Tag Archives: vanilla

bridal mania pt 3 – cute as can be desserts

15 Sep

This is the last in the trilogy of bridal mania posts. I just wanted to show you guys the cute mini versions of my strawberry Oreo pies that I made. They were so much fun to make, and probably the easiest dessert for this bridal shower. I simply doubled the recipe, bought a bunch of disposable mini tart shells and pressed the graham cracker crust into them. Then just scoop the filling into each tart shell and top off with half a strawberry.

The Oreo truffles I usually make are smaller but Shirley asked me to make them a bit bigger for the bridal shower. So, I obliged and it made the dipping a bit more difficult – not to mention the fact that the hot kitchen made it impossible for the chocolate to set. I ended up making these in shifts and putting them into the fridge until they set. It took a bit longer than usual, but they are soo worth it.

In the end, it was a lot of fun to have an excuse to bake these many goodies. I think the selection was pretty good: refreshing strawberry oreo pies, decadent oreo truffles, rich buttermilk chocolate cupcakes and moist buttermilk vanilla cupcakes. Delicious.

a taste of summer: mini oreo strawberry pies

a taste of summer: mini oreo strawberry pies

a taste of decadence: giant hand-dipped oreo truffles

a taste of decadence: giant hand-dipped oreo truffles

a taste of everything: the bridal shower desserts

a taste of everything: the bridal shower desserts

xo dessertchick

bridal mania pt 2- vanilla bean overload cupcakes

15 Sep

This is the second cupcake that I made for the bridal shower. The bride and the bridesmaid wanted something simple and classic, and of course, delicious. So, since the buttermilk chocolate cupcakes took care of decadence, it was a no brainer to pair it with light and fluffy buttermilk vanilla bean cupcakes. And what pairs well with vanilla cupcakes? Of course, even more of the creamy and delicious vanilla bean buttercream icing. Really, when you’ve got a good thing….why stop? I say, just slather on more of the good stuff.

The picture I have are of the cupcakes I made with the leftover cupcakes because I didn’t have time to set up a photoshoot with the bridal cupcakes. For the bridal shower, the icing was a nice strong pink rather than the lavender icing I have shown here. It’s a good thing I had a couple left over because the eight I had saved for pictures were devoured withing 12 hours.  The recipe is fool proof and has become my favourite go-to recipe for vanilla cupcakes. Just make sure not to overbake these babies.

fluffy and moist and you can't just eat one

fluffy and moist and you can't just eat one

Recipe

Ingredients: (this makes 24 cupcakes)

  • 3 cup pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tsp vanilla bean paste/vanilla bean extract/vanilla bean seeds
  • 1 3/4 cups super fine sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line two muffin pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add 1/3 of the flour mix, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the flour mix, then the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the remaining 1/3 of the flour mix, making sure only to mix for a few seconds after each addition (you don’t want to overmix). Make sure to scrape down the side of the bowl as well.
  6. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin pans, making sure not to overfill it because they will rise a lot.
  7. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. I had to rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even baking.
  8. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing them and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Only when they are completely cooled (and this is important!), proceed to top them off with the vanilla buttercream icing.
  10. Sprinkle pretty sprinkles and admire your work – right before biting in.

xo dessertchick

bridal mania pt 1 – buttermilk chocolate vanilla buttercream cupcakes

12 Sep

My friend Shirley asked me to make truffles and such for her cousin’s wedding for the wedding favours. However, I was going to be in Vietnam at the time of the wedding. Instead, I ended up baking for the bridal shower! I made 30 chocolate cupcakes and 30 vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream icing. Simple and classy. And of course she wanted 40 mini strawberry oreo tarts as well as 75 oreo truffles. It was the first time I’ve baked such large quantities, and I would say that it was smooth sailing – except it wasn’t. I forgot how difficult it is to bake in the summer while your kitchen is swelteringly hot. Ridiculous. Anyhow, it was a race against time to keep everything from melting. For these buttermilk chocolate cupcakes, I found a really amazing recipe and only had to slightly modify it. The vanilla buttercream icing was easy to whip up, but not to easy to keep from drooping off my cupcakes after piping. And let’s not talk about the chocolate hearts – it took forever for them to set, and when I popped them on the icing, they started melting just from the heat of my fingers. Anyhow, all the sweat (and tears) paid off. Shirley, and her cousin, were happy. This is part one of what I baked for the bridal shower. Part two will come shortly!

so pretty and so simple. and of course, delicious.
so pretty and so simple. and of course, delicious.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 1/2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter. softened
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup milk

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease your muffin tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 15 second intervals, making sure to stir in between. Set aside to cool down for a bit.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes, until it is pale and thick.
  5. Add in the butter. Mix until combined.
  6. Add in the melted chocolate.
  7. Now, add in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated.
  8. Add the flour mixture in 3 increments and beat until smooth.
  9. Divide batter into the cupcake tins. This batter made 20 cupcakes for me.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
  11. In the meantime, with your electric beater, whip the butter until it is creamy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, making sure to scrape down the sides until fully combined.
  12. Add the vanilla bean paste. Slowly, add the milk and continue beating on medium speed until fully combined, for approx. 5 minutes.
  13. Put icing into piping bag and decorate to your heart’s delight.
  14. As for the chocolate hearts, I just took chocolate wafers, melted them, put the chocolate into a ziploc bag. Snip a small corner off and start drawing hearts onto wax paper. Let cool and set, peel them off and top the cupcakes off!

xo dessertchick

lazy wednesdays marble chocolate ganache cake

20 Jun

I finally activated my Twitter account! I signed up for it ages and ages ago, but never got around to using it. Until Shannon & Erin doubleteamed me and showed me the wonder and magic that is Twitter. So, now you can follow my not-always-intriguing-or-interesting rambles at http://twitter.com/chocolatefool. The blog is linked to my twitter account, so the tweets should show up here on the side bar =) Oh, the wonders of wordpress!

Speaking of Shannon and Erin, we had a lovely lunch the other day that Erin cooked for us. Shannon made corn, Erin made burgers, and I brought a modified version of the pecan praline caramel crack(er) bars. We sipped iced tea while catching up, and watching the dreary weather through Shannon’s kitchen window. This summer is taking it’s sweet time arriving in Toronto. Last summer was filled with lots of laughter, picnics, ice cream and sangria for my best friends and myself. This year, sadly, everyone is busy making lots of money for various things such as rent, school and internships. We don’t get to see each other as often, or even get a chance to talk endlessly on the phone, but I’m fairly certain that we each know that we can count on each other. I love my soulmates, Opie & Savo, and wish every day could be a sangria-by-the-harbour-front kind of day.

By some fluke, Savo and I had a day off and all to ourselves, so after some sleeping in, we decided we’d bake a cake. The recipe was going to produce a pretty, velvety smooth and rich chocolate vanilla zebra cake, but although we followed instructions, our cake did not come out with zebra stripes =( It ended up being very chocolate-heavy which probably distorted the stripes and resulted in a marble cake instead. Hey, I’m not complaining though – chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. I think I’d probably leave out the lemon zest that was called for, but keep everything else the same. We were also going to drizzle the semi-sweet chocolate ganache with melted white chocolate for a dramatic effect, but had a little mishap….and thereby kept the cake classy and simple. The chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream made everything better, though. After an adventure with Savo’s devil mixer from hell (it looked/sounded/worked like a chainsaw rather than a handmixer), and making a huge mess in the kitchen, these pictures make it all worth it. Savo is a photographer, and these photos are all his. Thanks to him and his kitchen with awesome windows (and natural light! something that my kitchen doesn’t have) we ended up with these amazing photos – which he emailed to me and allowed me to use. Now that is love!

vanilla & lemon

vanilla & lemon

mixing in the sink to avoid making a huge mess with savo's mixer from hell

mixing in the sink to avoid making a huge mess with savo's mixer from hell

black & white yumminess

black & white yummines

we thought we did it right...

we thought we did it right...

it looked like the zebra cake would work out!

...it looked like the zebra cake would work out!

covering the cake in simple ganache

covering the cake in simple ganache

action shot!

action shot!

simple & delicious chocolate cake

a simple & elegant exterior....

...with a turbulent yet tasty inside

....and yet, no zebra stripes =(

IMG_3996

thank goodness ice cream and chocolate ease disappointments

IMG_3997

even though there are no zebra stripes, it's still pretty!

in the end, it still tasted good

in the end, it still tasted good

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream

How-to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, with a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and creamy.
  3. Add in the oil and milk and continue beating until well blended. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. In a second bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet batter. Don’t overbeat the mixture.
  5. Divide the batter into two equal parts. Add the cocoa powder to one bowl, and mix well.
  6. Grease a 9-inch pan with oil or butter, and line bottom with parchment paper.
  7. Now, taking turns, scoop a ladle-full of yellow batter and cocoa batter into the pan. Pour a ladle-full of yellow batter into the centre of the pan, and then pour a ladle-full of the cocoa batter right on top of the yellow batter. Continue alternating the two batters until you’ve finished both bowls.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife arounf the inside of the pan to loosen the sides, and gently invert onto a cooling rack. Let cake cool for another 20 minutes.
  10. In the meantime, melt the chocolate and heavy cream in the microwave or over a double boiler. Once it has reached a smooth consistency, spread it all over the cake and try to make it look pretty. If you like drizzle white chocolate over top for a dramatic (and yummy) effect. Enjoy by itself or with vanilla ice cream!

xo dessertchick

have a caramel soaked cuppa cake

19 Mar

I have been torturing myself by looking at all the glossy, delicious pictures of the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book that Savo gave me for Christmas. Finally, I caved and decided to bake even though Tasha’s birthday isn’t until next week – which was when I had initially allowed myself to bake again.

After some foodie soul searching, I decided I wanted to make cupcakes because a) they are delicious, b) they are perfect portions, c) they can be so pretty, d) I just bought cupcake liners and e) I could give them away really easily. I wanted chocolate and caramel, that was for certain, but didn’t feel in the mood for caramel filled cupcakes. Instead, here are caramel soaked cupcakes. The only difference was that the caramel sauce wasn’t too thick so that once filled, the cupcake would just absorb all that sugary goodness and be very very moist and caramelly without being gooey. I left “gooey” to the vanilla buttermilk frosting.

I discovered that I have a ton of sprinkles, and have been adding more and more to my collection without realizing just how many different kinds I already have. I’m on a neverending search for kitchen cuteness – one of my many vices.

The recipe may seem very complicated and involve a lot of steps, but I think it took me only just over an hour to make everything, including the caramel sauce, the cupcakes, the butter cream and the baking & decorating time. Anyhow, let me present you my caramel soaked cupcakes!

sprinkles, sprinkles...

sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles everywhere! seriously, everywhere!

mini cupcake sea

sea of deliciousness

cupcakes = happiness

cupcakes = happiness

one giant & two minis

one giant & two minis

the bottom of the cake is darker because it's soaked in caramel!the bottom of the cake is darker because it’s soaked in caramel!

no sprinkles no' mo'

no sprinkles no' mo'

Recipe

Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

How-to:

  1. Combine butter, cream, brown sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside to cool and thicken.  Meanwhile, make the cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

How-to:

  1. Line muffin or mini muffin pans with liners. If you’re using pretty ones, make sure to use two liners per cup (a colourful one and a plain white one on the inside) so that the liners stay pretty and don’t become translucent after baking.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high until fluffy and light in colour. Next, on medium high, beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add in the flour mix, alternating with the buttermilk, making 2 additions of flour mix and one addition of milk. Mix util just combined, and don’t over mix or else the cupcakes will turn out tough.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling only 2/3 the way. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, depending on the oven. You want the cakes to be firm to the touch or have a cake tester come out clean in the middle.
  7. Let cool while making the vanilla butter cream frosting.

Vanilla Butter Cream

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp water

How-to:

  1. Beat together butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Once well combined, add vanilla and water. Continue beating until smooth.
  3. Set aside and go back to prepping the cupcakes.

Final Assembly:

  1. Take each cupcake and carve out a hole in each top, making sure to keep each cupcake with its corresponding top piece.
  2. Squeeze the caramel sauce from a bottle, or spoon the sauce into each center of the cakes, making sure to be generous because the cakes will just soak the caramel sauce right up.
  3. Replace each top to its rightful owner.
  4. Outfit pastry bag with proper nozzle (I used a huge star tip) and fill with frosting. Decorate each cupcake with frosting, and if you want something more fun, sprinkle sprinkles on top!
  5. Nosh away!

xo dessertchick

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