Sunshine and Raspberries

It was such a beautiful sun shining day today!  I haven’t posted on my little blog is what feels like forever, so I thought I’d do a quick post and share this lovely cake with you!  This cake makes me think of sunshine with its ombré yellow frosting, zingy lemon throughout and a pop of red with the raspberry topping!  I made this cake earlier in the summer, but never had an opportunity to share it here.  It’s a rich butter cake infused with lemon zest and rich vanilla, filled with a raspberry buttercream and frosted with a lemon buttercream.  Maybe you will head in the kitchen and whip up a cake that makes you think of sunshine too!

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(I love the inside cake shots!)

This cake was soooo good!  If you would like to recreate this cake, I used a couple of my old faithful recipes. The cake recipe can be found here, my Meme’s rich pound cake.  The buttercream filling is an italian meringue buttercream with fresh raspberry purée, this recipe can be found here and the frosting is a whipped buttercream with lemon juice, cream and a litte vanilla, this recipe cane be found here.

Enjoy!

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Spring Flowers Birthday Cake

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.  ~ Henry Van Dyke

While we still wait for spring…  let’s enjoy a lovely spring inspired cake!

Spring Flower Cake 3

A good friend of mine asked me to make a birthday birthday cake for her lovely daughters 26th birthday.  The birthday girls favorite colors are the tiffany blue, black, white and lots of bling and her mother gave me the direction to make something in that color pallet with lots of flowers, something spring like, so this is what I created.

Spring Flower Cake 5

Although spring seems to be taking its time arriving, it doesn’t mean that we can’t embrace spring in other ways, like with cake… like a cake with lots and lots of flowers!

Spring flower cake 10

I love baking and I especially love making layer cakes with good fillings and frosting, lots of pretty flowers and lovely color combinations.  I love the creative process of designing cakes, being given an idea or a direction and coming up with a way to bring the idea to life.

spring flower cake 12

I can imagine this cake in multiple tiers… like maybe two or three?  I mean this one is pretty, but just imagine flowers cascading down the cake from one tier to the next.  That would be beautiful.  Does anyone out there need a cake with two or three tiers with cascading flowers, anyone?!?

Spring Flower Cake 3

This cake was a lemon vanilla butter cake, with a thin layer of lemon curd filling and an Italian Meringue Buttercream frosting.  Pretty classic flavor combination, but it seemed perfect for a spring inspired cake.  I love lemon curd, especially homemade, its so easy to make.  Plus, when you make Italian Meringue Buttercream you are left with just enough egg yolks for a batch of lemon curd!  Perfect!

Spring Flower Cake 1

I mentioned that the birthday girl likes bling and although this cake isn’t full of bling, I did add a couple iridescent and black sugar crystals for some… sparkle! The birthday girls loved the cake, but noted that I needed to up my bling for her future wedding cake… so I’ll get to work practicing so I’ll be ready!

Spring Flower Cake 7a

Spring Flower Cake 8So a word about the CUT cake…

I have a thing about seeing the inside of the cut cake. Maybe its because I don’t often get to see the cake cut and have the pleasure of seeing the layers and the filling inside.  I work really hard to make sure that the layers are even and that I have equal amounts of filling and that hopefully the inside will look just as pretty as the outside.  Every so often I’ll get someone to actually send me a picture of the cake after its is cut.  So that I can check my work out on the inside!  My friend was kind enough to send me this picture…  and I am SO pleased with my layers!  Just look at all that evenness.  The inside is just as important as what’s on the outside.

I am so pleased with how this cake turned out, it makes me think of spring and gives me hope for warmer days to come.

Here’s hoping we will start seeing some real spring flowers soon… but until then, hope you enjoy the cake!

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes

Sometimes two unlikely flavors can come together to make something really good…

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Orange and chocolate have never been better together!

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Zest from 2 large oranges
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Scant 1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks, roughly chopped

Orange syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

  • Prepare standard size muffin pan with liners.
  • Combine orange zest and sugar and rub together until well incorporated.  In bowl of electric mixer, cream the butter and zested sugar for 5-7 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated.
  • Whisk together the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.  In another bowl whisk together the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • To the butter mixture, alternate adding the wet and dry ingredient, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Toss the chocolate chunks with the 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the batter.  Lightly mix in the chips, be careful to not over mix.
  • Add the batter to prepared muffin pans, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes, start checking at 15 minutes, cook until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • To prepare the orange syrup, add the orange juice and sugar to a small sauce pan.  Cook until the sugar dissolves.
  • Poke several holes in the cupcakes with a cake tester or toothpick.  Spoon the syrup over the cupcakes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

6 ounces semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • In mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes
  • Add vanilla and mix another 3 minutes
  • Add confectioner sugar and cocoa powder and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Add melted chocolate and mix another 3 minutes.

Notes:

  • Chocolate and orange are two flavors that I wouldn’t normally think to pair together, but I was intrigued by the idea. These cupcakes are inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe.  The original recipe makes 6 mini cakes that are topped with chocolate ganache.
  • Don’t skimp on the orange syrup, it really amps up the orange flavor and makes for a very moist cake.
  • These would be nice topped with a chocolate dipped candied orange peel… perhaps next time I’ll make this addition.
  • I used a 1M tip to pipe the frosting.

A Little Sunshine – Triple Citrus Cupcakes

These cupcakes will bring a little extra sunshine to your day…

citrus-cupcake

I was asked to make some cupcakes (and a cake!)  for a jewelry party my friend is hosting next weekend!  She said that I could make any flavors I wanted, so free reign on the cupcake flavors… Yay!   One of the flavors I want to make for the event is a really citrusy cupcake, something with just the right balance of tartness and sweetness.

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It also had to be really good and moist cake!  I feel very strongly that cupcakes are just smaller cakes and should be just as good as their larger counterparts!  This recipe should be familiar, I decided to try cutting my Meme’s Sour Cream Pound cake in thirds and add lots of zest, a light citrus glaze to the top of each cupcake and top them with a citrus whipped buttercream frosting with more zest and juice and a little cream for added richness!  One word sums this citrus packed cupcake… YUM!

citrus collage

Not a lot more to say, except to urge you to go and make these and bring a little citrus sunshine into your life!

Triple Citrus Cupcakescitrus cupcake eaten
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/3 cup softened unsalted butter
scant 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Fill cupcake pan with 12 liners
  • Sift flour, salt and baking soda together.
  • Add zest to sugar and rub zest into sugar.
  • In bowl bowl of mixer, cream butter and zest sugar until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add eggs to creamed mixture one at a time beating well after each addition
  • Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternately with sour cream.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix just until incorporated.
  • Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from pan after 5 minutes and cool on cooling rack.

Citrus glaze

1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/2 tbsp lemon and 1/2 tbsp lime juice
2-3 tablespoons confectioner sugar

  • Mix to combine until a smooth consistency is reached.

Triple Citrus Buttercream

10 tablespoons softened butter
2-3 cups confectioner sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons half and half
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lime zest

  • In stand mixer, mix softened butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes
  • Add all confectioner sugar, half and half, lemon juice and extract and mix on medium for about 6 minutes.
  • Add zest and mix for 3 minutes more.

Assembly

  • After cupcakes have cooled, dip each cupcake in the glaze and let dry.
  • Top with buttercream, I used a 2D piping tip to make the swirl in the picture.