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Archive for August, 2011

It is hard to believe that is already the end of August, and it is already starting to get a little cool here in Maine.  And since a trip to the Bahamas does not seem like it is in the near future, I decided to bring the Tropics to me and now…to you. Actually this was not planned at all — sometimes I wish I was that creative, but alas (yes I am bringing ‘alas’ back — at least for now!), I am not. It actually started when the love and I went to the local farmer’s market since we are all about supporting local yummies. And seriously, the things you get there seem 10x as yummy. And of course we always end up spending far more than we plan on spending, but it is all stuff I NEED. You understand right? At least nod and pretend you are on my side so the fiance does not take my spending privileges! Anyway, I am getting a little bit sidetracked. While we were looking at all the different stands, we came upon some jalapenos and other peppers.Well Kevin and I are polar opposites when it comes to peppers. I do not do spicy at all. If I did, this probably would not be a dessert blog but instead more of a foodie blog. I like sweet things, though. Sweet things are delicious. I could eat it all day and night. But I am sure you have figured that out already… Anyway, I feel bad that I keep Kevin from eating all the spicy food that he wants on a daily basis so I mentioned he should get some peppers. He asked what for and I mentioned I could actually make a jalapeno cupcake. This perked the interest of the guy running the stand and he gave us a couple free peppers so I could make the cupcake (yay for nice people!). He of course wanted one in return… but when I went to the farmer’s market again a week later, he was not there. I was very disappointed but I at least got an awesome cupcake recipe out of it.

My inspiration came from Betty Crocker’s Big Book of Cupcakes. I love it. It is like my Bible. I flip through it almost every day. And I really needed to learn to jump out of my comfort zone and Kevin is glad I did. I unfortunately did not get to try these at all… but the people that did have it really enjoyed it.  From what I heard, it does have a little zing to it after you eat it. So it will come back to haunt you. But I know there are some people out there that enjoy that (I am just not one of them!) But they sure did look good…and the frosting is delicious.

And not such a bad picture either. There might be something to this morning picture thing. Anyway my recipe is quite like the one in the Betty Crocker book but with a few adjustments.

Taste of the Tropics

Ingredients

2 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour

3 Teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup shortening

1 2/3 cup granulated sugar

5 egg whites

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup mango-peach juice (no additives. mango puree and peach juice)

1/2 cup whole milk

1 -2 tablespoons finally chopped jalapeno (I put in a tablespoon but the fiance said it could use more)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place liners in 24 regular sized muffin cups.

2. On wax paperor in a medium sized mixing bowl,  mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.

3.  In an electric mixer, beat the shortening until smooth. Slowly add in the sugar.  Make sure to scrape the bowl occasionally.  The add egg whites one at a time. Make sure to mix well after each egg.  Add the vanilla and mango-peach juice and mix well. Then add in the flour and milk, alternating between the 2. Slowly adding a little bit at a time.

4. Then add in the jalapeno. Be careful not to over-beat.

5. Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 way full.

6. Bake for around 20 minutes.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 cup powdered sugar

4 tablespoons coconut milk

3 – 5 tablespoons whole milk

Garnish: Flaked Coconut and Chopped Fresh Mango

Directions

1. In the electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Beating well after each time.

2. Mix in the vanilla and coconut milk.

3. Add in milk until you have the consistency that you wish.

4. Frost cupcakes.

5.  Garnish with coconut and mango.

Keep cool or eat immediately. My fiance liked them after they had been in the fridge for a little bit. I frosted the cupcakes when they were still warm so the frosting became melty so we popped them in the fridge. He liked it that way.

Enjoy! Apparently it tastes a little tropical! I just have to take the people’s word for it. =)

 

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The taste testing was a success and I am hopeful for the future. I have big dreams for A Dab of Frosting and hoping things will only getting better. One of the featured desserts was a Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcake recipe that I created. It is absolutely perfect for the Summer because it tastes just like a Hot Fudge Sundae without having to worry about the melty mess (well only a little bit when you are making it!). Another thing that is great about them is that they work well with parties. You can have a variety of toppings and kids/family/friends can decorate their own! You can have Sprinkles. Nuts. Chopped up Candy bits. Caramel syrup. Strawberry Syrup. Cherries. The possibilities are great! I was not as creative as I should have been at my taste testing – but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future.

Now the recipe is not quite perfect yet. It is close but not how I want it. The first time I made it there was too much sugar and the cupcakes sort of imploded… just a little bit but also had a crunchy top. Though delicious… it was not exactly the texture I wanted. Second time, was a disaster and ended up in the trash. I am still a little sensitive about the subject…

Third time was pretty close to what I wanted. It was tasty and soft but it still does not have the texture I crave for this sort of cupcake. It works well with the fudgy ganache and the whipped topping… but I want perfection. So I am looking for an excuse to make them again. Anyone interested?

This is currently what I have for the recipe. Maybe you can experiment and let me know your results!

2 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour

3 teaspoons Baking Powder

¼ teaspoon Salt

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup vanilla ice cream, melted

1 ½ cups Sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 ½ cups of Milk

Directions:

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F. Line Cupcake Tray with 24 liners.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.

3. Beat the softened butter until smooth and slowly add in the sugar. Once butter and sugar is mixed well, add in the ice cream.

4. Add vanilla extract.

5. Beat in eggs one at a time.

6. Slowly add in Flour mixture and alternate with the milk. So about 1/4 of the flour mixture and milk at a time.

7. Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 – 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooling… make the ganache! Very easy.

Hot Fudge Ganache

1 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

1/2 Heavy Cream

1. Heat heavy cream in a sauce pan until it is bubbling/simmering

2. Pour over chocolate chips and STIR! Stir like crazy. If you find that the chocolate chips do not melt, that’s fine. Just stick it in the microwave. Oh you should probably do this in a microwave safe bowl! Sorry! 15 seconds will do the trick.

3. If you find that it is too “soupy” to put on cupcakes, just let it cool for 15-20 minutes. It gets thicker as it sets.

4. Put on cupcakes.

Then go crazy with toppings! This is how mine came out:

Eat Immediately!

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I am sorry. I am sorry with every ounce of my being and then some. I am sorry that there are no words to describe how sorry I am. So please forgive me? You do? Great! Because I did not get any real good pictures of the cheesecake. GASP! I know. It is terrible. It is so terrible that I should just go and make another cheesecake to make up for it. I will get on that. Probably next week. Yes definitely next week. And maybe the week after that. And the week after that. Until I can play the role of Mrs.Claus because I am so full of cheesecake. Ah, that sounds heavenly.

And no longer scary. I have to admit that I was absolutely petrified of making a cheesecake. I was reading horror stories of cracked, dry, flat, liquidy, flavorless cheesecakes… everywhere. It sounded like it was just a dream or a gift given only to the best bakers in thee world. No one else was allowed to enter the Pearly Gates of Cheesecake and I felt like a fool to even try. But I had to try. I had to throw caution to the wind and make a cheesecake. How could I call myself a baker if I could not even make one of my favorite desserts of all time? So I did it. I found this wonderful, wonderful, fantastic, amazing blog with a whole FAQ that seemed to be dedicated to me and it is perfect for anyone else out there that is afraid to take the plunge. Just do it. Jump into this world of creamy cheese and graham cracker crumbs. It is a beautiful place to land. Promise.

And I did it. I made a cheesecake. I was terrified. I was hovering over the stove like a dotting mom. I was scared when the timer went off after 35 minutes and it was still white! There was no golden brown top. It was white. Oh no. What was going on? Ok. Give it time. Another 5 minutes. Yeah. That should do it. But another 5 minutes went by and no change! Ok, ok. Maybe it was the water bath, it was just making things a little wonky. 10 minutes. That should do it. But it didn’t.

It was the scariest moment of my life. Yes, that is an exaggeration but it was pretty close to making the top 10 list. I was so afraid that this additional time was going to make it dry. I was so afraid that if I stopped then and there it was going to be liquidy. I was torn between perfection and giving up. But I kept going.

The total time for the cheesecake here in in-land Maine… was an 1 hour and 10 minutes. That is 35 minutes more than the time it said.

But I am glad I kept at it. Because it was the best tasting cheesecake I ever had. It was fine plain. It was even more fine with the homemade blueberry syrup. Or Strawberry Syrup. Or homemade whipped cream. It was so fine that I didn’t get any pictures of it because it was eaten up so quickly. And no one complained.

It was one of the happiest moments of my life. And it can be yours too. Go to Our Best Bites and worship them. Thank them for being alive. Thank them for taking their time to answer all the questions you could possibly have about cheesecake. And then you too can enjoy this amazing delicious creation…

The only one that made it into picture

Oh, and enjoy this cat in the box (yunno to make up for the lack of pictures…)

Mommy got this box just for me...I got business cards. Kitties got boxes to play in. It is a wonderful world. See, you can’t be mad now can you?

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This weekend has been all about baking and it has definitely paid off! This weekend, I made my first order for A Dab of Frosting: more Tiramisu Cupcakes! (which had led to a second order which makes for a very happy Cassy). Now the last time I made Tiramisu cupcakes I had not really planned ahead and ended up throwing away 12 egg whites. It felt like such a waste… but I knew that Angel Food Cake required a lot of egg whites and I reminded my fiance that the next time I make Tiramisu Cupcakes that I need to make an Angel Food Cake at the same time. This ended up happening a lot quicker than I thought. I ended up following this Angel Food Cake Recipe, exactly. It had great reviews and I couldn’t find anything worth changing, and I am glad I didn’t. Now the one thing I thought would go great with the Angel Food Cake and Cheesecake would be the one thing that is in season in Maine right now: Blueberries!

I decided I was going to try my hand at making homemade blueberry syrup! Once again, my inspiration came from AllRecipes Blueberry Sauce but with some differences.

Measure out 2 cups of Blueberries and put them into a bowl. Pick out as many of the stems as possible. Luckily mine did not have that many!

Once you do that, put the berries into a medium sauce pan and add in 1/4 cup cold water, 1/2 cup of orange juice (I used Oakhurst orange juice but you can use whatever suits your fancy), 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon, and 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix well over medium heat and bring to a boil.

 

In a separate small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of corn starch and 1/4 cup of cold water. Once the blueberry mixture has come to a boil, add the cornstarch mixture and stir in until the blueberry mixture has become thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Now you can alter how thick you want it by adding in some water. I did. I added about another 1/4 of water because I wanted it a little bit more runny. Then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. And Wha-la!

Homemade Blueberry Syrup! And it tastes amazing! And it goes wonderfully with Angel Food Cake…

And tonight I am going to be trying it with the cheesecake I made… Post about that will have to wait for tomorrow!

But enjoy this yummy picture of it:

Mmmm breakfast food...Enjoy!

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A lot of changes are occurring for A Dab of Frosting — slowly it is starting to evolve into a small business and not just a hobby (because that is the dream to make your passion into a money making machine, right?). Right now it is not so much for profit but to build a fan base and also support my baking adventures so my other paycheck can go to… important stuff… like rent my horse. Who says I don’t have my priorities in order?

To get this feeling more professional, I have even started a Facebook page for it! Ok, well my fiance set it up. I’m not quite that tech savvy yet but I am working on it! Also, I am ordering business cards and making up brochures so I will be ready for our first Monthly Taste Testing party! Anyone who wants to swing by can enjoy Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes and also the famous chocolate chip cookies that helped me fall in love with baking in the first place.

I have BIG dreams and I just know if I stay focus, they can come true!

Now on to the Tiramisu. I really wish I was better at taking pictures throughout my processes. I also wish I had a camera that could really capture the moments. But alas, I have neither. Tiramisu cupcakes are probably the hardest cupcakes I ever made (so far!). The whole process took about 5 hours altogether! So this is something you definitely do not want to do in one afternoon. I would start with the ladyfingers one day and then finish the rest the next morning if you wish to have it for dessert at a reasonable hour the next day. The custard takes about 6 hours in the fridge to set on top of the ladyfingers to get the best flavor. So patience on this one!

The idea to make Tiramisu cupcakes came from when a friend brought over Tiramisu Gelato (YUM) as a dessert for one of our evening gatherings. But then she mentioned how she never had actual Tiramisu! Which is just tragic… so I decided that her streak of being a tiramisu virgin must come to an end! And since I am on such a huge cupcake bender, I decided to try my luck at making them in cupcake form. I went to the internet in search of inspiration since a.) I never made Lady fingers b.) I have only had tiramisu once in my life and even though it was delicious enough to stick with me, it was not enough to replicate completely by memory and c.) I needed a list of ingredients.

and wha-la I found this amazing blog with a recipe for homemade ladyfingers and Tiramisu cupcakes and I highly recommend you check her out at The Cupcake Project. I made the ladyfingers just as she directed (which does involve separating an egg. How many people know how to separate an egg? if there are enough people who would like a little tutorial, I was thinking about doing one in my next blog post!). Now the problem is when you make these ladyfingers in regular cupcake size, and fill the cupcake liners about… a 1/4 up since you really want to layer on the custard…. you get about 30 cupcakes. Or at least I got 30 cupcakes. Either way, plan for A LOT of cupcakes.

Not even half of the ladyfingers! and I had to make my amazing fiance go out and buy me more cupcake liners because the ones I have ordered,  haven’t even come in yet (which is driving me a bit bonkers!).

Ladyfinger Recipe By Cupcake Project

4 eggs, separated

2 tbsp + 2/3 C white sugar

1 C all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 24 cupcake liners (at least). Depends how much ladyfinger to custard ratio you want.

Separate Eggs

Place egg whites in a bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form. (Soft Peaks means that the egg whites have just passed the frothy/bubbly state and that it holds some sort of form).

Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy.

In another bowl, beat egg yolks and remaining sugar.

Whip until thick and very pale in color. (you can do this with a fork — it is a bit of a work out!)

On wax paper or in a small bowl, mix together flour and baking powder.

Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Add in flour, and then add the remaining egg whites.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/4 full. They will bake up to fill 1/2 the cupcake liner.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Tiramisu Cupcakes

12 egg yolks

1 1/2 C white sugar

1 1/3 C milk (I use whole milk)

2 1/2 C heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 lb mascarpone cheese

2 C strong brewed coffee, room temperature (use good coffee. Kevin and I have discovered a love for Caribou Coffee!)

4 tbsp rum

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

a small amount of dark chocolate for chocolate curls (optional)

Directions

In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Then whisk the milk and cook over medium heat. Make sure to stir constantly until the mixture boils (prepare to be stirring for awhile. It takes about 10-15 minutes to get the mixture to boil).

Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly. (When you can hold your hand over it and not feel it radiating any heat)

Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.

Remove from refrigerator and whisk in mascarpone (add slowly and whisk each time. About an 8oz container at a time) until smooth.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. (You can also add some sugar to make it a little sweeter. I added 2 teaspoons of sugar to add a little sweetness). Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum.

Drizzle approximately 1 tbsp + 2 tsp of the coffee/rum mixture over each pre-baked ladyfinger.  Add it a little at a time and wait for it to absorb into the ladyfingers before adding more.

Spread the mascarpone mixture over the soaked ladyfingers.

Pipe or spread the whipped cream over the mascarpone.

Sprinkle with cocoa powder. (I used just my fingertips to sprinkle it on. Don’t over do it!)

Optionally, top with chocolate curls.  Make the chocolate curls using a vegetable peeler on a piece of chocolate.

Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours, until set. (Definitely better if you wait for 6 hours… but if you really can’t wait, you can eat one after 4 hours…)

 

And wha-la! You have Tiramisu Cupcakes! Perfect for a lovely date night, a dinner party, or just because you are craving something coffee flavored and delicious.

 

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