the “thank you” cupcake

I work with some pretty amazing people. They work really really hard – and have to put up with all sorts of last minute changes and high stress… so whenever I can, I bake “thank you” treats – so far they’ve been given brownies, double chocolate cookies, and cake. Today I brought in my lemon butter cookies and cupcakes – banana and toffee to be precise :0)

Another reason for these treats is that one of my co-workers is going on maternity leave – a little boy to add to her little clan – and so I wanted to make sure that Vero knows how much we all appreciate her and wish her an amazing year with her little ones.

The recipe was inspired from my Cupcakes recipe book by Sue McMahon. I have to warn you all, I ended up using my scale since her measurements are in grams and ounces… I meant to convert them for all of us North Americans… I just lost track – note: always keep a pen handy for notes and adjustments… lesson learnt!

cupcake and frosting recipes follow – I adjusted from the original adding some roasted walnuts and chocolate chips to the sticky toffee frosting… DELISH!

Banana Cupcakes
ingredients:
100 g butter, room temperature
100 g brown sugar
2 eggs
100 g self-rising flour
1 ripe banana, mashed (I thawed a frozen banana)

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat into the batter. Add the flour and incorporate into everything using your electric mixer. Once the batter is smooth, fold in the mashed banana.

Divide the batter into the paper liners – about a scoop and a half in each cup. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool on a wire rack (remove from the tin).

Sticky Toffee Frosting
ingredients:
100 g butter, room temperature
125 g sweetened condensed milk (about 1/3 of a 300 ml tin)
50 g brown sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
handful of walnuts, roasted and chopped
handful of dark chocolate chips

In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Now add the condensed milk, brown sugar and corn syrup – and whisk non-stop for the next 7 minutes. You want the mixture to thicken up and turn a golden colour – but keep whisking it otherwise it’ll stick to your pan.

Remove from heat and allow to sit for about 10 minutes – it’ll thicken a bit more. Then grab a spoon or palette knife and spoon on top of the cooled cupcakes. Spread evenly and then top with walnuts and chocolate chips.

There it is – a simple way to thank awesome people… and wish Vero a very wonderful year… we’ll all miss you!

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I scream, you scream, we all scream for… CUPCAKES!

I had a very special birthday to plan for – Jeremie was celebrating his 12th birthday. I knew that I wanted to make something not only delicious, but different. I wanted Jeremie to be really wowed by his birthday treat…

I discovered Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes on the now extinct cupcake bake shop blog and just knew that this was the recipe I was looking for. Quirky and fun and very chocolatey- perfect for Jeremie.

Happy birthday! And for those of you wondering if these are worth it – he ate two for breakfast :0) (I’d say that’s a success).

Chocolate Cupcake Cones
ingredients:
24 flat bottomed ice cream cones
2 c. pastry flour
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place the ice cream cones in muffin tins (1 cone per muffin tin hole) – makes it much easier to bake.

Grab a large bowl and dump everything except the eggs directly in. Grab your hand mixer and beat on a low speed until just incorporated. Turn up to a high speed and beat for another 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, incorporating after each one, then beat the entire batter for another 2 minutes (high speed).

Transfer the batter to a container with a pour spout.

Pour the batter into the cones. I made sure that I stopped filling about 1/4 inch under the lip of the cone – allowing room for the batter to expand as it bakes.

Bake for between 20 – 30 minutes (depending on your oven) – you’re cake tester should come out clean.

I’m telling you, just at this point in the process you’ll be tickled pink with the result… so let them cool on a wire rack and prepare the buttercream frosting.

Chocolate Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
ingredients:
2 sticks butter (1 c.), at room temperature
5 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c. cocoa powder

In a large bowl, beat the butter until it’s creamy. Add the sugar, milk, vanilla and cocoa and beat until everything is well combined. You want the frosting to get thick but not too stiff – you’ll be piping it onto the cupcakes – so don’t be afraid to add a little more milk if you need to thin it out a little.

Attach a large star tip to your piping bag. Then scoop the frosting into the bag. Pipe it on to the cupcake cones using a circular motion so that it looks like soft serve ice cream. Top with sprinkles if you have any, or even a cherry on-top!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEREMIE!!!!! Enjoy the rest of your cupcake cones!

the virtual picnic… all thanks to Joy (the baker)



My favourite blogger… Joy (I know, I keep saying it about blogs – but joy the baker is seriously my favourite blog) decided to host a rooftop picnic in LA – Since most of her followers couldn’t make it (geographic restrictions) she decided to “host” a virtual one at the same time. I decided I was up to the “challenge” and hosted my own picnic at home, here in Ottawa. On the menu – was Joy’s Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado. I figured since Joy was the hostess with the mostess that I would bake something in her honour from her site.

I know one person for sure who is going to be excited by this recipe… my sister-in-law Pat and I spent last Sunday comparing chocolate mousse recipes – I use tofu for my mousse, she uses avocado. So I hope that Pat (and anyone else reading this) takes the chance to give this recipe a whirl… something different to shock your friends and family with :0)

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado
thanks to Joy the baker
ingredients:
3 c. cake flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sunflower oil
1/2 c. soft avocado, well mashed (about 1 medium avocado)
2 c. water
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease (or spray) two 8 inch round cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, avocado, water, vinegar and vanilla – use a wooden spoon and not your electric mixer. Add the sugar, combining well.

In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda. Add to the wet ingredients. Stir everything to incorporate well.

Pour into the cake pans and bake for 35 minutes (or until the cake tester comes out clean). Allow to cool on a wire rack in the pans for 15 minutes – then remove them from the pans and allow to cool completely.

Now to frost the cake. Joy was inspired by Alton Brown’s recipe. This frosting really pushes the baking limits – but is absolutely surprisingly good – I know – trust me and try it… and as Kailey said – when you add powdered sugar to anything, it’s gotta taste good :0)

Avocado Frosting
ingredients:
2 ripe avocados
2 tsp lemon juice
1 lb (about 5 c.) powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl beat your avocados and lemon juice together (use your electric mixers, it makes it all much easier). Beat for about 2 minutes – the avocado will become creamy and will lighten up a little.

Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating at medium speed continuously. Add the vanilla and incorporate well. You can either use it immediately or, place in the fridge (well stored until you’re ready to use – same day though).

I let mine stand for 10 minutes on my counter, it thickened up a little. Using a rubber spatula, cover your bottom layer or cake with the frosting, top with the top layer of cake and cover that with with remaining frosting.

The result – a chocolate cake with bright green frosting! Too cool… I think it’ll be perfect to try again at halloween :0)

Oh yeah – and the virtual picnic was a BLAST – thanks ladies for joining in the fun! I hope Joy decides to do this again soon!