Saturday, December 27, 2014

Eggnog Cheesecake Cupcakes with Eggnog Whipped Cream

Eggnog Cheesecake Cupcakes with Eggnog Whipped Cream
Adapted from: Taste of Home
Yield:  22 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted

You can process the graham crackers in a food processor or blender to finely chop. Add butter and mix together. Line muffin tin with 22 cupcake liners. Press a tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each liner. Set aside.

Eggnog Cupcakes
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon rum extract, optional
Dash ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325° F.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Gradually stir in the eggnog, extract and nutmeg. Divide filling over crust, filling each liner about 2/3 full.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until center is set and top appears dull. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Eggnog Whipped Cream
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy whipping cream
1/3- 1/2 cup eggnog
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine everything in a bowl and whip to medium-stiff peaks. As is true for any time you make whipped cream, popping your bowl and whisks into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before you start are best practices.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

I loved this cake! It was so different! I was afraid the cake texture would be too nutty, but it came out tender and fluffy. The buttercream was very different too. I wasn't sure if that hot milk was actually going to whip up but it did and it reminded me of a swiss meringue buttercream in texture, except better! I loved the addition of honey, but I was thinking this cake would be wonderful with a dark chocolate ganache as well. Maybe next time I'll pour some over the top!

I was also skeptical about the ice water. Coffee is added to chocolate cake batter to enhance the flavor and milk or buttermilk is added to most other cakes but ice water? How is that going to add any flavor? I don't think it did, but it did something wonderful for the cake texture. It really made this cake light and refreshing. Milk may have made it too dense and heavy. This cake didn't taste sinful at all, so if you want alittle more richness, I am contemplating making this again with half ice water and half milk.

Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from: Joanne Eats Well with Others

1 cup shelled pistachios
2½ cups cake flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup ice water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Try not to use dark pans because they brown the cake edges alittle more.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios until it is coarsely chopped. Remove 2 tbsp to a small bowl, and reserve to garnish cake. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they have almost a powder-like consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together the fine pistachios with the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a very clean bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.

Without needing to clean the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the butter in the stand mixer for 3 minutes, fitted with a paddle attachment. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the whole egg and mix until just combined.

Turn the mixer to low. Pour 1 cup ice water into a measuring cup. Add the flour/pistachio mix to the batter in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans, onto the rack and let cool completely before frosting. Remove parchment paper from the bottoms.

Honey Vanilla Buttercream
1½ cups sugar
⅓ cup flour
1½ cups milk
⅓ cup heavy cream
1½ cups unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey

For the buttercream, in a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the flour and sugar. Add in the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and then thickens, 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the hot milk mixture to a stand mixer bowl and mix with the paddle attachment on high speed until cool, about 9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is full incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, a few minutes.

Add in the vanilla and honey and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, chill it and mix again.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer top side up on a serving platter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the top so that it is flat and even. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the next later and, again, trim so that it is flat. Top with another cup of frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and trim the top again. Spread cake with a very thin layer of frosting for the crumb coating. Put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tres Leches

Tres Leches
Adapted from: Allrecipes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely and then evenly pierce cake with a fork.

2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
Caramel topping, store bought, optional, to serve on top
Bananas, to serve on top, optional

Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled, pierced cake.

Whip whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Caramel Apple Streusel Cheesecake Cupcakes

Caramel Apple Streusel Cheesecake Cupcakes
Adapted from: Cooking Classy
Yield: 19 cupcakes

11 graham crackers sheets, finely crushed (1 1/3 cups)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon. Pour in butter and using a fork, stir until evenly moistened. Divide mixture among 19 paper lined muffin cups, adding a rounded tablespoon to each cup. Press into an even layer. Set aside. 

Caramel Apple Streusel
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (one and a half large apples for me)
2 tsp lemon juice
Salted caramel sauce, homemade (recipe and tutorial here) or store bought

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, quick oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add cold butter and using fingertips, rub butter into dry mixture until it comes together it small crumbles and pieces of butter are no longer visible. Transfer to refrigerator while preparing apples and filling.

In a bowl, toss chopped apples with lemon juice, set aside. I recommend chopping very small, about 1/4-1/2 inch cubes so they can cook all the way through.

Cheesecake filling
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium-low speed, cream together cream cheese with sugar just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, then blend in sour cream and vanilla.

Pour cheesecake batter into muffin cups filing about 1/2 full. Top with a heaping tablespoon of chopped apples evenly over cheesecake layer, then finish by sprinkling a heaping tablespoon of the streusel. 

Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes. Cool at room temperature 30 minutes, then transfer to fridge and chill 3 hours. Serve with caramel sauce.
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