Monthly Archives: March 2014

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting: Attempt #1

Well in my previous post I mentioned that while I wrote I had cupcakes in the oven. They followed the first (and so far only) cupcake recipe I posted and I was pretty content with how they came out. And then it hit me.

I had NO frosting.

The horror! My little cupcakes without frosting were practically boring muffins…okay maybe I’m over reacting. But a plain vanilla recipe could sure be sweetened up and frosting is always a good way to do so.

So I started to think. Option 1, run to the store. That wasn’t going to work for me seeing as the closest bodega has a rule where you have to spend a certain amount to be able to use your card and I didn’t have any cash. Option 2, make some frosting myself.

I was seriously considering leaving those cupcakes naked till tomorrow when I could muster up the oomph to go to the supermarket and buy store bought frosting. Then I found a box of practically untouched cream cheese in the fridge.

I opened my laptop and started Pinterest searching a recipe for cream cheese frosting like it was nobodies business. Personally I LOVE cream cheese frosting, especially on carrot cake. But, I had just managed to make consistent cupcakes from scratch. Safe to say I was slightly terrified.

I found a simple recipe from www.realsimple.com and got to work. Here it is below:

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce bar cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. If necessary, slightly chill the frosting to stiffen it before using.

Now, you see I had most of the cream cheese so I decided that I could manage it. Then I realized that confectioners sugar would be my downfall. I once made Nutella Frosting for a new friends birthday and used regular sugar instead of confectioners sugar and it had this gritty grainy texture allllllllllll over. Everyone said (and by everyone I mean my family being as they were the only ones to see me after I sang happy birthday. I then quickly hid myself inside the car until it was time to go home.I got terribly anxious and I didn’t want to see anyone eat it, I’m weird like that) that other than the grittiness it was good. But they could have just been being polite.

This time though I decided to try out our blender. That thing destroys Ice cubes and makes the best sofrito (a spanish seasoning) although I guess I should give my mom more credit than the blender for that. I have read that it could take the place of a food processor on occasion.

So I dumped in some sugar, noting the texture before it went it, and hit grind. If you’re going to do this I recommend one cup or less at a time so as to not overwork your machine or make it too much to handle. After about a minute and a half I began to notice a significant difference. It wasn’t as fine as confectioners sugar straight from the store but it worked. Think funnel cakes at theme parks, confectioners sugar is what they put on top. That magically delicious stuff that gets all over you even if you don’t touch it and flies everywhere if you get caught in a breeze…now I’m craving funnel cake….

I then followed the instructions but put a cup and a half LESS of sugar in. My parents are always yelling that I make everything too sweet so I tried to tone it down a bit. (my mom still complained, I am not sorry).

It turned out pretty well I think. The texture is still a little grainy seeing as I probably should invest in confectioners sugar, but its not too bad.

When the directions mention you should chill the mixture first, CHILL IT.

Probably for at least 5-10 min. I chilled it for about 2 or 3 and it worked well but once I got it into the pastry back and started piping out frosting it warmed up quickly and didn’t go through the tip as defined as I’ve had store bought frosting come out. I only had one decent looking cupcake, which I am secretly okay with today. The fact that I’m mastering one cupcake recipe was enough for me. Here he is, I have named him Greg and after I post this, I shall eat Greg:

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Well, thats Greg the Homemade cupcake covered in Homemade cream cheese frosting that isn’t perfect but I’ll keep working on it.

Have you tried making homemade frosting? Got any recipes you think I should try? Or do you just want to share a disaster story or a successful photo? I would love to hear from you!

-Xiomara 🙂

Advertisements

Presto Self Rising Cake Flour: What it is, how to use it? Which do you prefer?

Hey there! I’m baking more cupcakes at this very moment and I thought, since I have ten minutes left on my oven, I would take a moment to look at the wonderful (if you know how to use it) product called Presto.

Presto is self rising cake flour and if you’ve never seen it, it comes in a box that looks like this:

Image

 

The box says for breakfast, dinner and dessert but I’ve only ever used it for cakes and cupcakes. It is essentially, cake flour with baking soda and salt already added. This comes in pretty handy if you’re making simpler desserts that don’t call for too many ingredients. BUT you have to pay attention to the instructions. They’re not too difficult but if you’re making something more complex it could matter.

This is what the box says:

Image

Seems pretty simple right? Well it wasn’t for me at first.

First, NEVER add baking soda or salt if you’re using presto. Its already in the mix and isn’t necessary. Fortunately I haven’t made this mistake. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what would happen if you do. But I can just imagine it being something terrible, odd or salty.

Next, the sifting rule. This one is important because I’ve noticed that Presto has a tendency to clump up and create these blobs of flour. If you don’t sift them out before measuring it messes up you’re measurements and unless you’re one of those people that can make things work mentally– meaning you can measure things with your eyes– it’ll end up funky. I measure everything, even when I’m making rice. The only place I let loose is when I’m washing my clothes although now that you mention it I think I measure that slightly as well.

ALWAYS consider the type of flour that your recipe calls for. Presto makes a distinction between cake flour and all purpose. When Cake flour is used you’re just going to substitute the same amount of Presto. If you were supposed to be using all purpose you’re going to substitute the same amount PLUS 2 tablespoons more per cup. So if the recipe calls for 3 cups of all purpose flour you would use 3 cups and 6 tablespoons of Presto in its place.

Now look at what your recipe calls for. If BOTH baking soda and sour milk are needed for your recipe you will be using regular milk and no baking soda. But if your recipe calls for cocoa, sour cream, or buttermilk (any of these, that’s why its or and not and) you will be using baking soda, just less of it. 1/4 teaspoon per cup of presto to be exact. So if you’re using 3 cups of presto you will be using 3/4 teaspoons of baking soda.

Pretty easy, huh?

I don’t mind presto to be honest. When I started baking from scratch my dad got it for me to make things easier. Now that I’ve managed a couple recipes on my own with it and without it I think I’m leaning toward doing everything by yourself. Nothing pre-prepared. Maybe it’s just my intense laziness and aversion toward sifting. Or it could be me feeling more “professional.”

Image

I’ll let you decide which one you prefer. If you’ve used presto before tell me about it!

Guess who’s coming to Dinner? Cookies and Cream Cupcakes!

In my house, dessert and junk food have been known to be top priorities. I have to admit that we like food. We can’t help it. I mean I blame some of my dad’s weight on myself. When I was a kid I would cry and beg to go with him whenever he ran an errand because I knew that as daddy’s little girl I could bat my eyes at just the right moment and get something yummy to eat (sometimes fast food, sometimes bakery visits, or ice cream).  I mean, he wasn’t skinny when I was a kid so its not entirely my fault but I have been pretty encouraging over the years when it came to food.

When we were kids my dad would bake cakes all the time. It was never from scratch but he would mix together the cake mix and I was always right there waiting for him to be done with the spoon, bowl, mixer– pretty much anything I could lick the batter off.  That was me “helping.” When I got older I became the one who made our birthday cakes, again straight from the box and again with such excitement to lick the spoon. As the years passed though, and as I started watching more Ace of Cakes, Food Network Challenge, and Cake Boss, I began my obsession with making those birthday cakes beautiful.

Then came the cupcakes. I usually frequent Pinterest for recipes and DIY’s and today is no different.

This recipe from http://www.sallysbakingaddiction.com creates the simplest and tastiest vanilla cupcakes that I’ve found. And what’s great is that not only does she show you how to make the vanilla but the recipe is actually for FUNFETTI cupcakes! Who doesn’t love sprinkles?!

I personally am the kind of person that really adores sprinkles. Especially the rainbow kind! I put them on ice cream, cookies, cupcakes, cakes. If I don’t have anything to put it on and I have sprinkles, more often than not I will be eating some straight out of the container.

Unfortunately my family, that is to say the other three dessert eaters for whom I primarily bake for,  don’t share my love for sprinkles. I blame myself. I should have educated them better.  (only kidding, I respect it. Means more for me right? <– I am only partially kidding about that…) So I made cookies and cream. Oreos. Perfection in cookie form.

Have I mentioned that this is my first “How to”/tutorial post. Ever. So bear with me?

COOKIES AND CREAM CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 Oreo cookies

If you’re more experienced and you are comfortable substituting things here and there as per your taste go right ahead. Most recipes call for unsalted butter, and this one was no different but I just used the butter we had. The pin I got the recipe from provided other substitutions for some of the other ingredients as well. The one that wasn’t included which I personally have used on multiple occasions was Maple syrup in place of the vanilla extract, but that’s another post.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F . Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl melt butter in the microwave I recommend about 1 min, although my tech savvy brother says it all depends on the strength or wattage of your microwave.
  4. Whisk in the sugar, this mixture will be gritty. Like sand in your coffee at the beach.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in egg, sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Its going to look weird but its okay I promise (I’m the kind of person who gets weirded out just from looking at honeycombs…I don’t know why…but I assure you its going to be fine!)
  7. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain. Using an electric mixer is okay too and is actually my preference.
  8. Separate the cookies making sure that they separate cleanly. This is actually easier said than done. You want the cream on one side and the other side to be just cookie.
  9. Put the cookie with the cream at the bottom of the cupcake liners. One cookie per liner and make sure to have the cream side up!
  10. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners (or 24 mini) and bake for up to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool and frost to your hearts desire!

 

And there they are! Honestly, pretty simple. And they taste wonderful!

Here are what mine turned out as

.COOKIESANDCREAM2

COOKIESANDCREAM4COOKIESANDCREAM3

I clearly need to work on my cupcake photography skills but I can’t like that I didn’t love munching on those!

This is the original recipe –> http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/12/19/easy-homemade-funfetti-cupcakes/

Hope you enjoy!