5.31.2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cupcakes


Last weekend, my parents and I visited my aunt and uncle at their new beach house in Florida. Needless to say, I wish I was still there. But after a fun filled weekend of bike rides, sand, seawater, tan lines, sunburns, family dinners, and site seeing, I'm glad to be back in T-town. And we're going back in July, so we'll be there again soon!

Some Instagram pictures from the trip!
I've had this idea for a couple of weeks about ice cream cupcakes after I saw one on Pinterest and one on FoodGawker. I decided to go with chocolate chip cookie dough because a few weeks ago, I made my dad a birthday cake with cookie dough frosting. Unfortunately, the pictures didn't turn out, so I never got to blog about it.

But oh my goodness, cookie dough frosting. So I had to make it again.


Seriously, cookie dough frosting might be my new favorite.

Recently, I've been having a hard time getting rid of the things I bake. I don't want them sitting in my kitchen taunting me, and there are usually left overs even after I invite my friends over. So I've been on the lookout for recipes that make 12 cupcakes instead of 24. For these ice cream cupcakes, I kind of experimented and made my own recipe for 12 chocolate cupcakes, and it turned out pretty well, but I'm still on the lookout.



CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH
ICE CREAM CUPCAKES

12 Chocolate Cupcakes
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
I used a pint of Mayfield ice cream.

Cookie Dough Frosting
Adapted from Tidy Mom
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
mini chocolate chips for decoration

  • Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners. Set your pint of ice cream out to thaw.
  • In one bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Carefully whisk together.
  • In another bowl, combine wet ingredients: the egg, oil, and hot water. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in stages, mixing just until blended. After each addition, scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Fill each of the cupcake liners half or a little less than halfway full. I filled mine about halfway, but next time I'll fill them a little less. 
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Next, put the cupcakes in the freezer. I wanted to the cupcakes to be pretty solid when I put the ice cream on them, but you can probably omit this step if you want.
  • By this time, the ice cream should be pretty melty. Mine was still a little solid in the middle, so I stirred it up until it was smooth.
  • Pour/spoon ice cream into each cupcake liner until it's full. Also, the chocolate chip cookie dough pieces will probably sink to the bottom. I just made sure to get some into each cupcake liner.
  • Then put the cupcakes back into the freezer.

  • For the frosting, cream butter and brown sugar on  medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. 
  • Add the flour, salt, and vanilla.
  • Add powdered sugar in stages, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • Next, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk depending on how thick or thin you want your frosting to be. I added two tablespoons.
  • Then frost your cupcakes and add the mini chocolate chips!






Because it's summer break, a lot of people have gone home and campus has looked like a ghost town at times. Especially during the couple of weeks between the end of the spring semester and the summer semester. Some of my friends are in town, some aren't, my internship is only once a week, and I'm still on the job hunt, so I've been pretty bored at times. A couple of my friends visited this week, so not only did these cupcakes turn out wonderfully, but we got to eat them together too. It was a good time, and very much needed.

5.21.2012

Red Velvet Cookie Cake


Last year, I made my dad a cookie cake for Father's Day. A couple weeks ago when I was asking my mom what kind of cake she wanted for Mother's Day, she wouldn't really tell me, but she mentioned the cookie cake I made for my dad. I didn't want to make her the exact same cookie cake, and then I got an idea.

Red Velvet. 

Red Velvet is super popular, as it should be. It's definitely one of my favorite cake flavors of all time. There are so many variations of it. I've seen red velvet cakes, sandwich cookies, whoopie pies, cheesecakes, puddings/moose, ice creams, and there are probably so many others. It's crazy.

I've seen red velvet cookies on Pinterest and FoodGawker numerous times, but I have never seen a red velvet cookie cake anywhere before. They could totally be out there somewhere, though. Before I made it, I Googled it just to see what it brought up, and most of the links had something to do with cookies made from red velvet cake mix.

So I'm super excited about this cookie cake. Seriously, I really think I'm on to something here.


The very first time I made a cookie cake, I made it with my mom and we used Nestle's Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that's on the back of their bags of chocolate chips. Instead of making cookies, we just spread the dough out in a baking dish and it worked really well!

After searching and comparing many different red velvet cookie recipes, I decided on this one by The Curvy Carrot. When I was spreading the dough out in my glass baking dish, I realized I didn't have enough. So I kind of improvised and made a second smaller batch. Then I scooped the first batch back into the bowl with the smaller batch and mixed them together. It turned out to be a lot more work than I thought, but the end results were very worth it.

RED VELVET COOKIE CAKE
adapted from The Curvy Carrot.

1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3-4 tbsp buttermilk
red food coloring
12 oz bag of white chocolate chips


  • Spray 9 x 13 inch glass or stone baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  • Add milk and mix until incorporated.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder and carefully whisk together.
  • Add the dry ingredients in stages so it won't go everywhere and make a mess. I added mine 1/3 at a time.
  • Add the food coloring. I used the gel kind you can buy at Michael's or Walmart, and I used almost the whole container. 
  • Mix in the whole bag of white chocolate chips. 
  • Bake on 375 for 25-30 minutes.

NOTES:
1. Once my cookie cake started baking and it rose, I realized it was going to be thicker than I thought. Because it was thick, I baked mine for 30 minutes or so. In the past, I've used a rectangle stone baking dish for cookie cakes, but because I thought I didn't have enough cookie dough at first, I used a smaller dish. It turned out fine and still tasted exactly the way I wanted it to, but now I wish I had used the bigger stone dish so it wouldn't have been as thick.
2. If you do use a 9 x 13 inch pan and the cookie cake turns out to be thicker than you thought, don't sweat it. It's still going to taste like red velvety goodness in your mouth.
3. You could use a cookie sheet if you wanted to, just don't spread out the cookie dough all the way to the edges in order to avoid the dough spreading over the sides.
4. If you're not sure how long to bake it, you can always bake it until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (or mostly clean if you like your cookies soft and gooey in the middle, which most people do). I'm not sure if that trick applies to cookies or cookie cakes, but it worked out for me. 


Cream Cheese Frosting
1 eight oz package of cream cheese
1/2 a stick of butter, room temperature
1 box of confectioner's sugar (like Domino's)
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Cream butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the confectioner's sugar in segments, scraping the bowl after each addition.
  • Add vanilla.
  • If the frosting is too thick, you can add milk one tablespoon at a time until it's the desired consistency.




I think my mom was pretty surprised when I told her what it was. She was in and out of the kitchen while I was making it, but I didn't tell her and I wouldn't let her look at it. I really enjoyed this cake, so hopefully she did too.

This cookie cake turned out so well, it's got me thinking about other cookie cakes. I'm going to have to do some experimenting because both of the baking dishes I've used for this in the past are at home and all I have in my apartment is a pizza stone. But I'm going to figure something out, so expect to see more cookie cakes here in the future. :)


5.17.2012

Strawberry Cake


After finals were over, I went home for about a week and a half. In that week and a half, I made three cakes. Three. One for my dad's birthday, one for Mother's Day with family at my grandparent's house, and one for my mom on Mother's Day. I'm going to write about the other two, but I wanted to share this one first.

The day before Mother's Day, my mom's side of the family went to my grandfather's and step-grandmother's house for lunch. I love family get-togethers like this because my aunt, uncle, and cousin come to visit. And this time my aunt brought her new dog that we'd heard so much about.

My new friend Rocky.
He's a golden retriever/poodle mix, but he mostly looks like a golden retriever. I love golden retrievers, but I'm not sure I could deal with a big dog. At least not a dog that's almost as tall as me when it stands on its hind legs.

Whenever we go to my grandparent's house in the spring or summer, we always walk around my step-grandmother's yard and look at all of her flowers. She's really into gardening and has hundreds and hundreds of flowers. I think there were thousands at one point.



I decided to make a strawberry cake for Mother's Day after my mom told me about a recipe my grandmother used to use. We went through her recipe box and found a strawberry cake recipe clipped out of a newspaper too. They were very similar and both recipes used a boxed white or yellow cake mix, so I decided to combine them and make a strawberry cake from scratch.

STRAWBERRY CAKE
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 3 oz box of strawberry Jello
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1 cup frozen strawberries
  • Preheat oven on 350 and spray/line/grease two 8 inch cake pans.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and Jello.
  • In another medium bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  • Add oil, water, and eggs.
  • Mix in the dry ingredients by adding 1/3 at a time.
  • Add strawberries. You can chop them up, puree them in a food processor or blender, or whatever you like. I bought frozen sliced strawberries at Walmart. There isn't a blender or anything at my parent's house, so my mom kind of chopped/pureed them with a hand mixer. Whatever you decide, use one cup of strawberries.
  • Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

STRAWBERRY FROSTING
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 box of powdered sugar (I used Domino's)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberries
  • In a medium bowl, cream butter.
  • Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and scraping the bowl after each time.
  • Add vanilla extract and strawberries. Again, you can chop up the strawberries however you like.

This frosting is not the kind you want to pipe. My mom told me my grandmother used to just pour it over the cake, it would run down the sides, and that's it. I spread it on with a rubber spatula and sure enough, it started sliding off the cake a little bit. I immediately put it in the fridge and everything was fine. 

I decided to decorate my cake with whipped cream and sliced (not frozen) strawberries. They were HUGE, by the way. They were the biggest strawberries I have ever seen. And it wasn't just the one box I bought. They were all that big. I don't know if the farm they were grown on used a special kind of fertilizer or there was a leak of some kind that contaminated the strawberry field, but if I get super powers like Captain America or the Hulk, I'd be okay with that. (I saw The Avengers again last week.) No symptoms so far, though.





This cake is different from most of the cakes I've made so far. This is the first fruit based cake I've made, and I really enjoyed it. I'm a really picky eater, unfortunately. I don't like a lot of fruits or vegetables, and this might sound really weird or silly, but I think a lot of it has to do with textures. My mom is probably rolling her eyes right now, but seriously, I don't like the texture of most fruits and vegetables. I like a lot of fruity flavors though, like strawberry. So the good thing about this cake is that you can do whatever you want with the strawberries. I personally don't like chunks (unless they're chocolate), which I think has to do with textures, so I blended the strawberries. I'm back in T-town now, where I actually have a blender, so I'm going to use this recipe again soon.

I also hope using fruit in cakes will help me learn to like more fruits. Either that will happen, or I will use the fruits as an excuse to eat more cake. I am okay with either one.

After lunch at my grandparent's house, we went to my grandfather's old house and got a bunch of my grandmother's recipes. I made copies of all the ones I want to try, so I should be good on blog posts for awhile.

This cake was perfect for Mother's Day. Especially because my mom wanted me to make it, and because my mom's side of the family was able to celebrate my grandmother too.

5.01.2012

Double Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache

You know what's weird? Tomorrow is my last official day as a junior in college. Also, let me tell you a little secret: I don't want to be a senior.

Nope. Not at all. College is just going by too fast. I'm honestly not ready for it to be over. I mean, I have another year left, but if it goes by as fast as this one, college will be over in no time.

But I don't want to get into all that right now. As much as I don't want college to end, this semester is ending, which also means that finals are ending. And I think that is something to celebrate.


Even if I only had one real final exam, that still calls for celebration, right? Technically I had five finals, but they were mostly papers and revising things I've already written. One of my literature classes had an acutal exam, but luckily that was the only one!

A couple of  weeks ago, one of my friends tweeted me the link to this Double Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache. The end of the semester was coming up, and I thought it would be perfect for an end-of-the-school-year cake. I was a little concerned my oven wouldn't like this cake because I'd never used a bundt cake pan it in before. But I was pleasantly surprised! It liked this pan more than regular cake pans.


And look at all that ganache. Mmmm. There were left overs. ;)

I really liked the actual cake. It was very fluffy and moist like the recipe said, and I will definitely make it again in the future. Maybe in cupcake form.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE
adapted from Food & Wine

For the Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk

For the Ganache
(I doubled the original recipe because I always seem to run out of these kinds of things.)
2/3 heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Spray your bundt pan and set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips on low heat and stirring continuously.
    • Or you can just melt them in medium/large glass bowl like I did. Melt according to directions on bag.
  • Whisk in the oil and sugar.
  • Then whisk in the egg.
  • Add half the dry ingredients, half the coffee, and half the buttermilk. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients, coffee, and buttermilk. Whisk until smooth.
  • Pour into bundt pan and bake on 350 for 45 minutes.
  • The original recipe says to bake the cake in the lower third of the oven for 45 minutes. Because my oven is old and runs too hot, I baked it at 325 for 25 minutes and it was done. So if you do bake it for 45 minutes, I would check it often. Unless you're a pro at bundt cakes and totally know what you're doing.
  • Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before letting it cool on a wire rack. Let it cool for 30 minutes.

  • For the ganache: combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup in heatproof bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium heat.
  • Pour the cream over the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Whisk until smooth and creamy. Let it sit and thicken for 5 more minutes.
  • Then pour over the cooled bundt cake.


Tonight, friends are coming over to hang out, celebrate the end of the semester, and eat cake. I'm sad the semester's over, but I'm glad we're going to hang out one last time. And it really isn't even the last time. Some of my friends will have to go home for the summer, but some are staying here, too. I don't even know if I'm staying here. I applied for a summer internship and thought I'd know by now if I'd received it or not. If I don't, I'll probably have to go home. But if I do get it, I'll stay and try to find a part time job as well. Hopefully I'll get it, but all I can do now is wait. And at least I get to wait with friends and cake.