18 February 2011

Today's baking adventures!!!

2 recipes at once.  And, now I am pretty exhausted!  But, these were fun to make and I am very excited that both recipes aren't too sweet. Looks are deceiving!!

The first recipe came from the WW board, from Vittoria, who got flack for posting a review for a "non-WW friendly" recipe review.  Which was beyond lame--people don't have to look at posts with "cupcake" in the title if they are that swayed by the written word to immediately go off track...but I digress. 
Her post led me to this post--an amazing baking site.  I also used Sara's frosting, which is seriously amazing.  Not too sweet, but thick, creamy, and rich.  AWESOME!  I also took her frosting cupcakes "course" and watched her video on  how to frost cupcakes.

This was also my first time:
Pre-color mix...thick and gooey.
1. Exercising patience in baking.  I actually layered the colors like Sara did, and didn't get frustrated at the tediousness and throw a fit. 
2. Working with an actual frosting tip. That was metal.  For organized frosting purposes.
3. Working with gel colors--including taste free red gel.  I likey.
4. Followed the directions to the T. (Except for the vanilla debacle which will be explained later.)
5.  Prepped everything in advance.  Totally worth it. 

Colorburst Cupcakes
The setup.
recipe by ourbestbites.com
1 white cake mix
2 eggs
1 C yogurt (any smooth textured fruit flavor is fine!) or sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
1/2 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 2 minutes.

Divide batter according to how many colors you are using. I used 5 colors and it worked out to a little over 1 cup for each color, but each cake brand will be slightly different. (I didn't measure. I used 5 colors: red, blue, yellow, green, and purple.)

Use food coloring to color batter to desired intensity. (my favorite was yellow--barely any gel was needed for a BRIGHT color.  Green was my second favorite for the neon-ness of the color.  Least fav is purple--and purple is my favorite color, but I couldn't find a good balance of the red and the blue gel, plus it is a really ugmo purple that resulted from my attempts)

To get a layered stripe like I used, you'll want to put a spoonful of each color in the cupcake one at a time. The batter is thick, so it won't spread on it's own. A great tip is to set out a little bowl of water where you're working. (This REALLY HELPS!!) Dip your finger in the water and then gently spread the batter out. The water will make it so the batter doesn't stick to your fingers.

Another tip is to use a measuring spoon and some water to measure out how many teaspoons/tablespoons are going to fit in your cupcake. Then divide that by how many colors you have so you know how much of each color to use for each cupcake. For my 5 colors, it worked out perfectly with 2 t of each color in each cupcake. So I put in 2 t of blue in the bottom of each cupcake and spread it out with my finger. Then I put in 2 t of green on top of that, then yellow, etc.  (My order--bottom to top: purple, blue, green, red, yellow).

Bake them according to the package directions, until a toothpick comes out dry.

Layer 1

Layer 2

Layer 3

Layer 4

Layer 5
The final product!
Frosting into pastry tube.
The final result! They ROCK!!!

The inside!!!!!!!!
Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
recipe by ourbestbites.com
3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)  (I used skim milk!!)
1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. I think this is the critical point for any of you who have had problems with this recipe. I have a feeling people are under-cooking this part. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) (I didn't really understand this part, so after it got to pudding stage, I scraped it into a small bowl and put it in the fridge)  and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting!!
In an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens!  (I let it go for 8 minutes--everything Sara says is true!! It goes from gross to awesome!)

You will be scared because it will look like a weird goopy mess at first and you'll wonder what on earth you did wrong. Keep beating and something amazing happens. It goes from that goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy.

Use it to fill cupcakes or other pastries, or as a frosting on top. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)

One batch makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes .  (this is totally true--no extras!!)

Store at room temperature in a sealed container. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.

Ok. These cupcakes are amazing.  I don't know what it is: the yogurt, the butter, the frosting, but DANG.  They are moist, delicious, not too sweet, and the frosting is PERFECT!!!!
Amazing! I can't wait to see what the girls of my book club think!!
The second recipe (mind you, I was working on both of these recipes simultaneously!) came from Jenna who makes amazing food to look at and is fun to read. As to the vanilla debacle I mentioned earlier, since I had prepped before hand, I accidentally took the vanilla I measured out for this filling and added it to the cake batter instead.  Oops.  1 extra tsp. in the batter won't change the flavor that much right? 

Eggs with chocolate about to be folded in.
Sweetheart Chocolate Roll Cake
6 oz semisweet chocolate

6 T butter
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Batter w/alternating dry mixture (milk was next)
1/4 cup milk
sweetheart filling:
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 T milk
1 drop red food coloring (I didn't color mine!)
ganache topping:
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
Valentine's Day sprinkles to top! (I didn't do this either!)
Preheat oven to 350.
Butter a jelly roll pan (baking pan) and then lay a sheet of wax paper on top and butter the wax paper as well, making sure to get the sides of the pan greased.
Melt the butter and chocolate together over very low heat until smooth. Take off the heat, add the sugar and mix well.
Beat eggs until thick, pale and light. This will take about seven-eight minutes beating on high. Fold in the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract, but be careful not to over-mix (this will deflate the eggs).
Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to the cake batter, folding slowly the entire time. Make sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl with your rubber spatula!
Spread the cake batter onto your prepared pan and smooth out to the edges, making sure the batter is evenly distributed.
Bake for 15 minutes.
While cake is cooling, beat together the softened butter and confectioner's sugar to make the frosting. Add the milk, vanilla and food coloring and beat until very light and fluffy--- about six minutes.
After the cake has cooled completely, lift the wax paper off the pan and set cake on the counter. Gently turn cake over and peel off wax paper. Spread the frosting out on top of the cake, leaving an inch free around all edges. Then, gently roll up cake. Don't worry if it rips a little bit--it will turn out fine!
Stick rolled up cake in the freezer while you prepare ganache.
Filling! (Not too sweet!)
Bring cream to a simmer on the stove. Immediately pour over chocolate chips and stir to melt. Remove cake from freezer and pour ganache over the cake, making sure all sides are covered. Cover with sprinkles and return to freezer for 30 minutes to set.
Store cake in the fridge---can be made a day ahead of time!

Ok. Time to get serious.  Cooled and flipped cake. 

Filling spread.  I don't have a fancy frosting spreader thingy. I used a rubber scraper!


Full shot.  It looks crazy.  I am impressed as to how much it looks like a MONSTROUS Little Debbie. (Tastes WAY better though!!)

With the ganache.  And cut in half to make it more manageable/storeable.  It won't be pretty when it is time to serve it, but it will taste damn good!!! 

 Whew. I am tired.  The cake isn't too chocolatey--I kind of wish it was more chocolatey, but I think that when I eat it with the topping, any sadness I have about lack of chocolate will be alleviated.  After licking the bowl of ganache (seriously, I wished my tongue was longer to get all the chocolate goodness),  I think it will be plenty chocolatey.

Pretty productive day.  Now to do laundry and get ready for the gym--which I need from all the sampling.


  1. The cupcakes are gorgeous...absolutely gorgeous. it looks like alot of work though.
    do you have any ideas for a healthy egg souflee? Or have you ever tried one?

  2. Those cupcakes are so cute! Great job baking. I don't trust myself to bake very often. I tend to sample a lot. :)


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