Tag Archives: recipes

Early Mornings, Late Nights, and London Fog Cupcakes

Let me tell you a little story.

Two years ago, a naive eighteen-year-old girl was preparing to begin a new chapter of her life at university. She wasn’t nervous or scared, but instead was excited to be more independent and self-reliant. Little did she know how much dedication, organization, and energy was required to be successful. When September hit, she was faced with the long and painful hours spent reading, the early mornings required to beat the traffic rush, and the chaotic atmosphere of students rushing here and there. Although stress quickly hit and a few breakdowns transpired, she found great comfort in the hours she spent in the coffee shop on campus, sipping away at her new found favourite hot drink. She made it through that year (and the next) with a little help from the pure sweetness that London Fogs brought to her study hours.

Okay, so London Fogs are not the only thing that got me through my first two years of school, but they definitely contributed. I have vivid memories of sipping the sweet drink while fighting my eyes to stay open as I read my astronomy textbook. And modern art history textbook. And arts and culture textbook. You get the point.

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself “What in the world is a London Fog?”. I don’t blame you for asking. It is essentially a sweetened earl grey tea latte. Put simply, vanilla syrup is added to earl grey tea and steamed milk. It is sweet and frothy and every sip is as good as the last. The only thing I can really say is: de-lish. If you haven’t tried one, you need to.

So that brings me here. The other night, I was tossing and turning into the late hours of the night. Millions of thoughts were running through my mind. From mental checklists to cupcake flavour combinations, my brain could not settle itself down. But I guess I can’t complain because I came up with some fabulous ideas for future baking projects, one of which being this one.

A couple weeks ago, I was scanning through one of my favourite blogs. I was introduced to the possibility of using tea in baked goods when I came across a recipe for Earl Grey and Poppy Seed Muffins. I wanted something sweeter than muffins though. I wanted cupcakes. So I adapted my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe to include earl grey, whipped up a batch, and swirled each with some delicious vanilla buttercream and chocolate sprinkles. Then I ate one. Or two.

So let’s make some, yeah?

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Continuously whisk the milk to prevent it from burning on the bottom of the pot. When it begins to steam, add the tea bag and continue to whisk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally. Simmer it for two minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover, allowing the milk to sit for three minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first three ingredients in a small bowl. Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Alternatively beat in the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake for 20 minutes. Cupcakes will be slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, cream together 3/4 cups of softened butter and 1 and 3/4 cups of icing sugar. Add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag adorned with a preferred decorating tip. Cover the tops of cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

That’s all there is to it. Whether you are an avid tea lover, an adventurous flavour seeker, or just simply willing to try something new, you will love these cupcakes! The earl grey flavour is not overpowering at all and combines perfectly with the vanilla. The buttercream is very sweet, so I suggest going easy on the swirls of frosting. Overall, the flavours combine together quite nicely and create a delicious (and in my case nostalgic) treat.

As I baked these up, I couldn’t help but wonder what other flavours besides vanilla would go nicely with earl grey. I also tried thinking of what other flavours of tea would bake nicely into a cupcake. What do you think? Green tea? Herbal teas? Something fruity?

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RECIPE: Caramel Walnut Cake (Happy 81st Birthday, Grampa)

The days and hours were counting down until my Grampa’s birthday dinner, and I was wracking my brain for the perfect cake recipe to celebrate with. I searched through many of my favourite baking blogs, failing to find any recipes that Grampa would be thrilled with. He doesn’t like cheesecakes and tends to lean more towards the sugary-sweet flavours over chocolate or fruits. After finally asking my Grandma, she suggested something maple or caramel. Suddenly, the perfect recipe shed light into my unhopeful and failing hunt.

I came across this recipe for Double Caramel Cake through Pinterest (of course). The recipe comes from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody where she titles it “The Cake That Broke My Will”. I strayed from the original frosting recipe a teeny-weeny bit, so my version is more like fudge on top of a cake. I ain’t complaining. It is fairly sweet but definitely worth every bite. I also added in a few nuts–walnuts to be exact–for a little bit of crunch. Before I begin, I just want to put a little disclaimer out there: I am in no way a skilled cake decorator. No matter how hard I try, my cakes are always hideous. Please look past the fact that this cake looks ridiculous and just trust the fact that it tastes fantastic.

So, ready to make something deliciously sweet?

Caramel Cake

Melt the 1/3 cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to stir it until it turns an amber colour. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the 1/4 cup of boiling water. It will become syrupy. Allow it to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two matching pans. Beat the softened butter and additional sugar together until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 4 tablespoons of the syrup mixture, mixing well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another separate container, combine the milk and the vanilla. Alternately add the flour and the milk mixtures to the wet mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 25-35 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven). The cakes will be done when the centres are fully puffed up, the edges are browned, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 10-15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Fudge Frosting

Cut the rounded top off of one of the cakes (this will be the bottom layer). In a medium saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, but continue to stir constantly. Continue boiling until it reaches a “soft ball” state. You will know it reaches this state by dropping a drop of the syrup into a cup of cold water. If it holds it’s shape fairly well and can be removed from the water, it has reached a “soft ball” state. Remove the syrup from heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Beat in the vanilla extract and beat for 2-3 minutes as the syrup thickens. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined. Immediately spread some of the frosting on the bottom layer, sprinkle with nuts (if desired) and place the second layer on top. Quickly frost the top of the cake and sprinkle with additional nuts. Voila!

The cake is really rich, but it is worth trying. The actual cake part is moist and just has a faint flavour of caramel, where as the frosting adds that extra punch of flavour and sweetness. The original frosting recipe makes more of a caramel glaze, which I imagine would taste fantastic as well. Make it the same way but omit the icing sugar.

To leave off, I thought I would just share an instagram photo of the birthday celebration. I hope you are all having a wonderful week. It’s Wednesday–hump day–which means we’re half way there. Blessings!

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RECIPE: Raspberry Macaroons

Coconut always has and always will be a favourite flavour of mine. A hint of coconut in anything is a delicious addition. From oatmeal cookies to skor bars, fruit smoothies to muffins–coconut is exactly what most treats need to taste just a little bit sweeter. As for macaroons, they’re about as good as it can get!

When I first came across the recipe for Raspberry Macaroons, I was instantly enthralled. I’ve never considered making a duel-flavoured macaroon. I decided to give them a try, and sure enough, the sweetness of the macaroon mixed with the tartness of the raspberries was incredible.

This recipe doesn’t require too many ingredients. They can be made with either fresh or frozen raspberries. I drizzled them with white chocolate to add the extra hint of sweet but they could easily be dipped or just simply left to fend for themselves (trust me, they’ll survive).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bags of sweetened coconut (400 grams in total)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh raspberries or 3/4 cup of frozen (thawed)
PROCESS
Preheat the over to 325 degrees and spray baking pans. Quickly beat the coconut and the sugar together. Add the egg whites, salt, and almond extract and beat for an additional minute. Add the raspberries. Scoop the batter onto the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are browned. Let them cool on the tray for a few minutes, but then transfer to a cooling rack. Melt some white chocolate and drizzle over top (if desired).
That’s it! To reference the original recipe, head over to Smitten Kitchen. These treats make a delicious addition to any sweet tray or serve well as a simple tea-time snack. They are sweet and tart and store in the fridge for quite a while. Thanks for reading!
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A Family Classic: Butterscotch Squares

When you say “butterscotch“, I usually say “ew!”. I hate the flavour of butterscotch. I used to give my mom such a hard time because whenever Chipits were on sale, she would always stock up on the butterscotch chips instead of the chocolate ones. I hated that. I would scrounge the cupboards for chocolate chips and all I would find were bags and bags of disgusting butterscotch ones.

Although I always have (and probably always will) hated butterscotch, there is one recipe that I just can’t get enough of. The reason I even bothered mentioning my hate for butterscotch is so that you can take my word for it when I say that this recipe is truly delicious–butterscotch and all! My grandma used to make this recipe all the time, and as a result, my mom does too. Anytime squares or cookies are needed for any event, she is quick to volunteer (well, volunteer me or my sister) to make these guys.

The squares have a slightly crunchy bottom (it’s baked on it’s own first) and a gooey, sweet top. They contain coconut (honestly…what can taste bad when coconut is involved?) and of course butterscotch chips. They leave your fingers sticky but I’m not complaining–perfect for saving for later. Kidding (but not really).

In order to make these delicious treats, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup of coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Blend together the butter, powdered sugar, and flour. Pat down into a well greased 8″x8″ baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes. While the crust is baking, mix together the condensed milk, butterscotch chips, coconut, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the baked crust and return the pan to the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes. The squares will be done when they are golden brown and the middle appears to be set. This may require the edges to be quite browned. Remove from the oven and cool. Using a sharp knife, cut around the edges of the pan. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Now isn’t that easy? To serve them, my mom usually cuts off the crunchy browned edges (although these are the best to snack on) and serves only the gooey parts. These truly are delicious and I encourage you to try them. But be warned that once you taste one, there’s no going back! I hope your Monday is a little more bearable with some sweet treats in sight…even if they do involve butterscotch! Thanks for reading and let me know if you try them and like them (or try them and don’t). Either way, I’d love to hear from you!
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Tested and Tried: Coca-Cola Cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Holy cow. That is all I can say. I just died and went to heaven after eating one of these babies.

I’ve never really been a “cake” person. But I have recently discovered why. What I have been considering “cake” are those dried out Costco-bakery cakes or ready-in-a-flash-powder-in-a-box-just-add-eggs cake mixes. But now that I have been exposed to home-baked-from-scratch cakes, I am proud and excited to say that I am a cake person.

I’ve been on a major craze for making “from-scratch” baked goods. Sure, it’s convenient to grab a box of cake mix and whip up some cupcakes in a flash. But the reality (which I have come to discover) is that home-baked cupcakes are fantastic. A week or two ago, I quickly posted about my experience making Triple-Salted Caramel Cupcakes. I could have sworn that those would forever be my new favourite kind of cupcake. But today, I took on a new recipe and I think those caramel ones are beat out of the park.

These, my friends, are no dry Costco or box-mix cupcakes. These are incredibly delicious, moist, chocolatey, sweet, and fan-cakin’-tastic Coca-Cola Cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting.

A while back, I came across a fantastic blog called Sprinkle Bakes. If you read my post, you may remember that I used the Triple Salted Caramel Cupcake recipe from this blog. As soon as I made those, I started following the blog because Heather’s creations are truly unique looking and delicious sounding. Just the other day, she posted this recipe and the unique and almost un-heard of (at least in my neck of the woods) combination was captivating. I decided that these were the next cupcakes on my “to-try” list. My sister and I spontaneously planned a movie night tonight with some of our girlfriends, so I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to test it out!

The cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes made with one of my brother’s favourite things–Coke! You heat the Coca-Cola in a saucepan, add the cocoa, butter, and sugars until all of the ingredients melt into a chocolatey syrup. Then, a small amount of flour and other dry ingredients are added, along with one egg. It really doesn’t take very long to make them. They are then topped with a fantastically delicious peanut-butter buttercream frosting. Honestly, what is better than peanut butter and chocolate? Heather suggests topping the cupcakes with chopped peanuts and chocolate sprinkles but I had neither in my cupboards so I improvised with some chopped cashews, chopped chocolate, and a sprinkling of salt.

I give full credit to Heather from Sprinkle Bakes on these ones. If you are interested in trying the recipe, you can access it by CLICKING HERE. Even if you aren’t interested in making them, head over that way to check out some of the awesome photographs and adorable story that goes along with them.

I’m off to enter another treat-coma. Thanks for stopping by and reading. What are your thoughts? Coca-Cola, chocolate, and peanut butter–good or gross? You might want to bite your tongue until you try these ones…

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