Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting

December 11th was coworker Marcie’s birthday.  I promised her some goodies for her birthday, but I’ve been sick for a while.  I was finally well enough on Monday to bake for her.  She had mentioned that she likes “chocolate with vanilla topping”, so I decided to make her these cupcakes.

I’m normally not a cupcake person, because I don’t really enjoy frosting.  Whipped cream, however, I absolutely LOVE!!!  🙂

I’ve made the cake part of these before in one of my Sweet Melissa Sunday posts.

Hubs and I had just the cake part as breakfast: Naked Cupcakes = Muffins! 😀

I gave four of these to Marcie as her dedicated portion, and brought the rest into work.  They were well-loved!  I love it when people enjoy my food!  🙂

Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from Chocolate Malted Layer Cake of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book)
Makes 24 Cupcakes
Ingredients:
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 packets Starbucks VIA
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup hot water
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, Starbucks VIA, baking soda, and salt, and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and eggs until smooth.
4. Add the egg mixture tot he flour mixture, and mix until combined.
5. Meanwhile, melt the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each 30-second interval. When the chocolate is completely melted, whisk in the vegetable oil until smooth.
6. Add the hot water in a stream and mix until combined. The batter will be loose.
7. Divide the batter evenly into two 12-muffin muffin tins lined with muffin liners.
8. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Cool completely.

Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
Ingredients:
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup marshmallow fluff
2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all ingredients and whip on high until stiff peaks form.
2. Decorate cupcakes (I just put a dollop because I’m too lazy to pipe).

Enjoy!!!  🙂

Fondue Fail~

We had a big plan of using this fondue set from our white elephant party at work. It suggests to use a tea light candle, but coworker Davood deemed it not powerful enough and bought Sterno to use in its place. The Sterno ended up not fitting in the slot and coworker Tim decided to make this alternative from binder clips. Due to a potential fire hazard, we decided to just use a glass bowl!…:P

 

Easter Nests

I know I know…this post is a whole season late…but…but…eh…I have no excuses…:P

So…for Easter…to be a little festive…I made these Easter Nests and gave them away as gifts. These are super easy to make, and they look pretty, and supposedly tastes good (I didn’t try one).

The original recipe uses jelly beans, but I don’t think jelly beans look like eggs, but look like…well…beans. So I wanted to use Cadbury Mini Eggs, but there weren’t any at the Target I went to, so I went with Almond M&Ms. 🙂

Maybe you can make some next Easter! 🙂

Easter Nests (makes 24…adapted from allrecipes)
Ingredients:
1 Stick Butter
4 Cups Mini Marshmallows
7 Cups Chow Mein Noodles
72 Almond M&Ms
Directions:
1. Spray two muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large nonstick saucepan, combine marshmallows and butter over medium heat. Stir until the butter and marshmallows have melted.
3. Stir in the chow mein noodles, coat well.
4. Using a large spoon/ice cream scoop, scoop coated noodles into each well of the muffin pan, one by one.  Using the back of the spoon/scoop, make a well in the noodles to create a nest (it’s ok if the noodles break a little, the m&ms would cover it, and each strand of the nest shouldn’t be the same length anyway).
5. Place 3 (different colored) m&ms in each nest.
6. Refrigerate overnight until set.
Enjoy!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Quick Bread

I had some buttermilk left over from making snickerdoodles, and it is expiring soon, so I had to find a recipe that uses buttermilk.  I wanted to find something that can easily be shipped, since that’s basically the only way I can find enough people to eat my creations.  😛  I came across this post on a blog (that no longer seems to be maintained) by a 15 year-old girl.  I’m proud of this girl’s baking skills and photography skills.  I wish I knew how to bake/cook when I was 15!  I remember making the ONLY thing I knew how to make for my friends back then…french toast.  And my recipe was tweaked on the spot by them.  😛  When I was 18, I baked my first batch of cookies for my then-boyfriend, now-fiance.  They were these Pillsbury dough logs of Snoopy holding a heart.  I baked them for him for Valentine’s day, and I was sooo proud.  😛  Good thing my skills have evolved since then, my photography skills are still VERY elementary…gotta work on that.  😛

I didn’t eat any of this cake because I’m currently on a strict diet, but I’m being told that this is very VERY good. 🙂
Mr. Fiance thinks that this tastes the best at room temperature/slightly warm. He tried it out of the oven, at room temperature, out of the refrigerator, and reheated in the microwave after being in the refrigerator. He particularly likes the top of the loaf because it has more of a crispier texture, but overall, he loves it. 🙂

Then, dear friend Alley came over and ate 1/4 of a loaf before dinner, by just picking at loose pieces. She seems to like it too, and she took another 1/4 loaf home for breakfast the next day. 😛

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Quick Bread (such a long name!!…adapted from To Cook, or To Burn)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa
1 Packet Starbucks VIA (I used Columbia Roast)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips
Directions:
1. Grease a 9×5-in loaf pan, and preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, combined flour, cocoa, VIA, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until creamy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Once mixture is well-combined, add flour mixture and buttermilk into mixture alternating between each (I added a quarter of the flour mixture, then a quarter of the buttermilk, and repeated).
6. Fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips until evenly dispersed.
7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Top with remaining chocolate chips and continue baking for another 30-35 (or 50-55) minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Place pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and cool completely before removing from pan.

Enjoy!!

I made some tweaks to this recipe by adding some Starbucks VIA (or I guess…any other instant coffee/espresso), and added additional chocolate chips. 🙂 I baked two loaves at once, and one loaf was fully done in 35 minutes, and the other one took another 15+ minutes. I’m not sure what happened, because the two loaves are the same size. I also suggest to let the cake cool inside the loaf pan before removing, because i followed the original recipe, and this happened…

This is what my dear recipients received…I bought some round labels to print these…:)

Zebra Cake

I wanted to bake my dear friend Ana banana bread for her birthday (back in September…yes…this post is late), but the banana that I saved for her gift seemed to have rot (it was pitch-black), so I had to find something else to make. Through our friend Alley, I found out that she also like marble cake, so I decided to make this variation of the marble cake for her…The Zebra Cake.

Although the stripes aren’t very distinct, but I promise that it’s delicious!
Next time, I will use dark cocoa powder, and possibly a bigger scoop, so that the color difference is a little more prominent. 😀

Zebra Cake (Adapted from AZ Cookbook)
Ingredients:
4 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Whole Milk
1 Cup Canola Oil
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
2 Tbsp Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, combined flour and baking powder, set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combined eggs and sugar until creamy.
4. Gradually add in the milk & oil, and beat until well-combined.
5. Add flour mixture into the egg mixture cup by cup, mixing until dry ingredients disappear in between cups.  Do not overmix, you don’t want the batter to become too fluffy.
6. Pour about half of the batter into a separate bowl.  In one of the bowls, sift in the cocoa powder and mix well. Leave the other batter plain.
7. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then oil the paper and the sides of the pan.  Dust pan with two tablespoons of sugar (the sugar gives the cake a sweet thin crust…yumm!).
8. Using a spoon/scoop of desired size (the smaller the spoon, the thinner the zebra stripes — I used a 1/8 Cup measuring spoon), scoop plain batter into center of pan, then scoop cocoa batter into the center of the plain batter, and continue alternating between batters until all batter has been transferred into the springform pan.
9. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the center, if it comes out clean, then it’s ready.  Remove from oven, and let cool for 10-15 minutes.  Remove pan sides, and let cool completely.

Enjoy!!

Sweet Melissa Sunday: Peanut Butter Truffles

sweetmelissasundaysAfter two weeks of not-really-participating, I’m back!! This week’s recipe is Peanut Butter Truffles chosen by Mara of Love Your Mother Earth. The full recipe can be found here.

This was my first time making truffles, and I was surprised at how easy they were to make. There’s basically four steps…heat…then whisk whisk whisk…wait…then roll roll roll…:)

I brought these to my lovely friend Tony’s Birthday Party, and they were pretty well-loved…I think. Even people who don’t normally eat chocolate/sweets enjoyed them. However, it seems like people would prefer it better if it were slightly sweeter…maybe I’ll make it with semisweet chocolate rather than bittersweet.

At first, I was a little skeptical about the salty peanuts and the chocolate, but the feedback I received was that the salt of the peanuts compliments the bitterness of the chocolate really well. Also, there doesn’t seem to be enough peanut butter because nobody knew there was peanut butter. I don’t know if that was intentional (that there isn’t a strong peanut butter taste), or maybe I used the wrong kind of peanut butter. Everyone loved the smoothness and creaminess of the truffle, but didn’t absolutely adore the taste. Overall, the feedback I received was pretty positive, but there are still improvements I’d make to this recipe.

Remember to check out the Peanut Butter Truffles from other Sweet Melissa Bakers. 🙂

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Chocolate Malted Cupcakes

sweetmelissasundaysThis week’s recipe is chosen by Nicole of Sweet Tooth. I have to say Thank You to Nicole for choosing this yummy recipe. This was the best chocolate cake recipe, ever! I served it to a couple of friends and they absolutely loved it!! Steven’s momma had one without the whipped cream and already LOVED it!!…she loved it even more with the whipped cream.

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I made a couple changes to the recipe…
1. I made cupcakes and baked them for 18 minutes.
2. I made a Horlicks whipped cream topping in place of the chocolate malted frosting.
3. I use Maltesers in place of Whoppers.

I made 18 cupcakes with half of the recipe, then I frosted it with a Horlicks Whipped Cream, and finished it off with one Malteser per cupcake.
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Horlicks Whipped Cream (adapted from the Chocolate Whipped Cream recipe of Joy of Baking)
(Enough for 10 cupcakes)

Ingredients:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Horlicks
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:
1. Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl, cover and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Whip ingredients on high until stiff peaks form.

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Sadly, the whipped cream didn’t have enough malt flavor. When I make the whipped cream for the remaining eight, I am going to put more Horlicks to try and up the malt flavor.

Chocolate Pound Cake? Chocolate Moon Cake…

Bought my very first bundt cake pan couple weeks ago. And I thought…what better cake to make than Chocolate Pound Cake? So…I started my search for the perfect recipe and came across this. I read through the reviews and had a good feel about it and went ahead and made it. Being that this is my first bundt cake pan and that this is my first bundt cake, I had absolutely NO CLUE how to remove the cake from the pan (I’m used to springform pans). I tried to stick bamboo skewers on the side to “lift” it away…I tried using a paring knife to pry it away…I tried the turn-it-upside-down-and-“pound-pound”-from-the-side-method…I tried the turn-it-upside-down-and-“pound-pound”-from-the-top method…and…NOTHING!!…the cake is still securely in the pan…I was depressed…so depressed that I thought that throwing it across the room wouldn’t even release the cake. The cake would be dented but still securely in a dented pan.

But I still wanted to try it, so I used a melamine knife and cut a piece…surprisingly…it lifted (quite easily). Then, I stuck the knife where that piece originally was and lifted the cake out and onto my cake platter…SUCCESS!!

Now…it’s time to eat it. First of all…this thing was DENSE!…so dense that if dropped from 2 inches above the table…you’d hear a “THUNK”… First bite…”hmm…interesting…the exterior is like a brownie/cookie…but the interior is pasty…” Second bite…”wow…this texture is very much like a moon cake…how can this be??” Third bite…”yup…definitely a moon cake…a chocolate moon cake.”

If you decide to make this…I suggest that you chill it before you eat it. I had a slice at room temperature…and it was on the NASTY side. However, I HAD to try it chilled because so many of the reviews said that it was MUCH BETTER chilled. To my surprise…it was GOOD chilled! I probably won’t make this again in the near future (I ate most of the cake…kinda over it) but I will…someday…:)

Chocolate Pound Cake (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 packet Starbucks VIA Columbia Roast Instant Coffee dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 10 inch bundt cake pan and dust with a mixture of 1 tsp Cocoa Powder and 1 Tbsp Sugar. Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the dissolved coffee and sour cream. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Cocoa-Nana Muffins

Bananas were on sale at Walmart last week…so I bought about a dozen bananas…not knowing that there was already half a dozen at home…
So…there were three REALLY RIPE (BLACK) bananas…and I REALLY needed to use them…so…I researched for a banana bread recipe…but I wanted something that was different…and I came across this Cocoa-Nana Bread recipe

I wanted to use all three bananas…so I had to alter the recipe a little bit…my recipe is as follows…

Cocoa-Nana Muffins
Adapted from Obsessed with Baking who adapted the recipe from Dorie Greenspan

3 Ripe Bananas
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Cocoa Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
3/8 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cups Light Brown Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 1/8 Cups Buttermilk
3/4 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel and mash bananas into a gooey mess.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

With the paddle attachment, use the stand mixer to beat the butter until softened. Beat in the white and brown sugars. Add the eggs one at a time.

Reduce speed to low and mix in banana goo. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing until the powders become wet and disappear. Mix in buttermilk. Remove mixing bowl from mixer an stir in chocolate chips.

Fill batter into 20 muffin cups (see my picture) and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

I’ve never been a fan of banana breads…but this mixture of chocolate and bananas really appealed to me…so I decided to bake this. I first tried this after it has cooled down to room temperature, but it seemed a little dry. So, I heated it up in the microwave. It was a lot more moist when warm, but the banana flavor/aroma enhanced right away, which really didn’t float my boat.

So, my conclusion is that I don’t like banana bread…with or without chocolate. If I get good feedback from banana bread lovers, then I’ll probably make this again for them, but otherwise…goodbye recipe!

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

Stan & Philly came over to cook for us last Wednesday (Apr 29, 09). We got to eat Rib Eye Flambé…mmMMMMM. It was mesmerizing seeing the fire, although the smoke detector went crazy a bit. 😛

After dinner, we (mainly Philly) decided to make Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies. We made the cookie part using this recipe (which is supposed to be for ice cream sandwiches), and the filling from this recipe.

We didn’t have regular liquid food coloring, but only gel coloring. Because we don’t know what the liquid to gel conversion was, we decided to add the coloring last. We combined everything except the coloring, and Philly thought the color wasn’t right, and that it wasn’t dark enough. So I went a little overboard and put (in addition to the 1.5 Tbsp in recipe) two big scoops (2 Tbsp-ish) of cocoa powder. So after that…it looked a lot more brown than red……..

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