I Dreamed a Dream

>This past weekend I had a dream about Ohio. In my dream I wanted had to make a friend cupcakes. Of course I had to figure out how to get them to her because I live 2,000 miles away. Finally I came to the conclusion that I had to fly home to bring her the cupcakes. I imagined how perfectly my cupcake carrier would fit under the seat. I think my brain was trying to tell me that I needed to make cupcakes.

So, when I woke up I knew that I would be making some. I decided I wanted to make classic white cupcakes with a lemon raspberry butter cream, in honor of spring. The recipe that I usually use for making white cakes is awesome, first it calls for butter instead of oil, butter makes everything better. Second, the way the ingredients are brought together is unique and does not require beating egg whites to stiff peaks and then folding it into batter, which makes my arm tired! The result is an incredibly light but still flavorful white cake.


Unfortunately, I discovered that this batter is almost too light for making cupcakes. I filled the liners as I usually do, a little less than 2/3 full and they rose sooooo much that they spilled over the tops and looked more like muffins than cupcakes. They also did not do a great job of sticking to the liners, a few came right out of the liners as I tried to remove them from the pan and in others the liners were peeling away from the edges. They tasted great but just weren’t as sturdy as I usually like my cupcakes. I still really like this recipe for regular 9 inch round cakes, so I will share the recipe but I will also add a link to recipe that would be better suited for cupcakes.

White Cake with Lemon Raspberry Buttercream
(Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)
(Recommended recipe for cupcakes)

White Cake

1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (6 oz), softened

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease two 9 inch cake pans with vegetable shortening, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease the parchment paper and flour the pans.
Combine milk, eggs whites and extract in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer and mix at slow speed with a paddle attachment. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like wet sand (If you’re doing this by hand, sift the dry ingredients together and rub in butter).
Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for an additional 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Do not overmix.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and gently shake to smooth batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes then invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting. Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for 1-2 weeks.

Lemon Raspberry Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 tbsp half and half
2 tbsp seedless raspberry preserves
1 cap full lemon extract (~1/2 tsp)
(I think a tsp or 2 of lemon zest would be a wonderful addition however I did not have any lemons on hand)

Beat the butter in a mixing bowl for 1-2 minutes or until very pale yellow and creamy looking. Slowly add the confectioners sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Half way through adding the confectioners sugar add the half and half, raspberry preserves and lemon extract. Continue to beat until the frosting is a smooth spreadable texture, but not too soft. If it appears to stiff or dry add a little more half and half. If it appears too wet or runny add more confectioners sugar.

Pumpkin Blondies


** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

If you have followed my blog at all over the last year or so then it probably comes as no surprise to you that I love fall. It’s just absolutely my favorite season for so many reasons. First, many of my favorite people were born in the fall (including my husband, my mom and my sister). I was also married in the fall. On top of that I think that fall has the best sights, smells, and food. How can a row of trees with leaves that have just turned brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red not make you smile? But my favorite part of fall is the pumpkins. Pumpkins for decorations, pumpkin for scented candles and most of all pumpkin for eating! That’s why I knew the moment I saw these that I would be making them and they were everything I thought they would be and more. If you like pumpkin half as much as me then you must try these.

Pumpkin Blondies
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted nuts, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. *Grease and flour (or use bakers spray) a 9×13-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate chips (and nuts, if using) with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

To serve, cut into 24 squares and transfer to a serving platter.

*Annie’s recipe calls for lining the pan with foil, but I didn’t want to mess with it so I just used my bakers spray. I had no problems cutting the blondies and transferring them to a serving platter. So I don’t necessarily think you have to use foil.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Last weekend I was really in the mood to bake something, but a lot of what I have on my to-try list is pretty involved and it was already later in the day. Looking for inspiration, I turned to my pantry. What I found was a recipe on the back of my brown sugar bag that sounded really good and more importantly, easy! As luck would have it I had all of the ingredients so I went for it. It turns out that this is another great back of the bag find (much like this brownie recipe that I LOVE). I think I am going to start looking at the back of my bags more often and seeing what other gems I can find, because this was amazing. It is incredibly moist but also flavorful. The recipe didn’t call for it, but I topped the cake with chocolate ganache and powdered sugar. I think that really added to the presentation of the cake. Next time I’ll have to make it for someone other than just Jesse and myself!


Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
(Source: The back of my “Bakers & Chefs” brown sugar bag, from Sams)

Ingredients

3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Combine the baking chocolate, butter and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until chocolate and butter are melted.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.
Gradually add chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients; blend well.
Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla; beat one for one minute at medium speed.
Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Invert the pan onto the cooling rack and let cool the rest of the way.
Top with chocolate ganache and powdered sugar.


Honey Peanut Butter Cookies

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

I usually think a peanut butter cookie is a peanut butter cookie. I love them, but I never really feel like one recipe stands out a whole lot more than another (though the addition of chocolate chips makes me want to sing and dance). This cookie, however, is in a league of it’s own. It is one of the chewiest cookies I have ever had, the texture is just amazing. As for the taste, you can definitely taste the peanut butter but it is the honey that really makes it. I also have to admit that because of the combination of peanut butter (read – protein) and honey I decided that these make a great breakfast food and had some while we were waiting for the plane the morning we left on vacation. 🙂

Honey Peanut Butter Cookies
(Source: Bake Me More)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sugar for rolling -original recipe called for powdered sugar, but I like granulated on my PB cookies

Directions:

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl and hand mixer), beat the shortening, peanut butter and honey. Then add the eggs and mix well. Next add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and mix well.

Round dough into 1″ balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on un-greased baking sheets and bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly on cookie sheets. Remove and place on paper towels or a brown paper bag to cool completely. Store tightly covered.