Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meringue Buttercream Frosting

When looking to frost the funfetti cupcakes I made for Tanya's birthday, I was looknig for a lighter frosting that would not overpower the vanilla cake so I tried Martha Stewart's meringue buttercream recipe. I liked this recipe because it is faster than my flour-based buttercream recipe but still doesn't require massive amounts of icing sugar.

The recipe makes a huge batch of frosting! I only required about half to frost four dozen mini cupcakes.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, makes about 5 cups


1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
1 pound butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food colouring, optional


In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk together the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissovled. Continue to whisk gently until the temperature reaches 140 F, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the butter one cube at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixtures is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to a piping bag for frosting.

The frosting can be refridgerated for up to one week or frozen for up to a month. Bring to room temperature before forsting.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Beer Steamed Mussles

This recipe makes a seriously good Belgian pub style steamed mussels that go perfectly with (sweet potato) fries and mayonnaise.

Adapted from Serious Eats, serves two


4 bacon rashers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
1 can beer, preferably Belgian ale
1 pound mussels, scrubbed


In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft.

Add the mustard, salt, pepper, parsley and beer. Bring to a boil.

Add the mussels, cover and steam for 5 minutes, until the mussels open. Discard any unopened mussels and serve immediately.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Funfetti Cake

It took me a couple tries to find a funfetti recipe I actually liked... after several mediocre attempts I resort to a tried and true recipe - Ultimate Vanilla Cake. Thankfully just in time to make cupcakes for Tanya's birthday!

I frosted the cupcakes with Meringue Buttercream Frosting and lots more sprinkles!

Makes two dozen


1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sprinkles


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

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the sugar and mix until well combined. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the very fine crumb texture, about three minutes. Add the eggs, sour cream, oil and extracts. Beat on medium speed until just combined. Slowly add the milk and mix on low speed until just combined. 

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Add the sprinkles and gently fold into the batter. Fill prepared cupcake liners just over half full. Work quickly, trying not to stir the batter to prevent the colour from the sprinkles from bleeding.

Bake for 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

For this years Valentine's Day treat I was inspired to try something other than cupcakes. Pinterest was full of inspiration but ultimately I gravitated to the cheerful, colourful Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with cream cheese filling. It took me awhile to settle on the perfect recipe but I found it - the cookies are a dense, chocolatey cake style cookie - exactly what I was hoping for!

To make heart shaped cookies, trace hearts onto your parchment paper - I used the template below. Place the parchment paper ink side down on your baking sheets. Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a 1A round tip. Pipe the batter in a v-shape within the heart template on the parchment paper.

Adapted from Beurrista, makes 18 2" cookie sandwiches


2½ cups flour
3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ to 1 tablespoon red gel food colouring

2 cups icing sugar
½ cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the canola oil and buttermilk.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the red food colouring and mix on low speed until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Beat just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds.

Use a ice cream scoop or piping bag to form cookies on the baking sheet spaced about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the cookies comes out clean. Allow the cookies to cool completely.

To make the filing, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter until it is smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until fluffy.

Add the sugar and vanilla. Beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. If the mixture is too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk or cream and continue beating.

Transfer the filling to a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe the filling onto the bottom side of half of the cookies. Place a second cookie on top being careful not to squeeze out the filling.

Keep in the refrigerator until serving.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Recipe Rewind: Red Hot Cupcakes

Who doesn't love red hot candies?

Adapted from Cupcake Blog, makes two dozen cupcakes


1 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup red hot candies
4 tablespoons milk


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well.

Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Measure out the milk and vanilla into a small bowl and stir to combine.

Add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat to combine. Add half of the milk mixture and beat to combine. Continue alternating between the dry ingredients and milk mixture until fully incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake papers, fill to about 2/3 full.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

In the meantime, make the frosting by beating the butter in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment at medium-high speed until creamy. Slowly add the sugar. Pulse the red hot candies in a blender until powdered and then add to the icing. Add the vanilla and milk and continue beating until light and fluffy. Frost cool cupcakes.

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