Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Belated Easter!

Happy Belated Easter!

This past week my mom and dad celebrated 25 years of marriage. That's a huge accomplishment in my opinion especially in this day and age. Congrats Mom and Dad and I hope you are enjoying your getaway in Bermuda while I'm stuck at home with Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Since I'm visiting home and playing mommy for a week, I've baked a LOT! My mom complains that since I'm 1500 miles away she never gets to eat anything that I bake so now I'm baking away so when I leave she has an abundance of baked goods to last her a while. So far we've got vanilla bean cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream frosting, banana bread, yellow cake with a buttercream frosting and marshmallow fondant, and chocolate chip cookies stuffed with a double stuffed oreo. Have I baked enough in the past couple of days? I don't think so.

Still left on the to do list are double chocolate brownies, cookies and cream cupcakes, chocolate fudge, and chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. I have until Wednesday morning to have all of these baked and stored. Oh dear.

Here's the recipe for the vanilla bean cupcakes I used. They turned out fantastically! They were so good that I don't think there will be any left before Mom and Dad get home. Sad day.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes 
3 cups Cake Flour
1 tblsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Vanilla Bean (split lengthwise)
1 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
2 cups Sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature)
1 1/4 cups Buttermilk (room temperature)
1 tblsp. Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.)  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.
Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.)  Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Replace paper liners and bake remaining batter if desired.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Easy Chocolate Buttercream 
1 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 tblsp. Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
4 tblsp. Milk or Heavy Cream

Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

This is what my cupcakes looked like after all was said and done. Also, check out the pretty new cake stand my mom found at a bake sale. When she bought the cake that was sitting on it she didn't know the cake stand was included! Score!

 I'm not a professional photographer so excuse the poor quality of pictures. These cupcakes were so good it was hard to eat just one. It's a good thing I'm participating in a half marathon in six days or I would seriously be regretting all of the sweets I've been eating.

In addition to the cupcakes and other assorted bake goods, I had my first attempt at actually decorating a cake. I think it turned out pretty well and I almost cried when I had to cut into it to serve it. Poor Mr. Easter Bunny. You were so, so pretty.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter! I better get back to baking or I'm never going to finish in time.


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