Vanilla Almond Buttercream Frosting

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Vanilla Almond Buttercream

This weekend I wanted to play a little with baking a cake and decorating it since it has been a while since I’ve made and decorated one. I decided upon a vanilla cake, baked it, then the big decision was what kind of frosting I would use. I prefer buttercream, but it doesn’t set up as well as the frostings I’ve made with shortening. I really don’t like the frostings made with just shortenings, so I decided to do a mixture. The recipe was inspired by the recipe I found on I Am Baker‘s website.

To make the buttercream, you will need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening (I realized I put in a whole stick when I only needed half, but it still turned out pretty well with the whole stick)
1 two pound bag of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup milk (I used Vanilla Silk Milk)

Directions:
1. Put the butter, shortening, vanilla extract, and almond extract in the mixer and cream together about 30 seconds.
2. Dump the entire bag of powdered sugar in, along with the milk. Mix until creamy and desired texture. You can add more milk if you’d like your frosting to be thinner.
3. Enjoy!

I kept my frosting a bit stiffer since I knew I’d be decorating the cake using rosettes.

Vanilla Almond

Baking love,
Heather

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Valentine and Housewarming Cake Pops!

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Valentines Day and Housewarming Cake Pops

I was asked to make some cake pops by an acquaintance, and I happily said yes! She was looking for me to make her ones for Valentine’s Day and for some to give as a housewarming gift. We both looked online to see what might be best and she chose owl and cupcake Valentine cake pops and a mix of houses and purple ball cake pops for the housewarming gift. I set to work and this is what I came up with! These were so fun to make, I really just want to make more cake pops!! Unfortunately, I did not take pictures through my cake pop making process, but I’ll include a list of items needed for each type. I made a mix of vanilla cake pops and cookies and cream cake pops, using a box mix and store bought icing to mix it with. If you’d like to see how I make the cake for the cake pops, take a look here! For all of the cake pops I used my Oxo small cookie scoop to make sure they all used about the same amount of the cake/icing mixture. You will also need the sticks, bags, and ribbon to package all of the pops.

Owl Cake Pops
Owls

For the owls you will need:
*Red, white, and pink candy melts
*Chocolate chips to make the ears
*White sprinkles and a food writer to make the eyes (or the eye sprinkles that they sell)
*Orange sprinkles for the nose
*Pink and white hearts for the wings
*Star sprinkles for the feet
*Flower sprinkles for the bow

Cupcake Cake Pops
Cupcakes

For the cupcakes you will need:
*Red, white, and pink candy melts
*Valentine colored sprinkles
*Small hearts and round red balls to put on top

Housewarming Cake Pops
Houses

For the houses you will need:
*White and black candy melts
*Food writer for the windows, door, and grass (I like the Americolor writers)
*Flower sprinkles

Purple Cake Pops
Purple ball

For the cake pops you will need:
*Purple candy melts
*White sprinkles

I now have cake pop fever and am pinning tons of cake pop creations that I want to try!

Happy cake pop making!
Heather

Dessert Buffet Fun!

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Table with Words

This past weekend, my friend Beryl had a live Q & A with some of the local Momtographers and she asked if I would make some desserts for a dessert buffet. I happily agreed and then it was time to decide on a menu.

First, Beryl requested the Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes we had made for the photo shoot last month in a miniature form. Easy enough, but what kind of frosting? Beryl saw my post about the Marshmallow Buttercream and decided that might be a delicious addition to the cupcakes…I agreed! We also decided upon a bit of a strawberry theme, so I made some of the cupcakes with regular Marshmallow Buttercream and some with a Strawberry Marshmallow Buttercream.

To make it strawberry, I took about 5 strawberries, cut them up into tiny pieces, then mashed them a bit in a Ziploc bag. I added this to half of the regular recipe of Marshmallow Buttercream (I had already used the other half to frost half of the mini cupcakes). I did run into a couple of issues with this- the strawberries made the frosting a little bit more runny, which I think could be alleviated by draining out a bit of the strawberry juices before adding them to the buttercream. Some of the cut up strawberries would also get stuck in the piping tip, which would cause a ton to come out at one time. If I had cut up the pieces even smaller, this wouldn’t have been a problem. The Strawberry Marshmallow Buttercream turned out to be SO delicious…those little cupcakes became quite addicting!!

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

The next item on the menu? Mini Strawberry Shortcakes! I found some push-up pop like containers at Joann’s that I thought would be perfect for these little cakes! To make the mini Strawberry Shortcakes, you will need:

Angel Food Cake (You can make your own or buy one at the store)
Strawberries, some cut into small pieces, some cut into sixths (I think I used about 2 containers)
Strawberry Syrup
Cool Whip

Directions:
1. Take the Angel Food Cake and cut it into thin pieces. I cut horizontally along the bottom of the cake to get bigger pieces.
2. Use one of the push-up pop containers to cut out 2 round pieces of cake for each container (there were 12 in the box so I cut out 24 pieces).
3. Mix the small pieces of strawberries with strawberry syrup (I think I put in about a half of the bottle of syrup, but it depends on how sweet you’d like the mixture).
4. Put one piece of cake in the bottom of the push-up pop container, then a layer of the strawberry mixture, and finally a layer of Cool Whip. Repeat with another layer of each ingredient.
5. Put one of the strawberry pieces that are cut into sixths on top of the mini Strawberry Shortcakes.
6. Enjoy!

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

For the final item on the menu, I made a fruit platter with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip. This simple dip is by far my favorite dip for fruit! To make the dip you will need:

8oz Whipped Cream Cheese
7oz Marshmallow Cream

Stir the two together and serve with your favorite fruit! It’s that easy!

Fluffy Fruit Dip

Everything on the dessert buffet was a hit! I think Beryl’s daughter, Brielle, probably liked the cupcakes the most!

Brielle

Beryl made a couple other items to serve, including a DELICIOUS homemade Strawberry Lemonade that included a fresh strawberry puree, fresh squeezed lemons, simple syrup, and a little sparkling water. Homemade Strawberry Lemonade is definitely the way to go!!

Baking love,
Heather

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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Up Close Detail with words

Over the weekend, I met up with my friend Beryl (after her superhero adventures) to bake some gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. I’m taking her Momtographie Online class (which is awesome!) and she wanted to get some video footage baking with a friend for one of the lessons. I was happy to be the friend to help her out with this!

We decided on a Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcake from Cupcakes Take the Cake with a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Savory Sweet Life.

To make the cupcakes, I followed the recipe from Cupcakes Take the Cake, but made a couple of changes. Here is exactly what I did!

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Position rack in center of oven. Place cupcake baking liners in a 12-cupcake baking pan (this recipe really makes the perfect amount for 12 regular sized cupcakes). In a medium sized bowl, stir flour blend, salt, baking powder, and guar gum until mixed. Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl of electric mixer at medium speed for one minute. Make sure your mixer is on stir and add the bowl of dry ingredients slowly until mixed. Continue on stir and add oil, vanilla soy milk (I really think this made a huge difference in the vanilla flavor) and vanilla until ingredients are mixed well; beat at medium speed for one minute (the batter will be pretty runny). Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in center of oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until center springs back when touched and cupcakes are very lightly browned. Cool on rack for five minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan onto rack and cool completely before icing.

DSC_0198

To make the frosting, I did the following:

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (your finger should be able to push into the stick, but the butter should NOT be melted!!)
3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. With your mixer on stir, add 3 cups of powdered sugar slowly until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream while still on stir (so they do not splash) and then beat everything for 3 minutes at medium speed. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add more sugar (I would add 1/2 cup at a time until it is the consistency you’d like). If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time, to your liking.

At first, I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough frosting for the cupcakes because it didn’t look like much, but it turned out to be way too much for the 12 cupcakes!

Once everything was ready, Beryl and I decorated the cupcakes using some store bought flowers, roses I had made, and sprinkles. What was really great about the whole experience was that since we were making the video for Beryl’s photography class, I got some one-on-one time with Beryl to ask questions about my camera and take some great pictures of our freshly made cupcakes! Here are some of the pictures that I took while learning!
Rose Up

Rose Over

Up Close Detail

Rose Details

And all of the cupcakes together…minus the few we ate before we took the pictures!
All Cupcakes

These cupcakes turned out to be so delicious, none of us (my husband wanted to taste-test too) could tell that they were gluten-free! Like I said before, I think the vanilla soy milk made all the difference! The big test for these cupcakes was how they tasted the next day…and Beryl let me know that they were still moist and delicious two days after we made them!

It was such a fun day of baking, decorating, and photographing with a great friend!
Baking love,
Heather