Monday, March 3, 2014

Double Chocolate Fudge Cake

My sweet helper

Where does the time go???

When I first started this blog, my sweet little niece was this small.

Her cake!

And now she’s totally THIS tall.

I can hardly believe it. She’ll be a teenager in the morning and I can’t even wrap my head around how much time has gone by and how quickly she’s grown into a such a smart, beautiful young lady.

My little helper

When I first started baking, she was by my side a bunch.

And she was my inspiration more than she knows. I loved making cakes from her drawings or just watching her excitement when she decorated desserts. I loved that she loved just even cracking the eggs. Something so simple and yet so, so sweet. Oh and these chocolate pudding cup bowls we made? Still one of my favorite memories. Oh, my gosh… We’ve had so much fun over the years!

And this weekend we had a little bit more.

She came over Saturday, which meant we totally needed chocolate cake to celebrate her last couple of days of being 12.

This is a quick and easy cake I used to make when she was little.

Chocolate Cake Batter

It’s full of mini chocolate chips and major yum!

Little Baker

She made the chocolate buttercream frosting, covered the cake and decorated it.

Chocolate Cake

And then we ate it. Like you do. Especially when the cake tells you to.

Seriously, so good!

Chocolate Cake

I love how her sprinkles coordinate with this crazy cute cake plate. Just so happy and fun! And, I already can’t wait for the next time we bake together!

 

Double Chocolate Fudge Cake

Servings: 1 8-inch layer cake

Ingredients

  • 16.25 oz dark chocolate cake mix
  • 3.8 oz package instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans (2 inches tall)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix on medium speed for two minutes. Increase speed and mix for 3 minutes more.
  3. Stir in chips and spread into pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until done (when a toothpick inserted comes out clean).
  4. For the frosting: Beat 1 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Sift together 1 lb confectioner’s sugar and 1/2 cup cocoa. Slowly add sugar to creamed butter blending until completely combined. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until smooth and creamy.
Source: Adapted from Bundt Classics, 2003

 

Hope you enjoy. We sure did!

Double Chocolate Cake

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Black and White

Black and White Cupcake from Sprinkles

The Black and White. It’s my go to Sprinkles cupcake flavor. Belgian dark chocolate cake loaded with vanilla frosting. Yum! Have you been before? If so, what’s your favorite flavor?

I’ve enjoyed their cupcakes in a few cities. Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Scottsdale. And, I’m excited to say that I can now finally enjoy them in the brand new Sprinkles Atlanta shop when the mood strikes. YAY!!! And YIKES because that might be all too often.

I’ve visited a bunch of cupcake shops that I LOVE over the last several years … you know for research and all ; )… and I really enjoy Sprinkles because I know they’ll always be great whenever I stop in. At least they have been so far.

I just wanted to share a few pics to let you know in case you need a cupcake fix the next time you’re in Atlanta.

They just opened a few weeks ago, so I had to visit right away and I snapped a few photos one morning before things got busy.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

I’ll take one of each.

Sprinkles

Cute tables and stools!

Sprinkles

And t-shirts, too.

Sprinkles Atlanta

Hi guys! Love your cupcake wrapper pick-up window.

Sprinkles

I may have bought a few for the road.

Sprinkles Ice Cream Atlanta

Oh yeah … We have the ice cream shop, too. Awesome!

Sprinkles Ice Cream Atlanta

Who wants a red velvet ice cream cone? I do.

Or maybe a cupcake sundae? Hold me back.

Darn…I was there before the ice cream shop opened.

Sprinkles Ice Cream

Another time for ice cream I guess!

Cupcake ATM

But, it’s cupcakes anytime with their cute outdoor ATM.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Here’s what I brought home. Wow, they look super cute sitting on my table.

Too bad, they didn’t last long enough to look at.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Playing with my heart

Heart Cake Pops

I wanted to make some heart cake pops for Valentine’s Day, so I thought I would play around a little bit in the kitchen.

Like literally.

Cake Pops Toy

So, I broke out one of my Cake Pop toys that has a heart-shaped mold inside. I usually make shapes by hand, but this was sooooo much easier than hand shaping hearts which can take a little time.

These are rounded hearts, but you can totally use a small heart cookie cutter to shape them also. They’ll just look flatter.

First up… make a cake, crumble it and mix with frosting so you can get started shaping. Here are the Basic Cake Pop Instructions if you need them.

Making Hearts

Once you have rolled your cake balls, place one in the mold shape… (or shape by hand)

Cake Pops Press

Then just press.

Cake Pops Heart Mold

Remove any excess mixture and then pop out your little heart shapes from the mold.

Heart shapes

So cute.

Dipping

Dipping time.

Heart Cake Pop

Sweet hearts.

They’d be awesome just like this. Or drizzled with white chocolate or covered in sprinkles.

Simple and adorable.

But I decorated them up a little bit more ………

Strawberry Cake Pops

…… And turned the hearts into pretty pink strawberries.

Okay… stop here. If you make these, you totally need to use a strawberry cake for full effect. A big miss on my part, but I hadn’t settled on strawberries when the cake was baked. In hindsight… I’m totally kicking myself.

Strawberry Stems

To make strawberries, attach a tic tac or similar shape candy to the top of the coated cake pop. Let dry for few seconds and then use a toothpick to coat the surface of the tic tac with green candy coating and then use the toothpick to draw on the leaves on too. Let dry and then dot on white candy coating to finish them off.

Strawberry Cake Pops

Easy peasy.

tags

Hope you like these because I like you guys berry berry much.

Here’s the printable for the cake pop tags. Use them for Valentine’s Day or any day.

And remember you if you don’t have the toy, you can hand shape or use a small heart cookie cutter to make them, too.

xoxo

And have a sweet week!

Monday, February 3, 2014

S’mores Cupcakes

S'mores Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with a graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallowy meringue frosting. Oh. my. gosh. These were super duper delicious! I’ve been so excited to make these S’mores Cupcakes for a while now but I didn’t have a kitchen torch to toast the tops. I don’t know why I haven’t bought one before, but I’m super excited that I got one for Christmas. Thanks Mom!

Trophy Cupcakes & Parties!

The recipe for these cupcakes is from Jennifer Shea’s new cookbook, Trophy Cupcakes and Parties! (pssst… I’m giving away a couple of signed books below) Trophy Cupcakes has several locations in Seattle. You should visit if you get a chance. Such cute shops and the prettiest cupcakes. I visited the shop in Bellevue a few years ago. Adorable!

But the first time I met Jennifer was back in 2008 when we were both on The Martha Stewart Show. What?!?

Yes. Still crazy to me. I was on to show Martha how to make my Cupcake Pops about six months after I started the blog (P.S. This past Saturday was National Cake Pops Day. YAY!) and Jennifer was on the show to make these same s’mores cupcakes … which I didn’t get a chance to try when I was on the show.

S'mores Cupcakes

So, I thought they would be the perfect ones for me to make from her new book.

And boy am I glad I did. They are fantastic!

graham cracker crust

They start with a graham cracker crust for the cupcake. Awesomeness!

Graham cracker crust

Place a teaspoon of the crust mixture in each baking cup.

Making cupcake crusts

And press with the bottom of a small glass.

Graham Cracker Crumb Cupcake Crust

Like so.

Chopped Chocolate

But that’s not all. They get chocolate, too.

S'mores cupcake crust

Yep. Just sprinkle chopped chocolate on top of the crusts and bake for a few minutes to set first.

Cupcake Batter

Cool and then… fill with the chocolate cupcake batter. YES!

S'mores Cupcake Batter

But we can’t stop there. Before baking, sprinkle more graham cracker mixture and chopped chocolate on top. I like where this is going … oh and I’m messy!

S'more cupcake

Beautifully cupcakes. I actually think they’re great just like this.

Toasted Meringue Frosting

But they wouldn’t be s’mores without the fluffy marshmallow frosting.

Swirl the meringue frosting on top of the cupcake with a star tip and then toast using a kitchen torch.

P.S. I love my kitchen torch. This was the first time I’ve used one, and now I want to toast everything. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get one. So fun!!!

S'more Cupcake

But not as fun as biting into these babies. Yummmm!

Here’s the recipe … and check out Jennifer’s video on MarthaStewart.com too OR skip down below for the giveaway.

S'mores Cupcakes

Servings: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup boiling water

Meringue Frosting

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the crust first:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bow, mix together crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter until well blended and no dry crumbs remain.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each liner. Press the crumbs flat into the liner using the bottom of a small glass. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of chocolate over each crust. (Reserve remaining graham cracker crumbs and chopped chocolate to top the cupcakes before baking.)
  4. Bake crusts for 8 minutes. Remove the pans and let crusts cool for at least 5 minutes before adding cupcake batter.

For the cupcakes:

  1. After crusts are prepared, increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Then combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add sugar and mix until combined. Then add flour mixture. Blend at low and then increase to medium. Beat for 2 minutes until blended and smooth. Remove bowl from stand and add boiling water. Gently stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Batter will be thin. Then let batter rest for 15 minutes and stir again gently before using. Fill liners with prepared crusts three-quarters full with batter. Sprinkle with reserved chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Bake about 16-20 minutes until done. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Make the meringue frosting:

  1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water without letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water in the saucepan. Hold the handle of the bowl with an oven mitt while whisking the egg white mixture until the sugar is dissolved and the whites are hot to the touch… about 4 minutes. Then transfer bowl to the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture, starting on low and increasing to high speed. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form and the meringue has cooled, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vanilla and whisk just to combine. Use frosting immediately.
  2. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco #867 star tip. I used a Wilton 4B tip. Pipe high swirls on the cupcakes and brown the meringue using a kitchen torch and serve immediately.
Source: Trophy Cupcakes & Parties! by Jennifer Shea, 2013

Here’s a little peek into the book.

It’s filled with recipes for cupcakes and crafty ideas to help you create charming parties. It’s basically super cute.

Trophy Cupcakes & Parties!

Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Trophy Cupcakes & Parties!

  • To enter just leave a comment below and share the best thing you ate this weekend. Was it sweet? Was it Super Bowl snacks? Do tell.

  • Deadline to enter is Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Sorry! Time’s Up, Winner announced below.

  • Two (2) winners will be selected at random and announced sometime Wednesday evening.

Good Luck guys!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Okay – we have two winners. And I’m now super hungry for party food and appetizers!!!! Thanks for sharing all your best bites. Mine was actually these cupcakes. They are seriously so good. And… I’m still eating them. I have to stop.

Congratulations Katie B. and E. Nadler. Hope you enjoy the book and you should definitely make these.

*Amazon affiliate link.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

These cookies are whale cute!

Whale Cookies

Oh my gosh… I love how these cookies turned out. I’ve been wanting to make little whales for about a month now. It started with a cookie cutter that I bought on clearance after Christmas.

Santa Cookie Cutter

I saw a bunch of these little Santa cutters and decided I absolutely needed one more … you know for next year.

Whale Cookie Cutter

But, when I grabbed it, I must have picked it up sideways because I totally forgot all about Santa. I think I was imprinted or something. This was now my new whale cookie cutter and I haven’t been able to get making them out of my head. So, I decided to turn them into a super sweet packaged treat for Valentine’s Day.

And, also because I like to play.

Cookie Dough

Okay … here we go. It all starts with the cookie dough. And I love using this recipe from my friend Bridget at Bake at 350. It’s always a dream to use. No sticky dough. And if you need cookie decorating help, her book is awesome!

Whale Cutouts

Now my Santa/Whale cookie cutter wasn’t completely perfect. When turned sideways, I needed to cut off part of that little hump from the hat and move it to the right so it would be closer to where the whale’s spout should be for decorating. Not a must, but I thought it made a difference.

Royal Icing

I went light blue for these little guys.

Piping Whales

Outline the whale bodies first with royal icing.

Whale Decorating

Then fill them in with flood icing consistency and let dry. When all dry, you can define the fins with more of the outline icing.
Then, since my whales were blue, I used white icing for the steam from the whale’s spout.

hearts

But that’s not all. These whales have a lot of heart.

Pink!

… and they needed to be decorated in pink royal icing of course.

Whale Cookies

…And topped off with sweet pink heart sprinkles for their mouths, too. Then you just need a black edible ink pen for their eyes and smiles. That makes these cookies pretty easy to decorate. They are basically one color cookies which is right up my alley

P.S. This is the first time I haven’t complained about my piping. I think I’m getting a little better each time I try decorated cookies. But my hearts sunk a bit. I need to work on that.

So that’s the cookie overview. But, that’s not all.

Whale You Be Mine

I made custom treat bags to so they’d be extra sweet. The bags I used are 3.75″ X 6″ and I just trimmed off some of the top. The tags are just folded over and attached on top of the bag.

I also made a downloadable pdf for the whale and treat bag tags so you can make them, too.

Oh, and I went ahead and fixed the whale shape if you want to use it as a template to cut out your cookies.

Or … here’s a cutter I found online that looks similar. And the heart cutters were similar to the one in this mini set.

Whale Cookie Valentines

See. Whale cute!

Whale Cookie Valentine Treats

Like whale, whale cute!

Whale Cookie Valentines

Hope they made you smile!

Whale Cookies

And hope you have a whale good day!

P.S. This version is included in the pdf also, so you can give them away any time of the year.

 

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