It’s 2017 and I’m Back!

This post is being updated from 2015 when it was initially written.  That was the day that I flipped the switch and started blogging on a self-hosted site with a paid domain.  And now for the good news…  I’m back!  Blogging back here at my old stamping grounds – yay!

Please continue to stay with me as I share my new recipes, DIY projects, photographs, and my simple country life back here where it all began.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Wish me luck!

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

 

Watching the snow fall yesterday made me long for tropical.  A bright sunny beach, a cozy hammock nestled under a row of palm trees, a warm tropical breeze, and of course a fruity cocktail in hand.  And once my daydream ended, I realized that a tropical flavored cupcake would be the closest I’d get to anything tropical for quite some time.

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

With some leftover pineapple slices in the fridge, and a box of coconut pudding in the cupboard, a new cupcake recipe was born 

These cupcakes are super moist and they don’t need a thick buttery frosting to make them shine.  The combined flavors do that all on their own.

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 12 cupcake tins with papers.

1 egg

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. olive oil

1 3.4 oz. package of Jell-O Instant Coconut Pudding/Pie Filling

1/2 c. diced pineapple

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. skim milk

In a large bowl, add egg, sugar, oil, pudding and pineapple; beat briefly with electric mixer.  Mix in baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Add flour and skim milk and beat until all ingredients are combined.

Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Allow to cool in tins before transferring to a baking rack. 

When ready to serve, sift confectioners sugar on top of each cupcake.

What are you doing to help you get through the long winter?  Are you daydreaming like me? Or are you planning a sunny vacation?

Shiver Me Timbers; Vanilla Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes

Shiver me timbers… Here is a cupcake recipe that will make your Halloween a happy one.   And if it doesn’t, I’ll walk the plank.

This recipe combines all of my favorite flavors (vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate) into a sinfully moist and rich cupcake.  Factor in the homemade vanilla buttercream icing, and your timbers will be shivering too! 

Vanilla Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes by The Joy of Caking

1/2 c. olive oil

3/4 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c. sour milk

1/3 c. creamy peanut butter

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

Place 12 cupcake liners in cupcake tins.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add oil, sugar, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and eggs; beat thoroughly with electric mixer.   Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, milk, and flour; mix completely for about 2 – 3 minutes.  Remove 1 – 1 1/2 cups of batter from the large bowl and place in a  small bowl; set aside.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave for about 1 minute;  mix melted chocolate to the small bowl of batter.

Using a small ladle, fill cupcake papers equally with vanilla peanut butter batter.  Using a dining sized tablespoon spoon chocolate peanut butter batter on top of vanilla peanut butter batter.  Using a toothpick, swirl the chocolate peanut butter batter into the vanilla peanut butter batter.

Bake for 14- 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into center of cupcake.  Cool slightly before moving cupcakes to cooling rack. 

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

3 tbsp. butter, softened

1 tsp. clear vanilla extract

1/2 bag (1 lb.) of confectioners sugar

2-3 tbsp. milk

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add milk one tablespoon at a time to ensure proper consistency.

Once cupcakes are cool, frost and decorate.

 

As luck would have it, SweetWorks Candy recently sent me a box of goodies to put to good use.  I couldn’t resist using some of them to decorate these cupcakes in a pretty Halloween fashion.  I  just love the bright and flashy color of their Pearls, Sixlets, and Gumballs.  Don’t they make the cupcakes look so adorable? 

A big thank you to SweetWorks for providing me with the candies used in this post.  Please note – I was not compensated for writing this post and the opinions herein are my own. 

weekend-potluck-buttong

big-inspiration-monday

Double Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Topping

Our garden needs to be planted, my flower beds need mulched, the lawn needs a manicure, and there is still a lot of work to do on the Pink Paradise, but because we had cooler than normal temperatures this weekend, none of that has been done.  Instead, I opted to stay warm and exert my creativity in the kitchen.  If you like combination of vanilla and strawberries than I predict you will like this recipe.

Double Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Topping

3 eggs

1/2 c. olive oil

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 package of vanilla pudding

3/4 c. sour milk

1 1/4 c. sifted flour

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Line 18 cupcake cups with cupcake tin paper liners.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add eggs, oil, and sugar; mix thoroughly with electric mixer.  Mix in baking powder, baking soda, salt,  and vanilla pudding.  Sift in flour, add sour milk, and vanilla.  Beat until batter is smooth and creamy. 

Ladle cupcake batter into prepared cupcake tins (about 2/3 full) and tap pans on counter to settle batter (you’ll see in the picture below I didn’t do this and it resulted in air pockets).  Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of cupcakes.  Cool in tins before moving to cooling racks.

Strawberry Cream Topping

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

4 tbsp. strawberry gelatin (powder)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large chilled bowl, add ingredients and beat with electric mixer until cream thickens into whipped cream.  Place whipped cream in pastry bag and top each cupcake.

These cupcakes are moist and sweet.  Their flavor reminds me of a homemade sugar cookie recipe I make, and the light creamy strawberry topping compliments them perfectly.

How was the weather this weekend in your neck of the woods?

Other strawberry related recipes:

Strawberry & Cream Cupcakes

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes

Strawberry Bliss Ice Cream

Strawberry Freezer Jam 2012

Old-Fashioned Custard Pie with Strawberry Sauce

Glazed Strawberry Crumb Muffins

French Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Crème Frosting

blitzed-on-pinterest2

Star Bright

I was digging through my baking cabinet the other day when I happened upon these pretty little star decorations.   I had just finished taking pictures of the Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes that I’d made but something told me not to put my camera away.  These pretty little stars were begging me to take their picture.

And since they were begging me; I obliged.

Do you enjoy taking the pictures for your blog, or do you dread it?  And do you think your mood at the time you are taking pictures helps or hinders your creativity?

3 Favorite Recipes and 3 Years of Blogging

Today marks my 3 years in the blogosphere.  I hadn’t even given it a thought until WordPress sent me a congratulatory message this morning.

To celebrate my blog turning 3 years old, I decided a virtual party was in order, so here are a few of my favorite desserts for you to indulge in.

These HOMEMADE LEMON CUPCAKES are one of my favorite cupcake recipes. Moist and lemony – these are perfect recipe for any Spring or Easter celebration.

This OLD-FASHIONED CUSTARD PIE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE is one of my favorite pie recipes.  The smooth sweet taste of custard is countered with the tangy strawberry sauce.  This pie will delight your flavor buds – guaranteed.

And these CHOCOLATE COVERED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE BARS are one of my favorite bar recipes.  These cheesecake bars will take care of any craving you might have for chocolate and cheesecake at the same time.  The caramel is just a huge added bonus.

Thank you all, for reading my blog and helping it grow.  Without you, the readers, it wouldn’t be what it is today.  Your interest is what inspires me to continue baking, writing, photographing, and sharing glimpses of my country life.

 

 

The Chocoholic Cupcake: Another Valentine’s Day Dessert

A couple weeks ago I announced that I was going to make a few  treats in an effort to pick the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.   The only requirement for the dessert; it must have chocolate in it.  And as you might imagine, this is becoming a harder chore than I originally thought.

The first recipe I presented was for Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes.  They definitely hit the spot, and after making them I had to wonder if I would be able to top them.

Well… now I present the Chocoholic Cupcake.  The cake is dark, moist, and less sweet than a lot of chocolate cupcake recipes.  I like to top them off with either  vanilla or chocolate buttercream frosting which is sweet and buttery and compliments the dark chocolate cake.

I have to say that it is nearly impossible to choose a favorite between the two desserts I’ve made so far.  I have at least one more dessert to make before picking a favorite, but now I’m wondering if we should celebrate Valentine’s Day with just desserts and wine!

Chocoholic Cupcakes

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 c. brown sugar, not packed

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 c. olive oil

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. cocoa

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. skim milk

1 c. boiling water

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes. 

Prepare cupcake tins by placing paper liners in each cup.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add sugars, eggs, skim milk, and oil.  With an electric mixer beat ingredients for 2 minutes.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa; mix again until completely blended.  Add boiling water and flour; beat until smooth and creamy.  Stir in vanilla extract. 

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

I couldn’t resist decorating these cupcakes with bright gumballs from SweetWorks candy, along with Hershey’s creamy milk chocolate hearts and kisses.  Both are so festive!

And drum roll please…. 

TheMaryJaneFam blog, Raising Jane Journal, featured photos of my one and only Pink Paradise today.  They also shared a link to my Tin Can Tourist post as well.   I feel so honored!  If you have a minute,  please hop on over there and check it out.

Also, an important reminder all you glampers  –  the International Glamping Weekend is scheduled for  June 1-2, 2013.  Follow the link above to find out more.

I shared this recipe at:

weekend-potluck-buttong

 

Grandma B’s Birthday Cake

In celebration of my hubbies birthday I transformed his favorite birthday cake into cupcakes.   This cake has a unique (hard to describe) flavor, and the topping which is made with walnuts, sugar, and heavy cream make it sweet, rich, and addicting. 

This recipe that has been passed down in my hubbies family has put me to the test.  The first time I made the cake it turned out dry as a bone, and the frosting turned out like rock candy – not good!

With a little tweaking of Grandma B’s original recipe I came up with a moister cake.  And yes, my husband noticed it wasn’t as dense too.   I swear I can’t get anything past him.

I’m not going to share the original recipe with you because I would hate for you to have the same bad experience I had, so here is my adapted version.

Grandma B’s Birthday Cake

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 stick of margarine, softened

1/4 c. olive oil

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. lemon or vanilla extract (I used lemon, but prefer vanilla)

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. skim milk

Walnut Frosting

1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake tins with papers.

In a large mixing bowl, add sugars, butter, oil, and eggs; beat until  light and creamy.  Add baking powder, baking soda, and extract; mix together.  Add flour and milk; mix until all ingredients are completely blended.

Bake until cupcakes are golden brown and toothpick comes clean when inserted into center – about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  Once cool, remove cupcake papers and place cupcakes on large cake plate; set aside.

Place walnuts, sugar, and heavy cream into a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil; stirring constantly.  When mixture boils for about 1 minute and starts to look frothy, remove  from heat.  Pour topping over baked cupcakes.  Allow to cool at room temperature before serving.

Do you like to fix recipes that you haven’t had the best of luck with, or do you toss them and keep looking?

Cupcakes, Candy, SweetWorks, Giveaway!

There are three things you should know about me, and each has to do with candy.

1.)  I loved the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  And that’s how I envision every candy factory being run.  Yes, even today!

2.)  My sister and I were once mad scientists and put Pop Rocks candy in a bottle of soda while we were sitting in our dad’s car.  Whoa!

3.   I’ve conspired with SweetWorks candy to show you some of their awesome new products, and in return they are sponsoring a GREAT giveaway here at The Joy of Caking!

Don’t you just love it when I tell you my secrets?  Now, let me tell you a few of SweetWork’s. secrets.

SweetWorks, Inc. is a candy manufacturer and distributor located in Buffalo, NY.  Their brands include Sixlets, Oak Leaf, Niagara Chocolate, Ovation, and Celebration candies.  And if that’s not enough, they are the parent company for Florida Tropic and Bubble King.  This corporation produces some of the most popular candies out there.

Since I typically blog about baking it only seemed appropriate to share SweetWorks Celebration line with you.

The Celebration line offers an unbelievable variety of beautifully colored Pearls (smaller, harder) candy coated balls that taste similar to a Jawbreaker in flavor, and Sixlets (larger, softer) candy coated balls that have a sweet chocolaty flavor.  Both are gluten-free.

candy and chicks 008

To show you just what you can do with the Pearls and Sixlets I started out by making lemon cupcakes with a white vanilla buttercream icing.  I’ll share that recipe with you later this week – I promise. 

I decided to focus on three decorating themes to give a sense of just how useful these decorations are.   I am sharing my finished cupcakes in the form of three virtual parties!

The first party is….

5678

Both the brightly colored and shimmering Pearls and Sixlets turned my simple lemon cupcakes into a cute and inviting baby shower theme. 

The second party is…

  4567

I knew immediately when I saw the shimmering gold and silver Pearls and Sixlets that I was headed toward a wedding shower theme.  I only wished I knew someone who was getting married soon so I could show these off in the real world and not just the virtual world.  All I can say is elegant!

And the last party…

3456

What is a birthday without candles?  A great one in my estimation…   Especially when they illuminate the whole room and the fire department has to be on standby!  Again, these bright and shimmering Pearls and Sixlets offer an eye catching and festive birthday celebration. 

Now, a word about my experience with Celebrations candy.

Neither the Pearls or Sixlets melt in your hands when you handle them and they’re durable. The colors also didn’t run when they came in contact with the frosting. I actually frosted my cupcakes the night before and left them out at room temperature before taking my pictures the following morning.

I would offer a word of caution where the Pearls are concerned.  They are considerably harder than the Sixlets and they might be too hard for small children or people with dental concerns.  The Sixlets make the perfect alternative in those situations.

I have had so much fun working with SweetWorks and their candies. And now it’s your turn to have some fun!

SweetWorks is offering an assortment of eleven bottles of Pearls and Sixlets to one lucky TJOC reader.

This contest is now closed.  The winner is CindyB – congratulations!

To enter: Leave a comment on this post telling me which of the three virtual parties you liked the best.

For additional entries:

Follow SweetWorks on Pinterest, Facebook, and/or Twitter

Follow The Joy of Caking by Email, RSS, Pinterest, and/or Twitter.

Pin on Pinterest

Share on Facebook (with the link to this post)

Tweet this on Twitter:  Win Celebration Candy from @SweetWorks and @thejoyofcaking (with the link to this post).

Make sure you leave a comment for each of the actions you take in order to qualify for additional entries.  Eleven possible entries per person!

This contest is open to US Residents only.  The giveaway will close and the winner will be randomly selected on April 6th. 

Disclosure:  SweetWorks provided the candies for this post.  All opinions are my own.

Bakery Style White Cake & Cupcakes

What do you like in a cake?  Course or fine grained? Moist and dense, moist and crumbly, light and fluffy, or something in between? 

I prefer a cake that’s dense, and so moist, that you can practically hear it when you cut it. 

Over the weekend I decided to make a white cake.  It’s been ages since I’ve done so.   One reason it’s been so long? I have been hard pressed to find a good white cake recipe that suits my preferences.

I did a little research before deciding on a recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s cookbook Baking. 

In this case, I intended to make a couple significant changes to the recipe (which I did) so this is more like comparing apple to oranges then apples to apples.   I also wanted a smaller layer cake and planned on making mini-cupcakes with the remaining batter.  I’ll get to my opinion in a second. The altered version of the recipe is below.

 

cake 105

White Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. half & half

1/2 c. milk

5 egg whites, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease two 6” round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of both pans and re-spray. Line mini-cupcake tins with 18 paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. 

In a large bowl, add butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract; blend until smooth and light.

Alternate adding flour, milk and half & half with butter mixture; mix thoroughly. 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold egg whites into batter. 

Pour batter into 6” cake pans about 2/3 full.  Use remaining batter to fill each mini-cupcake about 1/2 full being careful not to overfill – they will rise considerably. Bake cakes 30-35 minutes; cupcakes 8-10 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from in pans. Cool completely on bakers rack before frosting.

cake 089

My conclusion?  I’m still looking for white cake recipes.  This cake has a nice flavor but the texture I was looking for wasn’t there.  This cake reminds me more of a bakery cake, a little finer, crumbly, and slightly drier than what I prefer.  I’ll keep searching…

cake 136

I opted for a cocoa frosting recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. 

Cocoa Butter Frosting Recipe

Ingredients:

1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened

1/3 c. baking cocoa

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Approximately 2 tbsp. milk (use more or less to obtain the consistency of the frosting you like)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. 

Do you have a good white cake recipe that you think fits my criteria?   I’d love to hear from you.