Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin is most definitely one of my favorite flavors. I love the spices that go along with it, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice... yuuuum. SO good :) Most of the time when I bake with pumpkin I make into muffins or a quick bread loaf and try to convince myself it's healthy, but occasionally I will give up the attempts at healthy-ness. These are the times I make pumpkin into cupcakes with obsene amounts of frosting. Like, seriously, the amount of frosting on these cupcakes is ridiculous. There is a reason, though; I have an issue with unfilled cupcakes. For the longest time I couldn't stand cupcakes because the frosting just wasn't evenly distrubited enough. Not to mention, grocery store bakery cupcakes are generally disgusting, but that's besides the point. Once I started filling cupcakes with icing, I couldn't stop. It's the perfect solution, it's not much more work and it's much better for icing distribution. I try not to pile too much frosting on top, as it's generally really rich, but it usually ends up with a giant pile of frosting anyway.
These cupcakes are fantastic. I always think of pumpkin baked goods as dense, which isn't such a bad thing all the time, but these are wonderfully fluffy and still very moist. The frosting is my own recipe and I still need to work out a few kinks before posting it, but just a basic cream cheese recipe will work. I frosted mine with a mascarpone/cream cheese frosting. Yuuum. Enjoy! :)

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

Preheat oven to 350 and line 23 muffin tins with liners.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
Beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, beat until will combined. Beat in vanilla.
With mixer on low, beat in 1/3 flour mixer, mix until just combined. Add in half milk, then another third of flour, the rest of the milk, and then the rest of the flour. Beat in pumpkin until just incorporated. Fill muffin tins about half of the way full, bake 16-18 minutes until they spring back when touched. Let cool completely before frosting.
This is half of the original recipe. It was supposed to only make 16 but I filled mine a little less than the recipe said and got more. I prefered this, the still came up to the top of the paper liners when baked.
Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I'm pretty sure everyone has a comfort food, a food they eat when they're feeling sick, or sad, or just generally in need of comfort. I have two kinds of comfort foods, the kind I like to eat, and the kind that I like to bake. My super major comfort food to eat is soup. I love, love, love soup. I don't care if it's 120 degrees and you're swimming through the air (trust me, that happens here in the south), if I'm sick, I want soup. I've never really been one of those people to eat a container of ice cream when I'm sad. I like salty things when I'm sick or sad.
When I'm feeling like I want to comfort bake something, it's either chocolate chip cookies, or oatmeal cookies. I'm not sure why I'd pick either of those, growing up I despised oatmeal cookies for the raisins (raisins are the bane of my existence) and did not like chocolate chip cookies because dark chocolate tasted like dirt. But whenever I'm feeling like I need a little balance and calm, I bake chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.
This recipe is seriously delicious and super easy. I've actually made it with quick cooking oats before and liked that a lot, it makes the cookies softer. I made them with old fashioned oats this time around because that was what we had in the house, and it's a more classic oatmeal cookie feel. Without the disgusting raisins of course.
You definitely can use just all-purpose flour, I was just playing around with different types of flours for fun and liked this combination :)

Adapted from Joy the Baker
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, and then vanilla. Beat well.

Stir in dry ingredients, then oats and chocolate chips. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake about 9 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 3 minutes before cooling on racks.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Sometimes I get a little crazy. I like to talk to the things that I bake. I know, it's weird. I also get ridiculously excited when it comes to weird things, like key limes and meyer lemons. I have an crazy amount of citrus in my house right now. Seriously, crazy. I just couldn't help myself, it's like seeing something on sale. Just because you don't need it doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it, because what if this chance doesn't come up for a while? That was my reasoning when I bought a bag of key limes, and two bags of meyer lemons. Of course, now I have to actually think of something to do with all of these crazy things. I've made lemon curd (recipe to come), key lime meltaways, and now this totally delicious cake. It's nice and simple, totally easy to bake and really good. I think easy cakes like this may be my favorite thing to eat and bake ever. I'm not so good with the whole gorgeously decorated cookies and cakes thing. I am good at baking pretty delicious things, though.

This cake is delicious and comforting. It's not to sweet and the glaze balances that out really well. It's soft and not too lemon-y and the cornmeal gives it a great texture. This is definitely a cake I will make again soon!

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus one tablespoons melted browned butter

Lemon Glaze:
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, scraped

Butter and flour a 9" cake pan and preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Pour into dry mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Pour into pan and bake about 30 minutes.
While cake is baking, whisk together glaze ingredients. Start with less lemon juice and add more until you get the desired consistency. Mine was thick but still pretty runny.
When cake is done, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes still in pan, poke some holes in it with a fork, and pour glaze on. Let sit at least 30 minutes before eating.