Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes & Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkincupcakes5

“Pumpkin spice and everything nice”

Hello all! Hope you’ve been enjoying your Fall time. Here is another Fall recipe before all the Winter-y holiday baking fun ensues. If your family is not a fan of pumpkin pie, but you still want some sweet pumpkin at your Thanksgiving dessert table, try these cute mini pumpkin cupcakes, topped with a delicious pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting! They’re so small and fluffy – they go fast – so you might need to make extra!

pumpkincupcakes4.JPG

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes

2.5 cups  flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
 pinch of salt
1 and 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup champagne
3/4 cup buttercream
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place cupcake liners in pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine vegetable oil, champagne, pumpkin puree, buttermilk, and eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients. In 4 parts, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing in between.  Now pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake 10-14 mins (depending on your oven), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
pumpkincupcakes2.JPG
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 tbsp. pumpkin puree
4.5 cups powdered sugar ( depending on desired frosting consistency)
Place butter in stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree, and powdered sugar and blend until combined. Add more sugar for a stiffer frosting. Mine was still pretty soft, but stiff enough to pipe. It hardened a bit after setting in the refrigerator for an hour, which made it easy to serve.
Enjoy!
pumpkincupcakes3.JPG

 

 

Advertisements

Loquat Lemon Banana Bundt Cake

loquatbundt2

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow…”

Spring has sprung! And I’m back with some fresh recipes after a long hiatus 🙂 This one is a tasty dessert or great breakfast pastry – light and fluffy and perfect with a cup of tea.

loquatbundt

Cake

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

3/4 cup of sour cream

1 ripe banana – mashed

zest of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

10 fresh loquats, peeled and quartered

loquatbundt3

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl cover peeled and quartered loquats with a light layer of flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Mix together butter and sugar in stand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and mix again. Add zest, sour cream, mashed banana, juice until well combined. Add dry ingredients in three parts. Once mixed in, fold in loquats! Pour mixture into WELL buttered bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, checking the cake with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.

Let cool to room temperature before removing from pan. Once cake is cooled, decorate with cream cheese frosting using a small round piping tip.

Voilà! Enjoy!

loquatbundt4

 

Persimmon Tart

perstart2

“Life is a lot better with chocolate”

Happy New Year! Sorry to have been a bit neglectful of the blog the last month. Here is a quick and easy recipe a lot of people have been asking for. Persimmons are good for your eyes, have a lot of Vitamin-C, and may also have heart healthy benefits – so eat up, in a sweet way! 🙂

The Tart

1 cup butter

2 cups flour

4 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

2 eggs, separated

a bit less than 1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Beat together two egg yolks with water. Add dry ingredients to butter in parts, beating in between additions. Add the eggs to the mixture and then the vanilla. When dough clumps together, remove from stand mixer and wrap well with plastic wrap. Place in fridge overnight. Save egg whites in refrigerator to brush tarts with later while baking.

Remove dough from refrigerator and place in pre-buttered rectangular tart pan (with removable bottom). Pre-heat oven to 375F. Prick the tart with a fork and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and cover the tart pan with parchment paper and fill middle with dried beans or rice (or pie weights if you have those) so that the dough does not rise while baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes this way. Then remove from oven, remove beans/rice/weights/parchment paper and cover with egg white wash. Return to oven for a few minutes until golden-brown.  Let the tart cool to room temperature before removing from tart pan.

perstart1

Ricotta Cream and Persimmons

1.5 cups ricotta cheese

2 tbsp. sugar

3 Fuyu persimmons (hard, not fully ripened)

1 bag of dark chocolate candy melts

handful of roasted pistachios

Whisk together the ricotta and sugar, and then spread evenly in the cooled tart. Peel and slice the persimmons into thin round slices. Melt the chocolate in 10 second intervals in the microwave until fully melted. If the chocolate is not smooth enough for dipping, you can add 1-2 tbsp. heavy cream and mix in well. Meanwhile, place the shelled pistachios in a baggie and use a kitchen mallet to quickly crumble them. Dip persimmon slices halfway into the chocolate, then sprinkle the pistachios over the chocolate half. Place the persimmons in the refrigerator for 30 mins-1hour to let the chocolate harden. Next, place the persimmons on the ricotta and place the tart in the refrigerator for another 2-4 hours to set.

See? Quick, no-fuss, semi-healthy dessert 😉 Enjoy!

 

Blueberry and Raspberry Summer Fruit Tarts

ft3

“Happiness is a bowl of fresh berries”

…or maybe a bunch of fresh berries on top of a shortcrust mini tart and creamy vanilla custard? I’ll take the latter version 😉 Here’s my favorite fruit tart recipe- hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

ft4

Shortcrust Tarts

1 cup butter

2 cups flour

4 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

2 eggs, separated

a bit less than 1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Beat together two egg yolks with water. Add dry ingredients to butter in parts, beating in between additions. Add the eggs to the mixture and then the vanilla. When dough clumps together, remove from stand mixer and wrap well with plastic wrap. Place in fridge overnight. Save egg whites in refrigerator to brush tarts with later while baking.

Remove dough from refrigerator and place in pre-buttered tart pans (with removable bottoms). Pre-heat oven to 375F. Prick the tarts with a fork and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and cover each little tart pan with parchment baking paper and fill middle with dried beans or rice (or pie weights if you have those) so that the dough does not rise while baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes this way. Then remove from oven, remove beans/rice/weights/parchment paper and cover with egg white wash. Return to oven for a few minutes until golden-brown. Make sure they don’t burn! Let the tarts cool to room temperature before removing from tart pans.

ft5

Vanilla Custard Cream

3 egg yolks

1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 cup reduced fat milk

1 tsp vanilla

4 tbsp sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp sugar

Beat egg yolks, flour, cornstarch in stand mixer until it becomes pale yellow and thickens a bit. Now boil milk, vanilla, and sugar together in a small saucepan. Once boiled, pour milk mixture into egg mixture, and mix well. Next pour this back into the saucepan and boil once more. This will thicken very quickly so stir constantly and do not look away. Once thickened, remove from stove and pour into a bowl. Allow to cool a bit, then cover with plastic wrap (touching the custard so a film does not develop) and place in fridge until cool. Meanwhile, in stand mixer, beat heavy cream to soft peaks. Add sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Fold this in parts into the cooled cream you’ve taken out of the refrigerator. Now your vanilla pastry cream is ready!

Use a spoon to divide the vanilla custard cream among the small tarts. Next, place blueberries and raspberries  in any arrangement on top. That’s it! The optional step if you’d like a glaze over your tarts ( especially if you don’t eat them right away), is to just boil some raspberry jam until you get a thick liquid consistency of the raspberry jam, and then just brush this over the berries on the top of your tart.

Bon Appetit!

ft6

 

 

Puppy and Kitten Love: Mini Cupcakes

puppycatcakes9

“A true friend leaves paw prints on your heart.”

puppycatcakes1

Aww..so true! Gotta love puppies and kittens. What better way to honor them than cutie mini cupcakes? Here’s a how-to:

puppycatcakes8

Puppies:

Your favorite mini cupcake recipe (You can try a chocolate one, or even a gluten-free option.)

Wilton candy eyeballs – small

Wilton candy eyeballs – large

Airheads- cherry flavor

Black edible ink pen

Wilton black candy drops

White sparkling sugar

Cream cheese frosting -white

puppycatcakes5

Kittens:

White chocolate chips

Pink candy sprinkle hearts

White and pink jimmies (sprinkles)

Black wilton rainbow chip crunch sprinkles or mini dark choco chips

White sparkling sugar

Cream cheese frosting –white

puppycatcakes3

Directions

Place a handful amount of the white sparkling sugar in a shallow bowl. For both cupcakes, once cooled to room temperature, use your round piping tip, I used 1a – to pipe little round blobs of frosting onto the cupcakes. It’s ok if it’s not too neat. Then go ahead and dip them into the sugar and push down lightly so that they are evenly covered. Next, we decorate!

puppycatcakes4

The puppies: Take the mini eyeball candies and use your edible ink marker to make the black spots larger so you get big puppy dog eyes. Dab some frosting with a toothpick on the backs, and place these on the cupcakes. Next take one big eyeball, place some frosting on the back, and place it in the middle so that it is the snout. Place frosting on the back of two black candy drops and attach them to the sides for floppy looking ears. (By the way, if you can’t get these candies, you can also use little cylindrical black licorice pieces that you can get at a candy store in a licorice assortment.) Next you’ll take a tiny bit of airhead in your hand and shape it into a little tongue, rounded on one side. Dab some frosting on the non-rounded side and place it under the large eyeball (snout), to the side. Now you have a puppy!

puppycatcakes6

The kittens:  Place some frosting on the back of the black rainbow chip crunch (or mini dark choco chips, tips facing down) and attach to the cupcake as eyes. Dab frosting on one side of the white choc chips and place on the cupcakes as ears, with pointy side facing up as you see here in the photos. Grab the pink sprinkle hearts, dab some frosting on, and place them under the eyes for the little pink nose. Use three white jimmies on either side of the nose as the whiskers. Use three pink jimmies to create the mouth – one coming down from the nose, and two making a little smile as seen here. You have kittens!

 puppycatcakes7

That’s it! Now if you have an animal themed party to go to, you can make these 🙂

Flourless Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mousse Dome Cakes

dome3

“A balanced life is chocolate in both hands.”

This is why I made brownies and chocolate cakes for breakfast. Sounds about right.

But really though – I recently learned to make mousse and it is amaaazing. Mousse is so light and fluffy and it almost makes you feel like you didn’t just eat a whole cake. For the record – these are mini dome cakes, so it’s all good!

dome13

Flourless Chocolate Brownies

(This makes the base of the cakes and the extras make for ooey gooey brownie goodness just on their own)

4 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar (separated into two halves)

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup cornstarch

Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 15 second increments, mixing in between until melted. Melt butter in microwave in separate bowl in 20 second intervals. (Butter will melt quickly!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk egg whites in stand mixer with 1/2 cup sugar until soft peaks form. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk yolks with 1/2 cup sugar.

dome6

Mix together chocolate, butter, and cornstarch in a bowl, and then mix in the egg yolk/sugar. Fold in the egg white/sugar into this mixture. Pour into baking pan prepared with non stick spray or parchment paper.

dome7

Bake for 15-18 minutes. It’s ok if the brownie is cracked when you take it out – it will be very soft because there is no flour. Let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Remove from refrigerator and cut out rounds to match the size of your dome bases. (I used something like this mold for the cakes).

The leftover brownies can be cut into squares and refrigerated for eating later 🙂

dome8

Strawberry Mousse

1 box of fresh strawberries ( to make about a cup of strawberry puree)

2 tbsp. cold water

2 tbsp. unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

Blend strawberries into puree in food processor. Boil with sugar in saucepan on medium heat while stirring. Remove strawberries and allow to cool completely. Place gelatin into water in small bowl and allow to bloom about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk heavy cream in stand mixer to soft peaks.

dome5

Strain strawberry juice from puree into large bowl. Place gelatin mixture into strawberry juice and stir until thickens. Next fold cream into strawberry gelatin until well combined.

Spoon the mousse into the domes and cover with brownie bases. Place into freezer and freeze well!

dome12

Remove cakes from molds and prepare chocolate. Normally you might pour a chocolate ganache over the cakes, but I wanted some crunch to complement the softness of the mousse; so I used dark chocolate candy melts. Melt those in the microwave – allow the chocolate to cool just a bit, then spoon over cakes. I placed a strawberry on top, and then refrigerated overnight.

dome4

 These seriously taste so light and flavorful – I hope you enjoy them!

dome15