Cake

Pancakes

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Pancakes

These pancakes are perfect for breakfast in the morning. You can add chocolate chips on top of them as they cook, or put them on after they’re done. Dusting them with powdered sugar or drizzling them with syrup is a perfect finishing touch. Some melted butter also pairs very nicely. To make sure the pan is hot enough before cooking them, splash a little water onto the pan before adding any water. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough, it not, wait a little and try again. The pan shouldn’t be hot enough to cook them immediately, otherwise the outside will burn and the inside will be raw. You will probably have to lower the temperature as you cook them.

Ingredients

Makes 9 to 12

2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter, completely melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a small separate bowl, beat the milk, butter, vanilla and egg together. Slowly fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth and can easily pour off of a spoon. Add up to 1/4 cup extra milk as needed. Heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Pour 1/4 cup spoonfuls of batter onto the pan and gently spread into a circle with the back of a spoon. When bubbles begin to cover the whole surface and the bottom is golden, flip with a spatula. Remove from pan onto a wire cooling rack when both sides are golden brown.

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Frosting

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla buttercream is the most simple frosting to make. You can add mix-ins or just leave it plain, making it very customizable. However, adding things into the frosting can make it hard or impossible to pipe, so be careful! This versatile frosting can be piped on frosting for an elegant look, or spread on cake as a base for more decorations. You could even use it use it to make beautiful buttercream flowers, if you have the right piping tip and the patience. Buttercream should be stiff and not runny, but not so stiff it can’t be piped. Using cream instead of milk is very beneficial for this recipe, as it makes it less runny.

The cupcake shown in the picture is a basic vanilla cupcake, and the recipe to make it can be found here.

Frosting:

2 sticks of butter; slightly softened (one cup)

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste

2 to 3 tbsp whipping cream

Directions:

In a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. It shouldn’t be melted, only barely softened. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, whip until combined. Add cream, starting with 2 tbsp, adding up to 3 tbsp if needed.

 

 

Frosting

Oreo Frosting

This Oreo frosting is one of the best ones to use! It’s smooth and creamy, but not too sweet. It holds it’s shape very well, making it easy to use for both cupcakes and cakes. This frosting completes any cupcake or cake, taking them to the next level. This recipe is quick and simple to make, and uses just a few ingredients and only one bowl. For this recipe, it is recommended that you use a wide tip for frosting, or a bit of Oreo could stick inside the tip. Plain circle tips are the best to use for this particular frosting. If you are looking for a more intricate design on your cupcakes, you should use a plain vanilla frosting.

Frosting:

15 Oreos

1 1/2 cups butter (three sticks), softened

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Directions:

In a blender, reduce Oreos to a powder. In a separate bowl, whip the butter, preferably with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar, whip until smooth. Slowly pour in the whipping cream and vanilla. If it is too thick, add cream a tablespoon at a time. If it is too thin, add the powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time. Add the Oreo powder and whip until smooth.

Note: Ensure that the Oreo is completely powdered and use a wide tip to frost, or an Oreo piece may clog up your piping tip.

Blog posts, Cookies

Shortbread Cookie Bars

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Shortbread cookie bars (photo by Learn Wildlife

These buttery vanilla shortbread cookies are perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea or just on their own! The sugary topping adds just a hint of sweetness that isn’t too overpowering. The dough is quick to prepare and is very easy to make. Don’t worry if the dough seems very soft, it’s supposed to be like that.

Cookies:

Makes about 32

2 sticks or unsalted butter, slightly softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 white granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste for more flavor)

1 1/2 cups of flour

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 ºF. Have a 9 inch square cake pan ready. Soften the butter, it shouldn’t be melted. Whip the butter on high in an electric mixer or stand mixer. IT should be light, fluffy, and pale. Slowly add the powdered sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and whip until well combined. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl sift the flour and salt together, whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour into the butter mixture, and mix until barely combined. With floured fingertips, add the dough into the pan. It should be extremely soft. Press into an even layer. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake for 1 hour. The edges will be slightly browned, but shouldn’t be too crisp. Quickly cut into bars, and decorate with a fork. Cool for 30 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack.

Note: It’s very important that the butter isn’t melted. There shouldn’t be any melted butter at the bottom of the bowl. The resulting dough will be very soft and buttery, this is normal.

Cake, Frosting

Frosting Tips

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Having perfect frosting is essential to having a perfect cupcake. It finishes them off, which is why it is so important to have amazing frosting. With so many different methods of making frosting, it’s important to have a few tips and tricks to make the perfect buttercream frosting every time. We have compiled a list of four of the most important things to get right when making frosting, and addressing the most common mistakes.

1) The consistency of the butter

This is probably written on almost any frosting recipe you’ll find, but you cannot over soften your butter! If it is too melty, the frosting will be soupy and won’t pipe properly. It’ll melt right off the cupcakes! Well softened butter is room temperature to the touch and has just started to melt. Any more than this, you could risk having watery frosting. Under softening the butter is just as bad, as cold butter is hard to whip and will get stuck in the whisk.

2) The sifting of the powdered sugar

Powdered sugar, or confectioner’s sugar, is used in almost any frosting. The powdered sugar in a buttercream is like the flour in a cupcake; it gives it substance. Sifting your powdered sugar is a must do, even if the recipe doesn’t mention it. This eliminates chunks in the sugar, making the frosting smoother. Without sifting, the frosting could end up full of chunks that will clog up the piping tip later on.

3) The correct piping tip

The piping tip you use often depends on the type of frosting. While the narrow tips can create more delicate designs, they should only be used with frostings without any additions, such as sprinkles and Oreos. These larger chunks can become stuck in the tip, blocking frosting from coming out, and hence ruining your design.

4) The temperature of the cupcakes

You could spend a lot of time making the perfect buttercream, but if you frost the cupcakes too soon it will all have been for nothing. Frosting cupcakes that have just come out of the oven will cause the frosting to melt right off of them! Cupcakes and cake should be allowed to cool to at least room temperature before frosting them.

Making frosting can have its own challenges, but by following these tips and having a good recipe to begin with, you’ll have the perfect frosting!

Cake, Frosting

Chocolate Frosting

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This chocolate frosting perfectly pairs with any type of cupcake or cake! The rich chocolate flavor compliments whatever it is served with, and this is clearly the best chocolate frosting recipe to use.

Ingredients:

Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 Tbsp heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Whip the butter in a large bowl with a hand mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, whipping after each addition. Pour in the cocoa powder and stir to combine. Mixture should be very thick. Add the cream and vanilla and whip until smooth.

Note: If the resulting mixture is too thick, add more cream, and if it is too loose, add more powdered sugar. Make sure the butter is not softened too much, or the frosting will be too watery.

Pies

Strawberry pie

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With summer fast approaching, strawberries have finally come into season! With the tasty red berries in abundance, there is nothing better to make than a strawberry pie. While it may take some time to make, the end result is highly rewarding! The flaky pie crust may be tricky to get perfect and not soggy, but if done correctly, it’s amazing! To get the flaky crust, it helps to bake the crust for a few minutes without filling. This can help prevent it from absorbing the juices from the strawberries.

Crust:

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

3/4 cup butter, (cold and cubed)

1/2 cup icy water, plus more if required

Directions:

In a food processor or a blender, combine the flour, salt, and sugar, and then add the butter. Pulse until butter is broken up among the flour, but it should still be in visible pieces. Drizzle the cold water over the mixture and process until it begins to come together. Press the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using.

Strawberry Filling:

2 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca

1 tbsp cold butter, chopped

Pinch of salt

Directions:

In a small bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, tapioca and salt.

Preheat the oven to 350º F. To make the pie, split the dough into two even halves and roll them out on a lightly floured surface into two disks 12 inches in diameter. They should be 1/8 of an inch thick. Transfer one round into an 9 inch pie pan and gently press down to fit. Spoon in the filling, and dot the top with the remaining butter. For the top, you can either weave a lattice or place the second round over the top. If you choose to place the second disk on top, cut slits into it as air holes to prevent bubbling. Bake for 60-70 minutes, the crust should be golden. Cool for 45-60 minutes. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Note: In order to prevent a soggy pie crust, you can wait a little before adding the filling and take the time to drain some of the juices.

Cake

Vanilla cupcakes

 

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Vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting

These cupcakes are literally the best! They are so fluffy and moist on the inside, and the frosting you choose on top finishes them off! The buttermilk used creates the best texture and fluffiness on the inside and makes these cupcakes perfect. These vanilla cupcakes are simple and easy to make as well, and take little time. They are perfect to use at events or gatherings, and make it easy for everyone to have a little treat with no hassle!

Cupcakes:

Makes about 20

2 sticks of butter (1 cup), softened

1 cup white sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350º F and place paper liners in muffin tins. Microwave the butter until barely softened, and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until fluffy, and slowly add the sugar. Add vanilla extract and eggs, mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour into the egg mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until smooth, be careful not to overmix! Spoon batter into cups and bake for 18-20 minutes, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Note: It is very important that you do not overmix the batter, or there will be tunneling in your cupcakes. This is where large holes form in the cake, creating a strange texture.

 

Cake

Chocolate chip cookies

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Cookies:

Makes about 24

1 stick butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

11 oz milk chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Microwave butter until completely melted. Leave to cool slightly. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until well combined. Add chocolate chips slowly, mixing continuously.

Scoop approximately one tablespoon of dough at a time, and roll into a ball. Place on prepared pans. Cook 12-15 minutes. To check if baked, gently lift the end of the cookie from the pan with a spatula. The bottom should be well browned. The cookie will be soft to the touch, but will become firmer. The top should be golden brown. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Note: Your baking time will be longer if you use a silpat or silicone baking sheet.

 

Cake

Sugar cookies

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Sugar cookies:

3 cups flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and milk, combine. Slowly add flour mixture and beat well. Sprinkle a clean surface with flour. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 7 to 9 minutes. Allow to sit on baking sheet 2 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.

Icing:

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons water

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar and water, mix until smooth. Add more water to make thinner or powdered sugar to make thicker until desired consistency is reached.