Root Beer Bundt Cake

I was assigned to cover the dessert category for the Easter meal at my mom and dad’s house and I immediately wanted to make a bundt cake of some kind.  After much deliberation, I decided on this root beer cake.

Overall it was a very good cake, super dense and moist as bundt cakes tend to be.  But I was disappointed that the root beer flavor wasn’t very strong.  However, I’m sure that the root beer enhanced the chocolate flavor though.

Root Beer Bundt Cake
Source:  Pink Parsley who adapted from Baked:  New Frontiers in Baking

For the cake

  • 2 cups root beer (not diet)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved.  Remove from heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined.  Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture.  The batter will be slightly lumpy; do not over beat as it could cause the cake to be tough.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time, until a small knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup root beer, plus more as needed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

To make the frosting, cream the butter, root beer, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Then gradually add the cocoa powder, then the powder sugar.  Mix until the frosting is shiny and smooth.  Add more root beer, a few teaspoons at a time, if the frosting is too thick to spread easily with a spatula.

Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the crown of the cake in a thick layer.  Let the frosting set before serving.  Serve with vanilla ice cream on the side.

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Gooey Butter Cake

I’ve seen this recipe come up a few times in my Google reader since the holidays, and it intrigued me enough to make one.  You might think that I would have heard of this cake before since I live somewhat close to St. Louis and that is where the recipe originated.  But nope.  I’d never heard of it before.  Have any of you heard of it before?

It only takes a few simple ingredients and in almost no time you have a gooey cake.  I was very surprised that the cream cheese layer turned out the way that it did.  For some reason I was expecting more of a cheesecake like quality, but it is nothing of the sort.  The 2 layers blend together into one super chewy bar-like dessert.  Delicious and very sweet!

Gooey Butter Cake

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen and Tidy Mom

Ingredients:

  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 package (18.25 Oz. Box) Plain Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 whole Egg
  • _____
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, At Room Temperature
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, plus more for dusting on top

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°.  Prepare crust first.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients with a wooden spoon until moist.  Transfer to a 13″x9″ lightly greased baking pan and press it down evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

Next, prepare the filling.  In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and melted butter, and continue to mix.  Next, add the confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time until all sugar is mixed in.  Pour filling over the crust, and spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake gooey butter cake for 40-45 minutes until it is browned, but the center still jiggles when the pan is shaken.  Cool for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with additional confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Eggnog Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It is a tradition for Tim’s family to drink eggnog at Christmas dinner, so I went ahead and concluded that they must like eggnog in a dessert as well so I decided to make these cupcakes for our get together with them.  And I was right!  Everyone really enjoyed them.

These cupcakes were fantastic – very moist and dense.  Although for me, the real star was the cream cheese frosting.  I’m not a huge fan of drinking eggnog, so I found the frosting to be the best part.  But there certainly wasn’t anything wrong with the cupcake itself.  The eggnog taste wasn’t overpowering at all.  I’ll definitely make these again next year!  Heck, I might even make them again for New Year’s!

My changes include – increasing the cinnamon and nutmeg used in the batter from a 1/4 tsp each to a full teaspoon each.  I also increased the amount of frosting because I really swirl it on heavy with Wilton’s 1M star tip.  I also added some eggnog to the frosting to help it reach the consistency I wanted and I figured a little extra eggnog flavor couldn’t hurt!  I sprinkled each frosted cupcake with ground nutmeg for decoration.

Eggnog Cupcakes

Source:  Life’s Ambrosia

Makes 12

You will need:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
  • additional nutmeg for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan and set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, using a hand held mixer cream together oil and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix until combined. Beat in eggnog. Gradually add in remaining flour, beat just until combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with cupcake mixture. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs on it.
  6. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the cupcake pan. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with maple cream cheese frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes

You will need:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tablespoons butter {one stick}, softened
  • 2 tablespoons eggnog
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2- 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar – approximate
  1. Using a stand mixer on medium speed cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Beat in maple syrup.
  3. Gradually add in powdered sugar and beat until it becomes a thick spreadable mixture.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of eggnog until desired consistency is reached.

Hamburgers

Did I fool anyone?  These are actually hamburger cupcakes!!  They are probably the most exciting thing I have made in a long time too!  They were ridiculously easy to make as well, and you’ll see why below.  With summer drawing to a close, I knew Labor Day would probably be my last chance to make these this year, since it pretty much wraps up the picnic season.  I’m so glad I went for it and that T could take them into work to be enjoyed. 🙂

There’s really no recipe here as everything was store-bought/mixes.  Sure, you could make each item from scratch but after a very busy weekend, I just didn’t go that route this time.  This is what you need:

1 white cake mix, prepared as 24 cupcakes {I went with french vanilla flavored}

1 box of brownies

1 can of frosting, divided

gel/paste food colors – yellow {mustard}, green {lettuce}, red {ketchup}

biscuit cutter {I used a 2″ square}

3 pastry bags and 3 couplers

two #3 tips for the ketchup and mustard

one leaf tip for the lettuce {#66 or #352}

sesame seeds

toothpicks

Make and bake the cupcakes as directed in greased muffin cups {or you can use paper liners, but they’ll have to be removed before assembly}.  When cupcakes are still warm from baking, sprinkle each with sesame seeds.  Cool completely, then slice in half to create buns.

Make and bake the brownies.  Cool completely.  Then cut with biscuit cutter into square {or round} patties, making sure the patties are the right size for the buns.

Divide the can of frosting into 3 bowls.  Color with yellow, red, and green or as desired.

Prepare 3 pastry bags, couplers, and tips and fill each with the prepared frosting.

Decorate on the brownie “meat” to create ketchup, mustard and lettuce.

I only put lettuce on the corners, but you can add as much as you would like.  Then top with the upper half of the cupcake and you are done!

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Wow!  I now know why there has been so much hype over Swiss meringue buttercream.  It is dreamy and smooth and so, so good!  I really don’t know how I’ll be able to go back to my old buttercream!

I have to give myself a pat on the back for making this recipe.  It was a lot more labor than I’m used to putting into cupcakes, especially on one of the hottest days of the year, but it was so worth it.  So worth it!

Due to a work function at the hellhole, I had to make all 3 parts of this recipe about 48+ hours before assembling the final product.  I left the lemon curd and buttercream in the fridge and left the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temp until I could put it all together.

As my luck goes, of course there was a casualty.  Well as instructed, I brought the buttercream to room temperature {or so I thought?} and then mixed it using my stand mixer to fluff it up again.  And it totally curdled and separated into a runny mess.  I ended up starting over with a new batch which was not really how I wanted to spend my Friday night, but that’s okay.

So, I would recommend making it and using it immediately.  Also, I used unsalted butter in the first batch and salted in the second and I could definitely tell a difference.  I thought the batch using unsalted butter was much better.  I didn’t have as many strawberries as were called for to make my second batch, so that was disappointing too.

Now, even though this was a time consuming project, no step was difficult.  At times I questioned the vagueness of certain directions, but I went with my gut and everything turned out great.  Erin also made some great suggestions, so I’ve included some combined tips throughout the instructions below that may make things more clear or clear as mud…

Strawberry Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes

Source:  Milk and Honey and Martha Stewart

Makes 24 cupcakes {I got 27 cupcakes}

First, make the filling:

LEMON CURD

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  1. Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. {I had to move the saucepan back to very low heat to finish adding the butter, it just wasn’t melting for me off the heat.} Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Next, make the cake:

LEMON BUTTERMILK CUPCAKES

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full (or less, I had issues with 2 or 3 being too full and running over while baking}. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. {My were still pretty light colored, but center was done so don’t just go by color.} Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Make the frosting and assemble:

STRAWBERRY SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature {I recommend unsalted butter}
  1. Puree strawberries in a food processor. Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water.  {I may have messed up here, I just used a large shallow stainless steel frying pan, but realized later that it was supposed to be more of a double boiler set up.  So I guess I should have used a deeper pan for the simmering water?  My way seemed to work out though.} Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved.  The mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips.
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. {I don’t think I truly got to stiff peaks, but went ahead anyway because it was glossy and fluffy.} Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add strawberries and beat until combined. Stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth.*  {Taste the frosting at this point and you will think you went to heaven!!!}
  4. Using a small paring knife, cut a small cone shaped portion out of the middle of each cupcake. Reserve the cones. Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon filling into each cake. Top with reserved cone and press it down slightly into place.
  5. Pipe or spread the frosting on top of each filled cupcake. Garnish with a strawberry and a lemon wedge. Serve immediately. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator but bring to room temp before serving again.

*The frosting can be made ahead of time. Just transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes. {I don’t recommend this, but left in for anyone who wants to take the chance.}

Buttercream Frosting

First of all, do you say frosting or icing?  I say both interchangeably, I think.  Is there a right and wrong?

Anywho, it was brought to my attention that my buttercream icing recipe isn’t very easy to find on here, so I’m making a post devoted to it.  🙂  I think I originally blogged it in my Easter ’09 post.  I basically use a combination of techniques and recipes that I have learned over the years….from a family friend who makes wedding cakes, my Wilton books, and my Wilton instructor at Michael’s.

Buttercream Frosting {not pure white}

Ingredients:

1 stick {1/2 cup) butter

1/2 cup white Crisco

1/2 cup water  {maybe less if its a humid day}

tiny pinch of salt – optional

1/2 tsp clear butter extract

1/2 tsp clear vanilla extract

1 tablespoon meringue powder – optional {I believe it adds stability to the frosting, especially when making flowers.  They hold their shape.}

1 {2 pound} bag of powdered sugar, sifted

Directions:

Cream Crisco, butter, water, extracts/flavoring, and salt in bowl of stand mixer until smooth.  Slowly add sugar and meringue powder, scraping side of bowl 2 or 3 times.  Once all of the sugar is incorporated, turn mixer to medium high and mix until very fluffy.

Notes:

The recipe above creates slightly off-white frosting.  If you want pure white frosting, you’ll need to use all Crisco and no butter.  If you are going to color the frosting anyway, you can use all butter.  If using all butter, omit the butter flavoring and substitute almond extract or more vanilla extract.

I have never measured how much frosting this makes.  If I had to guess, I would say 5 cups.  It is definitely enough to frost a 9″ layer cake or a sheet cake that is 11″ x 15″.  I make additional frosting if I’m doing a lot of decorations {like flowers} in addition to the base layer of frosting.

The consistancy will be medium, but spreadable.

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

Recently, I purchased a large amount of strawberries at a great price, so I wanted to use them in a few new recipes.  I decided on a strawberry rhubarb pie and strawberry shortcake using this pound cake.  Both were terrific and perfect for the heat wave we’re having.  It finally feels like summer and these desserts have summer written all over them!

Ina Garten never disappoints so I knew this would be a hit!  I don’t know whose recipes I like more – the Barefoot Contessa or the Pioneer Woman?!

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

{Source:  Ina Garten’s Back to Basics cookbook p. 208}

2 sticks of unsalted butter, at cool room temperature {leave it set out for 1 hour}

1-1/4 cups sugar

4 extra large eggs, at room temp

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tsp grated lemon zest

2 cups sifted cake flour {I sifted together 1/4 cup corn starch with 1-3/4 cups Ap flour for a substitute}

1 teaspoon kosher salt {I used 3/4 tsp}

1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom of a 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2-inch loaf pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the entire pan.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light.  Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and zest in a glass measuring cup, but do not combine.

With the mixer on medium-low, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time.  Allow each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.  Scrape the paddle and sides of the bowl occasionally.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  With the mixer on low, gradually add it to the batter until just combined.  Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan.  Smooth the top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  {Mine took closer to 60 minutes until a toothpick came out clean and it was quite dark on top, but not burnt…it didn’t affect the taste either.  It may have gotten so dark because I used a coated non-stick pan?  I’ve heard that those cause browning to whatever you are baking.}

Cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a baking rack and cool completely.

Enjoy! 🙂

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