Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

This is going to just be a quick post today.  It's my Birthday!  To celebrate, the boys and I packed up the car, put on some music, picked up my Mom and headed up North to my visit my Sissy and family in Washington!  This has become our annual summer trip, heading up away from the Bay Area, away from work, away from electronics!  (yes, I realize I'm on the computer posting this right now....but I'll turn it off soon....I promise).

I'm sure the car ride was a treat for my Mom.  11 1/2 hours in a car with two teenage boys is a treat for anyone!  Luckily...they were on their best behavior for Grandma and we made it here without me strapping either of them to the roof!  It helps that they think Grandma walks on water and is the most perfect human alive.  Not once was I subjected to their usual fighting, hitting, burping, or farting contests.  Maybe I should take her on all of our road trips!

Today we head up to the cabin and off the grid, so I will leave you with these yummy cupcakes!  I LOVE Ina Garten!  Most of her recipes turn out great and are foolproof.  The only changes I made to this recipe was to not add espresso to the cupcake batter.  Ina has a thing for espresso powder and as much as I love coffee....I really don't like it in my cupakes when mixed with peanut butter!  Next time I make these cupcakes I will play around with them a bit.  I think it would be fun to bake a mini reese's in the middle of the cupcake and then sprinkle the top of the frosting with chopped reese's.  Overkill? I think not!!!  :)

Before I leave you with the recipe.....BIG shout out to all of my Baker Becky followers in the Ridgefield/Vancouver area!!!  I'm here...I'm here!!!  I'm soooo close....but without any of my baking supplies!  It would be so much fun to come up with my supplies sometime and do some baking at my sister's house for all of you!  Hmmmmm.....maybe next summer!

Enjoy the recipe!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream via Barefoot Contessa At Home

12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and two sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with peanut butter buttercream.

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Recipe Shared On:
Foodie Friends Friday
Esskunst Coffee Klatch Friday
Love Bakes Good Cakes - All My Bloggy Friends
Chocolate, Chocolate and More - Thursday's Treasures

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Cake!

Recently, my sweet little baby boy had a birthday!  He turned 17......17?!?  I know.....I'm much too young to have a 17 year old! I must have had him when I was 10 years old...right?! Come on.....humor me, I love living with my grand illusions!  ;)

Between the 17 year old, the 14 year old and the house is never boring and it's never quiet but there are always willing food testers!  Being the chocolate cake fanatic that he is, Zack chose this recipe for his birthday.  Ina Garten's chocolate cake from her cookbook "Barefoot Contessa at Home".

This is a super easy and delicious recipe!  I love Ina's recipes so I followed this one, only making the change of taking out the espresso from the frosting.  I thought that the coffee in the cake was good but in the frosting would be overkill.  It's a pretty rich frosting so I think I made the right call.  The entire cake was gone in one sitting....pretty sure this means they LOVED it!

Happy Baking!!  :)

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CAKE! adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 8" round baking pans with non-stick spray, then line the bottom of the pans with parchment rounds and spray the parchment paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. On low speed, add the chocolate to the butter mixture and mix until blended.  Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Recipe shared on:
Chocolate, Chocolate, and more - Thursday's Treasures
Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop
Rediscovering Lost Arts From Our Mothers - Tried and True Recipes
Foodie Friends Friday
Esskunst - CakeFriday Coffee Klatch Linky Party

Monday, July 15, 2013

Alice In Wonderland Cupcakes!

Just a quick little post today.  No recipes or instructions....just some more of the cuteness coming out of my kitchen!  :)

I had a client ask if I could make "Alice In Wonderland" themed cupcakes for her daughter's 14th Birthday party.  "Sure", I problem!  I might just be a crazy woman, because I have very little experience with fondant.  But maybe I'm not so crazy....because I think these cupcake toppers turned out perfect!

Pretty adorable!  The Blue Caterpillar and the teapots are my favorites but I love the Tweedle Dee/Dum too!!

Chesire Cat is pretty cute too!

Baking and cooking can be such a fun adventure for me, hope that it is for all of you too!

 I hope that you enjoy looking at these adorable cupcakes!  Mostly I hope that you are inspired to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, even if you think you can't do it!

Happy Baking!

~Baker Becky

Friday, July 12, 2013

Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm sure that all of you know that "Friends" was the greatest show on television....EVER!  If you didn't know that before, now you do!  You also may not have known that they had a "Friends" cookbook, filled with recipes from dishes made on the show (they also have books, clothing and a trivia game that no one has been able to beat me at yet).  Yes, there was food on the show....Monica was a chef afterall and much of the show takes place in a cafe with cookies and other baked goods.  There are several good recipes but my favorite is the Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies....really it's just a chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips.  Super yummy, super easy to make's from "Friends", so it's pretty much the coolest cookie around!  

Just a couple of weeks ago I took the boys to LA and we did the Warner Brother's Studio tour and I got to see the re-creation of the "Friends" set....I even got to sit on the couch from Central Perk!  Pretty cool stuff for a fan of the show (not an obsessed stalker, just a regular old fan....I promise).

Anyways....even if you didn't watch the show (who didn't watch "Friends"?), you will love these cookies!  I make them all the time because they are so quick and easy.  

The recipe makes really large cookies, which I love, but you can also make them smaller.  I have also made these with peanut butter chips instead of the white chocolate!

Make a batch of these cookies to enjoy while you are watching the old "Friends" re-runs!

Enjoy!  :)

Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies via Friends

1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375.  Stir the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl and set it aside.  Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth.  Slowly beat in the dry intredients.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

For each cookie, drop a little less than 1/4 cup batter onto baking sheet, flatten slightly.  Bake until edges and tops of cookies are set, 15-18 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool briefly.

Makes 12 oversized cookies

Recipe Shared On:

Foodie Friends Friday
Chocolate Chocolate and More - Thursday's Treasures