Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lemon Drop Cupcakes

I have been on the wedding diet so have not been baking in order to avoid over indulging in delicious confections. However, with the first warm weekend on the horizon, I had an intense craving to bake some summer time cupcakes. I found this recipe in the Better Homes and Garden Cupcake Special Edition. I am completely obsessed with these Lemon Drop Cupcakes. They are light and the buttercream frosting with lemon is to die. Enjoy!

Lemon Drop Cupcakes
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes
Oven Temp: 350F

¾ C. Salted Butter-Room Temp.
3 Eggs-Room Temp.
1 ¾ C. All Purpose Flour
1 t. Baking Powder
¼ t. Baking Soda
¼ t. Salt
½ t. Vanilla
2/3 C. Milk
¼ C. Limoncello (Italian Lemon Liquerur)
            or sub Milk
1 ½ C. Sugar
1 T. Finely Shredded Lemon Peel Zest

Mix together Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt in a medium blow.
Pour Milk and Limoncello in a measuring cup and set aside.
Beat Butter and Sugar together for 30 seconds on high.
Add Lemon Peel and Vanilla.
Add Eggs, one at a time.
Alternate adding Flour mixture and Milk mixture; starting and ending with Flour.
Fill Cupcake cups ¾ full and smooth batter on top.
Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes.

Lemon Buttercream
½ C. Salted Butter
½ C. Shortening
1 t. Vanilla
1 T. Lemon Juice
4 C. Powdered Sugar

Beat together Butter and Shortening on medium for 30 seconds.
Add Vanilla and Lemon Juice.
Slowly add Powdered Sugar on low until fully incorporated.
Mix for 2-3 minutes.

Crushed Lemon Drop Candies
Sugared Lemon Slices
Lemon Peels
Finishing Sugar

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Los Angeles Birthday

For my 24th birthday (also my golden birthday), Kyle surprised me with tickets to visit my best friend, Emma and her boyfriend, in Los Angeles. I was thrilled! I love LA and Emma is such a fabulous host. It is always fun to visit her and experience things that you would never find in the prairies of South Dakota.

I had a wish list of things that I wanted to do and see while there—

First, I am obsessed with Cupcakes. I love Sprinkles Cupcakes, the first Cupcake Bakery in the United States, and it started in LA.
Outside Sprinkles Cupcakes at The Grove in LA

Second, I wanted to see a celebrity. I didn’t think this would be too hard, since the Oscar’s were in town the same weekend. We enjoyed watching the Oscar's from Emma's apartment which was less than 5 miles away from the location the Oscar's took place. However, on Saturday night, we went to the Comedy Store in Hollywood. Daniel Tosh, from Comedy Central's: Tosh.0; made a surprise stop and it made our night complete. It was so much fun to laugh at these comedians jokes. 

Third, I wanted to go to the beach and enjoy being a California girl for a weekend. We went to Venice Beach on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and we saw performers, artists, dancers and muscle men. I also got to check "Run along the beach" off my Bucket List. 

Kyle and I enjoying the beach

A little jog along the beach, and Yes, we are racing
Fourth, Kyle and I love  to eat, so we wanted to experience some LA cuisines and LA did not let us down!
Macaroons, Coffee, Key Lime Pie,
Lark Cupcakes and Sprinkles Cupcakes
Egg Slut Breakfast sandwiches

Sushi Roll from Tenno
French Toast from Local

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Luscious Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake. Layer rounds, crumb coat, chill then frost.
Garnish with a large piping and raspberries!

I made this Red Velvet Cake to cheer on the San Francisco 49er’s in the 2013 Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the 49ers lost, but the cake was a winner! I have never had a RV Cake with Chocolate frosting because my Mom would always make it with a delicious butter cream whip frosting. The cake is a little more dense than my Mom’s recipe but I really enjoyed the taste of this and I thought it stayed moist in and out of the refrigerator. The middle filling of this cake consists of a Marshmellow Cream Cheese Frosting. It is a surprise in your mouth, definitely unexpected. I loved the Cream Cheese Frosting and RV combo so much I am adding it to the list of cakes I want to make for my Wedding this September. The Chocolate Buttercream frosting will taste great with a Yellow moist or Chocolate Espresso Cake. Here is the recipe:

Red Velvet Cake:
¾ C. Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
1 C. Light Brown Sugar
1 C. White Sugar
2 Oz. Red Food Coloring
3 Eggs (room temperature)
2 C. All Purpose Flour
¼ C. Cake Flour
1 T. Dutch Cocoa Powder
1 t. Salt
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1 ½ C. Warm Buttermilk
¼ C. Mayonnaise
1 T. Vinegar
1 ¼ t Baking Soda
Baker’s Joy
Three 8 inch round cake pans

1.     Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray Baker’s Joy around the cake pans covering all corners. Can sub shortening, flour and parchment paper rounds.
2.     In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugars, vanilla and red food coloring on medium-high speed about 2minutes. Lower speed and add eggs one at a time, mixing each egg thoroughly.
3.     In a large bowl, sift together flours, cocoa powder and salt.
4.     Alternate adding dry mixture and buttermilk to the batter. Begin and end with dry ingredients.
5.     Fold in mayonnaise.
6.     In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda together. Quickly add to batter and fold in.
7.     Divide batter evenly into cake pans and bake approximately 25-30 minutes. Do not over bake.
8.     Let cool completely before leveling or frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
2 C. Unsalted Butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
4 C. Powdered Sugar
1 T. Vanilla Extract
2 T. Espresso or strong brewed coffee (optional)
8 oz. Quality Dark Chocolate, cut and melted and slightly cooled before adding

1.     In stand mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar together on med-low speed for 5 minutes. Add sugar slowly so it doesn’t spill outside the bowl.
2.     Add vanilla extract (and espresso if chosen). Mix on med-high 1 minute.
3.     Slowly add melted dark chocolate. Mix completely until fluffy.

Marshmellow Cream Cheese Frosting:

½ C. Powdered Sugar
½ C. Salted Butter
4 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
1 t. Vanilla Extract
8 oz Marshmallow Fluff

1.     In stand mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar together on med-low speed for 3 minutes. Add sugar slowly so it doesn’t spill outside the bowl.
2.     Add vanilla extract (and espresso if chosen). Mix on med-high 1 minute.
3.     Add cream cheese and marshmallow fluff. Mix completely until creamy.
*will need to keep this frosting chilled 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cake in a Mason Jar

Before and After of my Cake in a Mason Jar
I love jams and jellies. I love slathering jam on a biscuit or covering toast with jelly. Of course, homemade jam is the best and I have a friend that will occasionally give me some of the jams her mom makes her as long as I return the mason jars. I was able to see her this weekend and I thought, "why return the mason jars empty when I can return them with her favorite treat of mine?" Hence, why I decided to make "Cake in a Mason Jar."The overall concept is fairly simple. The execution is the hard part. Here is what I did.

Make your favorite box mix of cake following the directions on the back. Fill mason jars 1/2 full with the cake batter and place the mason jars into a baking dish that has a small layer of water on the bottom. This water in the bottom of the pan will help even baking. Or at least that is the idea....
Next, bake the cakes in the oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 45minutes. Make sure the cake cooks all of the way through by testing it with a cake tester. When you are able to pull the cakes out of the oven, remove them from the water bath and let them cool completely. During the cooling process I made a 1/2 batch of my butter cream frosting. You can use any frosting you want.

When the cakes were cooled, I removed them from the jars and cut the cake in half. At this point I re-washed and sanitized the mason jars so that you can see the layers. Put a small dab of frosting on the very bottom to hold the cake in place. Then layer the bottom half of the cake with a dollop of frosting then add the top half with the crown  to the top. I added one more clean layer of frosting and sprinkles before putting the lid back on.

This is a quick and cute way to dress up boring old cake slices and offer individual options to friends, family or guests. It is so cute and homemade to serve a slice of cake in a Mason Jar! You will love it <3

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year

2013! New year New Resolutions New Adventures! I found a copy of my 2012 resolutions and wanted to share them. No I didn't' accomplish them all but I thought I did pretty decent!

  1. have an adventure--Totally went to Seattle to visit a friend. We went hiking, Public Market and to the Space Needle. It was a blast and great experience! Didn't rain once--
  2.  meet a celebrity--Unless you count my brother "Steven Luke." I did not meet a celebrity. And technically, I already knew "Steven Luke."
  3.  run a ½ marathon--Did it! Minneapolis Half Marathon. Met my under 2.5 hour and DON'T WALK goals!
  4.  go gluten free for one month--I shortened this resolution to one week. I felt really great. Gluten free really does make you feel good. 
  5.  take a baking class--Passed the Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1 and Tier Cake classes. I went on to make a beautiful wedding cake for my friend's wedding. I was the MOH too, NBD. 
  6.  get a passport--Application is printed... but the move with a new address delayed it... NEXT YEAR. Who knows--honeymoon might be out of state so I better get one!
  7.  start a blog--You are reading it! Did a few practice posts with cakes and treats but haven't posted any of those...yet...
  8.  be more supportive of family--I went to support the older bro at his film festival in SF. and moved back to SD to be able to participate in more family activities :)