Friday, May 27, 2011

Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes

Its strawberry season here in California!!  I have been buying tons of fruit lately, and I had some strawberries that were on their last leg so I decided to bake with them.  I had seen this recipe a few weeks ago and really wanted to make it.  I didn't measure out the strawberries, just cut up what I had and pureed them.  What I loved most about the cupcake was the lemon zest.  Definitely don't skip that ingredient.  The cake is more dense them some cupcake recipes, but the flavor is amazing.  The buttercream is very sweet too and I didn't even add all the sugar.  I have seen some recipes with a Swiss Meringue buttercream and I wish I had made that, but don't get me wrong, this is a good buttercream. It is a thicker buttercream, so I didn't pipe on the frosting.  I wanted a more organic look so I used a spatula to swirl it around.  Also, this recipe will make your kitchen smell amazing.   Hope you like it!!

The Best Summer Cupcake EVER!!

Strawberry Cupcake Recipe - Adapted from Picky Cook
Yield: 12 Cupcakes
2/3 Cup Whole Fresh or Frozen Strawberries, thawed (I used fresh)
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Whole Milk, room temperature
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg, room temperature
2 Egg Whites, room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
  2. Place the strawberries in a food processor and chop them up until pureed.  I would recommend pureeing the 1/2 cup of strawberries for the frosting at the same time. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and strawberry puree.  Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the Sugar and continue to cream.  
  6. At low speed, add the egg and egg whites and mix just until blended.
  7. Slowly add half the flour mixture, then add the milk mixture, and then the last of the flour, mixing just until blended.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  8. Divide the batter among the 12 cupcake liners.  Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
  9. Enjoy!!

Sprinkles Strawberry Frosting
1/2 Cup frozen strawberries, or 3 tablespoons of puree
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, firm and slightly cold
1 Pinch of Salt
3 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

  1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
  3. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree, mix until just blended. 
  4. Do not over mix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream. 
  5. Frost the cupcakes, then ENJOY!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Snickers Peanut Butter Cookies

Here is an amazing cookie recipe.  I don't have much more to say other then "try these!!"  They are the perfect combination of a soft peanut butter cookie but with some chocolate, caramel, and crunchy peanuts on top.  

Snickers Peanut Butter Cookies - Adapted from Lovin From The Oven
Yield: 4 Dozen or more...
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 1/2 Cup Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Bag of Snickers Minis, or another mini size candy bar...


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream butter, sugars and peanut butter. Add eggs and vanilla. 
  3. Stir or whisk together flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed butter mixture and mix well.
  4. Roll into balls or use a cookie scoop.
  5. Cut the candy bars in half and place them cut side down on top of the rounded cookie and press down gently.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave cookies on cookie sheet for 4 minutes to rest. Cool on a cooling rack for ten minutes or more.
  7. Enjoy!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Honey Oatmeal Cookies

Healthy cookies; Round 2.  So it was my dad's birthday a few weeks ago and I sent him cookies.  The only problem was that rats had gotten to the cookies before my dad did.  Apparently the post office in Sebastapol has a rat problem due to the feed store next door.  My dad has been bugging me the last few weeks to send him more cookies, so these cookies are in the mail right now.  And hopefully this time the rats wont get them!  My dad wanted a somewhat healthy cookie, so this was what I chose.  They are delicious and I love the honey flavor they have.  Let me know how you like them dad!

Honey Oatmeal Cookies - Adapted from Food Network
Yield: 3 Dozen
1/2 Cup or 1 Stick Butter, unsalted and room temperature
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed, dark or light
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Egg
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Pinch of Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups Rolled Oats, quick or old-fashioned
1 Cup Raisins, I used 8 of the snack packs which was just about one cup
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans, optional, I didn't use them

  1. Preheat the oven 350. Prepare your baking sheets.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, honey.  Beat until light and creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended.
  3. Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl.  Gradually add to the mixer and beat until blended.  Add the raisins, oats and pecans.  Mix just until incorporated. 
  4. Drop tablespoon size dough balls onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  5. Let the cookies cool and move to cooling rack until completely cool.
  6. Enjoy

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Funfetti Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

I love spur of the moment baking!  Yesterday I got a text from my boyfriend asking if I wanted to make a cake for one of his co-workers that got a new job.  Of course I said yes and immediately went into recipe search mode.  I had seen this recipe for homemade funfetti cake and really wanted to try it, and this was a perfect opportunity.  I made a super quick trip to the grocery store and was back in a flash to start baking.  This recipe is really great and easy!  The batter was the first sign the cake was going to be good, it was super light and fluffy and smelled amazing.  Also I have finally learned how to make a cake rise evenly in the oven so you don't get the rounded top.  If you cut a strip of towel, wet it, and wrap it around the outside of the pan, it makes for a perfectly flat cake!  So I double the recipe because i wanted a big cake, and divided the batter into the pans.  There was very little batter per pan but it had no problem rising in the oven.  For the icing, I wanted to do a chocolate buttercream but not one that was too sweet.  I found this recipe on and decided to try it.  It got amazing ratings but is more difficult then most buttercream recipes.  It turned out very light and fluffy.  It wasn't your typical sugary and thick chocolate buttercream.  If you are used to canned frosting, you might not like this, like my boyfriend didn't, but it is a great buttercream.  It is more like a Swiss meringue buttercream.  Needless to say, the cake turned out perfect and everyone loved it.  I thought my decorating skills were below par, but its the taste that matters.  If you are a from box baker, like I was only a few months ago, I highly suggest you try this recipe.  It is just as easy as a box mix, with all the staple ingredients you probably have in your house, and yet you can tell people you made it from scratch!!  

Sorry for the bad photos!  

Funfetti Cake - Adapted from Sweet Tooth
Yield: 1 Layer of a Cake, or about 12 cupcakes - I doubled the recipe
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Sugar
6 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted and room temperature
1 Egg + 1 Egg White, room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons Rainbow Sprinkles

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour cake pans, or line muffin tins with paper liners for cupcakes.
  2. In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and egg white, beating on low speed until just incorporated.  Add Vanilla.
  4. Gradually add in the flour mixture and the milk, alternating until it is all mixed in.
  5. Add the sprinkles.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake pan, or fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full.  For a cake, bake about 30-35 minutes, for cupcakes about 14-16 minutes.  Bake until the edges are lightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool then frost with your favorite icing
  8. Enjoy

Chocolate Buttercream - adapted from Epicurious
Yield: Almost 4 Cups, just enough for a 2 layer cake or about 24 Cupcakes
1/2 Cup Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, best quality possible
3 Sticks Butter, unsalted and room temperature
6 Tablespoons Water
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Egg Whites
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
6 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

  1. Chop chocolate. In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate, stirring until smooth, and let cool. Cut butter into pieces and soften to cool room temperature.
  2. In a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 250°F.
  3. While syrup is boiling, in a bowl with an electric mixer beat whites with a pinch salt until foamy and beat in cream of tartar. Beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks and beat in hot syrup in a stream (try to avoid pouring onto beaters and side of bowl). Beat mixture at medium speed until completely cool, 5 to 10 minutes. 
  4. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, beating until mixture is thickened and smooth. (Buttercream will at first appear very thin and at some point look like it is breaking but, as more butter is beaten in, it will thicken and become glossy and smooth.) 
  5. Beat in cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and a pinch salt, beating until smooth. (Buttercream may be made 2 days ahead and chilled in an airtight container. Bring buttercream to room temperature and beat before using.) (If buttercream is too cold when beaten it will not be glossy and smooth.)
  6. Frost your cake, or cupcakes, and ENJOY!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Ripe bananas are my friend, it means that I get to make banana bread!  This time I didn't want to make just regular banana bread so I found this recipe.  This is one of the best combos - chocolate, peanut butter, and banana!  I love that the bread is marbled.  This is an easy recipe and I highly recommend you try it!  In the original recipe, it calls for peanut butter chips but I didn't have any so I used white chocolate chips just in the batter and used only chocolate chips on the top.   I think the peanut butter chips would have been really good, so if you have them, use them!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread - Adapted from Sugar Plum Blog
Yield: 1 Loaf Cake
2 1/3 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup Peanut Butter Chips or I used White Chocolate
3 Medium Bananas, very ripe and mashed
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk in chocolate and peanut butter chips until combined.  
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana and peanut butter until creamy, about 1 minute; beat in granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy, about 1 minute.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with milk, until well combined - about 2 minutes. 
  5. Divide half of the batter into medium bowl; sift in cocoa powder, and beat until combined.  Alternate spoonfuls of banana batter and chocolate batter into the pan.  
  6. When all the batter is in the pan, swirl a knife sparingly through the batters to marble them.  Sprinkle with additional chocolate and peanut butter chips, if desired.
  7. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until bread pulls away from pan, is well risen, deep golden brown, and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs attached.  
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 30 hour; run a knife around outer edges and invert onto wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
  9. Enjoy!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Recently I have been getting cookie requests from friends and co-workers.  One lady I work with really wanted White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies, so I decided to make some.  I found this recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker website and made my shopping list.  This recipe has been added to my favorites list for a few reasons.  First, because they taste amazing! Second, because they don't need room temperature butter!  And third, because they are soft, gooey, and white chocolaty!  If you normally buy these cookies at Costco, or another grocery store, you will not be disappointed by these homemade ones.  They are large and in charge and again, amazing!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies - Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: About 2 Dozen Large Cookies

2 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Butter, unsalted and melted
1 Cup Brown Sugar, light brown
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Egg Yolk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 Cups Macadamia Nut, Chopped
2 Cups White Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Prepare the baking sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  3. Beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.  Beat in the eggs and then vanilla.  
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.  Add the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, mix just for a second. 
  5. Drop large tablespoon size cookies onto prepared cookie sheet.  Flatten the dough just a little bit with your palm.  
  6. Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then move to cooling rack.
  7. Enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Churro Cupcakes

Happy Cinco de Mayo, a few days late.  I made these on Cinco de Mayo for some friends and they were a huge hit!  The cupcakes was very light and fluffy, and full of flavor!  I have never made a cupcake where you beat the egg whites separately, and fold them in at the end.  The cupcake bottom is just a cinnamon cake base, but they were so good I ate a few plain with no whipped cream.  These cupcakes have 3-4 steps, depending on how much time you have.  First I made the caramel, I used the oven method because it was the fastest and safest.  After about an hour in the oven the Dulce de Leche was ready.  Then I went on the make the cupcakes, which turned out perfect.  I decided I would try to make the Churros for the top of the cupcake, but that was a major failure.  The batter looked like mushed bananas, so that went straight into the trash and I wasn't willing to try again.  I made the whipped cream and started an assembling them.  I used an apple corer to take out the center, then put some caramel in the middle, put the top back on, and squeezed some whipped cream on top.  Last but no least, I drizzled all the cupcakes with the extra caramel and sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar! For as much of a mess as these are, they are amazing!!

Churro Cupcakes - Adapted from The Tribune News
Yield: about 30 cupcakes
1 Cup Butter, unsalted and room temperature
2 Cups Sugar
4 Large Eggs, separated
2 3/4 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F and line a muffin tin with baking cups.
  2. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed. Once the butter is smooth and creamy, turn the mixer to low speed and add the sugar. Keep beating the butter and sugar mixture until light and fluffy.  
  3. Add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.  
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  5. In a small bowl, stir the vanilla into the milk.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter-and-sugar mixture. You’ll want to start and end with the flour, and mix just until incorporated after each addition.
  6. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. It’ll be white and foamy. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Fill your lined muffin cups about ¾ full of batter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester stuck in the middle comes out clean. 
  8. Let cupcakes cool completely.
Dulce de Leche Recipe
1 Can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Pinch Sea Salt

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.  
  2. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a shallow baking dish; a glass or ceramic pie plate works great.
  3. Stir in just the tiniest bit of sea salt — a few grains will do it.
  4. Place the pie plate in the middle of a larger pan and carefully pour in hot water into the larger pan until the water level hits about halfway up the pie plate. 
  5. Wrap the top of the pie plate with aluminum foil and put it in the oven. 
  6. Let it bake for 1 to 1¼ hours, checking the water level occasionally and add more water if you need to. 
  7. When the milk is caramelized, carefully take the pan out of the oven and let cool to room temperature, then whisk until smooth.
Whipped Cream Recipe
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
4 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

  1. Pour the cream, sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of your Kitchen Aid mixer.  Whip on high speeds until stiff peaks form.  (cream tends to fly everywhere so I would recommend wrapping a dish towel or paper towel around the mixer to help contain the mess!)
Mini Churros - If you want to attempt this!
2/3 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Butter
1 pinch salt
2/3 Cup Flour
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Vegetable Oil, for frying


  1. Heat about an inch of oil in a wide, deep pan to 360F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the flour, stirring until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl until blended and then pour in the saucepan as you stir.
  4. Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip and pipe the mini churros right into the oil. Use a butter knife to cut off the squeezed-out dough when it’s about an inch long.
  5. Fry the mini churros until they are golden brown. It should take about 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Scoop the churros out of the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon, then dump onto the churros.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Its been over a week since my last post and I am so sorry!! I have been super busy packing, moving, and working.  I finally found time to bake yesterday afternoon and I took that opportunity to make these.  I had one Butterfinger bar but I wanted to double the amount of Butterfinger in the recipe so I walked down to the local liquor store to buy another.  Good thing I did because the Butterfinger I had was old and it had turned into a gross carmel in the middle instead of the flaky and crunch peanut butter middle that is normally there.  So i wasn't able to double the Butterfinger, but they still tasted amazing! I love the peanut butter cookie base with the added chocolate and Butterfinger.  The Butterfinger melts in the oven and turns to a carmely and crunchy goo.  If you like peanut butter and chocolate, then these are a must-make!  I brought some cookies to our new neighbors and found a thank you card this morning saying how delicious the cookies were.  I don't think the neighbors realize that I will be delivering cookies or cupcakes on a regular basis, but that okay, I don't think they will be complaining.  

Butterfinger Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Yield - About 2-3 Dozen depending on size
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Peanut Butter - I used smooth, but crunchy would be great too!
1/2 Cup Butter - 1 stick, unsalted, room temperature
1/2 Cup Sugar - Plus some for rolling the cookies if you choose to
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Butterfinger Bar - 2.1 ounce bar, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat peanut butter, butter, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Reduce speed to low and add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. 
  4. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped Butterfinger candy.
  5. Scoop dough onto a prepared cookie sheet. Bake cookies until edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, reversing sheets halfway through. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool.
  6. Enjoy!