Category Archives: Cakes/Cupcakes

Strawberry cake – with real strawberries!

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Have you ever searched for a recipe for strawberry cake?  It is really hard to find a recipe without strawberry jello or something else that is artificial.  My mom wanted a strawberry cake to celebrate her birthday and this fit the bill.  I was thrilled to find this recipe that actually uses real strawberries!  This is a really moist, dense cake but it is fresh and has a delicious strawberry flavor.  I cut back the sugar, which I usually do, and I don’t think the flavor or sweetness suffered – there is plenty of natural sweetness from all the strawberries in the recipe.  The cake has a nice light pink color – without any food dye.  I used this strawberry frosting, which has an intense strawberry flavor from the strawberry reduction!

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Strawberry Cake, from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:

For the strawberry puree:

  • 24 oz very ripe strawberries, hulled
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (optional)

For the cake:

  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8-9″ cake pans or cupcake pan.

Wash, hull and slice strawberries.  Places in a medium sized bowl and toss with sugar if desired, let sit for 1-2 hours until nice and juicy.  Puree strawberries in food processor and set aside.  Reserve 3/4 cup of puree for the cake.  The rest can be used in frosting, or something else.

In a separate medium sized bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, whip butter until fluffy, then cream sugar into butter until smooth.  Incorporate vanilla extract and egg whites one at a time.

Mix in flour mixture gradually until just combined.  Combine strawberry puree and milk and fold into batter by hand.

Bake cake for 25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean (cupcakes about 15-20 minutes).  Let cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out and let cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Yields one two-layer cake or 24 cupcakes

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Happy Birthday Grandma!

Happy Birthday Grandma!

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Mother’s Day and Strawberry Cake/Cupcakes

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Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful Mom.  She is the strongest woman I know and I am so thankful for everything she has done to help me become the woman I am today.

Me, my Mom, and Sister-in-Law Laura on Mother's Day

Mom got to pick dessert for our lunch today, and she picked this strawberry cake.  I have made this cake 3 times now, in the last month, since finding this recipe.  This is the first recipe for strawberry I have found that does not include strawberry gelatin in the ingredients – all of the flavor comes from fresh strawberries, as does the nice pink color.  I have made a cake and also cupcakes, and both are delicious.

Strawberry Cake/Cupcakes, from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients

3/4 cup strawberry puree – see below
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature

***for the strawberry puree you can use either frozen or fresh (hulled) strawberries (I have used both, and they were both fine).  If you use frozen strawberries be sure to thaw and drain juices.  Just puree strawberries in a food processor and you are all set.  I used about a dozen fresh strawberries and that is plenty for 3/4 cup.  Another option is to puree extra strawberries to use as a filling in your cake.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, for both cake and cupcakes

Line cupcake pan with paper liners or grease two 8-inch cake pans.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In a mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in vanilla extract, milk and egg whites – making sure each ingredient is mixed in well before adding the next.  Fold in strawberry puree.

If making cupcakes, fill liners about 2/3 full.  Bake about 18-20 minutes for cupcakes and about 25 minutes for two 8-inch cake pans or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cakes cool before frosting.  These taste wonderful with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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This was my first attempt at red velvet.  Bernie told me they were hard to make, so of course I wanted to try!  I am satisfied with how the cupcakes turned out.  The only disappointment was the color – they were brown!  If you want bright red cupcakes add more red food color.  **Be sure to store these in the fridge if you use the cream cheese icing**

Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting, from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature 2/3 cups egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add egg substitute, 1/3 cup at a time, beating until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. Add four mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers, bring to room temperature before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 oz. light cream cheese
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and then add vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

**I might have used half of this recipe – but I also did not load frosting onto cupcakes. If you use minimal frosting, you should probably be ok to cut this in half**

Nutrition information (per cupcake – using 1/2 frosting recipe): 313 calories, 18.9g fat, 4.2g saturated fat, 14.6mg cholesterol, 237.6mg sodium, 33.7g carbohydrates, 0.5g fiber, 23.4g sugars, 3.2g protein

 

Devil’s Food Birthday Cake!

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My little brother’s birthday is on Monday and we got together this weekend to celebrate.  When I asked him w hat cake he wanted he just said “something with chocolate.”  This cake is on the cover of my favorite cookbook and I was just waiting for the opportunity to make it.  Not only does this cake taste great – but it looks really pretty too.  Eat this with a tall glass of milk – it is rich!  (And try to not cut yourself a big piece – because you will definitely eat all of it)

Devil’s Food White-Out Cake, from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

For the filling and frosting:
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large – I used 3)
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

TO MAKE THE CAKE: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low-speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don’t worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)

When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.

TO MAKE THE FILLING AND FROSTING: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.

When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable — don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. Although you could keep it in the fridge in a pinch, it’s really better to use it right now.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting — it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers. —don’t be afraid to apply the frosting liberally between layers.  I was afraid I would not have enough for the whole cake – but there was more than enough and I could have spread it thicker between cake layers.

Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving. (If it’s more convenient, you can chill the cake for 8 hours or more; cover it loosely and keep it away from foods with strong odors.)

STORING: The frosted cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, or longer if you have the time.

Nutrition information – I don’t know, and don’t want to know!

 

Willa enjoying her new dog bed

 

 

Angel Food Cake

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Until this year I had only made cakes from the box.  What a difference it makes when you make something from scratch!  I don’t really know how to describe other than, wow – homemade cakes taste so much better.  This recipe was perfect for my Dad’s birthday cake!

Angel Food Cake, from Baking Illustrated

Ingredients
1 cup sifted plain cake flour
1 1/2 cups sifted granulated sugar
12 large egg whites at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan (9-inch diameter, 16-cup capacity), preferably with a removable bottom. If the pan bottom is not removable, line it with parchment paper or waxed paper.

Whisk the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl. Place the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in another small bowl next to the mixer.

Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer at low-speed until just broken up and beginning to froth. Add the cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until the whites form very soft, billowy mounds. With the mixer still at

medium speed, beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form soft peaks. ***this step is really important – make sure it is beaten long enough to begin to get stiff, and have the soft peaks.   Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and almond extract and beat until just blended.

Place the flour-sugar mixture in a sifter set over waxed paper. Sift the flour-sugar mixture over the whites, about 3 tablespoons at a time, and gently fold in, using a large rubber spatula. Sift any flour- sugar mixture that falls onto the paper back into the bowl with the whites.

Gently scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and give the pan a couple of raps on the counter to release any large air bubbles.  Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly, 50-60 minutes.

If the cake pan has prongs around the rim for elevating the cake, invert the pan onto them. If the pan does not have prongs, invert the pan onto the neck of a bottle or funnel. Let the cake cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

We drizzled the cake with homemade buttercream icing, but you could also serve with fruit or whatever you prefer!

Chocolate-Chocolate cupcakes

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I think I have a new favorite cookbook.  Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan is awesome.  I wish I had the opportunity to make everything in this book.  The few things I have tried so far have been delicious!  This is the first cookbook I have purchased since discovering the library (thanks Suzy!) because I just did not want to take it back.

I made these cupcakes for my mother-in-law’s birthday, she loves chocolate.  Dorie uses a chocolate glaze in the book, but I opted for a rich chocolate buttercream icing.

Chocolate-chocolate cupcakes, from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter Smart Balance 50/50 blend at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Prep: Center at rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Fit the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan with paper muffin cups, or butter then, dust them with flour and tap out the excess. Alternatively, you can use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither paper cups nor greasing. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and set aside.

Directions: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is blended into the butter. Add the egg, then yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and mix it in with the rubber spatula. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are dry and springy to the touch and a knife inserted into their centers comes out clean.

Gluten Free Birthday Cupcakes!

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Hats off to every one I know who eats a gluten-free diet – it can be really confusing! People who are managing Celiac Disease, or  who have a gluten intolerance may follow a gluten-free diet.  Gluten is in SO many things: wheat, rye, and barley, etc.

I wanted to make Amanda (who follows a gluten-free diet) a cake for her birthday, and I really like cooking from scratch but gluten-free cakes are a little intimidating, so I opted for a vanilla cake mix from Pamela’s Products.  Gluten-free products taste a little different than non-gluten-free products and you have to get used to it (I am learning), but they can still be delicious.  Since gluten-free cake mixes are a little limited for flavors (you can usually choose from chocolate, yellow and vanilla cake), I wanted to do something special so I used food coloring to make rainbow cupcakes – and they turned out to be really cute!  You can do this with any vanilla cake mix.

Rainbow Cake/cupcakes

Prepare vanilla cake batter as instructed.  Divide the batter into different containers or bowls (as many colors as you want – I did red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.  Once divided, stir in food coloring.

For cakes, pour each color separately into the pan.  For cupcakes it is a little more labor intensive.  Line the muffin pan with baking cups.  Evenly distribute each color as you choose until about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake cupcakes as directed.

Allow to cool completely then ice (I used funfetti icing), and enjoy!

Amanda (with Ella) enjoying her cupcake!

Be sure to check out Amanda’s Blog!  She is exercising her way to Germany!