Birthday Cake Macarons

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(cue music… “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to you!”).

Make a wish!!

Who doesn’t like birthdays?  Cake, ice cream, presents?  Did I mention cake?  What if we could have birthday cake macarons?  The simplicity of a macaron,  colored any color you would like, covered with pretty prinkles, and filled with a delicious buttercream.  That sounds like a celebration to me!!

I made these macarons for a neighbor.  I wasn’t sure what to get her for her birthday, so I figured, why not make her some birthday macs?  She enjoyed the macarons I gave her along with her Christmas cookies, so I decided birthday cake macarons were the way to go.

I used my original macaron recipe and put a little purple gel color in the meringue (in hindsight I would have put more in for a more vibrant purple….next time!).

 

After piping the macs on my silicone pad, I sprinkled them with multi colored sprinkles.  You want to do this before they start to dry and form their shell.

My shells dried for 30 minutes and I baked them for 18 minutes at 300 degrees.  After they were finished baking I allowed them to cool completely.

After matching the tops and bottoms, I filled the bottom shell with American buttercream.  I had some blue buttercream left over from the Pokemon cake I made for my grandsons, so I decided to use it for the filling.  I think it was a nice contrast with the light purple…what do you think?

I’m glad I made these, and if you’re wondering what to give that neighbor, friend, co-worker or maybe a family member, I hope you make a batch of these “birthday cake” macarons.  I can guarantee you;  the recipient will be very happy and thankful you did!!

If you make these, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  I would love to see your pictures!

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Happy Macaron Monday!

 

Heart Macarons

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and I am excited to share my heart shaped (well, sort of) macarons filled with strawberry Swiss meringue butter cream.

Are you pro or con about this day?  I have always enjoyed this day, but when I had children and grandchildren, it gave it a whole new meaning.  I’ve always loved baking goodies and buying little gifts and trinkets for them.

I taught and worked with children for 29 years (Preschool and Kindergarten age).   It was always fun having Valentine parties, enjoying yummy cupcakes, handing out cards to all their classmates. Making crafts and playing games!  So much fun!!

Speaking of fun, I’d like to share a few fun facts about this romantic day that I found on the internet. You’re welcome!

  • Valentine’s Day is the second largest card giving day of the year, just after Christmas. I love getting homemade cards from my grandchildren.
  • The “box of chocolates” (sorry, I just had a Forrest moment) tradition started by Richard Cadbury in the 19th Century,  jumped at the opportunity to make selling boxes of chocolates as a part of this “sweet” day.  While Valentine’s Day goes back to Roman times, giving candy (conversation hearts, heart shaped boxes of chocolates and truffles) is a more recent development.  More than 36 million heart shaped boxes are sold every year….that’s a LOT of chocolate!!
  • According to Smithsonian, ‘Vinegar Valentines’ (also called penny dreadful) were contradictory to conventional valentines and were used to humorously reject and mock unwanted admirers. You definitely don’t want to get one of those!
  • During the Middle Ages, men would write on their sleeves, the names of the women they would be coupled with in the upcoming year. They would do this while attending a Roman festival honoring Juno. They did this to show their bond during the celebration.  Hence the term “wearing your heart on your sleeve”.
  • ‘Sweethearts’ candies started out as medicine. According to Food Business News, Oliver Chase (a pharmacist and inventor) created a machine that would make throat lozenges quickly.  The machine was later switched to make candy (known as Necco Wafers).  In 1866 his brother came up with the idea to print messages on the candy.  In 1901 they got their heart shape. Appealing to Valentine’s Day Sweethearts.
  • Cupid has two different arrows in his quiver; one (the gold arrow) to cause people to fall in love, and a lead arrow that repels love (or causes one to fall “out” of love.
  • Almost half of yearly marriage proposals will happen on Valentine’s Day and half of women would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentine’s Day (that’s harsh…ouch!!!).
  • All over the world, over 50 million roses are given on Valentine’s day each year. Red roses are most commonly associated with this day because it was the favorite flower of Venus.  My favorite flower is the daisy and my favorite color is yellow, so if my Valentine wants to woo me, that will happen with daisies (not roses).  Take that Venus!!

With all that being said, I think your Valentine would love to receive these heart-shaped macarons, or you could just make a batch for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites (100 grams) room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 2 drops pink gel food coloring
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (198 grams)
  • 1 cup finely ground almond flour (96 grams)
  • pinch of kosher salt

Instructions:

Prepare baking sheets with silicone pads or parchment paper.  This is a matter of preference.  I use silicone mats, but I have had success with parchment paper too.

Wipe mixing bowl, whisks and mats (if you’re using them) with white vinegar or lemon juice to be sure there are no traces of oil.  Oil will break your meringue and it won’t mix properly.  Please don’t skip this step!

Measure the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and salt and place in a medium mixing bowl (I like to use a scale when I’m baking.  This ensures a consistent outcome in your baking.  They are very reasonable in price and I highly recommend purchasing one).

I don’t use a food processor to mix the almond flour/confectioners’ sugar mix.  I use a hand sifter, and sift back and forth between two bowls (4-5 times).  Discard any large bits.  This makes for really smooth and shiny shells and an overall beautiful macaron!

After sifting, set aside while mixing the meringue.

Place the egg whites in your mixing bowl that’s been wiped with the vinegar.  Start mixing on a low speed for two minutes or until the eggs start to foam.  Add the cream of tartar and mix for another minute.

Gradually add in the sugar one tablespoon at a time.  Increase the speed of your mixer and mix for 2-3 more minutes.  You can tell when your meringue is ready when you have stiff peaks and you can turn your mixing bowl upside down with nothing falling out.  Add the vanilla and food color and mix until incorporated.  Do not over mix your egg whites as this will cause your shells to crack!

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Meringue before the flour/sugar mixture is added.

 

Add the flour/sugar mixture in 1/3 increments to the meringue.  Gently fold and pull the spatula through the batter.  Do it until no dry ingredients are visible.  Continue to fold and pull the spatula through the center. Start to gently press the batter up the side of your bowl as you continue to fold and mix. Do this until the batter flows slowly off the spatula and you can form a figure eight.

Place batter into a decorating bag with a circle tip.  Pipe hearts on silicone mat about 3/4 inches apart.  If you don’t have a mat with heart templates, you can find templates on the internet.  You can place them under your mat or parchment to use as a guide.  Remove the template before baking.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Allow the macarons to dry for 30-40 minutes.  You should be able to run your finger across the top without it sticking.  A thin shell should form.

After the macarons have dried, place them in the oven and bake for 11 minutes.  They will start getting their “feet” around three minutes in (I love watching this!).  Check to see if the tops move.  If they wiggle, bake at two minute increments until they finish baking.  They usually are finished baking in 16-17 minutes.

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Look at those beautiful feet and smooth tops!

Remove from the oven and allow your macarons to cool completely.  The shells should pop off the mat or parchment.

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I brushed some pink luster dust on the macarons.  It makes them look even prettier (if that’s possible)

 

I filled these macarons with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream.  I used my Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe and added 4 tablespoons of Strawberry Filling.  Allow your macarons to mature for at least 24 hours (I won’t judge if you don’t wait to taste one).

I loved sharing these and I think they would make a wonderful gift for your Valentine, but make sure you save some for yourself!

I hope you make these.  Don’t be intimidated by these treats.  With a little practice, you will be making these little gems with ease.  If you do make them, tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I’d love to see your photos!

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower Taco Shells

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I know what you’re thinking, “cauliflower taco shells, really?!”.  The answer is an emphatic “Yes!!”.  I’m not mocking regular taco shells or tortillas, but trust me when I say these will surely please even the most die hard taco lover out there.

With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a taco shell in no time.  I use a very small amount of Xanthan Gum as a stabilizer, and it helps to prevent the ingredients from seperating.  You will be able to fold the shell without it breaking and falling apart.  I have made these without the Xanthan Gum also.  Adding this ingredient does not change the flavor.  It is merely a matter of preference, both are really really good!! Wow your family on your next Taco Tuesday:)!!

Ingredients:

1 medium cauliflower

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Zest of one lime

2 eggs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon Xanthan gum (optional)

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut cauliflower into large pieces and place in food processor.  Pulse cauliflower until it resembles couscous.

Place cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 4 minutes (stir halfway through cooking process).

Put cauliflower in a light cotton towel or cheesecloth.  Be careful because the cauliflower is very hot!  I used rubber gloves while squeezing the water out of the cauliflower.  Squeeze until  you think all the water is out (and then squeeze it some more).

Place cauliflower, and the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Combine just until the ingredients come together.   Scoop mixture onto the baking sheet and press and form into 6 circles (approximately 6 inches in circumference).

Gently press the top of each shell with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Turn the shells over and bake for 7-8 more minutes.

Remove from the oven.  Rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes and place them on a cooling rack.

Shell can be used immediately or you can wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate or they can be frozen and used at a later time.

I made shrimp tacos and drizzled them with avocado yogurt…..Yum!!  You can get really creative.  The sky is the limit!!

I hope you make these.  You will not be disappointed!  If you make them, tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi and show me a picture.  I would love to see your creations!

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Delicious Shrimp Tacos…nobody can eat just one!

Shrimp Burrata Mafaldine

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I have never been to Italy, but it is definitely on my bucket list!  My niece Colleen lives there and I want to go and cook with her and her Italian mother- in- law.  I want to bake breads, buy fresh ingredients at the local market.  I want to go on Gondola ride.  Oh, and I want to make homemade gnocchi….I seriously want to make homemade gnocchi!  I have a regular Hallmark movie going on in my head right now!

When I made this amazing dish last night for dinner, I could envision myself sitting in a quaint little Italian Bistro, sharing a glass of wine with friends and family (there’s that Hallmark movie again).

I’m going to go to Italy in the near future (God willing), and I know it will be even better than my expectations.  I will share every lovely moment with all of you too!  But for the time being, I will continue to search and create delicious recipes and share them with you.  I hope you make this recipe and I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband and I did!  If you do, post a picture and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to see them!

Ingredients:

½ pound Mafaldine pasta

16 large uncooked shrimp (deveined and peeled)

¼ cup unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic

1 cup white wine

1 8 oz. ball of Burrata cheese

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup fresh parsley

¼ cup fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or ¾ teaspoon dried)

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Instructions:

 Prepare pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, season shrimp with salt and pepper.

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet until butter starts to sizzle.

Add the shrimp and cook until almost done (about 2 minutes on each side).   Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Pour in the white wine and reduce slightly (about 1-2 minutes).  Turn the heat off.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss well.  Add the burrata cheese, pulling it apart to distribute evenly.  Add the herbs and Parmesan Cheese and toss everything together.

Serve with a side of salad and my no knead Dutch oven bread.  Have a glass of that white wine while you’re at it.  Enjoy!!!

This recipe was inspired by Jessica Merchant’s Lobster Burrata Pasta.

Brown Butter Icing

 

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Brown butter takes any recipe you use it in to a whole new level!  The nutty aroma that swirls through the air as it’s turning from plain butter, to a golden brown liquid with tiny specs of mouthwatering goodness, is so enticing!!

I like to use this delectable icing on bundt cakes.  It takes the overall flavor of the cake over the top!  YUMMY!!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (113 grams)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (227 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 5 tablespoons milk (room temperature)
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions:

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will start to bubble. Continue stirring constantly, until  golden brown (about 7-10 minutes).  Immediately remove from heat as soon as it turns golden in color. It can darken very quickly.

Immediately pour the browned butter into a bowl.  Make sure to get most of those brown bits.  They have so much flavor!  Sift confectioners’ sugar into the bowl.  Add the vanilla bean paste, milk and salt to butter and sugar mixture.  Whisk until smooth.  Add more milk if needed.  

Spoon icing over cake and spread with an offset spatula.

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Look at those delicious specs of yumminess!!

I hope you try this delightful icing, and if you do, be sure to post pictures and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  

Enjoy!!

Espresso Salted Caramel Macarons

 

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Happy Macaron Monday friends!!  I’m very excited about these espresso salted caramel macarons!!  I know, I know, I am always excited about macarons, and I’m also excited about sharing them with all of you!

When I posted my lavender strawberry macarons last week, I asked what flavor combinations you would like to see me make and @smalltownlivingusa (follow them on Instagram. You’ll be glad you did!) requested anything mocha or coffee, I immediately got started on making this flavor fusion.  These things are so flippin’ good!!

I start with the macarons.  Although I think you can change the flavor of a macaron by your filling choice, I like to change the flavor of the actual macaron.  I usually do this by tweaking my original recipe.  Blending dehydrated fruits, edible flowers etc. into the flour/confectioners’ sugar mixture, changes the flavor without compromising the texture. It’s important to keep excess moisture out of your batter or it is going to ruin the outcome of your macaron!

With these macarons,  I wanted them to taste like coffee, so I added 2 teaspoons of  King Arthur Flour espresso powder to the almond flour mixture (this is not a paid advertisement, I just really like their product).

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I used my original macaron recipe.  To this I added the espresso powder.  I bake them at 325º degrees (instead of the usual 300º degrees).  The first tray I put in the oven took much longer than the usual 17 minutes. It took 22 minutes and the color was darker than I would have liked, so I raised the temperature to 325º  before baking the second tray.  I baked them for 18 minutes, and they came out just right.  The color and “feet” were perfect.  As I’ve said before, these finicky cookies can be a bit difficult sometimes!

I have found that the macaronage (fancy word for folding process) is very important in the outcome of your macaron.  I have watched many macaron tutorials and recipes and it says to fold the flour mixture into the beaten egg whites until it looks like lava.  Well, that isn’t really a good analogy for me, because I’m not really sure what that looks like.  Fold until your batter is smooth and runs freely from your spatula and forms a figure 8.

I filled these delicious coffee flavored macarons with a whipped chocolate ganache (check out my simple chocolate ganache and whip it until light and fluffy).   I added a teaspoon of espresso powder to enhance the flavor just a bit more!  As if these things weren’t already delectable enough, I spooned a bit of salted caramel into the center (see recipe below).   Did I mention I topped them with a chocolate covered espresso bean?!   Yes friends, this sent these luscious darlings right over the top….oh my!!

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Whipped chocolate ganache dam filled with delicious salted caramel!
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This is optional, but I dusted mine with espresso powder.

These marvelous bites of mocha deliciousness need to be in your macaron arsenal.  I think they are my new favorite (why am I so darned fickle?!!).

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YUM!!! That’s all I have to say about that 🙂

Ganache Recipe:

  • 8 oz. (227 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Instructions:

Heat heavy cream on stove until just before boiling.  Pour over chocolate and let it sit for about three minutes.

Whisk together until ganache comes together and becomes smooth.  Cool to piping consistency.  Beat with mixer until light and fluffy…yum!

Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 1/4 cup water (60 grams)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (55 grams)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (115 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoons extra fine sea salt

Instructions:

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan heat the sugar and water together on high until the sugar has dissolved and water starts to boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil continue stirring until it becomes a deep amber color.  Be careful to watch closely so that it doesn’t burn (you can’t save it once it burns and you will have to start over….ugh!!!!).

Once it reaches a dark amber color, carefully add the butter and salt.  Be careful because it is going to bubble up.  Whisk until the butter has melted and is fully combined.  Return it to a boil and add the heavy cream (being careful because it is going to bubble up again!).

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Remove from heat, stir until completely incorporated and transfer to a glass jar.  Allow caramel to cool to room temperature. This recipe makes about one cup of caramel.

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You can use it to fill your macarons at this point.  Store any unused caramel covered in the refrigerator for up to a month (trust me, it is NOT going to last that long!).  This stuff is so good on ice cream, brownies, cupcakes and as a cake filling.  The possibilities are endless!!

If you make these incredible macarons,  tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  I’d love to see your pictures and hear what you think!!  Enjoy and Happy Macaron Monday!! Give someone a compliment today or share a random act of kindness (maybe one of these macarons…wink wink).

God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

 

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I love all buttercream frostings but it is safe to say that Swiss meringue is my favorite.  I really like Italian meringue just as much, but this just seems a little easier to make and is just a bit sweeter than Italian meringue and less sweet than American….so I guess it’s “just right” (I wonder which buttercream Goldilocks would like?).

This buttercream frosting is delicious on cakes and cupcakes.  There are so many possibilities as far as flavors go.  You can add my strawberry filling (5 tablespoons)  for an amazing strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream.

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My vanilla cupcake topped with strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream. YUM!!!!

By adding 1 cup of Nutella to this recipe, you have this amazing Nutella Swiss meringue buttercream.

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My son David’s birthday cake made with Nutella Swiss meringue buttercream

And then there’s Espresso Swiss meringue buttercream that I topped my pumpkin spice cake with last Fall…it was like a pumpkin spice latte.  That’s right all my coffee loving friends:).

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Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I love using Swiss meringue buttercream when making  special occasion cakes using my vanilla sponge cake ( I will be posting that recipe soon).

There are so many uses for this amazing buttercream!

If you’ve never made this buttercream frosting because you think it may be too difficult, please give this recipe a try.  You’ll be glad you did!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups extra fine sugar (300 grams)
  • 4 large egg whites (160 grams)
  • 1 ¾ cups unsalted butter (400 grams) room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:

 Cut the butter into chunks, place in a bowl and set aside while you’re preparing the meringue.

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 Wipe down the bowl and whisk with lemon juice to make sure they are free from any grease. Any trace would hinder the egg whites from mixing properly.

Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl.

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Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water isn’t touching the bowl. Whisk the eggs whites and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  This usually takes about 3 or 4 minutes.  Rub the mixture between your fingers, and if doesn’t feel gritty anymore it is ready.  Continue to whisk if it doesn’t feel smooth.  A gritty mixture will ruin the texture of the finished product.

When the egg mixture is ready, remove the bowl from the pan.

Place the bowl on the mixing stand.  Using the whisk attachment,  beat on medium high for 10-15 minutes.  Add the extract and salt and continue mixing.  The mixing bowl should have cooled down at this point and the eggs should form  stiff peaks.

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Make sure the bowl has cooled before adding the butter. You can do this by placing a bag of frozen veggies around the bottom of the bowl until it’s cool.

With the mixer on medium speed, begin adding the cubes of butter (1 at a time). Don’t rush this process.  Allow the butter to incorporate after each addition.

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The buttercream is going to be runny and it’s going to look like it’s not turning out.  Be patient! By the time you finish adding all the butter, it will come together nicely.   The more you mix it, the lighter and fluffier it will get!

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I hope you make this buttercream,  and if you do, please post pictures and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Filling

 

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You can make this delicious strawberry filling with only two (yes two) ingredients!  Say Whaaat?!!!

When I made lavender macarons for Macaron Monday this week, I wanted to incorporate strawberry when I filled them.  This filling is inspired by one of my youtube favorites Cupcake Jemma.  I made this for the first time last summer when I was making one of her delicious confections.

This filling can be made with fresh or frozen strawberries.  You can also substitute other berries (such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries etc.) in place of the strawberries.

Ingredients:

2 cups (400 grams) fresh or frozen strawberries

1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar

Instructions:

Place berries in medium saucepan with a heavy bottom that can withstand heat.

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Add sugar to the strawberries and turn heat to medium.

Continue to cook over medium heat for about five minutes.  The strawberries will begin to get soft and mixture will start to boil.  Continue to cook until strawberries are soft enough to mash with a handheld masher.

 

Using an emulsion blender, blend the berries until smooth.  Strain the strawberries to make the filling smooth.   Return the berries to the pan and simmer on medium/low for 20 minutes.  The filling will thicken as it reduces.

 

Pour into container.  This will keep (covered tightly) in the refrigerator up to a week.

This can be added to buttercream frostings and also used as a filling for cupcakes, cakes or doughnuts… YUM!!!!

This filling may be easy to make, but it tastes like it took a long time.  Shhhhh….your secret’s safe with me!!

 

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

 

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There are so many different cupcake recipes out there (remember my avocado cupcakes?), but sometimes the perfect vanilla cupcake adorned with a delicious buttercream is the ideal choice.

Wikipedia describes a cupcake as a small cake designed to serve one person. I also discovered that November 9th is National vanilla cupcake day. Mark your calendar friends, this sounds like a pretty important occasion to me!

I can’t even begin to count how many vanilla cupcakes I have baked in my lifetime.  My children and grandchildren love cupcakes.  My children refer to themselves as cupcake “snobs”.  I remember buying cupcakes in a local supermarket bakery and when I served them for dessert, they asked me what I was trying to pull serving them store bought baked goods.  Ooops….sorry!!

Two of my grandsons prefer a vanilla cupcake over any other flavor.  I made a strawberry shortcake cupcake last summer.  I think it was one of the best cupcakes ever! It had so many components,  but they were NOT a fan.  My adorable granddaughter, on the other hand, was all about it (you go Evie Girl!).

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This is how you eat a cupcake!

So this cupcake recipe goes out to all the vanilla cupcake lovers out there (or cupcake lovers…period).  These cupcakes are my go to vanilla recipe and will be yours too!

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar (I use an extra fine baking sugar, but granulated works also)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (123 grams) *buttermilk room temperature

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

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Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

 

In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer with whisk attachment), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about two minutes).

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Mix in the eggs and vanilla bean extract. Mix until combined.  Mix in the sour cream and mix until incorporated (about 30 seconds).  Scrape down bowl and paddle as needed.

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Add the flour mixture and mix just until flour is incorporated.  With your mixer on low, slowly pour the buttermilk into the batter.  If you would like, you can use a hand whisk at this point.  Do not over mix!

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Scoop into paper cups filling them 2/3 full.  You can use a large ice cream scoop or two spoons, whichever you prefer.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes.  All ovens are different, so begin checking for doneness at 17 minutes.  If the toothpick has a few crumbs attached, remove from oven.  The cupcakes will continue baking after they are removed from the oven.  You don’t want to over bake them or you will end up with a dry cupcake!

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After 2 minutes, transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.  Top with my simple buttercream frosting.  Don’t let the name fool you.  It may be simple to make, but it’s oh so good!!

Simple (but delicious) Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups (455 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) heavy cream

Instructions:

Cream butter until fluffy.  Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time. Make sure your mixer is on a low speed (trust me on this…you will have a sugar mess!  I learned this the hard way!!). Add the salt and vanilla extract.  Drizzle in the heavy cream to desired consistency.  Add more or less until you achieve this.  Of course, at this point, you can make your icing any color you would like using liquid or gel food coloring. The possibilities are endless!

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You can ice your cupcakes using a small spatula or place the frosting in a decorating bag with a piping tip.  I used a bag for these cupcakes.  I like to use a large star shaped tip to pipe the frosting in a swirling motion.  Top with sprinkles.  Don’t forget the sprinkles!!  Enjoy!!

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*If you don’t have buttermilk (I never seem to have it when I come across a recipe that calls for it), you can make your own by adding 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to your milk.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  It will become thick as it sits.

It is important to allow your ingredients to come to room temperature (the ones that are called to come to room temperature).  This includes your butter!  Your batter will not come together accurately, and your finished baked good won’t turn out perfectly.  You don’t want to waste your time and cost of the good ingredients you are using in your baked goods!!

 

 

Throwing it Back with Seth Jason

Almost 11 years ago, something wonderful happened.  I received a phone call from my son saying that in an hour (yes, an hour) a baby boy was going to be coming to their home.

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The day Seth came into our lives (with Melissa, his now Mommy).

Let’s go back a couple of years before that phone call.

My son David, and beautiful daughter-in-love Melissa made the decision to foster children.  It was something they bathed in prayer and God was leading them to do.  At this point they had fostered a little boy who was a temporary placement while his foster parent went on a small vacation.  Then they fostered a little girl until she was placed with a family member.  Next came a little boy who was with them for 8 months before he was reunited with his family.  I’m not going to lie, I got pretty attached to this little boy.  He was just 18 months old when he came to be with David and Melissa. He had the sweetest personality and it was very easy to fall in love with him.  But, God had other plans and he went back to his family.

David and Missy (that’s what I call Melissa) were the only people in our large family to do foster care so it was all very new.  Teaching in the public school system, I had some idea, but this brought it very close to home!  Watching them on this emotional roller coaster was pretty difficult, but they had faith God would see them through all of this, and just wanted His will in their lives (and He has…God is good!).

Now let’s get back to the baby boy who came to them on February 5th, 2009.  He was born February 2nd (our little groundhog), and came to them right from the hospital. David and Missy didn’t have any baby supplies so they were busy making calls to family and friends getting a crib, clothes, diapers etc.  This was a very exciting time!  This was their first experience with an infant, and of course their hands (and hearts) were full.  Seth was not his birth name.  David and Melissa changed it to Seth when they adopted him January 7th, 2011.

Seths adoption cake

This day definitely goes down as one the best days for all of us!  Seth is an amazing boy.  He is funny, kind, and has an awesome imagination! That’s when I officially became Mimi (I can’t help but smile just thinking about it).

So, of course, with my love of baking I couldn’t wait to make his first birthday cake.  He didn’t really have a preference as to what kind of cake he would like, so I made him a “Safari” themed cake topped with animals that I made with a fondant/gum paste mixture.  I was pretty happy with them. It was the first time I had made figurines and I was hooked.

We were excited to celebrate Seth’s big day, but God had other plans.  We had the biggest blizzard since the 70’s!  “Snowmageddon”, as we like to call it.

We finally celebrated later that week and we had a blast!

I look forward to making his cake every year, but he gets to choose what he likes now.  He has a birthday coming up in few weeks and I can’t wait to share that cake with you too.  You may even get to see a sneak peek video of the cake topper being made with the help of my son David (Seth’s Daddy).

Here’s a look at his cakes so far.  Seth actually helped with the characters for his 9th birthday.  He loves to make figures with clay and he did an amazing job with fondant!!

I hope you enjoyed walking down memory with me.  I can’t wait to share birthday #11.

Do you have a favorite cake?  Let me know:)