Bunny Ear Cupcakes

Earlier this week I showed you how quick and easy it is to create Sprouting Carrot Cupcakes and today I am showing you a fun companion cupcake to go with them, Bunny Ear Cupcakes.

For these cupcakes I decided to make coconut cupcakes, since it is a popular flavor for Easter, topped with cream cheese frosting (my favorite frosting flavor). I then sprinkled the top of the frosting with sweetened shredded coconut.  If you are not a fan of coconut, or, just want to make something a bit quicker and simpler you could opt to make a white or yellow box cake mix into cupcakes and then top it with store bought vanilla frosting and instead of topping the cupcakes with coconut opt for white sprinkles.

Using kitchen shears I cut large marshmallows in half on the diagonal. I then dipped the cut side in a small bowl I filled with pink sanding sugar. And voila, bunny ears.

Next, I placed the marshmallow bunny ears on to the cupcakes.

And there you have it, Bunny Ear Cupcakes. While I decided to stop with the ears, sometimes less is more, you could decorate these cupcakes further by using chocolate chips for the eyes and rolling a small ball of marshmallow in the pink sanding sugar for a nose.

Coconut Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract*

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk**

7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut***, plus more for topping cupcakes

*If you want a stronger coconut flavor, substitute the almond extract with coconut extrac

**I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own buttermilk. To do so, add 4 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar to a measuring cup, then fill it with enough milk (I’ve used 2% and whole milk) to reach 1 cup. Stir it a few times then let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The buttermilk is ready when it begins to curdle. For this recipe since I only needed 1/2 cup of buttermilk, I used 2 1/4 teaspoons of vinegar and added enough milk to my measuring cup to reach 1/2 cup.

***I used about a 1 1/2 cups of coconut

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a 12-cup cupcake tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer beat the butter and sugar together on high spend until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, 1 at a time. Scraping the bowl as needed between each addition. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and continue mixing until everything is well incorporated.

In a separate medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined and then fold in the shredded coconut.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake tin, filling the batter to the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled top with frosting.

Recipe modified from Food Network

 

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a stand mixer or using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add in the sugar until well combined. Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

 

 

Sprouting Carrot Cupcakes – Tutorial

With Easter right around the corner I decided to make some fun themed cupcakes to get in the spirit of the holiday. Today I am sharing with you these Sprouting Carrot Cupcakes and later this week I will be sharing with you Bunny Ear Coconut Cupcakes.

I began by baking a batch of chocolate cupcakes. While they cooled, I made the frosting. I made a basic buttercream frosting and then removed a third of it. In this third I stirred in melted unsweetened chocolate until it was fully incorporated. I tinted the remaining frosting orange and then transferred it to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

After the cupcakes were cool I used a paring knife to cut a small cone-shaped piece out of the center of each one. I crumbled these small pieces of cake into a small bowl and set it aside.

Next, I spread the chocolate frosting over the cupcakes leaving the holes open. I then patted the crumbled pieces of chocolate cake onto the frosting to resemble dirt.

To make the carrots I piped the orange tinted frosting into the holes and then mounded it a bit above the hole. And finally, I cut small pieces of green sour apple straws and placed them in the piped carrots.

And there you have it… Sprouting Carrot Cupcakes.

 

While I opted to make my cupcakes and frosting from scratch, you could easily go the time-saving route and use a box chocolate cake mix and store bought chocolate and vanilla frosting. If you opt for store bought frosting I would advise refrigerating the vanilla frosting after tinting it orange for about 10-15 minutes prior to piping the carrots. Store bought frosting tends to be on the softer side so decorating with it can be frustrating since it won’t take shape, refrigerating it helps to stiffen it.

 

Supplies:

12 chocolate cupcakes

1 cup chocolate frosting

1 1/2 cups vanilla frosting

Orange food coloring

Green sour apple straws

Piping Bag fitted with a round tip

 

 

Spring Themed Palette Knife Painted Cake – Tutorial

Happy First Day of Spring! To celebrate I decided to try my hand at a Palette Knife Painted Cake. Using a spatula and buttercream frosting you basically paint a picture, design, flowers onto the sides of a cake. It’s definitely a lot more forgiving that piping a design on a cake and cake easily be fixed with a little more buttercream and some extra strokes of your spatula.

I used a yellow box cake mix to bake a two layer 6-inch cake. While the cake was cooling I whipped up a batch of my go-to Fluffy-Vanilla Frosting from Martha Stewart. I reserved about 3/4 cup of the frosting and then applied a thin crumb coat to the cake and then refrigerated the cake for about 30 minutes. While the cake was in the refrigerator I tinted the reserved 3/4 cup yellow and tinted the remaining frosting teal, for the background of the cake.

I then applied a generous amount of frosting to the cake and smoothed it as much as possible. I wanted a fairly thick layer of frosting around the cake for the next steps.

Next, using the tines of a fork I created a basket weave pattern around the cake. To begin, I placed the tines of a fork at the base of the cake and dragged them upwards about 1-inch. You don’t want to press so deeply that you are touching the cake though, hence, having a thick coat of frosting on the cake. Then, holding the tines horizontally above the first set of lines on the left I dragged the fork to the right stopping when I reached the last line from the bottom set of lines. I repeated this pattern up the side of the cake until I reached the top. I then started the next row with a set of horizontal lines, and then vertical and so forth. Continuing the alternating pattern until the entire cake was covered.

I then reserved about a tablespoon of the teal frosting and then tinted the remaining frosting green by adding in green gel food coloring. Using a tapered spatula and starting at the base of the cake I began dragging the tip of the spatula through the buttercream to create stems. Making sure not to press too deep as to touch the cake, but, going deep enough to create a channel. I passed the spatula through a few times to make sure it was deep enough making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass. I did this around the cake and even added in a few smaller channels between the larger stems.

To paint these channels, I picked up a small dollop of the green frosting and then using my fingers I round the frosting onto the tip of spatula so it was smooth. Next, I simply dragged the frosting through the channels. I repeated this step – making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass – until all of my stems were painted with frosting. At this point I placed the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour.

After the hour, I removed the cake from the refrigerator. Using the reserved yellow buttercream I painted flowers onto the cake. Using a rounded spatula I picked up a small dollop of yellow frosting and once again smoothed it with my fingers. I then pressed the dollop onto the cake and pulled the spatula away to create a petal. I continued doing this around the cake. I’ll admit, my petal didn’t come out exactly as I had hoped. This step actually reminded me of the pulled dot design on a cake. I actually wondered afterwards if it would have been easier to create the petals using that technique, although then the cake wouldn’t completely be a palette knife painted cake then.

I got the idea for this cake from The Cake Blog, for more detailed instructions click here .

 

Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie

A pie for Pi Day! To celebrate Pi Day this year I am bringing you a Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie. Meyer lemons are a tad sweeter than your traditional lemons. They are a cross between regular lemons and mandarins and tend to be smaller, rounder and smoother than traditional lemons. They also have a deep yellow / orange hue to them.

I began by thinly slicing the lemons, removing the pits.

I then combined the sliced lemons with sugar and salt and set it aside.

In a medium bowl I whisked together 4 large eggs with vanilla extract and then combined that with the lemons. I opted to use refrigerated store-bought pie dough. After letting it come to room temperature I rolled it out about and extra 1/2-inch and then pressed it into a pie dish that I greased with butter. I brushed the crust with a beaten egg yolk and then poured the lemon mixture into the crust.

Next, I rolled out the other half of my pie crust approximately an extra 1/2 inch and then placed it on top of my pie. I attempted to do a decorate crust my crimping the ends. I am not a great pie maker so I was happy with the way this crust looked when I was done. I did my best not to rush through it and I was very happy that I was able to cut slits in the pie that were four individual slits as opposed to four slits that I over sliced and turned into 2. It’s happened. I am telling you, baking pies knocks me off-kilter and I end up doing something wrong. Practice makes perfect though. My plan at this point was to freeze the pie for an hour prior to baking. But, I found out the hard way (when I went to go put the pie in the freezer) that my freezer wasn’t wide enough for me to get the dish in. UGH! So, I ended up refrigerating the pie overnight instead. On a side note, when it comes time for me to purchase a new refrigerator I will be going to the store with a bag of pie dishes and cookie sheets to make sure I get a freezer part that I will be able to fit things in. Not being able to get certain dishes and pans in my freezer can be maddening at times. I didn’t find it to be such an annoyance until I decided to freeze my cookie dough back in December and I was only able to fit one cookie sheet in there from the 10+ that I own. It definitely slowed down my flow of getting things done! Anyhoo…

After refrigerating the pie overnight I baked it the following morning… I was pleased with the golden brown color of the crust and that my decorative edge didn’t fall apart completely while the pie was baking.

I let the pie cool for a bit and then sliced into it… The filling was jammy as it’s supposed to be, but, I found it incredibly sweet. I tried taking a few bites, but, it was just too much for me. If I make this again I will definitely cut back on the amount of sugar I used per the directions (2 cups). While I was scooping the sugar out to combine with the lemons in the back of my mind I was already thinking “this is way too much sugar,” but since other recipes I saw called for that much I followed along.

While the recipe I followed didn’t call for the lemons and sugar to macerate for 24 hours, I found that many recipes called for this step in order to break down the rind and pith of the lemons to eliminate any bitterness.  If I were to make this recipe again I would definitely do that as well as cut back on some of the sugar. While the pie did have a nice taste to it and the bitterness from the rind and pith wasn’t strong, as I mentioned, the sweetness was just too much for me. So, here is what I would do. I would slice the lemons and combine them with the sugar (probably only a cup and a quarter to a cup and a half) and salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. The following day I would then continue with the recipe, whisking together the eggs and vanilla and then combining that with the lemons. And instead of freezing / refrigerating the pie before baking, I would omit this step and go ahead and bake the pie

Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie

Ingredients:

4 to 7 small to medium Meyer lemons

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 store-bought pie crust or homemade

 

To finish the pie:

1 large egg separated, white and yolk whisked separately

2 teaspoons sugar

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the lemons, removing any seeds. You will need 2 cups of sliced lemons. Combine the lemon slices with the sugar and salt and set aside to allow the lemon to macerate. Whisk the 4 eggs and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl.

Lightly grease a 9-inch pie dish. Roll out half of the dough to fit in the dish with a 1-inch overhang. Brush the dough with the beaten egg yolk.

Combine the sliced lemons and egg mixture and then spread into the prepared pie crust.

Roll out the other half of the dough. If using store bought dough, roll it out approximately a 1/2 inch more and then place on top of the dough in the pie dish. Trim off any excess dough and pinch the bottom and top crust together and crimp or seal the edges with your finger or fork.

Cut 4 slits on the top and brush with the beaten egg white and sprinkle the sugar on top. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bake the pie on the lowest rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 375 F and move the pie to the center rack and bake for another 30 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly, cover with a pie cover or strips of aluminum foil.

Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Recipe from The Kitchn

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

With 2 bags of Meyer Lemons I have made my fair share of desserts. I made the scones I posted last week, a pie which I will be sharing with you on Pi Day (3/14) and these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins I am sharing with you today. I was planning on making these muffins prior to the scones but I didn’t have any poppy seeds, well, guess what. I have way more than enough now. I honestly thought I would be able to purchase a small bag of them like I did for sesame seeds, but, at my usual supermarket poppy seeds are only available in containers like spices. So, because it was a better value I purchased the larger container. I guess I will be making a lemon poppy seed cake one of these days.

What was nice about these muffins is that they require only one large bowl to make the batter. I began by creaming together butter, eggs and sugar, then added in lemon juice and zest and finally the dry ingredients – baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. I opted to bake them in a 6 – cup muffin tin, but, you could bake them in a 12-cup cupcake tin instead. You will just need to keep an eye on them because the baking time will differ. These tasted good and were a nice treat for breakfast, but, next time I think I will bake them at 350 F instead. I found that baking them at 375 F allowed for the outside of the muffin to overbake a little while the inside finished baking.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons meyer lemon juice

1 teaspoon meyer lemon zest

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon poppy seed

*If you cannot find Meyer Lemons, you can use regular lemons

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, eggs and sugar using a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed. Add in the lemon zest and juice and continue mixing until well combined. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds and stir together until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store left-over muffins in an air-tight container for 2 to 3 days.

Recipe from Miss in the Kitchen

Key Lime Pie Thumbprints

Thumbprint cookies… A versatile cookie that traditionally has a shortbread base and an indent in the center filled with jam, chocolate, dulce de leche, or for today’s cookie, a key lime chocolate filling. Don’t worry its white chocolate, not semi or milk chocolate. I definitely don’t think these cookies would be as appetizing if key lime juice was mixed in with either of those chocolates. Somehow I think the key lime flavor would be lost. Now, as a filling for a truffle I think it would be perfect. I may have had one or two of those before so I am speaking from experience.

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I have a friend who has all of a sudden fallen in love with Key Lime Pie. I’ve been making it for a few years now but all of a sudden when I made it last year it was like he was eating it for the first time. And when I asked some friends what cookies they wanted for Christmas last year (just over a month ago sounds so much better to say this early in the year) he suggested rugelach and a key lime pie. Which got me thinking of a key lime pie cookie since I wasn’t in the mood to make a pie (which I ultimately ended up making anyway.) So, I initially made the Key Lime Crinkles that were part of Cookie Palooza. While they were delicious, they lacked the key lime filling he enjoys so I knew I would have to try these thumbprints instead and I am happy to say that these were a hit with everyone who tried them. A cookie that will definitely be in my cookie rotation. Thanks to the graham cracker crumbs in the base of the cookie this is almost like enjoying a piece of key lime pie, but, in a bite size grab and go form. And while the key lime flavor is apparent in the filling I could imagine adding another tablespoon or so would kick it up even more.

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Key Lime Pie Thumbprints

  • Servings: 40 cookies
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Ingredients:

Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg yolk

2 cups flour

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (4 graham crackers)

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Filling:

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

3 tablespoons key lime juice

2 teaspoons lime zest (1 lime)

 

Directions:

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy.

Switch the mixer to low and add in the egg yolk and vanilla extract and continue mixing until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

In a separate bowl which together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, cornstarch and salt.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until the ingredients are incorporated. Scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Scoop 2 teaspoons of the dough and roll into a smooth ball and place on the prepared cookie sheets about an inch apart. (Using a standard cookie scoop I scooped the dough and then divided the dough in half to get the 2 teaspoon amount)

Using the back of a rounded teaspoon gently press an indent in the center of each ball. I have tried using my thumb for this step, but, have found that a teaspoon produces a much better circular shape.

Chill the dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Freezing the dough prevents the cookie from spreading too much while baking giving you more room for your filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes. Immediately after removing the cookie from the oven press the teaspoon into the indent once again to redefine it. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheets before filling them.

To make the filling… Combine the chocolate chips, condensed milk and key lime juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until the chocolate chips have melted and the ingredients are well combined. Stir in the lime zest and continue stirring until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and using a teaspoon spoon the filling into the cookies.

Allow the filling to cool and set before serving. When storing the cookies, keep in mind that the filling may remain a bit tacky. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Sugar Spun Run

Meyer Lemon Scones

I recently purchased 2 bags of Meyer Lemons to make a pie which I will be sharing with you in a couple of weeks in honor of Pi Day. I was pretty sure I only needed 1 bag of the lemons since each bag had about 6 each, but, I wanted to be sure I had enough in case of any mishaps and I figured I could always make something else with the extra ones. Initially I was thinking of making muffins, which I may still do, but quickly realized that most lemon muffins include poppy seeds, which I didn’t have. Then I came across a recipe for scones and for some reason I always thought that scones were difficult and time-consuming to make but the recipe I opted to try was the complete opposite.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of the prep work that went into making these scones. I was cooking/baking about three or four other things so my counter was a mess and I was trying to make sure I didn’t overcook or burn anything. What was nice about this recipe was that it only required two bowls to mix all of the ingredients and it came together quickly. After stirring together my dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder) I added in diced cold butter. Here’s a tip, if you want to ensure your butter is cold enough and incorporates into the flour well, freeze it for a few minutes and instead of dicing it grate it in to the flour mixture. I then used a combination of a pastry cutter and my hands (actually just one hand, I ended up with a pretty bad cut on one of my fingers when I was cleaning lemon zest off my Microplane Grater) to work the butter in and get the mixture into the consistency of small peas. In a measuring cup I whisked together the heavy cream, an egg yolk and lemon zest and then added this to the flour mixture and stirred it until the dough formed. I then transferred the dough to a baking sheet, formed it into a circle and then cut it using a pizza cutter into four equal pieces. I separated the pieces so they weren’t touching and then brushed them with heavy cream. While the scones were baking, I whisked together a glaze of confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and lemon juice to pour on them right out of the oven. I was never one to add glazes to my baked goods, I always thought doing so would make them super sweet. But, I have come around and realized that all glazes are not super sweet and sometimes can add another level of flavor to things. Like the cardamom glaze on the Rum-Raisin Apple Bundt Cake I posted a few months ago… YUM!

These scones were delicious and made for a nice breakfast treat. Maybe next time I will add some blueberries. Blueberries and lemon go together like peanut butter and chocolate!

Meyer Lemon Scones

Ingredients:

For the Scones:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold and diced

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1 large egg yolk

Zest of 2 Meyer lemons

 

For the Glaze:

1/3 cup Confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon heavy cream

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the butter and using your preferred method (knives, pastry cutter or hands) work the butter into the flour mixture until the consistency is smaller than peas.

In a measuring cup whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk and lemon zest and then pour over the flour mixture. Stir the mixture until a shaggy dough forms and everything is incorporated, being careful not to overmix the dough.

Transfer the dough to a small cookie sheet and form it into a circle.

Using a knife (or pizza cutter) cut the circle into 4 equal pieces. Separate the pieces a bit so they are not touching and brush the pieces with heavy cream.

Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and set aside.

Bake the scones for 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the edges of the scones are beginning to brown.

Drizzle the glaze on the scones immediately after removing them from the oven. Enjoy warm.

To store, place the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

Recipe from Dessert for Two