Category Archives: Cake

{Allergy Friendly} ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

Allergy Friendly 'Butter'Cream Frosting

Last week I posted about a delicious vegan chocolate cake that is simple and delicious. However, there is no sense in talking about cupcakes if you aren’t going to mention the frosting. As my dad always says, the cake is just the vehicle to transport the frosting. In other words: it’s all about the frosting!

This is a very easy variation on the American buttercream that I’ve posted about before. The difference being that we’re going to adjust the ingredients to be allergy friendly/vegan, and ta da! We’ll have a great, inexpensive frosting that even the most allergic child can eat.

My frosting is all about the perfect ratio, which is 2:1 powdered sugar to butter. In this recipe, which I’ve halved from the original, you need 1 lb. powdered sugar and 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) of butter. Of course, we can’t use real butter, so use your favorite substite. My favorite is a little hard to find but when I do find it, I stock up on it. It’s called Best Life Buttery Baking Sticks, and I’ve only found it at Walmart. They also sell it as a spread, but don’t use that for baking.

There are other options as well; Nucoa has a mild margarine-y taste (and trans-fat), and I hate the taste of Earth Balance (plus it has flax and my husband is allergic to flax of all things), but if you’re used to the taste, it’s fine to use. I don’t think it looks right, it has this weird transclucent quality… anyway. I’m sure that’s just me. :D {If you don’t have food allergies, just know that finding a margarine without any milk products is hard to do, so when you find one that tastes decent and is safe for your child(ren), it’s blog worthy!} 

Hmm, I got off topic on a margarine rant. Where was I?

Oh yes. The recipe! One of the tricks to any successful butter-based frosting is beating your butter/margarine and powdered sugar together very well. Keep that in mind as you begin. Here’s the recipe!

Allergy Friendly ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Frosts 1 dozen cupcakes liberally

Allergy Friendly ‘Butter’Cream Frosting

A smooth and creamy frosting that NO ONE will guess is dairy-free!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) margarine substitute like Best Life Buttery Baking Sticks
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/8-1/4 c. vanilla or *plain soy milk
  • *if using plain soy milk, add 1 t. vanilla
  • Optional: 1/2 c. dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips (like Guittard), melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Add half the powdered sugar and the margarine into a mixer.
  2. Mix on low until the powdered sugar is incorporated, then mix on medium for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder; mix on low until incorporated, then medium for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add 1/8 c. of soy milk, mix on low 30 seconds then medium for 1-2 minutes.
  5. If necessary add remaining 1/8 c. soy milk.
  6. Mix on low for 30 seconds then medium for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Pour in cool but still melted chocolate chips. Mix for another 2 minutes until creamy and smooth.
  8. Note: to make this a vanilla frosting, omit cocoa powder and chocolate chips. If desired, substitute white chocolate chips.
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{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

WAIT! By vegan, I just mean “dairy and egg free.” Don’t run away. Don’t be afraid. This is a NORMAL recipe. It’s got REGULAR ingredients, that can be found in YOUR cupboard. No tofu involved, I swear. Also: easiest chocolate cake recipe ever. And did I mention it’s reallyreally good?

It only figures that I went to all that effort of mastering a delicious chocolate cake recipe, only to have to go back and start learning how to bake for Abigail, with no milk or eggs (and no almonds, thank you). As a young toddler, it wasn’t that hard to trick her into eating something… similiar. I mean, I still give her bagels and call them “donuts” while the rest of us nosh down on the good stuff. But as she gets older, the kid gets wiser.

I love to bake. But it’s got to be easy, no fuss, and I don’t want to do it twice if I can avoid it.
And it has to be delicious.
Otherwise, what’s the point?

I won’t waste time mentioning how many dozens of cupcakes I threw away, trying weird variations of recipes. Finally my sister in law brought this ‘vegan cupcake’ to a family party for my sister and her milk-allergic dad. It’s so simple. By far my easiest cake recipe. Just dump in the dry ingredients, follow with wet.

Unfortunately I didn’t think ahead to measure my ingredients for the strawberry frosting. It’s basically my recipe for Rich Chocolate Frosting, but I omitted the vanilla and cocoa. I used strawberries as my liquid instead of milk and just added strawberries until it looked about right. :D

The recipe comes from the amazingly fantastic allrecipes.com.

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Serving Size: 24

{Vegan} Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3 c. white flour
  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 t. white vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cupcake pans with 24 liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
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Devilishly Good Chocolate Cupcakes

 About a month ago, I posted this recipe for dark chocolate cake.
I was recently asked to make 5 dozen cupcakes for a girl’s camp. I decided I would make half chocolate, using my recipe, and half white. Everybody wins!

I made the chocolate cupcakes first. I overcooked them because I got lost in computer land. 
{It happens, okay?}
Then they sunk. Big time. 

Did I mention this was the night before I was supposed to be delivering the cupcakes an hour and a half away? Luckily I still had the whole next day to make five dozen cupcakes.
I googled online how to fix sunken cupcakes. 
There were lots of suggestions.
In true Sarah-fashion, I tried them all! At once. On the batch of cupcakes that I was supposed to be delivering in hours.

And it worked.

Now, this is not a recommended method of testing recipes. In fact, this is more like the guess-and-check method, which again, totally not recommended if you’re about to deliver the cupcakes for other people to consume.
But whatever.

The biggest improvement I think was switching to butter. I used oil originally for a really moist cupcake. I think it worked okay, but I recently learned a new trick: beat the crap out of your butter.
I’m not kidding around about this folks. When creaming your butter and sugar, beat on medium to high for at least five minutes. (I like to whisk together the dry ingredients while I’m waiting.)

When you do this, the butter and sugar start to look less like butter and sugar mixed together, and more like a sugary cloud. In fact, I was letting it mix away and I came and peeked a few minutes later, and was honestly surprised at what the butter and sugar and transformed into. Like Heaven in my KitchenAid!

The cupcakes did sink just a bit. I’m thinking of adding a bit more flour next time, or perhaps omitting the baking powder all together. I’ll let you know. It could also be an oven thing–my oven is notorious for heating unevenly.

Here’s the new and improved Chocolate Cake recipe. But I’m only going to give it to you if you promise to let that butter and sugar work their magic. Promise?

Oh, and do yourself a favor and frost it with this frosting. You won’t regret it.


Devilishly Good Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from this recipe

3/4 c. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
1/2 c. regular cocoa
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. chocolate pudding mix
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 3/4 c
. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter on high together until fluffy and white, 5-7 minutes. (Don’t cheat on the time.)In a large bowl, whisk together cocoas, flour, pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
After the butter and sugar have mixed for 5-7 minutes, mix in the eggs on low. Add water, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until well combined.

Gradually add the cocoa mixture, mixing just until combined after each addition.
Scoop into cupcake liners, filling no more than half full.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, until cake is springy and cake tester (toothpick) comes out crumb free.
Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Cake

Okay, look. 
I promised almost a week ago that the chocolate cake recipe to go with this frosting would be up the next day.


Can I just say, I messed with adjusted my ADHD and anxiety medications and I’ve been alternating between lazy and stressed and irritable all week long? I needed to up my ADHD meds (because apparently your body can “adjust” to those type of things and before you know it, you are wading through laundry piles to get into bed at night), and wouldn’t you know it, my ADHD meds increase my anxiety?
So typical of my life.

One upside of this is that even though it’s 12:45 in the morning, I’m still awake bringing you a chocolate cake recipe, not just because there is major highway construction going on directly behind my back fence, but because my ADHD medication tends to cause insomnia.

But hey:
at least the laundry is done.
Sort of.

Okay, the chocolate cupcakes I promised. Have we talked about my chocolate cake failures before? No? Oh, good. Let’s not. Really. 

This bothers me, the fact that I was completely unable to bake a decent batch of chocolate cupcakes from scratch. I mean, seriously. I’m a baker! It’s one of the few hobbies in my life I’ve never lost interest in.

{Because seriously, there’s chocolate involved. Why would I lose interest?}

I’ve lost track of how many “test” cupcakes I’ve made since last year when I posted  this telling Facebook post:
tried a new devils food cake recipe but I’m not a fan. Anyone want to save me from eating a couple dozen muffin-esque cupcakes? I hate to toss them!
August 2, 2010 at 5:33pm via BlackBerry

It’s been a personal challenge. I was looking for cupcake recipes, and came across one at Bake at 350, which is, strangely, a fabulous cookie blog. (Check her out, seriously.) She had adapted her recipe from a Martha Stewart recipe, and I made a half batch about four times, adapting as I went, and seriously testing my mathematical fraction skills. Finally I nailed down a recipe I love–moist, super-dark, tender, and sweet.

Oh, small bonus: totally easy.

Dark Chocolate Cake
adapted from Bake at 350

1 c. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa (I’m not a brand name snob, but this is a must.)
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 T. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until well incorporated. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, one half at a time, mixing well. Do not overmix.
Scoop into cupcake liners.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until cake is springy and cake tester (toothpick) comes out crumb free.
Makes about 24-28 cupcakes.

If you want chocolately heaven, frost it with this bad boy.

Rich Chocolate Frosting

I have conquered my fear of making homemade white cake. 
Then, I found a fabulous recipe for a light, fluffy frosting.
After a lot of experimentation, I accomplished a deliciously moist homemade chocolate cake.
After that, I mastered creamy, wonderful, sweet vanilla buttercream frosting.
Next mission: chocolate frosting.
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