Sunday, March 29, 2009

Toasted Pecan Hummingbird Cupcakes

This month's Iron Cupcake: Earth Challenge is Nuts and Seeds. While, the Iron Cupcake Challenge both appeals to my need to bake and the fiercely competitive side of my personality, this month's ingredients, nuts and seeds, compliment the Toasted Pecan Hummingbird Cupcake perfectly! This cupcake screams "Spring" from the tops of melting snow capped mountains! (Vote here for Baker's Cakes!!!)

I first discovered Hummingbird Cake at a restaurant in Stowe, Vermont and found it delightfully sweet and refined. I'm not exactly sure what they put in their cake (theirs as I recall, seemed to be more of a butter based cake), but the general premise of Hummingbird Cake, is a sweet fruity cake, that might appeal to the hummingbird itself.  I must have mentioned this sensational cake in passing to one of my dearest friends, and as luck would have it, her mom had a recipe for it! See how handy it can be to always talk about cake? My friend's mother emailed me her recipe, it was less refined than the one I had tried, but none-the-less delicious. It called for five mashed bananas, applesauce, and a small can of crushed pineapple in it's juice. Her Hummingbird Cake is actually not that much different than a carrot cake, minus the carrots. I began a quest to meld her deliciously moist recipe and the elegant sweet cake from my Vermont Ski Weekend memory! Here's what I came up with:

Toasted Pecan Hummingbird Cupcakes

Non-Stick Spray
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5-6 bananas
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup pecan pieces toasted in 375' oven 8-10  minutes
Extra pecan halves for decorating cupcakes

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350' Spray pans with non-stick spray or line cupcake pans (this recipe makes about 18 average sized cupcakes).

Sift together: cake flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Whisk together with sugar in a large bowl.

This recipe can be made just as easily with all purpose flour and whisking the dry ingredients instead of sifting, but I'm going for "refined" here!

In the bowl of the food processor add: the eggs, applesauce, bananas, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Puree until smooth.

Add to the dry ingredients and combine just until dry ingredients are moistened.

And here they are, just combined!

I ground the pecans in the food processor to make the cupcake less "chunky," but you can keep yours in whatever size pieces make you happy!

Fold the toasted pecans into the batter.

Now you are ready to scoop them into your prepared cupcake pan!

I like to use an ice cream scoop. One level scoop, just fills the cupcake pan about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 18-20 minutes in 350' oven or until a toothpick comes out clean.

If you are still reading this post, I really appreciate it! I am going to reward you with my SUPER, TOP SECRET, Amazingly Delicious White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe! This is probably the best frosting I have ever had and it is probably the easiest to make!

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces white chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)

There are only two things that you need to know about making this frosting! It is IMPERATIVE that the cream cheese is room temperature. Secondly, it is very easy to scorch white chocolate in the microwave, check it often! Ok, here we go! Place the white chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Microwave at high power for one minute and stir. Continue to microwave at 20 second intervals stirring until all the chips have melted. (In my microwave it takes only one additional 20 second pop in the microwave, at 25 seconds I scorch, so WATCH OUT). Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the melted white chocolate chips. (If your cream cheese is at all cold your white chocolate will solidify and make your frosting chunky, it tastes fine, but isn't very smooth). And that's it! Isn't that easy? This frosting is divine on carrot cake and of course on hummingbird cake!

When your wooden pick comes out clean, place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Then unmold the cupcakes and let them cool completely on the rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

Now here's the most important part! VOTE! VOTE, VOTE, VOTE for ME!!! Here's what I'm competing for:

The March ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:

A Bunnycake Easter Plushie by DOGBONEART,

A whimsical piece by CAKEASAURUS,

A pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES at

A collection of all new printed cupcake liners, 200 in all from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery,

PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY,, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!

Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: 
HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,, JESSIE STEELE APRONS; TASTE OF HOME books,; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, . And as a special thank you, we would like to once again thank DIANAEVANS -

Voting will begin no earlier than Sunday, March 29 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, and will be open through Friday, April 3 at 12 noon.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Baker's Cakes Strawberry Cake

A couple of weeks ago I made a strawberry cake from a recipe that I found online. I posted about it here. I was reluctant to mention it at the time, but I found it a little, well, "bright" would be an understatement. It was as if the cake had been dropped in a vat of toxic strawberry waste and came out with super strawberry powers. So I endeavored to whip up a Baker's Cakes Strawberry cake today! With the rain this afternoon I was compelled to bake.

Much more subtle and less, um... harsh?

No neon pink here! Thank goodness!

All "yum" no "sludge."

Check back Sunday night after 8pm eastern time for something I've been working on all month!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Molasses Cookies

Cold damp weather just makes me want to bake! I love these giant molasses cookies, they're soft, chewy, and delicious!

Molasses Cookies

6 tablespoons butter
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
additional sugar

Preheat oven to 350'

In a mixing bowl cream: butter, shortening, and sugar.

Add molasses and eggs and mix well.

Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and ginger. Combine well.

If you feel compelled to combine the dry ingredients before you add them to the creamed mixture, by all means, please do! I just like to cheat a step. If anyone ever gets a big bite of salt or even worse, baking soda, I will act rather indignant. I will bite into another cookie, hoping that it doesn't happen to me, and say, "They taste fine to me. It must be you." That's my plan. It's an elaborate (somewhat) and not terribly well thought out plan, but I saved myself a step (and additional dirty bowl). 

I like to use an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough onto a silpat or greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with additional sugar. Bake in 350' oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes 18 jumbo cookies.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Madness!

March Madness!, originally uploaded by bakers-cakes.

It's March, and in North Carolina, you know what that means... March Madness! I got an order for some Tar Heel Cake Pops this week and decided they needed some Carolina Blue "plaid" to go with them. Then, I started thinking about it, and realized that orange cake pops would look exactly like basketballs, if they had those nifty lines on them and... voila! Also, I do everything in threes or multiples of three (have you noticed that?), so making the basketballs finished the arrangement perfectly. Not to mention that the color orange is the compliment to blue, speaking of March madness...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hello Spring!

Hello Spring!, originally uploaded by bakers-cakes.

Have you seen the book "Hello, Cupcake!" by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson? If not, go out immediately and procure yourself a copy, and get to work! It's amazing! Ps. Happy Spring!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cupcake Pop Bouquet

Cupcake Pop Bouquet, originally uploaded by bakers-cakes.

This is the perfect Easter Basket! Bring it to Easter Dinner, give one to your friends, or just get one for yourself!!! Place your Easter orders by April 3rd to get yours in time!!!

Cupcake Pops for a Cause!

I've been working on some Cupcake Pops for a great cause: The Avon Walk For Breast Cancer!

A great group of women are doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and having a Yard Sale/Bake Sale this Saturday! Baker's Cakes is donating Cupcake Pops to the bake sale. If you get a chance stop by, support a great cause, and pick up a treat or two!

Saturday, March 21, 2009
7:00am - 12:00pm
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

It's my week to bring snack into the preschool class! I've already made all kinds of muffins with fruits and vegetables in them, so I needed something different! This could be one of my more "nutritious" treats! Oatmeal Carrot Cookies with Dried Cranberries and White Chocolate Chips!

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

In the bowl of the mixer add: shortening, eggs, brown sugar, milk and vanilla.

Beat 2 minutes.

Here's  where I super cheat! You could combine the dry ingredients separately, but I don't bother. On top of the wet ingredients add: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats. Mix for about one minute.

On top of that add: carrots, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips. Stir until combined. 

Drop by heaping teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet or silpat lined sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes in  350' oven. Cookies should begin to turn golden, remove to cooling rack. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies on Foodista

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Coconut Macaroons

I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of coconut. I'd never drink a daqueri. Almond Joy is not my favorite candy bar. But the weather has been miserable in the southeast the last few days, and crummy weather makes me want to bake. It's comforting and cozy and warm. It makes the house smell yummy.

I was standing in line at Trader Joe's, and right there in front of me, on the "impulse shelf" were some delicious looking coconut macaroons. Remembering that I had some sweetened flaked coconut and sweetened condensed milk at home, I resisted the urge to sweep the entire shelf of cookies into my cart. 

These are probably about the easiest cookie to make! I would have done step-by-step photos for you, but there really aren't any steps!!!

Coconut Macaroons

Preheat oven to 325'
Stir together until combined:
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt 
Stir in:
3 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Drop by measuring tablespoons onto parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheets, about 2" apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 20-25 minutes. Place sheet on a rack to cool after all the cookies are golden brown and let stand until completely cool. (Makes about 2 dozen cookies). 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cookie Pops!

I have been obsessed with making treats on sticks this week! Perhaps it's because half a case of cookie sticks were just hand delivered, with love, to my door!

I wish I could share the recipe for these delicious, yummy cookie pops with you! They are soft and sweet and have a subtle yet complex flavor. Alas, I can't. I coerced the recipe out of a friend and have been paying her back for the last year by delivering part of all my baking projects to her house. She actually threatened to break my legs if I told anyone the recipe. 

Yeah, that's how I roll. On the fringes of a baking mafia. I bet you didn't even know they existed. They do.

Guess who we're rooting for this weekend?

These are my favorites! I was using parchment paper triangles to apply the glaze... it's a delicate trick! I wonder what else I can make on a stick?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Baker's Cakes Signature Chocolate Cupcake

So here it is, the best cupcake I've tasted thus far! I'm not just saying that because I made them, it's really true!

Also, I'm not just saying that because I didn't have to fork over three bucks a pop! They're really good! I made them using Baker's Cakes proprietary Signature Chocolate Cake. They're moist, have a nicely balanced chocolate flavor to sweetness ratio, and are neither dense like a hockey puck nor too light and fluffy to bother eating. And the frosting! Oh the frosting is good! It's sweet and chocolatey AND rich and creamy! I topped some of the cupcakes with dark chocolate crunch topping and I left one little guy plain:

And for those of you who are concerned about what on earth I do with all of these little cuppy cakes... I shared them with friends. They have their own "research" to conduct. Although, I am certain that their findings will be identical to mine!