Monthly Archives: January 2013

Almond Vanilla Orange Cookies

almond vanilla orange cookies // pale yellow

Have you ever eaten a dozen cookies because you can’t figure out if you like them or not?  No?  Maybe it’s just me.  When I was typing up the recipe for these cookies I realized I made two errors: heated the oven to 350 F instead of 325 F and I didn’t allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.  I attribute these two errors to a the chewy texture present in the cookies.

Almond Vanilla Orange Cookies // Pale Yellow

After eating almost two dozen of these cookies over the course of three days I realized something critically important – the cookies improve over time.  They became softer and melted in your mouth.  Ruth agreed after apologizing to me for eating a few cookies.  I said, “don’t apologize, I thank you for saving me the calories of eating more cookies!”

Almond Vanilla Orange Cookies // Pale Yellow

These cookies were made to eat while watching the Golden Globes, clearly these posts follow current events.  I adore Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, it was delightful to watch them and laugh at their jokes.  And yes, it is exciting to see Hilary’s husband!

Almond Vanilla Orange Cookies // Pale Yellow

The flavor is fantastic.  Completely soft and subtle and beautiful.  This is a ladylike cookie.  Usually I make cookies that are made for mass consumption and lounging on a couch.  Or cookies befitting a party with a keg.  Not these.  These cookies make me want to sit up straight and wear some stockings.  I will totally be making these cookies again for a British movie marathon or my next tea party!

Almond Vanilla Orange Cookies // Pale Yellow

Massaging sugar with flavorful ingredients is a one-way ticket to superb tasting cookies.  The sugar’s rough texture breaks down the orange zest and vanilla bean seed creating this soft mixture with the best aroma imaginable.  I wish you could smell the orange-y-ness and vanilla-ness that was going on the kitchen.  Using almond paste allows you to get rid of the flour and butter to make these healthier and gluten free.  All around, almond vanilla orange cookies are a bit different from the usual cookie, but totally wonderful.

Almond Vanilla Orange Cookies // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago: Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

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Almond Orange Vanilla Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Yield – 32 (1 tablespoon) cookies

1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 vanilla bean
8 ounces almond paste
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
powdered sugar for dusting
sliced almonds for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Zest the orange and split the vanilla bean to remove the seeds.  Add the zest and the seeds to a small bowl with the sugar.  Massage the three ingredients together until the zest is soft and the sugar smells like heaven.
  3. Add the almond paste and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat until the almond paste is crumbly.
  4. Meanwhile beat the egg whites slightly in a small bowl with a fork until frothy.  Add the egg whites and beat until a smooth paste if formed.  Scrape down the bowl.
  5. Add in the sugar mixture and almond extract, beat until well combined.
  6. Use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the dough on a cookie sheet.
  7. Sift powdered sugar generously over the cookies and press one almond slice in the center of each cookie.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minute or until they begin to brown slightly.  Allow to cool on the pan before packaging.Almond Vanilla Orange Cookies // Pale Yellow
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Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

On January 8th, I celebrated one year of blogging.  There was not a party, nor was there a big to-do on the blog.  I simply made myself a cake, a cake just for me, filled with my favorite flavors.  A bit of hazelnut, a bit of booze, some nuts, and lots & lots of chocolate.

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

Cakes are more work than cupcakes and not as easy to share, so I don’t make them as much.  However, cakes are awesome when it comes to presentation.  Nothing says celebration like a beautifully done cake.

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

After the photographs I sat on the couch and ate a slice of cake.  It was a quiet, peaceful moment, just me and my cake.   I need to embrace more of those moments.  The rest of the cake was carried off to work and shared during a lunch time meeting.

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

The cake was well received, very well received.  The chocolate cake is moist, tender, and deeply chocolate.  When I say this is a chocolate cake recipe to make you give up boxed mixes forever, I mean it.  Each layer of cake is further moisten and flavored with Frangelico liqueur.  I know cakes in bakeries often have simple syrup or liqueur in-between layers to keep them from drying out.  I knew it was going to be a few days between constructing, photographing, and consuming the cake, so I wanted to make sure the cake tasted fresh: worked like a charm.

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

Nutella buttercream.  There is absolutely nothing but joy that can come from those words.  I used my favorite swiss meringue buttercream and added a jar of nutella, the buttercream can absorb all the nutella in the world.  The pale brown color pairs perfectly with the deep brown of the cake.  And the sweet, delicate chocolate hazelnut flavor is outstanding.

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

Decorating the cake was an ease by piping stars and adding hazelnuts on top, I wanted people to know the internal flavor from the outside.  I added the cigar-type cookies on the outside for flavor, texture, and effect.  A little crunch on the outside of the cake is delightful for the mouth and the eyes get to appreciate the beauty of the cookies surrounding the cake.

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

Overall, this cake was made out of love for myself and all the work I’ve put into the blog.  I hope that shows.  Happy Blog-o-versary Pale Yellow!

chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

One Year Ago: Butterlane Cupcake Class

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Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
Yield – 6” round cake, 8-12 servings
Adapted from Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup hot water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease a 6” round pan with shortening.  Cut a round piece of parchment paper and place it in the bottom.  Grease the parchment paper and add a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder inside.  Shake the pan to evenly distribute the cocoa powder and knock out the extra.
  2. Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, soda, powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix together on low with the paddle attachment.
  3. Beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix until just combined and scrape down the sides.  Turn on the mixer and add the hot water slowly until well combined.
  5. Fill the cake pan and bake 30-35 minutes.  Check the cake after 25 minutes with knife and bake until the knife comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Hazelnut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 ounces egg whites
5 ounces sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cup (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean
1 jar (13 ounces) nutella

  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Place the mixing bowl in a double boiler.  The pot only needs to have a thin layer of simmering water.
  2. Whisk the egg whites frequently while they heat.  Cook until the mixture is no longer gritty.
  3. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whisk on high speed for 6-10 minutes or until the bowl is cool to the touch.  The egg whites should have whipped into a stiff, shiny, meringue.
  4. With the mixer still going on medium speed, add in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  The frosting may get a little loose, but just keep beating, it will all come together and get stiff.
  5. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out, add the seeds to the buttercream and beat to combine.
  6. Pour in the nutella, beat until well combined.

Assembly
1/4 cup Frangelico liqueur (a little bottle is plenty)
1 tin Dark Chocolate Pirouline Cookies
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts

  1. Use a cake leveler to make a flat top on the cake.  Eat the scraps.
  2. Eyeball the cake into thirds.  Use the cake leveler to cut one-third of the cake.  Place the first third upside down on your serving plate.  Place strips of parchment paper under the edge of the cake to keep the plate clean.
  3. Use a pastry brush to moisten the cake layer with Frangelico.  Take a generous dollop of buttercream and place it on the cake layer and spread evenly.
  4. Slice the remaining cake in half and carefully place a half on top of the cake.
  5. Again moisten the layer with Frangelico and spread an even layer of buttercream on top.
  6. Place the last layer of the cake upside down so the bottom of the cake is now the crumb-free top.
  7. Add a large scoop of frosting on top and smooth over the edges.  Frost the sides.  Try to make the sides a even as possible.
  8. Trim the cookies so they have different heights and alternate the heights along the side of the cake.
  9. Add the remaining frosting to a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe large stars on top.
  10. Add a hazelnut in the center of each star.
  11. Refrigerate the cake to help everything set and hold together.  Bring to room temperature before cutting and serving.chocolate hazelnut cake // pale yellow

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Mojito Cupcakes

Mojito Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

Today is a perfect day for some mojito cupcakes.  It finally got cold here in Brooklyn, real-cold, like I’m-actually-wearing-my-hat-cold.  Everyday I found myself running to my bed to find some warmth after work.  On these chilly days, something warm and tropical seems like the perfect getaway, even if you’re only going away for a few minutes while you eat this cupcake.

mojito cupcakes // pale yellow

My dear friend Jackie has one of those awkward birthdays that fall between Christmas and New Year, and every year I am out of town and am not able to properly celebrate her birthday.  So I try to overcompensate.  I have found the best way to overcompensate is with cupcakes.  People aren’t allowed to be annoyed at you when you give them a dozen delicious cupcakes!  Last year, I made Jackie these cupcakes for her birthday.

mojito cupcakes // pale yellow

Why mojito cupcakes in the middle of winter?  Well there’s a funny story that involves me, Jackie, and mojitos.  One afternoon after work, some coworkers were enjoying an adult beverage or two on a lovely outside patio.  Before we left work that day Jackie mentioned how delightful a mojito would be – something light and crisp, fruity, but not too sweet.  I agreed, fantastic plan.  I arrived slightly ahead and ordered myself, only myself, a refreshing mojito.  Just as Jackie arrived, so did my drink

mojito cupcakes // pale yellow

So yes, I am a jerk.  I ordered a mojito for myself without even thinking about getting one for the friend who thought of the idea in the first place.  I admitted my folly and we laughed, but I was still a jerk.  I think these cupcakes finally make up for that jerky-jerk move.  Luckily, Jackie and I have gone on to share many cocktails together whether on the road for a science teacher conference (we’re cool like that), a girls’ weekend, happy hour, or just a beach day.  She is a true friend who deserves infinite mojitos.

mojito cupcakes // pale yellow

These mojito cupcakes don’t just have a great back-story, they have a great taste.  I used my vanilla cupcake recipe but replaced the vanilla bean with lime zest and added some chopped mint.  The rum glaze on top is divine, like I was licking the bowl instead of rinsing it off divine.  The mojito Swiss meringue buttercream is a perfect balance to the sweet glaze and wonderfully creamy.  Overall this cupcake is sweet, moist, tender, and tasty with plenty of minty-lime goodness.

mojito cupcakes // pale yellow

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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Mojito Cupcakes
Adapted from Tie Dye Cupcakes
Yield – 18 cupcakes

1 cup sugar
zest of one lime
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2/3 cup milk
5 mint leaves, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer add the sugar and the lime zest, massage together with your fingers.
  3. Add the flour, powder, soda, and salt to the sugar, mix slowly with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add the butter and beat for several minutes until the mixture becomes nice and crumbly.
  5. While the mixer is mixing, whisk together the yogurt, oil, eggs, and lime juice.  Pour this into the mixer and combine.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  6. Slowly add the milk and turn on high for a few seconds.
  7. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the batter into lined cupcake pans.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until a toothpick in a center cupcake comes out clean.  Cool on cooling rack.

Rum Glaze
Adapted from The Baker Chick

1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup white rum
zest of one lime
5 mint leaves finely chopped

  1. In a small saucepan heat the sugar, water, and butter until the mixture is bubbling and the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Turn off heat and stir in the rum, lime zest, and mint leaves.
  3. Let cool slightly for about 5 minutes to give the mixture time to marry.
  4. While the cupcakes are still warm, poke each cupcake with a knife about 4 times.  Dip the top of each cupcake in the rum glaze.
  5. Once you have dipped all the cupcakes, go back through and re-dip each cupcake.  Let the cupcakes with the glaze cool completely before frosting.

Mojito Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Brave Tart

3 3/4 ounces egg whites
3 3/4 ounces sugar
pinch of Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons lime juice
8 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 lime cut into slices + mint leaves for garnish

  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Place the mixing bowl in a double boiler.  The pot only needs to have a thin layer of simmering water.
  2. Whisk the egg whites frequently while they heat.  Cook until the mixture is no longer gritty.
  3. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whisk on high speed for 6-10 minutes or until the bowl is cool to the touch.  The egg whites should have whipped into a stiff, shiny, meringue.
  4. With the mixer still going on medium speed, add in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  The frosting may get a little loose, but just keep beating, it will all come together and get stiff.
  5. Add the lime juice 1 tablespoon at a time on low speed, it’ll take a minute for the buttercream to absorb the liquid.  Add in the chopped mint leaves for the final mix.
  6. Place the buttercream in a piping bag with a large star tip.  Pipe a small swirl on each cupcake.
  7. Garnish with a lime wedge and a mint leaf.mojito cupcakes // pale yellow

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies // Pale Yellow

I made these three weeks ago.  Seriously.  December was a blitzkrieg of baking and I needed time to edit photos, type recipes, and post everything, there was an overwhelming amount of content.  PS, I just had to look up the definition of “blitzkrieg” to make sure I used it in a correct context, I did!  These brownies were made for our little NYE shindig along with the Vanilla Pudding Shots.  They were obviously well received and enjoyed by hostesses and guests alike.  How can you go wrong with a fudgy brownie base, rich cookie dough middle, and decadent chocolate glaze on top?  These puppies are made to impress.

chocolate chip cookie dough brownies // pale yellow

If you’ve been poking around the blog recently you will have hopefully noticed some changes.  I’ve been trying to clean things up by streamlining the categories and tags.  I have also fixed up New Foods -2012 and added Cookbooks – 2013.  These pages show my yearly projects.  Also, the Recipe Index is completed, I just need to keep updating it.  The last mini-project is to update the About page and add some pictures, hopefully that will get done soon.  I just want to make things look nice for you guys.

chocolate chip cookie dough brownies // pale yellow

Lately the number of visitors has sky-rocketed.  There is a lot of excitement and pressure that goes along with all the views.  I will try my best to continue posting fantastic and fun recipes, these bars are no exception.  The three layers look like they would be a lot of work, but they are not, trust me on this one.  The brownie layer comes together in a snap and while it is baking you can mix together the egg-less cookie dough.  Then, make some glaze, smooth on the cookie dough, pour the glaze on top and you’re done.  This recipe is a crowd-pleaser!

chocoalate chip cookie dough brownies // pale yellow

One Year Ago: Heath Toffee Cupcakes

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook by Lindsay Landis
Yield – 32 small brownies (8 x 8 pan)

Brownies
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line the bottoms and sides of an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.  Make sure to leave overhang for easy removal.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt onto parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl on top of a small pot of simmering water.  Stir until the mixture is melted.
  4. Whisk in the sugars until the sugars have dissolved.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture until just blended with a rubber spatula.  Pour into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Cookie Dough
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

  1. Beat together the butter and the sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow.  Beat in the milk and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  2. On low speed mix in the flour and salt until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.
  3. Spread the cookie dough over the cool brownies.

Chocolate Glaze
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a glass bowl in the microwave in 20 seconds intervals until almost completely melted. Stir to melt the rest.
  2. Pour over the cookie dough and spread evenly.
  3. Refrigerate until set.  Use a sharp knife to cut the brownies into 16 squares and then cut each square at a diagonal for small bites.  These bars are rich, so smaller is better.

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Vanilla Pudding Shots

vanilla pudding shots // pale yellow

Friday was a recipe for the kids, today is all about the grown-ups.  Because honestly, the best part of being a grown-up is drinking, am I wrong?  Pudding shots look sweet and perfect for a kids party, but these cuties pack a punch, a vodka punch.  With a half of fifth of cake vodka in my cupboard, I’m always on the look out for ways to use it up.  I know I could just drink it all, but that seems a little excessive.

Vanilla Pudding Shots // Pale Yellow

The pudding shots were made for our NYE’s party, but they would be great for any party, or any time when you want a party to happen.  Nothing says party more than sprinkles and whipped cream.  The pudding shots are easy to mix together ahead of time but I wouldn’t add the sprinkles and the cookie until right before serving.  As you can see from the picture the sprinkles bled a bit and the cookie get a little soggy.  The cookie makes a perfect little spoon to scoop up all the boozy vanilla pudding!  There may or may not be left over pudding shots in the freezer that serve as a delightful-midweek pick-me-up…

Vanilla Pudding Shots // Pale Yellow

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Vanilla Pudding Shots
Adapted from Endless Simmer
Inspired by That’s so Michelle
Yield – 48

3.9 ounce box instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup cold milk
1/2 cup cake vodka, I used Three Olives
1/3 cup whipped vodka, I used Pinnacle
8 ounces Cool Whip, I used reduced fat
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
splash of vanilla
sprinkles
24 Dark Chocolate Pirouline Cookies
48 small cups

  1. Whisk together the pudding and the milk in a large bowl.  Whisk in the vodkas.  Fold in the cool whip.
  2. Set up the cups in a 9×13 baking pan.   Transfer the mixture to a large baggie and then snip off the end to fill the cups.  Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  3. Make whipped cream by whisking the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form.  Whisk in the sugar and vanilla.  Transfer to a piping bag and pipe a dollop in each cup.
  4. Cut each pirouline cookie in half.
  5. Top sprinkles and half a cookie to use as a spoon.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

I appreciate the tastes of teenage girls – simple.  Whenever I make cupcakes for students they always request simple and straight forward deliciousness.  These red velvet cupcakes are a perfect example.  Don’t confuse simple with bland or boring.  These cupcakes are moist and flavorful.  So far this year I have made vanilla cupcakes and oreo cupcakes for my monitors.

red velvet cupcakes // pale yellow

The winter doldrums have officially set in.  Everyday I come home from work and lay on the couch hiding under the blanket trying to find warmth and motivation.  There is so much to do, yet it’s easier to do nothing.  It’s silly considering I just had a 10-day vacation, but the holidays are never relaxing and work has a lot of deadlines right now.  Oh well, things will surely improve, enough whining.

red velvet cupcakes // pale yellow

About the cupcakes.  Red velvet is a great flavor to have in your arsenal.  Chocolate can be too heavy or rich and some weirdos people are not chocolate lovers.  Vanilla can be a little boring.  Red velvet is the perfect intermediate with lots of flavor and excitement but none of the bore.  Also, nothing goes better with a tangy cream cheese frosting than red velvet cupcake with just a hint of cocoa.

red velvet cupcakes // pale yellow

One Year Ago: Rainbow Cookies

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Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield – 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup flour
1 table. Dutch-processed cocoa, unsweetened
½ tea. salt
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
squirt of red gel food coloring paste (I use Americolor Tulip Red)
1 tea. vanilla
½ cup buttermilk
¾ tea. baking soda
1 tea. white vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt onto wax paper.
  3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the oil and sugar.  Add in the egg and beat well.  Add the vanilla and food coloring and mix on medium until everything is well combined.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mix on low speed and then add 1/2 the buttermilk, add another 1/3 of flour, mix well.  Add the remaining buttermilk and then the rest of the flour.  Beat everything on high speed for 5 seconds to combine well.
  5. In a small measuring cup mix the soda and vinegar together and then add to the batter mixing well.
  6. Using a standard ice cream scoop to portion batter into lined cupcake pans.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of a center cupcake cleanly.
  7. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Sprinkles

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla and salt.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  2. Gradually add in the powdered sugar to make a stiff frosting.
  3. Place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe a swirl on each a cupcake.
  4. Top with sprinkles.red velvet cupcakes // pale yellow

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Lemon Loaf Cake

Lemon Loaf Cake // Pale Yellow

Many years ago I made this lemon loaf cake several time with great success.  I remember wanting to make a lemon pound cake, but without all the butter.  I made this cake before I knew the about the awesome world of baking & cooking blogs, luckily, Ina Garten and Food Network were there to help me find this recipe.  This cake is moist, rich in lemon flavor, and has zero butter.  I’ve been wanting to post this recipe for awhile, but I have been looking for the right occasion to make it.

Lemon Loaf Cake // Pale Yellow

Every year the family Christmas party has a theme for a white elephant gift exchange.  This year’s theme was kitchen gadgets,  I was ready to rock this.  Last year my gift for the “Great Outdoors” theme was lame and I wanted to bring my A-game, plus, when you bake as much as I do, people have expectations.

Lemon Loaf Cake // Pale Yellow

My thought was to choose a recipe, not too challenging, and buy the necessary gadget to go with it.  I thought about this for a few days and decided on lemon loaf cake, lame gift giver no longer!  These are the actual gadget I gave: a beautiful loaf pan, lemon/lime juicer, and zester.  I also included a few lemons, the recipe, and a loaf of this wonderful cake.

Lemon Loaf Cake // Pale Yellow

My mom should have taken this gift, because as it turns out, she does not have a 9″ loaf pan.  Instead I made three mini loaves.  This turned out better because I was able to give one mini-loaf away, eat one loaf that day, and share the last loaf with my grandparents at lunch the next day.  My brother ended up with the gift which is funny because he doesn’t really enjoy lemon and his girlfriend is gluten-free…

Lemon Loaf Cake // Pale Yellow

Whether or not you were the lucky recipient of this gift bag, make the lemon loaf cake.  It is light and tender with plenty of citrus flavor.  The lemon truly shines in this recipe.  After all the heavy recipes of the Christmas season, this cake is a simple and much needed reprise.

Lemon Loaf Cake // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago: Mini Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

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Lemon Loaf Cake
Adapted from Food Network (Ina Garten)
Yield – 1 loaf (10-12 slices) or 3 mini loafs (24 slices)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 + 1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 + 1/3  cup lemon juice, freshly juiced (4 lemons)

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly juiced (1 lemon)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 9 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper.  Or grease and flour 3 mini loaf pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, powder, and salt onto parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, oil, and lemon juice.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Pour the batter into the pan.
  5. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Bake the mini loafs for 25 minutes.
  6. While the loaf cools, cook together 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar to make a simple syrup.
  7. Pour the syrup over the cake and then allow to cool completely.
  8. Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Pour over the top of the cake.  Allow the glaze to harden.

Lemon Loaf Cake // Pale Yellow

(My gift wasn’t the most awesome, someone brought a wine rack with bottles of wine.  Booze always wins in my family.  Always.)

 

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2012 – A Year in Review

mini apple cheesecakes // pale yellow

After 155 posts and one year of blogging under my belt, I’m feeling pretty good.  I am proud of what I have put out and most importantly I am impressed by my own improvement.  While I was compiling the Recipe Index I was able to look at all the different recipes I have made this past year.  The following is a list of overall favorites, my personal favorites from each category, and the top 5 posts of the year.

Overall Winners:

  • Best PhotoApple Pie Cheesecakes – Every time I see this picture I am happy.  I love the composition, the lighting, and the level of detail.  Photography is far and away my greatest struggle and it makes me feel good when I get it right. (Picture up top)
  • Best thing eaten all year from the blogMint Fudge Ice Cream with Brownie Pieces – Hands down the best thing I made and ate all year.  Truth.mint-fudge ice cream with brownie pieces // pale yellow
  • Best thing Ruth ate all year from the blogCookie Crazy Cupcakes – Interesting choice, I made them for my own birthday and found them a little too rich, glad Ruth liked them so much.Cookie Crazy Cupcakes via Pale Yellow

Best thing Andrea ate all year from the blogChocolate Bourbon Ice Cream – So much bourbon and so much chocolate, how can you go wrong?chocolate bourbon ice cream // pale yellowCategorically Speaking:

apple cider sangria // pale yellow IMG_0931

  • BreakfastBaked Pumpkin Donuts – I never thought I would make donuts at home because I’m not into frying things, but baked donuts, and pumpkin no less, it’s a winner.Baked Pumpkin Donuts // Pale Yellow
  • Brownies/BarsRed Velvet Brownie S’more Bars – After 13 bar recipes I finally learned to cut them the next day for clean, even lines.IMG_0667
  • CakesChocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake – Only 4  cakes made the list, probably because they are a lot of work, this cake was the most work of all.IMG_0885
  • CookiesHomemade Tagalongs – There were 34 cookies to choose from, including 6 chocolate chip cookie recipes, making this a tough category.  The homemade version of tagalongs were way better than the Girl Scouts’, sorry ladies.IMG_0414
  • Cupcakes (best tasting)Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream – With 46 recipes for cupcakes, this was by far the biggest category, so I made three winners.  These cupcakes with incredibly rich and delightful.Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting via Pale Yellow
  • Cupcakes (prettiest)Bellini Cupcakes – Using gumpaste added an elegant touch to the cupcakes.IMG_0571
  • Cupcakes (most fun)Chocolate Beet Cupcakes – The pink color is gorgeous and it was a blast letting people guess the secret ingredient.IMG_0979
  • DessertBrownie Sundae – There were only 4 dessert recipes, it was kind of easy to make a choice.  How do you make the best ice cream ever better?  Add more brownie and hot fudge.brownie sundaes // pale yellow
  • Ice CreamPeach Sorbet – Considering I didn’t buy an ice cream maker until July, 7 recipes for ice cream seems pretty good.  Since the mint ice cream was already used, I wanted to choose a different recipe.  This peach was a surprise favorite, completely rich, creamy, sweet, and fresh.Peach Sorbet via Pale Yellow
  • MiscellaneousMarshmallows – There were 4 miscellaneous recipes on the blog this year and marshmallows were far and away the best.  I always thought homemade marshmallows were ridiculous, but now I get it, they are beyond delicious.IMG_0444
  • PiesCrack Pie – With only 5 pie recipes, it was difficult to make a decision.  Crack may be whack, but this pie is amazing.Crack Pie via Pale Yellow
  • SavoryFrench Onion Soup – A girl needs to stop eating butter every once and awhile and these 13 recipes prove that.  Great soup recipe.french onion soup 1
  • Sweet TreatsMargarita Whoopie Pies – The only boozy bake good to make the list, out of 4 sweet treats this was my favorite because of its fresh flavor.IMG_0898

Most popular – Top 5 posts according to views, almost all cupcakes, hmmmm…..

  1. 50 Shade of Grey Cupcakes – Naming anything after the popular books is guaranteed to bring visitors.  This is a great cupcake as a modified slutty brownie.IMG_0797
  2. Man Cupcakes – Any combination of bacon, cinnamon, and maple is sure to bring all the men and women around.IMG_0857
  3. White Russian Cupcakes – These cupcakes look sweet, but they pack a boozy punch.  This was a popular pin on Pinterest.IMG_0384
  4. Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting – This one surprised me, but I guess a lot of people are searching for this type of recipe.IMG_0180
  5. Cake Decorating 2 Final Cake - As guess a Wilton decorating class also brings a lot of hits to the blog.photo(30)

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the recipes and looking at the pictures, I’ve certainly enjoyed baking everything!  Here’s to 2013 with even more blogging success.

Leave a comment – What was your favorite from the year?

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Apple Caramel Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

Best. Cupcake. Ever.  Some bold statements were made about these cupcakes.  Paula didn’t think so, she prefers a boozy cupcake, luckily I have plenty of those to go around.  I agree with Paula, this is not the best cupcake I’ve ever made (at least in my opinion), but that’s one of highlights of baking, everyone has different tastes.  My favorite brownie is not everyone’s favorite brownie, hence the 12-million chocolate chip cookie recipes out there in the world.  And this, my friends, is the biggest challenge of baking for others – what do you make someone that is their favorite kind of flavor?  It’s a lot of fun to try!

Apple Caramel Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

Irene said “best cupcake ever first” and I’m glad she thinks so because these were her birthday cupcakes.  Last year I made her Heath Toffee Cupcakes.  I talk about Irene a lot because she is my #1 fan, really, truly.  She is my literal number 1 commenter besides myself, that obviously makes her my #1 fan.  If I ever get a cookbook deal I’ll probably dedicate it to Irene because she has supported me more through this process than anyone else.  I don’t mean to get sappy, but I just reread Bossy Pants and if Tina Fey can write love letters to Amy Poehler, I can write love letters to Irene.  Boom.

Apple Caramel Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make these cupcakes for a looooooong time, since mid-fall.  I had leftover salted caramel sauce and leftover apple butter in the fridge and this seemed like a perfect fall cupcake.  Then, a hurricane kept me out of work for a week and altered my life view a bit, these cupcakes were pushed to the back burner.

Apple Caramel Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

So here’s the truth – Irene, I made you these cupcakes because I love you, and I had all the leftover ingredients in my fridge, luckily they don’t spoil.  Sorry.  No worries, these are some outstanding cupcakes and no one got sick.  PS – NO one has EVER gotten sick from something I have made (as far as I know…)

Apple Caramel Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

What we have here is a cupcake moistened with apple cider and spiced with cinnamon.  The inside is injected with rich apple butter and the cupcake is frosted with a creamy caramel and cream cheese frosting.  To finish there is a delightful drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce.  I think you should make these cupcakes and decide for yourself if they are truly the best. cupcake. ever.

Apple Caramel Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago: Roasted Chestnuts

Print the Recipe!

Apple Caramel Cupcakes
Adapted from Lehigh Valley Live
Yield – 12 cupcakes

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup apple butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line your cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Sift together the flour, powder, cinnamon, and salt onto wax paper.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in three additions with the apple cider in two additions in between.  Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  5. Use a standard ice cream scoop to divide the batter between cupcake liners.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Fit a small piping bag with an injection tip and fill with the apple butter.  Push the tip into each cupcake and then pull out slightly, squeeze the apple butter and slowly remove the tip from the cupcake.  Wipe off any extra apple butter.

Caramel Buttercream
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 + 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
salted caramel sauce for drizzling

  1. Melt the brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan, heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.
  2. Whisk in the cream and then pour into a small bowl to cool to room temperature.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 6 tablespoons of butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Beat in the butter and salt.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and drizzle in the caramel mixture.  Gradually add in the powdered sugar to make a stiff frosting.
  5. Place the frosting in a piping bag and pipe a swirl on each a cupcake.
  6. Heat the salted caramel sauce in a small saucepan filled halfway with water.  When the sauce is loose, drizzle over each cupcake.

Apple Caramel Cupcakes // Pale Yellow

(PS – Irene is contemplating starting her own blog, she needs to totally do it, then we can be IRL friends AND blogging friends!)

 

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Candy Cane Cheesecakes

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

One last holiday recipe, it’s January 11th and I’m finally done posting all my Christmas cookie and holiday treat recipes.  I would say it’s time for some healthy, whole foods, because it is time, buuuuuut that’s not happening at my house.  There is still plenty of dangerous baking going on around here; January has a quite a few birthdays that simply require cupcakes.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes 6

My New Year’s Resolution is simple – each month I will pick one area of my life and focus on improving that area for the month.  This month it is working out.  My goal, not resolution, is to run or workout at least three times a week with another walk or two thrown in.  Right after a good sweat I feel fantastic, but trying to motivate myself is another story…

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

If you have been following the blog since the summer, you hopefully haven’t noticed the sad excuse for a Recipe Index.  It was not well organized or maintained.  This past week I’ve been working to update things, SO GO THERE NOW!!!!  It’s not fancy, but it has a picture each recipe I’ve posted with a link.  It’s a Pinterest board of me.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

These cupcakes were made for the dessert tray at my family Christmas party.  My dad’s side of the family always meets up on a non-holiday day to celebrate Christmas and it’s kind of awesome – family, food, and drinks without the obligations of the actual holiday.  Also on the tray were naughty bars and gingerbread cupcakes, please notice this week’s blogging theme.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

The candy cane cheesecakes are not in-your-face minty.  They have the sweetness and peppermint-ness of candy canes, not mint leaves.  The crust is perfectly crunchy and provides contrast to the silky cheesecake on top.  A little swirl of rich, creamy, decadent chocolate ganache never hurt anyone and it pulls the mini cheesecakes all together.  Keeping the cheesecakes in individual cupcake wrappers make these desserts super easy to serve for a party!

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago: Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Print the Recipe!

Candy Cane Cheesecakes
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield – 24 cupcake size cheesecakes

2 cups (2/3 of a package) Oreo cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of salt
5 crushed candy canes
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
3 broken candy canes for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place cupcake liners into 24 cupcake tins.
  2. Crush the oreos into small grounds.  Mix with 4 tablespoons of unsalted, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of the oreo mixture into each cupcake liner.  Press down firmly to make a solid bottom.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the cheesecake mixture.  Beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the egg, sugar, salt, and peppermint extract.  Make sure the mixture is well mixed.  Fold in the crushed candy canes.
  7. Reduce the oven to 300 F and scoop 2 tablespoons on the mixture on top of each oreo bottom.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are set.
  9. Let cool completely in the fridge.
  10. To make the ganache garnish – Bring the heavy cream to a simmer and pour over the bittersweet chocolate.
  11. Allow the chocolate to sit and then whisk until melted.  Whisk in the butter.
  12. Let cool completely whisking every few minutes.
  13. Pipe onto the chilled cheesecakes and place a piece of candy cane on top.Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

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