Macaron Recipe Roundup

The Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Both our daughters birthdays fall in the month of February. Actually if we are being super specific about birthdays, both our daughters, my mother, my uncle, my brother, my grandmother, my cousin (and my late great-grandmother) all have February birthdays. It’s a busy month around here. But this post is just about one of our girls, the one born on Valentine’s Day, who just happens to be turning a very special 13 this year. She loves Red Velvet cake, and so this post is dedicated to her love of this cake and my love of this particular recipe. This is the best red velvet cake recipe I have ever made. it turns out super moist with a light crumb and of course that velvety appearance in a vivid red that makes it so famous.

The Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe (adapted from Saveur)

Cake Ingredients & Instruction

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 oz. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease three 6” or 8” round cake pans with butter. Add a round of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan, then butter again. Dust lightly with flour and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until combined.
  4. Incorporate the dry ingredients gradually into the wet and beat until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Divide batter evenly between pans.
  5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25–30 minutes for 8” pans, 35-45 minutes for 6” pans.
  6. Let cakes cool for 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a rack. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.
  7. Use a cake leveler or a serrated knife to level off the tops of your cakes so that you are left with flat even tops. Save the tops for garnish.

Frosting Ingredients & Instruction

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 12 oz. butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Chopped pecans or walnuts to garnish (optional)
  1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer until well combined.
  2. Add sugar gradually and beat until frosting is smooth.

Cake Assembly & Decorating

  1. Put one cake layer on a cake plate or stand then spread one-quarter of the frosting on top.
  2. Set another layer on top and repeat frosting.
  3. Set remaining layer on top and sides first, then the top with the remaining frosting.
  4. If you planned to use pecans or walnuts, press them into the sides of the cake.
  5. If you planned to use cake crumb for garnish, put your extra cake tops from step 7 above into a processor until you have crumbs. 
  6. Sprinkle the crumb to add garnish around the base of your cake or onto the top for a bright flash of red!

 

Please come back and let us know how you liked this recipe!

 

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake

This recipe for old-fashioned gingerbread cake is dark, perfectly spiced and very moist. We wanted to create a cake that was authentic in taste, right down to the fresh ginger! We also chose to bake our cake in a vintage bundt pan (found on Etsy here) made by Kaiser and orginating from Germany. The combination of the old-fashioned gingerbread cake recipe and the vintage bundt pan was not a disappointment. The result was a truly classic dessert masterpiece!

To add a bit of color to the old-fashioned gingerbread cake we made a simple glaze of water, lemon juice and powdered sugar, tinted it yellow, and ran in over the grooves of the cake. Lemon sauce or lemon glaze is a complementary flavor to gingerbread, but not one often seen in most recipes these days.

If lemon is not your style, this cake is also delicious with heavy cream, whipped cream or just by itself!

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups molasses (Grandma’s Molasses brand works well.)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Using a whisk, add in the spices and salt.
  3. Melt the butter in the boiling water and whisk it into the flour mixture. 
  4. Add the eggs and molasses and whisk until blended.
  5. Turn into a preapred bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes, until well done and a toothpick plunged in the center comes out clean.

Lemon Glaze (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3  tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Water
  • Yellow food gel (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, add your confectioner’s sugar and then stir in lemon juice. Add more sugar or lemon juice/water, if necessary so that the glaze is thick but still pourable. Tint with yellow food gel to desired shade. 
  2. Pour the glaze into the molded grooves of the bundt cake very slowly, allowing the glaze to run down the sides, while staying within the grooves, for the effect pictured.

    To see the rest of the images from our Retro 50’s Style Christmas party and to download the FREE printable party decorations click here!

    Merry Christmas, Enjoy your Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake!

 

Sweet Recipes: Citrus Cake, A Love Story

Last year I fell in love with a cake. June 14th, 2011.

There you are browsing Pinterest for the 3rd hour in a row when suddenly it smacks you in the face. Cake LOVE. A beautifully photographed and presented cake, for your viewing pleasure. The kind that makes you want to reach on in and grab a slice, if such thing were at all possible. Have you even had this happen to you? Well of course I pinned that sucker right then and there and have since been drooling over it.

Of course I never got around to making it. That is until we settled on a summer Citrus Brunch Celebration and started planning our menu. Then out came my “Cakes” board and the Citrus Cake was re-pinned to our “Citrus Brunch Ideas” board. It was finalized. This cake was going to happen. In my kitchen.

My cake love came at the hand of one Apollinas and her fashion inspired blog. About her cake inspiration she writes: “Those spring Stella McCartney prints we have all been seeing look delicious enough to eat.  So, now you can - in the form of cake…!”

Enough talk of my cake love though, here is the recipe we adapted from Apollinas.

Citrus Cake with Orange & Lemon

Ingredients

  • 2 sticksunsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • grated zest of 2 oranges
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • Non-stick baking spray
  • Parchment Paper, cut to fit the bottoms of your baking pans.
  • Assorted citrus fruits, sliced and drained to decorate with.
  • Fresh mint leaves, for decoration.

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 350°F and prepare two 8″, 9″ or 10″ cake pans. I prefer to use Pam for baking, and spray the pans generously, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. I find it is easier than buttering and flouring. 
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then set it aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 - 3 minutes.  
  4. Add the grated zest of the oranges and lemons.  
  5. Add the vanilla.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides if needed.
  7. Reduce speed to low, then add the dry mixture and the milk, alternating a little of each, and ending with the dry. Mix this until just until combined, and take care not to overmix.
  8. Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans, leveling the top of each with a large spoon or rubber spatula.  
  9. Bake until a toothpick from the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for 8-inch pans, 22 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans and 20 to 22 minutes for a 10 inch pan.  
  10. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Citrus Curd Filling

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, sliced

Directions

  1. In a stainless or glass bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, zests and juices. 
  2. Add the butter, then set the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water.
  3. Cook the curd, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes. 
  4. Pour into a medium bowl.  
  5. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, about 2 hours.

Fresh Orange Lemon Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Beat the butter in your electric mixture until light and fluffy. 
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the orange juice and zest.
  3. Add the sugar a cup at a time, waiting until one is fully in corporated before adding another.
  4. Resume a medium-high speed and beat the buttercream until it is smooth and fluffy.
  5. Store at room tempurature until you are ready to ice the cake. (Up to 2 days in an air-tight container.)

Assorted Citrus Fruits & Mint Leaves

Chose which citrus fruits you want to feature on top of the cake.

Slice them thinly and pat dry with a paper towel before laying them on top of your cake.

Pluck your mint off the sprigs and scatter about the cake between your citrus slices to add a bit of greenery. We also added in a bit of sage as well for color around the base of our cake.

Please try this recipe and come back and let us know your thoughts!

Or share with us a cake you fell in LOVE with!

Sweet Ideas: Bumblebee, Honey Comb & Bee Hive Cupcakes

 

We have seen so many cuter than cute parties featuring yellow, bumble bees, honey, and bee hives that we thought we would share a few photos and a recipe for two of our favorite cupcakes.

This recipe is for a Banana Cake topped with Honey Buttercream and finished with a Hive Comb Sugar Cookie or just a simple Bumblebee.

Let me first say, this is one of our favorite recipes. Banana cake is very sweet, but not overly sweet. It is more like a muffin, only topped with frosting. I have personally consumed many of these for breakfast. The combination of banana cake with honey - cinnamon frosting is perfect.

Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Honey-Cinnamon Frosting (recipe below)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Top with Honey-Cinnamon Buttercream. 

Honey Cinnamon Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.

Sugar Cookie Honey Comb Shapes

Ingredients

  •  2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Yello Sanding Sugar

Directions

  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  2. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
  5. Brush with a light coating of corn syrup and dust with yellow sanding sugar to complete the look.

 

Decorating Suggestions

Bee Hive Cupcakes: Pipe frosting using a large round tip. You can be as creative as you want here, doing just a few fat rings, or going really tall with several more. 

Honey Comb Cupcakes: Ice cupcakes with a spatula, then affix your sugar cookie shape on top, filling the center with fresh honey to finish.

Bumblebees: Create edible bumblebees to add to your frosted cupcake by combining large black jelly beans, almond slices and yellow tinted icing. (You can use store bought, or leftover honey buttercream.)

 

  • Starting with your jelly beans, secure an almond slice to each side of each bean with dots of icing. You may find it helpful to let the almond slices set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before attempting to proceed.
  • Then stripe your yellowicing across in a zig-zag pattern using a sandwich baggie with  a very small hole snipped off the corner. Refrigerate again to harden icing.
  • Nestle your bees onto the frosted cupcakes.

 

Sweet Recipes: Super Bowl Sunday Cupcakes aka The Cupcake for Men

Hello sports fans! We’ve got a super delicious recipe for you today just in time for the BIG GAME on Sunday! We’ve been huge fans of this cupcake recipe for quite a while now, they are super delicious, moist and best of all, for ADULTS. This is not a cupcake for children, let them have the chocolate frosted and sprinkled and all that jazz. We have BEER and BACON and CHEDDAR. That’s right, all in a cupcake. I know what you are thinking, that sounds weird, interesting perhaps, maybe even intriguing?

Trust us on this one, you want to make these, if for no other reason than to taste the High Gravity Beer Buttercream! There’s just something about beer and buttercream that form a harmoniously wonderful taste sensation.

This recipe is all about the ingredients. Use whatever kind of beer you like. Use a good quality smoked bacon that crisps up nice. Use a more expensive extra sharp cheddar, not the stuff that some pre-shredded. Remember this is for you and your discerning tastes, not the sugar crazed kids!

 

Sweet Cheddar Beer Cupcake Recipe

1 cup Beer , Your Preference.
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1 cup Sharp Cheddar, Grated. Get something nice and sharp, not the cheap stuff.
2 cups Dark Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Sour Cream
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
2 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  1. Heat beer and butter in a large saucepan on medium-high heat until butter is melted.
  2. Add cheddar. 
  3. Remove from heat, and whisk in the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla.
  5. Mix the sour cream mixture into the beer mixture. 
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda.
  7. Fold flour mixture into the batter. 
  8. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 fill.
  9. Bake at 350 F for 18-25 minutes, or until inserted cake tester comes out clean. Watch them closely you want them moist not dry. 
  10. Let them cool completely before frosting.

 

High Gravity Beer Buttercream Recipe

2 sticks Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
4-6 cups Powdered Sugar
1 cup Beer
Grated Cheddar
Crispy Cooked Bacon Pieces (smoked tastes great)
  1. Beat butter until creamy. 
  2. Slowly mix in 4 cups powdered sugar. 
  3. Add beer to taste, more for a stronger flavor if you prefer. 
  4. Add in remaining sugar, or just enough to get your buttercream to the right consistency. Not too stiff, not too runny, spread-able. 
  5. Top with cheddar and bacon and serve immediately.

 

 

Parisian Inspired Valentine's Day Pastries and Recipes

 

Strawberry Cake, Gâteau de Fraise

Bonjour mes amis ! Nous sommes de retour aujourd’hui avec un poteau de suivi au sujet de la nourriture merveilleusement française que nous avons servie sur notre table de dessert de Valentine.

Oh wait…we aren’t in France. Sigh. What is it about Paris that seems so magical anyway? Only everything. I have to admit, I am a tad bit envious of one very popular blog author these days. Her name is Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day, and she moved her family to Paris for an entire year. How cool is that? Alas that is not something we could conceivably do anytime soon, so we settle for dessert, with Parisian style.

We already talked about our inspiration for our Valentine Dessert Table here, but today we wanted to share with you the food details! When you think of French pastries what comes to mind for you? Croissants? Madelines? The ever popular Macaron? Us too. In fact, that is just what we included, minus the macarons. Oh sweet crispy chewy Macarons, why are you so hard to make? Because your oven is terri-bad Heather, at least that is what I keep telling myself. It couldn’t be my skill level or anything like that, no sir. Must be faulty equipment. OK sorry about that, major tangent. Anyway, we included traditional Parisian fare like the croissant and madeline, which we were able to find at our local grocery. We also wanted to have lots of little cakes and cookies as well. Just like you would find in the Pâtisserie. So we stuck to the color pink and we baked a Strawberry Cake, Rose Cupcakes and Raspberry Kiss Meringues. We also included Turkish Delight. What you say? Not a French pastry? You are right of course, but they were the right color, bite sized and rose infused, and so we thought, what the heck. Read on below for the details on where we found our store bought items and the recipes for the ones we baked ourselves.

Turkish Delight

We found a beautiful box of Turkish Delight at our local Kroger grocery. It was so pretty. It was so appealing. It was so NOT what we expected. Have you ever tasted a Turkish Delight? We hadn’t. It fit so well with what we wanted on our table though we grabbed it and put it out there, and then we tasted it. It was like biting into a stick of rose scented chap-stick, covered in powdered sugar. It wasn’t bad, it was… unusual. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it appetizing however. 

 

Croissants

Private Selection Mini Butter Croissants from Kroger grocery. These were in a 6-pack and came frozen. They must thaw and rise overnight before baking the next day. We found these croissants delicious! Flakey, buttery, soft, everything they should be, living up to their very french reputation.

Madelines

Also from Kroger grocery. These were pre-baked and available in the bakery section of our store. They were also very tasty. Madelines are traditionally a soft cake-like cookie, and we are for sure a fan of these. I just love the little shell shape. A madeline pan is now on my bake ware items to purchase list, so if you know me and there is an occasion to buy me something coming up, you know what to do!

Raspberry Kisses

Light as air meringue cookies that melt in your mouth! A super easy recipe that requires minimal preparation. The recipe uses jell-o as its main source of flavor, so if you prefer another flavor or color simply buy that kind of jell-o instead of the Raspberry. We wanted a berry flavor and the pink coloration as well.

Ingredients:
6 Tsp. Meringue Powder
6 Tbsp. Water
1/8t. salt
3 1/2 Tsp. raspberry Jell-O
3/4 c. sugar

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Beat together (in a mixer on high) the meringue powder and water until combined, then add the salt and continue to beat until foaming.
  3. Add the Raspberry Jell-O and sugar gradually, and continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  4. Pipe batter into small swirls or kiss shapes on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes, the turn the oven off and allow them to sit for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely before taking them off of the parchment paper.

 These cookies should be stored in an air-tight container and will remain fresh for several days.

Strawberry Cake

Ingredients for Cake:
2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 ½ Tsp. Baking Powder
¾ Tsp. Salt
1 ½ Sticks Un-Salted Butter, room temp.
1 ½ Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries

Ingredients for Buttercream:
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries Blended
2 Sticks Un-Salted Butter
3 - 5 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Directions for the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cake pans in your preferred method.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir, then set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the sugar and continue beating until it is well combined.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the mixer bowl as necessary.
  6. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture and continue beating on low speed until blended.
  7. Add the buttermilk and continue mixing on low until smooth.
  8. Add the remaining dry ingredient mixture and continue beating on low speed until blended.
  9. Add in the fresh strawberries and mix on low speed until blended.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans. We used three 6” pans to create a small, but tall cake.
  11. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and your cakes are slightly golden on top and spring back to the touch. Approx. 20-30 mins depending on the size of your cake pans.
  12. Allow the cakes to cool the transfer them to a wire rack until you are ready to stack your layers.

Directions for the Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla.
  4. Mix in the strawberry puree a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired texture.
  5. Add more confectioners sugar as needed to thicken your buttercream to your liking.

Assembly:

  1. To assemble your cake, spread an even coating of the butter cream onto the top of your first cake layer.
  2. Continue with your next layer, and so on until you have all layer stacked with buttercream between each.
  3. Apply a thin coat of buttercream to the entire outside of your cake.
  4. Do not worry about crumbs at this point as this is your crumb coat. Allow this to set up until it has hardened slightly.
  5. Then apply another thicker layer of buttercream onto your entire cake. If you prefer you can pipe it on making a pattern or even use a cake comb to create an interesting design into the buttercream.
  6. Store your cake under a cake dome or wrapped until you are ready to serve.

Rose Cupcakes

These cupcakes employ rose water to keep them smelling fresh as… a rose! Rose water can be hard to find at times, but most specialty grocers will carry it. Look for it with the French cuisine along with the international foods.

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 - 3 Tbsp. Rose Water (your preference)
1 - 2 Drops Red Food Coloring

Buttercream Ingredients:
1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temp.
6 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1/2 Cup milk
2 - 3 Tbsp. Rose Water (your preference)

Directions for Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, pipe frosting into small swirls around the outer edge of the cupcake then work your way inwards until you reach the center. Garnish with sugar pearls.

Directions for Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and rose water. Mix until smooth.

Hard as we may try it is entirely possible that we have left out a detail or two here and there, so if you spot something please do not hesitate to speak up in our comments section and we will try to right that wrong! I was recently informed that our Hot Chocolate Stick recipe while insanely delicious, had omitted the small detail of oiling the spatula that you use to spread the marshmallow. The brave reader at home had attempted to create these hand-crafted marshmallows and said she ended up with it everywhere! Stuck to everything! After checking I did discover that while we mentioned oiling the spatulas, we had forgotten to mention the importance of covering your hands with non-stick spray to ensure that you do not end up marshmallow-ed. So we apologize for that!

 

 

 

 

Peacock & Golden Glam Holiday Dessert Table Recipes

So now that you know how to create a colorful and festive Peacock & Golden Holiday Dessert Table, it’s time to fill it up with goodies! Jason and I generally fall into two distinct roles when we design a table. He is very much the meticulous planner of the decor, while I am in charge of the baking and anything that needs to be created for our printable sets. That wasn’t the case this time however.
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Holiday Baking Recipes & Our Cardinal and Birch Dessert Party Table

Good morning holiday bakers! As promised we are posting the three recipes from our Cardinal Red & Birch Bark Holiday Dessert Table this morning for you all bake to your hearts content. Today is Saturday and there is no time like the present to whip up a few tasty treats!

Each of these recipes are simple to do and would make a wonderful gift for someone on your holiday shopping list! The Hot Chocolate Sticks in particular keep for quite a while and would be perfect for your co-workers, neighbors and friends!

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

recipe via Whipperberry Blog


Chocolate Ganache Squares

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla {or any other flavoring that you would like}

Directions:

  1. Using a double boiler, (use a heat-safe bowl on top of a sauce pan) place 2-3 inches of water in the sauce pan.  Bring to a low boil and then turn down to low. Place bowl on top of sauce pan.
  2. Heat the cream and the sweetened condensed milk in the bowl of the double boiler. Once warm add the chocolate and gently melt.
  3. After about 10 minutes, whisk mixture until thick and smooth.  
  4. Add vanilla or the flavoring of your choice. Whisk in the flavoring and pour into a parchment or foil lined 8x8 in. dish. Let sit overnight to slowly set up.  
  5. Once set, turn out onto a clean surface and cut into 1 inch cubes or use a small circle cookie cutter to cut into rounds. {Note: it’s best to heat knife in hot water and wipe clean with each cut.} This is wonderful as is, but pair it will a fluffy homemade marshmallow and melt it into 4-8 ounces of warm milk…it’s divine!!

Handcrafted Marshmallows

  • 3 packages of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup of ice cold water (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • non-stick spray

Directions:

  1. Place gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment close by.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover, and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat.
  5. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.
  6. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla (or other flavoring or coloring) during the last minute of whipping.

While the mixture is whipping prepare the pan as follows:

  1. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan.
  2. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  3. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly.
  4. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later.
  5. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.

Assembly:

  1. Once your ganache and marshmallows are set and cut into squares, place a ganache block on the bottom, a marshmallow on top, then skewer with a stick.
  2. Wrap the sticks up with cellophane and store them in an air-tight container until ready to use.
  3. If you plan to give them as gifts, you can use cellophane treat bags to wrap, then secure them with a ribbon or bakers twine and a festive holiday gift tag.
  4. Our sticks lasted almost two weeks sealed in a container.

Usage:

To make your hot chocolate, heat your milk in a mug until it reaches a steaming temperature. Place a stick into the milk and let it sit for approx. 5 minutes. Stir with the stick until the marshmallow is frothy and the chocolate is completely mixed. Drink and enjoy :)


Raspberry Linzer Cookies

You will need:

  1. One recipe Sugar Cookies, baked.
  2. One jar Raspberry Preserves
  3. Sifting Sugar
  4. Round biscuit/cookie cutter and a smaller shaped cookie cutter for the hole in the center.

Sugar Cookies

recipe via Martha Stewart

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy.
  3. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness.Cut into desired shapes.
  8. For the linzer cookies you will need both top and bottom cookies to sandwich together, your top cookie should also have a small shape cut out of the center. It is easier to do this step once you have transferred your cookies to the baking sheet.
  9. Transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Cookie Assembly:

  1. Once the cookies are cool, take a bottom cookie and flip it so that the rough side is facing upwards. Spread the raspberry jam onto this side of the cookie and set aside. Do this for all the bottom halves.
  2. Place all of the top cookie halves onto a baking sheet by themselves. Dust with powdered sugar until the tops are lightly coated and white.
  3. Carefully place a top half cookie onto a bottom half cookie, being careful not to smudge your sugar dusting, and twist slightly to secure them together.
  4. Due to the moist jam inside the cookie, these should be eaten within two days. Otherwise they may become a bit soft and fall apart.

 

Snowflake (Coconut) Cake

You will need:

Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Cake Mix, baked.
Duncan Hines Homestyle Vanilla Frosting (x2)
Coconut Cream Filling, prepared.
Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut

Recipe for Coconut Cream Filling

recipe via Martha Stewart

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) sweetened angel-flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Unsalted butter, for wrap

Directions for Coconut Cream Filling:

  1. Place egg yolks in a large bowl; whisk to combine; set bowl aside.
  2. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into the reserved egg yolks to temper. Slowly pour warm yolks into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook slowly, stirring, over medium-low heat, until mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla.
  4. Transfer filling to a medium mixing bowl. Lightly butter a piece of plastic wrap, and lay it directly on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Recipe for Cake & Assembly

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of three 6-by-2-inch buttered round cake pans with parchment paper. Dust the bottom and the sides of the cake pans with flour, and tap out any excess.
  2. Prepare Duncan Hines Butter Recipe cake mix as directed.
  3. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, rotating the pans in the oven, if needed, for even browning. Transfer cake pans to wire racks to cool, about 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely on racks, tops up.
  4. To assemble, remove parchment paper from the bottoms of cakes. Split each layer in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Set aside the prettiest dome; it will be used for the final layer. Place another domed layer, dome side down, on the serving platter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaked coconut over the cake. Spread a generous 1/2 cup coconut-cream filling over coconut flakes. Repeat sprinkling and spreading process on the remaining layers until all but the reserved domed layer are used. Top cake with the reserved domed layer. Transfer cake to the refrigerator to firm for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator, and frost the outside of cake with frosting. Sprinkle remaining coconut flakes all over cake while frosting is soft; do not refrigerate. Cake can be left out at room temperature for several days.

Happy Thanksgiving

I can hardly believe that it is almost December. This year has flown by quicker than any before and I am told by those older and wiser than thou that it only gets worse. I know they are right, the past ten years have been a blur. Does time fly so fast for you as well?

As I am writing this we are busy preparing our menu and home to host Thanksgiving dinner. We are really looking forward to our dinner. It is such an important time to come together and bring things back down to earth. Good food, good company, good memories. We have planned a full menu of seasonal favorites and hope our family enjoys eating it just as much as we have enjoyed preparing it.

Some of our recipes are becoming tradition. Take the Sweet Potato Biscuits for example. I started baking these tasty treats for Thanksgiving in 1998. I was 18 at the time and baking in my aunt’s kitchen in Tennessee for a gathering with my father’s side of the family. (Goodness that seems like a lifetime ago.) The recipe came from a restaurant located on the Outer Banks of NC called Kelly’s, which was a favorite of mine at the time. They serve them up hot with butter at the beginning of your meal. One bite and I was hooked. If you are visiting the Outer Banks anytime in the future, go go go!

A newer addition to our menu, but quickly becoming a favorite are the Maple + Hazelnut Roasted Brussel Sprouts. This recipe is also considered vegetarian and vegan. We started making this one two years ago and it will be returning for a third time this year. The brussel sprouts are roasted in the oven with a coating of maple syrup so that they caramelize a bit, then tossed with chopped hazelnuts and served immediately. It is a quick recipe to prepare and makes a big impact if you have fans of the vegetable in your party. None of our family had ever tasted anything quite like it and were pleasantly surprised.

Lastly we would like to introduce you to Browned Butter Butternut Squash. This is another recipe we started making two years ago that is also returning for a third time this year. Anything in browned butter is usually good. Squash sautéd in browned butter turns a non-eater of squash into a happy squash eater. Myself included. This recipe is also quick and easy, especially if you dice the squash ahead of time, like the day before, and store the cubes in the fridge for quick prep.

Jason and I would like to wish everyone a Happy, Safe and Enjoyable Thanksgiving. We will see you on the flip-side, stuffed and suffering the effects of our turkey tryptophan to our hearts content :)