Monday, November 22, 2010

The Best Cupcakes Ever

Unless you're new here, you'll know that I feel no shame in using a box cake mix, as long as you make your own icing. But the recipe below is worth the extra effort to make the perfect chocolate cake.

We had a baby shower for my Sister-In-Law Saturday. I made cupcakes using Pioneer Woman's recipe for
"The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever." I just had to let them bake a little bit longer than if it had been a sheet cake. Then I used a recipe from Tasty Kitchen called, "That's The Best Frosting I've Ever Had!" This is the frosting for people who don't like frosting. It's not overly sweet like most icings you'll find. It also has a secret ingredient: flour! It sounds crazy, but it soooo works! Since the shower was for my first nephew, I just added some blue sugar crystals to the top, easy peasy!

If you're wondering about the double wrapper, it's to prevent the cupcake from pulling away from the paper. Use two baking cups when baking cupcakes and then when they are cool, you can either serve them doubled or take the outer baking cup off and save for later use. Or you could use one of
these, I really wanted some, but I couldn't find a pattern I could use.

These really are incredible. Just look at how fluffy that icing is! The cake itself is so good that I love to eat the cake, icing free, straight from the fridge, (make sure they are covered well, so they don't dry out!). And don't even get my Father-In-Law started on these, he might not stop!

Monday, November 15, 2010

National Bundt Day

Today is National Bundt Day! Mary, The Food Librarian has been celebrating with bundt cakes for the last 30 days! That's a lot of cake! Be sure to take a look at her post today with the round-up of this year's bundts. And if that isn't crazy enough, check out her fantastic wedding dessert bar.

My Bundt Cake was inspired by a muffin recipe from my friend Lauren. First let me give you the muffin recipe, and then we'll turn it into a bundt.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
makes 12

1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 15 oz. can of Pumpkin
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients together well, then pour into greased muffin cups. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Immediately after removing from oven, cut a slit in the top of the muffin and add a dab of butter to it.

For the Bundt:
Mix ingredients as directed above, adding 3 eggs mixture. Bake according to the bundt cake direction on your cake mix box. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar or cream cheese icing would be nice. (I added eggs only to give the bundt a little more height, you can of course do without.)

Have a Happy Bundt Day!

Here's a link to see all the participating Bundt Cakes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bean and Bacon Soup

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It's getting cold outside and so it's a good time to start thinking about soup. My favorite soup is Bean and Bacon. On the thick side. With LOADS of crackers. That's just me. But this recipe can be made thin or thick to your liking. It's perfect on a cold evening like we've been having lately. Make extra and freeze in small portions; you'll have dinner ready in no time! 

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Bean and Bacon Soup
Serves 8

2 cups dried navy beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 ham hock, (the more meat the better)
4 quarts water
1-2 tablespoons dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse your beans and then soak overnight, or follow directions on your bag for a quick soak. After soaking, rinse again and drain.

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Cook the onion, celery and carrot until they start to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans, ham hock and water. Turn to high heat and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low. Cook for 3-4 hours with the lid partially covering the pot. Stir often.

Take the ham hock out of the pot and set aside. Using a blender or food processor, puree about half of the remaining soup mixture and add back to the pot. Take the ham hock and remove the skin, fat and gristle. Take the remaining meat off the bone and finely chop, then add back the pot. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, tasting along the way to get the right amount.

If the soup is too thick you can had hot water to the pot and stir well until it is the right consistency for you. If it is too thin, turn the heat to high and cook uncovered, stirring often until it is thick enough.


Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.