Category Archives: Cakes/Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Yesterday morning,¬†I went into work to renew my CPR/AED and Lifeguarding/First Aid certifications. It was my first time getting in a pool since last year, and now I absolutely reek of chlorine, even though I’ve showered twice. I guess I better get used to it because this is what I’ll be smelling like all summer!

Anyways, I needed someone to practice my lifeguarding skills on, so I dragged my sister to the pool with me to be my “victim.” She wasn’t too thrilled about waking up so early in the morning, and demanded that I make cupcakes for her for subjecting her to such torture. Of course I was happy to oblige! ūüôā

I decided on these salted caramel cupcakes because I have been the LOVING sweet and salty combo lately.¬†If I¬†find a recipe¬†for a dessert that calls for a sprinkle of sea salt or¬†see a¬†menu item with the word “salted,” I’m immediately ALL over it.¬†These and these¬†have made their way to the top of my favorite desserts list.

But I think these salted caramel cupcakes top them all. They are¬†probably the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever made.¬†I¬†had the hardest time keeping¬†my fingers out of the salted caramel buttercream as I was frosting the cupcakes, and I don’t even like frosting!

My sister wasn’t too pleased with some of my¬†healthier baked goods, but she thoroughly approved of these cupcakes! They are definitely not going to last long around our house. ūüôā

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Source: adapted from Savory Bites

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk)

For the salted caramel buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • generous pinch sea salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard 12-cup cupcake pan with liners.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until combined. Turn mixer speed to low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions. Beat until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl.

4. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes (it only took 18 minutes in my toaster oven), or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan for a few minutes, then transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely.

5. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook sugar over medium-high heat until it begins to melt. Stir with a wooden spoon until amber brown in color. Carefully pour heavy cream into saucepan in a steady stream, stirring constantly until mixure is completely smooth. Set caramel aside to cool.

6. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at at time to desired consistency, and beat until smooth. Add cooled caramel (reserving just a few spoonfuls to drizzle cupcakes with) and sea salt, and beat until light and fluffy.

7. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired and drizzle with reserved caramel.

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Avocado Pound Cake

I think I was in elementary¬†school when I fell in love with avocados. I remember that my mom would sometimes place a handful of almonds and a few slices of avocado on my breakfast plate of toast and fruit. I guess she wanted to make sure I¬†had enough monounsaturated fats in my diet? Whatever the reason, I’ve been hooked on the creamy green fruit since.

Avocados are an amazing addition to salads, sandwiches, and sushi rolls,¬†but my most favorite way to eat avocado (at least up until this past Thursday afternoon)¬†is¬†in guacamole. Obviously homemade is¬†the best, but Chipotle’s¬†guac¬†is pretty good too, especially¬†when avocados are like five¬†dollars apiece at the grocery store during the winter.

But on Thursday afternoon, I discovered that my new favorite way to eat avocado is in pound cake! I know that sounds totally weird and gross, but trust me when I say it’s not! It’s actually pretty spectacular. The cake is¬† moist and dense, but not overly sweet and buttery. And the cornmeal gives¬†it an awesome texture. I am not a huge fan of pound cake, but I really, really like this one!

Next time I make this, I’ll probably replace some of the butter with even MORE avocado. And hopefully it won’t have those¬†ugly tiger stripe burn marks on top from being baked in a¬†cramped toaster oven!

Avocado Pound Cake

Source: adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup avocado, mashed (about 1 ripe avocado)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 Рinch loaf pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add avocado and beat for another minute to incorporate, scraping down sides of bowl to ensure that ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

4. Add in eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after addition of each egg. Beat in vanilla extract.

5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add half of flour mixture, all of Greek yogurt, then rest of flour mixture. Beat until just combined.

6. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Check cake every 10 minutes after 30-minute mark. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then invert on wire rack to cool completely.

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Chocolate Pudding Cake

The most horrible, unimaginable thing happened yesterday. The oven STOPPED WORKING. As I was gathering the ingredients to make homemade granola bars, I set the oven to preheat.¬†Over half an hour¬†later, there¬†was still no beep to signal that the oven was fully preheated, so I¬†went to check on it and¬†¬†found that it wasn’t warm at all! I reset the oven and tried to preheat it again, but the oven didn’t warm up in the slightest.

I almost panicked. How on earth was I going to bake without a working oven?? I had already measured out the raw oats and chopped up the nuts for granola bars. Also, I had promised my sister (who had a SERIOUS chocolate craving) that I would bake the most amazing chocolate pudding cake for dessert. Luckily, my mom reminded me that I could use¬†our little toaster oven to¬†toast the oats and nuts for the granola bars. And I was¬†delighted¬†to discover that the toaster oven was just large enough to fit an 8×8 inch pan for the cake.

So I mixed up the cake batter, poured hot coffee all over it, and waited for 25 agonizing minutes for it to finish baking. My sister and I dug in while the cake was still hot and almost died¬†and went to chocolate lovers¬†heaven. The¬†warm¬†pudding sauce is beyond words.¬†It’s the perfect thing to make you forget about surviving the summer at home with a non-functional oven (at least for a moment!).

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Source: slightly adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients

For the pudding sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
For the cake:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons alt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8×8 inch baking dish.
2. To make the pudding sauce, stir the instant coffee into the boiling water. In a separate bowl, stir together sugars and cocoa powder.
3. To make the cake, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. In another large bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped nuts.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the cocoa mixture on top of cake batter. Gently pour coffee over the cocoa mixture.
5. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and just beginning to pull away from sides of pan. Place on wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Quite an unexpected Easter weekend Рfilled with overwhelming disappointment, yet feeling so wonderfully refreshed. But for all of it, whether good or bad, I am so incredibly thankful.

Thankful to be eating sugar (!) again.

Thankful for the boyfriend who surprises me with my favorite ice cream to break my fast.

Thankful for awesome friends to eat too many green tea white chocolate chip cookies at midnight with. And to spend all night/morning  talking, crying, and praying with.

Thankful for the cross.

Thankful for finishing my senior capstone presentation with 3 hours to spare.

Thankful for less than 10 days until the end of the semester!

Thankful for delicious, DELICIOUS carrot cake cheesecake.

A¬†truly sweet Easter weekend, indeed. ūüôā

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Source: Pennies on a Platter

Ingredients

For the cheesecake:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 large eggs

For the carrot cake:

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well, reserve juice
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the frosting:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-inch springform pan.

2. To make cheesecake batter, place cream cheese and sugar in bowl of stand mixer and beat until smooth. Beat in flour, eggs, and vanilla until fully incorporated and no lumps remain. Set aside.

3. To make carrot cake batter, whisk together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and mix well. Add pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts, and stir until just combined.

4. To assemble the cheesecake, pour 1 1/2 cups of carrot cake batter over bottom of prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter, using up 1/4 of batter and reserving the rest for top layer. Top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, then spread evenly with a knife.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 50-65 minutes, or until cake is set and cooked through. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate. When cake is cold, prepare frosting.

6. To make frosting, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla, and pineapple juice until smooth. Spread frosting evenly over top of cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

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Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Good Friday! I’ll (hopefully) be spending tonight working on my senior capstone project. I usually give myself a break from schoolwork on Fridays, but I don’t think that would be a wise decision this weekend as my presentation is on Monday, and I’ve made very little progress so far. ūüė¶

I am more than ready for this semester to be OVER. The last few days have drained me of every last ounce of energy left in my body. I have¬†zero motivation to study for finals, or do anything else, for that matter. Because I haven’t spent much quality time with¬†my pillow, and have pretty much subsisted on¬†just coffee, oatmeal, and fries this week,¬†I don’t feel great physically, and my¬†mood is very “blah.”

I don’t even have any desire to bake! Yoon asked me to help him bake something for¬†a class project, and normally I would have been super enthusiastic, but I just felt overwhelmed. Thankfully, I¬†found this really cute, quick and easy recipe for ice cream cone cupcakes!

They’re made with boxed cake mix and canned frosting, which I haven’t used in years, but since I was so pressed for time, I was totally on board with it. Crafty baking projects are not my speciality, but these ice cream cone cupcakes were¬†so simple to make¬†that even I couldn’t mess them up! ūüôā

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Source: Fake Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor) + all ingredients the box calls for (I used Funfetti)
  • 24 cake cones
  • 1 can frosting (any flavor – I used both chocolate and vanilla)
  • sprinkles, for decoration

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place paper liners in 24 regular-sized muffin cups.

2. Make cake batter according to directions on box, and divide evenly among prepared muffin cups. (Muffin cups should be about 2/3 full of batter). Place ice cream cone upside down on batter in each cup.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. (Cones may tilt slightly on batter). Cool completely, then remove liners from cupcakes.

4. Generously frost cupcakes with frosting and decorate with sprinkles. Store loosely covered.

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White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Balls

It’s 1:30 am and I just finished showering after doing¬†Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred followed by a 2-mile speed walk. I know some people would think that I’m crazy for¬†exercising so late at night, but I felt¬†so disgusting from eating copious amounts of sugar all day long, that I just couldn’t go to bed without working out first!

Although I usually don’t eat very healthily on weekends, today was especially bad. My fruit and vegetable servings came in the form of a few bites of a blueberry bagel and a couple handfuls of fries, respectively. My dairy intake consisted of a vanilla milkshake with Oreo and iced chai latte.

The only other thing that I consumed today was about a¬†zillion white chocolate covered strawberry cake balls that I made for Valentine’s Day. These cake balls are small and easy to pop in your mouth, and they’re just so tasty that it’s impossible to eat just one! ūüôā

This was my first time making cake balls, and I’m so pleased at how cute they turned out! Especially with the sprinkles! ūüôā I used strawberry cake mix in honor of Valentine’s Day, but red velvet would also be lovely. Or dark chocolate!

The thing about this recipe, though, is that it makes a TON of cake balls. It’s perfect for taking to a party or giving away as gifts, but not so good news for your waistline if you plan on keeping them all for yourself. I have a feeling I’m going to be having a lot of extra late night workouts this week! ūüôā

White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Balls

Source: adapted from Bakerella

Ingredients

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 1 16-ounce can cream cheese frosting
  • 1 16-ounce package white chocolate disks

Directions

1. Bake cake according to directions on box. Allow cake to cool competely, then crumble into a large bowl.

2. Add entire can of cream cheese frosting to crumbled cake and mix thoroughly using your hands.

3. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (I got about 60 balls out of one batch)

4. Chill cake balls in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

5. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate per directions on package.

6. Using a spoon, dip and roll cake balls in melted chocolate, then lift and tap off extra. Place cake balls on parchment paper until firm.

Tip: To keep chocolate smooth while coating all of the cake balls, place the bowl of melted chocolate in a slightly larger bowl with about an inch of hot water.

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Apple Crumb Cake

You know what‚Äôs really annoying? The fire alarm going off way too early in the morning,¬†JUST as I’ve¬†fallen asleep after hours of cramming. I was so tired that I was debating whether or not it was worth it to get out of bed and go outside, even though I could clearly smell something burning.

This normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this is the second time the fire alarm has gone off in the middle of the night in the past week! And I think my lack of sleep made me especially irritable. Grr.

So when I woke up a mere two hours later, I had an extra large, extra dark cup of black coffee with my morning oatmeal. Although I was NOT in the best mood, and I still had two exams to tackle in the afternoon, the prospect of being able to bake later that night got me through the day. ūüôā

After a long day, and a crazy intense work out session with Ahra, I baked this lovely apple crumb cake with some of the soft, mealy apples (gross!) that we bought over the weekend. It was the perfect way to unwind.

This was the perfect cake to make because the batter could be mixed up by hand, which gave my dying stand mixer a break. The cake was light and fluffy, and there was bit of sweet apple in every bite. Plus, it had a streusel topping, and I LOVE streusel topping!

After just one bite, I almost forgot about the silly person who decided to burn their toast at 4:30 in the morning. Dessert always makes me feel better! ūüôā

Apple Crumb Cake

Source: adapted from The Amateur Gourmet, originally from Brunch by Gale Gand

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used nonfat)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 medium apples (I used Fuji), cored and chopped (No need to peel)

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. To make the cake, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg, then whisk in milk and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped apples.

4. Scrape batter into prepared baking dish and spread evenly.

5. To make the streusel topping, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a fork (or your fingers), work in the butter until evenly distributed. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of the batter.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until top is golden. Cool in pan, then cut into squares and serve. Store at room temperature, covered, for up to 4 days.

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