July
21
Filed Under (Cakes, Recipes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 21-07-2011

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My husband mentioned that he’d seen a Paula Deen recipe for pink lemonade cake.  I thought that sounded really nice and would be a great Summertime dessert.  After looking at Paula’s recipe online and the comments by users who had found it “too dense” “too this” or “too that” I decided to run with her basic flavour idea but to tweak it and hopefully turn out something really nice.

This is what I did.  It’s really easy and very tasty.

Pink Lemonade Cupcake Batter by Cake Artisan

Pink Lemonade Cupcake Batter

I took a box of white cake mix and prepared it as directed on the box except that I don’t like to use oil in my cakes so I replaced the 1/3 cup of oil with an equivalent 1/3 cup of natural, unsweetened apple sauce.  To the mix I then added three heaped tablespoons of the Country Time Pink Lemonade drink mix and also added a dash of Madagascar Vanilla and about a tablespoon of lemon zest.  I decided I wanted my cake to be more pink than the pale colour it was currently so I added a dash of pink food colouring until it was pink enough for me.

Ingredients so far:

1 box of Moist White Cake Mix

3 egg whites (no yolks)

1/3 cup natural, unsweetened apple sauce

1 & 1/4 cup of water

3 heaped tablespoons of Country Time Pink Lemonade drink mix powder (not diluted)

1 tsp of Madagascar Vanilla or Vanilla Essence

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest

Country Time - Pink Lemonade

Country Time - Pink Lemonade

Pink food colouring

 

(Baking purists are probably rolling their eyes at my suggestion of using a box mix and then the addition of pink food colouring.  It worked for what we were doing here so I’m ok with it.  If you aren’t, there are plenty of from scratch white cake recipes out there to delight your pure little baker’s hearts.)

Even though I have a passion for baking we try not to keep too many goodies in the house because we both could stand to lose some weight.  So we send our goodies off to work with my husband and I’ve heard his coworkers think this is ok.  Since they are headed for the office I decided to make cupcakes as they are far more manageable than needing to find a knife and plates for carving up a larger single cake.

Next I created a tasty complementary frosting.  I pretty much always go for my basic cream cheese frosting and just change it up a little to suit what it is that I’m making.

Frosting:

Crusting cream cheese buttercream

5 heaped tablespoons of Country Time  Pink Lemonade Drink Powder

Pink Lemonade Cupcake by Cake Artisan adapted from Paula Deen's Pink Lemonade Cake

Pink Lemonade Cupcake

After the cupcakes came out of the oven and cooled I frosted them with a generous swirl of buttercream and some sugar sprinkles just to make them shiny.  So that’s it folks.. really a quick and easy recipe and perfect for summer mealtimes or snacks.  Enjoy!  And remember if you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me.  I try to answer all emails even if they may take a couple of days to get you your response.

~ Colleen

 

 

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October
27
Filed Under (Cakes, Recipes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 27-10-2010

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I’m always amazed at little ones!  How in the world did my then 4yo daughter decide she wanted to learn to play the violin?  While being exposed to lots of music I certainly hadn’t suggested she learn to play an instrument let alone a classical one.  No worries we got her started and away she went with gusto…  Well this post isn’t about music but recently I was asked by my friends to make their 3yo daughter a birthday cake. Apparently she had requested “a raspberry on the inside” birthday cake.  I’d never made one before but love a challenge so this is how I did it.

WARNING – Heavy text as some dummy (me) forgot to take progress photos… but it turned out great so bear with me folks.

First off I thought I’d start with a white cake recipe and add my raspberry goodness to it.

White cake mix or this from scratch recipe…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Then To make it Raspberry Flavoured…

Ok.. great but it had to be raspberry flavoured…  I could not for the life of me find fresh raspberries that day that weren’t growing fur, so my next best option was a heaping tablespoon of raspberry jam (jelly) with the seeds for authenticity AND I added a 1/3 of a sachet of Raspberry Jello Crystals dissolved into a half cup of water.

Raspberry cake by Cake Artisan

Cake Crumb

I figured it wouldn’t throw off the balance of the cake since it thickens as it sets up.  My theory proved right and the cake was relatively dense (with a fine crumb texture like a Madeira or pound cake) but still light and very flavourful.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two eight inch round pans or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth, the jello crystals and the raspberry jam. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  For cupcakes 20-25 mins.
Raspberry Cake by Cake Artisan

Raspberry Jam (Jelly)

For this little lady’s cake I made two 6 inch and two 8 inch round cakes to stack.

In between each matching pair I spread a fine layer of raspberry jam (jelly) and then added raspberry cream cheese frosting (my original recipe with some raspberry jello crystals and a small amount of jam added to it).

I placed wooden dowels inside of McDonalds straws into the 8 inch stacked cakes and then placed the 6 inch stacked pair on top.

Raspberry Cake by Cake Artisan

Dowels

All of the cakes were covered in my crusting cream cheese frosting prior to stacking as they wanted it smoothed to look like fondant.  I then cut out about one hundred or so purple and one hundred or so pink fondant flowers for decoration.  This cake was to compliment a Tinkerbell cake topper.

The glitter is edible sparkle glitter.  The cake was a lot of work but my friends loved it.  Hubby enjoyed the crumbs I had cut off the top so much I made him his very own raspberry cake the next day.  It was pretty much gone in an instant.  Don’t forget to email me if you have any questions.  Happy Baking!

Tinkerbell Raspberry Cake by Cake Artisan

Raspberry Cake

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May
05
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 05-05-2010

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This is the cake I made for my daughter Megan’s baby shower this past weekend.  The cake on the bottom was yellow cake filled with white cream cheese frosting and then covered with the same frosting coloured blue.  I added balls of chocolate fondant to the sides and for the circles.

Teddy Bear Baby Shower cake made for my daughter Megan's baby shower on May 1st 2010.

Baby Shower Cake

The top cake was made using the good old Wilton Teddy Bear pan.  I made this for her first birthday some 20+ years ago so thought it would be a nice touch for this cake.  The cake is chocolate cake and is iced with a chocolate flavoured cream cheese frosting.  The diaper is thinly rolled white fondant made using Carrie Biggers’ recipe.  Sorry but I can’t give that to you here because Carrie sells it on her website as one of her product range.  It’s a great recipe and tastes so much better than commercially produced fondant.  I am always horrified when I see the fondant being torn off of wedding cakes by folks that have only had the shop bought kind.  The home made stuff is so much nicer and very edible.

Vanilla and Chocolate baby shower cakeOk, so I have to “fess up.”  Even experienced bakers and decorators make mistakes.  Stupid mistakes actually.  That bear on the top took three attempts before I got it right.  I can’t believe it since I’ve made it many times before but the first time around I didn’t add enough batter to the pan so when bear came out he had NO LEGS!  Um no.  That bear became chocolate cake balls that I put into the party favour boxes for our guests to take home with them, so not a total waste.

With my second attempt I totally forgot to insert the cone into the center of the pan which ensures even cooking.  Not realizing my mistake I took the “perfect” bear from the pan and then wondered why his head was caving in.  After a crack formed I could see that the batter inside was still liquid and not even close to being cooked.  This poor bear met his demise down the garbage disposal.. sorry bear number 2.

So finally at 11:30pm on Friday night (the party was the next day) I baked off bear number 3.  You might think this one worked out perfectly.  Well not exactly.  Probably due to the fact that it had been one heck of a busy week I did remember to insert the heat cone this time BUT forgot to spray it with cooking spray.  As I pulled it out a crack formed across poor bear’s face.  Thank goodness for buttercream which I used to patch him up with.

So next time you make a mistake or forget something, don’t worry too much, we all do it!

Happy baking!

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December
22
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 22-12-2009

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Here’s a thought that crossed my spoiled mind this evening. What if, say, like my family in Australia, I can’t just run to the store and grab a box of red velvet cake mix off the shelf. I’ve obviously forgotten that it wasn’t that many years ago that I didn’t even know what a red velvet cake was! Imagine that.

This week I received an email from a fellow cake maker who asked me to share my favourite red velvet cake recipe since she wasn’t able to buy a box mix. Fellow bakers give me mixed reactions when I openly admit to using (insert scary music here)…. red velvet cake out of a box!! Well, I do and I’m not afraid to say it. Why not? It’s bad enough getting covered in red cake mix, which I usually do, without having to mess with red food colouring when measuring it out for a “from scratch” recipe.

Actually, there is a little history to my dread of red…  I used to own a small bakery in Australia and had left some decorating items out on the dining table in my brand new dining room, in my brand new home.  To cut a long story short, my youngest daughter was a climber and the result was red food colouring all over her and the brand new carpet!  We bleached it out and then had to dye the carpet back lovingly with teabags.  So you might now understand my dislike of red food colouring, even if red is my favourite color!

Ok, back to the cake at hand.  I tend to look at box cake mixes as a starting point, and usually tweak them by changing out the oil with apple sauce for instance, and adding my own flavourings, add-ins etc. I’m sure the good people at Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury didn’t just whip them together in five minutes. It is my understanding that they have spent years perfecting their mixes for our convenience. And very often that is the time I have no compunction in reaching for one.

Sure there is nothing quite like a delicately created sponge or genoise but there are times when I just need to get out two dozen cupcakes in a hurry and trust me, 5 year olds very rarely call me out on using a box cake mix over a scratch baked cake. Their beaming little faces covered in frosting are all the proof I need that sometimes, it’s ok.

So let’s get this red velvet cake made!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup dutch processed (dark) cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons red gel food coloring
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter ( softened)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2  1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together cocoa powder, food coloring, and hot water. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down bowl and add sugar. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture. Sift cake flour and salt together into another bowl. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture (in 3 parts) and the cocoa mixture (in 2 parts) to the egg mixture. Beat until incorporated.  Combine vinegar and baking soda and stir until baking soda dissolves; the mixture will fizz. Add to batter and stir until just combined.

Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely.

___________

So, of course I ended up with red food coloring up one arm and on the kitchen rug.  Still not sure how that happened!  These cakes are very light and fluffy due to the sifted cake flour. I topped and filled mine with my favourite crusting cream cheese buttercream and some decorator sugar and toppings I had on hand. I love the color with this recipe. I have made them in the past where they weren’t red enough but it helps to use the dutch processed cocoa powder because it’s darker than regular cocoa.

Don’t forget to try this recipe out making the Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Cake Balls, they’re delicious! Ok, so now I’m off to make a cuppa and maybe sneak one of these! ~ Colleen

Just in case I get busy in the next day or so!Merry Christmas from Cake Artisan


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August
18
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 18-08-2009

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We so loved yesterday’s batch of Upside-down Caramel Apple Cupcakes that I decided to make some more but this time right way up. I had a dozen plain spice cupcakes left over to use. Click here for a printable version

This time around I peeled and chopped 2 large Pink Lady apples which are excellent for cooking with. They held their shape wonderfully and didn’t break down when stirred into the caramel even once they were tender.

Caramel Sauce

    10 oz unsalted butter
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    2/3 cup dark brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
    1 tablespoon of cinnamon
    pinch salt

Melt the butter over medium heat in a pan. Add the sugars and spices. I cooked this reducing the heat a little until it bubbled and didn’t look so watery on top. To test my caramel I place a teaspoon full of the sauce on a glass plate and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to see how it’s setting up. You don’t want a hard toffee like caramel in your cupcakes. When you get a nice soft but not runny consistency add the chopped apples and continue to cook until the apples are tender… I wasn’t adding them to the oven this time since I was using cupcakes I had made previously, so I needed to cook them a little longer.

Cut a small cap from the top of the cupcakes by diagonally inserting a sharp knife into the cupcakes  from the edge towards the center about one inch.  Cut around until a small cap pops out.  You can see the shape of the well in the image below.  I trim off the point on these caps so they sit flat when I put them back on top of the caramel apple filling.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Add a heaped teaspoon of the caramel apple filling to the cupcakes.  Replace the trimmed caps and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  I think these looks so festive and use colored cupcake papers to suit the season.  Great for those Fall parties, Thanksgiving and other Holiday festivities.

As always, if you have any questions be sure and drop me a line.  I love hearing from you all and will do my best to answer in a clear manner…  Often I think my instructions are clear but then again… 😉

Cheers for now,

Colleen

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August
16
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 16-08-2009

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You might think I’m a little premature in baking an item so suited to Fall weather, but there is something wonderful about the fragrance of cooked apple and cinnamon that I just couldn’t resist. Click here for a printable version

When the air conditioner is on and it’s overcast it’s easy to overlook the fact that the temperature outside is actually in the upper 90s.

I saw a photo of an upside-down caramel apple cupcake on Flickr made by 4GoodnessCake and thought they looked easy enough to make, which they were.  For some reason I decided to chop up my apples when the ones I saw online had used a ring of apple.  The ring would have been far easier to get out of the pan I’m sure and probably would have made a more traditional flat bottom shape.  I had to scoop out some of the apple chunks and reposition them on the cupcakes.  But as they cooled they set up well and stayed where they were put.

I used a recipe for Applesauce-Spice Cake from my Betty Crocker Best of Baking book.  The spicy cake with added applesauce was great coupled with the cooked apple I placed into the pan before the cake mix.
Step 1 – Cook the Apples

This recipe test yielded enough batter for two dozen cupcakes but I only had enough cooked apples for one dozen so the remainder are just plain old spice cakes.

  • Peel and chop into small chunks two apples of your choice.  I used Granny Smith because they hold together well when cooked and that is what hubby bought back with him from the store so little choice really!
  • In a skillet I melted 1 cup of unsalted butter, to which I added 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and just a pinch of salt to bring out the flavours.
  • Add the chopped apples (or rings if you prefer) and cook just until they begin to get tender.
  • Scoop about 1  tablespoon of this mixture into the bottom of a greased cupcake pan.

Step 2 – The Cake Batter
Seriously people, if you want to use a box spice cake mix – DO IT! I’m all about convenience and sometimes we just don’t have the time to do it from scratch. Yeah, yeah, I know purist bakers are rolling their eyes… 🙂

    2  1/2 cups of all purpose flour
    2 cups of sugar
    1/2 cup of butter
    1  1/2 cups of apple sauce (I prefer the unsweetened natural)
    1/2 cup of water
    1  1/2 tsp of baking soda
    1  1/2 tsp salt
    3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground cloves
    1/2 tsp ground allspice
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F (180C) degrees.  Beat all the ingredients together in your mixer on low speed, scrape the bottom to ensure no dry ingredients are sitting down there for about 30 seconds.  Then beat on medium high for around 3 mins until batter looks relatively smooth.

You can now add this batter on top of your cooked apples in the cupcake pans, filling each hole to about 2/3 full.  I use a quarter cup measure to try and get some uniformity in my cupcake size.

Bake for around 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched with a fingertip.   They will look brown due to the spice cake mix but don’t let them get too dark.   When cooked, cool in the pan for approximately ten to fifteen minutes.  I used a large spoon to remove mine from the pan, scooping up the apple and sauce that stayed in the pan.

Have your cupcake papers sitting on the cooling rack and place each cupcake apple side up in the papers.  I drizzled on any syrup and apple left in the bottom of the pan.  Let cool.  You can decorate any way you wish.  These were good the next day cold out of the refrigerator or heated in the microwave with a scoop of vanilla icecream and some caramel sauce.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to comment here or email me.

Happy happy baking!

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