Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes ~Molly

While searching for the perfect St. Patrick's Day recipes, I kept finding recipes for cupcakes with Guinness. It sounded gross, but I figured if so many sites were posting recipes, they must not be half bad. So, I stopped by Fred Meyer today on my way home from class to buy some Guinness (I swear it's only for the cupcakes, Mom, I wouldn't dream of drinking any). I've already eaten three. Two weren't even frosted because I couldn't wait long enough to let them cool. Don't judge. 

I found my recipe (and the picture) here:

But, then I realized the recipe was originally posted here:, only with a ganache filling. I will be trying that next time.

For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling 
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

Make the frosting: Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chango Bars~by Grace

This recipe came from the 1st/2nd grade classroom at Centerville Elementary.  They read a book about a real Mexican-Jewish-American bakery, Los Bagels Bakery and Cafe, in Arcata, CA.  This recipe was in the book, and Grace brought it home to try out.  It was simple and good.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine (Grace used butter Crisco)
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mixed nuts (Grace left these out)

Melt butter and margarine.  While it is melting, cream brown sugar and eggs, then add melted butter and margarine.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and stir into sugar mixture.  Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.  Pour mixture into greased 9 X13 pan and bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pasta Fagioli Soup ~ by D'Lynn

1.5 lbs of ground beef
2 cans (14oz) chicken or beef broth
(if using chicken broth compliment it with a TBLS of beef bouillon seasoning, it will make the broth richer
1 can (15oz) Great Northern Beans (white beans), rinsed and drained
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 medium Zucchini (shredded)
1 TB of EVOO
1-1 1/2 tsp of garlic
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 to 3/4 Cup of Ditali (any type of "small" shell pasta)
Garnish: with shredded Asiago, Romano, or Parmesan cheese and serve with fresh baked french bread.
Pretty Darn close to Olive Garden!~
It's winter time still, even though the tulips are breaking thru the ground. I am tired of the gray, damp days, even more tired of this head cold, and because I have become more like my mother than I'd care to admit....I love making homemade soups (I will say I'm a better cook than her though!) and because this soup has Zucchini in it...I know anyone close to Kelsey's garden will be required to give it a try!
In a large soup kettle brown beef, drain off extra fat. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, evoo, and seasonings. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer for an hour or so, then add the dry pasta, let it cook 30-40 minutes...the pasta will soak up the broth quickly, so make sure you have enough liquid.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Strawberry Cake ~ by Molly

This cake makes up the final layer of Grace's birthday cake. It is probably my new favorite cake recipe and it's made using real strawberries, so it's healthy, right?
I got this picture from the blog where I found the recipe. I used two layers of each flavor of cake. 

Strawberry Cake      
2 cups white sugar
1 (3oz) package of strawberry gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries (or you could use unsweetened and add a tablespoon of white sugar)
1. Prepare two 9″ round pans (butter and flour, or parchment lined).
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix vanilla and milk together. Combine and whisk dry ingredients, adding to creamed mixture and alternating with milk/vanilla until just combined. Blend in strawberry puree. Pour into prepared pans.
3. Bake in 350 F for about 25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes, then inverting onto wire rack to finish cooling.
Recipe for Strawberry Cake adapted from, submitted by GothicGirl.

Rich and Dark Chocolate Cake ~ by Molly

My goals in life are as follows:
1. Travel the world
2. Become a CPA
3. Learn to make perfect butter cream ruffles like the ones the woman made on the website where I got this recipe.

The point of this post isn't the frosting-- although next time I'm making a cake, it will be! This made up the chocolate layer of Grace's birthday cake. It came from the same website as the vanilla layer (see previous post).

Rich & Dark Chocolate Cake 
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee (can be hot)
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 x 9″ (or 3 x 8″ for slightly shorter layers) cake pans with butter and flour or parchment paper. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash guard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared pans. Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes clean–approximately 35 minutes. Try not to over bake. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.

White Cake ~ by Molly

I found this recipe through and it formed one of the three layers of Grace's 8th birthday cake. It basically tastes like a fluffy sugar cookie. I also like this recipe because it came from a cookbook written by Amish people, so it 1) has a German name, and 2) reminds you to be tactful about the use of birthday candles. I put the link at the bottom of the recipe-- I'm kinda obsessed with this blog, it has so many recipes I'm dying to try and awesome pictures!

Described as Geburtstag Kucha (Birthday Cake from Rebecca Weber) in Food That Really Schmecks
Snow white and light as a feather; baked in layers.”
1/2 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups ice water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 egg whites beaten stiff
Add sugar to the butter and beat until light. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with ice water and flavorings, beating thoroughly after each addition. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour into greased layer pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cover with Angel Feather Icing and be tactful about the number of candles.