Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TWD - Coconut Tea Cake

This week, Carmen of Carmen Cooks picked Coconut Tea Cake. You can find the recipe when you visit her blog and/or on pages 194 and 195 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours." The cake was a snap to make but looked a little plain fresh out of the oven so I topped it with a glaze of coconut milk and powdered sugar and sprinkled some toasted coconut on top. I think I may have overbaked this one a tad since it seemed a little dry to me, but it still tasted delicious! I have my eye on the coconut-lime variation for next time around.

Please visit some other TWD Bakers and see how they did. Personally, I can't wait to see some of the wonderful variations that my fellow bakers will come up with!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Frog Cupcakes

Monday night my son's Cub Scout pack had a Cake Bake and cake walk. For the cake bake, the scouts baked a cake with his Akeela and the cake was displayed at our pack meeting. The cakes were then given away to some lucky winners. I'll post about his cake later!

My contribution to the cake walk was these adorable frog cupcakes that I found on the Hello, Cupcake Blog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TWD - Dulce de Leche Duos

This weeks pick for Dulce de Leche Duos was made by Jodie of Beansy Loves Cake. You can find the recipe on her blog or on page 161 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". I was super excited to try this recipe because I've been wanting to try making my own dulce de leche and this recipe was the excuse I've been looking for! I put two cans of sweetened condensed milk in my slow cooker, covered them with water, and cooked on low for 9 hours. Waiting for the cans to cool was excruciatingly painful! I wanted to see what was inside and when I popped the top, I was delighted to find that I had a wonderful, sweet, caramel concoction.

The cookies were very sweet but tasted absolutely wonderful! I will definitely bake these again but next time I will try to make my cookies smaller. These would be perfect as one-bite cookies, which is probably how Dorie designed them, but I have a problem with portion control!

Just look at the caramelly goodness oozing from the sides.

I need to run to the store for a couple more cans of sweetened condensed milk because I now have a long list of dulce de leche recipes (including butter cream frosting and ice cream) that I must try. Immediately.

Please check out some of the blogs of the other TWD bakers to see how they did this week. I'll be visiting them just as soon as I come out of my caramel coma.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Snickers Cupcakes

This cupcake is my entry into this month's Cupcake Hero. Please visit the I Heart Cupcakes Blog and cast your vote for your favorite caramel creation!

This cupcake was inspired by the Snickers candy bar (my favorite!) My starting point was Peanut Cupcakes with Nougat-Chocolate Frosting from the Food Network website and I tweaked it from there. This cupcake is the best I've made and I think I can make it even better the next time around!

For the Cupcakes: (adapted from The Food Network: Peanut Cupcakes with Nougat-Chocolate Frosting)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup chopped salted roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat the eggs and both sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the melted butter and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, the milk and then the remaining flour. Fold in the peanuts but don't over mix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups, filling each about halfway. Bake until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter

In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes too hot to touch comfortably, 7 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on, medium-high speed until the egg whites hold a stiff peak and the egg whites have cooled, about 8 minutes. Switch to a paddle attachment and add the butter, one or two pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. When all the butter has been incorporated, continue beating for another 8-10 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and peanut butter.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes

6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt chocolates in a double boiler. When chocolate has melted, transfer to bowl of stand mixer and add the confectioners' sugar, milk, butter, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth and creamy.

To assemble cupcake:

Frost each cupcake (I used a pastry bag to make things easy) with a layer of Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream, top with a layer of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, sprinkle with chopped peanuts, and finish with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

TWD - Thumbprints for Us Big Guys

For this week's baking, Mike of Ugly Food Dude, chose "Thumbprints for Us Big Guys". Please visit Mike's site (he's very funny!) for the recipe or check page 164 in Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours". This was a super simple, tasty cookie and with endless variations, I think I will be making this one repeatedly. I baked this recipe pretty much as written with hazelnuts in the dough and a raspberry filling. The one exception was the portion size - Dorie instructs us to use a teaspoon of dough for each cookie. A teaspoon? For "Big Guy" cookies? I think my portion size was closer to a tablespoon! I gave these cookies to my mother to share with her co-workers and they gave the cookies a big thumbs up!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TWD - Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart

This week, Beryl of Cinemon Girl chose Toasted-Coconut Custard Tart for our baking pleasure. You can find the recipe on the Cinemon Girl blog or better yet, on pages 344 and 345 of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours".
I've never tasted coconut cream pie so I really don't have a baseline for assessing the yumminess of the tart but I can say that I wasn't crazy about it. Although I followed the recipe carefully, my dark Jamaican rum completely overpowered the filling. I could scarcely taste the coconut. I brought this tart to my co-workers who, in general, gave it a thumbs up!

Please visit the rest of the TWD baking crew to see what they thought of this recipe.