Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Orchard in Your Room

Our puppy, Ms. Bailey, has been quite busy this week. She discovered that her Aunt Kelley keeps apples in her bags in her bedroom (not quite sure what that's all about). She's proven that she can sniff out almost anything, after taking one away she quickly returned to the room to find another. My mother-in-law managed to get a video of her eating one, notice how she doesn't scold her or take it away! We joke that you can't correct her she's too cute! Don't worry, she was eventually corrected and my sister-in-law removed any additional apples from her room.

We'll be celebrating my mother's birthday tomorrow and I was asked to make dessert. My mother requested something with lemon. I picked these lemon coconut cupcakes with lemon buttercream and toasted coconut. They can easily be made dairy free by substituting margarine for the butter.

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes
adapted from
Oven 350
4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs

3/4 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of 2 extra large lemons
3/4 cup butter, softened 
2 1/2 cups coconut milk

 Lemon Buttercream:
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

juice of one extra large lemon
2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Zest the lemons. Add to a bowl with the sugar and rub with your fingers to release the aromas from the lemon skin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the coconut extract. Beat for 3 minutes.

Slowly pour half of the coconut milk into the batter. Beat until well incorporated.
Add half of the flour mixture, beating until incorporated.

Then, add the remaining coconut milk, beating until smooth, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Scrape the sides and give it one last beating so it is mixed well.
Divide batter into cupcake tins. Makes 30 standard sized cupcakes. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.

For the Lemon Buttercream:
Cream the butter in the large mixing bowl of a stand mixture. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar as you continue to cream. Add the lemon juice.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat on high speed until fluffy and smooth.
I topped my cupcakes with toasted coconut!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nod to Summer

It's that time of year again..... Short shorts are coming down the hallway along with obnoxiously short skirts! Flip flops and sandals are being worn, even in the rain. Students are attempting to make it summer. They think "maybe if we dress like it is, it will come sooner." Despite their attempts we still have a little under a month to go. The college students however are out and enjoying their freedom, or the idea of finding that first job. My sister-in-law and cousin-in-law both graduated this week, one with a masters and one with a bachelors. My sister-in-law had a small graduation picnic to celebrate and asked if I would bake something (her words were "surprise me.") I decided to make these cupcake cones, a nod to Summer and the wish for warmer days.

Cupcake Cones

I started with my traditional chocolate cake recipe (yes, I've been using that a lot lately). You could use any cake/cupcake recipe or just boxed cake mix (if you must). Instead of cupcake liners I used sugar cones.

To secure cones I used an upside down aluminum lasagna pan with holes cut out. I baked them for about 20-25 minutes. Once done I allowed cupcakes to cool.

I frosted with my usual Magnolia Buttercream Frosting Recipe using a star tip. I added sprinkles for decoration.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Seven Minutes

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! We celebrated with brunch with my mother and grandmother and a picnic with my mother-in-law. Bailey woke me up with a lot of puppy kisses and a very nice card. She also decided to lay in front of the oven and "help" me make the frosting today!
My mother-in-law requested a chocolate layer cake with Seven Minute Frosting. I made my usual Chocolate Cake and used a whipped cream filling. Then I had to find the right recipe for the frosting. I found that this frosting has many different names (boiled icing, royal baking icing, meringue frosting). I found one that seems to be the best for mixing with a kitchenaid mixer. It tastes like a cross between whipped cream and marshmallow fluff.

Seven Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan combine the sugar and water with a pinch of cream of tartar.Make sure that when you are cooking the sugar that you do not stir the sugar mixture. It will cause the sugar to crystallize and you don’t want that to happen.Boil the sugar until it reaches 245 degrees.

Meanwhile, put the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat until the egg whites are peaked.

Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. I mean slowly, this sugar mixture is 245 degrees, you do not want it to splash.

Beat the frosting on high speed for about 7 minutes (hence the name seven minute frosting) or until the sides of the bowl cool down. The frosting will be light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract.

Once mixed frost cake as desired. *Somewhat messy to cut!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I spent the majority of this week celebrating my birthday. My husband made me dinner on my actual birthday(Tuesday). My sister-in-law Samantha made me a cake on Friday and we had grilled pizzas at my in-laws.

 (Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Covered Strawberries)

My mother made me homemade pot stickers, egg rolls, and my great-grandmother's bread on Saturday.

 (My great-grandmother's bread)

My Grandmother made me an apple pie on Saturday.

 (Grandma's Apple Pie)

Then on Sunday we went to brunch at Nick's on Broadway in Providence and got a piece of my favorite cake from Pastiche.

(We ate at the bar at Nick's- awesome view right into the kitchen! Would definitely recommend it! Oh, and that's the chef's elbow and my mimosa.)

Okay, so I guess I spent the majority of the week eating! Great week!

(My meal at Nick's on Broadway - Local Spring Vegetables, Poached Eggs, and Grilled Toast.)

Also, this is my one hundredth post! Hard to believe that I've been blogging for that long. That's a lot of desserts!

(Display case at Pastiche - my favorite cake is the one with the bees!)