Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Root beer float cupcakes

My kids gave me a 101 gourmet cupcakes in 10 minutes cookbook by Wendy Paul for Mother's Day.
My kids have really enjoyed looking through all of the photos and the options.
I'm taking these in to school for a birthday and an end of the school year party.

1 white cake mix (unprepared)
1 c. root beer

Mix together and spoon into cupcake papers
(I know it seems weird - no eggs, water, or oil, but it really does work)
Bake at 350* for 15-18 minutes

Frost with Butter Cream Root Beer Frosting
1 stick butter
3.5 c. powdered sugar
1-2 t. root beer concentrate or flavoring (in the spice aisle at the grocery store)
3-4 T. milk

Beat butter until soft and fluffy - approximately 30 seconds
Add powdered sugar, and slowly incorporate
Add milk and root beer flavoring to desired consistency

Frost cupcakes and garnish with straw, pirouline cookie straw, and small white decorating beads for bubbles
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I originally found this recipe in a Betty Crocker cookbook I received when we were first married.  It comes in doubly handy when I need to feed a crowd, and when I have some ripe bananas on my counter that have passed the stage of raw consumption.  Over the years, this recipe has been adjusted with changes to the sugar, oil, nuts, and doubling it to fit an 11 x 15" pan.  
Reminiscent of banana bread, this can be served in bars, or as a cake, and with or without frosting.  

2    cups brown sugar
4    very ripe bananas (brown is okay)
2/3 cups vegetable oil (or 1/3 c. applesauce + 1/3 c. oil)
4    eggs – lightly beaten
2    cups flour
2    teaspoons baking powder
1    teaspoon baking soda
1    teaspoon ground cinnamon
½   teaspoon salt
½  cup toasted walnuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350*. 
Mix bananas with brown sugar in large bowl. 
Add oil, then eggs. Mix until combined. 
Combine dry ingredients and add to the sugar and banana mixture – mixing until combined.  

Spread into a 11 x 15” pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned, and toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  

Allow to cool for 1 hour before frosting with cream cheese frosting, and serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 oz. cream cheese softened
2/3 c. butter, softened
2 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in medium bowl on low speed until smooth.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth.

Spread over banana bars after they've cooled.

Sunflower cake

I came across this idea and decided to make it for my birthday, but with dimension, so I adjusted this recipe (just slightly) - some of which I liked, some of which - well, not so much. 

Here's my inspiration:  Cute huh?  In an abstract artistic sort of way.
While I loved theirs, I wanted to add more dimension  so I used two cake mixes, a 9x13", a 9" round, and a ramekin to bake the cake batter in.

2 cake mixes, any flavor - mix as directed
Starburst candies - yellow and orange
Chocolate chips (1 cup)
Gummy bears

Grease and flour a 9x13", 9" round baking pans, and 1 standard ramekin.

Grease the outer sides of an empty ramekin and place in the center of the round cake pan (this will allow the cake to cook more evenly and will provide dimension for the center).
Divide the batter between all three pans, filling the ramekin (not the one inside the round pan) only 2/3 full. 
Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes.  Check at 20 minutes to make sure round and ramekin aren't already done.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pans, then remove from pans and allow to cool on cooling racks.

Place 9x13" cake on serving platter and frost with either a white base, or a chocolate base.
Using 9x13" as a base, place 9" round (which should be a ring once empty ramekin is removed from center) on top.
Frost with base frosting coat.
(Note - just because you might be sick of butter cream frosting and are too lazy to make more frosting is not an appropriate reason for you to use marshmallow cream - believe me - while in theory it looks good, it WILL NOT work as a base frosting for this cake - or any other for that matter - it will slowly slide and run right off of your cake and you will wish you'd listened).

Place ramekin sized cake into the center hole of the ring, and apply a chocolate base coat.
Cover the chocolate coat with chocolate chips.

Unwrap yellow and orange Starburst candies, and microwave one at a time for 6-8 seconds depending on the strength of your microwave (mine took 6).
After microwaving, place between two sheets of waxed paper and roll out with a rolling pin.
Trim with scissors into desired petal shape and place on cake - pinching one end to add dimension.
Layer petals as desired.
Use alternating gummy bear pattern to frame cake sides.
Here's a link to the original ideas