Tag Archive | Cream Cheese Frosting

Rum Layer Cake with Coconut Custard Filling

In addition to being obsessed with weddings, I’m also all about birthdays.

Yeah, that’s me… I love birthdays (along with any opportunity to bake a cake).

So…I know cupcakes are all the rage these days, but I have an unnatural love for layer cakes and let’s face it, birthdays merit layer cakes.  There’s something about a fully assembled and frosted layer cake that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I can understand why people don’t like making them.  Let’s face it, they’re sort of labor intensive, but in my opinion totally worth it, especially for a special friend.

My friend, Rachel, totally deserves a layer cake.  In fact, she got this one.

Rum Cake with Coconut Custard Filling

adapted from Bacardi Rum Cake

For Cake:*

1 box yellow cake mix
1 package instant pudding (4 serving size)
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup water or milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

For Custard:*

1 cup whole milk (I used 3/4 cup nonfat milk and 1/4 cup of cream and it worked fine)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Food coloring (optional)

Make Cake. Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans (you can also put it in 3 pans, bake it for less time).  Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan.  Pour contents of cake mix and pudding mix into a large bowl. In another bowl mix together milk, rum, eggs and vegetable oil.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined.  Pour into the prepared cake pans, bake approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked in the center.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  You can make this a day or two in advance, just make sure you cover it in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.

Make custard.  Heat milk on low heat in a medium saucepan stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.  In a separate bowl mix together egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and vanilla. Stir in half a cup of the warm milk, then pour the mixture into the saucepan.  Keep stirring over low-medium heat until thick.  Pour into a bowl to cool, cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate a few hours until completely cooled.

Make Frosting.  Beat together butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla (and food coloring if you choose to use it).

Assemble cake.  Cut off the tops of the cakes so you have a level surface.  Lay down the first layer, then put down a layer of the filling in the center, don’t spread it to the edges, it’ll over flow.  If you only do two layers then place the top layer.   If not, repeat.  Cover in a thin layer for frosting, then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Apply a thicker layer of frosting, decorate, chill again and serve.

*Note: For a taller cake, double the recipe.  I used 1.5 of this recipe (had oven issues and had to throw away one of my 4 layers).
**Note: If you only make a 2 layer cake, half the custard recipe is enough for one layer of filling.

I’m usually opposed to box mix.  I know I’m a total snob, but this was just sooo good, I had to give in and make it.  Honestly, I’ll probably make it again. In fact, I feel like this should be a birthday tradition.

It was a hit at the Birthday Dinner.

Happy Birthday Rachel!

What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake?

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Bird’s Nest Cupcakes

Easter is right around the corner.  For some reason unknown to me, Easter = eggs.  I’m sure there’s a reason, but I don’t quite get it.  I’ll go with it anyway.

I’m generally a pie girl, but sometimes the occasion calls for cupcakes, and I can think of two good occasions to make a cupcake.  These cupcakes really:

Easter and a Baby Shower.

I made these for a bird’s nest themed baby shower, but now that I was looking at the photos I realized they’d be perfect for Easter as well.

Although I’ll be honest, they’re so tasty that they’re really appropriate at any time of the year.

Egg Nest Cupcakes

1 recipe for your favorite chocolate cupcakes (I like Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake)
1 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
Few cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded coconut
1 package Cadbury Mini Eggs

Bake cupcakes and allow to cool completely.  Make frosting by blending together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar gradually until you get the consistency and sweetness you like (I added about 2 cups).   Using the oven or a toaster oven, toast coconut by placing it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Stir every few minutes and keep a close eye on it, it burns easily.  Allow to cool completely.

Frost cupcakes, press toasted coconut onto top of cupcakes, place a few mini eggs in the center.  Ta da!  That’s it!  Super cute and easy!

They were adorable for the bird’s nest themed shower, I promise they’re so tasty that anyone will love them.

I mean really who doesn’t love cupcakes AND those little chocolate eggs?

What Easter treat are you looking forward to?

Fall Cupcakes: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Filling and Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Frosting

You all remember the Fall Cake, right?

Inspired by my time spent working at a bakery… One layer of pumpkin cheesecake, another layer of gingerbread cake, caramel pecans in between and on top, then covered in vanilla buttercream.

That was it a little too intense for me to make that often.  So if you’re looking for the perfect fall dessert, that isn’t super complicated but will likely impress people, this is it.

Okay so it requires a lot of steps, but I promise it’s not that complicated and super delicious in the end.

Fall Cupcakes

for Gingerbread Cupcakes (adapted from Food Network’s Gingerbread cake)

1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/4-1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup boiling water

For Caramel Filling:

1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

For Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp butter, softened
4 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 lb powdered sugar (note you might need more depending on how sweet you like it)
dash of cinnamon
dash of ground ginger (or just use pumpkin pie spice)

Start my making the cupcakes.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine the sugar, oil, molasses and eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in crystallized ginger.  Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices), mix until almost combined.  Stir in boiling water.  Pour into cupcake pan lined with baking cups.  Fill only a little past half way.  This is sort of crucial.  If you over fill the pan, you get this:

Sad sunken in cupcake.  Not cute.

So fill them a little more than half way and bake them for about 15 minutes (mine took 14 mins) or until they pass the toothpick test.

Next make your caramel filling.  Heat sugar in a deep saucepan, until the sugar melts.  Once the sugar is a deep golden brown, take it off the heat and quickly stir in butter.  Once the butter is melted in there, add a pinch of salt and stream in the cream as you stir.  Keep stirring until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

At this point, your cupcakes and caramel need to cool completely.  In the meantime, go for a walk, rake some leaves (this really doesn’t apply to you if, like me, live in California…), call a friend, paint your nails, go to the gym, listen to Beyonce and dance a little bit, you get the idea…

Then come back and make the pumpkin-cream cheese icing.  It’s super easy, all you need is a hand or stand mixer.  Throw all the ingredients together and let the machine do the work.  Truth be told this frosting is delicious but not super stiff (that’s what she said).  You can add more powdered sugar if you’d like but I can only take so much sugar, it definitely hardens in the fridge but your piping might not be as beautiful as you’d like.  Oh well, it’s delicious.  Stick it in the fridge while you prep your cupcakes.

Now you can assemble!  Filling a cupcake with caramel is easy.  There are two ways to do it, but both ways involve putting your cooled caramel in a ziploc bag and cutting off the corner to create a make-shift piping bag.  Then you can either:

1. Take a knife and hole in the top and scoop some of the cupcake out.  Then take the “piping bag” and pipe some caramel into it.

2. Shove your finger into the top of each cupcake while they’re still warm.  Same effect.  It creates a hole.  I sorta like this method… some people might have an issue with it.  Obviously, please wash your hands before doing this :) Then pipe in the caramel.

Once you’ve filled all your cupcakes with caramel.

Frost them as you’d like, either with a piping bag and tip or just a knife.  Both look lovely.  Either way garnish with some slices of crystallized ginger.

I swear these taste better the next day.  I don’t know what it is, but true story.  Would I lie to you?  Either way, we’re well into October and speeding into November.

That probably means you should give these cupcakes a try.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Filling, Cream Cheese Frosting and Sea Salt Candied Walnuts

Did you see that title?  Yeah, it’s intense.

I have a little bit of a confession though.  I wasn’t going to blog about these.  Not because they aren’t good.  No, no.  They are the most amazing things ever.  But because I wasn’t happy with the photos.  You see, prior to my full time employment, I had time to bake in the morning and take photos in daylight.  Now that I work all day, baking happens at night (unless it’s the weekend of course).

In case you’re not really into taking pictures… pictures look better when taken in natural light.  Truth. I was even tempted to make these again this morning just so I could take pretty pictures in the sunlight! But in the end, laziness (or health consciousness?) prevailed.

That said, nothing is going to change the fact that these are amazing.

Not even a mediocre pictures.

Next time you have a gathering or just really need something sweet, please make these.  They’re wonderful.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Filling, Cheese Cheese Frosting and Sea Salt Candied Walnuts

1 recipe for your favorite chocolate cupcakes (I like Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake)
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2 sticks of butter, softened
Few cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 sugar
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Bake cupcakes and allow to cool completely.  While they are baking, you can make the caramel filling.  Place sugar in a deep saucepan on medium heat.  Allow the sugar to melt (about 10 minutes), stir occasionally until the sugar is a golden brown color.  Remove from heat and immediately stir in butter.  Once butter is mixed in, stream in cream while you stir.  Stir until all combined and smooth.  Set aside to cool.  You can make this a day in advance if you like. Once the caramel is completely cooled, place into a ziploc bag (or a piping bag, if you’re fancy) and cut off one corner so you can pipe caramel.

Next, make the cream cheese frosting.  Using a stand or hand mixer, blend together cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla.  I say a few cups of powdered sugar because 1. I never measure and 2. you should use as much as is necessary to get the consistency and amount of sweetness you like.  I’m guessing I used about 6 cups?  Once your cream cheese frosting is ready, put it in the fridge to keep firm until you’re ready to use it.

Next prep the cupcakes.  Scoop out some of the cupcakes to make room for the caramel.  I use a small knife just to make a small hole on top then pull out some of the filling.  Pipe some caramel into the hole.  It doesn’t need to be a ton, but let’s be honest a lot is always delicious.

Now you can make the candied nuts.  First, lay out some wax paper so you’ll have somewhere to place the candied nuts.  This really is an essential first step.  Next in a pan, over medium heat, combine the walnuts and sugar, stir occasionally.  After a few minutes, the sugar will start to melt.  Stir to coat all the nuts.  Once they look golden and candy coated, remove from heat, sprinkle with salt, stir again and then spread them on the wax paper.  Be careful.  At this point they will be very hot.  Give them some time to cool, then go through and separate any pieces and stuck together.

Lastly, now you can finish assembling the cupcakes.  Frost them however you like.  My sister and I went through a different types of frosting styles with different tips, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, since it’ll be covered in delicious candied nuts.  So once you’ve frosted them, lay some salted, candied nuts on there.  Refrigerate so everything gets firmed up together.  Then serve!

(Note: This picture will be infinitely funnier if you’ve read this)

You might be wondering why I decided to bake in the middle of the week.  Well, I suppose it’s not that out of character for me, but I had a reason. It’s my favorite brother-in-law’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, Tim!!  I think he liked them :)

In fact, I think everyone that’s eaten them has liked them.  I’m pretty sure that means I might have to make these again.

There has to be another birthday coming up soon, not that I really need a reason to bake.

Have a great weekend!

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