Monday, October 13, 2014

Cream-Filled Cupcake Cake


So today was my husband's birthday. What to make? Well, he loves layer cake. And he loves my cream-filled cupcakes. I think it calls for a mash-up, don't you?


I have a confession to make: I'm kind of terrible at cake decorating. When my husband tells me he wants a layer cake, I cringe. So, I had to think of something easy. Easy and chocolate-y, of course. Since I had some buttercream in the freezer, left from making cupcakes last week, it was a no-brainer to thaw it out. Then I took my favorite chocolate cake recipe, baked it into three layers, spread the buttercream in between the layers, and topped it off with some chocolate ganache. So easy it's ridiculous.


It's crazy, but the easy thing about this is the frosting. It's a chocolate ganache, made with dark chocolate chips and heavy cream and when it's first mixed together it's pourable. Seriously. Pourable. You can just let it drip down the sides.


Let's start with the cake, though. The beautiful cake. Dare I say the best cake ever? Okay...the best cake ever. Made with dark cocoa, buttermilk, and a hint of coffee to bring out even more chocolate-y flavor. 

Cream-Filled Cupcake Cake

Cake:

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; grease and flour 3 (8 or 9-inch) cake pans.

Combine egg, oil and buttermilk. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Combine the egg mixture and the flour mixture, mixing well. Slowly mix in hot coffee. Divide the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. 

Buttercream:

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, whisk the flour and the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook until thick and bubbly, whisking the entire time. Place thickened mixture in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool completely. 

Combine the butter and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the cooled flour mixture and beat for an additional 5 minutes, or until the frosting is smooth with no gritty sugar. Stir in the vanilla.

Ganache:

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for one minute. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to stir the chocolate and the cream until smooth and shiny.



Assemble:

First, set aside about 1/4 cup of the buttercream for the squiggle on the top of the cake. Place one cooled cake layer, top-side down, on cake plate. Spread with half of the remaining buttercream. Add the next layer, again top-side down, and spread with the remaining buttercream. Add the final layer top-side up. Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate over the cake, allowing it to spill down the sides. Chill the cake for a few minutes to set the chocolate. In the meantime, spoon the reserved buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe a squiggle over the top of the cake. Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve.


It's not a cream-filled cupcake without the squiggle.....



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lemon Poppy-Seed Pull-Apart Bread #Pillsbury #BakeOff


So, here's the thing. This is a fabulous recipe. Seriously. Flaky biscuits are dipped in butter, rolled in lemon-sugar and poppy seed, baked until the lemon-sugar is wonderfully caramelized, and topped with an incredible lemony cream cheese glaze. Not only that---it's easy! We are talking seven ingredient- only 20 minutes prep time-easy.


The most amazing thing about this recipe? It's a contender for the $1 Million grand prize in the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off that will take place in Nashville, TN on November 3, 2014. If you've read my blog before, you know that this will be my third and final try at the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Shock and awe, right? More than that, I am humbled by the recipes this one will be competing with. That said, this is my favorite entry to date. See for yourself.


I was excited to see Watkins™ Poppy Seed on the list of  eligible ingredients...it adds such a nice little nutty crunch to things.


I used the buttermilk Grands! biscuits...but the original works, too. It's the flaky layers that make a great pull-apart....

The seven ingredients begin with a can of Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (8 biscuits)....there isn't a complicated yeasty dough to made, raised, and measured.  The biscuits are separated to make 16 smaller biscuits. Each biscuit is then brushed with melted butter, dredged in a mixture of lemon zest, sugar, and poppy seed and carefully placed in a loaf pan that has been lined with parchment paper.


Parchment paper makes it easy to lift the loaf out of the pan.

The baked loaf is allowed to cool for just a few minutes before it is glazed with a mixture of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. It's best served warm, but on the off chance there are leftovers, it is fine served at room temperature too. In fact, in order to prevent myself from eating a whole loaf in one sitting, I found that it also freezes well and the slices warm up quickly in the microwave or in a toaster oven.


This bread has it all...sweet, salty, tart, creamy, nutty, sticky...it is truly addicting!


Is it worth $1 Million? My fingers are crossed that it is!

Are you ready for the recipe? You can find it right here on Pillsbury's website. If you try it, let me know how you like it. In the meantime, I'll be preparing to have the time of my life at the 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off!



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Milk and Honey Poppy Seed Muffins #Improv


After totally neglecting the Improv challenge for the last few months, I am happy to say that I'm back in the saddle!  For those not in the know, the Improv challenge is a fun way for us to play with our food. Each month our fabulous new leader, Lesa from Edesia's Notebook, provides us with two ingredients with which to make marvelous creations. This month our theme is Milk and Honey...such a tasty combo! Interested in participating? Go ahead and visit Edesia's Notebook...you don't even need a blog.


How fitting is it that my husband brought home a carton of Almond Milk with a Hint of Honey?!

 I honestly didn't know what I was going to make until I started gathering my ingredients. Of course there was honey, but I also grabbed a bottle of poppy seed and some frosted flakes. Muffins were in the works!

Milk and Honey Poppy Seed Muffins

Milk and Honey Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or almond milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup crushed frosted flakes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.; line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine the milk, eggs, coconut oil, extracts, and honey. Stir in the poppy seed and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk mixture and stir until just moistened (batter will be lumpy). Spoon batter into cupcake liners. Sprinkle the frosted flakes over the muffin tops.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 45 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.
Total time: 65 mins.




The cornflakes give the muffins a little crunch....


Perfect for breakfast!


Or dessert...

Check out what everyone else has made with Milk and Honey!

***CORRECTION made from original post ---should be 1 egg, not 2!****

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hot and Sweet Refrigerator Pickles


Yikes...it's been two months since my last post! I'm not quite sure how that happened, but hasn't the summer gone by really quickly this year? It's hard to believe it's September.  There are still a few reminders of summer with the most visible being a huge box of zucchini and cucumbers sitting in the corner of my kitchen......


The challenge is what to do with all of this good stuff but since I have procrastinated for two years on a post about refrigerator pickles, that is where I will begin.


Let's begin by saying that I don't can food...never have and probably never will. But, this is different. It's easy. And it's tasty. And since I learned how to do it, I will do it every year.


Hot and Sweet Pickles (adapted from Kate in the Kitchen)

1 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 T Kosher salt
1 t. celery seed
1 t. mustard seed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 jalapeno peppers, sliced
5-6 medium cucumbers, sliced

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seed, and mustard seed in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar and salt. In the mean time, layer 2 quart jars with the onion, peppers, and cucumber slices, packing well (the pickles will shrink). Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers and screw the tops on the jars. Cool slightly, then shake to distribute, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.


Do you like it hot? Add a few more peppers. Garlicky? Throw a few garlic cloves in there.


We love them on burgers (beef or veggie), but they are also good right out of the jar....