Tag Archives: ganache

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Tracy of Shutterbean has a little phrase she often throws around on her blog – “Can’t stop, won’t stop.” and that is exactly how I feel about ice cream.  I literally ate all the rocky road ice cream single handedly and as soon as it was finished I whipped up a batch of this ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Even though I’ve had an ice cream maker for over a year, this is my first attempt at vanilla ice cream.  I’m kind of vanilla in many areas of my life but NOT when it comes to ice cream.  For example, my wardrobe is quite vanilla.  I favor solids and simple prints, cotton dresses and flip-flops.  Accessories are somehow really difficult for me.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Yet when it comes to ice cream and baked goods I’m all about accessories.  Plain vanilla ice cream – BORING!!  Luckily I had a quart of man whore bar trimmings in the freezer begging to be put into something wonderful.  You know when you’re trimming bars for a pretty presentation and you’re usually tempted to eat all the edges?  Well gather some self-control and freeze those bad boys for later use.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Trimmed edges make the BEST mix-ins for ice cream.  You’re eating a smooth, creamy, decadent ice cream and then BOOM, a delicious bite of an amazing baked good.  Waste not, want not – word.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}Anyway, vanilla ice cream maybe a little boring, but throw in a little something special inside and you have yourself a marvelous, cold treat for the hottest days of summer.  You won’t regret your decision to mix all your leftover treats in your ice cream, trust me!

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}One Year Ago – Watermelon Martinis

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Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield – 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whipped vodka
1 quart man whore bars, cut into small chunks

  1. Place the bowl of the ice cream maker in the freezer the night before.
  2. Heat the milk, 1 cup heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan until simmering.  Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds.  Add the seeds and the bean pod to the simmering cream.
  3. Simmer for one minute and then cover with a lid.  Remove from the heat and let steep for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and place the mixture back on the heat.
  5. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks.  Add the heated cream mixture to the eggs little by little to temper the eggs.  Once the eggs are warm, add them to the mixture on the stove.
  6. Heat and whisk until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  7. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve.
  8. Stir in the vanilla and the vodka.  Cool the ice cream base completely.  I usually cool in the fridge overnight.
  9. Churn the ice cream according the directions on your ice cream maker.  Once churned pour into a freezer safe bowl and then mix in the chopped man whore bars.
  10. Freeze until firm.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Mix-ins | Pale Yellow {Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Man Whore Bars mixed in!}

 

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Sinful Chocolate Trifle

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Whenever Ruth’s birthday comes around I choose the most difficult dessert/dinner on my wish list of things to make.  One year it was  a 2-day fish taco extravaganza, another year it was my first 5-layered (leaning) cake with each layer featuring a different fruit filling, and last year was the over-the-top chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake cake.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}What can I say, Ruth is a good friend and totally worth it!  On the Sprinkle Bakes website this is a 7-sins layer cake.   I knew I wasn’t up for a layer cake, so my original though was layered cake in jars.  Great in theory except I only have 16-ounce jars, so this entire recipe would have made about 3 servings.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a tad much for me.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Of course I realized the mason jars wouldn’t work while I was just starting the assembly, so I started looking around the kitchen for other ideas.  Luckily we had plastic champagne flutes and small tumblers from our New Year’s Eve party.  The flutes look elegant and cool, perfect for a fancy party.  The tumblers are still cute and way easier to eat from!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}There are a lot of steps, but none of them are difficult.  This recipe takes a little bit of time, but it is all totally worth it.  I made the cake the night before so it was cool and ready to go for assembly.  The pastry creams MUST be made the day before so they have adequate time to chill and develop flavors.  Making the three different pastry creams is high the awesome scale.  Yes you dirty a lot of bowls, but having so many flavors in one dish is a delightful treat to eat.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Just before you are ready to assemble it takes a few minutes to make the frosting and ganache topping.  Assemble however you want.  This would be awesome to layer in a large trifle dish for a big party or in little cups for easy grabbing.  I still think this would look amazing layered in a jar, but use 8-ounce jars!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Here is your next, probable questions – do all these layers and flavors actually taste good?  Yes!  The chocolate cake is light and flavorful and provides a great support for all the pastry creams.  Speaking of pastry creams, they are all spectacular on their own, like you could just eat them with a spoon, no cake needed!  Each one has a distinct flavor whether dulce de leche, espresso, or dark chocolate.  Each bite can be a little different.  The milk chocolate marshmallow buttercream frosting is intensely sweet and the chocolate ganache pulls all the flavors together.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Best of all, the dessert holds its own.  The little cups are portable and easy to take out to dinner to celebrate a birthday and can survive the craziest of cab rides home.  They last in the fridge too.  Like a week later I could still eat a leftover one and it tasted just as fresh as when I made them!  This is the dessert to make when you want to impress your friends!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}One Year Ago – Vanilla Cake Pops

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Sinful Chocolate Trifle
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Yields – 12+ servings

Devils’ Food Cake
1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3/8 cup + 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot coffee
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease two cookie sheets.  Line with parchment paper and grease that too.
  2. Whisk together the chocolate, cocoa, and hot coffee in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and vanilla.  Whisk in half the chocolate mixture and set aside as well.
  4. Add the flour, brown sugar, soda, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  On low speed, mix all the ingredients.  Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Mix in the other half of the chocolate mixture for about 30 seconds and then raise the speed and mix again for 30 seconds.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Add the egg mixture in two parts, first on low speed and then increase the speed to medium for about 45 seconds.  Scrape the bowl as needed, you want the batter to be fluffy.
  6. Divide the batter in half and spread evenly on each cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cake is set but before the edges are crispy.  Allow to cool on the pan.
  8. Note – Make the the night before!

Chocolate Pastry Cream – Three ways
2.5 ounces dark chocolate + 2 tablespoons whiskey
2.5 ounces milk chocolate + 2 teaspoons espresso powder
2.5 ounces white chocolate + 3 tablespoons dulce de leche
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups (16 ounces) evaporated milk
2 eggs + 4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Chop each chocolate individually and evenly and add to three separate bowls.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the cornstarch and 1/2 cup milk.  Whisk in each egg and egg yolk individually.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and the sugar over low heat until the mixture boils.  Whisk continually.
  4. Temper the eggs by adding a little of the hot milk mixture while whisking the eggs.  Once the eggs are hot, pour the eggs + milk into the saucepan and heat and whisk until the mixture thickens and boils.
  5. Run the pastry cream through a fine sieve.
  6. Divide the pastry cream between each bowl of chopped chocolate.  Stir to melt the chocolate.
  7. Add one tablespoon of butter to each bowl and again stir to melt & combine.
  8. Add the whiskey to the dark chocolate, the espresso to the milk chocolate, and the dulce de leche to the white chocolate.  Stir each mixture to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap directly on the pastry creams and refrigerate overnight.  Make the night before!

Milk Chocolate Marshmallow Buttercream
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
6 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled
7 ounces (a small jar) marshmallow cream
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Beat the butter in the bowl a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on high for 3 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar in three batches first on low, and then on a high speed.
  2. Beat in the melted chocolate and marshmallow cream.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Add in the cream and beat until you have reached the desired consistency.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Chop the chocolate evenly and add to a heatproof bowl as you heat the cream to scalding in a small saucepan.
  2. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes.  Stir to melt the chocolate.
  3. Stir in the corn syrup, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Use quickly after making before the the chocolate sauce hardens.

Assembly

  1. Break or cut the cake into small pieces.  I used rounds for the champagne flutes and broken pieces for the smaller cups.
  2. Start with a dollop of buttercream and then add a layer of cake.
  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons dark chocolate pastry cream, smooth and top with cake.
  4. Add 1-2 teaspoons milk chocolate pastry cream, smooth and top with cake.
  5. Add 1-2 teaspoons white chocolate pastry cream, smooth and top with cake.
  6. Pipe another dollop of frosting, top with cake, more frosting, and then drizzle with the dark chocolate sauce.
  7. Garnish with whatever your heart desires!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}

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Man Whore Bars

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}Teddy is my co-teacher and we share the best class ever.  And by best I mean the class that makes me want to pull all my hair out and lock myself in a padded room.  But somehow we’ve gotten through the year, only a few more days until the kiddos graduate, at least most of the kiddos.  Yesterday I bribed to kids to participate with cookies, store bought cookies, true story.

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}Teddy’s actual birthday was in February and made him terrible vegan cupcakes, the ones people spit out.  I knew he was due for a redo, but it took me a while to figure out what to make to compensate for something so horrific.  Man whore bars – perfect!

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}I doubt Teddy is a man whore, but any male teacher gets to play the roll as we work in a female dominated profession.  Lunch most days consists of several ladies and one or two token men; they love it!

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}Man whore bars are a take on the slutty brownie.  Women need not be continually shamed for their practices while men get off without a second thought for their behavior.  What women do or do not do is no one’s business; slut shaming should stop especially when men can be sluts too.  All seriousness aside, here is the answer to a slutty brownie – a man whore bar with more layers of naughtiness.

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}We start with a chocolate chip cookie dough bottom.  I chose store bought dough, which is a rare occurrence in my life, shocking I know, but I felt it justifiable.  Next is Oreos.  Oreos are round and leave gaps.  By cutting them in half and carefully arranging them, there is better coverage.  When Oreos are baked in bars or cupcakes they become softer and better.  Covering the Oreos in brownie batter ensured the Oreos would be perfectly soft and baked into the brownies.

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}If you stopped here, you would have a perfectly lovely slutty brownie, but we’re not stopping, we’re taking things farther, too far even.  Chocolate and peanut butter?  YES!  Some gooey rice crispy treats to hold in the peanut butter cups?  Absolutely.  All that is needed is a little ganache to hold it all together.  Done.  Open your mouth and take a big bite.  It’s OK to be a whore, sometimes you need all the desserts at once!

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}One Year Ago – Strawberry Sparkler

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Man Whore Bars
Adapted from Baker’s Royale via Endless Simmer
Brownie portion from MMMMMM Brownies
Yield – 36 pieces (9 x 11 pan)

16 ounces chocolate chip cookie dough (you could make your own, but this is a 6 layer bar, buy if necessary, no guilt here!)
1 package Oreos
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon espresso powder
12 ounces (1 bag) semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
12 ounce bag Reese’s mini peanut butter cups
10 ounces mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter
4 cups rice crispy cereal
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a 9 x 13” pan with parchment paper and leave extra hanging over the sides.
  2. Press the cookie dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cut half the Oreos in half and line the outside of the pan with cut sides touching the pan.  Use the whole Oreos in the middle.  Set aside.
  4. In a medium sauce pan melt the bag of chocolate chips with 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 teaspoon espresso powder.  Stir and heat until melted.
  5. Let cool slightly and then stir in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Stir in the flour, soda, and salt until just combined.
  7. Pour over the Oreos and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the brownies are set.
  9. While the brownies are baking, unwrap and chop up the Reese’s peanut butter cups.
  10. Also make the rice crispy treats by melting the marshmallows and 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot.  Stir in the cereal to coat
  11. Spread the Reese’s as evenly as possible over the hot brownies.  Things will get melty, but that’s fantastic!
  12. Press the rice crispy treats as gently as possible over the melting peanut butter cups.  The whole bar will feel soft, but keeping pressing and spreading as evenly as possible.
  13. Let the bars cool for about 20 minutes.
  14. To make the ganache, heat the cream until scalding and then pour over the 8 ounces of chocolate.  Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes and then stir to melt.  Stir in the 2 tablespoons of butter and salt.
  15. Spread over the top of the rice crispy treats.
  16. All the bars to cool and harden overnight in the fridge.
  17. Trim the rounded edges of the bars and then cut into pieces.  These are tall, dense, and rich pieces, so smaller pieces are better.  Let people eat two small pieces rather than not finishing a piece that is too large.
  18. Store in the fridge.

man whore bars | pale yellow {chocolate chip cookie, oreo, brownie, peanut butter cups, rice krispy treats, & ganache}

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Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

death by chocolate cupcakes | pale yellow {rich chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate buttercream}

Death by chocolate is not a bad way to die.  If you’ve ever watched The Tudors, you know all the worse ways to die: beheading, boiled alive, burned for heresy, and worst – hung till half-dead, quartered, and then beheaded.  No thanks.  Let’s talk of happy things.

death by chocolate cupcakes | pale yellow {rich chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate buttercream}Here are some happy things I would like to discuss: 3-day weekends, hanging out with my maj in Atlanta, awkward conversations about baking with administration, spinach rolls, happy hour with strong pours of bourbon, and cupcakes.  All happy, nothing about death or the loss of bowels.

death by chocolate cupcakes | pale yellow {rich chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate buttercream}

Fatema is an amazing woman, mother, teacher, and friend.  She is a lady that gets things done when she puts her mind to it.  Recently she has worked hard, sacrificed, and lost a lot of weight.  She has always looked fantastic, but now she glows.  Anyway, when she started this regime, she told me she wouldn’t be having any treats until her birthday.  That’s a lot of pressure.  Last year I made Fatema the infamous 50 Shades of Grey Cupcakes

death by chocolate cupcakes | pale yellow {rich chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate buttercream}

So what better to ruin a diet than death by chocolate?  Death to the diet!!!  As a side note, when ending a pattern of healthy eating, proceed with caution.  Diving into butter and chocolate laden desserts can lead to unpleasant consequences.

death by chocolate cupcakes | pale yellow {rich chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate buttercream}

A death by chocolate cupcake is a wonderful thing to have around.  The cake is moist and tender with delicious chocolate flavor.  A chocolate ganache in the middle adds extra decadence, flavor, and chocolate.  The dark chocolate frosting is the best, seriously the best.  It’s not a Swiss meringue, but the frosting is creamy, rich, and not overly sweet.  And how can can you go wrong with a pound of chocolate?  Overall, this is a delightful cupcake sure to ruin any diet!

death by chocolate cupcakes | pale yellow {rich chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate buttercream}

One Year Ago – Man Cupcakes

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Death by Chocolate Cupcakes
Cake & Ganache adapted from Bakingdom
Frosting adapted from The Curvy Carrot via Martha Stewart
Yield – 18 cupcakes

1/2 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line the cupcake pans with liners.
  2. Whisk together the coffee, water, and cocoa in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking soda, powder, and salt.
  6. On low speed add the flour mixture in three additions with the chocolate mixture in between.  Mix until just combined.
  7. Use a standard ice cream scoop to portion the batter into each cupcake liner.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Ganache
4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt and splash of vanilla

  1. Chop the chocolate in even, small pieces and place in a heatproof bowl
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until scalding.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes.  After 2 minutes stir to melt the chocolate and stir in the salt and vanilla.
  4. Let cool slightly.
  5. Add to a piping bag with an injector tip and pipe into each cupcake.

Dark Chocolate Frosting
1 pound bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
generous pinch of salt

  1. Finely chop and melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  Set aside to cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the boiling water and cocoa powder.  Whisk together and set aside to cool.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and powdered sugar together until pale yellow.  Beat in the salt.
  4. Beat in the cooled chocolate on low speed and then increase the speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Add in the cocoa mixture and beat well.  If the frosting seems too thin, place the bowl in the fridge for about 20 minutes and then re-whip.
  6. Add the frosting to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe onto each cupcake.

Garnish
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons white chocolate chips
chocolate shavings or curls

  1. Heat the cream in the microwave in a small dish and stir in the chips until melted.  Drizzle over the top of each cupcake.
  2. Sprinkle with shavings or curls.
  3. Store in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before consuming.

death by chocolate cupcakes | pale yellow {rich chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, and dark chocolate buttercream}And that’s all that’s left.

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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

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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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Hostess Cupcakes

A week ago I heard the sad news that Hostess was going out of business.  As always, all of my news comes from Facebook, and this was no exception.  I cannot remember the last time I ate a Hostess product, but it is still unfortunate to hear about a company going out of business, especially an iconic one.

As a double bonus, these were the perfect cupcakes to make for Hayida’s birthday.  When Hayida was at my house for our Fall Fest, she conveniently wrote her birthday on our roommate calendar, no worries, I can take a hint!  Considering we had parent-teacher conference the next day and the city took away our mid-winter break, the third floor lunch crew was in need of a sweet pick-me-up and thankfully Hayida’s birthday was the right occasion.

This cupcake requires a large glass of milk.  The chocolate cake is light and moist and the dark chocolate cocoa powder brings plenty of deep, chocolate flavor to the party.  The marshmallow is very sweet and tastes just as I remember the original tasting.  And how can you go wrong with chocolate ganache?  It’s dark and smooth and a perfect offset to the sweet filling.  Adding the piped squiggle gives the cupcakes the perfect amount of whimsy and cuteness.

Feeling nostoligic?  Missing your favorite Hostess products?  No worries, just make your own!

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Hostess Cupcakes
Yield – 22 cupcakes
Adapted from Bake at 350

Cupcakes
1 cup water
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line 22 cupcake tins with papers.
  2. In a small saucepan bring the water and the sugar to a boil.  Stir to combine and melt all the sugar.  Pour sugar/water into the bowl for your stand mixer and add the butter and chocolate.  Stir to melt and let cool slightly.  Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Place the mixing bowl on the mixer and mix on low speed.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Sift together the flour, soda, powder, and salt onto wax paper.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the batter into the cupcake cups.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Filling
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow creme

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for two minutes.  Add in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon cream, pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Beat on low speed to combine.
  2. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of creams in alternating increments on a slow speed.  Add in the cup of marshmallow cream and beat on high until the mixture is well combined.

Ganache
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring the cream, butter, and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Add the hot cream to the chocolate and leave the mixture alone for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the chocolate and the cream together and set aside to cool.  Stir every ten or so minutes to keep the ganache from setting.

Piped Squiggle
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle attachment on slow until well combined.  Turn up the speed and beat for 1 minutes, scrape the bowl as needed.
  2. If the mixture seems too thick, add some more cream.

Assembly

  1. Add the marshmallow filling to a piping bag with an injection tip.  Poke each cupcake in the center and squeeze until the top of the cupcake begins to rise.
  2. If there is a lot of filling poking out, scrape it off.
  3. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of ganache on top of each cupcake and use the back of the spoon to smooth the ganache.
  4. Add the piping frosting to a piping bag with a number 2 tip.  Pipe a squiggle on each cupcake.

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Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

This is kind of a hard post write and that has little to do with the actual cupcakes.  These cupcakes are fantastic by the way!  The cake part is dark, moist, and tender, the chocolate ganache in the middle is a highly delicious extra, and the buttercream is smooth, creamy, and has a perfect caramel flavor.  This cupcake is the total package, a show-stopper.  This is the sort of cupcake you make to impress people and lead them to believe you are a baking genius!

I made these cupcakes for Stacey’s going away party.  Stacey has been my roommate for five years now and I’m more than a little bit sad that she is moving back to Michigan.  When you move to New York at 23 and you don’t know anyone, it can be a little bit lonely and a lot scary.  Luckily, within a few weeks of living here, Stacey and I had become good enough friends for her to ask me to live with her and her college roommate Ruth.  Not having any other options, I accepted!

Five years ago Stacey and I walked the streets of Brooklyn looking for the perfect three bedroom apartment for three brand new teachers.  There were many apartments we couldn’t afford and the ones we could afford were dumps. Finally we found it, the perfect apartment!  After two years of living in the “perfect” apartment, we had lost track of the number of mice we had killed and the rent kept increasing in our “up-and-coming” neighborhood.  So the three of us packed up and moved to Park Slope.  The rescission really helped our ability to afford the neighborhood!

We’ve made this apartment our home.  No longer are we kids just out of college, just trying to make it, we were here.  We finally got big girl furniture and put pictures on the wall.  As Ruth says, we’ve grown up!  The past five years has had us crying on the kitchen floor and on the blowup air mattress in the living room.  We have gone through infinite bottles of wine and learned the beauty of Seamless Web.  We have watched all 6 seasons of Lost and we have most definitely learned how to throw fantastic dinner parties.  We have all earned Master’s degrees and survived not one, but five years of teaching in New York City schools.  We got awesomer and awesomer!

So I sit here at the coffee shop down the street with tears in my eyes because I’m sad things are going to change.  It’s time for a change, I accept that.  Stacey’s moving to Michigan to be closer to her family and start a new chapter in her life and I am so proud of her!  Somehow the girl who barely knew me and asked me to be her roommate because of a mutual love of ice cream, Harry Potter, and Newfoundland dogs, became one of my best friends.  Over the past five years Stacey and Ruth have become the sisters I never had.

Alright, that was an over-emotional outpouring, back to the cupcakes!  They are delicious!  One taste-tester called them the best she ever had!  Yes, I used store-bought caramel.  But after the macaron failure earlier in the week, I couldn’t take any chances, caramel always gets me down when I try to add it to frosting.  You can make homemade caramel sauce if you want, just rub it in!  The inside of the cupcake speaks for itself!

Print the Recipe.

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream
Adapted from Cake Love via The Faux Martha
Yield – 24 cupcakes

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used a dark chocolate powder I bought from Sahadi’s, it’s super dark!)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup half & half
1 tablespoon vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar on low speed for 3-5 minutes until they are well combined.  Do NOT beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time on low speed.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt onto wax paper.
  4. Mix the half & half and vanilla in a measuring cup.
  5. With the mixer on low speed add the the flour mixture in 4-5 additions with a liquid addition in between.  Start and end with the dry ingredients.
  6. Use a standard ice cream scoop to distribute the batter between lined cupcake pans.
  7. Bake for 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (60%)
pinch of Kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

  1. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small sauce pan.
  2. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and salt.  Let sit for about 30 seconds and then stir to combine.
  3. Leave the ganache on the counter to cool and stir every so often so it does not harden.

Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Cake Love via The Faux Martha

5 egg whites
pinch of Kosher salt
1 1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup cold water
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup prepared caramel sauce (I used store bought!)
1 tablespoon vanilla

  1. In a small saucepan mix together the sugar and the water.  Heat until the mixture reaches 245 F.  Try not to stir, just move the pan a little mix.
  2. Meanwhile beat the egg whites and salt until they form a stiff meringue.
  3. Drizzle the sugar syrup into the meringue carefully and confidently as the mixer is whisking on medium speed.  Pour the mixture straight into the meringue, not on the side.
  4. Switch the mixture to high speed and beat for 8-10 minutes or until the bowl is cool to the touch.
  5. Add in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time while the mixer is running on medium speed.  The buttercream may become soft, but just keep beating and it will whip up and become firm.
  6. Add in the caramel sauce and the vanilla, beat to combine.
  7. Place the buttercream in a pastry bag with your desired tip.

Assembly
Mini chocolate chips
Extra caramel sauce

  1. Use a paring knife to cut a cone out each cupcake.  Reserve the cones, do NOT eat them :-)
  2. Spoon about 1/2-1 tablespoon of ganache into each cone.  You want to fill the hollow left by the cone.
  3. Place the cupcakes into the freezer for about 5 minutes for the ganache to set up.
  4. Place the cones back into cupcakes.
  5. Frost a nice swirl of buttercream on the top of each cupcakes.
  6. Garnish with mini chocolate chips.
  7. Time to get messy – Dip a fork into the extra caramel sauce and drizzle caramel over the top.  You can clean the kitchen counter later!
  8. Refrigerate until you want to eat them.

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, take 2

I have posted these cupcakes before in mini form, but I have made a few changes and I wanted to show off the cupcakes in their big boy form!  I wanted to say adult form, but regardless of size, these cupcakes should always be adults only.  You can really taste the liquor!  Again, these would be great for any upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!

I added a little cream cheese to the frosting to make it creamier and there is a new method for getting the ganache inside with a piping bag and specialty tip.

Print the recipe!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes – adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield- 14 regular size cupcakes

Guinness Cupcakes
1/2 cup Guinness
8 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 + 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  In a small sauce pan melt the butter and the Guinness, set aside to cool slightly.  Sift together flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  Beat together the egg and the sour cream in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Pour in the butter mixture and beat to combine, then slowly add the dry ingredients and make sure everything is fully incorporated. Use a standard  ice cream scoop to a lined cupcake pan.  Bake for 14 minutes.  Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Whiskey Ganache
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon whiskey (I bought a little bottle of Jack Daniels)

Heat the cream in a small saucepan while you break up the chocolate.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.  Add in the butter and the whiskey stirring to melt the butter.  Taste the ganache, if you want it to be booze-ier, add more whiskey!  Place the ganache in a piping bag with a number 230 Wilton tip.  Poke the tip into each cupcake until you reach the bottom and then slowly squeeze the feeling into the cupcake.

Bailey’s Buttercream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
7 tablespoons Baileys

Beat the butter and cream cheese until it is pale yellow and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until well combined.  The frosting will be really thick at this point, add about 2 tablespoons of Bailey’s and beat in.  Keep adding Bailey’s until the frosting is a good constancy and has a strong flavor. Adapt as needed.  I like my frosting to taste strongly of Bailey’s!  Use a big star tip to pipe a big star on top covering the ganache!

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Another mini cupcake, but this one is so decadent I can’t even imagine it as a large cupcake.  Two bites are the perfect amount of goodness!  The cupcake starts with a rich and chocolatey  cupcake base, no worries – you don’t taste the beer at all, a rich & smooth whiskey chocolate ganache, and a creamy, boozy Bailey’s buttercream.  And no worries – you do taste the alcohol in the frosting and ganache!

I have made these cupcakes several times with great reviews and I have even brought them into work a couple of times.  They are assistant principal approved!  My family is not opposed to a drink or two, especially at a family Christmas party so I knew these would be a hit.  I have also made the ganache with Bailey’s instead of whiskey and it is equally as delicious.

Print the recipe!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes – adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield 36 mini cupcakes

Guinness Cupcakes
1/2 cup Guinness
8 table. unsalted butter
1/4 + 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 tea. baking soda
1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  In a small sauce pan melt the butter and the Guinness, put aside to cool slightly.  Sift together flour, sugar, soda, and salt onto wax paper.  Beat together the egg and the sour cream.  You can do this in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or you can do it with a regular old hand mixer.  I have used both with great results.  Pour in the butter mixture and beat to combine, then slowly add the dry ingredients and make sure everything is fully incorporated.  Use a small scooper, approximately 1 tablespoon, to scoop into lined mini cupcake pans.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until a toothpick inserted into a center cupcake comes out clean.  Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.  Once cool, use a paring knife to cut a small cone from each cupcake.

Whiskey Ganache
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 table. butter
1 tea. whiskey (I bought a little bottle of Jameson)

Heat the cream in a small saucepan while you break up the chocolate.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.  Add in the butter and the whiskey stirring to melt the butter.  Taste the ganache, if you want it to be booze-ier, add more whiskey!  Let cool and then place a baggie.  Clip off a corner and pipe into the cone of each cupcake.

Bailey’s Buttercream
8 table. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
lots of Bailey’s, like 4-8 tablespoons

Beat the butter until it is pale yellow and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until well combined.  The frosting will be really thick at this point, add about 2 tablespoons of Bailey’s and beat in.  Keep adding Bailey’s until the frosting is a good constancy and has a strong flavor. Adapt as needed.  I like my frosting to taste strongly of Bailey’s!  Use a big star tip to pipe a big star on top covering the ganache!

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