frosting

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Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Published January 24, 2015 by jenmatteson

Chocolate. Caramel. Need I say more.

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

There are so many wonderful dessert combinations, but personally, I believe that chocolate and caramel take the cake (get it, cake!?). Salted caramel can be very difficult to master. Which is why I bought salted caramel topping instead of making my own. Yes, you read that correctly – I used store bought and did not make it from scratch. Oops.

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

I cut these out in squares and used a piping bag to frost because they look pretty, but you can certainly keep them in the pan and spread the frosting on with a spatula. Or a dump truck. That’s what you’ll want to use anyway, because this frosting is GOO-OOD! Seriously, I would have piped this directly into my mouth had I not been making these for Thanksgiving (which means other people besides the hubs and myself).

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Buttercream

The brownies themselves are no joke either. The dark chocolate is rich, fudgy and velvety, and also keeps them from being too sweet. Paired with the caramel buttercream, it’s the perfect salty and sweet treat!

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Buttercream

Source: Adapted from Lund’s/Byerly’s
Servings: Makes 24

Ingredients:

Brownies:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
6 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Frosting:
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tbps salted caramel topping (usually found with ice cream toppings)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a shallow 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper (Note: only do this if you plan to take them out of the pan to serve as I did. If you want to frost and cut right in the pan, just spray with a little cooking spray.) Set aside.

2. Melt butter and chocolate pieces in a double boiler (or over a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water) until both have melted, stirring occasionally until mixed and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar together on high speed for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and creamy and has doubled in volume. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the egg and sugar mixture, and gently fold together with a spatula. Sift in flour and cocoa powder and gently combine until the mixture has a sticky fudgelike consistency. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread into the corners with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is shiny and the sides are just beginning to come away from the pan. Let the brownies cool completely.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a bowl for at least 5 minutes, then gradually add the salted caramel topping and vanilla extract while continuing to mix. Cut and frost brownies as desired once completely cooled.

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Wedding Reception Recap

Published October 16, 2013 by jenmatteson

As many of you know, we recently celebrated our marriage with a big party at my parent’s house.  Okay, yes, it was almost a month ago, but hey, at least I’m telling you about it!  The party was a lot of work, and everything was put together with the huge help of my family.  My poor husby was sick for several weeks (with bronchitis – though we didn’t know it until after the party), so we had to work extra hard to pull it all off.  And just so you know…the hubs and I made that cupcake stand.  Pretty bad ass, right!?

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

The day before the event was pretty crazy and I was putting everyone to work, including my 2-year-old niece and 5-year-old nephew.  Here’s a quick peek at everyone:

The most adorable niece, Grace, and my big brother, Matt.

Matt and Grace

THE BEST dad and coolest nephew, Carter.

Grandpa and Carter

The cupcake czar and insanely great decorator, my sister-in-law, Colleen.

Cupcake Master!

My poor sick hubs, Nate.

Nate

And by far, my right hand woman, the boss, flower artist, and so much more, my wonderful mom!

My momma!

The party was in my parents’ front yard and was held as an open house, so people could come and go as they please.  We provided a taco bar, a chip and salsa bar, beverages, and cupcakes for dessert.  I made toffee as favors, which was a HUGE hit.  Everyone seemed to love it.  And if they didn’t, they didn’t tell me about it 😛

IMG_7918_001

Toffee Favors

Because they have an enormous amount of land, we invited our friends to camp and stay late with us.  This led to a tournament of flip cup, which I must say, I’m pretty good.  Though, I have to admit, it did take a while to settle in, but once I got the hang of it, Team Doily, aka, Lace Gangstas, were unstoppable!

Late night flip cup

I made the cupcakes for dessert – two kinds of cake with two kinds of frosting.  Both the chocolate cake and frosting was a no-brainer, as I love this chocolate cupcake with caramel ganache frosting.  Being a chocolate freak, the vanilla was not as easy.  These cupcakes took a few practice batches, but they were perfectly moist and bouncy (I’m not really sure if that’s a proper food description word, but it was bouncy and springy, like you’d want a cake to be).

The frosting on the other hand was a chore.  The first recipe I tried was an Italian meringue buttercream.  I liked it because it was not too sweet, but most others who tried it weren’t big fans.  So I enlisted the direction of my sister-in-law, who rocks at baking!  She suggested using the Wilton buttercream recipe, so I tried it out.  The original recipe was far too sweet for me, but seemed to please others.  I ended up going with it, but reduced the sugar by a skosh, so it wasn’t overly sweet.  The result was excellence!  I cannot at all take credit for frosting these pictured cupcakes – my aforementioned sister-in-law graciously frosted all 12 dozen cupcakes for our party.  I couldn’t have done it without her!

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Golden Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine and Wilton
Servings: Makes 12 cupcakes, about 3 cups of frosting

Ingredients:

For the buttercream:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp milk

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk, room temperature

Directions:

1. Make the buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together shortening and butter.  Add vanilla and gradually add sugar one cup at a time on a low speed.  Scrape down sides to incorporate all sugar.  Icing will appear dry at this point.  Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

2. Keep bowl covered with damp cloth until ready to use.  Icing can also be refrigerated in an airtight container and stored for up to 2 weeks.

3. Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.

5. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, cream together sugar, eggs and vanilla until smoothed and slightly thickened.  Add butter and oil and mix until well combined.  Add dry ingredients and milk in three alternating batches, beating well inbetween additions.  Pour batter into muffin liners, filling about 2/3 full.

6. Bake cupcakes on center rack for 18-20 minutes.  Mine took exactly 18, but every oven is different.  Let the muffins cool slightly in the muffin tins, about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

7.  Frost cupcakes with chilled buttercream.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Published June 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

I just made chocolate cupcakes, I know.  But they went over so well, I thought I’d make them again.  Plus, I had this recipe waiting on my list, calling my name.  Also, we spent another evening with my parents, a fire, cocktails and puppies.  Yep.  You heard right. Puppies!  Their dog, Molly, had puppies on Memorial Day, so they were almost two weeks old when we saw them on Friday.  They’re tri-color pure bread English springer spaniels; gorgeous dogs!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

I saw this recipe on Eva Bakes and saved it right away.  I’m not a mint lover, but I do like it.  And you know I love me some chocolate, so I was ready to get down on these cupcakes.  Eva said the cupcake part was a little drier than she had hoped, so I decided to go with a base I’d used before and absolutely loved.  But the frosting is definitely from her site.

The frosting was perfect!  My only gripe is that I couldn’t pipe it on because the chocolate chips clogged up the tip.  Oh well, they’re not beautiful, but they are certainly delicious!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Source: Adapted from Eva Bakes
Servings: Makes about 20 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2-3 drops green food coloring
2/3 cups mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine buttermilk and water in a measuring cup.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low-speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, altering with the buttermilk.

3. Spoon batter into paper liners, filling them 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

3. To make frosting, beat butter on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer for 30-60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.  Reduce mixer speed to low and add 3 cups powdered sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract and food coloring.  Once the sugar is combined, turn the mixer to high and beat for 3 minutes.  Adjust to desired taste and consistency.  If its runny, add powdered sugar.  If its thick, add more cream.  If it’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt.  Mix in chocolate chips by hand and frost cooled cupcakes.

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