Tag Archives: dessert

Sour Cherry with Grand Marnier Creme Brulee

I recall having a traditional creme brûlée years ago and not liking it. I don’t remember where, just that this raved upon dessert tasted a bit like an eggy mess.  It turned me off completely.  Then, one Valentine’s Day, six years ago my dear sweet friend and old neighbor Allison brought Valentine desserts over to Ben and me.  Allison has this knack of having mismatched, yet whimsical, plates, bowls & cups and other trinkets in her home.  She converted me to forgoing paper napkins, due to her assortment of linen napkins I would find her using with her lunch, or serving me with a cookie on it.

There she was with two little black foiled containers filled with creme brulee sitting on one eclectic small plate; along with a cut out paper heart placed on those white paper doilies.  Allison and I shared the love of eating fine food and here she was sharing this delectable creamy treat with us. As she stood there describing her love of these specific creme brulees (from a local bakery), I stood there smiling with a very thankful heart.  What I didn’t tell her was what I was thinking, which was, “Oh, how incredibly thoughtful, but I don’t like creme brulee.  I won’t let Allison know.”  I placed the plate on the table and gave Allison a big thankful hug and said goodbye.

After I shut the door I said, “Ben, Allison brought over some dessert for us for Valentine’s Day,” to which he replied, “that’s nice.”  “Yes, it was, but do you know what she brought? (because Ben knew I wasn’t fond of creme brulee),” I said, “Creme Brulee!”  I recall Ben laughing at my predicament and then asked, “well, are you going to try it?”  Like any good foodie, regardless if past experience went awry, I responded with an astounding “Yes!”

I got two spoons and dipped my spoon to remove just a little bit.  And what I tasted was nothing like scrambled eggs mixed in cream.  It was simply heavenly.  All Ben heard was, “MMM, OHH!  Ben! (another bite) This is amazing!  You have to try this! (another bite) I could eat yours if you want!”  I was transformed.  So when my dear friend Talia was coming over for a little birthday celebration, I knew I needed to make her creme brulee.  Except, I wanted to put a spin on it by adding the sour cherry with Grand Marnier filling on the bottom.  I recommend ensuring that the creme is very cold while the brulee is warm when you serve–it’s the best way to eat it in my opinion (plus, did you know sweet is more pronounced when it is warmed up, so the cold creme doesn’t allow the sugar to become overbearing).  You’ll be sure to win over even the biggest anti-creme brulee person with this dessert.

A Year Ago: Spicy Caramel Popcorn

Sour Cherry Creme Brulee with Grand Marnier (printable recipe)

Keep the egg whites to use for another recipe. And if you stay tuned, I’ll share a Coconut Lime Macaroon recipe to utilize them.  If you don’t have a blow torch, then put your cooked & chilled creme brulee ramekins in 9×13 pan (or roasting pan) and fill it with ice, in order to keep the custards VERY cold.  Turn your broiler on and put your ramekins (with the sugar on top) sitting in the ice bath directly under the broiler for only 30 seconds.  Check the sugar (brulee) to ensure it doesn’t get too burnt.  If you need it to cook a bit more, then put it back in for another 15 seconds and continue until it reaches your desired burnt sugar liking.

Sour Cherry Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh/frozen sour cherries ( I used frozen sour cherries that were fresh in the summer)
  • 1-2 Tb raw honey
  • 1 Tb arrowroot powder
  • 2-4 Tb Grand Marnier

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 6 egg yolks, large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar for brulee part

Sour Cherry Filling:

Put all of the cherries, along with the juices into a heavy-bottomed saucepan (ensure there are no seeds in the cherries). Turn the heat to medium. If your cherries are frozen, wait before adding any of the other ingredients until the cherries are completely thawed. If your cherries are thawed or fresh, add 1 Tb of honey and allow to bubble, stirring occasionally. Keep it in this stage for about 10 minutes. You are working towards a nice filling consistency.

Sprinkle the arrowroot over the cherries and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is bubbling rapidly, turn the heat down, in order to avoid burning. You want it to simmer/bubble. The filling should start to set as you stir occasionally. Taste throughout to see where the filling sweetness is at. If you feel that the filling needs another tablespoon of honey, add it now. Once the filling has thickened (dip a metal spoon in the filling and it should coat it), add two tablespoon of Grand Marnier (I used 2 Tb). Adding more than two tablespoons will make the filling taste more boozy; however, once the filling is added to the ramekins and cooked with the creme, the Grand Marnier burns off a bit with just two tablespoons. Cook on stove top for an additional minute, then remove from heat to cool.

Creme Brulee Ingredients:

Combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until it reaches the boiling point. Set aside to steep until it cools down.

Preheat oven to 300 F, and adjust a rack slightly lower than center.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks & optional 1 tsp of Grand Marnier briefly. Add the cream mixture very slowly into the yolks, whisking well with each addition. Once blended, strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Put cherry filling into 8 or 9 (4-ounce) shallow ramekins (about 2 inches high) to cover bottom (about 2 tsp), then pour the custard mixture on top of the cherry filling, and bake them in a water bath for 35 to 45 minutes, until centers are softly set. “Remove from oven and cool in water bath until comfortable to handle. Cover the dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours. These can be stored for 1 or 2 days before serving.

To serve, sprinkle each top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of brulee sugar and torch to caramelize. For thicker caramelized crunch, use more sugar.

Advertisements

Gluten-free Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Does anyone else feel like there is something altogether wonderful & magical about snow falling in the middle of the night, creating a quiet peace that is incomparable to any other? I wasn’t acquainted with this mystery in the deserts of Arizona. It wasn’t until I visited a high school friend during my freshman year Spring break in Providence, RI. It was a Friday, and all the students on the campus had left for their Spring break. Not only
was the campus and surrounding area quiet, but we soon found ourselves inside looking out to what would seem a snow globe world. Picturesque.

It reminds me of Arizona’s desert night sky. When you look up at the open clear sky, all you see is the infinite expanse of stars. Or what I refer to as “the stars beyond the stars.” Snow falling and covering the world at night creates the silence of peace beyond the silence. It reminds me of how finite I am amidst the vast accompaniment of sound. That’s a bit how I feel with every birthday celebrated, especially my kids’ birthday. This finite person, gets to relish in these moments of seeing the stars beyond the stars. Yet I get distracted or overwhelmed by the greatness of it all…the mystery. I would rather spend my time marveling and rejoicing over the unknown, the stillness of the fallen snow, or simply being given the pleasure to be still with the moment.

These moments, these treasures that I wish I could put in a locket and wear around my neck to serve as a reminder that life is worth living to its fullest.  When I see my daughters laugh and hug one another, when I see the white flag of humility waving, or when I see Veronica’s progress developmentally and she isn’t even aware she has a delay (because she sees the stars beyond the stars).  Oh how wonderful it is to look at the world like that.  I think having Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes also makes it easier for a four years old (or 30, 40, 50 yrs).

A Year Ago: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, Split Pea Soup, & Mustard Roasted Cauliflower

Gluten-free Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (printable recipe)

This recipe has been adapted from my non-GF recipe.  Both are wonderful and they are a sure hit at kid’s parties and the adults like to eat them too.  A note about measuring almond flour.  I use a blanched almond flour and I scoop it out with a spoon and put it in my measuring cup.  I encourage you to use a scale, which will get the most accurate results; however, I know that is not always an option.  Do NOT scoop out with your measuring cup, because it will yield a higher weight than what my recipe requires.

Cupcakes Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (180 g) almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (65 g) light agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (170 g) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) multi-colored confetti sprinkles
  • 12 cupcake GF sugar wafer cones

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 Tb light agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the wafer cones in the muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter & sugar until well blended.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until light.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add half of the almond flour mixture, then the milk and then the rest of the flour mixture until well blended.  Fold in the confetti sprinkles into the batter.  Using a small ice cream scooper/cookie dough scooper, divide the batter evenly among the 12 cupcake cones.
  • Bake the cupcake cones for 20-25 minutes.  When you press lightly in the middle of the cone, they should spring back.  Let them cool on a cooling rack until they’re completely cooled.
  • While the cupcakes are in the oven.  Put your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer.  Allow them to get cold (about 15 minutes).  Remove the bowl & whisk attachment.  Add cold heavy whipping cream to the bowl.  Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Add the agave nectar & vanilla and beat on low speed a bit more, just until they are mixed throughout the whipped cream.  If you want to add a color to it, do so now and fold it in with a rubber spatula.
  • Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.  Twist the bag right above the tip and push it gently inside the tip, in order to avoid the frosting from coming out.  Turn down the opened end of the bag one inch down.  Place the pastry bag, tip side down, into a glass.  Using a rubber spatula, fill the bag with the whipped cream frosting.  Twist the bag, in order to keep the frosting from squeezing out.  Pipe the whipped cream frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with additional confetti sprinkles.

Tasty Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was in the children section at a bookstore with my friend Tina.  We were recalling some of our favorite childhood books.  I pulled out Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with nostalgic fondness.  I remember thinking how amazing it would be if meatballs fell from the sky, and as a child I daydreamed about it.  Then, there was Stone Soup, another favorite with ingredients like carrots, beef, potatoes & barley.  I never had barley at that time, but it sounded wonderful.  As I continued to pull out books there was a common theme Tina pointed out…FOOD.  She said, “Kamille, you’ve always been a foodie.”

Never gave it much thought, but I guess she’s right.  I still have my first cookbook from age 7, Mickey Mouse Cookbook with little notes inside.  One of my favorite treats is checking out cookbooks from the library.  When Tayers was born, I seriously had at least 10 cookbooks from the library (you know to read while nursing, etc).  And what is it with the fascination with Food magazines.  How many recipes does one truly need for Chocolate Cake, brownies, or apple pie?  And if you look through my recipes you’ll see that I have three different chocolate chip cookie recipes available.  So you might wonder why I’m offering you another one.  Well, I haven’t done much baking lately and I’ve been trying to eliminate wheat flour from our diet; however, I wanted to make a special New Year’s Day treat, which could be made fairly quickly.  I adapted my Superlative Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with this one to make it a paleofied version.  As Ben said after eating one, “these are good and not just Paleo good,” meaning they don’t taste like they’re a second rate version.

A Year Ago: Quicky Sticky Biscuits

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (printable recipe)

I love my Superlative Chocolate Chip Cookies and these ones are even more moist, and possibly better.  This is the first time I have used coconut sugar.  It didn’t make the cookies taste like coconut either.

Ingredients:

3 1/3 cups (8 3/4 ounces) almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

10 Tb unsalted butter

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp Celtic sea salt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

4 ounces Valhrona chocolate (82% cacao), chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Vanilla sea salt, or flaked sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.  Measure almond flour & baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

On medium heat, melt 8 Tb of butter in a pan, constantly swirling until the butter is browned and smells like yummy toasted nuts (about 3 -4 minutes).  Pour the melted butter into a metal bowl, while trying to leave the bits in the pan.  Add the remainder 2 Tb of butter to melted butter and stir till it’s all melted.  Add the sugar, vanilla & salt and thoroughly combine.  Add the egg & egg yolk and mix for 30 seconds then allow it to rest for 1 minute.  Continue to mix for 30 seconds again, then rest for 1 minute and repeat one more time.

Add the almond flour & baking soda to the wet mixture and stir to combine.  Add in the chopped chocolate & pecans and mix throughout.  Place 2 Tb of dough onto the parchment paper, spaced 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle vanilla salt or flaked sea salt on top of dough.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool completely on pan and then remove.


Apricot Rosemary Bars & Post Whole 30 Living

The end of Whole 30 has come & go and I’m able to eat whatever I’d like.  If I want chocolate, I can.  If I want dairy, I can.  If I want to continue eating Whole 30 style, I can.  After reading about my limitations during November, you might think I would wholeheartedly forgo what I did in those 30 days.  But, I have found a different kind of freedom and my tummy (and more) actually has made it quite clear what should not go in it.

I think the hardest part for me is the anxiety about eating food that might be less than optimal for me.  I have gained not only a leaner body, but the best energy level I’ve ever known.  I even got to a place where I wasn’t even tempted to eat sugar, drink a mocha, or have a pastry.  I have come to recognize where my pitfalls are along the way (sugar is huge).  I feel like I’ve found food salvation.  A freedom to eat to nourish, sustain & enjoy without partaking in what might be viewed as “extras.”  And I truly would love for everyone I love to give it a try, because I think it will not only tell them a bit about their physical body, but mental & spiritual body as well.

Where do I stand at this point in life.  I haven’t felt any better than I did during Whole 30 and the days following.  When I added gluten, dairy, sugar or corn back into my body (even in small amounts) it didn’t leave me with a great, healthful, energetic feeling.  Dairy hit my stomach with gurgles.  Gluten has done some other stuff, along with inflammation throughout.  While sugar is a big one.  Just the littlest amount made me sick.  However, being a couple of weeks off of the challenge, I have had a bit more sugar than I would have liked to put in.  I’ve realized that although I had a sugar upset in the first couple weeks (post Whole 30), it would go away if I continued to feed my body sugar.  My body would get use to the upset; however, a host of other problems occurred that had gone away when I wasn’t partaking in sugars.

What I’ve discovered so far is I’m pretty sure I’m going to eliminate gluten from our household, along with most grains (gluten and non); as well as, limit sugar intake.  (Sidenote: I’ve also noted the rise of behavioral episodes in my girls when they have had refined sugars & gluten in their system) I like what these posts have to say about living out a balanced life.  I’ve hit a place in my life where I actually don’t feel like I’m missing out by not having a mocha, or gluten-filled goodness.  I have also realized that I’m excited about balancing out the sweets I make, and the challenge I get to embrace by transferring all my baking & cooking knowledge to this new food eating thing.  So, if I can share one of my first baked goods creations with you, I’m certain you’ll be surprised that this does not fit in the ‘bleh’ gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free category.

Here are my Apricot Rosemary Bars. I spotted them in the book Baked Explorations.  I knew that I would need to change it up quite a bit.  And let it be known that I’m not willing to compromise taste, or make something that was once texturally appealing is now very ‘bleh.’  I am also fine with using butter.  If I can sub in another form of healthy fat, then I will.  But when a recipe would benefit from the buttery goodness found in “butter,” then you’ll find it here.  But…I will still keep my recipes with gluten and non on this blog, because they are apart of my journey.  And you will receive no scorn from me if you check out some of my other goodies from last year–Merry Christmas!

P.S. Today is my nephew Lucas’ birthday.  I still remember seeing him just a week old, while Tayers was 6 weeks.  He was a little pipsqueak, but so very precious.  His parents were overcome with joy as their anticipation was finally revealed.  Seems fitting as he was born just two days before Christmas.  Happy Birthday sweet Lucas!

A Year Ago: Gingerbread Man Pancakes & Swedish Tea Ring (Vetekrans)

Rosemary Squares (printable recipe)

This recipe is inspired from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  I have revamped quite a bit from the original; however, the spirit of the original is still fully in this recipe.  I used Honeyville Blanched Almond flour.  I also used California dried apricots and not the typical, sweeter ones you find, which are a product of Turkey.  Opt out of the product of Turkey and find the California ones, which are a bit more tart and a beautiful, bright orange (Trader Joes carries them).  Also, I don’t have a dilemma in using real butter; yet, I chose to do half coconut oil & butter.  Another fat option for the shortbread might be olive oil.  If you are wanting to make this without the egg yolk–it would be fine.

For the rosemary shortbread dough:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, chilled
6 Tb coconut oil
1/3 cup + 2 Tb (70g) raw clover honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated zest of half a lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups (250g) almond flour
1 egg yolk

For the apricot filling:

2 cups (8 ounces, 230g) California dried apricots (not from Turkey)
1 1/2 cups (375ml) water
3 tablespoons (60g) honey
pinch of salt

For the crumb topping:

1 cup (85g) almond flour
1 Tb raw clover honey
1/3 cup (40g) pecans chopped
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, chilled

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 9-inch (23cm) square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides of the pan.

2. Make the rosemary dough by creaming the butter & coconut oil for about 1 minute, or until it’s fluffy & creamy.  Add the egg yolk and mix just till combined. Add the salt, vanilla, lemon zest, and rosemary, then add the 3 cups almond flour, mixing until the dough is smooth and all the ingredients combined.  The dough will be more sticky, but not wet.

3. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and pat it flat into the bottom of the pan. Spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.  (if you want to refrigerate for 30 minutes you can; however, I did not and it was fine.)

(No need to wash the mixer bowl; you can use it as is for the crumb topping in step #7.)

4. Bake the rosemary shortbread for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Once baked, let the shortbread cool to room temperature.

5. Make the apricot filling by combining the apricots, water, honey, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until all the liquid has just about been absorbed. Let cool for a few minutes, stirring, then puree in a food processor until smooth.

6. Make the crumb topping by mixing together the 1 cup (85g) almond flour, honey, pecans, salt, and butter in the bowl of the stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, until the mixture just barely starts clumping together.

7. Spread the apricot filling over the shortbread in the pan evenly, then top with the crumb topping and bake for 25 minutes, until the topping is browned.

8. Remove from oven and let bars cool completely in pan.

To slice, lift the bars out of the pan by grasping the edges of the parchment paper. Slice into squares.


Sour Cream Apple Crumble Bars

I will continue to love Autumn more than any season, and I don’t think it will ever leave, to which I’m grateful.  The vibrant colors alone rap my heartstrings (doesn’t take much).  And nothing says Fall quite like the wafting aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves.  Puddle jumping never seemed so invigorating.  Then, there’s the visit to the pumpkin patch or apple orchards, while bundled up in “sweater weather” with the crisp air and crunch of the leaves with each step.  Oh Autumn, can you stay like this well into late November?  Autumn seems to call out, “come inside, bundle up, sip some cider by the fire, and be.”

 

 

How they smile for the picture

 

With the busyness of summer feeling a bit nomadic, Autumn let’s us know that it’s okay to be sedentary, to regroup and develop a game plan (fitting that football is in the Fall) of where you’re going next.  I’m reminded of traditions being rekindled or brand new ones beginning.  I know our family has been like running one 800 meter to the next without a time to catch our breath, much less time to ‘know’ one another.  This season reminds me of how I can make room for the new college student who has moved to town as well; but, it reminds me that if my family is on a constant chase without any reprieve, then it’s pointless.

I rarely make dessert specifically to be eaten after dinner, but sometimes having dessert planned with dinner when you’re not having guests over can be…well, special.  And I think making a dessert for my family, unannounced communicates that I think they’re pretty darn special.  These Sour Cream Apple Crumble Bars are perfect for that.  Plus, they taste better the next day.  So, you don’t have to be in the kitchen making dinner & dessert all for the same meal.  They’re wonderful, and these little gems are sure to procure you praise for at least a couple of days (reason enough to make them).  I would love to hear what you do to usher in Autumn!

A Year Ago: Rarely for the Planned

Sour Cream Apple Crumble Bars (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from The Good Cookie cookbook.  It reminds me of an apple pie baked from Dutch Mothers in Lynden, WA, but without having to deal with the rolling & chilling that comes from making a pie crust.  The key is to let it cool to get the best overall taste.


Crust:

1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup unrefined evaporated cane juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp cold water
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Apple Filling:

1 pound Jonamac apples; peeled, cored, & sliced into 1/2 inch slices
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tb apple juice or cider
2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tb brandy
4 Tb unsalted butter
1/2 cup rapadura sugar

Topping:

1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1/3 cup rapadura sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Sour Cream Mixture:

1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Make the crust: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, & salt, combine 30 seconds.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, pulse 6-8 times.  In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, cold water & vanilla.  Then, with the food processor running, add the liquid and combine for 15-20 seconds.  Dump the dough into a 9-inch square pan and pat it down evenly with your hands.  Bake in preheated oven of 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Make Apple Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the peeled/cored/sliced apples, lemon juice, cornstarch, brandy, & apple juice.  Toss it around and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the sugar to cook.  Stirring constantly until there are no more lumps.  Add the apple mixture and bring to a boil.  Cook for 5 minutes, or till the apples are soft on the outside but still slightly crunchy inside.  Empty contents into a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Make the topping
: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon & salt.  Add the melted butter and mix with a fork, stirring until the dry ingredients are all moistened.  Set aside.

Make the Sour Cream Mixture:
In a small bowl, whisk the egg until well blended.  Add the sour cream, cinnamon & salt to the whisked egg and whisk till combined.

Assembling the bars:
Take the sour cream mixture and combine it with the apple filling.  Stir well and spread evenly on the baked crust.  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sour cream apple mixture.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and set.  Cool the bars completely before serving.  You can dive right in if you’d like; however, they taste so much better when they’re completely cooled.


Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake

I just love food magazines, but what I love even more is having an excuse to buy one. We went to Vegas for my sister-in-law’s wedding and if traveling with two children under the age of four isn’t excuse enough–I have no clue what is. We spent the night in Seattle to make it easier to catch our morning flight; however, when you have a little girl who comes in at 4:45 to see if it’s time to go on the airplane…you know you’re in for a rough morning. There was one point of the boarding process where both girls were crying (rather loudly), while I made it a point to not look at the faces on the other passengers & simply survive. I was waiting for those precious words from the pilot, “we’re now at 10,000 feet, so you can turn on any electronic devices…cell phones, music, LAPTOPS (I think only Ben & I heard it this loud).” That laptop was never pulled out so quickly or a My Little Pony DVD popped it so rapidly. I think we made record time.

The day before I had the girls with me on an errand to Target to get the coveted ‘headphone splitter,’ which was about the best investment for $4.99 one could make with an upcoming airplane ride (& two little kids). I’m definitely not above videos at a time like this, so if you’re that mom who has a special bag full of toys, crayons, paper & other distraction keepers…well, bless you! Once the headphones were on, two girls comfortably (and rather quietly) sitting next to each other watching Ponies–Ben and I gave a nod of approval (wondering if parents were approved to get complimentary liquor). That’s when I pulled out the Fine Cooking Magazine and read each article, because I could. I fell in love with this cake and dreamed of when I could make it. And since I still have pumpkin puree in my freezer from the late Autumn of last year–I knew it was destiny. It should be yours too, and that’s why I’m sharing it, because I care about your destiny when it comes to Autumn desserts and not wanting to look bad when you bring a store-bought pumpkin pie. Your friends & family will rave, as mine did with, “mmmm…..YEAH. that was killer. awesome,” or “It was dangerously delicious!”

A Year Ago: My Roots (Machaca)

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake (printable recipe)

This is adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine. The original recipe calls for adding candied ginger to the nuts (1 1/2 Tb chopped) after the nuts have been thoroughly coated, but I didn’t have any, so I sprinkled in ground ginger instead. This cake probably takes about 2-3 hours to make from start to finish and should be made the day of or cover in a cake dome for up to 2 days. The nuts will not be as crispy the second day. When you are browning butter, it is even more essential that you use your olfactory senses (smell) than your eyes. It will go from a popcorn smell to a nutty (walnut, hazelnut) smell.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

6 oz (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, more for pans

9 oz (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, more for pans

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 cups Sucanat sugar

2/3 cup Rapadura sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, (how to roast & puree pumpkin)

For the Topping:

1 1/2 Tb unsalted butter

2/3 cup pecans

1/2 cup unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds

2 Tb Sucanut sugar or light brown sugar firmly packed

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

For the Frosting:

4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

5 oz (1 1/4 cups) powdered sugar

Make the Cake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the bottom & sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Melt the butter in a 1 quart heavy bottomed pan, stirring occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown (around 4-6 minutes) and when it smells nutty. Pour the butter into a small bowl and allow to cool, but not set for about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, add all of your dry ingredients and whisk them together (flour, spices, salt, & baking soda). In a large bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients, except the butter (note: sugar is almost always considered a “wet” ingredient) and thoroughly mix (Pumpkin puree, eggs, both sugars, buttermilk). With a rubber spatula, stir in the dry ingredients from the medium bowl until just combined. Now, whisk the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter equally between the two pans.

Bake the cakes for 28 minutes (again make use of those olfactory sensors during baking as I baked my cakes for 27 minutes, because the cake smelled done), or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool 10 minutes in the pan. Using a butter knife, run it around the outside of the cake to loosen and then turn it onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the Topping: Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans & pumpkin seeds and cook until the pecans brown slightly and the pumpkin seeds begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar/Sucanat & salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes. Stir in ginger. Remove from heat and cool nuts in pan.

Make the Frosting: Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1 quart pan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally (just like before for the batter) until it turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4-6 minutes. Pour browned butter into a bowl and allow it to sit on the counter for 5 minutes to let the solids settle. Carefully transfer bowl to the freezer and chill until just firm, about 18 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter from the bowl, leaving the browned solids at the bottom; discard the solids. Using an electric mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese & brown sugar on medium-high speed until light & pale and brown sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the powdered sugar until it is nice & fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Assemblage: Get a large cake plate and place one cooled cake top side down. Spread about 1/2 -2/3 cup of frosting on the cake. Take your other cake and place it top side down. Frost the top and sides with remaining frosting. Top the cake with glazed nut/seed topping. Serve immediately. **If you’d like, you could take 1/2 cup of the nut mixture and sprinkle it over the first layer of frosting to sandwich it between the two layers. Then, use the remainder for the top.


Fast Fudge Cake

This morning I woke up to body aching everywhere, but don’t feel too bad on my account, because it’s due to starting a new exercise routine–not the stomach bug.  Ben has been going to this little gym in town for about 4-5 months, along with my friend Jordan (who is the official unofficial recruiting agent) who encouraged him to join.  As I’ve been dealing with anxiety, irritable stomach issues and most likely burnout–I felt like it was as good of a time as any to join the gym.  But why so sore you ask?  Well, this little gym packs quite the punch.  It’s not your typical gym of doing the routinized circuit or swiping your card and heading towards the elliptical machine.  It’s an all over cardio workout that relies heavily on weight-bearing activities.

Before you join you attend what they call Basecamp.  It is either broken into two days or one day of 2 1/2 hours, where one of the gym’s coaches teaches you all the exercises/workouts, ensuring you learn technique.  The first thing I did was jumping rope.  And I thought, “jumping rope–seriously, that’s a snap.”  100 jumped ropes.  What I failed to realize is that I haven’t jumped rope since I was about 10.  I hit about 65 and went mental.  Then, from 65 to 80, I believe I did a culmination of either hitting my own head with the rope, getting tangled in my foot, etc.  Suffice to say, I was humbled.  The coach said, “you’re thinking about it too much.”  True!  Well, that was just the beginning and we went on to doing multiple variations of squats, lifts, push-ups, pull-ups, & weight-bearing.  So every single ounce of my body got worked.

My legs felt like jelly and mind you we have two flights of stairs, so walking down them feels like I’m an 85-year-old woman.  It’s good though.  I know it’s going to be hard, but I tell myself a couple of things to prepare myself.

1. It’s a break from being mom.

2. This too shall pass.

3. I went through labor twice without meds, so no workout could be harder than that.

4. I want something better for my life in terms of mental, emotional & physical stamina, which I want my girls to have, so I know taking time for myself in this area is critical.

I haven’t been baking lately.  In part, it’s due to not having much of a sweet tooth; but, mainly I haven’t had much time or creativity lurking.  This is something I made a while back, but I still remember the moistness of the cake.  It’s a easy to make and honestly, if you’re pressed for time–you could add the wet ingredients in one bowl and then add the dry ingredients in with it (making it a one-bowl cake).  I hope you are finding and making time for yourself.

Fast Fudge Cake (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.  I had a little ganache already made up in my fridge, so my cake had a thin glaze a top.  Regardless, it turned out wonderfully and if you want to serve with just whipped cream, powdered sugar and fresh berries–it would suit it well.

Ingredients:
4 1/2 oz (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 oz. (1/4 cup plus 2 Tb) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 lb (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

Ganache:
1/2 lb bittersweet chocolate or semisweet, chopped up
1 cup heavy cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Grease & flour or grease & line with parchment either an 8×2- or 9×2-inch round cake pan.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & salt.  Sift only if the cocoa continues having lumps after whisking.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Add the eggs & vanilla, stirring till combined well.  Add the dry ingredients, just till moistened.  Pour the hot water over the batter and stir just until it’s completely incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  For an 8×2-inch pan, bake 35 to 40 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  For a 9×2-inch pan, bake for about 30 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife along the edge and invert the pan onto a plate.  Invert it again back onto the rack to cool completely.

Making the Ganache: Chop up your chocolate into bite sized pieces and put into a heat proof bowl and set aside.  Heat up the cream over medium heat.  Once it starts to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate in the bowl.  Allow the cream & chocolate to sit for about 45 seconds.  Whisk the chocolate & cream together until the cream is completely incorporated and the ganache is smooth & a just slightly thick.

Putting the Cake together: Once the cake is cool, put foil under the wire rack to catch any drippings from the ganache.  Pour the ganache over the cake allowing it to go down the sides.  You can also allow the cake cool completely cool in the pan and make half of the ganache and pour it on top while in the pan.  Let the cake with ganache set for about an hour.


Caramel Sauce (for a Caramel Latte)

My most favorite coffee drink is a caramel latte from Avelino.  As you watch them prepare the cup you begin to wonder if they are over doing it with the caramel.  Trust me, they’re not.  I got away with some of my favorite fellow moms back in early March, where I brought caramel sauce to make said latte for them.  Talia looking at the cup as I spooned the gooey sauce in said, “Uh, maybe a little less for me.”  I said with all courtesy & politeness (maybe a little blunt) to a pregnant lady, “No, trust me–you don’t want less.”  As I handed it to her, she said, “You’re right Kamille–this is perfect!”

I often dream of getting away in a cabin far away on days like this.  Caramel latte in one hand, good book in the other, and peace & quiet.  It could be that I’m anxiously awaiting my anniversary getaway this weekend with Ben and without the kids.  But, I think it’s a little deeper.  I’ve been very short, sarcastic, rolling the eyes due to kid annoyances, and feeling like life should stand still for me.  My tolerance level is at an all time low and my connecting with my girls seems to have fallen off the radar.  When I’ve been told about the importance of having a “daily quiet time” with God or somehow that is equated with spiritual depth–I begin to wonder how true it is.  My friend read a book recently where the author (and I paraphrase) said, “maybe we shouldn’t gauge spiritual life with daily devotion/quiet time.  Instead, when we find ourselves becoming angry, bitter, impatient, lacking grace & forgiveness–maybe those should be the signs of spiritual decay.”

My pastor mentioned something along these lines on Sunday.  How he’s definitely a proponent of reading the Bible, but we’ve met many people who read their Bible daily, yet their life lacks any evidence of it.  I’m in need of a cleanse.  My soul is stagnant waters in a cesspool right now.  It’s on days like today that I’m reminded the most important job I could do is give my girls as many hugs & speak life-giving words to them.  It’s not about the laundry getting done, the ratio of carbs & proteins on their lunch plates, or hurrying them off to bed to be partly done with the day.  And I need more than myself to do that job.  Yes a break this weekend is nice, but I’m running on empty right now.  So how are you?  How do you refuel, in order to do better than “just make it” to the weekend?  I’m grateful to you, who allow me to open up my heart & mind on days like this.

Caramel Sauce & Latte (printable recipe)

This recipe is from Fine Cooking Winter 2004 issue.  I cook mine in my dutch oven to ensure it doesn’t burn.  Making caramel is more about color and temperature than about time.  The original recipe says it takes “about” 28 minutes to get to the right color.  But, what you need to do is stay right by the stove while it cooks, because it can go from just ready to burnt in no time.  Make this when you have peace & quiet without disturbances–you’ll feel better when you’re licking the spoon and no one is watching.

Ingredients:

1 cup water, plus more for brushing down sugar crystals

4 cups granulated sugar

2 Tb light corn syrup

4 cups (1 quart) heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

4 ounces (1/2 cup, 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

1/2-1 tsp sea salt

Directions: Have your cream & butter ready.  Pour some water into a small bowl and a pastry brush to set aside the stove for brushing down sugar crystals.  Pour 1 cup water into a heavy-bottom pot (8 quart or dutch oven).  Add sugar & corn syrup.  Cook over high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is boiling.  If you see any sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pot, just above the sugar mixture, wipe down with wet pastry brush.

Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil; it shouldn’t be sputtering.  DO NOT STIR it any longer.  Simply allow the sugar to cook.  You will need to gently swirl the pan to disperse the sugars & even out the color.  Continuing wiping down the sides if sugar crystals form and allowing the sugar to reach a light honey color, this should take roughly 20 minutes.  Continue with the swirling & wiping of the pastry brush, and the sugar should become a rich, red-brown color, roughly an additional 8 minutes.  The best way to tell what color the sugar is is to spoon a bit on a white dish.

Remove pot from heat and slowly pour in the cream, but be careful while pouring as it will splatter.  Stir with a wooden spoon, making sure any solidified caramel on the bottom or sides melts.  If it’s not melting, you can set it over medium heat again & gently stir until it is completely smooth.

Stir in the butter and salt.  Let cool to room temperature. If you want flavored caramel sauce, look below.

Put in a jar and refrigerate.  Will keep about 3-4 weeks in the fridge–perfect to give some away.

Caramel Latte

To make a double tall caramel latte, steam 8 ounces milk, two shots espresso & about 3 Tb of caramel sauce.  Put caramel in bottom of mug.  Add hot shots and stir to thoroughly combine.  Add your frothy & creamy steamed milk and you have yourself “paradise in a cup.”

Orange-Cardamom Caramel Sauce:

In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juices with 2 Tb plus 2 tsp finely grated orange zest, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to about 1/2 cup.  Pour through a fine sieve, pressing against the zest to release all the liquid.  Stir the strained, reduced orange juice and 4 tsp ground cardamom into the cooled caramel sauce.


Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

If you’re a chocolate lover then proceed.  If you’re not, well I’m sorry, but maybe you will be a chocolate liker after trying these.  I made well over 200 of these Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes for my friend’s wedding (Jason & Tina) while I was 7 months pregnant.  I realized two things after that baking extravaganza of ’08.  One is no matter how much I love someone, never again will I say yes to baking all the desserts for a large party while that pregnant and carrying for a 20 month old.  Two, is how easy these are to make–no one will know otherwise.

I think I can get these out in 40 minutes, which is pretty excellent for a sophisticated dessert.  They are also very adaptable with your chocolate liking.  You could use all bittersweet (typically 60%), semisweet, or milk chocolate.  You can mix different varieties as well.  You can make them gluten-free.  You can make them in big muffin tins or miniature ones.  If you want to add a bit of espresso to bring out the chocolate flavor even more–then do it.  I love these for all those reasons.  And I can’t understand why I haven’t shared them until now.

Before we go onto the recipe, I should share a bit about my gluten-intolerant friend Tina who these were intended for and I’ve written about before.  We met through one of her ex-boyfriends and I knew we were kindred spirits.  She has a quiet reserve about her (at least when compared to her husband), but she is full of life with joy emanating from her.  Although she seems to fill administrative jobs, which she’s wonderfully gifted at, her heart is passionate for women fulfilling their God given talents & calling.  We have spent many hours talking about our dreams of what we will become when we grow up and I can depend upon her to watch very cheesy movies together.  I can always count on her to be supportive, honest & spontaneous with me.  So when she found out she was gluten-intolerant, I knew my job was set to bake GF treats for her.

Double Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes (printable recipe)

Recipe is inspired from Martha Stewart. This is also the time to use good quality chocolate, since it is the star ingredient.  However, don’t let that stop you if you only have chocolate chips on hand.  I’ve used semi-sweet chocolate chips before and they turn out great.

Ingredients:

5 Tb unsalted butter

7 ounces milk chocolate chopped, Belcolade

7 ounces 71% cacao dark bittersweet chopped, Valhrona

1 Tb sugar

1 Tb brown rice flour (or all-purpose flour)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

Butter & extra flour for muffin tins

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter & flour a 6 slot large muffin tin & set aside. Set a heat proof bowl over a pot with simmering water.  Add the butter & chocolate.  Stir to melt and combine.  Remove from heat.

Add the eggs & sugar to a food processor & process for 2 minutes until light in color & foamy.  Add flour & salt, process to combine (10 seconds).  Add about 1/4 cup of melted chocolate to eggs & process till combined.  Continue with 1/4 cup until all of the melted chocolate is mixed with the egg mixture.

Evenly distribute chocolate mixture to the prepared muffin tin.  Gently pat down tops with the back of silver spoon.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  Loosen with a knife around the edges and serve.

**12 cup regular muffin tin bake for 13-15 minutes.

**24 cup miniature muffin tin bake for 10-12 minutes.

Great topped with sliced strawberries, fresh raspberries, a raspberry puree, or ice cream.

 


Rhubarb-Strawberry filled Lime Cupcakes

Have you noticed how many cupcake shops have popped up in the past five years?  I have loved baking ever since I was little.  My true love for the art came in my first Home Economic class in sixth grade.  True to any first year Home Ec. class, you learn a plethora of introductory level crafts.  I still remember learning plastic canvas, where I made a tissue box cover of penguins designed for my mom, due to her love of the cute little creatures.  But seriously, although my mom heaped words of praise upon my creation–do we really need tissue box covers lining the aisles of Goodwill (a lost craft that should remain lost)?

I made a pillow cover, did at home projects of our choice, created various items in the kitchen & decided that I would undertake the largest size duffle bag (think body bag) while all my peers were a bit more sensible & chose the smallest one.  Little did I know that the duffle bag scenario would be a metaphor for my life.

Biting off more than I can chew.  My vision of what I can accomplish and what I will actually tackle are two different notions.  But in some ways, I like how this transfers to my baking.  I’m all for simple desserts & baked goods; however, I plain ole’ love creating something a bit more time consuming to have a wonderful end product.  Sometimes this is hard with some of my perfectionist sensitivities, because I would rather not attempt something & fail than attempt it at all.

It reminds me of the pie crust portion of Home Econonics.  Mrs. Haile, my teacher, showed us how to cut the butter into the flour, add just a little ice cold water, lightly combine it, chill, roll & transfer to the pie plate.  This terrified me.  The idea of transferring to have it split, crack, tear or crumble did not look appealing in the slightest.  And although I had Kitchenaid mixer on my wish list since 11 years old, it wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I began to overcome my fear of the pie crust and make pie after pie.

I’ve realized that baking is like that (as well as cooking).  We all have flops.  In fact, as I was making this recipe, I was trying to make Neoclassic Buttercream (cook the sugar, add said sugar mixture to egg yolks, mix & mix, cool, add butter).  What was the end result–pieces of chewy sugar/caramel dispersed throughout a 1/2 pound of butter.  Sad yes–defeated no.  I will go back and tackle it again, same as the pie crust.  Do I make a perfect pie crust with no flaws?  No.   Julia Child approached the culinary arts with embracing the flaws & going with it.  That’s how I began to see the pie crust and so many other baking adventures.

But, when we do have monumental food successes–they make up for the 1/2 pound of butter that got ruined (actually–I’m going to use it for some frosting still), flavorless muffins, or burnt dinner.  So, as with the advent of the cupcake shops, culinary triumphs & 2+hours of baking with a 5 second eating party–meet the cupcake who will convert even the die hard chocolate lover.

I am utterly, head over heals, infatuated-crazy about these cupcakes.  The melding of the lime cupcake with the tang of the rhubarb sauce, sweetness of the strawberry puree and creamy, richness of the cream cheese frosting (laced with strawberry puree) makes for a complete flavor profile in a dessert. I’m not fond of using the word “best” when talking about food on a blog.  However, I’m about to break that vow right now as these cupcakes are absolutely superb.  Dare I say it, “the best.”  They’re knock your socks off good.  If you have time to spare–you need to make these.  But, I’m warning you if you do, you might not ever be able to eat a “so-so” cupcake again.  Just saying:)

Rhubarb-Strawberry Filled Lime Cupcake & Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (printable recipe)

The cupcake has been changed from a cupcake base found in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes Cookbook, which is a white cupcake & I have changed it to a lime cupcake.  If you don’t have a scale, then I would highly recommend investing in one; as it will make your baked items a step up.  I used cake flour, as it has a lower protein content versus all-purpose.  This being said, you can use all-purpose with the amount in parenthesis below.  You can make the cupcake the day before and assemble them the next day.  More information on rhubarb is found here.

Lime Cupcakes

The total capacity of the liquid should measure 2/3 cup.  Measure the milk to 1/2 cup and the rest should be lime juice.
  • 3 large egg whites (90 grams), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • a little less than 1/4 cup (40 grams) lime juice, 2 limes
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (1 3/4 cup if using unbleached all-purpose flour) sifted into the cup & leveled off (200 grams) cake flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tb lime zest, zest of 2 limes
  • 2 1/4 plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter (65 to 75 degrees)

Preheat the oven: Line 14 to 16 cupcake liners in a muffin tin and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the liquids: In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites, 3 tablespoons of the milk and vanilla until lightly combined.

Make the batter: In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, lime zest, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and the remaining milk & lime juice on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients & strengthen the structure.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Scoop batter into the lined muffin tin (it should weigh about 1.7 ounces/50 grams) filling about 3/4 full. Smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula.

Bake the cupcakes: Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers.

Cool the cupcakes: Let the cupcakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove them from the pans and set them on a wire rack.  Cool completely.

Rhubarb Sauce

  • 2 cups rhubarb, 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Directions: Throw the chopped rhubarb, water & sugar in a small pot over medium heat.  Stir every now & again.  Allow it to cook down until it resembles chunky applesauce (except rhubarb).  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Strawberry Puree

  • 2/3 cup hulled strawberries, cleaned

Put the hulled strawberries into a food processor and puree until no more chunks appear.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tb strawberry puree
Side note: I process the butter & cream cheese in a food processor, until thoroughly combined.  Then, I added 1 cup of powdered sugar along with the strawberry puree and processed again (10 seconds).  I ended up putting it all in the stand mixer, added one more cup of powdered sugar & mixed on medium speed, until it was all combined.

Put the butter & cream cheese in an electric mixer medium speed for 1 minute.  Add strawberry puree and mix on medium until blended.  Add one cup powdered sugar & mix for 30 seconds.  Add an additional 3/4 cup to 1 cup of powdered sugar.  The frosting shouldn’t be too thick, but not ultra runny.

Assemble the Cupcakes:

  1. Take the cupcake and cut out a cone from the center of each.  Go here for instructions on this method.
  2. Remove the cone & cut off the bottom half (the pointed end) and save the top half (eat the bottom half).
  3. Put 1 teaspoon of rhubarb sauce in the cut out portion of the cupcake.  Put 1/8-1/4 tsp of strawberry puree on top of rhubarb sauce.
  4. Place the top part of the cone back on top of the sauce & puree.  Press down gently, just enough to avoid the filling coming out.
  5. Either pipe the frosting on top to cover the cut out area or spoon it on top.
  6. Eat!!!