Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Isn't that a beauty? Tastes good too.There is a lot that goes into creating this cupcake.
1. Bake up some delicious chocolate cupcakes of choice.
2. Whip up some chocolate buttercream frosting. (Recipe below). Place it in fridge.
3. Wash, and dry your strawberries.
4. Time to melt some chocolate chips. I have no measurements, since it's fairly dependent on how many strawberries you plan on using. Bring about a cup of water to a small boil on the stove. I place a glass pyrex bowl on top of the pot (make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. You just need to steam to heat up the glass). Pour some chocolate chips into the bowl and stir. The chocolate will melt rather quickly. DO NOT ADD WATER OR MILK! You may think that will make the chocolate runnier, but it will NOT. In fact, it will harden up your chocolate.
5. Dip the strawberries in the chocolate then place on wax paper to cool. I suggest putting them in the fridge too.
6. Get a small cookie sheet with edges, or baking pan and spray with Pam. Pour the remaining chocolate on there, and spread rather thin. Place in freezer. This will be your chocolate shavings.
7. Now melt the white chocolate the same way (you need significantly less white chocolate).
8. Now you can frost your cupcakes in anyway you desire. I tried a variety of ways, but eventually settled on frosting the edges with some white chocolate, with the chocolate buttercream in the center. I then shaved up some of that hard chocolate and sprinkled it on. Then topped it with the strawberry. Store it in the fridge, if it won't be eaten soon.
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar (apx 1 lb.)
3-4 tablespoons milk
Cream butter and shortening. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well. Add milk according to the stiffness you desire.
About 3 cups frosting. Can be stored, air tight in fridge for up to three weeks. Rewhip before using.
Credit to Modern Cake for the decorating idea.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spaghetti with roasted zucchini

This recipe is pretty straight-forward and very basic. I particularly liked it because of the fresh twist it put on spaghetti. My son was quite disappointed though, when I told him we were having spaghetti but there were no meatballs in sight. I, however, felt like this was a fresh take on a traditional dish and felt like I was eating just a little healthier tonight.
Spaghetti with Roasted Zucchini
From Woman's Day Magazine

12 oz whole-wheat spaghetti
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2-in.-thick slices fresh bread, torn into 1-in. pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4 small zucchini (about 1 lb total), sliced 1/4 in. thick
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Kosher Salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 oz)
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest

1) Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with 1 Tbsp of the oil.

2) Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the bread and garlic until the bread forms coarse crumbs and the garlic is chopped.

3) In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, red pepper, remaining 2 Tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the Parmesan and bread crumb mixture and toss to combine. Spread the zucchini mixture on 2 rimmed baking sheets and roast until the squash is tender and golden brown, 10-12 minutes.

4) Toss the pasta with the zucchini mixture, parsley, and lemon zest.

Diana's Notes:
•I halved the recipe & we still have leftovers.
•I used a mixture of zucchini and yellow squash.
•I prepped my vegetables before hand. They roasted at the same time the spaghetti was cooking finishing at the same time, making my life a little bit easier.
•This would be a fantastic dish to add mushrooms or diced tomatoes.
•Unless you really like lemony pasta, don't go overboard on the zesting of the lemon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I have never considered myself a lemon fan. Typically when there are other options available, (like chocolate), I always go with the 'other option'. However, Layla blogged about Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes a while back, I showed them to Richard, and he requested them.

I finally got around to making granting his wish, on Mother's Day no less and let me tell you-the buttercream frosting on these babies are delicious! The basic buttercream recipe will be one I use over and over in my future baking.

And the lemon cupcakes? I actually really liked them. But next time I will be sure to zest even more lemon into it. I craved more lemon!
Below is the recipe as I made it.

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes or 30 mini-cups


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup oil
1 cup full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice


2-4 fresh strawberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice (approximately 1 large lemon)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


*Preheat oven to 350 F.

*In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add sugar and brown sugar and mix. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners (should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-25 minutes (15 minutes for mini-cups) or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely

*To make frosting, first wash and hull strawberries and toss them into a food processor. Puree strawberries and set aside.

*Add sugar and egg whites into a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat.

*Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.

*Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.

*Once the buttercream is thick and smooth, gradually beat in the lemon juice on medium speed, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. By this point you should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. You can stop at this point if you want to stick with lemon buttercream. For strawberry buttercream, gradually add in strawberry puree, beating on medium speed until well incorporated.

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

I have been craving Coconut Cake for months! I mean, MONTHS! But, ironically, I don't know if I've ever tasted a coconut cake in my life. However, the words coconut & cake together left me salivating.

I finally gave up on the idea of going to a restaurant that I heard serves the best coconut cake, and decided I would whip something up myself. After much research, I decided to settle with some coconut cupcakes (because cupcakes are much easier to share, and who doesn't like a reason to go visit with friends)!

I settled on a recipe from Tender Crumb and was utterly impressed with these! Like, super in LOVE with them. I followed the directions explicitly, and they are just so delicious.

Oh, and I can't forget to mention that I used my dry milk to create the buttermilk. In case you have dry milk food storage you want to start digging into, here are the measurements for buttermilk: 1/3 cup dry milk mixed with 1 cup water. Then add a tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar and let it set for a few minutes.

Here is the recipe copied straight from Tender Crumb blog. However, these photos are from my very own kitchen! Salivating yet?

Coconut Cupcakes
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
makes 12-15 cupcakes


6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 oz shredded sweetened coconut
toasted shredded coconut to top the cupcakes


8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
6 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 lb powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.