Happy Fourth, everyone! I wish I had some red, white, and blue goodies to show you (perhaps a sheet cake topped with Cool Whip, strawberries, and blueberries, anyone?), but I am fresh out of kitschy dessert recipes. I am drinking a cup of coffee, listening to "Shaun the Sheep" in the next room, and I am still digesting the most wonderful dinner prepared by my dad AND a seriously, seriously delicious slice of birthday cake. Having successfully finished week three of P90X, I tried to avoid the scale this morning (but oh, I am a glutton for punishment). Needless to say, today will be a very spartan day for me.
It has been four days since I have logged onto Facebook, and although the first day was strange, I am doing well. I do feel like there is a party raging that I have chosen not to attend, but what is new? I am not much for parties, usually.
A bit of house-keeping, thanks to all of you who posted a response to my cake give-away blog. The winner is Melissa (I believe "C."), which is hilarious to me. Melissa has so much access to cake, that she actually smells like sugar. Perhaps a pie or cookies? So funny! But she is the type of person who is so deserving of any gift bestowed on her, so I don't mind at all. Thanks everyone for playing!
And onto some recipes. I made a cake version of these cupcakes, and they were both heavenly!
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake:
Beatty's Chocolate Cake (from Ina Garten)
* Makes 24
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1 t vanilla
3/4 t peppermint extract (not "mint")
1 cup hot coffee
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (except the coffee) together. Slowly pour your wet ingredients into your dry, stirring just until incorporated. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl! Once finished, slowly pour in the coffee, mixing until incorporated. Again, make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl!
As carefully as you can, pour the batter into 24 muffin cups, until 2/3 of the way full. Try not to overfill, as these do not crown beautifully!
Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes until done. Immediately pull out the cupcakes and place on a cooling rack. Prepare your frosting.
White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz of good quality white chocolate, chopped finely
8 oz cream cheese (I find it is best to use full-fat name brand)
16 oz unsalted butter
3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
1 t peppermint extract
1 t vanilla extract
Melt the white chocolate in a double-boiler, or in a heat-proof bowl placed over simmering water. Set aside to cool.
Cream your butter and cream cheese. I find that yes, butter should be soft for making icing, but not too soft. 30 minutes outside of the fridge is just fine. Cream it together very well, and then add the powdered sugar. Mix on low until incorporated. Add the extracts, and beat together until light and fluffy.
Slather on completely cool cupcakes. Garnish with Grasshopper cookies or Thin Mints (if you have some left over), and a mint leaf.
Vanilla Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Vanilla Strawberry Cake (adapted from www.joyofbaking.com)
1 stick softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup good strawberry jam
Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, around 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and fully incorporate.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl in between additions.
Spoon into 24 lined muffin tins, until 2/3 full. Drop a teaspoon of jam to the center of each cup, and swirl with a toothpick. Put into an 350 oven and bake for 17-20 minutes. Pull out of the tins immediately and completely cool.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 block cream cheese (full-fat & name-brand)
1/3 cup strawberry puree, seeds removed
3 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla extract
Beat together butter, cream cheese, and strawberry puree. Beat, scrape down bowl, and repeat until the three are completely incorporated. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat again until light and fluffy.
Spread onto cooled cupcakes, and decorate as desired.
I did write this post yesterday, but completely forgot to post it. I hope everyone had a very safe and happy Fourth.
Have a wonderful day!