Saturday, January 29, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Happy birthday, Alex!!
My friend's birthday was recently, and he's also in my writing group, so I thought it'd be fun to bake cupcakes so we could all enjoy them together! I asked him what his favorite cake was, and with his reply of "Carrot cake" I set out on a mission-- to perfect my cream cheese frosting recipe! ...And to bake him birthday cupcakes. ;)
Admittedly, I didn't make the carrot cake from scratch. (And by that, I mean I rarely make ANY cakes from scratch.) But it suuure tasted like it! I didn't know this secret until I started baking much more often with my mom: If you put a cup (one 8-oz container) of sour cream into any box cake mix you're making, it'll add an incredible amount of moisture. It also adds just a bit of denseness, so unless you really over beat them, they'll be more level.I also finally got the cream cheese recipe right! It's the perfect balance between the tartness of the cream cheese, and the sweetness of the powdered sugar. I was tempted to go through the cabinets and find other stuff to put it on!Carrot Cake Recipe
  • 1 box carrot cake mix
  • Eggs (varies depending on brand)
  • Vegetable oil (varies depending on brand)
  • 1- 8oz container sour cream


  • Preheat oven according to box.
  • Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.
  • Combine the ingredients.
  • Blend on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  • Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, fill the 24 liners.
  • Bake according to box.
  • Remove from oven, let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • 2- 8oz packages cream cheese
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 5.5 c powdered sugar


  • Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  • Scrape sides, add vanilla, and quickly mix in.
  • Add powdered sugar 1-2 cups at a time.
  • Note: If you're frosting these with a knife, you'll probably only need about 1/2 of the recipe. This is larger for piping purposes.

And to toot my own horn (Toot toot!) I had more than one person say that these were the best carrot cake cupcakes they'd ever eaten. YAY!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slow Cooked Cinnamon Apples

I've made cinnamon apples before, but my roommate found a recipe for them, that came in our box of crock pot liners! So I figured, what better day to make them than on a day when I'm snowed in?
I will never get over how delicious they are. I've always been a big apple pie fan, but I'm also big on textures, and the crust always leaves a weird taste/feeling in my mouth. Ask my mom.. even today, if I have a piece of pie I'll eat the center out and leave the crust skeleton behind.
This recipe is really big. I didn't take it into account until I was washing/slicing/coring SIX apples. So if you're just making these for you, or you and one other person, definitely half the recipe.
The recipe says to serve them with vanilla ice cream, but since I work at a frozen yogurt shop, I figured I'd serve them with froyo instead. So tasty! I drizzled some of the excess cinnamon-juice over the froyo, and it tasted like fried ice cream! Definitely a great treat.
Slow Cooked Cinnamon Apples Recipe
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges.
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • Optional: Vanilla ice cream/frozen yogurt


  • If using a crock pot liner, place snugly into crock pot.
  • Slice apples and place in a large bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, combine sugars, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • 8 slices (1 apple) at a time, put into sugar mix and coat well, then put into the crock pot.
  • Once all apples are in, pour in remaining mixture, and drizzle with butter.
  • Place lid on crock pot.
  • Cook on low for 3 hours, or high for 2 hours.
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream/frozen yogurt, and top with extra cinnamon-juice if desired.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting

While I was home, mom and I baked a few different things! We tried s'mores cupcakes, which were..not as good as they sound, in my opinion. I'm not going to blog about them. But I AM going to blog about the best cupcakes on the planet: These lemon cupcakes!
The cupcakes were filled with lemon curd, and then topped with meringue, which we toasted with the kitchen torch that mom got for Christmas. She got one from me and one from dad, and we liked the one he bought more..but still!
Mom asked me to rate these on a scale from 1-10. I gave them a 9/10 at first, and then decided that no, these were a 10/10. The perfect cupcake.

They're lemony without being over-the-top sour. There's also no actual frosting, so it doesn't suffer from too-sweet-frosting syndrome either! The lemon curd in the middle is enough to give the cupcake a little 'pop', while being balanced with the meringue.

Getting torched!

I regret only eating one and a half. She took them to work the next day, and they were gone. Gooone gone gone... I want more now!

We had a hard time finding the lemon curd, but I found it in the grocery store aisle where they have jelly and jam! So if you're looking for it, look there.

Lemon Cupcakes Recipe
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1 package instant lemon pudding
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 3/4 c veggie oil
  • 3/4 c water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 container lemon curd


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Mix everything but the lemon curd in an electric mixer on medium for two minutes.
  • Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake 15-18 minutes.
  • Cool completely.
  • Core cupcakes, and fill with lemon curd. Use the cores of the cupcakes as caps to fill the hole.

Lemon Meringue Recipe

  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt


  • Bring 1-2" of water to boil in a saucepan.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk ingredients well. Place above the boiling water.
  • Continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch, and sugar is dissolved, around 2-3 minutes.
  • Move to stand mixer if available, and using the whisk attachment, beat at next-to-high speed until it holds a soft peak, around five minutes.
  • Pipe onto cupcakes, and toast lightly with a kitchen torch if available.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brown Bag Biscuits

My dad is off on a hunting trip, and as my mom says.. "While the cat's away, the mice can watch as much Harry Potter as they want!" So that's what we've been doing!

Last night we had giant, frozen strawberry daiquiris and watched Harry Potter and Despicable Me! And this morning, more Harry Potter. We also had bacon, eggs, and brown bag biscuits!

I haven't eaten these since junior high. They were one of the very first things that I learned to bake on my own!
While they're -called- brown bag biscuits, I didn't actually use a brown bag. That just spells a mess for me! But "bowl biscuits" isn't as catchy.

I always forget how much I love these until I make them. They remind me of monkey bread, but they're much less sticky. They're easier to make and eat, too. And, personally, I find them tastier.
The most important part of the recipe, to take a page from Paula Deen's book, is not to run short on the butter! You dip the biscuits in it, but you also pour the remaining butter over the biscuits before baking, so don't skimp.

You can serve these on a plate like I have in the picture, but...c'mon. They're so much better right out of the pan, where they can sit and soak in the butter!

Brown Bag Biscuit Recipe

  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 container of biscuits


  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Spray a 9x9 cake pan well with Pam.
  • In a small bowl, melt the butter.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
  • Cut the biscuits in 1/2 if small biscuits, or 1/4 if larger biscuits.
  • Dip the biscuit pieces in butter, then drop into the bowl with the spices. Coat well.
  • Line pieces up in a single layer in the cake pan as you go.
  • Once finished, sprinkle the remaining spices over the biscuits, then drizzle remaining butter.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until brown, or when the center biscuit is done.
  • Note: You can serve these on a plate as I've done in the picture, but they're better right out of the pan, where they get to sit and soak up the extra butter!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Red Velvet Cookies

Being back home for so long, I thought it'd be nice to bake some cookies for everyone at my job here! I didn't want to make anything too difficult or too time consuming though, so I baked one of my old recipes: Cake mix cookies.
This time, I went for red velvet cake! With cream cheese frosting, these were a very decadent little dessert.

...Hm. My brain is a little on the tired side, so that's all I can think to say about these!
I can say though, that you can either roll these out and cut them into shapes, or drop them onto the pan by 1/2 tbsp full. What I did was scoop them with the 1/2 tbsp, then roll that into a nice ball.

Then I used the back of a spoon and pressed them down so they were about 1/4" thick.
Red Velvet Cookie Recipe
  • One box red velvet cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil


  • Beat together cake mix, eggs, and vegetable oil. Scrape sides/bottom of bowl often, until everything is incorporated.
  • Roll into a log and wrap with cling wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Cut slices to bake, or roll out and cut out shapes, or scoop dough with a 1/2tbsp spoon.. however you want to form these, do it!
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to firm.
  • Cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • 2 - 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar


  • Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  • Beat in vanilla, and then gradually add in powdered sugar.
  • Note: I like my cream cheese frosting less sweet than some, so add powdered sugar to taste.
  • Frost cookies!