Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting & Petit Four Icing

Whew, so glad this weekend is over. Not sure what I’m going to do with myself now that the baby shower and birthday party have come and gone. 😛

The baby shower was fun and of course there were lots of cute gifts. The mother and father-to-be are UT grads, so there were a few Longhorn gifts thrown in there. They’ll just put that longhorn on anything! 🙂 She even received a stuffed football that unzips and out pops Bevo!

petit fours

Everyone loved the cupcakes, cookies and petit fours. Hopefully I was able to put the bug in a couple of the ladies ears about calling me for any events they may have coming up. I’d love to be able to get my name out there.

petit fours

I made the icing for the petit fours on Thursday night and covered them. I split the icing up into two batches and tinted one of them pink using a drop or two of red food coloring. I just used a small round cookie cutter to cut the rounds out of the sheet cake I made (in a 12×17 sheet pan using 1 1/2 portions of the Perfect Party Cake). Make sure the cake is cold and/or frozen.  It is much easier to cut out.  I told hubby, when we open our own bakery, these suckers aren’t gonna be cheap.  They are definitely time consuming. 

When I went to “decorate” them on Friday night, I tried out some polka dots, but I couldn’t quite get them right so I ended up doing some quick squigglies.  The baby room colors are pink and green, so the pink ones were squiggled with white or green frosting (from a can and tinted) and the white ones were squiggled with pink frosting. 

strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting

The cupcakes I made were topped with a strawberry cream cheese frosting.  I made the frosting on Friday night and topped them Saturday morning before the shower.  I found the Sprinkles’ frosting recipe on Martha Stewart and just doubled that (I should have just made about 1 1/2, because I still have alot left over), but replaced cream cheese for half of the butter.  It was so yummy.  I probably could have just taken a spoon to it, but I refrained.  😛  I didn’t read carefully and ended up putting the strawberry puree in before the confectioners’s sugar.  Oops.  The consistency wasn’t quite right, but in the end it turned out fine because it covered the cupcakes really well.  It just wasn’t pipe-able.  😛

strawberry cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese frosting

Petit Fours Icing
Yield: Approximately 3-4 dozen
Source: I can’t remember where this one came from
Printable Recipe

9 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (about 2 pounds)
½ cup water
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon extract
1-2 drops red food coloring

Combine ingredients in top of double boiler and heat over boiling water just to lukewarm. (do not overheat icing or it will become dull.) Remove from heat, leaving icing over hot water to keep it thin. If desired, tint parts of icing delicate pastel colors with food color. If necessary, add hot water, just a few drops at a time, until of spreading consistency.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: Approximately 4-5 dozen cupcakes
Adapted from Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting
Printable Recipe

¾ – 1 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
½ pound unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
½ pound cream cheese
Pinch of coarse salt
7-8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, cream cheese and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 6 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended.



Deluxe Strawberry Cheese Pie

strawberry cheese pie

Remember when I professed my love for strawberries? Well, I’ve found another use for them. Fresh strawberries on top of a cheese pie.

I’ve been looking for something to make and somehow incorporate fresh strawberries.  I didn’t want to make any type of cake, I’d already made a cookie and I didn’t want to make a sauce.  I could have taken hubby’s suggestion and made us some strawberry shakes, but I was looking for something new.

strawberry cheese pie

When I first saw this recipe, I thought it sounded an awful lot like a cheesecake.  Which, I guess it is essentially.  It has a graham cracker crust, cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla.  I mean, doesn’t that sound like a cheesecake to you? The difference?  It’s in pie form.  🙂 

I ended up using a store bought graham cracker crust (from Big Lots – I love Big Lots!) since I had one.  But, you could totally make your own.  The original recipe also called for red currant jelly, which, I didn’t have, so I just used some seedless blackberry jam.

Call it what you like, Strawberry Cheescake or Strawberry Cheese Pie, the taste is the same – delicious!

Deluxe Strawberry Cheese Pie
Adapted from The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book
Printable Recipe

Graham Cracker Crust (store bought or make your own – mine was store bought)
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 pints of strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1/3 cup seedless jelly (I used blackberry)

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat just until combined.

Pour cheese filling into crust (cooled, if you made your own). Bake until set, about 30 minutes. Cool pie completely.

In a small saucepan, heat jelly over medium-low heat until melted.

Arrange strawberries on top of pie. Brush with melted jelly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.


Search For The Ultimate Birthday Cupcake, Part 4

Pina Colada Cupcakes
(Coconut Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting)
coconut cupcake w/pineapple cream cheese frosting

Yes I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food
I am into champagne

Those are the lyrics I hear in my head when anyone ever says Pina Coladas. It’s just so catchy. Did you know the name of this song is Escape, by Rupert Holmes? Who? Yeah, that’s what I said. I’m definitely more familiar with the Jimmy Buffett version? Aren’t you?

Speaking of Jimmy Buffett, all his music makes me think about sitting on a beach somewhere, thinking about nothing except getting tanked. Okay, maybe not tanked, but definitely enjoying a cold adult beverage while lounging in a hammock. Then I start thinking about how I wasn’t able to take a vacation this summer and how it’s so HOT these days that I wish I were somewhere else.

Anywho…I’ve been dreaming about all sorts of tropical locations lately…Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Bahamas. And whenever I think tropical for some reason Pina Coladas always come to mind. Pineapples and coconut, sweet, yet refreshing. Right? Just say yes. 🙂

My version of a Pina Colada cupcake is a coconut cupcake with pineapple cream cheese frosting. I adapted Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake for the cupcake, but I did not like the almond extract in it at all. I love almonds, but apparently I don’t like almond extract. I should have omitted it as soon as I smelled it, but I thought to myself, nah, lots of people like this cake and why would Ina put it in there if it didn’t complement the coconut flavor? Uh, yeah, no. So, next time I’m going to try something with either coconut milk or coconut extract. I really didn’t get much of a coconut flavor out of this cupcake. Oh well. The frosting MORE than made up for it. I thought about just using some pineapple juice, but changed my mind and ended up putting in some crushed pineapple as well. I’m so glad I did but, I think next time I may process the pineapple just a little bit so I can try and pipe the frosting next time.

coconut cupcake w/pineapple cream cheese frosting

This post is being submitted to a bi-weekly baking event hosted by Ben at What’s Cooking. Go check it out and send him your baked goods!

Coconut Cupcakes
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
Yield: 16 cupcakes
Printable Recipe

8 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ cup oil
3 large eggs
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup buttermilk
¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two regular size cupcake tin with paper liners. Fill the unused ones 1/3 full with warm water.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. On medium speed, add oil then eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don’t be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut.

Pour the batter into cupcake liners about ½ to 2/3 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are browned and cake tester comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes then allow them to finish cooling directly on the rack, before frosting.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
¼ cup crushed pineapple, drained well

Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add butter and cream until smooth. With the mixer on low, add in powdered sugar and blend; add pineapple juice then fold in crushed pineapple.

Previous Posts
Search For The Ultimate Birthday Cupcake, Part 1
Search For The Ultimate Birthday Cupcake, Part 2
Search For The Ultimate Birthday Cupcake, Part 3

Search For The Ultimate Birthday Cupcake, Part 3

Devil’s Food Cupcakes w/White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
devil's food cupcake w/white chocolate cream cheese frosting

I’ve been on the hunt lately, can you tell? 😉

I’ve never been much of a frosting girl, it just seemed too sweet, too much, too…something. But, I always loved the cake. But then, I met the cream cheese frosting and the whipped cream frosting. I haven’t tried the whipped cream frosting yet. Not sure how to go about it, so I’m doing some research. If anyone has any tips or a good recipe, please let me know!

As for the cream cheese frosting, it’s a no brainer.  I’ve always been a fan of cream cheese – on my bagel, in cheesecake. One thing I’ve noticed about using cream cheese is that the full fat version is easier to handle than the low fat version. What I mean is, It just stiffens (haha) up better. Not that you want the frosting hard (geez), just firm enough to decorate with or so it doesn’t drip.  I found that refrigerating this particular frosting for about 15-20 minutes helped.

devil's food cupcake w/white chocolate cream cheese frosting
You’re thinking to yourself, where did she get those mad decorating skills? Ahahahaha!

In making a cream cheese frosting I’ve always used the butter, cream cheese, vanilla & confectioners’s sugar blend. But, as I was trying to come up with something that incorporated white chocolate, I came across this recipe from Culinate (out of Carole Bloom’s The Essential Baker). 

Being a novice baker I thought to myself, where’s the butter?  Then, I melted the white chocolate.  Ah ha!  I know that the properties of white chocolate are much different than actual chocolate (white chocolate is just sugar, milk and cocoa butter – contains no cocoa solids), but did not actually KNOW the difference until I saw it.  When the white chocolate melted (I ended up using Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chips – it’s what I had on hand), it was more of a solid melt than a liquid melt.  I wish I’d taken a picture to portray what I’m not explaining very well.

Exactly what am I trying to say?  MAKE THIS FROSTING!  If you like white chocolate and you like cream cheese, you will LOVE this frosting.  I LOVE this frosting.  It’s yumalicious! Seriously!  Hubby said it’s the best and his fav so far.  Yeah!

I think I may try this frosting with the banana cupcakes.  I think that may be a winning combo.  But don’t worry…I’m still searching for “the ultimate”.  🙂

 devils food cupcake devils food cupcake

Devil’s Food Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcake Bake Shop
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Printable Recipe

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk 
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular muffin/cupcake tin with paper liners; set aside.

Measure out everything but the egg directly into your mixer’s bowl.
Mix on low speed just until incorporated. 
Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
Add egg; beat on high speed again for 2 minutes.

Measure out batter into cupcake tins (I filled them just over 1/2 full). A 2″ ice cream scoop works great for this (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup). Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Click here for the recipe – I didn’t modify anything

Previous Posts
Search For The Ultimate Birthday Cupcake, Part 1
Search For The Ultimate Birthday Cupcake, Part 2

An Attempt At Something Cute

mini cocoa buttermilk cupcakes with red, white & blue frosting

I wanted to make something cute to take to an in-law family function this weekend. I didn’t want to go with the usual flag cake or frosted cookies. I wanted something easy, yet tasty. So I decided on making cocoa (I think my brain is a bit chocolate-centric) buttermilk cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The “cute” part comes in with the red, white & blue frosting. 😛 Conceptually, not bad. Actual execution? Bleh. I haven’t played with food coloring much, so I didn’t realize it was going to be such a task to get RED. As you can see by the photo above…it’s more pink-ish.  Same thing for the BLUE.

cocoa buttermilk cupcakes before

For the frosting, I wanted to use these star tips I bought – to be patriotic of course.  But, again, not so much. The flavor of both the cupcake and the frosting were good, but the visual needed a little work.  I modified Sherry Yard’s Buttermilk Birthday Cupcake from The Secrets of Baking. It’s the second time I’ve made a genoise batter and I think it turned out pretty good.  It definitely makes for a very moist cupcake.  I also decided to go with the mini-cupcake, since I’m currently obsessed, and it makes people feel better about putting more than one on their plate.  😉

I can’t let this post end without showing you a picture of my little oopsie.  It was bound to happen:

Cocoa Buttermilk Cupcakes
Adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard
Yield: 2 dozen 2-inch cupcakes (I ended up with 24 mini and 4 regular)
Printable Recipe

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted
½ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two mini muffin pans by coating them with pan spray and inserting paper liners. Set aside.

Triple-sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking power and salt. Set aside.

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Combine the sugar and eggs in the bowl of your stand mixer (or another large bowl) and place it over the simmering water, creating a double boiler – being careful that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Insert a thermometer. Whisk continuously until the temperature reaches 110F, about 2-3 minutes (took me a little longer, about 4-5 minutes).

Remove from heat and transfer the bowl to a sand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer. Whip on high speed for 5-8 minutes, or until the eggs are three times their original volume, are thick and pale yellow in color and form a ribbon when drizzled from a spatula (only took about 2-3 minutes with my mixer). Turn down the mixer to medium speed and whip for 2 minutes more. This stabilizes the foam. On low speed, stream the warm melted butter into the batter and mix until incorporated.

Fold in 1/3 of the dry ingredients using a balloon whisk. Be careful not to deflate the foam. Add 1/3 of the buttermilk and continue to fold carefully. Continue adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately in thirds, until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the vanilla.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups, leaving about ¼ inch of space at the top of each cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops spring back from the touch of a finger. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and set on the rack to cool.

The cupcakes are ready to be glazed, decorated, and served when cooled, or they may be stored, unfinished, at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, if wrapped airtight.

Red, White & Blue Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Red & blue food coloring

In a stand mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Add the vanilla and blend until combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and blend until all the sugar has been incorporated.

Divide the frosting into thirds. Add 5-10 (I think I added about 10 and still didn’t quite get the color I was looking for, maybe a color gel or paste may have worked better?) drops of red food coloring to one third and 5-10 drops of blue food coloring to another third.

Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.