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princess cupcakes

17 Sep

For my birthday a couple of months back, my friend & ex co-worker Jen gave me this cupcake kit that was the most adorable thing I have ever seen. I squealed, giggled and hugged the package to my bosom, and was ecstatic for the rest of the day. You see, the cupcake kit came with two dainty and flowery designs for cupcake liners, and the most delicate and beautiful princess cupcake toppers I have ever seen. Thank you once again, Jen!

Too. Much. Cuteness. I. Cannot. Handle. It.

There are four princess in total, two redheads and two blondes, and they each have a different dress and are just to die for. As you can see, just writing about them makes me giddy. It took me a while to think of a cupcake that would be worthy of these princesses: without further ado, let me introduce to you the royal chocolate hazelnut cupcakes I baked and topped off with cream cheese frosting and butterfly sprinkles. The cupcakes were moist and nutty and chocolatey and everything I could have hoped for – but I think I enjoyed them just that much more because the toppers are so gosh-darn adorable.

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royal tea parties call for the dainty china teacups

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this princess has a dress that matches the teacup and the cupcake liner

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applause for the royal cast! how adorable are these?!

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but the main attraction is the delicious & decadent chocolate hazelnut cupcake with cream cheese icing

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 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
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease your cupcake tins.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, ground hazelnuts, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes. The mix should be pale and thick.
  4. Add in the butter. Mix until combined.
  5. Now, add in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated.
  6. Add the flour mixture in 3 increments, making sure that everything is smooth. Lumpy is not good!
  7. Now, spoon evenly into the cupcake tins. These rise a bit, and then fall in the centre, so you don’t have to be too worried about spilling over.
  8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool. If some of them haven’t dropped in the centre during baking, they will now while they are cooling off. No worries, that’ll give you plenty of room to pipe in some delicious cream cheese frosting!
  10. In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Frost the cooled cupcakes however you see fit.

xo dessertchick

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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

easy peasy brownie whoopie pies

10 Sep

I’ve been storing these photos for a while now, because the summer was just too hectic in order to write up these posts. I’m trying to catch up now, so check back often for”new” updates of all the goodies I baked in the summer. I made the super easy brownie whoopie pies a couple of weeks ago, and they were delicious. I was a bit reluctant to make them because it requires you to buy marshmallow fluff – which is a very dangerous thing for me to have around my kitchen. I nevertheless couldn’t pass up the opportunity to combine marshmallow filling with dense brownies. So, tada! Let me present you my super delicious & super easy brownie whoopie pies. I adapted and slightly changed my brownie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, since she is my hero.

The brownies basically look like those two-bite brownies and taste exactly like them – if not a bit fudgier and denser and…better. Homemade is best, isn’t it? Once they finish baking in your mini muffin pan, it’s simply a matter of letting them cool while you whip up the frosting. The assembly is as easy as 1,2,3. Cut, fill & top it up.

Enjoy!

so innocent looking.

You take a brownie....

...you cut the brownie in half...

...you cut the brownie in half...

...garnish with a generous dollop of cream filling...

...garnish with a generous dollop of cream filling...

....and top it all off with the brownie's other half.

....and top it all off with the brownie's other half.

Repeat process as often as desired....

Repeat process as often as desired....

...and chomp in.

...and chomp in.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all-spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped.
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow fluff
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

How-to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Prepare your mini or regular sized muffin tins.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, all-spice and salt.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter slowly over low heat. You don’t want the butter to burn on you.
  4. Once the butter is melted, add 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate and stir until fully melted. Add the instant coffee and continue to stir until everything is incorporated.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool down, between 5 and 10 minutes. One at a time, whisk in the eggs into the butter/chocolate mixture.
  6. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until just incorporated. Try not to overmix.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin tins. You can fill the, 3/4 of the way up, since these babies don’t rise much.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing them to a wire rack – otherwise your brownies will break. In the meantime….
  9. In a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy.
  10. Add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract and continue to beat the mixture until it is fully combined.
  11. Spoon mixture into a piping bag.
  12. Cut the cooled brownies in half. Pipe a generous dollop of fluff onto the bottom half and then top with the remaining brownie half.
  13. Share & enjoy!

xo dessertchick

Daisy’s Strawberry Brownie Cheesecake Cups

21 May

Yes, yes, I know that it’s been a very long time since I posted something new. But life has been busy, between school, work and living life. It was Daisy’s birthday last Saturday, so I thought it would only be fair to do her dessert wish. The birthday was a blast, and I finished these babies up, so all she now has to do is trek downtown and pick them up for some yumminess. She said she wanted “hmmm.. some kind of delicious cake (cheesecake?) with DARK chocolate, strawberries and.. custard.”

After tossing a few recipes and ideas around, I thought I’d make these super adorable, delicious, and not-too-heavy brownie cheesecake cups which are then topped with a creamy strawberry mousse. I decided to substitute the custard wish with the mousse, since she said she’d eat anything I bake anyway =)

I modified my favourite brownie recipe, added the cream cheese topping and swirled away to make these as pretty as possible. I have decided that my min muffin tins are one of the best inventions in the world, since EVERYTHING looks way cuter in mini form. It’s ALL about looking cute and tasting yumm. The strawberry mousse was easy, and adds a nice splash of colour – not to mention the tastiness.

Bon Appetit, mon amis!

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such pretty swirls

big brownie cup or small brownie cup? you pick!

big brownie cup or small brownie cup? you pick!

fresh strawberries = strawberry mousse = love

fresh strawberries = strawberry mousse = love

so it's official: anything topped with strawberry mousse tastes ten times better

so it's official: anything topped with strawberry mousse tastes ten times better

after digging through my cupboards, I found these cute cocktail glasses, begging to be photographed

after digging through my cupboards, I found these cute cocktail glasses, begging to be photographed

these ones are for Daisy - aptly sprinkled with daisy sprinkles =)

these ones are for Daisy - aptly sprinkled with daisy sprinkles =)

care to have a taste?

care to have a taste?

hmm what better combination than dark chocolate, cheesecake and strawberries?

hmm what better combination than dark chocolate, cheesecake and strawberries?

and for those who are not huge on strawberry mousse!

and for those who are not huge on strawberry mousse!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt1 (8 oz) low fat cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of sugar300 g fresh strawberries
  • 3 1/2 ounces water
  • 5 1/2 ounces caster sugar
  • 4 tsp powder gelatin
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream

How-to:

  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and remove from heat.
  2. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix just until all ingredients are moistened and mix is smooth.
  3. Spread brownie mixture into prepared baking pan.
  4. For the topping beat the cheese, egg and sugar until smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Swirl together using a toothpick.
  5. Bake for 25 to 33 minutes or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely.
  6. Wash and hull the strawberries and place in a sauce pan. Add the water, caster sugar, and gelatin and simmer until all the gelatin dissolves. Cool the mixture thoroughly and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until the mixture is pureed.
  7. Beat the cream in a separate bowl until just thickened, not soft or stiff peaks! Be careful not to overbeat the cream which will result in a stiff mousse. Fold in the strawberry puree mixture and mix until well blended.
  8. Scoop into a piping bag, and top each brownie cheesecake cup with strawberry mousse. Keep refrigerated and share!

xo dessertchick

cupcakes with bite pt 2

30 Mar

So after all the prep and the waiting (the how-to for these cupcake bites can be found here), the dipping and decorating was the most time consuming but also the most fun! I found that letting the chocolate drip down a little bit made these cuties look more like authentic cupcakes. I also came across cute mini easter cupcake liners, so I used them for these cupcake bites.  Here is what mine ended up looking like =)

my workstation

my workstation

colourful spoons!

colourful spoons!

my army of cupcake bites! Let's meet them:

my army of cupcake bites! Let's meet them:

Simple Bites: topped with m&ms

Simple Bites: topped with m&ms

Hippie Bites: flower power

Hippie Bites: flower power

Glamour Bites: crystallized sugar and m&m jewels

Glamour Bites: crystallized sugar and m&m jewels

Clown Bites: confetti lovin'

Clown Bites: confetti lovin'

Pretty Bites: butterflies

Girly Bites: butterflies

Kooky Bites: round sprinkles galore!

Kooky Bites: round sprinkles galore!

Dream Bites: pastel star sprinkles

Dream Bites: pastel star sprinkles

the entire cast!

the entire cast!

up close and personal with lemon chiffon

up close and personal with lemon chiffon

up close with oreo truffles

up close with oreo truffles

let's find out what's up with strawberry shortcake

let's find out what's up with strawberry shortcake

and this is where all of these babies are going!

and this is where all of these babies are going!

Once more, the recipe is here =)

xo dessertchick