Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Orange Slices

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Every winter, when blood oranges come back in season, I start keeping an eye out for them at grocery stores and farmers markets. This year was different. I’ve been at home, having my groceries delivered instead perusing the local produce aisles. If you’ve been entrusting strangers to do your shopping like I have, then you know delivery produce selections are hit and miss. So I was elated when a bag of perfectly beautiful, ripe blood oranges landed on my doorstep. This simple joy made my day. There was no choice. I had to make something worthy of the gorgeous red beauties!

I didn’t get enough of gingerbread this holiday season, so I decided to make a gingerbread cupcake recipe that I created a few years ago when I was experimenting with blood oranges. I used blood orange zest in the cupcake batter and brushed the warm cupcakes with the blood orange syrup left over from making the candied oranges. If you don’t make the candied oranges, you can easily make a batch of the syrup* or skip this step altogether. They will still be delicious. I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese icing made with more orange zest and some blood orange juice mixed in. The juice makes the icing turns a soft shade of pink.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Candied blood orange slices are so stunning, that I can’t bring myself to just lay them on top of a dessert. They remind me of stained glass windows. I like to place them on toothpicks so they can stand up in regal style! Many recipes out there will instruct you to boil the orange slices, then let them air dry. This is perfectly fine if you don’t mind floppy candied oranges. For this recipe, boiling the slices, then letting them dry in the oven on low heat will give them enough stiffness to stand up.

If you can’t find blood oranges where you live, here’s a link to get blood oranges shipped to you. This recipe will also work with other types of oranges. You won’t get the deep scarlet color and the flavor will have a bit more tartness, but it will still be beautiful and delicious!

Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray the wells of a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth.
  4. Add brown sugar and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add molasses and beat until combined.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  7. Mix in dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat just until combined.
  8. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling wells 2/3 full. (If you have any remaining batter, prepare an additional muffin tin.)
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan.
  11. Place cupcakes upside down on cooling rack and brush generously with orange simple syrup. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed, until smooth.
  2. Add butter, orange zest and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  4. Add blood orange juice and beat, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Candied Blood Orange Slices
  1. Slice oranges into thin 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a shallow saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add orange slices to saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain oranges, reserving syrup.
  5. Heat oven to 175ºF. Place on a large baking sheet lined with a baking mat in a single layer and bake until orange slices begin to stiffen, about 2 hours.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. If desired, insert toothpicks when slices are cool enough to handle. The slices will continue to stiffen as they cool.
Recipe Notes

*To make orange simple syrup,  combine the juice of one orange with enough water to make 1/2 cup. Combine mixture with the zest of one orange and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and transfer to a glass container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Brownies

pumpkin cheesecake crumble brownies

It’s Fall 2020. We need chocolate! We need pumpkin spice! And we need it drenched with caramel! These satisfying brownies check all of the boxes with multiple layers of comfort. A rich chocolate brownie is the base. The next layer is heavenly pumpkin cheesecake. The topping is a buttery crumble that rivals the best crumb cake. Finally, as if that isn’t enough, it’s drizzled with caramel sauce!

If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s not. Each layer is super easy to make. You can use your favorite store bought caramel sauce to top it with. Vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream are optional, but highly recommended toppings also. Just saying.

The layers go unexpectedly well together and make the perfect dessert for Halloween or Thanksgiving. I’m even going to add these beauties to my Christmas dessert table this year. Enjoy! You deserve it.

pumpkin cheesecake crumble brownie
Print Recipe
Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Brownies
Chocolate brownies with pumpkin cheesecake and crumb topping, topped with caramel sauce.
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Topping
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
Brownie Layer
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Topping
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
Brownie Layer
Instructions
Crumb Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until well-combined and crumbles are pea-sized. Press crumbles together to make large quarter-sized chunks.
  3. Set aside in refrigerator.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add pumpkin, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and beat until well combined. Set aside.
Brownie Layer
  1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large microwaveable bowl.
  2. Stir in sugar until combined
  3. Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the eggs and beat until smooth
  5. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Spread brownie batter into prepared baking pan. Smooth with a spatula.
  7. Spread pumpkin cheesecake batter over the top of brownie batter. Smooth with a spatula.
  8. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the top of pumpkin cheesecake layer.
  9. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into pumpkin cheesecake layer comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve with caramel sauce.
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Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes

Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes by Brownie Mischief

Like most people, many things in my life are far from perfect. Spring though, is perfect. There are blue skies, flowers blooming in abundance, bunnies scampering around near my home, and Easter is a few days away. What better time to make a dessert to celebrate the new life and hope all around us? My daughter took out her sketch pad and designed the most adorable mini bunny cakes for me. She’s a very talented artist, with an eye for the cuteness factor. To make the bunny cakes look like her sketch, I figured I would need a hemisphere baking pan to give them their cute, rounded shape.

When I was shopping around for hemisphere pans, also know as ball pans, I considered metal pans and silicone pans. In general, I prefer metal pans for baking cakes, but I decided on silicone, hoping to get more use out them. I plan on using them for frozen and refrigerated desserts as well. You can find hemisphere pans at kitchen stores, craft stores, baking supply stores and online. To find the pan I chose, click here.

My next dilemma was whether or not to coat the pans before baking. From what I’ve read, many people seem to have trouble getting their baked goods out of silicone pans, even though the majority of these pans claim to be non-stick. I decided to experiment, trying three different ways. I coated some of the wells with grease and flour, some with only grease, and some were left uncoated. I found that when I inverted the pan, the cakes released effortlessly from the coated wells. The cakes in the uncoated wells took a slight amount of prodding and a bit of residue was left behind, but the cakes were in tact. All three ways seem to work fine, but I decided that, for my own peace of mind, I will grease all of the wells in the future.

Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes by Brownie Mischief

Decorating these bunny cakes is fun and easy, so this would make a great project to get the little ones helping out in the kitchen. You can use the candies of your choice to make eyes and noses. I used white candy pearls for the noses and colored them pink with edible petal dust. I made sleepy eyes out of black fondant. Black fondant is difficult to make, so I always buy it. It’s available for purchase in small quantities. To find black fondant, click here. I used edible wafer paper to make the bunny ears, but fondant would also work. A little puff of cotton candy makes a sweet tail. So many possibilities! Whether you make Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes for Easter, a child’s birthday party, a baby shower or simply to celebrate Spring, I hope you enjoy them!


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Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes

Fluffy, moist mini hemisphere coconut cakes with coconut buttercream frosting, topped with shredded coconut.

Course Dessert

Prep Time 1 1/2 hours
Cook Time 22 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes

Servings
mini cakes


Ingredients
Mini Coconut Cakes

Coconut Buttercream

Course Dessert

Prep Time 1 1/2 hours
Cook Time 22 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes

Servings
mini cakes


Ingredients
Mini Coconut Cakes

Coconut Buttercream


Instructions
Mini Coconut Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 2 silicone mini hemisphere pans. Place pans on large baking sheet.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and oil together with an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Beat in coconut extract. Gradually beat in egg whites, until mixture is well combined, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.

  5. Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with coconut milk, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl.

  6. Fill hemisphere pan wells, 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakes comes out clean.

  7. Place silicone pans on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert pans to remove mini cakes and place on wire racks to cool completely.

Coconut Buttercream
  1. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy.

  2. Add coconut extract and salt. Beat until combined.

  3. Turn off mixer. Add powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until sugar is moistened, then turn up to medium speed and beat until combined.

  4. Add coconut milk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat at medium speed until buttercream is smooth.

  5. Frost domed tops of mini cakes with a small offset spatula. Cover with shredded coconut, pressing lightly to adhere. Decorate as desired.

Finishing Touches
  1. To make bunny ears, cut twenty-four 1 1/2-inch by 1-inch rectangles out of edible wafer paper. Cut each rectangle into a long football shape, flat at one end. Cut a 1/2-inch slit at the flat end. With a small paint brush, dab a bit of piping gel on one side of the slit. Overlap cut ends of the slit and press together with your fingers. Let dry. Brush pink petal dust into the center of the ears. Skip this step if you are using floral wafer paper. Cut small slits into the bunny cakes and insert the ears.
    Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes Tutorial

  2. To make sleepy eyes, roll out a bit of black fondant to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut circles using the small end of a #12 piping tip. Cut thin crescent shapes from the circles using the small end of the piping tip. For easier handling, let eyes dry for a few minutes. If the coconut on your bunny cakes is still moist and tacky, the eyes will stick. If not, brush them with a small bit of water.
    Baby Bunny Coconut Cakes Tutorial

  3. To make noses, use the candy of your choice, such as candy pearls or candy hearts. I used white candy pearls, brushed with edible pink petal dust.

  4. To make tails, you can use cotton candy or mini marshmallows attached with a bit of buttercream. If using cotton candy, keep in mind that it melts when exposed to air, so it's best applied right before serving.


Recipe Notes

*Do not substitute all-purpose flour. For best results, weigh your dry ingredients.

**For best results, use natural coconut extract. Imitation coconut flavorings may give your baked goods an unpleasant flavor.

***If your coconut milk is separated when you open the can, simply place it in a blender to emulsify it before using.

To find the hemisphere pan I used, click here.

To find white edible wafer paper, click here. Floral wafer paper can be found on Etsy.

 


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Chocolate Lovers’ Valentine Cake for Two

Chocolate Lovers' Valentine Drip Cake for Two

My relationship with Valentine’s Day has transformed over the years. When I was a child, I joyfully skipped home from school with my bounty of tiny Valentine cards, candy hearts and a cupcake someone’s mother baked. As I grew older, I was hot and cold towards Valentine’s Day, depending on the state of my love life at the time. After having kids, Valentine’s Day became about red construction paper, doily hearts and glue sticks. I happily cleaned up sprinkles and kissed chubby, frosting-stained cheeks. Now I think of Valentine’s Day as simply a day to celebrate love. I embrace Valentine’s Day and all the hearts, roses and chocolates that go with it! Show your loved ones that you love them on Valentine’s Day, but more importantly, show them throughout the year, by loving, respecting and accepting them for who they are every day.

If your heart beats for a chocolate lover, then this Valentine cake for two will have them swooning. It’s small in size, but grand in chocolate indulgence. It has three layers of moist chocolate cake, rich, white chocolate buttercream and a silky chocolate glaze. As if that isn’t enough, I loaded the top with chocolate candy! Some of the candy is store bought and some I made with candy melts and chocolate molds. Click here to find the cherub mold. Click here to find the heart mold.

Chocolate Lovers' Valentine Drip Cake for Two

I hope you share this Valentine cake with someone you love! However you celebrate the day and whoever you love, have a happy one!

Print Recipe
Chocolate Lovers' Valentine Cake for Two
A mini chocolate cake with white chocolate buttercream, topped with chocolate glaze and chocolate Valentine candy. Perfect for sharing!
Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 1/2 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake for Two
White Chocolate Buttercream
Chocolate Drip Glaze
Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 1/2 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake for Two
White Chocolate Buttercream
Chocolate Drip Glaze
Instructions
Chocolate Cake for Two
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease & flour three 4-inch cake pans. *See note below.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Combine egg, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed with a handheld electric mixer, until combined. Stop mixer. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula. Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Add hot coffee and stir until incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans, dividing batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool.
White Chocolate Buttercream
  1. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over gently simmering water. (Alternately, you can melt the white chocolate in the microwave. In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the white chocolate for 30 seconds, then stir. Heat again for 10 second intervals, stirring until melted, being very careful not to overheat it.)
  2. Set white chocolate aside to cool until lukewarm and still soft.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and creamy.
  4. Add vanilla extract, salt and melted white chocolate. Beat at low speed until combined. Stop mixer. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula.
  5. Add powdered sugar. Beat at low speed, until powdered sugar is combined. Beat at medium speed until buttercream is smooth, stopping to scrape the bowl occasionally. Keep covered at room temperature until ready to use.
Cake Assembly
  1. When cakes have cooled completely, trim the cake layers to 1-inch tall.
  2. Attach one of the layers to a cake board with some of the white chocolate buttercream. Apply 1/4-inch thick layer of buttercream to the top of the cake layer, followed by the second cake layer, another 1/4-inch thick layer of buttercream, then the final cake layer.
  3. Apply a crumb coat (thin layer) of buttercream to the cake. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  4. Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Apply chocolate sprinkles to the bottom edge of the cake.
  5. Melt chocolate drip glaze ingredients together in a double boiler over gently simmering water. Let cool slightly.
  6. Spoon chocolate glaze into a piping bag. Snip off the end of the bag with kitchen scissors. Drizzle chocolate glaze along the edges of the perimeter of the cake, then fill in the middle. Smooth top with a small offset spatula.
  7. Top cake with assorted chocolate candy. If desired, you can stack some of the candy and adhere them with melted chocolate to give some variation in height.
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