Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

 

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Got a pack of raspberries laying around with no idea what to do with all of them? Don’t worry, SimplyDelicious can help you with this dilemma. It just so happened when I opened the fridge on a fine Sunday afternoon, that I was greeted with a stack of three raspberry packs. Just the previous day, I had discovered this amazing vanilla cupcake recipe. Seriously, it legit made the best vanilla cupcakes that I have ever tasted. So… I thought, why not make this delicious recipe raspberry flavored too? Now, I easily could have eaten all the raspberries too, rather than make cupcakes. I had to control myself though and think of the end product that was so close. That’s what’s so awesome about cupcakes. You make them quick, eat them quick. Done deal. Other desserts, like cheesecakes, make you wait overnight (way to0 long if you want instant pleasure).

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Printable Recipe here

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack (6 oz) raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt)
  2. Add in the butter until the mixture resembles wet and crumbly sand
  3. Beat in the eggs until they are well incorporated and you can no longer see the yellow
  4. Put in the remaining wet ingredients (milk, sour cream, butter, vanilla extract) and mix until the texture of your mixture is smooth and fully combined
  5. Hand mix the raspberries into your batter until they are evenly distributed
  6. Fill the cupcake liners half way with the mixture
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or golden brown

Raspberry Buttercream

Printable Recipe here 

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Puree the raspberries in a food processor
  2. Pour the processed raspberries through a sieve with small holes to keep the seeds from getting in your frosting
  3. Use a spoon to help you get all the raspberry pulp out and set it aside in a small bowl (throw the seeds away)
  4. Cream the butter with a mixer for about a minute and then add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time
  5. Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and pureed raspberries
  6. If the buttercream is too runny, add in more powdered sugar until it is to your liking. If too thick, add a teaspoon of milk at a time.

Recipes adapted from: Tide & Thyme and Baking a Moment

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes    Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

Icing Sugar Cookies 101

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I just love sugar cookies. The first time I made them was when I made these Phineas & Ferb themed cookies for a friend’s birthday. They were a lot of fun to make; it’s like a coloring book but on a cookie instead. After my first try I was down for round two: a bridal shower! A quick glance at the cutest dress and cake shaped cookies on Pinterest was more than enough to convince me to order the wedding shaped cookie cutters from Amazon. Thank god for prime shipping, because they came right in time, a few days before the bridal shower. It took me about two days to make the sugar cookies and ice them. I started the cookies the day before the event with a friend, cutting and baking about 60 of them. It took us a few hours as we also made a New York style cheesecake to accompany the cookies. I iced the outline and flood-iced the base for the cookies that night, which had to dry for a couple hours. The next day, I piped on the details and decor successfully completing the bridal themed sugar cookies. Honestly, I was a bit unsure as to how they would turn out, because it was my first time trying them out. They turned out great, although the cookies probably took me longer than they should have. I learned quite a few tips along the way that will greatly assist me for next time. Read on to find out how you can make these sugar cookies too!

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Phineas & Ferb Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 sticks of butter, room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Beat the softened butter until it is creamy and add the powdered sugar until incorporated
  2. Add in the flour, egg, vanilla, almond extract, and salt and mix until no lumps are visible
  3. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour until dough is firm
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F
  5. Roll dough and cut out respective shapes
  6. Place baking tray in freezer for 5 minutes so the cookies can retain their shape while baking
  7. Bake for about 7-8 minutes

Tips & Recommendations

*You can always substitute an ingredient or baking tool if missing. In my case, we could not find the rolling pin and so to roll the cookies we ended up using a pestle mortar. The cookies could have been made a little more even as some were slightly lopsided, but it worked out in the end.

*Make sure the butter is at room temperature as to avoid a lumpy dough, you want it to be well incorporated.

Royal Icing

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs meringue powder
  • food coloring (optional)

Basic Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix for 7 minutes until smooth
  2. Divide icing into the number of colors you are using and add food coloring
  3. Add about a teaspoon of water so the icing will be a piping consistency. If still too stiff, add more water.
  4. Outline all of the cookies
  5. Add more water to the icing so you can “flood” your cookies (filling in the outlines)
  6. After you flood the cookies, let them dry for a couple hours and add details after

Detailed Directions:

1. Preparation

-Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix for about 7 minutes until smooth.

2. Coloring

-Divide icing into the amount of colors needed. I colored half of the icing that I made purple, leaving the other half plain white.

3. Piping the Outlines

-Add about a teaspoon of water to the icing until it is a consistency that can be piped. Be careful not to add too much water, so add it in very small amounts. You don’t want it too runny nor too stiff.

-Place the icing into a piping bag now. If you have a disposable bag, a trick I learned was to get some seran wrap and place about 2-3 spoons of icing onto it. Wrap the seran wrap like you are wrapping a tortilla roll, and then snip the end of it with scissors. Place your seran-wrapped icing into the piping bag now, keeping it clean and easy to wash. Click here for step by step pictures to see how this is specifically done.

-Using a #2 tip, pipe thin seamless lines lining all of your cookies.

4. Flooding The Cookies

-When you finish outlining, you need to then flood your cookies. This is done by adding more water to your icing, about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time until it is a consistency that can be spread easily onto the cookies. Use a toothpick to help spread the icing around and get it into tight spots.

-Let the cookies dry for about a couple hours before you put any of the detailing onto them.

Tips & Recommendations

*Meringue powder can be found at craft and baking stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby

*Be VERY careful when adding water to your icing to make it into a piping consistency. Add it 1/4-1/2 teaspoon at a time. You want it to easily come out of your tip, but not too runny or stiff.

*When flooding your cookies, make sure the icing is runnier than when you piped the outlines. I made the mistake of adding not enough water which prolonged the amount of time it took me to flood the cookies. The icing should be able to cover the whole cookie without you having to spread it.

*If you are time crunched and for whatever reason can’t wait for the base flood icing to dry, there is an alternative as always. Turn on your oven to 250 F and then turn it off. Put your wet cookies onto a baking sheet and place into the still warm oven for about 5 minutes or longer until you see them dry.

Sugar Cookies Step by Step Pictures

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Outlining the Sugar Cookies

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More Outlining of Sugar Cookies

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Flood Icing the Outlines

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And the decorating begins…

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Cake, Cake, Cake

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The Bridal Shower Dessert Table

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Finished Look

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Cheesecake to Top it All Off

Leave any suggestions or unanswered questions below!

Chinese Takeout Anyone??

photo 3  Birthday parties… The hardest thing about them is always the theme!!! For my sister though, that wasn’t the case. She’s been interested in the Chinese culture ever since my dad went there on a business trip haha. So of course, she had a Chinese themed party with everything Chinese you can think of! It was hilarious because half of the people she invited even came dressed in the Chinese cultural clothing. She asked me to make her her cake like last year (which was a rainbow layered cake from inside) so I didn’t mind at all, considering it’s been a while since I baked due to exams and studying. After some research, I decided that I was going to make her a fondant Chinese Takeout Cake! I used a Coconut Cake recipe seen below, covered it with fondant, & drew on it with edible food markers.

Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (or 2/3 cup), RT
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Icing Recipe from here
  • Pre-made Fondant (bought from Michaels)

Directions:

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Mix together all the dry ingredients: cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
  2. Cut the butter in 2-inch cubes and beat with the dry mixture until it becomes crumbly (1 minute aprox)
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg whites, coconut milk, coconut, and vanilla extract
  4. Add half of this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined
  5. Add the remaining liquid mixture until the batter is consistent and uniform
  6. Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely

What I did for assembling it was cut it into four pieces, which I then stacked on top of each other with layers of frosting in between. I completely coated the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting after to seal the crumbs (because you need a flat surface when you place the fondant over it). For the fondant, I just measured each side of the cake and cut out each piece a half inch larger so I could seal each side on top of each other. I drew the Chinese symbols & house onto the fondant cut outs before putting them on the cake.

Lastly… It was pretty spontaneous, but to top it off I decided to make her cupcakes to go along with it!

photo 4

Cupcake Wars

I know it’s been a while, but here is the post I’ve been meaning to write finally. Nope, it’s not a recipe. Even better, a stunning and exquisite presentation of some pretty talented cupcake bakers around my area! We held the competition at a carnival & it’s funny because this marvelous idea popped up randomly during one of our planning meetings for the carnival. I, myself, was very surprised at the extent to which people decorated their cupcakes. Not only that… But the stands as well!!

When the judging time came near to discern the cupcake winner, it was pretty intense. Groups of people stood near the door in huddles waiting for the results. Friends, family, even the bakers themselves as well… No news came for a while. While it was quite noisy outside, me and the other judges were quite busy at a serious task. Tasting all the cupcakes that is. I didn’t think it would be difficult with only 8 competitors, but it was more time-consuming considering we had to discuss each cupcake, pros and cons. We already knew who each cupcake belonged to, so we asked the bakers to come in, one at a time, and describe their cupcake to us and answer any questions we had. It was quite the experience. Y’all should have seen the judges table where we split the cupcakes. Haha what a mess. Anyways, onto the cupcakes themselves :)IMG_7454One of the display tables with a variety of four cupcakes, all displayed differently. These varied from lemon cupcakes to cotton candy even! I absolutely love the creativity that each competitor demonstrated.IMG_7456The second table with the remaining cupcakes. Not all can be seen, but detailed pictures are coming after! Four different cupcake entries were here as well.IMG_7458Rose patterned Red Velvet Cheesecake cupcakes (YES there was indeed cheesecake inside- toooo yummy) & Chocolate Espresso cupcakes. Gotta say, these two cupcakes are my favorite combos ever :)IMG_7437These were 4 different cupcake flavors submitted by the same baker. They range from Red Velvet Cream Cheese, Reeses, Cinnamon, and even Strawberry topped with Cotton Candy.IMG_7452Beautiful Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes with Lemon filling as well!! Lovin’ these healthy choices. Definitely make you less self conscious as you eat one after another of these cupcakes hahaIMG_7438Yet another creative entry which were topped off the mocha flavored icing along with those addicting chocolate sticks! My favorite flavor-espresso!!

IMG_7451Creativity hands down for this one! This competitor went all out and even designed a humongous styrofoam cupcake along with a colorful Candy Land-like stand with a glittery water interior to compliment the many toned Cotton Candy Cupcakes topped with fondant. Yes, they were just as beautiful inside as well.IMG_7440Dense & moist Lemon Cupcakes with a curd filling. The top was done creatively with chocolate molded swirls, assorted berries, and coarse sugar as well!IMG_7445Lemon Meringue Cupcakes blowtorched to give them the toasty look. A very light and healthy choice as well, although I prefer the other type of icing to this light meringue one.IMG_7443At LAST… The Winner of it all went to these Moist and delicate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes stuffed with Choc Chip Cookie Dough inside as well! The cookies on top were homemade too! This entry was submitted alongside to the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes on top ^^^. The other two places went to the extravagant stand of Cotton Candy Cupcakes as well as the Lemon Curd Cupcakes topped with the chocolate molds and berries.

Hope you enjoyed this medley of fanciful desserts. Do you have a cupcake that you would enter into a competition? Which of these ones was your favorite?

Happiness in A Cupcake

Spontaneous baking… Haha that’s what this was. That & it was the perfect opportunity to use those edible silver pearls I just bought! I really wanted to make something with bananas so I was about to make my 4-ingredient banana bread, but…… There was the fact that I couldn’t remember the last time I made cupcakes. Cupcakes it was :)

*Why do I say “Happiness in A Cupcake”?? Well, as it turns out- Bananas have been known to cheer people up. They are the only fruit that contain high levels of tryptophan that is later converted to serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that lowers depression. Sadly….. I discovered during my research that this is a myth -__- Yes, bananas contain serotonin. BUT there remains the fact that this serotonin is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and so can’t get to where it needs to be. I still believe there is a lot of happiness to be found in bananas. Seriously, with almost no fat, low calories, and a plentiful of vitamins who could deny this bountiful fruit?

Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Get a large mixing bowl and beat the butter for a few minutes until creamy 
  2. Add the sugar and then the eggs & vanilla extract while beating at a low speed
  3. Add the 2 mashed bananas & coconut and continue to beat
  4. Mix in the flour and buttermilk in small intervals
  5. Fill the cupcake pan about 2/3 full each and bake for about 18 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter
  2. Add the powdered sugar in small intervals
  3. Pour in the vanilla extract and beat until fluffy for a couple minutes

 

Adapted from BlissfullyDelicious

Houston Premier Bakeries

Yup. I’ve finally decided to put a list together of my top 4 favorite bakeries in Houston! Of course I’m sure there are manyyyy more than what I’ve listed & I’m always on the lookout for new finds so I’ll find them slowly but surely :)

Something my friends & I loveeee doing is finding new places to eat out at whether it is a restaurant or a bakery. A successful find = a new go-to place to hang out with friends or to grab a quick dessert. Most of the places that I have found have been through word of mouth. Seriously, after hearing about a bakery for so long, there’s no doubt that you’ll be curious as to why it’s so prominent. And of course, there are those that we discover simply by driving by. You’re driving past the normal everyday stores you see, but wait… Something catches your attention! That new bakery on the street or whatever it may be haha. Well enough already, you get the idea. Let’s just get on with these deelish bakeries. By the way, they are in no particular order!

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SAVANNAH BAKERY & CAFE

http://savannahcafeandbakery.com

This bakery is simply amazing. When you walk in, you really are overwhelmed with the amount of choices you can make. Shall it be that Raspberry White Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Cookie, or even that Apple Praline Pie? I was actually really excited when this bakery opened, because I thought it would be one of those local bread bakeries. Turns out I was wrong lol, but nevertheless I was very happy with this find! Friendly staff, nice atmosphere, and large portions are more than enough to enjoy with friends :)

*Apple Praline Pie pictured above*

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 DOLCE DELIGHTS

http://www.mydolcedelights.com

Macarons (n):  delicate small cookie sandwich with mystery filling; constantly seen everywhere in a variety of colors/flavors; very addictive.

Any bakery serving these should be beyond amazing. Not only does Dolce Delights serve these, but they also have these miniature mousse cakes that are too adorable (not pictured). I actually discovered this place from my one of my friend’s Instagram pictures. After she told me the name of the place, I went literally the next day with my friends and got some macarons. The best one out of them was the salted caramel hands down! The banana cream one though was not as soft as the others, leading me to believe that few people have probably ordered that one haha. The mocha and red velvet were both equal in my opinion after the salted caramel one. Overall, if you are craving macarons or a cute little cake, this is definitely your place.

*Salted Caramel, Mocha, Banana Cream, & Red Velvet Macarons pictured above*

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NOTHING BUNDT CAKES

http://www.nothingbundtcakes.com

If you’ve been following my blog then you probably know too well my obsession with pumpkin desserts! Haha. I was so excited when I got this Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It may look small in this picture, but the cake was so dense that it actually feeds two people. Not to mention, it was super moist as well! I got an extra bonus when I got this bundt cake, because the place had just opened so they had mailed out “free bundt cake” flyers in the mail. The variety here was smaller making it easier to choose something. You know what you’re getting: a bundt cake basically. All you have to do is choose a flavor. Simplicity wins here. I can truthfully say that this was simply delicious ;)

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SPRINKLES CUPCAKES

http://www.sprinkles.com

Oh no…. On to the last bakery on my list! Don’t worry, I will most probably have a second post once I find more memorable bakeries. Anwaysss, Sprinkles Cupcakes is well known all over the US. I’m sure every area has a place that could be comparable to this one (Georgetown or Crave Cupcakes for example). These cupcakes are quite pricey and didn’t seem worth the hype that everyone always makes over them, although they are good. But.. If you go on twitter or their fb page, you’ll be sure to find these secret words that get you a free cupcake. And they post these words every day for the first 50/100 ppl to say it, so be sure you are one of those lucky few!

*Red Velvet & Mocha Cupcakes pictured above*

Any favorite bakeries that you have found worth sharing?

Simple Pleasures of Life

Yes, I know. This is probably my millionth post about cupcakes on my blog, but they are just so much fun to make (and eat)! Trust me, it’s hard to stop once you develop an obsession with food. My previous obsessions include fondant cake and cakeballs, but after I watched a couple episodes of DC Cupcakes, it is now cupcakes. Who ever knew cupcakes could be so much fun?

Red velvet cupcakes + buttercream homemade icing = perfection <3

Red, White, Green, and Black All Over

Me and some friends decided to make cupcakes for a bakesale to raise awareness and funds for the injustice going on in Syria. It started when me and my food-loving friend were looking at pictures of cupcakes and she showed me one that made a picture of a flag from cupcakes put together. Suddenly, we got the idea to do a bakesale. It was hard deciding how many to make and what design (whether the flag is on each one separately, on them as a whole), etc because there is just so much you can do with cupcakes. In the end, we decided to make 2 of the Syrian flags which can be seen below. We also made about a 100 red velvet and devil’s food cake cakeballs and dipped them all in a white base coat. Then, we dipped one side in green candy coating and the other in brown, topping them with a red dot to represent the stars. We only dipped about 50 due to running out of the white candy coating, which was the base for the cakeballs.

For the icing on the cupcakes, the green and red colors were the easiest to color. We had the toughest time with black though. The result you see below is a combination of blue gel coloring and also some black icing from those small pouches used to decorate cookies. I haven’t tried it yet, but it may be easier if you try chocolate frosting as a base, and then add the gel colorings needed. There are also some black gel colorings you can get from Michaels or cake supply stores.


Since the homemade icing was so good at a previous bake sale, we decided to make it again! But, we forgot one important ingredient: the heavy whipping cream :O Hakuna matata. We found another recipe that didn’t use heavy cream and it turned out better than the last. Instead of the heavy cream, we just used milk. Also, instead of the 1 cup shortening, we divided it into 1/2 shortening and 1/2 cup butter. It does make a stiff icing so we just added more milk (3 tablespoons instead of 2) and also half a can of store bought frosting.

Buttercream Icing #2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
Directions:
  1. Cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla extract
  2. Blend in all 4 cups of sugar
  3. Add the milk and beat with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy

Yum, an assortment of red velvet and devil’s cake cakeballs!

Cupcake decorating set = amazing set of mini cupcakes

A couple days later, I made more because I was still obsessed with making cupcakes, both mini and regular. We had too many for us, so our lucky neighbor got a tray of cupcakes!

This is how our neighbor returned the tray to us, full of delicious chocolate chip brownies. Yummy!

A World of Cupcakes

Im not really sure why but I just never gave much thought to cupcakes. It was always about cakes, cakes, cakes, ever since I started watching Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss which highlighted the potential of a simple cake mix. Just recently though I got hooked onto DC Cupcakes. I know, they’re just cupcakes and you probably think you can’t do much with them. Wrong. The amazing displays they did on that show were as cool as Cake Boss, though I still prefer fondant over icing any day. After watching the first whole season, me and my sister got inspired and decided that we were going to make cupcakes! A search for a cupcake pan failed, so we went and bought a mini cupcake pan as well as the regular 12 piece cupcake pan. We used the recipe for the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake for the cupcakes and a buttercream recipe for the frosting. Our first try at the cupcakes was with a banana nut recipe which was a cooking disaster.. I think we put too much banana in the mix because after an hour, the mini cupcakes were still not cooked! Not to worry though, we had a backup Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe which hasn’t failed us to date. The cupcakes tasted great not to mention the homemade icing too! Can’t wait to buy new icing tips and experiment with different designs :)

Homemade Buttercream Icing 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of shortening
  • 4 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces heavy cream
Directions:
  1. Cream the shortening until fluffy and consistent.
  2. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix well.
  3. Mix in the remaining ingredients: salt, vanilla, and heavy cream
Tips:
-You can use butter instead if you don’t have shortening or prefer a sweeter icing. Or an even different combo would be doing half butter and half shortening