Posted in cake, daily, dessert, recipe

Italian Cream Cake

It’s my birrrrthday, my buh-buh-buh-birrrrthday!

I know I’m 40 now and everything, but I still can’t help but get a little giddy when September 15th rolls around. Probably has something to do with being an only child and my parents spoiling me (somewhat) rotten as a child, but who likes to speculate?

Yesterday I talked about my birthday game night celebration complete with mini Italian feast, and this cake was the sweetest ending. Normally I bake up a red velvet cake for my birthday because it’s hands down my favorite kind of cake, but I wanted to keep with the “theme” of the evening so I dug up this recipe that I got from an old coworker a few years back. It’s a creamy white cake that’s moist and dense, with the lightest whipped cream frosting.

Absolute heaven. 

Start with your dry ingredients: sift them together in a large bowl and set aside.

Note: for most other cakes you can skip the cake flour and just use all-purpose, but I’d definitely use cake flour here. 

Then onto the “cream” part of the Italian cream cake. Heavy whipping cream. A lot of it. Whip it in a mixer on high until it reaches a stiff peak. Add eggs one at a time and mix until just combined, taking care to not “deflate” the cream too much.

Switch out the the whisk attachment of your mixer for the beater attachment at this point. Add vanilla and almond extracts to the whipped cream mixture, then the dry ingredients, just a scoopful at a time, blending once or twice between each addition. Once all the flour is added to the whipped cream remove the bowl from the mixture and stir until just combined.

Your batter will be very dense.

Scoop batter into prepared cake pans and spread out evenly. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pans for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

At this point you can frost the cakes as they are or you can go all out like me and cut each layer in half, to create four layers. Why I do these things to myself I’ll never understand.

For the frosting, whip the softened mascarpone cheese (really softened, keep it out on the counter for a good hour and a half before you use it) in your mixer with some more heavy cream (Cholesterol! It’s what’s for dessert!) and powdered sugar until everything comes to a stiff peak. Frost the cake as you prefer. (Just an aside: I don’t have pictures of any of the frosting process because…well, let’s just say I had “issues” with it the night I made the cake and had to make a new batch right before my company showed up Friday evening. You don’t even want to know the words that were flying in my kitchen Thursday night, let me tell you.)

I actually made a batch and a half of frosting, to ensure there was enough between the four layers and for piping on the fancy rosettes.

You don’t have to do that, it just makes it pretty. Decorate the cake with slivered almonds, or some fresh fruit, or however you prefer.

Happy Birthday to me. 

Also I’m still totally making a red velvet cake tonight, because it’s a celebration, damn it.

Italian Cream Cake

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour two eight inch round baking pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder, set aside. In a large bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Add eggs one at a time on low speed until just blended. Add extracts. Gradually add dry ingredients by spoonfuls to the cream mixture until just blended. Divide batter equally between the prepared pans. Gently spread tops to level.

Bake cakes 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes in pan and turn out onto a rack to finish cooling. If not frosting immediately, wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator.

Fluffy Mascarpone Cream Frosting

  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese at room temperature for at least 90 minutes
  • 2 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

In a large bowl on high speed, beat mascarpone cheese, cream, and powdered sugar, scraping the bowl occasionally until stiff peaks form. Ice between layers, sides, and top of cake. Decorate as desired. Store in refrigerator, and remove approximately 30 minutes before serving.

Posted in daily, dessert, recipe

Peach Almond Tart

It’s starting.

There’s Halloween candy in grocery stores. Autumnal decorations in Target. Pumpkin beers on tap at the local pub, for crying out loud. Hell, I even saw some Christmas lights in Big Lots the other week.

Fall (and Winter) is coming.

School has started in some areas, community pools are closing, and if I’m not mistaken, the air has been a little cooler in the mornings.

But right now it’s still summer, at least for another week or two. And there are still peaches to be had. Sweet, tender, juice-dripping-down-your-chin peaches. My absolute favorite summer fruit.

I’ve been wanting to use these tart pans for a while. I love the idea of individual desserts, and peaches are pretty much the perfect fruit for such a vessel. I decided to go with a sweet shortbread-like crust using almond meal instead of the usual pie crust type pastry, just to switch up flavors/textures. I kept the filling very simple, just a little brown sugar and cinnamon, mainly to let the peaches speak for themselves.

Start with the tart crust. You’re going to want to give yourself some time with this, it needs to sit in the fridge a bit.

In the bowl of your mixer, mix butter, almond meal, flour, confectioner’s sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and salt until it comes together. The dough will be very sticky. Turn dough out of bowl onto plastic wrap and allow to rest in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Remove dough from plastic wrap and turn out onto countertop sprinkled with flour (you can use confectioner’s sugar, but be careful, because that’s how you get ants, Lana), and roll out with a rolling pin to approx. 1/4 inch thickness. Use your tart pan to “template” the amount of dough you need per pan – cut around pan and flip/press the dough into it.

(This is the part where I tell you I did not wait at least an hour for my dough to set, it was *incredibly* sticky, and I ended up piecing it into my tart shells because half of it stayed stuck to my counter. Learn from my mistakes.)

Poke dough with a fork all over the bottom of the tart shell, place pans on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until just lightly browned.

Once shells are baked and have cooled slightly, slice peaches thinly into a bowl (you can peel them if you want, I didn’t. I like the color/texture), sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, and stir. Place peach slices in tart shells and return tarts to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. I was experimenting and squeezed a little bit of honey over the peaches before I put the tarts back in the oven, but as far as I can tell it didn’t really add anything to the tarts.

Remove tarts from pans and serve while still warm.

Preferably with some ice cream.

Peach Almond Tart 

Recipe makes four 4 inch round tarts.

For the crust (adaptation of this version):

  • 1 cup almond meal (almond flour)
  • 1 cup all-puropose flour
  • 6 TB softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix together until combined. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, cover, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Remove from plastic and roll out on counter sprinkled with flour until about 1/4 inch thickness. Using the tart pan as a template, cut dough around pan and turn over, pressing dough into pan and along the edges to remove excess dough. Poke holes into bottom of dough with a fork. Repeat with remaining tart pans and dough. Place pans on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until tart shell is slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

For the filling:

  • 4 peaches
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Slice peaches thinly into a bowl. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and combine. Place peaches in tart shells. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly. Remove tarts from shells. Serve while still warm.

Enjoy your last gasp of summer, guys. I plan to!


Posted in blogging, daily, dessert, filler, food porn, links, recipe

Recipe Round-up: Summer At Jenn’s

It’s June 20th, which means summer is here! And this year after such a miserable winter and a spring that was spent doing not much more than work, I’ve been looking forward to warm, sunny days and floating away the afternoon in the pool all the more.

Along with the sun and warmer weather comes recipes I love to dig out when it’s just “too damn hot to cook”, and I figured I would re-share them in case you needed some summertime inspiration.

Like this spinach and strawberry salad with goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette.

100_1250 by you.

Quick, easy, and perfect for Meatless Monday.

Or this Watermelon “Plank” salad with feta and balsamic glaze.

Wonderful as a main dish or as a side.

Here’s a ‘non-recipe’ post for a grilled chicken and smoked mozzarella panini with store made pesto and sun dried tomato spread, and a mango, black bean and quinoa salad. So easy, and great to take for a summer picnic, or tailgating at the drive-in, perhaps?

Can I get an amen?

This roasted parmesan zucchini is perfect if you’re a gardener with superfluous squash lying around.

Culinary OCD, that’s me.

And since you can’t have a “summer food” post without mentioning the holy mother of summer foods, here’s an Heirloom Tomato Crostini that is the best no-cook meal for the hottest nights of the season.

Gosh, I can’t wait for good tomatoes.

This kicked-up gazpacho is also perfect for all those fresh garden “‘maters”, and it makes a TON of soup. No worries about what to take for lunch for a week!

100_1297 by you.

And finally, since I can’t finish a post like this without a little something sweet, here is a peach blackberry crostata with honey-ginger glaze and cardamom spiced fresh whipped cream that is sure to impress any of your summer dinner guests.

I’m itching to make that one again, in addition to experimenting with some other summer crostatas.

Hope your summer is a fantastic one, kids. Spend time doing everything you want to do, or doing nothing at all.



Posted in dessert, eat something cute, recipe

Pumpkin Pecan Whoopie Pies

About two weeks ago, one of my coworkers was having a pretty crappy day at the office. I knew I would be seeing her later in the week, so I decided I would make her a treat to help cheer her up. Because who doesn’t love a whoopie pie?

I never pass up the opportunity to brighten someone’s day with something delicious.

The whoopie recipe is Martha’s (with an adjustment or two), but the filling is all mine. Some flavors I love in the fall (besides pumpkin) are maple and bourbon, and I almost always incorporate the two in any of my autumn treats. A little monotonous perhaps, but mama loves her bourbon.

Maple-Bourbon Buttercream. So good it’s a proper noun. I’ve made buttercream frosting so many times that I could do it in my sleep, so I the recipe that follows below *might* not be exact, but it’s  close enough that some simple adjustments (a little extra sugar here, a touch more bourbon there) will get you where you need to be.

I added pecans to the cake for a little texture. I should have either added more or omitted them altogether, but Pumpkin Pecan Whoopie Pies has so much more panache than just Plain Ass Pumpkin.

Oh, alliteration. You make my soul sing.

I used a mini ice cream scoop (2 oz) to scoop the batter for the cakes. This made an incredible amount of mini whoopies – almost three dozen.

No worries, none of them went to waste. I should have flattened them out a bit before baking with a spatula or something. These were a bit…rustic.

Yeah, rustic. That’s what I’ll call them. Also, moist, tender, pumpkin-y bundles of deliciousness. The perfect cure for a bad day, or the perfect ending for a good one.

Pumpkin Pecan Whoopie Pies with Maple Bourbon Buttercream 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 TB ground cinnamon
  • 1 TB ground cloves
  • 2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices and set aside. Whisk together oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Incorporate wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine. Add pecans (if desired). Scoop batter onto lined cookie sheets and bake approximately 12-15 minutes (touch center of cookie, if it springs back it’s done). Allow to cool while making frosting.

Maple Bourbon Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar (watch your consistency & volume)
  • 2 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (4 TB) bourbon (or to taste, it will mellow out overnight)
  • 3-4 TB  cream (or milk)

Beat butter in a stand  mixer until creamy. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, incorporating fully after each addition. Add vanilla extract, maple flavoring, and bourbon & mix to combine. Add cream a little at a time, stopping when frosting is desired consistency.

Spoon frosting into a piping bag with a large plain tip (or use a spatula) and frost half of the cookies with approx 1-2 tablespoons of frosting. Top with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (to allow to set) and serve. The whoopies keep nicely in the fridge for three days, but they won’t last that long.

pumpkinwhoopTrust me.

Posted in daily, dessert, food porn, recipe

Peach Blackberry Crostata

Every summer I get anxious for peaches to come in season. They’re one of my favorite fruits, but I’m a bit picky about when I purchase/eat them. There seems to be about a 4 to 5 week period where the local peaches are just *perfect*. Fragrant, firm yet supple flesh, sweet, juicy to the point of messiness… Uh…peaches. I’m talking about peaches. I swear.

Round temptresses of fruity deliciousness.

Anyway. I’ve been all about baking with peaches this summer and experimenting with new flavors/spices. I attempted a peach/bourbon cupcake for a friend’s birthday party last month, but the peaches I had were just not that great, and the flavor just did not come through. I honestly think peaches and cake don’t mesh very well, unless the peach is in big slices throughout. Peach pie/pastry works much better for this very reason. The beautiful flavor/texture of the fruit takes center stage, while the pastry is more of a vehicle for peach enjoyment. A flaky, buttery Vespa, if you will.

In an email conversation with my mother a month or so ago, she mentioned making a peach/blackberry pie for my dad with some frozen peaches she had from last summer, and I was immediately jealous and plotting my own peach/blackberry deliciousness when peach season came around this year. This is what I came up with.

Before baking.

I really like the more rustic quality of the crostata (or tart, or free-form pie, whatever you’d like to call it). I think it’s got more personality and is, in its own way, prettier than a traditional pie. Also I can’t crimp a pie crust to save my damn life. This is easier and much less time-consuming. Including time for crust making/resting in the refrigerator, I literally had this made and in my mouth within an hour (hour and fifteen, tops). The wait nearly killed me.

I’m good.

Peach & Blackberry Crostata with Honey Ginger Glaze and Cardamom-Spiced Whipped Cream

For the Crostata:

  • 1 pastry/pie crust, store bought, or any recipe you prefer. I used Martha’s, but I might bulk it up a bit next time, the bottom ended up a little thin.
  • 4-6 ripe peaches
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg – beaten with a small amount of water (for egg wash)
  • 1-2 TB turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Peel, pit, and slice peaches. Toss with blackberries, sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle counter liberally with flour/coat rolling pin. Roll out pastry on counter until it’s about 12-14 inches across and slide onto baking sheet. Pile peach/blackberry mixture onto dough, leaving a 1-2″ border outside. Fold dough up around the sides of the fruit mixture. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is browned and fruit is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3-4 slices of fresh ginger

And the whipped cream:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

While the crostata is baking, heat honey and ginger in a small sauce pot over medium heat until honey is thinned out slightly and infused with ginger. Remove from heat, allow to cool and thicken slightly. Remove sliced ginger. Drizzle honey over warm crostata. Whip cream in electric stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer (or hell, just by hand), drizzling in sugar as it whips until soft peaks form. Stir in ground cardamom. Top still warm crostata with whipped cream and serve. Serves 4-6 people.

You need this in your life, truly.

Go forth and bake, Peaches.

Posted in dessert, eat something cute, food porn, recipe, Uncategorized

Margarita Whoopie Pies, Yes Ma’am.

I have a confession: I’ve never eaten a Whoopie Pie. Well, I don’t think I have. And it’s a damn shame, too. Two dense, moist, cakey chocolate cookies filled with fluffy frosting? Amazing. I think I always passed them over in favor for something else – a cupcake, or a lemon bar. As of now I’m officially adding whoopie pies to my list of favorite sweet treats. If you’ve never had a whoopie pie, or are only familiar with the chocolate version, perhaps you’ll add these to your list, too.

It started about two weeks ago, when I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided to make them just to try them out. Instead of raspberry jam in the filling I added pureed fresh blackberries. They were fantastic, and  I immediately began brainstorming different flavor combinations for the basic recipe. I immediately thought of Key Lime Whoopie Pie, and I might give that a shot down the road, but for some reason my thoughts went more adult.

Not THAT adult, cheeky monkey.

The Hello Kitty glass just screams “Grown Up”, right?

This adult. I love margaritas when they’re made properly. Good tequila, on the rocks, NO SALT. Keep my margarita simple. Don’t bruise my Patron in a blender, and for goodness sake, don’t drench the edge of my glass in extra salt.

Of course, I won’t fault you for how you enjoy your margaritas, but I will fault you if you choose not to make these.


Margarita Whoopie Pies

Recipe adaptation from a basic version featured on Annie’s Eats. Yields approx. 24 2-inch cookies.

For the cookies:

8 TB unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp lime zest

21/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

2-3 TB White Tequila

For the filling:

4oz. cream cheese, softened

2 1/2 TB unsalted butter, softened

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp lime zest

2-3 TB White Tequila (to taste)

Optional: Sprinkle of fleur de sel


Making the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream together butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add in egg, then egg white. Be sure to scrape down the side of the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla, lime zest, and tequila and blend completely. Reduce mixer speed and alternately add in dry ingredients and buttermilk until just incorporated, being careful not to over mix. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (I use a Wilton 1A), and pipe small rounds onto the parchment, not more than 2 inches across. Bake 7-10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until cake is puffed and just set. The tops of the cake should not brown, but will not yield when tapped with your finger. Remove from oven and let cakes cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes, then remove and cool completely. Match up cookies, matching according to size before filling.


For the filling:

With a mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla, lime zest, and tequila (you can add more or less to taste). On low speed, slowly incorporate sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until desired consistency and beat at medium high speed until smooth. You can add food coloring if desired. For this filling I added a few drops of neon green food coloring.

Note: if your filling seems a little “loose”, allow to chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so until it firms up. I neglected to do this because I was eager for ERMAHGERD WHOOPIE PIES and I ended up regretting it, because my filling was a little gloppy and all over the place once I assembled the whoopie pies. 

Assembly: Transfer filling to another pastry bag filled with a smaller plain tip and pipe filling onto one half of each matched up pie, topping with the other half. Add a small sprinkling of fleur de sel to the outside of one quarter to one half of the filling if desired. (This step really makes the pies taste margarita-y, but you can certainly skip it.) Allow your whoopie pies to rest in the refrigerator over night before serving, if you can. Enjoy!


I love these so hard. I still have a few in my refrigerator. I’m trying not to dive head first into the container.

Posted in daily, dessert, eat something cute, food porn, recipe

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

I know. Let’s just get right into it, shall we?

I love baking. I have since I was a kid. Every time my mom needed to make a box cake, she would let me take care of the mixing, baking, and frosting. It kept me quiet and gave me something to focus on besides the television or my latest issue of Tiger Beat magazine. I liked getting out the big mixing bowl and measuring cups, greasing and flouring the baking pans, mixing up the batter, and frosting the final product as prettily as possible (not all that pretty, actually). There was also the added bonus of getting to lick the batter remnants off the beaters. Mmm. Cake batter. It’s the holy grail of girl food.

Even though back then they were “only” box cakes and I’ve since moved on to baking mostly from scratch, I loved those cakes. They were tender, moist, and perfect.

So it was a bit upsetting when I started baking from scratch that my cakes were…just okay. To me, anyway. Adequate. Not as moist or as tender, no matter how I baked them. There was something missing, some key to making the perfect (in my eyes) cake.

Not flavor wise so much, if I must say myself I’ve come up with some great combinations — Pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting and banana ‘cakes with salted caramel buttercream have been my favorites. But when I bake the scratch cakes, even when the flavors are great, there’s something about the texture of the cake that seems…off. They get dry, the cake just isn’t as tender, and I am disappoint.

I worked out that (duh) it’s because box cakes use oil, instead of the butter that’s in most (okay, all) scratch cakes. Now don’t get me wrong, I love using butter in anything and everything. The flavor it imparts in baked goods is second to none. But I’ve noticed that the things I bake with butter are a bit…drier than those that I’ve used oil or shortening in.

(Side note: This is why my chocolate chip cookies are made with butter flavored shortening [Gah, yes, shortening, the root of all evil. Whatever. My chocolate chip cookies are AH MAH ZING and have gotten me everything from money to marriage proposals], because they have the flavor of butter and the soft, gooey moistness from shortening. Mmm, cookies. ::Homer Simpson noise::)

ANYWAY. I wanted to make cupcakes today for a coworker who’s been out on medical leave for a while and finally came back to work this week. He’s a huge fan of anything blueberry, so I searched and searched on the web for a blueberry cupcake recipe. I wanted one that was a yellow cake, not too dense, not too muffin-like. I wanted a box cake texture with scratch made flavor. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a recipe that used both oil and butter in which to achieve this. Being the OCD rule follower I am, I was a little nervous at the prospect of fooling with a recipe but it soon seemed as if I had no other choice.

A quick Google search for baking substitutions later and away we go. I used this recipe for the cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book, just substituting a small amount of vegetable oil for some of the butter. Instead of the whipped cream frosting I made a basic cream cheese frosting with lemon. The tang of the cream cheese and the sourness of the lemon balances nicely with the sweetness of the blueberries.

The butter/oil substitution worked out nicely, by the way. The cakes have a great flavor and are soft and moist, just like I was hoping for. I might mess around with the butter/oil ratio in the future in the search for “perfection”, but these were close. I hate to toot my own horn, but these cupcakes are pretty fantastic.

And I’m not all that crazy about blueberries.

Blueberry Cupcakes (Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 TB baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature

Zest of one lemon.

2 cups fresh blue berries, tossed with an additional 2-3 TB flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcakes tin with paper liners, and spray the top lightly with cooking spray (so the tops of your cupcakes don’t stick!!). Sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

Cream butter and sugar together with mixer until pale and fluffy. Add oil and beat again. Add eggs one at a time and beat until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.

Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and milk to batter, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in lemon zest. Add blueberries to the batter (toss the blueberries with flour so they don’t sink in the batter while baking!) and fold in gently by hand.

Scoop batter into cupcake liners using an ice cream scoop. Bake until pale golden brown, approximately 25 minutes. Check after 20 minutes so the cakes don’t over cook. You can rotate pans at the halfway point to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. Makes approx. 30 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

(Note: I make cream cheese frosting so often that I don’t really use a recipe, I just kind of throw it together, so if you have a cream cheese frosting recipe you prefer, feel free to use that instead and just add lemon for these cupcakes.)

2 12 oz bricks of cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

zest of one lemon

juice of one lemon

Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar, 1/3 cup at a time, until fluffy and desired consistency. (You might not use the full 4 cups of sugar, you might use more. Just roll with it.) Beat in vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice (I used about 1/2 of the juice that I had, add it sparingly until you achieve the flavor you want). Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish as desired. (I used colored decorating sugar and fresh blueberries)

Posted in daily, dessert, food porn, recipe

Peanut Butter Tandy Cakes (Or Candy Cakes)

There’s a baking company based in Philadelphia called Tastykake that makes delicious wrapped treats not unlike  Hostess or Little Debbie. But, dudes. Tastykakes are so. Much. Better. Than. Little. Debbie. They have cupcakes, donuts, mini coffee cakes, delicious things called Butterscotch Krimpets, and my favorite, Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. They’re a small, round cake topped with peanut butter and enrobed in chocolate.

In other words, heaven.

There’s been a homemade version of the Kandy Kakes around for ages; I only started making them within the past couple of years, and they’ve quickly become a favorite among my co-workers. The homemade version is called Tandy Cakes — I don’t know why, I just make them.

And now you can too!

You’ll need:

1 cup whole milk
4 TB butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 or 4 larger milk chocolate bars (I use Cadbury, but you don’t have to.)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) liberally with cooking spray and set aside.

Scald the milk, butter, and vanilla over medium low heat until the butter is melted and the milk is slightly bubbling. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Blend the eggs and sugar in a mixer well. Add cooled milk mixture and combine completely. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix thoroughly.

Spread the mixture in the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Take the cake out of the oven and top immediately with the peanut butter by dropping the peanut butter onto the hot cake by the spoonful, allow to melt, then spread.

Put the cake in the refrigerator and allow the peanut butter to set, at least 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate bars over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Spread melted chocolate over the cooled cake.

Place cake back in the refrigerator and allow to set completely. Cut into squares and serve.

Yum. I need to make these again soon. You know, for my co-workers.