Horchata Treats for Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! This year I decided to make Horchata in honor of the day and then use some of that fresh Horchata to make Horchata Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon.

After a few Google searches I decided to make my Horchata as close to “authentic” as possible. I found a recipe that used evaporated milk, one that used rice milk and another that suggested purchasing powdered Horchata mix and mixing it with milk. For authenticity I opted to go the traditional route of blending water with rice until the rice was broken down and then letting the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I strained the water to get all of the rice bits out and blended it with whole milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (okay, this was a bit of a shortcut since some Horchata recipes call for ground almonds), cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

And then the next day I used the fresh Horchata to make cupcakes that were super moist and had a hint of the Horchata in them. Delish!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo…  May your guacamole be spicy, your margaritas strong and your food delicioso!

 

Horchata

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1 quart warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Cinnamon sticks for serving, optional

Directions:

In a blender combine the rice and water. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the rice has broken down but does not form a powder. Refrigerate the rice water mixture for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Transfer the rice water to a blender and add in the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon and sugar. Blend for a minute until all of the ingredients are well combines and smooth.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. When serving, pour over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Recipe from The Food Network

 

Horchata Cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Horchata

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.

Cream the butter on high speed and then add in the sugar, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

Mix the Horchata, vanilla and cinnamon together, set aside.

Add the flour mixture and the Horchata mixture to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating between the flour and Horchata mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites in to the cupcake batter until incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from The Foodies Kitchen

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sifted Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.

Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating, then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator.

A Red Velvet Valentine Heart

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow I decided to bake up a red velvet cake heart and decorate it with cream cheese frosting. I just can’t stand when red velvet (or carrot cake for that matter) are frosted with buttercream or vanilla frosting. The flavors just don’t go well together in my opinion. So, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Or will you be celebrating Singletine’s Day? Or Galentine’s Day? Which is actually today!

For the cake I used a recipe that I came across on another blog that was for 12 cupcakes. In one bowl I combined all of my dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. And in a smaller bowl I whisked together buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, an egg, vinegar and red food coloring. I didn’t have buttermilk so I made my own by combining a 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (you could use vinegar in lieu of the lemon juice). I stirred the two together and let it sit at room temperature until it was slightly thickened. You may also see some curdling on the top as well. Ever since I learned I could make my own buttermilk I have opted to do that as opposed to buying it. Inevitably I always end up throwing out most of the buttermilk since I have nothing else to use it for.

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Next, I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat them until they were well combined. And then slowly added in hot water – I boiled the water and then let it cool a bit.

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And finally, I poured the batter into my prepared 6-inch heart pan (I sprayed it with baking spray) and baked it in a 350 F oven for about 40 minutes. Now, if you plan on using a 6-inch heart pan like I did, don’t make the same mistake I did. I poured all of the batter into the pan. I probably should have only poured in enough to fill half or 3/4 of the pan, but, it was slightly more than 3/4. So, what happened, it overflowed when I baked it. Thankfully I had the premonition that it would so I placed aluminum foil on the rack beforehand so I didn’t have a huge mess in my oven.

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It wasn’t all that bad though, after letting the cake cool I was able to torte the cake. I just used the cut side as the bottom of the cake.

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And then it was time to decorate. I made cream cheese frosting and let it firm up a bit in the fridge before decorating with it. I began by make two large rosettes on the cake using a Wilton 1M tip…

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And soon enough, using various sizes and shapes of decorating tips, my heart was completely decorated.

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So, however you will be celebrating, or if you’re not celebrating at all, I hope you have a wonderful day.

 

Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons red food coloring

1/2 cup hot water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare your desired pan. This recipe was originally for 12-14 cupcakes, but, can be easily used for a single layer 6-inch or 8-inch cake.

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, egg, vinegar and red food coloring.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and using a hand mixer beat until well combined.

Slowly add the hot water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

If using a cupcake pan, bake for about 15 – 17 minutes. If using a cake pan, bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Until a cake tested comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until smooth.

Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until smooth.

Add in the vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.

Carrot Cake For Two…

Or dessert for One for two days! I love carrot cake, but, truth be told it’s a lot of work to make for just me alone to eat. Okay, it’s really not a lot of work; it’s a lot of cake for me alone. But, I recently came across a recipe for carrot cake that resulted in two perfect-sized slices of cake, which would be great as a dessert for two or in my case dessert for one for two days… Yum! Who doesn’t love a delicious dessert two days in a row?

To make the batter I began by whisking together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. I then created a well in the center of the flour mixture and added in eggs and sugar and mixed the two together. Next I added in oil and vanilla extract and continued mixing it with a fork.

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I then incorporated the flour mixture and egg mixture and folded in shredded carrots and pecans to the batter. Once the batter was well combined I transferred it to a 9-inch round pan that I sprayed with baking spray.

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After baking the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes I removed it from the oven and allowed the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.

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After the 20 minutes, I removed the cake from the pan and allowed it to cool completely on the wire rack. Once it was completely cooled I cut the cake into 4 equal parts and frosted the top of each piece with cream cheese frosting.

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I then stacked the four pieces and frosted the back curve of the cake.

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After refrigerating the cake for half an hour I then sliced it in half and was left with 2 perfect sized slices of cakes.

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Carrot Cake For Two

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 ounces carrots (about 3 small), finely grated (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup pecans

 

For the Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

For The Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 -by- 2 inch round cake pan with baking spray.

Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg – in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Working within the well, use a fork to mix together the eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla to egg mixture and continue mixing with a fork until well combined once again. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together with the fork until just combined. Fold in the carrots and pecans.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Turn out the cake and let it cool on the wire rack for about an hour until completely cool.

For The Frosting:

Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer on medium, beat together the butter and cream cheese. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until well incorporated. Finally add in the vanilla extract.

To Assemble the Cake:

Cue the cake into 4 equal wedges. Frost the top of each wedge with about 3 tablespoons of frosting. Stack the wedges on top of each other and with the remaining frosting frost the back curve of the cake, and leave the 2 sides of the cake open. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, then cut the cake wedge in half and serve.

Recipe from The Food Network

Día De Los Muertos Cupcakes

Happy Halloween! This year instead of a Halloween inspired treat I opted to go with a Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) one instead. So, what is Día De Los Muertos you may ask? Well, it’s a three-day Mexican holiday where one remembers and celebrates friends and family members who have died. And while pumpkins and ghosts are symbolic of Halloween, sugar skulls are the symbol associated with this holiday. These are skulls that are colorfully decorated. The biggest difference I would say between the two holidays is how one celebrates death and the other fears death. With Día De Los Muertos people set-up altars to celebrate the dead, bring food and/or beverages, among other gifts, to their loved one’s grave site. While with Halloween, children wear masks and costumes as protection and jack-o-lanterns are meant to ward off evil spirits. So, whichever you choose to celebrate, or if you are among those who did not celebrate at all, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with candy! One of the reasons I decided to go with this theme was because I was giving these cupcakes as part of a birthday gift to a friend who really likes the décor of the holiday and she’s probably a bigger pumpkin spice fan than me.

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I began these cupcakes by making the sugar skull toppers. I melted Wilton White Candy Melts and poured them into skull molds and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could set.

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The following day using an array of sparkle gel…

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I decorated the skulls to mimic sugar skulls and then placed them back in the refrigerator.

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A few days later I made the cupcakes. To make the batter I began by whisking together melted butter, oil and milk. Once that was well combined I added in brown sugar and continued whisking until it was smooth. And then finally I added in vanilla extract and eggs. In another bowl I combined the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt) and then added them to the wet ingredients. Next I folded in pumpkin puree and chocolate chips.

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I then filled Día De Los Muertos themed cupcake liners about 3/4 full and baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

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After letting them cool completely I made a cream cheese frosting to top them off.

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So the sugar skulls would pop a little I opted to stripe the inside of the decorator bag with green before adding the frosting to pipe. And there you have it… Día De Los Muertos Pumpkin Cupcakes.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

5 tablespoons milk*, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

14 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree

3/4 cup chocolate chips

*I used 2%

Cupcake Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and lined a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the butter, oil and milk until smooth. Add in the brown sugar and continue mixing until smooth and finally add in the vanilla and eggs, continuing to whisk until smooth.

In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix it until smooth.

Fold in the pumpkin puree and then the chocolate chips until well combined.

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full and bake for about 21-23 minutes, until a cake inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Ingredients for Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups Confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 cups vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and mix together until smooth.

Add half of the sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla extract and continue mixing. Finally add the remaining sugar and continue mixing until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Patriotic Treats

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day and enjoyed the rest of the holiday weekend! Mine was filled with great food, great friends and a delicious and patriotic dessert.

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Before I get to that amazing cake though, here are some patriotic cupcakes that I made earlier in the week. They were simply a yellow cupcake with a vanilla frosting – sometimes there’s nothing better than a classic combination. To create the striped icing effect I brushed the inside of a plastic decorator bag with red food gel coloring on one side and blue on the other after fitting it with a 1M Wilton Tip. I then filled the bag with vanilla frosting and began piping each of the cupcakes. Once I ran out of frosting in the bag I simply brushed the colors once again inside the bag and then filled it with more frosting.

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Now, onto the cake. Prep work for this cake actually began a week before July 4th. I made the glitter stars that topped the cake by rolling out gum paste 1/8″ thick and used varying sizes of cookie cutters to cut out stars. After snipping 22 gauge silver floral wire into different lengths I dipped one end into egg white and gently pushed that end of the wire into the stars about 3/4 of the way up. I laid the stars out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and let them dry out (harden) for a full day, flipping them occasionally.

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After they were completely dry it was time to decorate them. To do so, I brushed the stars with egg white and then sprinkled glitter on them, making sure that I covered the edges of the stars as well.

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I let them sit out for a day or two to make sure they were completely dry and then stored them in a waxed lined plastic shoe box.

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To make the actual cake I began by baking the red velvet layers of the cake – 2 of them. I’ve made red velvet cake quite a few times before and this recipe was quite different than the ones I have normally followed. For one thing, instead of buttermilk this recipe called for sour cream to be whisked with water to thin it down to the consistency of buttermilk. I’ve heard of using lemon juice and milk as a substitute for buttermilk, but never sour cream. I was fine with this though as I usually have sour cream in my fridge as opposed to buttermilk. Also, this recipe called for butter and oil to be used, which turned out an incredibly moist cake. After making the batter I divided it into two 9-inch pans tapping the pans down to release any air bubbles and then baked them in a 350 F oven for twenty-five minutes.

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Following that I let the cakes cool in the pans for about ten minutes and then inverted them onto wire racks so they could cool completely.

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While the red velvet layers were cooling I baked the white cake which had a hint of lemon thanks to the addition of lemon zest. Once I made the batter I poured it into a 9-inch pan that I sprayed with baking spray and lined with parchment paper – which I also sprayed with baking spray. I did this same prep work for the pans I used for the red velvet layers as well. As I also did with the red velvet layers, I tapped the pan down to release the air bubbles and baked it in a 350 F once again for twenty-five minutes.

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After cooling the cake in the pan for a few minutes I inverted it onto a wire rack so it could cool completely.

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Once the cakes were cooled it was time to make the frosting – cream cheese frosting – and assemble the cake. I spread about a cup of frosting between each of the layers…

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And then crumb coated the cake and placed it in the refrigerator so the frosting could firm up.

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Once the crumb coat was firm I finish frosting the cake and created a design on the cake by using the back of a spoon. While rotating the cake on a cake turntable I ran the back of the spoon along the edge of the cake and around the top.

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And then it was time to decorate the cake with the glittered stars and some fresh berries – blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.

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And how did the stripes look once the cake was cut into…. Perfect!

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This was definitely one cake that tasted just as good as it looked!

Red, White and Blue Cake

Red Velvet Cake Layers:

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)

1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 1-ounce bottle red food coloring

1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup sour cream mixed with 1/4 cup water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, then line bottoms with rounds of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pans with some additional flour, knocking out excess.

2. Resift cake flour together with cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using stand mixer) at medium-high speed until combined well, then add oil and beat until very pale and creamy, about 3 minutes.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and beat in food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract.

5. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and sour cream mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing until batter is smooth.

6. Divide batter between pans (about 3 cups in each) and smooth tops. Rap pans on counter a couple of times to expel any air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a wooden pick comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from sides of pans, 25 to 30 minutes. Keep oven on.

7. Cool layers in pans on racks 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pans. Invert layers onto racks and peel off wax paper. Cool layers completely.

White Cake Layer:

1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large egg whites

1/4 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons water

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Butter one 9-inch round cake pan, then line bottom with wax paper. Butter paper and dust pan with some additional flour, knocking out excess.

2. Resift cake flour together with baking soda and salt into a bowl. Whisk egg whites in another bowl with sour cream mixture until combined.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using stand mixer) at medium-high speed until combined well, then add oil and beat until very pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in zest and vanilla extract.

4. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and sour cream mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is smooth. Transfer batter to pan and spread evenly. Rap pan on counter a couple of times to expel any air bubbles.

5. Bake in middle of oven until a wooden pick comes out clean and cake begins to pull away from side of pan, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan. Invert layer onto rack and peel off wax paper. Cool layer completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 1/2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (20-ounces total), softened

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1. Beat together cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt.

2. Sift confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and add to cream cheese mixture. Mix on low speed until incorporated, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth.

Frost cake:

Brush loose crumbs from cake layers with a pastry brush.

Put a red velvet layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate or stand. Spread 1 cup of frosting over layer. Cover with white layer, bottom side up, and spread with another cup of frosting. Top with second red velvet layer, bottom side up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting around sides and over top of cake. (This is called crumb-coating. It tamps down any loose crumbs to keep them out of the top layer of frosting and fills in any crevices. This is particularly important with red velvet cake layers.) Chill or briefly freeze cake just until frosting is firm.

Spread sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Chill or briefly freeze cake just until frosting is firm.

Fruit Topping:

1 pint (8 ounces) strawberries, halved

1 pint (12 ounces) blueberries

1/2 pint (6 ounces) blackberries

Toss fruit together in a bowl, add a teaspoon of sugar if desired. Top cake with fruit and spread some around the sides of the cake.

For a complete list of supplies and a more detailed description of how to create the stars check out this link. I’m planning on using this technique to create other shapes for cakes in the future.

Coconut & Lime Cupcakes

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s the perfect day to enjoy some guacamole, a few tacos, a shot of tequila or a nice cold margarita. That brings me to today’s post. I’ve made some delicious treats in honor of this day in the past – churros, tres leches cupcakesMexican wedding cookies and sopapilla cheesecake – and this year I was thinking of making Margarita Cupcakes. But, since I didn’t have any tequila on hand (all the recipes I came across had this margarita staple in the ingredient list) I opted for something non-alcoholic and just as festive… Coconut & Lime Cupcakes – a coconut cupcake with a key lime cream cheese frosting.

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To begin I made the coconut cupcakes… In the bowl of my stand mixer I mixed together sugar and butter until it was light and fluffy – about 5 minutes on medium speed.

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I then reduced the speed to low and added in three eggs – one at a time.

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Next I added in buttermilk, and a sifted mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I alternated between adding the two beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Oh, and can I just take a moment to say that I love this silicone bowl to add things into my running mixer. It’s completely flexible so I can form it into the perfect shape to pour the flour into the bowl and not have it fly all over the place. I used to use a pouring shield but I always had the flying flour issue with it. Check out this link if you have been searching for the perfect bowl to add dry ingredients to your batter while mixing.

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Once the batter came together I folded in sweetened shredded coconut.

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And finally, using an ice cream scoop I divided the mixture among a 12-cup paper lined muffin pan and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven for 25 minutes.

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Once they were out of the oven, I let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them and letting them cool completely on a wire rack in preparation for frosting them.

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After letting the cupcakes cool I got to working on the frosting – a key lime cream cheese frosting that has the perfect combination of sweetness and citrus flavor. I began by creaming together cream cheese, butter, key lime juice and key lime zest until it was creamy. Next I added in 2 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time – mixing well after each cup. Just to note, if want more of a lime flavor you can add more of the lime juice, but, you may have to balance that with more confectioners’ sugar since you don’t want your frosting to become too thinned down. Prior to frosting the cupcakes I popped the frosting in the fridge for about 10 – 15 minutes so the frosting would be firmer to pipe with.

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And after frosting each of the cupcakes I sprinkled them with a bit of lime zest.

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Coconut Cupcakes – Adapted from here

Makes 12 Cupcakes

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 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

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

3. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes on medium speed. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl down after each addition. Add in the vanilla and almonds extracts and mix well.

4. In three parts, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the coconut.

5. Fill each cup of the muffin pan to the top – an ice cream scoop is the perfect size to fill the cups. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice

1 teaspoon key lime zest

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

Cream together the cream cheese, butter, key lime juice and zest until creamy. Add in the sugar, one cup at a time, and continue mixing until all of the sugar is incorporated. If you find that the frosting is too soft, pop it into the refrigerator for a few minutes so it can firm up before using it.

Chocolate Bunny Topped Easter Cake

Happy Easter! A few weeks ago when I posted about the Springtime Chocolate Chip Cookies I made I mentioned that I picked up some things at my local Target store to create an Easter cake and I am happy to say that the cake turned out just as I pictured it in my head. So, what did I pick up? Edible Easter Grass, Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs and a Chocolate Bunny.

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To begin, I baked my favorite Carrot Cake and frosted it with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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The Edible Easter Grass. If you’re wondering, it’s made of wafer paper candy; it does have a slight green apple flavor and surprisingly doesn’t have any kind of after-taste. And from what I read about it online most of the companies that sell it here in the United States import it from Germany.

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I cut the grass into 1 – 2 inch pieces and spread it onto a cookie sheet. I then misted the grass with a little water and mixed the grass so that it could clump together. I was careful not to use too much water because the grass would then disintegrate.

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I first placed the Chocolate Bunny in the center of the cake and then started spreading the grass around the bunny lightly pressing it into the frosting.

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I decided to only cover the top of the cake with the grass.

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And after placing some Cadbury Milk Eggs in the grass my cake was decorated and ready for Easter!

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