Archive for the ‘Cakes – Frosting’ Category
There are few things that are more refreshing on a very hot summer day than a slice of cool, sweet watermelon. It’s even better if you top it with a sprinkle of sea salt to make the melon seem even juicier. These Watermelon Cupcakes don’t have quite the same cooling effect as fresh melon, but they definitely capture the look! They’re fluffy, tender and will put a smile on the face of everyone who bites into one.
The cupcakes look like miniature watermelons thanks to the help of some red and green food coloring. I added mini chocolate chips to the red portion of the batter to mimic the look of the seeds of the real melon. You can get the look with any flavor cupcake batter just by using some food coloring, but I took it a step further and infused my cupcakes with some actual melon flavor. I added Midori, a melon liquor, to the cupcake batter. The liquor is sweet, with a very pronounced melon flavor to it, and it works nicely with the vanilla that is already in the cupcake and really ties in well with the look of the finished desserts. The liquor does have a slightly greenish tint to it, but since there is food coloring in this recipe anyway, you won’t see it in the finished cupcakes.
I used my Wilton Two-Tone Cupcake Inserts to make these cupcakes, which allowed me to center the red batter within the green cupcake. If you don’t have the insert, you can still make the cupcakes, but your red batter might not be as perfectly centered. I’ve included instructions for centering your red batter below, although you can make things easy on yourself by putting the green batter on the bottom of the muffin cup and the red on top and going for a half-and-half look, too. I topped them off with a little green frosting. You can opt for vanilla or melon-infused frosting and both will be tasty, but don’t skip the green food coloring that ties the frosting in so well with the cupcakes.
Midori was the best way that I found to get some melon flavor into the cake. If you don’t want to put any alcohol into your cupcakes, they do make melon and watermelon extracts (you may be able to find them at your local market, depending on how large the baking section is) that you can use instead. If you are using an extract, simply replace the Midori with more buttermilk and add in a teaspoon of your extract. Alternatively, you could make a plain vanilla buttermilk cupcake – again substituting more buttermilk for the melon liquor – and just keep the look of the watermelon.
There are times when a small piece of chocolate will satisfy a chocolate craving. And there are other times when it takes something big and very chocolatey to satisfy your sweet tooth. This Dark Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting is the kind of cake that you want to have on the occasions when you want something that really packs a lot of chocolate flavor in to every bite.
The cake has a strong dark chocolate flavor and is dense and brownie-like, although it has a much more tender, almost crumbly, texture to it when eaten alone. It is made with a generous amount of unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder, which give it is strong chocolate flavor. It isn’t too sweet and you’ll notice that there isn’t a lot of sugar in the cake itself, but this just helps make the cake a good candidate for a little frosting.
The cake goes perfectly with the frosting, both because the chocolate and mocha flavors work beautifully together and because the frosting provides exactly the right balance of flavor and texture to the cake. The frosting is also made with unsweetened chocolate, as well as instant coffee power (I used Starbucks Via), so it has a strong mocha flavor that matches the strongly-flavored cake well. It’s not too sweet, but is sweet enough to add just the right finishing touch to the dark chocolate cake. It’s always a pleasure to eat a piece of cake that really works well with the frosting!
This cake has a nice height to it, but it is not a towering cake because the layers are relatively thin. If you want to make it taller, bake a second batch of cakes and stack all four together. The recipe can be doubled, but it is a little easier (especially if you don’t have a lot of oven space!) to do one batch at a time. The cake can also be baked in 9-inch pans, instead of 8-inch pans, but the layers will be slightly thinner and you’ll need to check the cakes for doneness a few minutes early to ensure that the cake does not dry out.
Banana bread is usually the first thing that people think of when they want to do some baking with bananas. It’s satisfying, easy to make and a good all-purpose baked good. But even though you can eat it for dessert, it’s not really the same as having a nice slice of cake or a good cupcake. Banana bread is heavier and tends to be less sweet than cake, and it almost never comes with frosting. These Banana Cupcakes capture the flavor of a good banana bread in true dessert form. They’re easy to make, but are also light, fluffy and perfect with a smear of cream cheese frosting on top.
The cupcakes have a little more sugar and butter than you will find in many banana bread recipes, although the batter still includes a lot of mashed banana. The sugar and butter help to tenderize the cake and give it a nice tight crumb, while the eggs in the cake batter keep the whole cupcake light and fluffy. The overall texture is more like that of a chiffon cake than a dense banana bread, though the cupcakes are still extremely moist. They also have a terrific banana flavor that I just can’t get enough of! Be sure to mash the banana very well or puree it in a food processor, since you really don’t want big chunks of banana in the cupcakes.
You could use buttercream frosting or a cream cheese frosting on these cupcakes. I opted for a cream cheese frosting, since the tangy cheese goes very well with the sweet banana cake. I like a simple vanilla flavor to the frosting, but a nice variation for this recipe is to make a spiced cream cheese frosting by adding a little bit of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the frosting for a little extra dimension that still goes well with the cake.
There is a lot of flavor packed into this deceptively simple looking Browned Butter Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting. You might not know it at a glance, but the cake is rich with the flavors of sweet bananas and brown sugar, floral vanilla and nutty – and addictive – browned butter. This is the kind of everyday cake that is easy to make and absolutely satisfying to eat, with lots of flavor and very little work involved in putting it together.
The first step in making this cake is browning the butter, which can be done on the stovetop or in the microwave. Browned butter has an amazing nutty flavor to it that adds a lot of dimension to baked goods made with it. The butter is stirred into the rest of the cake ingredients, which go together a lot like your average banana bread recipe. I added a few walnuts before baking to give my cake a bit of crunch, though that is entirely optional if you don’t care for nuts in your cake.The cake bakes up to be moist and slightly dense, thanks to all the bananas in the mix, but it is very tender and very satisfying. It’s not too sweet (the frosting is sweet and a nice contrast to the cake) and the combination of the brown sugar and browned butter will keep you coming back for seconds. The cake is made in an 8-inch square pan and is perfect for serving in 9 generous squares .
The frosting has a delicious brown sugar flavor to it and is spread onto the cake while it is slightly warm. It is made with melted butter, so it almost has a pourable, glaze-like consistency to it. Since it calls for melted butter and there is browned butter in the cake, you might want to consider browning your butter for the frosting when making this recipe to get a little extra browned butter in there to make the cake even more irresistible. The frosting is delicious either way, and the brown sugar flavor is one that will go well on many different types of cake as well as this one.
Boston Cream Pie, despite its name, is not a pie at all. Boston Cream Pie is a layer cake that is filled with pastry cream and topped of with an indulgent chocolate glaze. The dessert is said to have been created at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1856, and it has been popular ever since – even becoming the official dessert of the state of Massachusetts! It is popular not only because all of the components are so good together, but because the dessert is very unique and you won’t find many other cakes – or pies, for that matter – like it.
The cake for a Boston Cream Pie is usually a yellow sponge cake, chiffon cake or butter cake. It should have a slight yellow color and a slight vanilla flavor, but many chefs will simply use their favorite type of cake rather than sticking to the most traditional sponge cake option. I like to use a yellow butter cake for my Boston Cream Pie. This cake has a nice vanilla flavor to it, and it is very moist and tender. The cake goes very nicely with the creamy vanilla pastry cream in between the cake layers and stands up to the chocolate glaze, too.
The vanilla pastry cream is similar to vanilla pudding, and is made in much the same way on the stovetop. It has a thick consistency so it will hold up to spreading and slicing without running out of the cake. My version has a great vanilla flavor, thanks to some generous use of fresh vanilla beans, and is good enough that you can eat it on its own. It does need to be prepared in advance and completely cooled before using, so start your recipe preparation by making the filling and then moving on to the other components. The pastry cream can also be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
Just as the cake used in Boston Cream Pie varies, so does the chocolate glaze on top. I’ve had thin, almost watery chocolate glazes that only add a little flavor, and I’ve had thick heavy glazes that dominate the cake. My glaze is a very simple ganache made with dark chocolate and butter. It has a dark chocolate bite to it, but it doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors in the cake. The glaze should really only be spread on top of the cake for this recipe, not used to cover the whole thing. The glaze goes onto the cake shiny, but it will set up firmly within an hour or so, which makes slicing the cake much neater and easier.
This cake is excellent when it is fresh, but is also good a day or two after being made, when the layers have had a chance to meld together. It’s a very classic American dessert and a huge crowd pleaser. The recipe below covers the cake, the filling and the glaze for this cake. The pastry cream recipe is very generous because it never hurts to have extra pastry cream, and this allows you to use as much, or as little, filling as you like when you stack up your very own Boston Cream Pie.