Sunday, May 29, 2016

Back to Basic: Vanilla Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting


I love cupcakes, but if i had to pick one flavor that will never disappoint me is vanilla cupcakes. I don't know what it is about this flavor, but I love a good vanilla cupcake! To me, I always think that anything "basic" will always be timeless. 

For those of you that did not know, this is actually my second time making cupcakes from scratch! Yes, I know... I'm still a baby at this baking thing but I love it and the whole process of it. I was amazed how moist and delicious these cupcakes turned out. Just to point out the obvious, yes my buttercream frosting is a little bit airy... but hey it was my first time making it and i couldn't be any more happier on how it turned out and flavor wise. (practice makes perfect right?)

Of course knowing me, I couldn't just make a plain vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting, I had to add a little shimmy to my frosting and make them more "me", so i added pink icing gel. I love pink! its my favorite color... can you blame me?
 Okay, now lets get started!  

Vanilla cupcake with Buttercream Frosting
INGREDIENTS:

VANILLA CUPCAKES:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
FOR FROSTING:
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Pink Icing Gel
INSTRUCTIONS:
FOR CUPCAKES
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.
  2. In a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs one at a time until combined.
  4. Add vanilla and vanilla bean seeds to milk then put aside.
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat with stand mixer until well combined. Add 1/3 of the milk and mix thoroughly. Repeat with remaining ingredients, scraping bowl as needed.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool pans completely on a wire rack.
FOR FROSTING:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Beat for several minutes until creamy.  Add in milk, vanilla & salt and continue to beat until frosting is light and fluffy and spreadable consistency. Add a little drop of icing gel and fold your frosting till you are pleased with the color. Put icing in a piping bag and pipe away!




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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes


I have always been a fan of lemon flavored baked goods. Lately, with summer approaching, lemon blueberry cupcakes have been becoming quite popular all over Pinterest. You can't go wrong when you're pairing up lemon with fresh blueberries, especially when they're on sale! 


These cupcakes were so fluffy and moist, my family couldn't resist them! Believe it or not, these were my first cupcakes that I made from scratch. Yes, i know crazy right? I'm still trying out and figuring out all these baking techniques since i'm new to baking (as in from scracth, always been a store box baking kind of gitl) but lately I've found that baking really calms my soul besides all the mess and dirty dishes. 


Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Ingredients:
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk, room temperature
1 cup fresh blueberries


8 ounces cream cheese 
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon
additional blueberries and lemon for garnish


Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pans with paper liners (I got about 20 cupcakes from this recipe). 

2. In a small bowl whisk together the 3/4 cup flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon juice, and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk. 


3. In a small bowl toss the blueberries with the 2 tablespoons flour to coat (coating flour to the blueberries will help them from sinking to the bottom) Gently fold the blueberries into the cake batter, being careful not to crush them!  Scoop the batter into the prepared cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake 20-22 minutes.


*Let cool 5-10 minutes in the pan then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely*

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, and beat until combined. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until combined, then beat for an extra minute or two until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with fresh blueberries and a slice of lemon for garnish.


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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dutch Apple Pie Cookies

One thing I love about Apple pies is that they are such a perfect comfort food! Also, nothing beats a yummy bite size dessert. I love this recipe so much because it is very easy to make! Perfect to bring to an office party, a get together, or just happen to have a few apples lying around the house. I also used store bought pie crust which made things twice as easy, you may also make your own home made pie crust of course! I was pretty tired to make my own pie crust but still had the itch to bake ( this was after working an eight hour shift) anyways, you're going to love this recipe! Especially when you have a carton of vanilla ice cream in your freezer, this is going to be a nice treat after a long day.




Ingredients:
  • 1 roll of refrigerated pie dough (I used Pillsburry pre-made pie crust)
  • 4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced finely
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 a stick of melted butter
Directions:
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the wells of a standard size muffin tin with nonstick spray. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut out circles about 2 inches in diameter. Gather and re-roll unused dough and cut additional circles. I used a cookie cutter that would fit perfectly in the muffin pans. Place the circles in the bottom of each muffin well.
  2. 2. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and cornstarch to a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5-10 minutes until the apples have softened slightly and the juices begin to thicken. Remove from heat.
  3. 3. Add about one tablespoon of the apple filling on top of each circle of pie dough.
  4. 4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, oats, and salt. Add melted butter and mix until well incorporated. If you feel that your streusel is a little too dry, slowly add a tablespoon of melted butter. 
  5. Add a heaping tablespoon of the streusel topping to each muffin well, and gently pat it down over the apples.
  6. Bake for 17-19 minutes. **Allow the apple pie cookies to cool in the muffin tin for at least 10-15 minutes before removing.** 
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Book Club: The Girl On The Train



One thing I love about gloomy weather is that it gives me an excuse to stay in the house all cozy-ed up with a good book. 

If you loved the movie "Gone Girl" or dark, haunting and physiological thriller then this book is right up your alley. This book can be difficult to understand because it is narrated by three different women, but in this case the author did a well done job... just takes some times getting use to. 

In the story there is a girl named Rachel who considers herself worthless. She feels that women are only valued for two things: their looks and their role as a mother. Rachel is desperately lonely and cut off from the world from losing Tom, a man she was married to before. She has lost her job and continues to ride the train twice a day. From the window of the train she observed not only the backyard of peoples homes, but the daily activities of another couple who resides down the street from her previous home. 

Rachel has a big imagination. In her head, she has given the couple names and has created a fairy-tale love life for them. In her head, "They're a match, they're a set" and a symbol of all that she lost. One day, the couple that she has imagined in her head turns out to be a "not so perfect" couple. Suddenly everything changes, especially when the woman goes missing. Rachel is determined to solve the mystery of what she saw. 

Her broken memory starts to become a challenge for her, but as this book continues, clues start to be put together. But where do they lead? Can Rachel remember what she saw? How can they believe she can solve this murder case if she only knew these people from a window seat of a train?

This book will keep you guessing who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. I couldn't put this book down. This is not your typical "who has done it" kind of mystery.  There is suspicion almost every character at some point in the book. And none of them are ruled out until the very end. I think the comparison to Gone Girl are deserved. If you are looking for a satisfying thriller, this one won't disappoint you. 


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