Mixed Berry Cupcakes

Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry CupcakesMy blog has been a place to store some wonderful memories.  So, leading up to my wedding to the wonderful Jonathan Pinto – I will document some more memories.  It’s funny how memories and food are so closely tied together.  There is a great deal of lead up time and excitement that a wedding brings.  I’m sure I will be busy with details and planning.  I will also make time to bake some cookies or scones and share a few stories.

Today marks my last day of volunteering with an amazing grade 2 class in Windsor, Ontario.  I have been volunteering since March, and I will miss them.  I will be volunteering again in September though, with a junior kindergarten class!  It should prove to be tons of fun and high energy.

I love cupcakes for celebrating – and I really want to celebrate all that I have learned from the grade 2 class.  As well, to thank them for sharing all of their stories, reading with me, and allowing me to teach them a math lesson tossed in there.  I have enjoyed watching them learn, grow and tell their stories.  I believe literacy is important because no matter what career you are in, it is important to be able to communicate your interests, what you are passionate about, and as an individual to tell your story, as you move throughout the world.

Countdown to the wedding: 15 days! (Not including today or the day of June 22)

Mixed Berry Cupcakes

with Vanilla Icing and Confetti Sprinkles

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten

½-1 cup pureed raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, strained

Instructions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set out cupcake papers and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3.  In a food processor or blender puree 1-2 cups of mixed berries that will be reduced to about ½-1 cup.  With a strainer, strain the puree to get ride of the seeds.

4.  In your mixer combine the sugar, canola oil, vanilla extract and eggs.  Then add in the buttermilk and strawberry puree.  Add lemon zest.  Slowly add in the flour mixture.

5.  Spoon the batter into the cupcake pans and bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center (20minutes).

6.  Cool before icing.

Buttercream Icing – from Canadian Living Website

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 5 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preparation

In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in vanilla. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Beat slightly before using.)

Cinnamon Dolce Latte Cupcakes

My sister Victoria had a bottle of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce syrup in our cupboard, so my natural response?

Cinnamon Dolce Latte Buttercream Icing!

Just another weekday for me, making cupcakes and experimenting with buttercream icing ideas.  They were delicious, sweet and awesome like their latte version.  Cinnamon Dolce lattes are my second favourite latte from Starbucks, (vanilla bean lattes being my absolute, number one favourite.)  However, they are Victoria’s favourite, so they inspired these cupcakes.

Jonathan will be tasting this cupcake when he comes to Aurora tonight after a long day working at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).  I will be listening to CBC Radio all day, just in case he is on air.  He works as an associate producer part time and sometimes reads the weather!

Vanilla Cupcakes (makes 12, adapted from dessarts.com)

3/4 cup buttermilk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffly.

Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until combined.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Alternate adding the milk mixture and dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Mix each addition until combined. Fill the cupcake liners to ¾ full.

Bake at 350 °F for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cinnamon Dolce Latte Buttercream Icing (for 12 cupcakes)

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp instant coffee

1 tsp warm water, to dissolve coffee

1 tbsp cinnamon dolce syrup

enough milk to amount to ¼ cup

Instructions

Cream butter in mixer until fluffy, slowly add in confection’s sugar in additions until fully incorporated.  Add liquid in slowly, keeping an eye on the consistency of the icing.  Put buttercream icing in piping bag to decorate cupcakes.

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Icing

Some people have hobbies like fishing or jogging, my hobby is baking!  Today I made these cute cupcakes and played around with the new set of piping bag accessories that I bought.  Overall I was very impressed with the way the cupcakes turned out – raspberry and white chocolate are a killer combination.  Seriously, these cupcakes are delicious!

Now, in the pictures the cupcakes look a little crumbly, the white chocolate and the sugar makes these cupcakes a bit stickier and thus, they stuck to the pan.  I also don’t have cupcake liners with me in Waterloo, where I am visiting Jonathan.

While making these cupcakes I was wondering why Martha Stewart doesn’t have a version of this cupcake on her website or in her cookbook.  I suppose white chocolate was overlooked with all the recipes for devil’s food cake cupcakes and triple chocolate cupcake recipes.

The recipe I ended up using was from this website.  I used it because it makes 12 cupcakes, which seemed better than having 24 extra cupcakes in the freezer.  The white chocolate cupcake recipe that I used had a subtle and yet decadent flavour.  The raspberry icing made the cupcakes delicious – who can resist such a pretty cupcake?

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. White Chocolate (I used Baker’s White Chocolate, 2 of the prepackaged cubes)
  • 1/2 cup Light Cream or Milk (I used milk)
  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs, Large
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Butter, Softened

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place twelve cupcake holders in a muffin pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate with cream over a double broiler (or in the microwave, but be sure not to burn it) and let cool.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, cream-chocolate mixture, and butter.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and continue to beat at a low speed until blended.
  6. Pour the batter into the cupcake holders about 3/4 full.
  7. Put the pan in the oven and let bake for 25-30 minutes.  (Found my cupcakes only took 18 minutes.)
  8. After the cupcakes are firm on top, let them cool on a muffin rack for 30 minutes and ice them with your favorite frosting.

Icing

Cream together 1/2 cup of softened butter, 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of milk and 1-2 tablespoons of seedless raspberry preserve or jam.  Add the raspberry preserve in last and use your judgement with the consistency of the icing.

Laura’s Bridal Shower

This past weekend my Auntie Andrea and Gran hosted a bridal shower for my sister Laura.  I was in charge of bringing desserts.  It was my biggest baking project yet, but it all turned out really well.  I made three-dozen cupcakes and three-dozen mini strawberry tarts.  The cupcakes I made in advance and then put them in the freezer, so the day before the shower all I had to do was make the buttercream icing, and fondant daisies.  The cheesecake tarts were also made the day before and were really easy to make.

 
Earlier in the week we decorated my Grandma’s house, so the day of the bridal shower everything was perfect.  Victoria, Sarah and I went to Michael’s Craft Store and Party Packagers to find the perfect decorations.  The two grandmothers were smiling ear to ear throughout the bridal shower.  Gran spent a great deal of time planning the party – we all told her that she throws the BEST parties.  I hope to be throwing parties still at age 83!

Many of Laura’s close friends from elementary school and the University of Guelph were in attendance.  It’s really a wonderful thing when you have kept up with friends from elementary school.  Two of my Mom’s best friends from high school came to the shower.  Weddings are such a wonderful time for close friends, family and celebration.

I am so happy for my sister Laura – and I’m thrilled to be her Maid of Honour. Chris and her will have such an amazing life together!

Red Velvet Cupcakes – from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
  3. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Note

Gel-paste food color is much more concentrated than the supermarket liquid variety; if you substitute the liquid, you may need to add an entire bottle (1.5 ounces) to achieve the desired shade.

Mini Strawberry Cheese cake – Mom’s Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups cream cheese

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

Crust

1 package Nilla (vanilla wafer cookies)

*These are a great instant crust, but if you can’t find them in the grocery store, you can make your own graham cracker crust.

Cheesecake filling

  1. In you Cuisinart food processor blend cream cheese and sugar.  Blend until the cream cheese begins to soften.
  2. Add in vanilla extract and eggs.
  3. Blend until nice creamy consistency.
  4. Fill the cupcake pan until ¾ full.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 11 minutes.  (Do not over bake or it will be dry.)
  6. Let cool and then garnish with fresh fruit or jams.  Place in the refrigerator until it is time to serve the cheesecakes.

Strawberry Puree Daisy Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten

1/2 cup pureed strawberries

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set out cupcake papers and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3.  In a food processor puree one cup of strawberries that will be reduced to about ½ a cup.  With a strainer, strain the puree to get ride of the seeds.

4.  In your mixer combine the sugar, canola oil, vanilla extract and eggs.  Then add in the buttermilk and strawberry puree.  Add lemon zest.  Slowly add in the flour mixture.

5.  Spoon the batter into the cupcake pans and bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center.

6.  Cool before icing.

Buttercream Icing – from Canadian Living Website

Preparation

In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in vanilla. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Beat slightly before using.)

Extreme Baking: Cupcakes, Meatloaf, and Bundt Cake

Leslie the Foodie has been very busy in the kitchen lately.  Yesterday I made four dozen cupcakes for my sister’s bridal shower on Sunday.  I made one batch of light and fluffy strawberry cupcakes and one batch of red velvet cupcakes.  The oven was on for a very long time!  I put the cupcakes in the freezer and I will ice them and decorate them with fondant flowers on Saturday.

Then, I made my blueberry yogurt bundt cake for my Dad to take into a meeting at work.  Dad wanted to have a snack for all of the hard working staff at the City of Toronto.  There will be more desserts to come for his co-workers who have been loyally following my blog!

Happy Birthday Dad!

In addition to these projects, I made dinner last night for Dad’s birthday.  I made one of our family’s favourite comfort foods – barbeque meatloaf.  Along with delicious baked potatoes and some peas, it was a perfect dinner.  There were a few extra cupcakes from the morning so I whipped up some icing and we had them for dessert.

Dad has been very supportive of my blog and likes to make lots of suggestions.  I’m sure this summer he will want me to do a post with a fish fresh from the lake.  He gets a kick out of fishing up at the cottage and I’m sure he will this summer as well.

I’m not sure what the best recipes for bass are, but I will start researching now.  There are some other fish in the lake, but fishing isn’t really my area of expertise. I will leave that to Dad.

Barbeque Meatloaf Recipe

Ingredients

-1 pound of lean ground beef

-1/2 cup to 1 cup of bread crumbs

-1/2 cup of finely chopped onion

-1 large egg

-1/2 cup Diana’s barbeque sauce or your favourite barbeque sauce

Instructions
Mix ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion and half cup of barbeque sauce together in a bowl until thoroughly blended.  Pour some extra Diana barbeque sauce on top of the meatloaf.  Then form a loaf shape in a casserole dish.  Bake at 375 F for one hour.  You can put the baked potatoes in at the same time for an hour.

Lemon Drop Mini Cupcakes (Mini Batch)

I have wanted to use my mini cupcake pan again, so I decided to make some delightful lemon drop mini cupcakes.  This is a mini batch, so its great for 2-4 people for a small dessert or snack.  The batter is quick to put together, in and out of the oven in no time at all (well it will take you 20-30min.)  I love lemon so these are the perfect little treat for me.

The icing is not an intense yellow because I did not add any artificial colours.  The lemon flavour is delightful.  You will taste it in the zest in the cupcake and the lemon juice that is in the icing.  Cupcakes were iced with a knife and then I added some silver balls for decoration.  You can purchase the silver balls at Bulk Barn or anywhere that you buy baking supplies.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons 5% cream
  • 6 tablespoons organic unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of one lemon

Frosting

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Instructions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add in egg and cream.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
  4. Stir all ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Bake at 375 F for ten minutes or until golden on the edges and cooked in the middle.  If you are making regular sized cupcakes they may take longer to bake (around 16-18 minutes.)

 

Maple Cupcakes

The other day, I was craving a Tim Hortons maple donut – so I decided to make maple cupcakes, which I topped with a drippy and delicious maple icing.  This recipe makes only 5 regular sized cupcakes.  I made this amount because I know no one in my family wants to put on any extra pounds before summer arrives. Five cupcakes was the perfect number – one for me, one for Jonathan, Mom, Dad and an extra one for good luck!

Not to perpetuate Canadian stereotypes, but I love maple everything!  Maple salmon, Mr. Maple cookies, maple donuts, maple syrup on pancakes and of course maple cupcakes.

The cupcakes turned out a bit crumbly, and there weren’t many of them to photograph, but sometimes the best things in life are a little messy.  The icing was divine – I will definitely be making these again soon!

Ingredients

½ cup all purpose flour

½ cup maple syrup

1 egg

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

Icing

½ cup icing sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp 5% cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together thoroughly in a bowl.
  3. In a small bowl beat the egg.
  4. Add in egg, vanilla extract and maple syrup to the flour mixture.
  5. Stir until combined.
  6. Fill cupcake pan ¾ of the way full.
  7. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until golden around the edges.
  8. Let cool fully.
  9. Mix icing sugar, maple syrup and cream until desired consistency.
  10. Drizzle on top.

Organic Orange Cupcakes

These cupcakes are light, fluffy and flavourful.  The orange juice and orange zest give the cupcakes depth in their flavour.  The vanilla yogurt is a nice change from adding sour cream and there are fewer calories.  I thought I might try turbinado sugar in the cupcakes to see how it affected the flavour.  I was very pleased with the results.  Keeping with the theme of being ‘lighter’ there is just a simple dusting of icing sugar instead of a heavy buttercream icing.  There is no butter in these cupcakes, which makes me happy!  You could make an orange zest buttercream icing, but the cupcakes are delicious enough on their own.

Ingredients

½ cup of canola oil

¾ cup of turbinado sugar

zest of one organic orange

¼ cup freshly squeezed organic orange juice

2 eggs

½ cup of organic vanilla yogurt

1 ½ cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting the tops

Instructions

  1. Grate the zest of one organic orange and put in bowl.
  2. Squeeze the organic orange for ¼ cup of juice.
  3. In a large bowl mix orange zest, turbinado sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Whisk two eggs together in a separate bowl.
  5. Mix all of the wet ingredients (eggs, yogurt, orange juice and canola oil) with the dry ingredients.
  6. Stir all ingredients together and mix well with a wooden spoon.
  7. Grease the muffin pans and preheat the oven to 350 F.
  8. Divide batter into muffin pans, filling ¾ of the way full.
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  10. Makes about 12 regular sized orange cupcakes.
  11. Let cool fully.
  12. With icing sugar and a sieve, sprinkle icing sugar on top of cupcakes.
  13. Enjoy!

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes

So, one of the “problems” I’m experiencing writing this blog is that I’m making far too many delicious treats. While my family and friends aren’t exactly complaining, sometimes my creations do go stale, which makes me sad. Then I discovered Dessert For Two, a wonderful site that has instructions on how to make desserts that have smaller portions.

Now, I love everything mini: miniature schnauzers, mini cupcakes, and me – I’m only 5’1! Not only do mini cupcakes fit well with my personality, but there is also the added benefit that more than one can be consumed. Jonathan and I bought a lovely mini cupcake pan at FreshCo. in Waterloo – it fits 12 mini cupcakes, which is the exact amount this recipe makes!

Changes to the recipe found on Dessert For Two were: canola instead of butter, no lemon since I wanted vanilla cupcakes and no almond extract since I am allergic. I try to make my baking AOAP (as organic as possible) and in this case, I used organic sugar and flour.

In Canada, milk and butter is heavily regulated, so I’m not quite convinced on the need to use organic dairy products. Sugar, flour, and fresh fruits and vegetables are definitely worth it though.  Organic blueberries and bananas, for example, taste so much better.  I hope to go completely organic some day, but for now my organic foods purchases are affected by cost and availability.

The purple sugar is on top is definitely not organic. It’s from Bulk Barn and it was on sale, 20% off, awesome!  What little girl didn’t go through a phase where she loved everything pink, purple or sparkly? (Truthfully, that feeling never goes away – I am thinking purple for the bridesmaid’s dresses at our wedding next year.)

Vanilla Mini Cupcakes

Yields 12 mini cupcakes (4 regular cupcakes)

Ingredients

Cupcake batter:

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing:

  • ½ cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a mini cupcake pan, line 4 tins with liners or spray with cooking spray.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl beat the egg with a fork or whisk.
  4. Add egg, sour cream, canola oil and vanilla extract.  Mix all ingredients well with a wooden spoon, but don’t over stir.
  5. Place cupcake batter in the cupcake pan filling ¾ full.  Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes or until golden brown at the sides.  (If you make a regular sized cupcake, bake for 15-18 minutes.)
  6. While the cupcakes cool, beat together all frosting ingredients.
  7. Frost cupcakes once they have cooled.
  8. Dip the tops of the iced cupcakes into colourful sugar.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

Generally I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, however since receiving Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes for my birthday, I could not resist the St. Patrick’s Day cupcake recipe.  The result was delicious!  These cupcakes are sweet and extremely indulgent.

Baileys Irish Cream liqueur makes the icing silky and irresistible.  With the icing I went for a homemade look, and spread the icing with a knife and made it look as even as possible.  I am in Waterloo visiting Jonathan again and I (sadly) do not have a piping bag with me.

Jonathan and I, each had one cupcake with our morning coffee.  Or rather, I had coffee because Jonathan does not yet share my coffee addiction.  I tried a new brand of organic coffee this morning and was disappointed.  Later this afternoon we will have to go to Seven Shores Urban Café and Market in Waterloo.  They have the best fair trade organic coffee in Waterloo.

The rest of these cupcakes will go to my dear sweet sister Sarah, who is studying away at Laurier University.  Hopefully, they will make her St. Patrick’s Day in residence sweeter.

After eating these decadent cupcakes Jonathan and I will definitely be making grilled vegetables, rice and grilled chicken for dinner.  It’s all about having a well balanced diet.  A cupcake or two doesn’t hurt.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Ingredients:

3 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup of butter at room temperature

2 cups of light brown sugar

4 large eggs

¾ cup of buttermilk (you can make your own butter milk by adding 1 tsp of lemon juice)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.  In an electric mixer (or by hand like I did) cream the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly combined.  Next add in eggs and combine.
  3. Add in slowly the flour mixture in first addition.  In second addition add in butter milk.  In third addition add in remaining flour mixture.  Combine until batter looks evenly mixed.  (I added in 1 tbsp of Bailey’s into the pound cake batter, but this is optional.)
  4. Distribute batter into greased cupcake tin or into paper liners and fill until ¾ of the way full.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cupcakes look lightly golden on the edges.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes in the cupcake tin before transferring to a wire cooling rack or a plate.
  7. Let cool completely before icing the cupcakes.
  8. Cupcakes will last three days in an airtight container at room temperature or they can be easily frozen for up to two months.

Baileys Irish Cream liqueur Icing

1 ½ cups of unsalted butter at room temperature

4 cups of confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)

3 tbsp of Baileys Irish Cream liqueur

½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter in an electric mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon.  Add in confectioner’s sugar in ½ cup increments.
  2. Add Baileys and vanilla extract.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Use icing immediately or it can be refrigerated for up to five days.