Showing posts with label frosting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frosting. Show all posts


Pink Sprinkle Cake with Maraschino Cherries

Okay, so this isn't a recipe share today, so I'm definitely cheating a little bit. But this little sweet cake is totally worth it.  

At my church, every year, the young men host a cake auction to raise money for the scouts. Members of the church voluntarily donate a cake for everyone to bid on, and in return the scouts provide a big spaghetti & meatball dinner. It was delicious, and we all had a blast watching our friends bid on all the unique and tasty cakes. 

For that evening, I thought it would be fun to bring two small cakes (2 x 6" layers). I was a little nervous to bring them (I'd never been to one of these cake auction nights before, and didn't know what kind of cakes I was setting my cakes up against for auction!). There were so many beautiful and creative cakes. There was even a 3-tier fondant BYU football cake with a fondant helmet on top. It was amazing! I loved seeing all the cakes lined up and hearing all the high bids to take them home.

My cakes did better than I expected, and I was so grateful my husband didn't have to bid on them to save me from hiding under the table. Now that I think about it, I kind of wish he did bid on them! They were loaded with some of my favorite flavors, and I wanted to taste the finished product so badly. Alas, the scouts needed the $$$, the cakes were auctioned away, and we were still able to come home with a darling little "pizza" cake made by one of my darling primary kids. It was yummy! 

So, this and next Friday, I'm going to share how I made the cakes I took to the auction! I wish, wish, wish, I could have gotten a photo of them sliced open, but I knew I'd probably have to outbid everyone else to get the photo (combined they went for over $120!). People must have been really really hungry for cake, eh?

Let's jump into this darling little beauty... 


Pink and Gold Ombre Star Tiered Cake, and Pink Ombre Rosette Smash Cake

**Although I made the cake, the photo above is property of Alicia Kinne Photography. Please visit her website for pricing on her incredible photography sessions, and to be inspired by her other beautiful work.**

Today, I thought I'd share something extra special with all of you! My darling niece is turning 1 this month, and her Daddy was able to sneak home from serving in the Army for an early birthday party to celebrate. I felt so blessed to be able to use what newbie skills I have to make the day special in what little way I could. I love my nieces and nephews so much, and making cakes for them is something I will always always say HECK YES to. 


Cookies & Cream Frosting

Happy Monday, everyone! I have some seriously mouthwatering goodness to share with y'all today. These cupcakes are off-the-hook, and the frosting was really what sealed the deal on these little beauties...


Peppermint Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Mousse Frosting

It's cupcake time. 

I wanted to create a Christmas treat that highlighted some of my favorite holiday flavors, but especially wanted the dessert to be appealing to cupcake enthusiasts, as well as those just starting out in the baking department. Also, my husband told me the day before that he wanted to take some cupcakes into the judge and some of his coworkers. Good thing these came together so quickly, eh?

The thing I strayed away from as much as possible was the taste of toothpaste. I know, sounds strange when you're highlighting peppermint. But I've tried so many peppermint desserts that taste just like toothpaste, and don't have enough balance with the rest of the ingredients. This recipe, however, came out perfectly on the first try (not very common when I'm trying to develop a new recipe from scratch). 

I turned to a cake mix as a base (don't you dare judge! I was going for easy. And with my modifications, they tasted so good - people commented on how homemade they tasted. haaah. Fooled everyone, straight up). To the base, I added a few extracts, changed the ingredients around, and tossed in a handful of Andes peppermint bits. I love those bits! They're not peppermint sticks smashed up - they're like white chocolate and just enough peppermint wrapped into little crumbly bits. It's amazing, and they bake beautifully. 

Next, I slathered on a little white chocolate ganache to tie in that white chocolate flavor from the bits. And to seal the deal: chocolate mousse frosting. THIS STUFF IS CRACK. I found it on my favorite cupcake blog of all time, and will never turn back. It tastes like velvety chocolatey heaven - and guess what? You don't have to add 2 pounds of powdered sugar to fluff it up. Also, the mousse frosting surprisingly kept it's form beautifully - refrigerated or not. 

These quickly became our very favorite cupcakes of the year. 
Make them. Bake them. Try them. Dazzle your family this holiday season. 
Merry Christmas, dearest friends/readers/family! 


- - -

Peppermint Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate Mousse Frosting 
makes 24 cupcakes


Classic White Cake Mix (I like Duncan Hines)
1/4 C vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 C water
2 t peppermint extract 
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
2/3 C Andes Peppermint Crunch pieces (found in baking section)
cupcake liners

1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C white chocolate chips

mousse frosting: *adapted from
1 C heavy whipping cream
1 small package of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C cold milk

nonpareils for sprinkling

1. to make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine cake mix, veggie oil, egg whites and water. Mix for about 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. Add extracts & peppermint bits and mix for about 20 seconds until combined. 
2. Fill each cupcake liner halfway with batter. Bake for about 15 minute - check at 10 - just until top of cupcakes spring back. Don't cook until browned. Take them out before that, for sure, mmkay? Wait 5 minutes until cupcakes have cooled in muffin tin, then remove and continue cooling on a wire rack. 
3. make ganache: in a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until hot-to-the-touch. Yes, burn your finger in the name of desserts - it's worth it. If you look up asbestos in the dictionary, you'd probably see a picture of my fingers. Turn off heat. Toss in white chocolate chips and stir until completely melted. Spread over cooled cupcakes. Let dry while adding frosting. 
4. make frosting: In the bowl of your chilled metal bowl fitted with chilled whisk attachment (put both in your freezer for 5 minutes), whip cream until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk together pudding powder, sweetened condensed milk, and milk until completely combined. Slowly fold in chocolate mixture to the fluffy whipped cream. When completely combined, pop in the fridge for about 5 minutes. Scoop into a piping bag, and frost your cupcakes. Garnish with nonparelis. 

recipe source: baking with blondie

to prevent the hundreds of emails wondering what the heck "Andes Peppermint Crunch" is, where it's from, or what it looks like, here you go, friends: 
Found right in the baking isle :) 


White Chocolate Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

My husband has been tainted. 

I thought I'd never be able to satisfy that insatiable desire of his...

...for the perfect cinnamon roll.

It all started in college. He had this guy roommate who was basically a God in the kitchen. We'll call him Scott. 

Okay, his name is actually Scott. 

The well of imagination is running a little dry this morning. 

Scott's Mom is apparently the mother ship of all things baking. She's a genius, and an absolute legend. She taught Scott all she knows, or at least enough to ruin the pallets of anyone who is privileged enough to taste one of his baking creations. 

Unfortunately for me, Ryan has had a batch or two of Scott's famous cinnamon rolls. Second to none, Ryan always said. I've tried on countless occasions to make him cinnamon rolls just as good, but without batting an eye, he always started the next sentence with "Scott cinnamon rolls this blah blah blah". 

I was 1-upped. Always. By this roommate of his, and his famous baking skills. 

He was right, though. Scott's cinnamon rolls were incredibly fluffy, gooey warm, and by far the best I have ever tasted (really, it puts the Lion House here in Utah to shame). 

Last week, the winds of change blew through our apartment - 

I hadn't prepared Ryan for what was coming, spent the afternoon tending this beautiful pumpkin cinnamon roll dough, adding in a touch of white chocolate, and stirring in some Fall maple to warm up the frosting with sweetness. I knew I had a chance against the unspoken dynasty of cinnamon roll royalty.

Ryan walked in from work. Without a word, I handed him a plate of these warm white chocolate pumpkin cinnamon rolls with maple cream cheese frosting.

Let's just say - 

his eyes grew wide and almost filled with tears of joy


he was absolutely speechless.


White Chocolate Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 15 cinnamon rolls


1/4 C warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1/3 C warm milk
3/4 C pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 T melted butter
3-4 C all-purpose-flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger

1/2 C butter softened
3/4 to 1 C brown sugar
pumpkin pie spice
3/4 C white chocolate chips

4oz cream cheese
4-6 T maple syrup
4 T butter softened
1 T vanilla
2-4 C powdered sugar
milk for thinning to desired consistency

1. In the bottom of the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until yeast activates.
2. Add milk, pumpkin puree, beaten egg, melted butter, and about 1 1/2 C flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Beat for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
3. Switch out paddle attachment for the dough hook attachment. Slowly add remaining flour, a little at a time, until dough becomes smooth and stretchy. I did all the kneading in the mixer with the paddle attachment, but if you don't have one, remove the dough from the mixing bowl, and knead out on a floured surface until ready.
4. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn dough around in bowl so the entire ball is slightly coated in grease. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for about an hour until dough is doubled in size.
5. Roll out dough in a large rectangle on a slightly floured surface - 18-20 inches. Smear surface with slightly melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips. Carefully roll dough (hot dog or long way) into a log and pinch the ends. Using a string slid under the log and pulled together, pinch the log into 15 slices.
6. Place slices in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes until doubled in size. Mine took about an hour, so keep an eye on it. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven.
8. Prepare frosting while pumpkin rolls are baking - beat softened cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup together until combined. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk until you gain your desired consistency - I like mine more like frosting vs. glaze, so it's up to you! Frost pumpkin rolls while warm, and serve right away. Reheat if serving later. They taste great cold, but AMAZING warm.

recipe adapted from: chef-in-training


Cherry Limeade Shortbread Cookies

It was one of those ultimate panic moments.

The dessert gods were not going to let me find what I was looking for, and my husband thought I was completely nuts.

Maraschino cherries can be tricky little shiesters - especially when you're trying to find ones with long stems (or stems at all). And of course - the BBQ I was taking these to was only a couple short hours away.

I had driven to 3 different grocery stores, and couldn't find stemmed maraschinos  Also, it didn't help that each store had a completely different idea of what grocery isle the cherries should be shelved on (some were in the freezer section next to the ice cream, some where in the fruit isle, and some where shelved with the condiments.) It was frustrating.

I eventually gave in, and bought cherries without stems. I think the cookies still turned out lovely, but the stem would have added some beautiful height.

Ryan assured me it wasn't the end of the world. And maybe he was right. Just maybe.

Making cookies and frosting with Kool-Aid mixes is OFF THE HOOK, folks. The cookies and frosting had such an intense (but not overwhelming by any means) flavor of lemon-lime and cherry. We used black cherry, but plain 'ol cherry would do just fine. I think it would be so much fun to use lemon kool-aid for a little lemon shortbread cookie, or even watermelon kool-aid with little black sprinkles for a sugar cookie. This kool-aid thing just opened up a whole new world.

Minus the Aladdin part.


Cherry Limeade Shortbread Cookies
makes about 25 cookies


cherry shortbread cookies:
3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 pack of dark cherry Kool-Aid
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

limeade frosting:
1/2 C unsalted butter
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 pack of lemon-lime Kool-Aid
3-4 T milk

maraschino cherries

1. To make the cookies: in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars - about 2-3 minutes. Add kool-aid, vanilla, and eggs. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
2. Divide dough into 2 logs (about 8 x 2 inch). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Cut logs into 1/2 inch slices, place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Cool on cookie rack.

5. To make frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add kool-aid and milk and beat until fluffy (adjusting consistency with more powdered sugar or milk).
6. Fill a piping bag and 1M Wilton tip - frost cooled cookies and top with a cherry.

recipe source: sweet p's baking co. 


Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

You know those blogs who post a TON of pictures of one stupid cake?
Seriously, who do they think they are?
The queen of the universe?
I mean, one picture is all it takes. Maybe two.
I would never...
 Until I made this cake. 

My 2 lbs (for under $2 this week - I love Spring!) of strawberries were ripening much faster than I anticipated. It drove me nuts. You see, I wasn't planning on using them until a few days later, and I already had a dessert on the fridge destroying my afternoon snack on a daily basis. 

Oh wait, did I say destroying?

I meant rocking.

If you run your miles, you can enjoy every morsel, my friends.

Anyway, off to the store I went for the DOZEN eggs needed to make this blessed dessert. After I came home, and started the cake, I thought things were going pretty well. Unfortunately, my blonde ways came to the forefront, and I got halfway through medium-peaking my egg whites before I noticed I didn't have enough cream of tartar. I wanted to slam my head against the fridge - I had JUST been at the store a half hour before. 

Even happen to you? No? Please tell me yes.

Thankfully, a dear friend was clutch, providing me with enough cream of tartar to continue with my very first attempt at making angel food cake. (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!) 

For the recipe, I turned to one of the Food Network Lords: THE Mr. Alton Brown. I've honestly never made a recipe of his that hasn't turned out perfectly. The man's a genius. 

Making this cake, oh man - it was an art, really. It has the most beautiful consistency, and the batter is light as a feather. I sliced up my strawberries, made a quick frosting (I know this cake is typically dolloped with whipped cream, but play pretend with me just this once? I had no heavy whipping cream lying around), and heated up some strawberry jam to pour over the slices.

It was divine.  

Angel Food Cake 
makes one bundt, serves a thousand toddlers

1 3/4 C sugar
1/4 t salt
1 C cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites (room temperature) 
1/3 C warm water
1 t almond extract
1 1/2 t cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
2. In a food processor, spin sugar about 2 minutes until a powder forms. Split the sugar powder in half, and mix one half with the salt and cake flour. Set the other half aside for later. 
 3. In a large bowl, use a large whisk to thoroughly combine (until foamy) egg whites, water, almond extract, and cream of tartar. After a couple minutes, switch to mixer fitted with whisk attachment. 
4. Slowly sift the reserved sugar onto egg mixture, beat continuously at medium speed until you reach medium peaks. 
5. Once you have reached medium peaks, sift enough flour mixture on the surface of egg mixture to cover (small layer). Fold in with spatula. Repeat again with remaining flour mixture. Continue until all is incorporated.
6. Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube/bundt pan. Bake for 35 minutes - check with toothpick for doneness. Yes, that's a word now. Cool in pan, cake-side up for an hour before moving from pan. 
7. Serve with fresh strawberries, whipping cream or vanilla frosting, and warm jam for dripping. 


Pear Almond Cake with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream

Um... so....
You see this cake?
I totally made it at 11:30pm on Nyquil. 

Imagine laying individual sliced almonds "neatly" in a row when your eyes can barely stay open. 

It was the Saturday night before Easter, and I told my family I'd bring dessert. I had it all planned out, baked the cake layers early, but somehow got distracted throughout the day and ended up frosting/decorating the cake last minute. I was still getting over the cold my son passed on to us, and had already taken some medicine for the night, but it was only after I had taken the Nyquil when I realized that I'd have zero time the next day to get the cake done before we had to head to my Mom's for Easter dinner. So I swirled the top of the cake and started laying down sliced almonds on the sides... I remember laughing at how insane it looked, instead of the perfect picture I had planned out in my head. My experiences with Nyquil are very infrequent, but it's been my experience that everything is hilarious a few hours into taking it.

The next morning I fell in love with the unkempt quality of the sides. It reminded me of dragon scales. I remembered just how delicious the inside of the cake is with the layers of moist almond pear cake, made from fresh pear puree. I soaked the insides with cinnamon simple syrup, and frosted the dang thing with cinnamon brown sugar buttercream. It was HEAVEN, I tell you. And the most perfect cake for our family feast on Easter Sunday. or any given Sunday. or for breakfast. or with a fork for a snack. I won't judge.

Moral of the story, in my case: Nyquil frosts good cakes. 

Pear Almond Cake with Cinnamon Simple Syrup & Cinnamon Brown Sugar Butter Cream

3 C cake flour, siften
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T butter, melted and cooled
2/3 C pear puree
1 3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1 t almond extract
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 C milk

Cinnamon Simple Syrup:
1 C water
3/4 C sugar
1 T cinnamon 

1/2 C browned butter, cooled to a solid
1/4 C vegetable shortening
1/3 C dark brown sugar, packed
1 pinch of salt
1/8 t vanilla extract
1/2 t cinnamon
3 C powdered sugar
1/4 C heavy whipping cream

To make cake: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake rounds with a smear of shortening and a light flour coat.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add both extracts, beat until thoroughly mixed together, then add in pureed pear.
3. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with wet mixture, beat very well after each addition. Continue until everything has been added and incorporated.
4. Pour mixture into prepared pans, bake about 30-35 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes, then turn cake out of pans onto a cooling rack.

To make syrup:
1. Heat sugar, cinnamon, and water over medium high heat until bubbling rapidly. Stir, turn heat off, and let cool completely. Brush syrup between cake layers and let soak before frosting.  

To make frosting:
1. In a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, whisk softened brown butter and shortening until fluffy. Add brown sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon, and beat until smooth.  
2. Add in one cup of powdered sugar at a time, and beat well after each addition. With your mixer on medium speed, carefully and slowly pour in heavy whipping cream. Don't overmix, only combine until fluffy.

recipe source: country cleaver via


Banana Split Cupcakes

You see, I love Spring. To me, this beautiful season feels like more of a beginning-to-the-year than January. It brings all kinds of reasons to celebrate, and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings with loved ones. I feel like whenever Spring hits, the baby & bridal showers start popping up all over the place like daisies. And what's more fun to celebrate than brand new mini humans or two lovers tying the knot?

For me, these times of celebration mean one thing: lovely desserts. 

In this case, cupcakes. 

Some pretty over-the-top cupcakes, I must say.

These moist and fluffy cupcakes were created with fresh banana puree. Inside each cup-of-heaven is adorned so decadently with creamy banana custard. 

Next is a layer of the most sinfully smooth vanilla buttercream frosting you've ever encountered, only to be dunked in chocolate ganache that's so blissful, it could make you blush. Spin that layer around with a playful coating of sprinkles, then top it off again with a swirl of more vanilla frosting, and a cherry on top. 

...banana split in cupcake form.

This, my friends, is how we celebrate!

 Banana Split Cupcakes


banana cupcake:
1 1/2 C self-rising flour
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 C)
2 C sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 C banana puree (fresh bananas, pureed to a thin sauce)
1 t vanilla extract

banana cream custard filling:
1 1/2 whole bananas
1 C milk
1 C heavy cream
1/4 C corn starch
1/2 C + 2 T sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 t kosher salt

vanilla buttercream frosting
(recipe source: Life {Made} Simple)
16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 T heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 t salt

chocolate dipping sauce:
2/3 C dark chocolate
2 T heavy cream
4 T powdered sugar, sifted
5-8 T warm water

To make cupcakes:
1. In a separate medium bowl, combine both flours and whisk to combine, set aside.
2. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with paddle attachement, cream butter on medium speed until very smooth. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each one.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, banana puree, and vanilla extract.
5. Adding the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the banana mixture. With each addition, don't overmix - just beat until barely combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl when needed. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Cook cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes, then remove from tins and cool on a wire rack before icing.

To make banana cream custard filling:
 1. Place all ingredients in a medium food processor or blender and combine to a fine sauce. pour mixture into a saucepan over medium heat an cook until bubbly - whisk constantly. Cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture can coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.

To make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
1. Cream together butter, salt, vanilla, and min the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment for about 1 minute.
2. Mixing on low, add sugar 1/2 C at a time, mix completely after each addition. Add cream to desired consistency.

To make chocolate dipping sauce:
1. Place chocolate and heavy cream in a metal bowl over simmering water in a small saucepan. Let chocolate and cream melt slowly together for about 2-3 minutes without stirring. Slowly mix to combine and add powdered sugar.
2. Add water one tablespoon at  time, and mix very well after each addition, until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.

To assemble:
1. To stuff cupcakes, create a well in center of each cupcake using whatever you usually use (I use a melon baller, haha!) Fill well with custard filling (using a spoon or piping bag).
2. Fill a pastry bag with a large round tip and frosting. Start piping from the inside (covering up the custard), and create one even frosting layer. Freeze cupcakes 20 minutes (or else your chocolate dipping sauce will melt your frosting).
3. Dip top of cupcakes into chocolate sauce, the immediately rim with sprinkles. Return cupcakes immediately to freezer for about 5 minutes.
4. With a star tip, pipe the rest of the frosting onto each chocolate-covered cupcake and immediately garnish with a maraschino cherry (make sure cherry has no dripping juices, dry on a towel).

Recipe source: Bakers Royale


Easy Caramel Frosting

My darling sister-in-law had a birthday last weekend, and my cute little brother asked me if we could make a cake to surprise her with. I couldn't wait to get started on that thing! I love making cakes! No, really I do.

We decided to go with a rosette cake like this one, but using my cocoa buttercream frosting for the swirls, and white pearls instead of ivory. It looked so elegant, and I smelled like heaven (that frosting is such a blessed thing, I tell you). And on the inside, we did 4 triple chocolate layers, and between each layer we used this caramel frosting. Another blessed thing, that frosting is.

I wished I would have taken a picture of the dang thing! Oh well, I think the smile on my brother's face as he was about to head into his apartment (where she was) with the cake-in-hand was worth a thousand pictures. It was adorable.

Well... apparently this batch of caramel frosting goes a long way, so with the extras, I made a few little cupcakes. With this recipe, you can easily add in a little of sea salt if you like things salty, or you could just use my salted caramel frosting altogether. Both should do well.

Easy Caramel Frosting

1 stick of butter
1 C brown sugar
1/4 t salt
6 T milk
3-5 C sifted powdered sugar (depending on how thick consistency you want)

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in brown sugar and salt.
2. Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes (careful not to burn), stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add milk. Stir with a whisk until fully combined. 
3. Return to heat and slowly bring to a boil again. Remove from heat. Bring to room temperature (either by letting it sit out forever, or sticking in the freezer for 5 minutes like I did.)
4. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add caramel mixture, and slowly add in powdered sugar about a 1/2 cup at a time. If frosting is looking too stiff, stop adding powdered sugar and maybe add in a little milk. If frosting is looking too thin, keep adding powdered sugar to your desired consistency. 

recipe adapted from:
Still in the running for the Top Food Blog of 2013 - you can vote once per day. Thanks again for all your support! All you do is click the link, and give Baking with Blondie a thumbs up!


Raspberry Rosette Spritzer Cookies with Almond Cream Cheese Filling

I seriously thought I was going to break off all my fingers making these cookies.

And my fingers kind of play an important role in playing my music. That's how much I needed to try out these cookies. I risked my very life to make them. 

Monday this week is a little heavy on the theatrics. 

But the core of the aforementioned is true. These cookies were so light, and had such a dainty tea-party-with-your-pinkie-sky-high touch to them. They tasted divine (spritzer cookies taste just like vanilla shortbread cookies, but with a tad more depth in flavor and texture). I first saw these on i am baker and knew I needed to put them on my list somewhere (Ryan claims I have waaay too many lists). But somehow they came to the surface this week, and in the late hours of the evening, I tried my hand at making the dang rosette cookies. Literally. 

Instead of splitting the dough into three different flavors (Neapolitan style, as she did), I focused on a flavor of my own: raspberry. I had some leftover almond infused cream cheese frosting saved, so using that as the filling was a no-brainer. The almond folded in so decadently with the raspberry, and the soft frosting was a beautiful contrast to the crumbly texture of the spritzer cookies. 

Sounds so lovely, now what was my problem?

The dough was a tough mother to get through my large 1M star piping tip. It was a beast. You'd think with thousands of hours of conditioning my fingers with the keys on my horn I'd be able to squeeze a little cookie dough through a tip. Nope. I ended up reading through the comments, and found out that if the dough was warmer, it was easier to handle. I flung open my 400 degree oven, and set my metal mixing bowl close to the heat on the oven door. Laugh it up (I know I am). But it totally worked. It was much easier to pipe through, and my probability of going postal in the kitchen simmered down immensely. 
Raspberry Rosette Spritzer Cookies with Almond Cream Cheese Filling

1 C room temperature butter
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t almond extract
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t raspberry extract
red gel food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease your cookie sheet in whatever way tickles your fantsy. 
2. In your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine bitter, sugar, egg, and extracts in mixer. Blend at medium speed and scrape bowl if needed. Mix until very creamy. Add in coloring.  Add flour and salt, blend at low speed until fully combined.
3. Insert a 1M or 2D tip into your pastry bag. Fill bag with cookie dough. Warm up cookie dough by squishing it around with your hands, holding it over your hot oven (no joke), or visiting the underworld. All steps are probably needed. Okay, maybe. 
4. Pipe in rosette pattern onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 5-8 minutes. Spread or pipe in filling.

 Recipe adapted from: i am baker
Still in the running for the Top Food Blog of 2013 - you can vote once per day. Thanks again for all your support! All you do is click the link, and give Baking with Blondie a thumbs up!


A Lovely Cake for a Little Miss

This past weekend I had the wonderful privilege of making a dear friend's daughter's first birthday cake. Her little one seriously has the biggest eyes you've ever seen on such a little girl - accompanied by a teeny tiny mouth that is almost always at a pucker. It's downright adorable. 

When she had so willingly babysat the Manchild when I was recording a couple segments with some local tv stations, I was more than happy (and eager!) to make her dear little one's birthday cake. When I dropped off the cake, you should have seen the amazing decorations and beautiful food she had ready for the party. It was a French Cafe theme, and so perfect for such a little sweet girl. I thought the cake was perfectly feminine, and with just the right amount of daintiness. The Eiffel Tower is actually a souvenir from Paris when the little one's Mom visited France a while ago.

The cake was two-layers, with the top layer being slightly smaller than the bottom. To me, the cake was basically a lovechild between my Cherry Almond Vanilla Cupcakes and the frosting technique I used with my Almond Infused Cream Cheese Frosting. I added a light layer of sliced maraschino cherries inside each cake layer, and loved using the little frosting pearls to complete the petal frosting theme with a flower on top.


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Almond Mascarpone Frosting

Today is my sweet Mom's Birthday. She's 50-something years young, and as spritey and gorgeous as ever! So much of what I've learned in the kitchen is from watching her prepare recipe after recipe, year after year. She's fearless, and can make a mean pan of never-fail brownies.

We celebrated this past Saturday as a family at one of our favorite restaurants. Endless soup and salad? It was a match made in heaven.

Each year for her birthday, I try to make her a special dessert. One year, it was a three-layered white-fondant covered strawberry cake with fondant sunflowers. It was my very first time with fondant, and she was a really good sport about it. The next year, I made this Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake - and it was freaky-delicious. Another year, I made the beast. It was probably my favorite cake I've ever made, but MAN it was nuts. Martha Stewart's Ultimate Coconut Cake was 4 separate recipes to tackle. It required a lot of effort, and was well worth every minute (and quite the load of butter). This year, I wanted to go with something very simple, yet elegant (we were going to be full to the brim with soup and salad, after all, by the time dessert would come around.)

I decided on decadent white and black cupcakes with gold liners. The black was my traditional dark chocolate cupcake. The white was something new. I wanted to balance out the heavy, dense, dark chocolate with something light and dreamy. Mascarpone was the perfect ingredient for frosting, and added a special touch of elegance to these cupcakes. I switched up a few ingredients on the recipe: I decided almond, for this cupcake, was a better fit than vanilla. Also, I thought the frosting needed a bit more sweetness, so I added powdered sugar. Still, the frosting was very light, and countered wonderfully with the dark intense flavors on bottom.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

For the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes recipe, click here on a previous post.


Almond Mascarpone Frosting 

16oz mascarpone cheese
1 C heavy whipping cream
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 t almond extract (add more after tasting)
1/4 C powdered sugar

1. In a bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add mascarpone, cream, granulated sugar, almond extract and powdered sugar.
2. Start mixing on low, and slowly increase speed to medium-high. Do not overmix. Beat until soft peaks begin to form.
3. Fill piping bags with desired tip, and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Recipe adapted from: Life {Made} Simple's recipe featured on Style Me Pretty


Wild Rumpus Marshmallow Fondant Cake

So I have this adorable friend, and her little boy is one of the cutest little ones I've ever seen (brightest blue eyes just like his Mom). Well, this little guy turned the big ONE last week, and I was asked to make his birthday cake. 
I was scared to death. I mean, I'll never ever forget how they had a Millennium Falcon shaped (and decorated, perfect replica) cake at their wedding. These guys were used to immaculate cakes, and I had attempted *gulp* 3 fondant cakes in my lifetime. However, I was so excited for this cake, and couldn't wait to get started.
 It's filled with red velvet cake and my almond infused cream cheese frosting. Normally, I would have just gone with the store-bought fondant (even though it tastes nasty, it saves brain cells trying to work with). But this time, homemade marshmallow fondant was in order. I love the taste of that stuff, but it is a beast to work with (it just takes a bit more patience, and I had only tried the recipe once before on my Mom's 50th Birthday cake. Yes, Mom. 50 years young!). It worked alright, and although everything didn't lay perfectly (watching Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes will destroy any perspective you may have on how 'easy' they make it look to prepare and cover a fondant cake), I was still happy with the results. I used a daisy cutter to make the leaves (just cut out the center of the daisy, and used the petals), and eyeballed the trees. Also, I know that the lettering is crooked - but I think it has a fun Where the Wild Things Are charm about it.

It wasn't perfect by any means, but I was satisfied and excited with the results. Then everything went to pot - about an hour before we delivered the cake to the Party location, it started drooping, melting, and tearing. I was devastated, and completely embarrassed. I'm so happy I was able to take these picture to prove that the cake looked somewhat decent at one point! It was a tragedy, and I teared up almost the entire drive to their beautiful (mansion, mind you) home. Here I was delivering a drooping cake - complete walk of shame. There was nothing I could do to save it. 

I still have no idea what happened. I made sure to carefully mind the temperature of the room, keep the cake away from moisture, and not use too much frosting on the crumb coat so the fondant wouldn't be mushy and sticky. Unfortunately, I still have no idea what happened :(. Ryan thinks it might have been the gravity of the trees? Anyway, here's the beast, and what I spent all of Thursday and half of Friday creating. I love the idea of having a Wild Rumpus first birthday party - such a darling concept, and I loved the cake (even if it had so much unplanned drama attached to it).


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream

Welcome Fresh Living Viewers!

There are people who live, sleep, and think in dark chocolate. And there are people who... well... need to eat one of these cupcakes and write an apology letter to humanity.

I am the former.

I have loved dark chocolate since I was a wee little girl. Without giving out too much detail, my Dad travels/traveled to faraway places very often. We missed him very much, but we all knew that when he came home, he'd have something special packed away in his briefcase for us little ones. He'd step through the door late evening and some of us would follow him upstairs to my parents bedroom. As he unpacked a few things, he'd hand each of us a large brick of heaven-sent, creamy, decadent, chocolate. We couldn't eat it all at once, or even within the month (except for my brothers, who I'm quite positive downed the sucker in less than 24 hours), so we (the girls) space it out; eating a small square morsel or two every now and then. In my mind (and according to my taste buds), no type, shape, flavor, or form of chocolate has ever, nor ever, will compare to that chocolate. It was ridiculous.

Usually, my Dad brought home milk chocolate, but I'll never forget the time he brought home a couple bricks of dark chocolate. I had never tried it before (to my memory). I instantly fell in love.

Okay, I jest.

At first I thought it was bitter, and weird. But then with a little time, and a wonderful after-taste, I then fell in love with the majesty and wonder of dark chocolate. Yes, majesty and wonder.

When I came across this recipe last week, I knew I needed to push it towards the top of my recipe list, and pronto. Plus, it would be a grand opportunity for me to 1) try mascarpone & 2) use mascarpone. Oh what a blessed ingredient! It's like cream cheese, but with less cheesy zing, and more of a decadent and fluffy texture. Throw mascarpone in a dark chocolate buttercream frosting on top of a devilishly moist dark chocolate cupcake? I don't know why I even attempted to describe these cupcakes...

...the mere taste leaves me speechless.


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream


2 C sugar
1- 3/4 C flour
3/4 C Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1-1/2 t baking powder
1-1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
1/2 C canola oil
2 t vanilla extract
1 C boiling water (or 1 C brewed coffee)

4 oz (1/2 of an 8 oz tub) mascarpone cheese
1/2 C butter, softened
1/3 C Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
2 T milk
2 T vanilla
16 oz powdered sugar, sifted

1. For the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. In a large mixer bowl with paddle attachment, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and beat medium speed for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin, don't worry).
4. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter & bake for 22 minutes. Place on wire racks and remove from muffin pan as soon as you can without being burned. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
5. for the cupcakes:  In a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, butter, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla with an electric stand mixer on medium heat to high speed until creamy.
6. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in enough additional milk (if you feel it's needed) 1 teaspoon at a time to reach consistency needed for your cupcakes.

Makes about 30 cupcakes
Recipe Source: a cup of mascarpone


Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

The starring flavor of pumpkin has exploded on blog land. I don't think I've gone a single day since the beginning of October without seeing some variation of pumpkin on the blogs I follow.

I don't mind one bit.

My husband on the other hand, is already sick of pumpkin - and we haven't even reached November! Thankfully, I found a recipe where I could sneak pumpkin in a recipe with one of his all-time favorites: Cheesecake. Win win for all, I must say.

I made these little guys last night, and frosted them this morning. The cupcake itself is ridiculous. The pumpkin pie flavors with an extra dose of cheesecake cream? Holy smokes. However, the frosting needed some love. The original frosting recipe called for way too much butter, so I had to make some serious modifications. I know, I know - it's buttercream, but 1.5 cups of butter seemed like overkill.

Other than that, these cupcakes were heaven. Last night was a late night again for Ryan (studying at the law school). I put the Manchild to bed, turned up The Civil Wars, and threw these in the oven. The comforting smell of pumpkin + cheesecake was more than enough to open the flood gates of memory. I can't wait for Fall to progress, and the leaves to cover the ground once again.

Growing up, my dear friend Elaine had giant trees in her backyard. The tree's thick branches were covered with an overwhelming plethora of huge leaves. I'm talkin' face-sized (or perhaps they seemed that way to our little noggins). In our elementary school years in Autumn, those leaves would fall to the ground, covering the backyard. You couldn't see a single patch of grass; creating a wonderland of color. Her Mom (one of the nicest ladies I've ever met) handed us the rakes and sent us into battle. We'd anxiously pile up as many leaves as we could, only to dive-bomb through them moments later.

Press repeat for hours and hours on that one. 

With our front yard trees barely starting to change color with the season, I can't wait to press play again.

Cheesecake-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting 


8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C powdered sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 C flour
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 C canned pumpkin puree
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil

1 C light brown sugar
4 large egg whites
1/4 t salt 
simmering water
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces and chilled
1/2 t vanilla extract 
1/2 t almond extract
2 C powdered sugar
splash of milk (optional)
black crystal sprinkles (optional)

1. To make cupcakes: Place rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners (I ended up using another 6-cup muffin tin in addition to the 12-cup muffin pan).
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar for 3 minutes. Beat in 2 egg white and 1/2 t vanilla.
3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, granulated sugar, oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture. 
4. Layer each muffin cup with a little pumpkin batter, then the cream cheese mixture, then more of the batter. Bake until springy to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
5. To make frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, 4 egg whites, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
6. Fill a medium saucepan with about 1 inch water. Bring to a boil. Place the mixing bowl on top of hot water. Whisk the mixture until it registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
7. Transfer the bowl back to the mixer, and beat at high speed until fluffy. Lower speed and beat to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, then beat at high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and almond extract. 
8. Slowly add in powdered sugar until you reach a desired consistency. If still too buttery, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add a splash of milk.
9. Pipe frosting with large star tip onto cupcakes. Dump sprinkles into a shallow bowl. Lightly dip cupcakes into sprinkles (careful not to press too hard).
10. Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from: Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, November 2009 Issue

*Don't forget to tune into KSL 5 TV (Channel 5 in Utah) between 12:40 - 1pm for my interview about Baking with Blondie!*