Category Archives: Fondant and Icing

Best Ever {I Mean Ever} Banana Cupcakes

Hey guys.  Um, can we talk?  I’m seriously bursting with happiness about some changes that will be happening over here in the next few weeks.  First off, in just 10 days it will be 5 years since I started this little adventure, with hubs and camera in tow.  A lot has happened in 5 years!  We made some pretty amazing new friends.  Yup, for real, that’s you.  And we’ve had some pretty great experiences.   Remember when we were in the launch issue of Taste of Home Canada Magazine?  That was seriously a thrill for me.   Like, icing on top of the cake amazing.  The bee’s knee’s.  You know, pretty darn cool.   And those articles for Food Bloggers of Canada?  That’s us, feeling proud to be networking with our fellow Canadian foodies alike.  As well, just last year, I became a contributor over at Hello Creative Family.  And I love that group of creative people over there.  Gosh, guys, I’m so darn grateful.  Because slowly but surely, this blog is climbing up to where I dream it to be.  And I’m hoping you’ll come right along with me.

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes via SweetRevelations

 

Oddly enough, the very first post ever was called New Beginnings, which is just where we’re headed.   Pretty soon, this sweet little blog of mine, will have a whole new look.  I just can’t even tell you how excited I am.  No seriously, the designer I’m working with will probably want to strangle me when all is said and done.  This blog has been my pride and joy for 5 years, so moving things around and doing a makeover is kind of overwhelming and scary.

Oh, don’t worry, desserts and sweets will still be a huge part of my blog, because frankly, this world needs a whole lot more cake.  But I’m also really excited to share other things about myself and my family too.  We live on a postage stamp sized lot, in the middle of a bustling city, but are working to shift to a more sustainable living.  We’re growing things, and upcycling things, supporting local farmers, and just generally trying to live a little more you know, soulfully.  I’ll be writing and posting about some of these idea’s along the way.

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes via SweetRevelations

 

I’m thinking and hoping that this might be the last post, before the big reveal.  I thought it fitting to share one of my most pinned and viewed recipes, ever, in the last 5 years.   This time though, I’ve made it in cupcake form.  When I had the bake shop, I made hundreds of these Banana Cupcakes for weddings, showers and special events.  They’re super moist, full of that banana flavor that you love, and pretty simple and elegant.  Leave them un-iced for a quick snack too.  There is always a batch in my freezer, so the kiddos can grab a quick snack on their way out the door.

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes via SweetRevelations

So, I guess this is it huh?  Is this where we stand at the door, awkwardly twiddling our fingers, hoping to see each other again soon?  It might be quiet here for a week or two, but when I come back, I promise I’ll be all dolled up.  Have I told you yet HOW EXCITED I AM?!

See you soon friends,

Renee

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes

yield 24 – 30 cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups bananas , mashed (about 3)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 250 gr. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°.  Prepare 3 cupcake trays with 30 liners total.

1.  In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda , nutmeg and salt; set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar until well combined.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla.
3.  On low, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Stir in banana mixture.
4.  Pour batter into prepared liners, no more than 1/4 cup per liner, and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Place cupcakes on wire racks and cool completely.
5.  While the cupcakes cool, make the icing by beating the cream cheese, Crisco and butter in a large bowl.  Beat until smooth and well combined.  Add salt.  Add the icing sugar slowly and mix well to remove any lumps.  Fill a piping bag (with a 1M tip), and ice using a circular motion to create the rose effect.  Cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before serving.  You may have extra frosting left over, which is delicious on homemade cinnamon buns!
*recipe adapted from Food.com

 

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Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel

And so begins the season of pumpkin everything.  Some people celebrate their birthday month, but in this house, we rejoice in pumpkin month.  A celebration, all month-long, of how many recipes I can fit pumpkin into.

Isn’t it funny how the pumpkin craze becomes slightly over the top in October?  People are hoarding cans and cans of puree, and then for the rest of the year the poor pumpkin pie spice sits, untouched, literally ignored?  If you figure out what the deal is with that, let me know.

pumpkin cupcakes

I haven’t posted cupcakes in a long time, so I thought these Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel, would be the perfect start to pumpkin everything month.  Just as the name implies, it’s a spicy but super moist delicate pumpkin cupcake, with a gorgeous brown sugar swiss meringue swirl, and a sweet and salty pool of homemade salted caramel.    It’s the pumpkin and salted caramel combination that gets me every time.  Not to mention cloves and cinnamon.  I do love the smell of cloves.

pumpkin cupcakes

These pumpkin cupcakes are an excellent recipe that do double duty as easy muffins too.  I simply double the recipe and freeze half for lunches, because they freeze so well.  They are also an easy make ahead dessert, because every component can be prepared in advance.  Make and freeze the cupcakes until you need them, whip and refrigerate the icing a few days ahead, and keep that salted caramel in the fridge for up to a week!   Your prep time is literally only minutes when you need to ice and serve them.  For this reason alone, these are a superb choice for any Thanksgiving celebrations you might be preparing for.

pumpkin cupcake

And don’t be afraid to make your own pumpkin puree too!  Although I do love the convenience of canned puree, it is incredibly easy to buy pie pumpkins from market and make your own.

Now excuse me while I spend the next few hours scouring Pinterest for the next great pumpkin recipe.  Have you got one?  Share it with me in the comments!

Happy pumpkin baking friends,

Renee

xo

Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350° and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners

  1.  In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves, set aside.  In a large bowl combine the sugar and oil.  Mix well.  Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.  Mix in the pumpkin puree.  Slowly add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
  2. Fill tins with a 1/4 cup of batter or use a cookie scoop, to ensure all of the cupcakes are the same size.  The recipe will yield approx. 20 cupcakes.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

 

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place the bowl of eff whites on the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring and pinch of salt and beat until combined.  Use immediately or refrigerate for a week.  Icing will need to be at room temperature and whipped for about 5 minutes if kept in the fridge.

Salted Caramel Sauce

*Cooking  Channel TV

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to.  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes.

2  Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce.  Allow the caramel to cool.   The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Reheat for a few seconds before drizzling if needed.

Cupcake Assembly

Pipe an icing dam around the perimeter of the top of the cake, with a large round tip, leaving a hole in the middle.  Using a small spoon carefully drizzle salted caramel into the hole.  Top with raw pepitas for garnish.  Serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Cup Cakes, Fondant and Icing, Sauces and Syrups

Peanut Butter Parfaits ~ To Go!

These are by far my top “to go” dessert.  Rich chocolate cake, layered with crunchy peanuts and smooth peanut butter buttercream.  It’s my favourite layer cake all prettied up in a simple jar ~ to go! For me, the flavor combination is to die for.   This week I packed a few up to throw in our cooler as we made our way to Music City for 5 days.

pbjar

 

 

Five days camping in sunny Tennessee, touring  Music City with a sweet peanutty treat to enjoy after dinner each night.

Without the kids.

pbtop

I’m not sure which part of those two sentences was my favourite.   Don’t  get me wrong, I love my babes, but a week away with my number one grown up is pretty awesome.  And pretty rare.

pbjars

 

Whenever I make cupcakes and buttercream, I always throw the extras in the freezer.  It’s so easy to whip something up on short notice.  Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a snap to make and freezes beautifully.  These parfaits take minutes to assemble (put the cupcakes in frozen!), can be thrown in a cooler or fridge and they travel amazingly well.  Use regular jars or invest in some Weck Jars, that look great and offer the most perfect serving size for dessert (see here).  I can’t tell you the countless times I have used them for serving.

pbempty

 

During the time I ran the bakery this peanut butter buttercream was always one of our most requested.  It’s so light and creamy and tastes like a cloud of whipped peanut butter.  If you’re a peanut butter lover like me, this is a must try!

I’m including the recipe for the Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Just layer your parfaits with your favourite rich chocolate cupcake (one of my favs is here) and some chopped peanuts.  Or, to really switch it up, layer it with Banana Cupcakes made from this recipe here, my Best Ever Banana Cake.  Just as awesome.

 

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (or more to taste)

1. Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2. In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined. Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees). The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well. Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled. Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time. Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick. It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify. Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and peanut butter and beat until combined. Use immediately.  Will frost about 24 cupcakes.  Icing can be frozen for up to two months, just allow it to come back to room temperature and re-whip for 5 minutes.  It may look curdled but keep whipping!

 

Assembly of Parfaits:

1.  Bake your favourite chocolate cupcakes.  This is one of my most loved recipes here.

2.  I find using a piping bag (or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off), is the best way to get the icing neatly in the jars.  Simply pipe a small layer of icing in the bottom of the jar and top it with an unwrapped cupcake.  Layer again with icing, some chopped peanuts and another cupcake.  Top with a dollop of icing and chopped peanuts (if you’re not planning on closing the jars), or top with some chopped peanuts and put the lid on the jars.

2. Parfaits can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.  Simply bring to room temperature before eating (otherwise the icing is hard like butter).

Happy summer and enjoy!

 

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Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake

I love fall.  If I had to pick my favourite season, fall would win hands down.  Crisp mornings, hikes through the bush and markets full of pumpkins, squash and apples.

I love fall baking too.   Spicy flavours and smells fill the kitchen.   We tend to gravitate towards  cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, as these seem to be the flavours associated to this time of year.

I don’t know if I told you this but my mom makes the BEST pumpkin pie ever.  It just happens to be my favourite flavour of pie.  But I have to say, and mom I hope you’re not listening, that this cake might just have put your pie in the running.

I can’t believe I just typed that out loud.

I’m not kidding.  This is one of the most moist cakes I have ever eaten.  It has all of the flavours of a pumpkin pie in a dense yet light cake.   With Candied Pecans sprinkled throughout.  And Brown Sugar Cream Cheese on each layer?

Pure pumpkin bliss.

What’s your favourite thing about fall?

Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake

*adapted from finecooking.com

* grease and flour two 6 x 3 inch cake pans, set oven temp to 350 degrees

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  •  2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  •  1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  •  1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  •  1 tsp. ground ginger
  •  3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  •  1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  •  2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  •  2 large eggs, room temperature
  •  1/3 cup buttermilk. room temperature

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally (butter will begin to foam a bit) until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes.  Let cool while preparing other ingredients.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt,nutmeg and cloves.  In a large bowl, whisk 1-1/2 cups of the pumpkin purée with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until well blended.   Stir in the flour mixture just until combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

3.  Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the pan bottoms or parchment, and cool completely.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing

  • 2 cups dark brown sugar , firmly packed
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 500 grams of cream cheese, cold

1.  Beat butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add cold cream cheese and beat just until blended.  Cream cheese icing is easier to work with when the cream cheese is added cold.

Candied Pecans

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

1.  Mix together the pecans, brown sugar and cream.  Spread over a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, stirring once.

Cake Assembly

1.  I usually let cake layers chill in the freezer for at least an hour before cutting.  Then, using a serrated knife, cut both cakes into layers.  You’ll have one extra layer to freeze for later or nibble on whilst you decorate.

2.  Place a layer on your cake plate, then spread a thick layer of cream cheese frosting.  Sprinkle some chopped candied pecans on top of the icing.  Repeat with the next layer.  Add the final layer and frost the entire cake.

3.  Once the whole cake is frosted, chill for a few hours before serving.  Sprinkle and decorate with the remaining pecans.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Love

I have to tell you right off that I think I may have discovered the best chocolate frosting ever this week-end….

***squeal!!***

Like, if I could marry a frosting this would be the one.

If I could bathe in a frosting this would be the one.

Don`t judge me… this stuff is so darn chocolatey and rich and delicious.  Ruffled on top of a moist dark chocolate cake.   With a fresh and sweet strawberries on top?

You know you want it….

I thought I would give this recipe a whirl because my usual chocolate frosting just isn’t fudgey and chocolatey enough for me sometimes.  This is melted Belgian chocolate and cocoa whipped together with icing sugar and butter.

You had me at melted Belgian chocolate…..

I swirled some on top of my cupcakes and used some to make little tiny trifle cups.  These are just plastic wine cups that I layered with a cupcake, some icing and some diced berries.  Perfect to bring out to the patio after dinner.

Make it.  Then e-mail me right away and tell me that without a doubt this is the best chocolate and cupcake combo you have ever had.  Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

*adapted from What The Fruitcake?

Makes 24 cupcakes

3/4 cup strong hot coffee

3/4 cup dark cocoa

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups brown sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp mayonnaise, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners

1.  Whisk together coffee and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside.  Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in another small bowl and set aside.  Measure out buttermilk and mix with vanilla extract and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar and salt.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg in thoroughly and scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next egg.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined.  Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix until combined.  Repeat, ending with the last of the flour mixture.  Add the cocoa and coffee mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Fold in mayonnaise.

3.  Divide equally into prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 16-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

  •                                         1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  •                                         2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •                                         3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  •                                         1/4 teaspoon salt
  •                                         1 1/2 pounds best-quality semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used Callebaut Bittersweet)

 1.   Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved.   Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.

This icing can be stored in the fridge for about a week.  Bring to room temperature and beat until smooth again.

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Spring Cupcakes and a Symbol of Hope

I always eagerly await the first signs of spring.  Bright and cheerful bursts of tulips and daffodils are a welcome sight after a cold, bland winter.   They invigorate us and announce to us that spring has sprung!

Thank you for arriving spring I am so ready for you!  I’m ready for open windows, bed sheets on the clothesline, sitting in the sun and drinks on the patio!

I thought these cupcakes would be the perfect fit for our Easter table.  Beautiful sunny yellows amid pops of white, blue and pink colours.

It’s doesn’t hurt when your pops of colour are candy coated and full of milk chocolate either.  Another wonderful sign of spring. Easter chocolate.

Remember here when I made lime cupcakes with Tequila frosting?  These are identical, just substitute the lime for lemon.  Omit the step of brushing on the Tequila.   Swirl on a generous amount of Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream (below).  These  are keeper lemon cupcakes.  Really moist with a good hit of lemon followed by, you guessed it, the creamiest lemony Swiss Meringue icing.

Did you know April is also Daffodil Month for the Canadian and American Cancer Society? Daffodils are a symbol of hope for those living with cancer.  Unfortunately everyone has a cancer story.  All of the monies raised from the Daffodil Campaign go to life saving cancer research.

I hope this spring leaves you feeling rejuvenated.  I hope spring has sprung where you live!  Happy Easter everyone.

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd or lemon pie filling (or more to taste)

1. Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2. In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined. Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees). The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well. Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled. Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time. Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick. It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify. Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and lemon curd and beat until combined. Use immediately.

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White Modelling Chocolate

Want to know the best thing about this cupcake?

Besides the fact that it’s elegant and gorgeous looking, it’s entirely chocolate.  Cake, icing,  branches and flower.  The cake and icing don’t matter here (even though I believe cake and icing ALWAYS matter, just read on for a minute here…).    Today’s post is about the chocolate flower on top.

I’ve made the dark modelling chocolate before.  It’s one of the posts I receive the most mail about.  Remember here?  So I thought I would leave the recipe for the white as well.   I don’t think the white hardens as firm as the dark (still quite firm though), but it tastes just as yummy!

The best part about modelling chocolate?   No “glue” required and flowers firm up fairly quickly.  This flower takes just a little chocolate and some coloured lustre dust for accents.  Remember though, it is chocolate so it doesn’t tolerate heat!

I promise this will be a two-part post with a tutorial for the flowers to follow.  My hubby, who is also my photographer, is also a snowplow driver and we have been hit with a lot of snow today.  Needless to say I’m on my own, so I’ll have to wait until he’s here to finish up the tutorial.

I just love a dogwood flower.  It’s such an elegant flower.  Wouldn’t these be great for a wedding?  Shower perhaps?  Garden party?

Check out the Hungry Happenings site for fantastic information about working with chocolate.  While you’re there, check out some of the yummy creations!  This is where I get my recipe for modelling chocolate from.

White Modelling Chocolate

*from Hungry Happenings 

  • 16 oz good quality Belgian White Chocolate
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup (more if needed)

1.  Melt chocolate over a double boiler.  Let chocolate cool to 91 degrees F, stirring often.  Pour in the corn syrup and mix well.   If the mixture is crumbly, add a little more corn syrup.  I do not knead mine at this stage as recommended, I put it in a sealable plastic bag and let it sit at room temperature for atleast 24 hours.  It will be quite hard when you start to knead it.  To soften it up a bit, pop it in the microwave for only a few seconds.

2.  Keep leftovers wrapped in plastic and sealed in an airtight container at room temperature.  Leave chocolate creations at room temperature to firm up and then store in an air tight container (at room temp).

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French Vanilla Cupcakes with Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Pretty soon Valentine’s Day will be upon us.  I know that there are some who think it’s so over rated, but I can’t help but feel excited about what kind of card or flowers my sweet Valentine has picked out for me.

I am ‘that’ mom who puts heart-shaped things in the kids lunches, even though they are well into junior grades and almost into highschool.

So I wanted to have a few posts dedicated to some Valentines treats because I have so many cute things rolling around in my brain.  This is the first post, my French Vanilla Cupcakes with Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream. 

 

I am always on a quest for a good vanilla cupcake.   You know which kind really tastes the best?  The cake mix kind.  They have such wonderful vanilla flavour and are so light and fluffy.  I have yet to find this in a scratch version.   Not that there is anything wrong with a box version!  To me, well, for some reason it just feels like cheating.

Do not despair…I am not one to give up….on cake.

I really love the way these turned out.  Wouldn’t you love to have one of these waiting for you on Valentine’s Day?

Perhaps waiting on your desk, or in your lunch?  Sitting outside your door?

Just a little surprise that says “you’re sweet!”

The toppers are just some cherries made out of fondant and coated with cake glitter.  I did happen to have real cherries in the fridge that I stole the stems off of.

I’m not going to include the Vanilla Cake recipe because it needs some work!  Use your favourite Vanilla Cupcake recipe and top with the Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below).

Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup pureed maraschino cherries (I also included a few tsp of the syrup)

*just an update…if you find the cherry icing doesn’t have a strong enough cherry flavour, add a few drops of cherry oil which can be found at most baking supply stores.

1. Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2. In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined. Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees). The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well. Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled. Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time. Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick. It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify. Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and cherry puree (to taste) and beat until combined.   Use immediately.

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Small Batch Chocolate Vanilla Bean Latte Cupcakes

Remember a while ago when I said I would post a recipe for small batch cupcakes?

Please forgive me but I forgot….

And, I forgot that I forgot until this week-end when I decided to make them again for this post…

See, I am constantly searching on Pinterest looking for cake stands and baking inspiration.  Man there are some creative people out there!  There are ruffle shirts and scarves, ruffle cakes, ruffle dresses and gowns, you name it!

I decided that if you can make a ruffle flower out of a t-shirt in less than 10 minutes, surely I could follow the same instructions and make one out of fondant!

I think it turned out pretty cute and overall was really easy.  Like no brainer kind of easy.  So I needed a small batch of cupcakes just to show you how it turned out.  The instructions I followed are here from A Bit of Sunshine.  What a cute site!

I used it to garnish a Chocolate Cupcake with some Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream.   I have yet to find a Swiss Meringue Buttercream that I don’t like.  It’s smooth and creamy and full of flavour.  It’s that simple.  The cupcakes are surprisingly moist for such a small batch and had gorgeous rounded tops!  Perfect, when you just need a nibble of something sweet.

Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

*from Small Batch Baking, from Debby Maugans Nakos

yield 4 standard size cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk, room temp
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line four muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, egg and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk to mix. Gradually pour the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture, whisking constantly.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl, and then whisk to blend well. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared liners and until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 16 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Frost with Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream

*note: this will make approx 2 1/2 cups of frosting.  You will have extra!

  • 1 cup unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean split with seeds scraped out
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp water

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring, vanilla seeds, a pinch of salt and espresso and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

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Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Nutmeg Frosting and A Lesson

The Holiday Season is fast approaching and SweetRevelations has been busy busy!  I’m really excited to share that we will be featured in a new Magazine called Elegant Impressions.  It’s based out of New York, the launch date is January 2012 and word has it our Chocolate Roses are on the front cover!!   What an amazing way for us to start the new year.  Blogging has opened so many doors for us in 2011 and I can only wait with anticipation for what 2012 has to offer!

All that aside, I learned a valuable lesson this morning!  I always bake my goodies really early in the morning and I do all of my prep the night before.  I always (as I’m sure many bakers do) leave out extra butter and extra eggs, just in case.   Phew!  Good thing because this morning I woke up super early to pop some gingerbread cupcakes in the oven.  A huge surprise when I opened the oven door and my cakes had fallen really badly.  Like not presentable badly.  It was a new recipe and I didn’t have time to make it again.  So, thank goodness for the extra eggs and butter at room temperature, I did a quick mix of some Apple Spiced Cupcakes and I was good to go.  This is a new recipe that I tried from My Cake School and they are really yummy eaten without icing too!

Topped off with some Cinnamon Nutmeg Swiss Meringue Buttercream, royal icing decorations and some fondant (recipe here)  snowman these are pretty darn cute.   The royal icing tree’s are made out of many different snowflakes I made a few nights before.  So simple to make, but so delicate, make double what you need as they will break!

I do BELIEVE in the magic of the season…don’t you?

What a great display for the dessert table during the holidays.  Many thanks to The Celebration Shoppe for being so speedy in sending me the BELIEVE Cupcake Printables.  I love them.

Spiced Apple Cupcakes

*My Cake School Recipe

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2c. canola oil
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 c. applesauce
  • 3 c.  bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 c. grated apple
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line muffin tins.

1.   In a small bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Add oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.  Then, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.  Mix in the apples, nuts and lemon.

2.  Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 22 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean.  Immediately cool on wire racks.

5.  Pipe with Cinnamon Nutmeg Swiss Meringue Buttercream and garnish with a snowflake!

Cinnamon Nutmeg Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium speed until whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste) and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

Royal Icing for Snowflakes

*there are many templates for snowflakes on-line

  • 4 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 7 tbsp warm water
  • 4 tbsp meringue powder

1.  Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form.  Icing should be thick but still easy to pipe.  I used a Wilton #3  round tip and piped them on to parchment paper.  They need at least 24 hours to dry.  Dust with pearl dust if desired.

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