Tis’ the Season!

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I am obsessed with any holiday food. Something about the warm spices and bold flavors of seasonal holiday food that really gets me excited! One of my favorite types of cake is gingerbread. It is so intensely flavored, and if made correctly, decadently moist. Growing up I’ve always loved a company called Gingerbread Construction Company’s gingerbread muffins with cream cheese frosting. I have taken a recipe from a friend and molded it to remind of my childhood favorite. Here’s what’s in it…

Ingredients

1 cup Guiness Stout (helps with the rich flavor)
1 cup Molasses
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 cups AP Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger (this seems like a lot but its necessary!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (you can used freshly grated)
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Step 1:
Boil molasses and Guiness for one minute, take off heat and whisk in the baking soda. Cool.

Step 2:
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

Step 3:
Whisk together sugar, oil and eggs. Slowly add in the room temperature molasses/stout mixture. Fold the dry ingredients to the wet. Bake at 350 degrees until done.

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I topped mine with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting and Homemade Candied Ginger!

 

Frosting

1 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese Frosting, softened
1 Stick Butter, softened
1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar To Taste (Some like it sweeter, I like the tang of the cream cheese to be in tact)

Beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Top with candied ginger or any other garnish you may want…Try candied orange peel or sprinkle with cinnamon :-)

 

No Graham Flour? No Problem!

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I recently was trying to put a fun twist on a S’more. My end result was a graham cracker cupcake, salted dark chocolate mousse filling and a toasted marshmallow meringue garnished with crushed graham crumbs and chocolate ganache.

While the cupcake as a whole was a success, the real star for me was the cupcake alone…It has a perfect graham cracker flavor with the soft texture of a cake. I highly suggest you try this out, even if just for the cake….

 

Graham Cracker Cupcake

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp corn starch
1 cup finely ground honey graham crackers
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup buttermilk

 

This link will take you to the finished product https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1230006_770105626648_1716084835_n.jpg

Cupcake Wars

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Someone’s birthday is coming up and you really want to make something special. Cakes can be a pain in the butt, lets be honest. I love cake don’t get me wrong, but cupcakes are a more personal individual way downsize a bulky cake.

The two types of cupcakes I decided to make were red velvet and spice. These two can be simple and I really wanted to put my own twist on them and make them extraordinary.

I came up with a Red Velvet Cupcake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting, and a Spiced Cake with Currants and a Toasted Almond Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

The results were a hit! It was hard to decided which cupcake prevailed. So I ask you to try these and let me know…Which cupcake won the war?

 

 

Red Velvet Cupcake 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened, cocoa powder (this may seem like a lot compared to most recipes but I love how the cocoa comes through. NOTHING worse than red velvet cake that tastes like a red vanilla cake….ugh.)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar
  • ½ cup of prepared strong hot coffee  (I used a Starbucks Dark Roast)

Here’s how to start!

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk until combined. Fold your dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Slowly, whisk in the hot coffee.

Pour the cupcake batter into a greased and lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. Cream cheese, softened (to lighten it up use Greek Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt)
1/2 cup softened butter
1/8 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean scraped (tip: use the back of your knife to avoid ripping the pod)
1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted

 

This is easy…

Whip together cream cheese and butter till smooth. Whisk in sugar, vanilla and vanilla bean until combined. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle generously with toasted coconut.

 

Spiced Cupcakes with Currants

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup currants (feel free to substitute raisins)
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped

 

This recipe method varies slightly from the red velvet….

In a large bowl sift together your dry ingredients (first eight.) In a separate bowl whip your softened butter with your sugars. Beat these until light and fluffy. Add in your eggs one at a time until incorporated.

Add your dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. Pour this batter into greased and lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. The cream cheese frosting for the spice cake is the same as the red velvet except the garnishes are different. Top the spice cake with toasted crushed almonds.

ENJOY!

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