Cupcakes & Cakes

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Hazelnut Toffee Topping

Posted on Nov 28, 2013 in Cupcakes & Cakes | 2 comments

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Hazelnut Toffee Topping

Happy Thanksgiving Evelybody!! I can get a little Asian when I get excited! Thanksgiving is such a fantastic time of year.  I just get so excited about it!  Aside from all the fabulous food, it’s just really nice to have a reminder to take time to reflect on all that we are thankful for.  The past 3 months for my husband and I have been a season of transition, growth and lots of change.  Good….no GREAT change….but also very scary change.  And when your in the middle of it and not sure what the next week, month or year will look like you can begin to focus on the stress of it all and what you need to do get where you want to go but sometimes it’s really nice to remember you can only “do” so much and sometimes you just need to “be”.  Be content with where you are, where you are being challenged, where you are growing and most importantly what you have.  So that’s what I’m focusing on this Holiday season….just being. One of the girl’s in my small group at church said it best when she said, “when you can just be that is true freedom!”.

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake

Posted on Oct 11, 2013 in Cupcakes & Cakes | 2 comments

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake

Fall equals pumpkins! Pumpkins actually have a very special place in my heart because the very first thing my husband and I did on our very first date, was a pick a pumpkin together.  Super cute and not even planned. He then went on to propose in a pumpkin patch and now every year we make it a tradition to try to go back to that pumpkin patch and pick pumpkins together.  I LOVE pumpkins! Even if the pumpkin and I didn’t have a special relationship, I would still LOVE pumpkins. Maybe it’s all the spices I love that traditionally go into a pumpkin dessert, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves…doesn’t that just make you warm and fuzzy? But whatever it is, I am never one to pass on a piece of pumpkin cake.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake

 

This Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake is a variation of coffee cake that substitutes oil and applesauce for butter.  It makes a for a lighter and tender cake but the crumble on top is still rich and buttery.  Add the cream cheese layer in the middle made with greek yogurt for a slightly tangy flavor and you’ve got yourself one damn good piece of cake perfect for breakfast or dessert!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese CakeIf you have a recipe for a cake that calls for butter or shortening, next time try using oil.  When you use butter or shortening, they need to be creamed together with sugars to aerate the butter and create pockets of air.  However, because oils won’t hold air bubbles like butter will, there needs to be additional leavening agents used like baking powder or egg whites.  But what the oils do do is coat the flour proteins and reduce the amount of gluten formation which makes the cake super tender.  The lubed up proteins can’t grab water to make gluten and therefore your cake remains moist and delicious.  I also went very light on the sugar content especially in the cream cheese filling and crumb topping because of the addition of butterscotch chips which are very sweet.  I don’t like overly sweet desserts so if you want to sweeten up the cream cheese layer since it is a little tangy feel free to add a few tablespooons more of sugar.

I can’t wait for all the pumpkin I will most definitely eat this year! What are some of your favorite fall traditions?

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake

Ingredients

Batter

  • 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil (You can also substitute olive oil or canola oil)
  • 1/4 cup Applesauce
  • 15oz Pumpkin Puree
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (Sifted)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger

Cream Cheese Swirl

  • 8oz Cream Cheese (Softened)
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 cup Sugar

Crumb Topping

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter (Softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
  • 2/3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Butterscotch Chips

Note

Sorry, you will have to wash your mixer bowl and paddle a few times in between different stages for this recipe.  You have been pre-warned.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with a light coat of baking spray. In your mixer with your paddle attachment, mix the oil, brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin puree & applesauce. Mix to combine. Add the vanilla, each egg in one at a time.
Step 2
In a separate bowl, sift the flour together with the baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon & ginger. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the mixer. Mix to combine and do not over mix.
Step 3
Pour the batter mix into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly with a spatula. The batter will be thick.
Step 4
Wash out your mixer bowl to begin the cream cheese layer and dry. Add the softened cream cheese, greek yogurt, vanilla & sugar and mix together. Add in the egg and mix to combine. Pour the cream cheese over the cake layer. Using a knife, cut into the cake batter in a swirl patterm to allow some of the cream cheese mixture to seep through.
Step 5
Sorry guys, wash out your mixer and paddle to begin on the crumb topping mixture. Add the unsalted butter, brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, flour & butterscotch chips to combine together. Do not mix long to cream the mixture but just to make a crumble. Add the crumble on top of the cream cheese mixture on your cake.
Step 6
Bake in the 250 preheated oven for about 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let cool before serving.

 

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Why use buttermilk in cakes & cupcakes? Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Posted on Oct 9, 2013 in Baking Tips, Chocolate Desserts, Cupcakes & Cakes | 6 comments

Why use buttermilk in cakes & cupcakes? Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Buttermilk, the unsung hero of cakes & cupcakes.  Most cupcakes don’t call for buttermilk but in my opinion buttermilk can take a good recipe to a great recipe! Buttermilk’s tangy flavor adds depth and complexity to finished baked goods while adding very little fat. It also helps tenderize the gluten in the batter, giving baked goods a softer texture and more body for fluffy melt in your mouth cupcakes, exactly how I like them but also keeping enough weight to hold up a good addition of necessary frosting. (The only reason to eat a cupcake in my husband’s opinion.)

Even though the name might suggest it, buttermilk does not contain butter.  It is the liquid left behind after churning the butter out of cream.  Hence the milk of butter….or buttermilk. It has a tart and tangy taste due to the acid in the milk.  It is also the acid in the buttermilk that reacts with baking soda to create bubbles of carbon dioxide.  Not to get too science-y on you guys, but it’s these bubbles or air that is created in the batter that gives your cupcake volume so this is good.  And the acid also interferes with gluten formation which is what keeps your cupcake tender and light.Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes

A good rule of thumb to remember is that 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda will neutralize 1 cup of buttermilk.  Therefore, when substituting buttermilk in recipes, reduce the amount of baking powder by 2 teaspoons and increase the amount of baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon to neutralize the acids for every 1 cup of buttermilk.

If that didn’t convince you that buttermilk is delicious in cupcakes, then you must try this recipe! If you are dying to try it but don’t feel like running out to the store for buttermilk, you can also try this substitution.  Combine 2/3 cup plain non-fat or low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup 1% milk for 1 cup buttermilk.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

Cupcake

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter Softened (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Water

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter Softened
  • 8oz Cream Cheese Softened
  • 2oz Dark Chocolate Melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Cream or Half & Half

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add room temperature eggs (cracked open in a separate bowl), one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
Step 2
In a separate bowl, combine sifted flour, sifted cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Step 3
In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and water. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and water, beating well after each addition.
Step 4
Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Step 5
For frosting, in a small bowl, beat butter & cream cheese until smooth. Add in sifted confectioners' sugar until smooth, melted chocolate, cream, vanilla and salt until smooth.
Step 6
Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost and top with sprinkles, chocolate chips or any other garnish of your choice. And enjoy!
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