Categories
Birthdays Cakes

My Little Pony Rainbow Dreams Cake

 

I know a little girl who is OBSESSED with all things My Little Pony…and she was about to turn 3. I knew I had to design a super cute and girly cake with lots of My Little Pony colors and figures to make sure she was ridiculously excited about her cake.  There couldn’t just be little figurines, but it has to explode with color and rainbows because Rainbow Dash was her absolute favorite My Little Pony. I also cannot make a cake that just looks cute, but I always want to blow people’s socks off with taste, both kids and adults. A cake that tastes so good, I don’t care what diet you are on, you can NOT just have one bite!

 

I made the top 6″ tier and bottom 8″ tier a vanilla confetti cake filled and frosted with my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting. I added my Razzleberry fruit filling in between each frosted layer so everyone would savour every single bite.  It is important to note that if you are adding filling between each layer, you need to pipe a frosting damn on the outter perimeter to make sure the filling doesn’t ooze to through the crumb coat. 

To pipe rainbow frosting where it doesn’t get all muddy and you can clearly see all the colors, I made a tube with plastic wrap where I piped 3 lines of each color a length that would fit one of my large reusable piping bags on the flat sheet of plastic wrap. Then I rolled the frosting lines on top of each other by lifting one long edge of plastic wrap to fold the frosting on top of each other, and rolled the plastic all the way around, twisting to secure each end, almost like you have a rainbow frosting sausage. To pipe with the rainbow frosting, I made sure I had the tip I wanted in my large reusable piping bag, cut one end of the plastic wrapped rainbow “sausage”, and put the cut end inside the large piping bag first so it is open to freely pipe through my chosen tip.  I better make very clear that first off, I mixed each color individually before I filled each color in its own piping bag with a coupler so I could pipe with different tips later in each solid color; I then piped the lines with just the coupler onto the plastic wrap. 

You can see that the top tier used a combination of different tips to pipe flowers and rosette to add variety and interest using both the rainbow frosting, and each individual solid color frosting.  The bottom tier, I just used the rainbow frosting with the coupler, and no tip, to pipe dollops I then used my small cake spatula to drag out; I offset each row of dollops so that each one on the next row up would fit in between two on the bottom. It turned out so beautiful! I was mesmerized by it! The last dollop on each row is a challenge to get the same drag effect, so that’s how I came up with the sprinkle design on the bottom tier. 

The tips I used on the top tier are 1M for the largest rainbow rosettes and flowers,  tip 199 for rainbow swirls and dollops, tip 16 for the orange, tip 22 (or 32–I lost track of that one) yellow, tip 172 purple, tip 106 green, tip 12 blue, and tip 131 pink. 

I placed various size and shape rainbow, gold sphere and bar sprinkles around the top tier to add interest. I am just OBSESSED with how it turned out. I was definitely a jaw dropper at the party!!!

Of course I had to add the stars of the cakes, My Little Pony figurines.  I used this set even though I comtemplated using the cleaned full size ones that the client’s daughter already had and loved, however, I didn’t want the hair to get gooped up with frosting so I found these. They are perfect for cake toppers and cupcakes! 

Another happy experiment that turned out to be genius and I will definitely be using a LOT in the future, was the frosted pretzel rods! I had left over rainbow frosting and didn’t want to waste all that effort, and of course who doesn’t love salty-sweet treats, so I took the pretzel rods I had left over from my Dinosaur cake, pipped shells, and added sprinkles, and voila! Not only were they so ridiculously adorable, they were so yummy!

I  used a colored frosting to frost the bottom layer to hid any potential gaps in the rainbow pattern.

Vanilla Confetti Cake

This cake recipe will knock anyone’s socks off, it is so good. AND it will dazzle any kid with the fun confetti sprinkles in the cake batter. Check out the Perfect Ratio Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe that is easy to decorate with AND tastes amazing with this cake. NOTE: I wrap up the baked and cooled cake layers I am not immediately using in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 weeks. Freezing cakes like this keeps them moist when thawed and ready to use.

1 white box cake mix

4 eggs

1 box  vanilla instant pudding

1/2 c sour cream

 

1 c milk

1/2 c melted butter

1/2 c confettie sprinkles

3/4 to 1 c Razzleberry Fruit Filling, recipe below

1) Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F …cook low and slow, and you may need to add time to the suggested bake time; use a toothpick or cake tester to check doneness in the center before you pull the layers out of the oven. 

2) Prepare your layer cake pans AND bundt cake with my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix (recipe below). **Even if you have a non-stick pan, it is worth using the Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix–after all your time and energy making and baking your cake, the last thing you want is to have half of it stick to the pan, and get a big crumbled pile of cake.

3) Mix all the ingredients except the sprinkles and fruit filling in a stand mixer, or a large bowl and hand mixer until smooth. It will be thick. Do not over mix

4) Mix in the sprinkles and stir by hand with a spatula or spoon. 

5) Divide your batter between your prepared cake pans. Level your batter in the pan (knock the cake pan on the counter top to get rid of air bubbles) before baking. 

*For a 3″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 3 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 2 1/4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a 3″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 5 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a bunt cake, use the number of cups your bunt cake pan is sized by. If you overfill your bunt cake pan, it will overflow in the oven and create a huge mess to clean up…and ani’t no one got time for that! Don’t forget to grease and flour your bunt cake pan. 

Razzleberry Fruit Filling

3 c fresh or frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries 

1/2 c lemon juice

 

1 c sugar

4 T corn starch, mixed in 1 c cold water

 

1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat. 
2) Mash all the berries, sugar, and lemon juice with a potato masher. As the mix heats up and starts to boil, the berries will give off more of their juices and the sugar will dissolve. 
3) After the mix has had a chance to heat through, the berries give off their juices, and the sugar is dissolved, pour the mix into a blender. Blend until smooth and even. 
4) Strain the juice back into the rinsed pan through a metal sieve using a metal spoon to circulate the seeds to get all the juice through. Discard the seeds.
5) Bring the seedless berry mix to a boil.
6) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.
7) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled. 
8) To fill a cake: frost the bottom layer with an even coating of frosting, pipe a frosting “dam” around the boarder of the frosted cake, then dollop a general tablespoon or two depending on the layer size, and spread evenly to the dam before topping with another layer of cake; and repeat until the top layer.

Note: Let’s get real. I love to cook once and use multiple times. This recipe is modified from using a full 48 oz. bag of organic mixed berries consisting of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from my local bulk store.  I then store in an airtight container and either keep in the fridge if I use it quickly, or freeze to have on hand and thaw as needed. 

Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix

In a 1:1:1 ratio, mix flour, lard or shortening, and vegetable oil. Mix until evenly incorporated, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For example, I use 1 cup of each ingredient to mix up and have on hand to prepare all my cake pans before adding batter, and then baking. Cakes will come out clean and easily, with no sticking. I coat my pans with this mix using a silicone baster brush. I also add a cut parchment paper to the bottom of any flat bottomed cake pan I use.

Categories
Cookies Home Recipes

Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookies

 

After my last minute rush to get a Valentine’s dessert thrown together with leftover frosting, cookies, and raspberry filling, I stumbled on a NEW dessert that is so ridiculously AMAZING I don’t know how this desert hasn’t come to light yet! Cheesecake Sugar Cookies flavored with fruit fillings!!! I like to have holiday themes for each month and because it is March, I decided to go with a Key Lime flavor for my cakes and desserts. My new custom recipes this month included a  Blueberry Key Lime Cake, a Key LIme Tunnel cake, and a Key Lime Dressing for a spinach salad…AND last but definitely not least, my Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookies. If you like Key Lime, you will LOVE these recipes! I am talking complete FOOD NIRVANA!

 

These cookies are so easy to put together, especially with a batch of my Key Lime fruit filling on hand, which is used in all the previously mentioned Key LIme recipes. I love having versatile recipes, and multiple uses with flavors I adore. And how cute are they as little Shamrocks! The piping was also very easy, and I didn’t even use a tip; I just used the open end of the piping bag. I started in the center of each shamrock, and piped two loops in each leaf, and ended at the stem (all in one continuous motion). 

 

In fact, I had a batch of my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe at the bottom), and I just mixed in enough of my Key Lime Fruit Filling to get that oh so delicious tangy key lime cheesecake flavor. I made sure to NOT add too much fruit filling so the frosting was still a good piping consistency. I also added a drop of green and a drop of yellow food coloring to get a beautiful chartreuse green hue. I brought my first batch of these cookies to test out the recipe with my co-workers where I teach high school math, and they RAVED about them! I knew I wasn’t looney for thinking they were so good. Now I had confirmation of how dang delicious they were. Everyone was saying how perfectly tangy they were, and there was no doubt they were Key Lime Cheesecake. They also said the cookie was the perfect size to have a yummy dessert, but not over do it…and not get all the calories from a slice of Key Lime Pie!!!

Because I use a St. Patrick’s day rainbow and shamrock “Lucky” theme for March, I wanted a way to incorporate that with this recipe. So I busted out the larger shamrock cookie cutter and my rainbow sprinkles to get these stinkin’ cute shamrock cookies! I also love the added crunch from the sprinkles!!! You can see that one of the larger cookies I used the same green frosting as the smaller cookies, one was just my cream cheese frosting, and one I lined the piping bag with 3 stripes of the key lime fruit filling (recipe at the bottom) to get a variegated frosted cookie. I love the variations, and all are so yummy!

This is my go to sugar cookie recipe, and you will get rave reviews! To make these Key Lime Cheesecake Sugar Cookies, you need:

1 recipe of sugar cookies, cut out, baked, and completely cooled.

1 recipe of my cream cheese frosting (found at the bottom of the page)

1/4-1/2 c of my Key Lime Fruit Filling recipe.

Mix in the key lime fruit filling to taste, then pipe or frost your cookies. Store frosted cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and they will last up to 3 weeks. They also freeze well in an airtight container for up to 3 months. These storing guidelines also work for leftover frosting. I also use this Key Lime Cheesecake Frosting on cakes, and this cake was particularly delicious!

Key Lime Fruit Filling
Do you LOVE Key Lime but you don’t love the time it takes to make a key lime curd? Then you will adore this recipe! This fruit filling recipe is so versitile, you will loose count how many diffierent ways you can use it. I mostly use it to fill cakes, flavor frosting, and even in a vinaigrette recipe for a spinach salad. 
2 c fresh Key Lime Juice (or 1 1/2 c lime juice plus 1/2 lemon juice)

 

1/2 c sugar

T corn starch, mixed in 1/2 c cold water

1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat.

2) Bring the juice mix to a boil.

3) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.

4) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled. 

 

NOTE: I use this to flavor frosting, fill cakes, vinaigrette dressing, and many other key lime recipes.

To fill a cake: frost the bottom layer with an even coating of frosting, pipe a frosting “dam” around the boarder of the frosted cake, then dollop a general tablespoon or two depending on the layer size, and spread evenly to the dam before topping with another layer of cake; and repeat until the top layer.

 

Categories
Cakes Recipes

Erupting Dinosaur Cake

 

I know a little boy who is OBSESSED with dinosaurs…and he was about to turn 3. I knew I had to design a cake with plenty of dinosaurs, but I wanted to make sure he was ridiculously excited about his cake.  There couldn’t just be a volcano for looks on this cake, it had to ERUPT! I also cannot make a cake that just looks cute, but I always want to blow people’s socks off with taste, both kids and adults. A cake that tastes so good, I don’t care what diet you are on, you can NOT just have one bite!

 

I made the top 6″ tier a vanilla confetti cake with my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting to make sure any of the kids, including the birthday boy, who have a hard time trying something new would love. The bottom 8″ tier I used the same cake and frosting, but added my Razzleberry fruit filling in between each frosted layer so the older kids and adults had something they could really sink their teeth into and not just enjoy, but savour every single bite. I also added some pretzel rods to add interest to the cake design, and who doesn’t like a sweet and salty treat with your cake? I know I do! Sweet-n-salty as well as sweet-n-sour are my two favorite sweet flavor combinations.

I made the volcano out of rice cereal marshmallow treats, but of course I cannot just go with ordinary so I made Peanut Butter Rice Cereal Marshmallow Treats (recipe below). I used a wide mouth canning jar up against the stacked cake layers, and build the volcano around it with the warm, still pliable marshmallow treats. The glass jar then becomes the reservoir for the water and dry ice I will add as we sing happy birthday to add the effect of the volcano erupting. I made sure the volcano went above the stacked cake layers, as well as the glass jar.  To make sure the shape held, I would have to push the marshmallow treats as they cooled to make sure they stayed to get the shape I wanted for the volcano.  I wasn’t about to use frosting on the volcano, so I made a chocolate ganache to frost the volcano knowing the flavor of the chocolate compliments the peanut butter the best in my mind, as well as getting a great dark texture on the volcano. 

AND yes, when it is project go time, all order goes out the window and my counters get crazy. I intentionally wanted textured green frosting on the cake layers, not smooth, and I for sure didn’t want the grass to look cheesy but more artistic. I also didn’t want to use any piped tips to avoid anything that might look “girly” for this manly man-boy turning 3! For the water falls and the lava, I just filled a decorating bag without a piping tip. I also do not like one-dimensional color, so I added stripes of aqua, blue, and the plain white frosting for the water. For the lava, I mixed a deep orange red, and a bright orange-yellow that I put half and half in the piping bag to get the variegated colors. 

I added in the dinosaurs, trees, and shrubs to add interest, keeping in mind I didn’t want the green dinosaur to be in front of the green frosted cake background, so I switch it with the yellow one after this picture was taken. Mis up the colors to keep the eye moving with an artistic balance. I also crushed graham crackers that I sprinkled on the white frosting I added to the cake drum to make the beach of the dinosaur island cake. It’s looking great, but it was missing that extra umph…

I slept on it, happy with what I had, but I knew there was something more I needed. I thought about a number 3 candle, but I just feel they are so lackluster, common, and do not add to the look of a cake. I had made a double batch of my The Last Sugar Cookie Cutout Recipe You Will Ever Need for shamrock cookies I was planning to decorate with St. Patrick’s day around the corner, and I had a huge spider web cookie cutter from Halloween, and it hit me–make a Dono-tastic 3 with scales and colors that will pop with the cake!!! I also added the 3 cake balloons, and I was thrilled! It was ready!!!

In fact, we wouldn’t keep the birthday boy from touching all the aspects of the cake, wanting to play with the dinosaurs, or eat the cake right away! Fortunately the party was at Flip ‘N Out Extreme so there was plenty to distract him when all the kids started arriving. His reaction to the cake was priceless, and just brings me such joy!!! Oh, I forgot. Did you notice the gold dinosaur egg? I used gold dusting powder on a small cadbury egg. The birthday boy definitely couldn’t wait to devour it! He was so excited, I cannot but beam thinking about it! The whole party was a hit! There was no cake thrown out or left uneaten!!! I loved how many adults who originally didn’t want any cake because of watching what they ate, or not liking anything that is “sickeningly sweet” were devouring a slice. I got so many compliments on how cute the cake was at the beginning of the party, but the spark in their eyes when they made sure to come tell me how yummy the cake was! One gal was hilarious, and said she only took a slice to be nice and thought she would take a bit and throw the rest away, but she couldn’t stop raving how yummy the cake was! I love it! It makes me so happy!

Vanilla Confetti Cake

This cake recipe will knock anyone’s socks off, it is so good. AND it will dazzle any kid with the fun confetti sprinkles in the cake batter. Check out the Perfect Ratio Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe that is easy to decorate with AND tastes amazing with this cake. NOTE: I wrap up the baked and cooled cake layers I am not immediately using in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 weeks. Freezing cakes like this keeps them moist when thawed and ready to use.

1 white box cake mix

4 eggs

1 box  vanilla instant pudding

1/2 c sour cream

 

1 c milk

1/2 c melted butter

1/2 c confettie sprinkles

3/4 to 1 c Razzleberry Fruit Filling, recipe below

1) Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F …cook low and slow, and you may need to add time to the suggested bake time; use a toothpick or cake tester to check doneness in the center before you pull the layers out of the oven. 

2) Prepare your layer cake pans AND bundt cake with my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix (recipe below). **Even if you have a non-stick pan, it is worth using the Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix–after all your time and energy making and baking your cake, the last thing you want is to have half of it stick to the pan, and get a big crumbled pile of cake.

3) Mix all the ingredients except the sprinkles and fruit filling in a stand mixer, or a large bowl and hand mixer until smooth. It will be thick. Do not over mix

4) Mix in the sprinkles and stir by hand with a spatula or spoon. 

5) Divide your batter between your prepared cake pans. Level your batter in the pan (knock the cake pan on the counter top to get rid of air bubbles) before baking. 

*For a 3″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 3 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 2 1/4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a 3″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 5 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a bunt cake, use the number of cups your bunt cake pan is sized by. If you overfill your bunt cake pan, it will overflow in the oven and create a huge mess to clean up…and ani’t no one got time for that! Don’t forget to grease and flour your bunt cake pan. 

Razzleberry Fruit Filling

3 c fresh or frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries 

1/2 c lemon juice

 

1 c sugar

4 T corn starch, mixed in 1 c cold water

 

1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat. 
2) Mash all the berries, sugar, and lemon juice with a potato masher. As the mix heats up and starts to boil, the berries will give off more of their juices and the sugar will dissolve. 
3) After the mix has had a chance to heat through, the berries give off their juices, and the sugar is dissolved, pour the mix into a blender. Blend until smooth and even. 
4) Strain the juice back into the rinsed pan through a metal sieve using a metal spoon to circulate the seeds to get all the juice through. Discard the seeds.
5) Bring the seedless berry mix to a boil.
6) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.
7) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled. 
8) To fill a cake: frost the bottom layer with an even coating of frosting, pipe a frosting “dam” around the boarder of the frosted cake, then dollop a general tablespoon or two depending on the layer size, and spread evenly to the dam before topping with another layer of cake; and repeat until the top layer.

Note: Let’s get real. I love to cook once and use multiple times. This recipe is modified from using a full 48 oz. bag of organic mixed berries consisting of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from my local bulk store.  I then store in an airtight container and either keep in the fridge if I use it quickly, or freeze to have on hand and thaw as needed. 

Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix

In a 1:1:1 ratio, mix flour, lard or shortening, and vegetable oil. Mix until evenly incorporated, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For example, I use 1 cup of each ingredient to mix up and have on hand to prepare all my cake pans before adding batter, and then baking. Cakes will come out clean and easily, with no sticking. I coat my pans with this mix using a silicone baster brush. I also add a cut parchment paper to the bottom of any flat bottomed cake pan I use.

Categories
Cakes Home Recipes

“Love is Sweet” Cake

 

The first time I saw this humongous heart shape lollipop, an image of an over-the-top “Love is Sweet” candy cake for Valentine’s Day popped vividly in my head. I KNEW this would be a hit to celebrate Valentines with kids. I also knew this was so delicious that the adults would enjoy it even more than the kids! The family that this cake went too said the kids went crazy over it and that the parents initially didn’t think they would be able to enjoy it because it looked too sweet…that is until they took a bite! “Five stars and two thumbs up! Everyone loved every aspect of it. My wife and I loved the flavor of it as well!”

 

Five stars and two thumbs up! Everyone loved every aspect of it. My wife and I loved the flavor of it as well!

DC Swanson

Dad and CFO of the Swanson Crew

Isn’t this every kid’s and adult kid’s dream?!!???! Oh, and the cotton cady was so good too. The cotton candy I used in this cake are not available anymore, but I have used this one here, glitter to top the cotton candy here, limited edition sprinkles here, the lollipop from Dylan’s, and I used these Sweet & Sour Conversation Hearts that I had never seen before this year’s Valentine’s season. I am OBSESSED with sour candy, so these were perfect, and so good. I had to have some as I was decorating this cake! I also used the cake recipe and Razzleberry filling from this post. You can learn how to marble the cake layers here as well.

Let’s talk cream cheese frosting for a second. Personally, I cannot handle sickeningly sweet frosting, and I want my frosting to add to the flavor of the cake as a whole. Besides this cooked frosting, I use cream cheese frosting on my cakes and cookies. The problem with most cream cheese frostings are that they cannot be piped and will NOT hold their shape. When I was planning my wedding cake pictured to the right, I was on the hunt for a cream cheese frosting that holds up to decorating or piping. I looked high and low. finally I found this one, a crusting buttercream. I found it to be easy to pipe and decorate my cakes. Of course I tweaked the recipe to create a truly custom gourmet cream cheese flavor that is out of this world so tasty, AND that is perfect to pipe and decorate any cake. May I present my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting!  

Check out the piping details, texture details, and edible black cake lace in the pics below.

This frosting holds any piping beautifully! If you are used to traditional cream cheese frostings, then you know what I mean when I say those recipes are great for a bunt cake or slathered on frosting BUT IN NO WAY would it hold up being piped or used to decorate a cake, cupcake, or cookies.

The wedding cake I used the crusting decorator’s cream cheese buttercream, and the other two cakes I used my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting. The recipe is posted below. I wanted to demonstrate the versatility of this frosting, and give you an idea why it is my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe. I also use it to make a frosting that is half and half with Cooked Frosting, as well as add fruit filling to stripe and flavor different variations of this frostings, which I use on my The Last Sugar Cookie Cut-Out Recipe You will Ever Need cookies. For this cake, I used this White Chocolate Razzleberry Cake recipe, and I used my cream cheese frosting recipe to fill and frost (at the bottom of this page).  I literally cannot get myself to use any other base frostings that these two: Cooked Frosting, and The Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting (recipe below).  I build all other flavors from these, and have a blast coming up with different variations. 

Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting

Have you been looking for a cream cheese frosting you can also pipe and stable enough to fill a cake? Do you not only want the flavor of cream cheese frosting, but the flexibility to design and pipe a gorgeous cake? Did you think you could have a cream cheese frosting that tastes better than you could imagine? Then this recipe of the perfect fit for you. The salt brings out the flavor and balances the sweetness in this frosting. The last thing you want is sickeningly sweet frosting to take away from your cake masterpiece. You do not want to miss the secret ingredients that add a dimension of flavor to your cream cheese buttercream that makes it out of this world memorable! This makes a great base frosting to customize with fruit fillings, or mix with Cooked Frosting.  Really, there is no limit what you can do with this frosting. 

1 c salted butter (2 sticks), room temperature

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1 tsp salt

2+ T butter powder 

2+ T cream cheese powder, to taste

 

1 T vanilla (clear vanilla for a whiter frosting)

1 tsp Creme bouquet Flavor

5 c powder sugar

*NOTE: If I want to turn this into a crusting frosting, I will omit 1/2 stick of butter, and use white shortening, and add 1 c of powder sugar 

 

1) Cream the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer, or large bowl with a hand mixer until creamy and fluffy.
2) Add the remaining ingredients except for the power sugar, and miz untilevenly incorporated.
3)Add the powder sugar in 1 c increments with the mixer off, scraping in between with a silicone spatula until the right consistency is reached. 
4) To pipe, use right away. If you need to store the frosting, put in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator; just know if you plan to pipe from a chilled state, I recommend letting it come up to room temperature and beat with a hand mixer or a stand mixer to keep fluffy before piping.

Categories
Cakes Frosting Home Recipes

White Chocolate Razzleberry Cake

 

I have been in love with the Nothing Bunt Cake’s White Chocolate Raspberry since the first bite…but I was NOT in love with the prices, nor their store hours….AND the presentation left something to be desired with all the gorgeous barrel cakes I was wanting to make. I not only want memorable taste, but a memorable, stylish…GORGEOUS cake! This is WHY I started my trial-and-error search for my perfected copy cat recipe…and then I upgraded to Razzleberry after I used a Black Berry filling in my sealing reception wedding cake. SO amazing…and the color I get from this Razleberry mix when I used it to decorate my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting was also out of this world. It was a home run on all accounts!!!

 

I was first on my mission for upgraded box cake recipes back in 2013 when I dove in the deep end to make my own wedding cake, pictured to the right. I decided I was not interested in full on, from scratch cakes, because let’s face it, the dry ingredients are already in the perfect ratios, and you can often get box cake mixes on sale. I learned a ton since this cake, but don’t let the flaws like the bulging fool you; this cake tasted so good and I had sooo many compliments. I will post this recipe on a future post as well. I still think this is a beautiful cake, and my talented friend Marissa added the orchids in this ombre design so I could actually get ready for my own reception!

Now, my mom may be floored that her “pure-est” from childhood has given way to a “BOX” mix; you see I was OBSESSED with making stuff from scratch growing up, and it was such a big deal to me I ended up making a lot of dinners and my mom called me the “pure-est” because of this obsession. I’m sure she didn’t mind the help cooking, but I KNOW we butt heads quite a bit because I was, and still am, very independent, strong-willed, and not easily intimidated. So I made my own 5 tier wedding cake, and I had never made a cake more than one tier before. When I say I dive in the deep end and learn to swim or sink right away, I mean it. Remember I’m the “pure-est,” which mostly translates to independent and strong-willed and not much fear of “failure” and only want the highest quality of whatever I do. On a side note, there really is no such thing as “failure,” but rather learning experiences which I feel so strongly about that I plan to devote an entire post on that and redefining what “failure” really is.

I cannot recall where I first learned this box cake mix hack, but it because forever ingrained in my noggin every since my wedding cake in 2013. I added 1-2 more eggs than the box directions indicated, replaced the oil with 1/2 cup melted butter, added a box of instant pudding, and replaced the liquid with 1 c milk. Voila, instant upgrade and you would never know it was NOT completely from scratch. I have modified all my cakes using this base since. In fact, now I DETEST the airy, oily, almost non-existent texture you get from making a box cake from the original instructions…not to mention the lack of food-gasmic taste the basic box instructions yields. Never again! Never looked back since. NEVER made a box cake according the the box directions since.

The step that led to the apex of my recipe trial-and-error journey was the first time I made a bunt cake recipe that used sour cream. I made it for a pot-luck at a Real Estate Investment course my husband and I were taking. I got so many compliments. One of the coaches raved about it and would always ask when I was going to bring it again.  The next time I made my “doctored-up” box cake, I added sour cream, and it was a home run! The moistness on top of the amped up flavor and texture I already loved made this my new go-to box cake upgrade. Oh my oh my, if you have not tried this, you NEED to…AND you will never look back. It is that good.

Now where in the world did the Razzleberry come from? This is the most recent upgrade to this recipe, and there are three main contributors.

1) When my husband and I finally were ready to get sealed, which is the spiritual marriage ordinance in my faith and frankly it is more valuable to me than any civil ceremony could ever be (message me if you would like to know more), I knew I was going to make my cake for the reception again…then oscillated between doing what I did the first time, or once again diving in the deep end to upgrade the cake. I am sure you are getting the sense that there is no way I settled for what I did before, and definitely chose to further customize and upgrade my cake.  This customization also extended to the gum paste flowers I made which were stunning; I will definitely dedicate a post to that as well. Check out the pic below of my stunning cake I made below! I am so in love with it!

2) Once I decided I was not going with the same cake from our wedding reception, which was in So Cal–the sealing reception took place in Las Vegas where my husband is from so I justified a whole reception with the full nine-yards because we never had one for his side in his neck of the woods–I knew I wanted to coordinate the fruit filling with the deep magenta I had paired with the black and white and lime green accents for the colors in all the decorations I was reusing from the first reception; I was going for a Glam Retro Hollywood feel.  I started with the idea of a raspberry filling, but I just couldn’t commit because the last time I made my White Chocolate Raspberry Bunt Cake, the color was not the deep magenta color that I was going for to coordinate with bridesmaid dresses, flower girls dresses, chair sashes I sewed–foreshadowing another post…you are just getting to know me so well by now!! (((air kisses))) LOVE you! Yes, back to where the Razzleberry cake from. Because the sealing reception was late summer/early fall, there were gobs and gobs of gorgeous blackberries, and it hit me! Use a blackberry fruit filling! SO I did, and the color was magnificent. Check out the picture below.

Finally number 3) When I went to make a friend’s birthday cake, along with 3 Valentine’s cakes earlier this February, I didn’t have time to go to the store for only blackberries, but I did have a bag of organic frozen blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries I ended up using for the fruit filling, and it totally added another dimension of flavor I had not used before…and LOVED it!  Hence the White Chocolate Razzleberry Cake was born!

Prepping your pans and my Quick-Release Cake Pan Prep Mx.

Now let’s talk prepping your cake pans before we get to the recipe. I cannot stress how vital this is…vital to NOT losing all your time, effort, and gorgeous, high quality ingredients to a mass of torn cake because a good chunk of it is sticking to the pan. SO NOT PRETTY AND SO AGGRAVATING! Growing up, it was the “grease and flour” step of making a cake. Now I just keep a pre-made mix of flour, lard, and oil in a 1:1:1 ratio to make my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix (yes, yes it’s long winded, but that’s Bloomy’s Dictionary sometimes). It is important to use a vegetable oil, or any oil that has a high smoke temperature. Olive oils have a lower smoke temperature which means it will start to smoke or burn at lower temperatures than other oils; since you are baking cakes at high temperatures, you do not want smoke ruining the high quality flavors you worked so hard to put in your cakes. I will keep a mix of 1 c. flour, 1 c. oil, and 1 c. lard in an airtight container in my refrigerator. Being it works in this ratio, you can use the same measurements of all three ingredients in any amount. There have been times I have been in a pinch, and needed to whip up 1/2 cup or 1/3 cup mixes of this if I am out of my pre-made mix in the fridge. You will prep your cake pans and bunt cake pans with this mix. Or use the traditional grease and flour method to prep your pans before you add any batter, however, if you take my word for it, this old-school method is a lot more time consuming and can be a lot messier! I use a baster to slater on my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix; BUT you don’t want it pooling or gobbing on your pan. A nice even coat is sufficient. I also ALWAYS use parchment paper on the bottom of my pans, and for time sake I prefer the precut ones. I will use my quick geometry teacher skillz and can cut out a free-handed circle of any size pretty quickly by folding a section of parchment paper into quarters, and then eighths, and again if not too thick, and essentially cut half the length of my circle pan (half the diameter, or half the radius for y’all who remember your geometry).

Marbling You Cake Layers

If you want to marble your cake with the fruit filling: 1) use half the batter, 2) dollop 2-4 T of fruit filling in 3-5 spoonful drops, 3) use a butter knife to swirl, but not fully mix the fruit filling, 4) add the remaining batter and repeat dollops of fruit filling and swirls with a butter knife half way down, and 5) level your batter in the pan (knock the cake pan on the counter top to get rid of air bubbles) before baking.

*For a 3″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 3 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 2 1/4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a 3″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 5 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a bunt cake, use the number of cups your bunt cake pan is sized by. If you overfill your bunt cake pan, it will overflow in the oven and create a huge mess to clean up…and ani’t no one got time for that! Don’t forget to grease and flour your bunt cake pan.

To build this barrel layer cake, I used 3-2″ thick 6″ layers of marbled White Chocolate Razzleberry Cake. I filled the cake with my Perfect Ratio Dreamy Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting (gourmet flavor cream cheese frosting stable enough to fill, frost, and pipe beautiful cakes), and the Razzleberry Filling (recipe below) using a buttercream dam to prevent bleeding and bludging. I also used gold sparkle powder, limited edition Valentine’s sprinkles from Sweetapolia, these gold metallic rod sprinkles, Lindt White Chocolate truffles, and gold lustre dust to color the “Happy Birthday” and piped accents. I used this tip to pipe the 5 dollops on top. 

In fact, I cannot tell you how fun it was to parade this cake (well, there was no other way to describe carrying this cake in a restaurant, trust me) through The Cheesecake Factory! I mean getting all the ooooh’s, and aaaah’s, and compliments, and all eyes on this cake that I did at THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY is a feat in itself! AND they didn’t even get the privilege to taste this masterpiece! I assure you, it tastes as good as it looks, if not better! I mean look at the gorgeous birthday girl’s reaction to the cake! A gorgeous cake for a gorgeous momma!

White Chocolate Razzleberry Cake

Nothing Bunt Cake…I don’t think so. This is White Chocolate Raspberry done right…aka White Chocolate Razzleberry Cake! Love those well-known bunt cakes but not the price? Or wished they looked more elegant? This recipe not only taste BETTER than those bunt cakes, but you can CUSTOM design your own masterpiece with a few simple steps. You are not limited to making this cake in a bunt cake pan, but have the flexibility to do so if you would like.  Check out the Perfect Ratio Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe that is easy to decorate with AND tastes amazing with this cake. NOTE: I always use wet (but wrung out) cake baking straps on all my pans, and I wrap up the baked and cooled cake layers I am not immediately using in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 weeks. Freezing cakes like this keeps them moist when thawed and ready to use.

1 white box cake mix

4 eggs

1 package white chocolate instant pudding

1/2 c sour cream

 

1 c milk

1/2 c melted butter

1 to 1 1/2 c white chocolate chips, optional

3/4 to 1 c Razzleberry Fruit Filling, recipe follows

1) Pre-heat the over to 325 degrees F; bake your cakes low and slow (may need to add to baking times–use a toothpick or cake tester to see if done in the middle). 

2) Prepare your layer cake pans AND bunt cake with my Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix(see recipe in post) mix or grease your pan with lard (or butter) and dust with flour, and a parchment liner on the bottom(optional but i do not risk all my efforts to possibly having the cake stick to the pan).  **Even if you have a non-stick pan, it is worth greasing your pans with lard/butter and dusting with flour, or just having a batch of the Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix (see recipe in post).

3) Mix all the ingredients except the white chocolate chips and fruit filling in a stand mixer, or a large bowl and hand mixer until smooth. It will be thick. Do not over mix

4) Stir in the white chocolate chips and mix by hand with a spatula or spoon. 

5) Divide your batter between your prepared cake pans. If you want to marble your cake with the fruit filling: A) use half the batter, B) dollop 2-4 T of fruit filling in 3-5 spoonful drops, C) use a butter knife to swirl, but not fully mix the fruit filling, D) add the remaining batter and repeat dollops of fruit filling and swirls with a butter knife half way down, and E) level your batter in the pan (knock the cake pan on the counter top to get rid of air bubbles) before baking. 

*For a 3″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 3 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 6″ round pan, use 2 1/4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a 3″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 5 cups of batter, and bake for 35-40 min.

*For a 2″ layer in a 8″ round pan, use 4 cups batter, and bake for 28-36 min.

*For a bunt cake, use the number of cups your bunt cake pan is sized by. If you overfill your bunt cake pan, it will overflow in the oven and create a huge mess to clean up…and ani’t no one got time for that! Don’t forget to grease and flour your bunt cake pan. 

NOTE: The picture below left shows my dollops of fruit filling before I take a butter knife and swirl to get the marble effect with the cake layers. The pic below right shows what my marbled batter looks like before I put it in the oven. 

BAKING TIP: If you are baking 3″ layers with an 8″ pan or larger, use a metal rose piping pin inverted in the middle of the pan to get heat and bake the center of the cake evenly with the outside; or use a baking core. I do this with 2″ layers for pan 10″ or larger as well. 

 

 

Razzleberry Fruit Filling

3 c fresh or frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries 

1/2 c lemon juice

 

1 c sugar

4 T corn starch, mixed in 1 c cold water

 

1) Add all the ingredients except the corn starch & water mix in a sauce pan on med heat. 
2) Mash all the berries, sugar, and lemon juice with a potato masher. As the mix heats up and starts to boil, the berries will give off more of their juices and the sugar will dissolve. 
3) After the mix has had a chance to heat through, the berries give off their juices, and the sugar is dissolved, pour the mix into a blender. Blend until smooth and even. 
4) Strain the juice back into the rinsed pan through a metal sieve using a metal spoon to circulate the seeds to get all the juice through. Discard the seeds.
5) Bring the seedless berry mix to a boil.
6) Add the corn starch and water mix, and let boil stirring constantly until thickened.
7) Let the fruit filling cool before adding to an airtight dish to chill in the refrigerator. DO not use to fill cakes or to add to frostings until completely chilled. 
8) To fill a cake: frost the bottom layer with an even coating of frosting, pipe a frosting “dam” around the boarder of the frosted cake, then dollop a general tablespoon or two depending on the layer size, and spread evenly to the dam before topping with another layer of cake; and repeat until the top layer.

Note: Let’s get real. I love to cook once and use multiple times. This recipe is modified from using a full 48 oz. bag of organic mixed berries consisting of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from my local bulk store. 

Quick-Release Cake Prep Mix

In a 1:1:1 ratio, mix flour, lard or shortening, and vegetable oil. Mix until evenly incorporated, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For example, I use 1 cup of each ingredient to mix up and have on hand to prepare all my cake pans before adding batter, and then baking. Cakes will come out clean and easily, with no sticking. I coat my pans with this mix using a silicone baster brush. I also add a cut parchment paper to the bottom of any flat bottomed cake pan I use.

Categories
Frosting Home Recipes

Cooked Frosting

 

Cooked Frosting: frosting that will beat any boring buttercream’s butt, total KO with one bite! Frankly this is the only frosting I knew or made growing up, and every time I make it people rave about it. All my mom knew is that she got it from a roommate in college, and it was called Cooked Frosting.  I have looked everywhere for this recipe online and cannot find it. I am pretty sure it has a proper name unbeknownst to me.  Just like a rose called by any other name, I really don’t give a flying flip what it is called because it is the BOMB when it comes to frosting, and if you have never tried it, dive down that rabbit hole and give it a go! I promise, you will come back to it for cookies, cakes…hey, even a stale graham cracker can taste like the most exquisite cookie with this frosting.  I have used my fruit cake fillings to stripe this or mix it in to add another depth and dimension of flavor.  The standard of vanilla and almond extract is delightful. I also love adding coconut extract in addition…or Creme Bouquet or lemon…it truly is a magnificent canvas to frosting masterpiece to flourish with any flavor you love. 

 

Pictured above you see this frosting on my Valentine’s Cookies 2/5/2019 where the frosting by itself, striped with my mixed berry cake fruit filling, and the fruit filling fully mixed in all with sprinkles. SOOOO delicious! You also see it colored with green and yellow food coloring to get a light chartreuse color with one of Wilton’s Christmas sprinkles. You also see it in the first Valentine’s Day I celebrated with my now husband who I was dating. Truth be told, that weekend we went exclusive and my husband has since confessed that is when he knew he loved me…or did he love the frosting? Wink wink. It’s all good, and the rest is history as we say. The cupcakes with the frosting almost neon bright colored was celebrating my 33rd birthday…I think…you know you hit 42 and you think you’d never forget things and all of a sudden you find yourself forgetting EVERYTHING….ya, I wish I wrote more things down…but I digress. I LOVE SweetTarts so that is what I put on the cupcakes to pump up the volume and the inspiration to the color theme for that party. These were a hit! This frosting on a rich almost fudge cake is one of my weaknesses. Hence the heart cupcakes for the hub’s and my first Valentine’s together. Whether that move was to impress my man or to indulge myself, my lips are sealed…with a mouthful of this frosting! Ha!

This is the recipe my  mom hand wrote and oddly I don’t remember if she gave to me or if it came with me after I was on my own. BUT, that is neither her nor there and I will go with the first option. You can see her hand writing versus mine at the wee bottom so I could glue the backside down in my recipe binder. Of course the minimal directions are easy for me to follow because I have made this so many times I could do it in my sleep. Oh, that’s exaggerating a tad, but let’s just say this is how I prefer my recipes and all my well loved ones are just like this. Minimal, and mostly in my head.  

So on to decoding this recipe and give explicit directions. No, no, not THAT explicit…the explicit that is CLEAR, understandable, ya know what I mean? Before we go there, a couple things always stood out when I was learning to make Cooked Frosting which I feel helps in making this particular frosting because it is very different to what most may envision or expect when making frosting. My mom always said to use the cheapest shortening you can get. I generally go with the white store brand version of shortening. You end up making the frosting in 3 parts: an egg white mix, a powder sugar/lard mix, and the pastry dough part. I always have the egg white part in my stand mixer, the power sugar in a large bowl, and the pastry part in a pan on the stove. My mom always said the powder sugar part looks all crumbly and dry, you add add the powder sugar mix and the pastry dough mix in thirds to the egg white mix and whip it up on high in between each added third. She also said if it looks weird and like it will not actually be fluffy frosting, just keep mixing on high and it will fluff up almost magically. I have only felt that way a couple times, and my impressions are that those times were when I first started making it in my early teen, and after college when I had not made it for a number of years while going to college.

This is what the pastry part of the frosting looks like before you add it in thirds with the sugar mix to the egg white mix. I’m pretty sure the “cooked” part of the name comes from this element, and I never really thought about it until now. The cooked part is like a pate a choux used to make eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches…basically a light pastry. It doesn’t take long and I have always started by melting the butter and adding the milk to heat up, and sprinkling the flour on top and mushing it around with a silicone spatula on med heat until it all comes together like the picture.

I will use a dough blender and cutter to start mixing the powder sugar, salt, and shortening. I end up using my hand to mix it until it is evenly fine and will stick together in my fist like fine wet sand. This is when I know I am done.

It whips up beautifully white and delicious! It is soft and easy to frost right away, and when chilled it stiffens quite a bit. I keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator in between uses. It does make a lot, but I have never measured the amount because it doesn’t last very long. If you want to frost a cake or cookies and it is fully chilled, I set it out until it softens to almost room temperature. Also, on a side note, if I want to use part of the batch using a different flavoring, I will just add it to the amount I need and add other flavoring to taste. I find this gives me the flexibility I want so the main batch is more of my blank canvas and I modify as needed, as the wind blows, or according to my mood. However, the basic recipe with the vanilla and almond extract is delightful on its own.

Cooked Frosting

This is frosting is unlike any buttercream you may be used to; it is fluffier, feels lighter, and full of flavor without the sickening sweetness other frosting recipes offer, or the bakery type buttercreams that leave a shortening film in your mouth. It is simply amazing on its own, or kick it up with flavoring with fruit fillings or flavorings to add complexity and different flavor notes. It is fantastic on cookie cut outs, cupcakes, and cakes alike. It is initially made in 3 parts, which are combined for this lovely, fluffy, snow white frosting. Enjoy!

the sugar mix:

1 1/2 c. shortening

6 c. powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

the pastry mix:

3 T. butter

6 T. flour

6 T. milk

the egg white mix:

3 egg whites

6 tsp. vanilla

3 capfuls almond extract

 

1) For the sugar mix: mix all the ingredients in this section together until it is evenly incorporated in even crumbles.  

2) For the pastry mix: in a pan on medium heat, melt the butter, add the milk, and sprinkle on the flour. Use a silicone spatula to mix until the dough forms and comes clean from the pan all together.

3) For the egg white mix: in a stand mixer, add the egg whites and extracts and beat on high until fluffy, but no peaks forming (Tip: use this time to use your hand to evenly mix the sugar mix while the mixer runs). 

4) Add a third of the sugar mix and a third of the pastry mix to the egg mix, and beat on high until all combined. Repeat 2 more time to use up the remaining 2 thirds of the sugar and pastry mixes.

5) Mix the frosting on high until white and fluffy. If it doesn’t not look fluffy at all, just turn up the mixer speed and mix until fluffy. 

6) Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Let soften to room temperature when you want to spread on cookies or cakes.

 

Categories
Cookies Home Recipes

The Last Sugar Cookie Cut-Out Recipe You will Ever Need

 

Growing up, my mom had this sugar cookie recipe we used for cut-outs and a wonderful frosting she called Cooked Frosting.  I used those recipes and those alone, no questions asked.  Fast forward to sometime during the last 5 years since moving from Huntington Beach to Las Vegas after getting married, and amid various home improvements including two straight years of replacing the floors upstairs and downstairs, my cookie recipe got mangled. This was BAD! I’ve been on the hunt since then for the perfect recipe, and there are 10,000 out there to sort through. I started with the ones that used powdered sugar (okay, confectioners sugar…I’m from the midwest and it is powdered sugar to me), like Swig copy cat recipes. The problem is that any I made were not memorable! That’s a problem. If I made something I want it to be memorable. In other words, if it is a meh in my book, it doesn’t get made a second time. 

 

This picture attests to the last time I used the beloved sugar cookie recipe from my childhood. It was my first Valentine’s day with my husband, who I was dating at the time, and not yet exclusive. Now, the question as to whether these cookies and heart individual cakes with the special Cooked Frosting were the reason we become exclusive, remains to be seen.

And the search continued…then a major break through!

I was at a math teacher conference in Palm Springs, getting my fill of Sherman’s dessert selection and Reuben sandwich, Norwegian style (no thousand island dressing, only yellow mustard–of course I can’t go without a CUSTOM order). While I was waiting to order, I was chatting with this delightful fellow food snob. Pardon me, but I own it, and we were commiserating on how we detest ordering anything out we felt we could have made better at home. We got on the topic of desserts, and somehow on BROWNED BUTTER! It hit me. DUH, use browned butter!!!

 

So this sat in my mind, filed in the back “as needed.” Life went on. As my mind got through teaching, got through Thanksgiving, vacation mode, and turned to planning for my annual Christmas Kick Off Dinner, my mind started to swirl around all the Christmas related to-do items I needed to accomplish. As soon as I remembered the annual cookie exchange a gal in my ward at church hosts, I thought, “Dang it, I am gonna bring sugar cookie cut outs this year, and I’m gonna use BROWNED BUTTER.” Never mind that lost original cookie recipe had nothing to do with browned butter. Ok, time to upgrade, and shift. Time to let that recipe from my childhood lie in the past. Time to move up and move on. Enough with the obsession to find a like recipe that used powdered sugar like I remembered using. And while I am at it, I might as well find one that has a tang I like. So I found a Taste of Home Recipe for White Velvet Cutouts. Ooooh, White Velvet, as my thoughts immediately went to Black Velvet by Alannah Myles, and images of me dancing all sultry like with the kitchen fridge door. Hot…but I digress. So then I’m thinking, “ya, but I don’t want a crispy cookie.” Not wanting to change it, I did a quick search on Pinterest and found this recipe. This was all coming full circle, and now all I needed to do was add my BROWNED BUTTER…and 4 dozen cookies for this exchange plus at least a dozen to keep. Ok, so I don’t work on a small scale basis…nor do I measure reliably… and I go a lot by feel and taste as I go when I cook or bake…I understand, this poses a problem for duplicating a recipe. I tried my best to write down any and all ways I strayed from the recipe to my best when in my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mode and it’s-get-this-done-now-or-never time crunch. I leave notes cards all over the place for various projects. Last week I made the recipe to confirm my measurements, and by golly, it worked! Woo hoo!

BROWNED BUTTER: adds a rich, toffee-esque, almost nutty, full bodied flavor to these cookies. No sweet cardboard here! Take my word for it…or don’t, and try a “regular” sugar cookie next to one of these babies. The difference in flavor will knock your socks off. The number of calls, texts, emails, FB posts to get this recipe after the cookie exchange surprised me, until I tried another sugar cookie. I knew these cookies were delicious, but until I had the side-by-side taste test with cookies I got from the exchange, I couldn’t fully grasp it. 

I am the type of baker that needs to do things in stages. I’ve got multiple things to get done at any given time of the day, and any wasted time just sitting there waiting just doesn’t cut it. SO, if I bake a cake, cookies, whatever it may be, and it needs to have rest time somewhere from beginning to end, I usually break it up into multiple days if it’s during the week. For example, when I brown my butter and I need to chill it, in goes the pan I browned it in on a hot plate in the fridge, and I forget it until I have time to go to the next step. Fortunately, this works phenomenally for me and my browned butter. While one person may insist this is WAY too much work for extra flavor, I just want to say it is totally worth it and it is totally do-able if you break it down into phases. Browning  and chilling the butter is phase one

Phase One: Make the browned butter, and chill completely before using in the sugar cookie recipe.

Phase Two: using the browned butter and make the dough. Then pop the divided and wrapped dough into the fridge to chill, possibly overnight…one to two hours if it is a weekend and I can get other things done in the meantime.

Phase Three: Take out the dough and let it warm up a bit so it’s pliable while I do something else like make the frosting that will chill in the fridge until it has it’s turn. I also pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Phase Four: Get out the cookie sheets. Line them with parchment paper. Dust my work surface with flour. Roll the dough out to a beautiful 3/8 of an inch using this rolling pin or a couple spoon handles about that diameter on each side. Cut them and place them on the cookie sheet, spaced about 1/2 to 1 inch apart. These cookies should not spread. If they do, something went amiss. Pop two full cookie sheets into the over, and get the next two cookie sheets loaded. Set the timer for 12 minutes and sit my hiney down to breathe. It’s a well oiled machine if done right.

At this point, I chuck the phase mentality, and I adopt the “I better not forget the timer or go somewhere and burn these puppies so all my work goes down the tube” mentality and rest on the couch. Unfortunately, this is when I realize how tired I am, but the sheer will to not waste my efforts to this point trumps my will to stay parked on the couch.

Once the cookies rest on the cookie sheet until cool enough to handle, I will pick up the whole parchment paper and transfer the cookies to cool on my beloved, hand made–ahem, CUSTOM–wood cutting board. You can also put them in an airtight container if they have cooled enough until ready to frost.

I generally do NOT frost my cookies the same day I bake them. You can call this another phase, but I call this experience from melted dripping messy frosting because I am not patient if I try to wait.

 

Didn’t these turn out so adorable? I sure thought so. Here is the link to the frosting recipe and the sprinkles I used. I also used this mixed berry filling to add flavor and color to the frosting. If I need color I can use a fruit filling to get, as well as add to the flavor, you bet your bottom dollar I will pass up the food coloring!

I need to admit something. I LOVE the designs so many amazing cookie masters make with royal icing, but I CANNOT get myself to try it. I have confidence in my piping and design skills, but I LOVE thick, yummy, flavorful frosting, and royal icing just doesn’t do it for me.

How would you decorate these incredibly flavorful Browned Butter Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs?.

The Last Sugar Cookie Recipe You Will Ever Need

Are you tired of boring, almost bland sugar cookies? Don’t even enjoy sugar cookies because they are almost like sweet cardboard? NOT these sugar cookies! There’s a slight tang from cream cheese, flavors pop with vanilla and almond extract, sweet and salty bring the best balance, and the secret ingredient: BROWNED BUTTER.  You cannot go wrong with these cookies. I like mine with a crisp edge, and an aldente but not quite soft texture. 

3/4 c. browned butter (1 1/2 sticks)

1/2 c. cream cheese (1/2 of a 8 oz pkg)

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. almond extract

2 tsp. salt

4 c. flour (reserve one cup as needed)

1) In a sauce pan on med heat, brown your butter. Watch the butter as it starts to froth up, and stir as needed. You will notice the froth will go down, and then start frothing again. By the 2nd froth/bubbling I have found this is about the time you want to stop browning the butter. Take the butter off the stove as you smell the nutty richness. Chill the browned butter until solid.

2) Let the browned butter and the cream cheese come up to room temperature. 

3) Cream the browned butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy in a stand mixer, or using a hand held mixer in a large bowl. You will see the color turn light and the mix becomes fluffy. 

4) Add the egg, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Scrap down the sides with a silicone spatula. 

5) Add 3 cups of flour and mix. Scrape down the sides. Add the remaining flour in 1/4 cup increments as needed. You know the dough is ready when it comes to a ball and is clean away from the side of the bowl. Depending on the humidity and elevation, you will need to be vigilant in how much flour you add, and may not need the extra full cup. The dough is pretty stiff, but not crumbly to where the flour is not incorporated. 

6) Split the dough into two equal parts. Wrap each dough section in cling wrap. Flatten into a rectangle, and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, overnight if necessary. An alternative step at this point(or just intentionally make a double or triple batch), if you choose to make frozen dough disks (I use an ice cream scoop and flatten the round dough to a puck shape, line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper, freeze on a cookie sheet, then place the pucks in a freezer safe ziploc bag to keep frozen sugar cookie dough on hand for in a pinch cookie hankerings–you can bake frozen, just watch the cookies because they may need extra time being baked from a frozen state).

7) When you are ready to roll out, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to let the dough warm up a bit on the counter, especially if it has been chilling overnight. 

8) Lightly flour the surface, then roll out your dough to 3/8 inch for thick cookies. If you prefer thinner cookies, adjust the bake time down. Cut out your dough, and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Space them at least a half inch apart. The cookies should not spread. If you want to sprinkle sanding sugar on the cookies and not frost them, do so before baking them. These are great cookies to eat without frosting, but I have an even better recipe for sugar cookies if you just want sanding sugar on them, but these work as well. 

9) Bake for 9-11 min. If your cookies are thinner or small cut out, watch them at 7-9 min. A perfectly baked cookie will show golden patches on the bottom, but not dark brown or worse.  Rest on the cookie sheet until cooled enough to move the parchment without damaging the cookies, and cool on a counter off the hot cookie sheet, or in a airtight container. If your first batch of cookies does not have the wonderfully crackled look on top, knead the rest of the dough before rolling out and baking. 

10) Completely cool before frosting. Check out my Cooked Frosting, which I think beats any butter cream frosting on these cookies hands down!