Thursday, 30 September 2010

White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Blondies

I LOVE blondies. To me, they taste like cookie dough...but are considered more "acceptable" to eat lots of! I've experimented with lots of different add-ins, but this is probably the one that gets the best reaction. Keep an eye on these while they are baking. Mine tend to take a little bit longer than specified in the recipe, but it's really important not to overbake them!!

White Chocolate and Toasted Pecan Blondies
Makes 24 2-inch Blondies

1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup (6oz) butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves
1 1/4 cup white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350*F

Grease and lightly flour a 13x9 inch baking pan.

Toast the pecans: Place pecans on baking sheet and bake for 15mins, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth, about 2min. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in pecans and chocolate.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45min, until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not overbake.

Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Garden Party Cupcakes

So, I was given the task of making cupcakes for a garden themed party this week, and here is the finished product:

I made mini cupcakes and normal sized ones. All of the pictures feature mini cupcakes. They were vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I dyed the frosting a pale green and put sugar flowers on top. I used a cupcake recipe adapted from Billy's Cupcakes which I found on the Martha Stewart website and a Martha Stewart recipe for frosting. They are really light cupcakes which have a soft texture. The frosting is really fluffy and very easy to make!

Billy's Vanilla Cupcakes (Makes approx 30)

Ingredients for cupcakes

1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for Frosting

1 1/2 cups butter at room temperature
4 cups (1 pound) confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Green food coloring

Sugar flowers to decorate


Preheat oven to 325*F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined. Add butter in small pieces, mixing until coated with flour.

Add eggs one at a time.

In a measuring cup, whisk together milk and vanilla. Add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of the bowl before each addition. Beat until ingredients are just incorporated. Do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among linrs, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester insterted in the center comes out clean, 17-20 min.

Transfer to a wire rach to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, frost each one.

To make the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale- about 2 min.

Reduce speed to medium and add confectioner's sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add in food coloring a little at a time until desired color is achieved. Decorate by pressing sugar flowers into frosting.

Can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temp and beat on low speed until smooth again-about 5 min.

I was really pleased with how these turned out. I love these recipes and use them often. I really wanted the cupcakes to go along with the garden party theme and I think I was able to achieve that with these.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Today I decided to try out another recipe found on Annie's Eats blog.... Chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter filling and frosting. Here are the results:

Dissected cupcake showing the peanut butter filling:

Same cupcake, different style frosting:

Overall, these cupcakes were a great success. They were pretty easy to make apart from having to clean the mixing bowl 3 times. The cake was really moist with a perfect chocolate flavour. The frosting was a really good peanut butter flavour with a hint of cream cheese sourness to balance out the sugar. The frosting was a little soft and liquidy for my liking (I prefer the look of frosting that is a little stiffer) but it tasted great. By far the best part of these cupcakes was the peanut butter filling. It tasted a lot like the filling in Reese's and I had to stop myself from eating it all just on it's own!! The filling is what made this cupcake special. I would happily make these again.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 24 although I ended up with 20)


For the filling:
1cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

To make the filling, with an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (at least 24) and set aside on a baking sheet. Refrigerate balls until firm.

To make the cake batter, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a measuring cup, stir together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated.

Spoon a tablespoon or two of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Place a ball of the peanut butter filling in each cupcake well and top with the remaining batter so that all the cups are filled. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended. Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Keep cupcakes refrigerated.

Source from: adapted from
Annie’s Eats,
originally from Good Housekeeping

Monday, 6 September 2010

Another year...

I am clearly pretty bad at this blogging thing. I am back in America and thought it would be a good time to update....and to vow to be a better blogger.....hopefully.

Over the past few months I have baked lots of new things. Let's start with the most recent: Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes from Annie's Eats. I have recently discovered her blog and she has some AMAZING recipes!! These cupcakes were so awesome!

I also made some scones which overall I wasn't super impressed with. I will have to keep searching for the perfect scone recipe.

I made some bagels for my guy. Their texture was awesome but I forgot the salt! He was very sweet about it and ate most of them anyway! The recipe was from the Nigella Lawson Domestic Godess cookbook.

I also decided to try out making my own jam. Surprisingly, this was a total success. I used strawberries that we picked ourselves and I have never tasted such wonderful jam! I am still trying to work out the whole canning process though.

A few months ago I devoted an entire evening to developing the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. I made 3 different kinds and think I came up with a winner. It does seem to be a little temperamental though and when I tried to make it in America, it wasn't too successful. I think I need to work on it a little more.

So, a pretty good few months of baking. And I promise, promise, promise to be a better blogger!