Category Archives: Sweet

Recipes and How-to for Sweet Dishes

rustic-raspberry-lemon-buttercream-layer-cake

Rustic Lemon Raspberry Buttercream Layer Cake

raspberry-lemon-layer-cake-homemakerchic.comI love family get togethers because it gives me the chance to show off my baking chops and to try out new recipes. Which really benefits everyone, especially you! Well maybe it benefits my family slightly more because they get to sample the delicious treats! This summer I made this fabulous Lemon Raspberry Layer cake which was equally as scrumptious as it was gorgeous. And the rustic messy buttercream frosting is so splendidly simple to do.rustic-buttercream-raspberry-lemon-layer-cake-homemakerchic.com

You will need two batches of your favorite vanilla cake recipe or vanilla cake mix. Its surprisingly easy to find organic and gluten-free cake mixes now! They’re a bit more expensive than your usual Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker mix, but they don’t have all the garbage in the ingredients. Check out your local supermarket (super Target, whole foods and Trader Joes have great selections) for products from Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills or you can grab them on Amazon and have them delivered to your door!

 

Here’s what you need for the cake:

  • 2 x vanilla cake mixes (or your favorite homemade recipe)
  • 2-3 lemons (you will need 2 for the juice and zest, and one for garnish)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (plus 8-10 extra berries for garnish)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3 cups seedless raspberry jam
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Pink food coloring
  • Red food coloring
  • 1 x – 8″ cardboard cake round

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 7.5 cups confectioners’ sugar (one 2 lb bag)
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat until blended.
  2. Add the milk, lemon zest and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

 

Make the following adjustments to your mix-

Lemon Cake:

  1. Substitute half lemon juice and half water for the liquid called for in the instructions.
  2. Substitute melted butter for the oil called for in the mix.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest.
  4. Add 5-6 drops of yellow food coloring.
  5. Pour into two 8″ greased cake pans. I like to use Baker’s Joy cooking spray with flour added. Bake as directed

Raspberry Cake:

  1. Substitute cream for the water called for in the mix.
  2. Substitute melted butter for the oil called for in the mix.
  3. Add 1/2 cup pureed and sieved raspberries (about 1 cup of whole berries). Be sure to use fresh, ripe, sweet berries. Its best to let them ripen for a few days before you make the cake, so they are at their peak sweetness. Sieve them through some cheesecloth or a chinois (which is really just a fancy pants version of a fine strainer) to remove all the seeds. Because let’s face it, no one likes raspberry seeds.
  4. Add a few drops of hot pink food coloring, and 1-2 drops of red food coloring to get a nice deep raspberry color.
  5. Pour into two 8″ greased cake pans. Bake as directed.

Assembly and Frosting

yellow-and-pink-layered-cake

To make this glorious layered effect we are going to be torting this cake. To tort a cake just means you are slicing each layer in half and adding filling in between. This makes your cake slices look beautiful plus it gives you more filling which makes for a much more delicious cake.

I recommend using a cake slicer (or cake saw) like this one from Wilton. You can use it to level off the tops of your cake, then drop it down to the lowest setting and slice your cakes in half. Be sure to do this on a level counter or table or your cakes will end up lopsided.

Slice all four cakes in half. Then begin by smearing a little frosting on your cake board then place the bottom raspberry piece down. The frosting will keep the cake from sliding around. Add about 1/2 cup of jam in the center and spread it around leaving about 1/2 inch of space all around the edge (that way when you place your next layer on the jam doesn’t smush out the sides.) Next, add a lemon layer and more jam. Continue layering one raspberry, then one lemon layer, with jam in between until you get to the top. Make sure your top piece is a “bottom” layer of one of your cakes. That way you will have a smooth top and not too many crumbs. Does that make sense?

Now for the frosting. Just drop a big blob of frosting on the top of your cake and, using a large offset spatula, begin working the buttercream down the sides in smooth swirly motions. Don’t worry about making it too smooth. Just make sure you have a nice even layer. Then go back and using the tip of the spatula make some nice rustic swirls. Finally, slice your lemon and stick a few slices around the bottom of the cake and add a few berries for garnish. That’s all she wrote friends! I hope you enjoy this delicious and delightful cake!

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home-made-mints-homemaker-chic

Homemade Valentine’s Day Mints Recipe

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and this year I wanted to make something extra special for my friends and family. I saw a recipe for homemade Altoids a while back and decided I would make my own spin on the curiously strong mint. I’m not a huge fan of peppermint so I decided to make Vanilla Spearmint Heart Shaped Mints.home-made-mints-homemaker-chic

2014-02-06 12.10.33I have these amazing tins from SKS and I knew I just had to use for this project. You could certainly use repurposed Altoids tins but I made this adorable logo to go on the tops of the tins and the altoids containers have ridges on them and you can’t put a sticker on it. mint-to-beYou are welcomed to use my logo for free, because I’m just THAT nice :).

The tins from SKS are excellent quality and made for a lovely gift. This would also make a super cute wedding favor. I would recommend buying a big bag of ready made mints if you wanted to use the tins for a wedding because these are a scoche time consuming to cut out, and not really any cheaper than just buying mints at the store. These are just super fun to make and cute!

2014-02-06 11.39.47The recipe only calls for a few simple ingredients:

  • 1lb Gum Paste
  • Confectioner’s Sugar (powdered sugar) For a sugar free version of these mints try Xylitol.
  • Flavor Oils or Essential Oils
  • Food Coloring

 

Prepare the gumpaste following the instructions on the bag or carton. You can also buy ready-made gum paste. Either will work for this recipe.

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Cut off an egg sized portion of the dough. Add a bit of food coloring (I used a little green for a nice mint color) and 5-6 drops of oils. I used 6 drops of Spearmint Oil and 1 drop of Vanilla Oil for a sweet mint flavor. You could really get creative with the flavors, as long as the essential oil is food safe you can use it as flavoring. Or you can try Lorann flavoring oils in flavors like Wintergreen, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Orange, even Root Beer! The Oils are dirt cheap so get a bunch and try them out. Knead the dough until the oil and coloring is well incorporated. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Now you are ready to cut out your mints!

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I found these fantastic heart shaped cutters with plungers. The plunger makes it super easy to get the dough out of the cutter. The set I found came with 5 different sizes so you could easily do a super adorable mixed size batch of mints. They have other cool shapes besides hearts like stars, circles, squares and more. You could also use a large straw to cut these out if you don’t have the cutters.homemade-mints

2014-02-06 12.38.20Once you’ve cut out your mints, toss them in a little more powdered sugar so they don’t stick to each other, and lay them out on waxed paper to dry overnight. Allow them to dry for 24-48hrs for a nice hard, crunchy candy.2014-02-06 12.48.26

Line your tins with some tissue paper in a complimentary color to your mints. One egg-sized portion of the dough yields about 100 mints which will nicely fill up one tin. The entire container of gumpaste will make about 600-700 mints. You’ll want to make all the mints within a day or so of preparing the gumpaste because it will dry out and harden. I hope you have lots of fun making mints! I know these will make such a lovely valentine gift for all my friends. :)

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Baking Cupcakes with Silicon Baking Cups

One of the benefits of blogging is that I often get asked to try products and share them with my readers. I don’t often accept these offers because I am very choosy about what I will endorse, and also I want to always provide my readers with relevant content that represents Homemaker Chic. Well recently I was approached by The New York Baking Company about trying out their silicon baking cups and seriously friends, these are SO cool.

I’ve seen these before in stores but never really considered trying them, but I’m so glad I finally gave them a shot!

They’re called Baking Buddies and they come in a set of 12 in four really bright and super cute colors. You don’t have to use paper cupcake wrappers or cooking spray at all. The cupcakes baked so evenly and perfectly and the best part is that the slipped right out of the cups without sticking.

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Well… the chocolate cake was more moist and did stick the slightest bit but not enough to bother me.

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I’m not sure I would use them as shown in the photos on the site. They show them being used as actual cupcake wrappers which I suppose you could do, but I would be worried people might throw them away.

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I like these cups for when you do not want a wrapper on a cupcake at all. For example I used them for making little petit-four cakes by slicing the rounded tops off the cupcakes, placing them upside down, slicing them in half to add a filling, and then piping some decorative frosting on the outside. The cups were great for this purpose because they yielded perfect little cakes with no need to peel off paper that takes half the cake with it!

Try them out. I know you’ll like them!

petitfours

Romantic Wedding Cake

I don’t often toot my own horn, but I am so stinkin’ proud of my most recent wedding cake that I just had to share it with all of you! I’ve been dying to do a romantic style wedding cake, and I got the opportunity last month to create this 4 tier, over 2 foot tall, masterpiece. It was so much fun to make, and the wedding was positively stunning. The photography is by the amazing Ariel at Ari Photography who photographed my own wedding. My sister danielle at Save The Date FL did the beautiful flowers.

This was actually a dummy cake, where the tiers are made of styrofoam and I covered them in real fondant. It works out great when you want a huge fabulous cake, but don’t have 500 guests. The 130 guests were served sheet cake in Champagne Vanilla cake with strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream, and Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and dark chocolate ganache.

Whenever I do a dummy cake people often ask what to do about the cake cutting. The bride and groom actually cut their slice out of a little tiny two-tier cake that I prepared for them. The top tier is their piece for the night, and the bottom tier which is a 6″ cake is their anniversary cake. You can see in the last picture where they are cutting the cake that it worked out perfectly!

romantic-cake ribbon-cake bride-and-groom-cake-cutting

St. Patrick’s Day Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Since St. Patty’s Day is just around the corner I thought I’d bring back an oldie but a goodie. This cupcake has become quite the hit over the past year! Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, but for weddings, birthdays and tuesday afternoons. I will never tire of this wonderfully delicious recipe. Impress your friends this year with this heavenly irish treat. Last year I used a chocolate box cake, but since I’ve removed processed foods from my home, I’ve got a home made recipe for you this year! You can always use the box cake if you want. Enjoy!

If you’re using the cake mix here are some things I did to make it taste better. The cake mix called for 1 1/4 cups of water, plus oil and eggs. I swapped the water for the same amount of cold coffee. This isn’t all that noticeable in the final cupcake but it adds a richness to what can sometimes be a flat flavour in box cakes. I also swapped the oil for melted butter.

I added 1/2 a cup of mini chocolate chips which made the cake more chocolatey and who doesn’t like that? (You’re a ding-dong if you’re thinking either 1- “chocolatey isn’t a word” or 2- “I don’t like when cupcakes are more chocolatey”)

If you don’t want to use the Box Cake here’s my home-made recipe. This is a dense cake, a slightly bittersweet cake. It has a very “Irish” flavor. If you don’t care for that taste you could certainly substitute the Guinness for the same amount of milk, cream, or coffee.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Yields 24 Cupcakes.

Cake:

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 t baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 cup of room temperature Guinness Beer (Or coffee if you don’t want the beer)

1 stick of butter; melted

1 T vanilla extract

3 large eggs

¾ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 and line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl or mixer, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the room temperature Guinness, butter and vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs one at a time. If the Guinness is cold it will cause the melted butter to set up and your batter will be gritty. Mix in the sour cream until well incorporated. Beat in the dry ingredients a little at a time until well mixed. Be sure to scrape the bowl.

Using a ladle or a half cup measuring cup, fill the cupcake cups ¾ full. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cupcakes are nicely risen, rounded, and a toothpick in one of the center cupcakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool before filling and frosting.

These cupcakes are filled with an amazing chocolate ganache that is ridiculously easy. Seriously, if you’re all “I can’t make that,” I would genuinely ridicule you.

All you have to do is pour 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (the very same that we’ve already added to our cupcakes) into a pyrex measuring cup. Gently simmer 2/3 cup heavy cream + 2 teaspoons of Bailey’s Irish cream on the stove or in the microwave. Don’t boil it or you will make the cream lumpy.

Now about the Bailey’s… you simply MUST use Bailey’s brand. I was once cheap and bought an off brand and I sorely regretted it. Bailey’s is the only Irish Cream that tastes good. Moral of the story: Don’t be cheap. P.S. Try drinking Bailey’s from a shoe… I hear its amazing.

Once your cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and add 2 tbsp of butter. Stir for a few minutes until its all melted and mixed in, then let it cool until it thickens enough to pipe into your cupcakes. You don’t want it to be too liquidy or too hot. (I cheated and popped it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down and get it to a nice consistency.)

Here’s a simple trick for filling your piping bag. Fold the bag over a glass, and just pour your ganache right in.

The glass is also a nice place to rest your piping bag so all your ganache stays toward the tip.

Cut out little holes in your cupcakes using a long piping tip as a punch. If you blow gently through the other side the cake will pop out of the tip. Trust me, you’ll get annoyed trying to get that cake out of there afterward. These get thrown away anyway (or if you have an Adam, they will get eaten up!)

Now pump your cupcakes full of ganache!

For the buttercream I followed the Sprinkles recipe (which is my go-to buttercream recipe) but I doctored it up a little bit. I doubled it for 24 cupcakes and instead of milk I dissolved one individual sized packet of Nescafé instant coffee into 2 teaspoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream + 2 teaspoons of vanilla (okay maybe I was a little heavy handed on the Bailey’s ;)) and whipped it into my frosting. This not only gave my frosting the delicious irish coffee kick I was going for, but it also ended up being the exact shade of creamy beige I wanted. Feel free to up the instant coffee amount if you want a stronger coffee flavour. It would taste great with more coffee, but I didn’t want to make it too strong for my guests. I would have used Starbucks Via, but its really PRICEY! It is tasty, but not for $10+ for 12 packets. I remember having Nescafé in Paris and being surprised at how delicious it was (imagine going all the way to france to find a good cup of instant coffee!), plus its only $1.50 for a box of 8.

I learned this nifty trick on pinterest for filling a piping bag with buttercream.

I’ve been wanting to try it, and it actually really works!

Start by blopping some frosting on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Then roll the plastic wrap around the frosting and twist up the ends.

Slide the whole thing into your piping bag and feed through the tip (with the coupler on but without the piping tip yet).

Then just snip off the excess plastic tie up the bottom and you’re good to go.

When you’re done you can just pull out the empty plastic wrap and toss it. So easy!

DISCLAIMER: Like many things on the internet, this looked extremely easy but I somehow found a way to muck it up the first time. Fear not.

If you’ve tried this and failed…

<– This fatty is an example of how NOT to do it.

I found out that you can’t use too much frosting or it won’t fit into your bag properly. I also learned that when you roll it up be sure to do this lengthwise. You’ll need a nice long piece of twisted plastic wrap to feed through the coupler. This may have been obvious to you, but it was not to me, and when I started squeezing buttercream was shooting out of both ends.

Now for the piping. This part really was just as easy as it looks. I used a Wilton Star tip. I didn’t bother to consider which number it was, so I’m sorry to say I don’t know which one you should use. Maybe just use your heart, or common sense. Its the one that looks like it would be about the size of the one I used in this picture.

Start in the center of the cupcake, and pipe right over your ganache. Starting from the inside make a neat little swirl. Make the center swirl about an inch and a half in diameter.

Then continue making 1 inch swirls all around starting from the center of where you want it to land and working your way out. You should end up with about 7 swirls on a normal sized cupcake.

Double bonus, I got to use my sweet new Dollar Store cupcake stand :)

Grilled Plantains with Brown Sugar and Butter

Living in Florida we get to taste amazing Spanish and Cuban cuisines. One of my favourite Latin treats is fried plantains. The plantain is sort of like a more dense banana. They happened to be on sale at the super market so I picked up a few. Now I wanted to do a healthier version of this dessert than fried, so when Adam suggested grilling out for dinner, I knew this would be a great way to cook the plantains!

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Now plantains are not as sweet as bananas, so for this recipe you’ll need to let them over ripen for at least a week. I let mine ripen for 10 days. You want them to be black and yellow, or completely black if you really want some amazing sweetness. The cool thing about the plantain is that it doesn’t get mushy, even when it is super ripe, so you can still get nice slices even after 2 weeks of ripening.

All you need is 1 plantain per person, some butter and some brown sugar. You’ll want about 2 parts butter to one part brown sugar. For 2 plantains I used about 5T of butter and 2 T of brown sugar.

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Slice the plantains on a strong bias so you get nice long pieces.

In a small bowl mix the butter and brown sugar until you get a nice creamy mixture. Spoon about a teaspoon of the butter mix on both sides of each slice.

 

 

grilling plantains-homemakerchic.comPlace them gently on a medium heat grill. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Use a metal spatula, not tongs, to turn them. Tongs will smash the soft flesh.

 

 

 

The sweetness of the plantains caramelizes with the sugar and the butter. These would be great served with vanilla ice cream or just by themselves! We scarfed them down and wanted more. They are sooo delcious. Try them, I know you’ll love them, and so will your kids!plaintains-grilled-homemakerchic.com

Pink Champagne and Strawberry Cupcakes

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pink-champagne-strawberry-cupcakes

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and if you’re looking for a fabulous and delicious dessert, then I’ve got one for you! What’s more romantic than Champagne and Strawberries… how about cupcakes? Throw it all together and you’ve got one sweet treat for your honey. You’re going to L-O-V-E this recipe.

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Now I’m not a big fan of boxed cake mixes because of the ridiculous amount of junk they pile into those boxes. But I was in a bind today and needed to get these cupcakes made quickly. I happened to have a boxed cake on hand and this is a great way to doctor up a mix. You can also use this in a home made mix just replacing the liquid called for with Champagne. The good news is that the recipe only calls for one cup of champagne, so someone is going to have to help you drink the rest of that bottle. ;)

Here’s what you need:

One vanilla cake mix

1 Cup Pink Champagne (or sparkling wine, or you could totally use Sprite or Fresca for this if you don’t want the booze, don’t worry though, the alcohol does get cooked out.)

1/3 Cup Cream

1/3 Cup Melted Butter

3 eggs

1/2 cup strawberry jam

For the Frosting:

2 sticks of butter

4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

1 T Pink Champagne

2 t Clear Vanilla Extract

¼ cup Strawberry Jam

Here’s what you do:

strawberry_champagne_cupcakes

Combine the mix, champagne, cream, eggs, and butter. The Champagne will fizz up and the batter will sort of expand, just be prepared for that. I added a bit of pink rose food coloring to my batter just to give a soft pink color to the cakes. Just a touch of pink. Generally one mix will yield about 24 cupcakes. This mix yielded 18 regular sized cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes for me. So I’m thinking that the Champagne really makes the batter go a little further. It does

not, however, affect the rising of the cake so fill your cups the normal 2/3 full. Drop about a teaspoon of strawberry jam in the center of each cupcake. Use the spoon to push the jam down a little bit into the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes on 350.

For the frosting:

In a large bowl cream the butter and the vanilla. Slowly add in the cream and champagne. The cream will get whipped and this w

ill give you a light and fluffy frosting. Add the jam and mix. Start adding the sugar one half cup at a time. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.

champagne-cupcake

I made this rose design using a 1M tip, starting at the center of each cupcake and piping a circle moving outward. It so easy, but very elegant. You also don’t even up with too much frosting on the cupcakes. Its the perfect amount. I hope you all enjoy this light and delicious treat! Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you all!