Shirlee Goodness Cakery

Making the world a sweeter place one cake at a time

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling

Baby Shower Favors

Baby Shower Favors

Last week I made cupcakes for a coworker’s baby shower party favors.

Wilton Color Cups

Wilton Color Cups

I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.  I used Ina Garten’s chocolate cake recipe.  The cakes were delicious and moist. The special ingredient is a cup of coffee.  The coffee intensifies the deep chocolate flavor. The batter was very thin and the cupcake tops ended up being flat.  That would be good for making layer cakes; I would have preferred to have more rounded tops for the cupcakes.  Next time I’d try cutting down on the liquid to have a thicker batter.

Important!  Use foil-lined color cups for nice presentation!

Left - black paper liner with colored dots; Center - white foil-liner with colored spots; Right - white paper liner

Left – black paper liner with colored dots; Center – white foil-liner with colored spots; Right – white paper liner

IMG_6361

Foil Lined Cupcake Liner

These cups are lined with foil on the inside so the cupcake color and oil don’t show through to the outside.  I baked a few cupcakes with some regular paper liners to show you the contrast.  You can see how much brighter the colors of the foil-liner are.

Cut a circle from the top of the cupcake.

Cut a circle from the top of the cupcake.

Now, the surprise inside – peanut butter filling! The filling was based on Martha Stewart’s peanut butter filling recipe.  It’s basically butter, peanut butter, and marshmallow creme. I really like the light texture of the marshmallow creme combined with the peanut butter flavor to cut down on the sweetness. I used Trader Joe’s unsalted creamy peanut butter which has a rich peanut flavor.

To fill the cupcakes: Cut out a circle from the top of the cupcake. Save the top.  Hollow out a bit more from the inside of the cupcake to make room for the filling.

Hollow out the middle of the cupcake.

Hollow out the middle of the cupcake.

Fill with peanut butter filling.

Fill with peanut butter filling.

Use a piping bag or small spoon to fill the cupcake. Replace the top and you’re ready to decorate!

The frosting is swiss meringue buttercream, colored blue with a combination of royal blue, sky blue, and turquoise colorings.  I used a large round tip “6PT” to pipe a simple icing top.

Wilton Royal Icing Monkeys

Wilton Royal Icing Monkeys

I found these cute royal icing monkeys made by Wilton.  They were perfect for the jungle animal theme of the baby shower..

Yummy!

Yummy!

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Baby Sweater – Size 18 months to 8 years!

Kristi wearing pink sweater that I knit for her.

Kristi wearing pink sweater that I knit for her.

Pictured above is my niece Kristi wearing a sweater that I knit for her when she was 18 months old. Just to tell you upfront, this post is not about baking.  I haven’t posted since January because I really haven’t baked anything I thought was interesting.  I’ve been busy knitting and sewing.

Sometimes people ask me if it’s hard to spend so much time creating a cake and then have it eaten and gone.  Actually, I like that it’s not permanent.  I can feel free to try new things and if they turn out, it’s great, and if it isn’t exactly how I had hoped, no one will remember in a few days. Plus, I know the cake will taste good!  And I always can look back at my pictures.

I do like to create some more permanent items, though.  These days, I mostly make baby things like baby quilts, sweaters, hats, booties.  Here are a few pictures of my knitted projects from the last few months.

 

Baby girl hat and botties

Baby girl hat and socks

Purple Hat and Booties

Purple Hat and Booties

Multi-colored Toddler Cap

Multi-colored Toddler Cap

And guess what?  My niece Kristi is now 8 1/2 and still wears the sweater…now re-imagined as a cropped sweater with three-quarter length sleeves.  I guess it’s time for me to knit her another one!

Kristi wearing sweater at 18 months.

Kristi wearing sweater at 18 months.

Kristi now, 8 years old, wearing the sweater I knit for her 7 years ago!

Kristi now, 8 years old, wearing the sweater I knit for her 7 years ago!

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How to make Microwave Brownie Mix

Individual Serving Microwave Brownie Mix, Packaged for Gifts

Individual Serving Microwave Brownie Mix, Packaged for Gifts

In past years, I’ve baked a selection of cookies to give my friends and neighbors at Christmastime.  This year, I decided to do something different.  I made microwave bowl potholders.  They’re quite handy.  You microwave your bowl nestled in the potholder.  When you go to take the hot bowl out the microwave oven, the potholder is already in place!  I found some really great directions at the blog Syzygy of Me.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and instant coffee in a large bowl.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and instant coffee in a large bowl.

Place labeled baggie in a mug to hold it open, and tare the scale.

Place labeled baggie in a mug to hold it open, and tare the scale.

As I was making the potholders, I decided I wanted to give a microwavable food item that could be used with the potholder.  I thought about healthy things like soup or oatmeal, and then I realized I could give a fun ready to bake treat– microwave brownie mix!  I took some different recipes from the web and then modified them a bit to my liking.  I like the cinnamon because it gives the brownie a hint of baked goodness, the instant coffee deepens the intensity of the chocolate, and the two types of chips add to the complexity of flavors…the chocolate chips lend bursts of real chocolate, and the white chips add color contrast and a bit of vanilla flavor. I printed the “baking” directions on a label and stuck them on plastic ziploc bags, and filled the bags with single portions of the brownie mix.

Add 87 grams of flour mixture to baggie.

Add 87 grams of flour mixture to baggie.

Add semisweet chocolate chips and white baking chips.

Add semisweet chocolate chips and white baking chips.

Since I was making a bunch of these to give as gifts, I multiplied the amounts of all the ingredients except the chocolate and baking chips times sixteen and mixed them in a big bowl.  (I wanted to make sure each mix got enough chips, so that’s why I didn’t mix the chips into the mix.  I thought that most of the chips would probably end up at the bottom of the bowl.)  I labeled the baggies and filled each one with 87 grams of the mixture and added chocolate and white chips to a total of 114 grams.

Here’s the recipe amounts for making a single serving or mixing up a batch of sixteen portions.  A few of my friends told me that the single serving mix was a perfect dessert for a family of three!

Ingredient

Large Single Serving

Sixteen Servings

Single Portion Package

Flour

¼ cup or 31 grams

4 cups or 496 grams

2/3 cup

or

87 grams

Sugar

¼ cup or 46 grams

4 cups or 736 grams

Cocoa powder

2 Tbsp or 9 grams

2 cups or 144 grams

Salt

pinch

2 tsp or 14 grams

Cinnamon

dash

½ tsp

Instant coffee, crushed into powder

dash

½ tsp

Semisweet chocolate chips

1 Tbsp

1 Tbsp or ~23 grams per package

White baking chips

1 Tbsp

1 Tbsp or ~23 grams per package

Directions for single serving:

1.  Empty contents into a microwave safe bowl or large mug.
2.  Add 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ cup water.
3.  Mix well.
4.  Microwave for 1 minute and 40 seconds or until cooked through.
       CAUTION: The bowl or mug will be hot!
5.  Remove from microwave and allow to cool for 2 minutes.
6.  Top with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
7.  Enjoy!

Microwave brownies aren’t as wonderful as oven-baked ones, but they’re still yummy and will satisfy a chocolate craving in a pinch.  And they’re fun for kids to make!

Freshly "baked" microwave brownie!

Freshly “baked” microwave brownie!

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