Dark Chocolate Icing

Icing is hard for me to write a recipe for because most times I wing it! But here is my chocolate icing recipe to the best of what I do:

1.5 sticks of butter (soft)
3 cups of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk (can replace with heavy cream to be richer)
1.5 tablespoons of Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder

Whip butter in a stand mixer. Slowly add in powdered sugar, alternating with a little bit of milk. When you get to a consistancy you like, add in cocoa powder!

Voila!!!

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3-Layer Mini Chocolate Cake

Nothing makes me happier than entertaining people. I love to host guests!!!! Of course it gives me the chance to practice my baking skills 🙂 Tomorrow my brother, sister-in-law, and niece are coming over for dinner, and all 3 of them love chocolate cake. My 1.5-year-old niece can eat an entire cake if you gave it to her!

A few months back, Eric gave me 3 mini spring-form pans for our anniversary. I had initially planned on making mini cheesecakes, but I didn’t have any cream cheese. So I decided to make a mini 3-layer cake instead. It would feed 4 people and I won’t have leftovers. I used my chocolate cake recipe, and a basic dark chocolate icing recipe.

I actually think it turned out great! The cake is fantastic, and the icing turned out decadent. I wanted to try this because I know I have a lot of improvement in my cake decorating. Surprisingly, I don’t hate how I did! I have much to improve on, but this wasn’t that bad. I added shaved chocolate to the top, and drizzled chocolate as well. I garnished it with some strawberries. Tadaa!!

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Hopefully the family likes it tomorrow!

Results:

Cake: A
Icing: A-
Decorating: B

Strawberries n cream crumb cake

I’ve been buying a lot of berries lately in my attempt to replace my unhealthy snacks with something a little better for me. While I stuff myself with as many berries as possible, I always have leftover! It’s such a waste to throw perfectly good fruit out, so I decided to find a good recipe to use the rest of my strawberries. After some googling around, I settled on the Strawberry N Cream Crumb Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It sounded delicious, and I had all the right ingredients without having to take a trip to the grocery store.

Recipe here.

A warning: I didn’t use a springboard pan, I just used a pie plate and it turned out great! Basically, it’s a “5” layer cake. The first layer is the cake. Next comes a cream cheese lining followed by a layer of strawberries, then the crumb toping, and finally a glaze on top. I followed the recipe pretty straightforward. The only part I had a little trouble with was the glaze. For some reason, glazes and drizzles are my nemesis. Mine was too liquidy this time! Tips are welcome.

Here is how it turned out:

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It tastes awesome!! I originally thought the cream cheese and top part would be thicker, but I’m happy it’s actually not as thick. It is still so rich and creamy and adds a perfect amount of luxury to the cake.

Grades

Taste: B+ (could use a little more cream cheese…. I like mine loaded!)

consistency: A- …. so moist!

I will definitely be making this again!

Cheesecake Delights

I can’t believe it’s August already! I went an entire month without baking cupcakes. I did bake a really good Peach Pie (recipe coming later), but I was feeling a little depressed that my KitchenAid has become a distant friend. When I was looking up recipes today I came across mini cheesecake bites. They looked delightful! I looked up the recipe and was surprised to see how easy they were.

Recipe:

2 8 oz packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 tsp of vanilla
2 eggs
Nilla Wafers

Whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the sugar. Then add the vanilla, and the two eggs. Place a Nilla Wafer at the bottom of the cupcake liners. Pour the batter on top of the cookie, filling the liner almost completely. Bake for 20 minutes at 350.

The best part about this is that you can add whatever topping you want on top! I added strawberries and chocolate shell syrup.

Results:

The flavor is incredible!!! And I think they look adorable. I say they were a great success.

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Grades:

Flavor: A-
Decoration / look: B

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

It’s hard to believe I’ve been baking all this time and have not yet done anything with peanut butter. Who doesn’t like peanut butter?! It’s my boyfriend’s birthday and he is a tough one to bake for. He doesn’t really like much. He does love Reeces peanut butter cups, however.

I debated going with a peanut butter cake, but the chocolate cake was better fitting. I used my basic chocolate cake recipe.

for the icing, I kind of did my own thing with the influence of the internet (as everything is!)

Icing:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of peanut butter

blend those two until creamy.

Then add about 1.5 cups of powdered sugar. Once that starts to get chunky, add a tablespoon or two of milk to get it back being “whippy.”

I then crushed up Reeces cups in my food chopper and added them on top of the icing. I had intentions to drizzle chocolate, but again, my chocolate drizzle failed me! One of these days I will figure out how to drizzle it perfectly.

Here it is!

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Despite the drizzle fail, I love the way they look! I didn’t use a liner because I wanted to be able to see the chocolate cake. Because I didn’t do a liner, the cakes are more shallow as only the middle rose (funny how it doesn’t that!) But I’m pleased. And everybody LOVED them! So that’s always a winner.

Results:
Cake: A
Icing: A –
Decorating:
B+

Cupcakes in Flower Pots!

One of my favorite places to go to eat/shop around me is a little place called Terrain at Styers. It’s a flower and garden shop owned by Anthropologie that is absolutely inspiring to walk through. What’s even better is their food. Every time I go to their cafe, they serve bread in little flower pots. I always thought that was a cute idea!

Flash forward to a few weeks ago when I was attending a Fiber Retreat and needed something to bring. I love cupcakes but for some reason I felt like doing something different. I’m really trying to work on my decorating skills, primarily flowers, and I thought of the idea to bake cupcakes inside of flower pots and decorate them with flowers on top. I went to my local Ace to get some mini pots and was disappointed that they only had 4-inch clay pots. Still determined to see my goal happen, I got the larger pots and decided to figure it out as I went along.

Before you try this, make sure you are using untreated clay pots! I cut little pieces of parchment paper and put them in the bottom of the pots to stop the batter from seeping out. Since these were larger pots, the cake took forever to bake!! I’m talking 50 minutes.

Here is the final product:

I loved it! I think despite my poor flower decorating abilities, they came out pretty cute. I’m still learning how to use the petal tips and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get them close enough to not have a space in the center. But, nothing a little Sixlet can’t fix. I also should have waited for the cake to cool down before I baked them because the icing started to run a little. Oh well, live and learn!

Grades:

Cake: A

Decorating: B-

Originality: A!!

Sea-Salted Caramel Cupcakes

There is nothing I love more than caramel. I love the sugary flavor mixed with just a hint of salt to really bring out the flavor. While I have a deep love of caramel, I was always too scared to make it. It just seemed like so much work. I was craving caramel recently and decided to go for it, but I wanted caramel icing. Every icing I’ve mad prior was a made in my kitchen aid with colder products, so this would be a first at making icing on the stove. That thought kind of scared me. What if it was too warm?! Because I love the decorating aspect, I was really worried the icing would be too warm to stick to the shape I made it. But I went for it.

I got the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addictions. I followed it pretty precisely.

The cake was great. I didn’t taste an overwhelming amount of caramel. It was more extra rich because of the dark brown sugar, but I wouldn’t say it was caramel flavored.

The recipe…. oh man, that was amazing! I followed it exactly because I was worried of messing up. You basically make caramel on the stove, and then let it sit and whip powdered sugar into it to make icing. I let my caramel cool for about 20 minutes. I still think it was warm, but I went for it with the icing. The recipe made just enough for a dozen cupcakes. The icing was… to die for!!!! It was so rich in caramel flavor but wasn’t too rich to eat. It was perfect. While it was warm, it wasn’t too warm to melt and my cupcakes ended up looking great. I added a pinch of salt to top it off. I also drizzled chocolate on top.

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Results:

Cake: B – nothing too special. I think it was good, but I’m more of a chocolate fan so it’s hard for a vanilla cake to really stand out. I also need to fill my liners a little bit more. I use my cupcake scoop that is supposed to be a perfect amount, but I think I underfill because I’m scared to have them too large.

Icing: A. It was perfect.

Decorating:  B + I need to learn how to water down my chocolate drizzle!

Sunflowers for Mom

With Mother’s day approaching, I wanted to make something floral and yummy for my mom. I saw a lot of Sunflower cupcakes recently on the Baking Subreddit and got a lot of inspiration from them. I bought the Wilton 352 leaf tip and took a stab at it. Boy, that was harder than imagined. Thank god sunflowers are whimsical to begin with. I found starting wasn’t bad, but finishing the petals without stretching it too long was a bit of a struggle. I baked these at my parents house, so despite them looking a little more wilted, I enjoyed every second of baking with my mom. Sometimes I feel a little more intermediate than I am, and I go home and realize I have so much to learn from her! She is the true pro, and I love to learn from her.

What do you think?

My grades:

Decorating: B. can definitely improve!

Mom’s Happiness: A+

My Niece’s Smash Cake!

I did it! After laboring over how I was going to make my niece’s smash cake for her first birthday, I finally decided what I wanted to do. I used the giant cupcake pan and did rosettes on top for a decoration. I then added a fake butterfly to the top and some flowers on the side for an added attraction. It came out… perfect!

Have a look!

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And my niece looked adorable with the cake too 🙂

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What do you think?!

Grades:

Decorating: A- (still working on making it so you can’t see the cake under the icing)

Cake: A

 

Bunny Butts!

It’s almost Easter! That means… more festive decorating! I saw these designs online and was so excited try. I used a star tip to do the grass and molded the bunnies with Wilton Shape N Amaze. They came out so much better than I expected! the Shape N Amaze sometimes is hard to stick to each other, but since the feet went into the grass icing, it held it right in place. The tails were held on with a little icing, and a little pink icing on the feet for added taste.

What do you think?!

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