Tag Archives: Cream Cheese

Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana cupcakes
I think fall has to be my favorite season. Not only can we start wearing cozy sweaters and soft leather boots, but fall food is basically comprised of “comfort” food: donuts, apple cider, hot soup, cheesy pasta… God, I can feel my saddle bags growing by the minute! Blissful.

These cupcakes are truly delicious with this frosting but if you wanted to leave the frosting off you could easily call them muffins and eat them for breakfast. Or you could eat them for breakfast with the frosting. Ain’t no shame.

On the menu:
Banana Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 16 cupcakes
Cupcake recipe dapted from this recipe on AllRecipes.com

Cupcakes:
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp buttermilk*

In a large bowl, blend bananas and sugar with an electric mixer. Add in eggs one at a time and blend until completely combined. Add vegetable oil and blend until the mixture is completely blended, about 2 – 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour with the baking soda. Add to wet mixture and stir with a spoon to combine. Add buttermilk and stir to combine.

Line a cupcake tin with paper liners. Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
16 pecan halves

In a small bowl, beat butter with electric mixer. Add cream cheese and blend to combine. Add brown sugar and vanilla and blend to combine. Frost cupcakes and top with a single pecan if desired.

*If you don’t have buttermilk, combine 2 1/2 Tbsp of regular milk with 1 tsp lemon juice and stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes and then use as directed.

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting by LaurenFoodE
I don’t have to tell you about my problem with late night cakes. There really should be some sort of “Late Night Cakes Anonymous” group or something. In any case, it’s putting a reeeeeal damper on Project Lose That Holiday Weight. I may or may not have gained a small amount of weight due to excessive holiday eating (namely chimichangas and In N Out and Jack In the Box, all of which I blame on The BF and his SoCal roots). And I made one of those stupid New Year’s resolutions that I was going to get healthy in 2013, finally join the gym across the street from me, and stop eating as if I was hosting an un-televised version of Man Vs. Food.

But here’s a short story about me: The BF, being a stand up comic, works weekends and a lot of nights I find myself alone with nothing to keep me warm but a kitchen just begging to be baked in. My pantry had pumpkin, my fridge had cream cheese, and I had a recipe and a dream. You know what that means… pumpkin cake.

On the menu:
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting
Makes one 9 x 13 cake

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until combined. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together all ingredients with an electric mixer until combined. When cake is completely cooled, spread frosting evenly over top. Refrigerate cake until serving.

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Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes are a mystery to me… there is nothing really special about them aside from their color. They’re basically barely-chocolate flavored cake with cream cheese frosting. But when I was trying to come up with a special little dessert for mine and The BF’s honorary Christmas celebration (traveling on Christmas doesn’t really lend itself to hauling around loads of gifts, ya know?), I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than little red colored cakes. And besides that, The BF loves red velvet. So I took a crack at it, threw caution to the wind and added the ENTIRE little bottle of red food coloring, and kind of loved it. Here’s to red velvet. I saw its face, now I’m a believer.

On the menu:
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp liquid red food coloring
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder together.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it’s soft. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the egg and beat until combined, and then add the vanilla and cream the mixture together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk with the red food coloring. Beat together on low speed the flour mixture, the butter mixture, and the red food coloring mixture, alternating the flour and food coloring in three separate pours, ending with the flour (i.e.: Add 1/3 of the flour, half the red, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 the red, then the rest of the flour).

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the baking soda. Quickly fold the liquid into your batter and then divide into 12 muffin tin tups until each cup is half full (don’t worry, this batter rises a lot).

Bake for 18 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until combined. Pipe onto cupcakes (or spread with a knife) and sprinkle with green sugar to finish.

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Tips for Throwing a Holiday Brunch (plus sweet fruit dip!)

BrunchToday’s post is the last in the holiday brunch series, and I thought I’d offer up just a few more tips on making your brunch a success.

1. Finger foods: Never have I ever seen a holiday home brunch where every single person sat down at a nice, long table complete with place settings and a solid surface to cut their food on. Where’s the fun in that? Keep your food small and finger-friendly, and if you must use utensils, limit it to forks. That way everyone can still eat even if they’re standing, and everyone has a free hand for a cocktail. Duh.

2. Keep it small: No one shows up to a holiday brunch ready to eat their faces off. Okay, MOST people don’t. During the holidays, everyone is up to their ears in cookies from co-workers, sweets at home, and candy cane colored everything. The last thing people want is to be force fed your giant culinary mess. I also like to keep things small so that it’s never apparent how much any one person has eaten. Maybe somebody wants only one slice of apple. Maybe somebody else wants eight pounds of hasbrown casserole. No judgment.

3. Balance the sweet and the savory: One year I attended an office potluck holiday party where someone brought chicken wings… they disappeared in about 3 minutes and at the end of the night there were more cookies and cakes leftover than you could shake a stick at (that’s how that saying goes… right?). The moral of the story is that one cannot live on sweets alone… trust me. I’ve tried. Make sure for every sweet dish, you have a savory.

4. Loosen up: No one cares if your plates match or your house is spotlessly clean. They care that they’re all together under one roof, oftentimes for the only time that year. Forgive the spills, laugh off the food flops, have another cocktail, and remember: brunch is an early meal so you can be asleep by 8. Amen.

The last dish on the brunch menu is one I am a tiny bit embarrassed about… it contains Fluff. That’s right. That disgusting, sticky, white spread that my mom wouldn’t let me have when I was a kid but I would sneak at friends’ houses (sorry, mom). It’s gross. But you know what? It makes a damn fine dip for fruit. And when I started researching “fruit dip” this one came up more than I care to mention. So should you dare to add one of those vintage-labeled jars to your cart at the supermarket, you won’t be disappointed. Cross my heart.

On the menu:
Sweet Fruit Dip
Makes 2 cups

1 7-oz jar of Fluff
1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional

Add Fluff and cream cheese to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend the mixture together. Pour into a bowl and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon for decoration if you wish. Cut up fruit to serve alongside, such as pears, apples, and grapes.

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Citrus Cream Cheese Pound Cake

One problem with being home all the time now is that I want to bake all. the. time. On my kitchen counter right now I have M&M cookies, unfrosted cupcakes in anticipation of a ladies’ lunch tomorrow, and a citrus cream cheese loaf that The BF asked me to make last week. I should invest in some sort of healthy eating cookbook or something.

In any case, this cake is not healthy by any means but for some reason it screams “brunch!” to me. How much less healthy could it be than cinnamon French toast or something? That’s my rationale and I’m sticking to it.

Note: this makes an awkward amount of batter, and you’ll have enough batter for one loaf cake and 8 cupcakes. Just go with it.

On the menu:
Citrus Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Makes 1 9x3x4 sized loaf

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 3/4 sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lime zest

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 lemon juiced
2 Tbsp orange juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 3 x 4 pan. Put 8 cupcake liners in a cupcake tin.

Cream together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Add sugar and blend to combine. Add eggs one at a time, blending after each egg is added. Blend in vanilla until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder and salt. Add zest and whisk in. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir by hand just until combined. Do NOT overmix.

Pour 2/3 of the batter into the loaf pan. Divide rest among the cupcake cups. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes; bake loaf cake for 60 minutes. Tip: set the timer for 25 minutes and put cupcakes and loaf in together. Once the timer goes off, take out the cupcakes and set the timer for 35 minutes to finish off the loaf.

Let the cakes cool and then make the glaze. Stir together the powdered sugar and the citrus juices. Remove the cakes from their respective pans and put the loaf on a plate, the cupcakes on parchment paper to catch the drips. Pour 3/4 over the cake and dip the cupcakes in the remaining glaze. Let the glaze harden and enjoy.

NOTE: This recipe originated here and here and the first one calls it a Philly Fluff. Does that name tug at your heart strings? Tell me why! I’m from upstate New York and have no idea.

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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother… but he will be soon, because he’s about to eat his birthday cake

This month my brother turned 27 years old. One year closer to 30. Terrifying. Because I’m right behind him. Remember when we were 5 and 7, Christopher?! I do.

Please note the crimped hair and giant glasses – we’ve always been a stylish family

This year my older brother asked if I would bake him a cake for his birthday. Now, I myself belong to the school of “nuts ruin baked goods” but Christopher wanted walnuts in his carrot cake, so I included them. If you try this recipe, feel free to leave them out. Trust me – you don’t need them.

On the menu:
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

*The only change I made to the Epicurious cake that I link to above is I made a double layer cake instead of a triple layer, and I did not use parchment paper in the baking pans. All you have to do is spray non-stick spray and coat the entire pan, bake for around 40 minutes.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a picture of the finished, decorated cake and a slice of the inside!

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