at least 50-55 minutes into the cooking time to check for doneness.)  Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes, then loosen the sides of the pan with a knife and release the sides of the spring form pan.  Cool completely before slicing.

Serve with a dollop of Cinnamon-Vanilla Whipped Cream and a drizzle of your favorite chocolate syrup.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Whipped Cream

1 cup  Heavy Whipping Cream
1/8 cup  Sugar
3/4 tsp  Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp  Vanilla

Pour heavy cream into a chilled bowl.  (If you have a stand mixer this works great.  Just pop the bowl into the freezer for a few minutes.)  Beat the cream on medium speed and slowly add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.  As the mixture begins to thicken slightly, increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the mixture is thickened.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nutella Cupcakes

If you are looking for a delicious treat to bring to a holiday get together, this is a great alternative to cookies.  And it contains one of our favorite ingredients, Nutella Spread.

Nutella is a hazelnut and chocolate spread that has acquired a huge (and growing) league of fans.  My kids love this stuff!  So today we decided instead of cookies, we would try making a Nutella cupcake, and this recipe turned out great.  The cupcakes are moist and chocolatey, with the familiar hint of Nutella to accompany the chocolate.  The final touch was a drizzle glaze of melted dark chocolate that we made using Hershey's Dark Chocolate Morsels. These cupcakes are so good, but I must warn you, they are a bit addictive!  Enjoy!!

2 cups  Flour
2 1/2 tsp  Baking Powder
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/3 cup  Butter, softened
1 1/2 cups  Brown Sugar
1 tsp  Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup  Nutella Spread
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup  Milk
1/4 cup  Hershey's Dark Chocolate Morsels
1/4 tsp  Shortening (not butter or margarine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cupcake pans with 21 liners and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream butter with 1 cup of brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add Nutella and mix thoroughly.

Add the eggs and mix until combined, then add the remaining brown sugar and blend well. 

Add the flour mixture and milk, alternating in small amounts, beating well after each addition.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner.  Bake cupcakes 25 - 30 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To prepare the drizzle - In a microwave safe cup combine the dark chocolate pieces and the shortening and microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir and microwave for 10 seconds longer, if needed.  When the chocolate is smooth, drizzle over the cupcakes.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Mmm..Chocolate + Guinness. Today is the big finale to our Guinness Three Ways Challenge and the Chocolate Guinness Cake is ready and waiting for dessert.  The aroma of this cake cooking is wonderful and makes the whole house smell like a German bakery!  Check back later for an update to our main course, Irish Lamb Stew.

This would be a great treat for St. Patrick's Day or as a special dessert for anyone who is a fan of dark beer.  The "stout" flavor is mellowed slightly by the cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla, but it is not an overly sweet cake.  Enjoy this cake with a scoop of Guinness Ice Cream, a little whipped cream or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top.
1 3/4 cup Flour
3/4 cup Natural Cocoa Powder (not Dutch processed)
1 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 sticks + 5 TB Unsalted Butter, softened
2 1/4 cups firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Guinness Stout (do not include foam when measuring)
1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans, divided
Confectioners Powder for dusting, optional

Preheat oven to 325 and place oven rack in the center position. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan or a springform pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the brown sugar and beat at high speed until very light and creamy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and reduce speed to low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the stout in 2 batches and mixing until well blended. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and mix just until combined.

Remove bowl from the mixer stand and stir a few times with a spatula to make sure the batter is evenly blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan and on a rack for 20 minutes.

Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners sugar or add a scoop of Guinness Ice Cream vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream as a final touch.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The birthday cake request this year from our youngest was for Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  This is one of my favorite cakes to make because it looks amazing and is super easy to make.  Enjoy!

1 box  Pineapple Cake Mix
1/2 cup Butter
3/4 cup  Brown Sugar
1 20 oz can  Pineapple Rings, drained
Maraschino Cherries for Garnish (about 6 cherries, sliced in half)

On the stovetop, using a large stainless skillet, melt the butter and add brown sugar, heating over low heat until blended and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Place about 6 - 7 pineapple rings in an even layer on the bottom of the skillet.  Place a cherry, sliced side up, inside of each ring.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions and pour batter over the pineapple rings.

Place skillet in oven and bake about 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Allow to cool 15 minutes. Using a small knife, carefully loosen the cake from the edges, if needed, and invert cake onto a serving tray (a round pizza pan works great for this).  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.