Champagne Cupcakes: A Labor of Love

0211161822b.jpg
Champagne Cupcakes with Raspberry and Orange Buttercream Frosting is a “sweet” way to say “Be My Valentine.”

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and with Valentine’s Day just a few days away, it’s time to get cookin’! All jokes aside, I don’t think there’s a better way to show you care than by cooking or baking for someone you love. I’ve got a special recipe to share today, and it’s exciting for two reasons: 1) It’s seriously Some Kinda Good (you get to bake with champagne!), and 2) It’s developed by a really inspirational person I had the privilege of meeting and competing with on ABC’s The TasteContinue reading “Champagne Cupcakes: A Labor of Love”

Advertisements

Summertime Watermelon Cake

Watermelon is an iconic symbol of summertime. When I learned it could be incorporated into a cake, I was super excited to get in the kitchen and bake it. Pretty in pink and sweet as can be, this cake is bursting with watermelon flavor, light and airy, and comes together quickly.

It all starts from a boxed white cake mix. Gather your ingredients and go to town! The recipe calls for a mixed-fruit-flavored gelatin, so I used strawberry-banana. I’m convinced it was the secret ingredient that really boosted the cake’s flavor.

Dump your cake mix in the bowl of an electric mixer, top with 1 tablespoon of flour, the gelatin packet and 1 cup of chopped fresh watermelon. I love the contrasting colors in this bowl!

The watermelon turns the batter a beautiful, natural pink.

You’re never too old to lick the beaters! 😉

Divide the batter evenly among two 8-inch round cake pans and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. I like to drop my pans on the counter top before popping them in the oven to get rid of any air bubbles.

Meanwhile, whip up the frosting. It’s very sweet and achieving the right consistency can be tricky. Here’s what’s in it: 1 16 oz. box of confectioners sugar, 1 stick of margarine and 1/2 – 1 cup of chopped watermelon.  Red food coloring is optional and I chose to add it because without it, the frosting appeared to be the color of peach. A few drops will turn it pink, the same color as the batter. Remember–too runny? Add more powdered sugar. Too thick? Add more watermelon.

Once the cakes have cooled completely, they are ready to frost. Note: I used Crisco to grease my pans and also dusted them with flour…they released the best I’ve ever seen any cake let go from a pan. THAT’S a beautiful thing.

Frosting the cake is a messy job. Use wax paper under your cake to avoid having so much to clean up.

My favorite part is always decorating it! Fresh mint and tiny watermelon wedges did the trick.

Ta-da! So fun, so festive.

In the video below, watch as I cut the cake and share some ideas on places to take it! If you do bake the cake for a gender reveal party, obviously, you’ll want to change the color of the frosting.

Special thanks to my friend, Tori, for help with photography and video for this blog post, and contributing to the recipe (girl’s night was a blast!). 🙂

Also, a shout out to Jessica for posting this cake on Facebook and inspiring me to make it. This recipe originally appeared in The Blue Willow Inn: Bible of Southern Cooking:

Cake:

  • 1 Tbs.  All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 18.25 oz. Box White Cake Mix ( I used the Duncan Hines brand)
  • 1 3 oz. Package of Mixed-Fruit-Flavored Gelatin
  • 3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Watermelon
  • 4 Eggs

Frosting:

  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) of Margarine, Softened
  • 1 16 oz. Box Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 Cup Watermelon
  • Red Food Coloring (Optional)

Have fun!

A Frilly & Feminine Valentine’s Dessert Worth Every Calorie

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a classy little delicacy like Red Velvet Cupcakes with Red Velvet Frosting?  I have always loved cupcakes and over the years, my reasons for loving them have changed. My favorite reason to love them today? They are perfectly portion controlled and simply satisfying.

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected places. I picked up this frilly cupcake set at checkout while shopping at TJ Maxx. Time I saw it, I knew just what to do. Valentine’s Day baking quest solved.

Sift together dry ingredients.

Combine wet ingredients right inside a glass measuring cup. I love the way the red food coloring splashes the pure white buttermilk.

Unsalted butter at room temperature. It’s easy to ignore these little details, but they make all the difference. Leave butter on the counter over night or for a few hours to bring it to room temperature. Of course, you can always soften it in the microwave. The batter will come together much smoother when your butter is the correct temperature. Also, using unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt in a recipe. I don’t know who invented butter, but whoever you are, THANK YOU!

Beat butter and sugar together, then add eggs one at a time until combined. Add dry and wet ingredients alternately.

Tip: Turn the blender speed down when adding the wet ingredients. I’ll be wiping my counter tops down for a while from red food coloring splashes!

Use an ice cream scoop to ensure all your cupcakes are the same size. This will prevent uneven baking. Tip: spray the ice cream scoop with cooking spray so that the batter releases easily.

I always drop my muffin tin on the counter top a few times to get the air out of the batter. It’s just one of those things I’ve always done because mama did it and her mama did it. I’m not sure how culinarilly-sound that is. Yes, I just made up a word: Culinarilly.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Let the little perfections cool.

Whip up the cream cheese based frosting. Warning: The frosting alone contains 3 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar. I had a lot of frosting left over.

Frost, decorate, put on a pretty platter and serve! My pink Willams-Sonoma cake plate was the absolute perfect dish for this Valentine presentation.

Sweet. Heavenly. Worth every calorie.

This blog post features Ina Garten’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Red Velvet Frosting from her latest cookbook How Easy is That?