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Friday, September 30, 2011

Celebrating Fall: Pumpkin Crunch Cake

 Fall may have started last week, but I have yet to make a delicious confection with my favorite fall flavor-- pumpkin!-- until now. I decided to make my first pumpkin treat something both gooey and crunchy: a pumpkin crunch cake! My Bestie, Ashley, passed this recipe along to me a while ago. I'm so glad she keeps an eye out for pumpkin recipes for me. :) This recipe is similar to the Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake I made last year, but this calls for the cake mix to be sprinkled on top of the pumpkin mixture-- along with yummy pecans!
  • 1 box yellow or white cake mix (I used white)
  • 1 -15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1- 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon if you don't have pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c chopped pecans ( or kick it up to 1 1/2 if you're feeling nutty heh heh... yea... anyways!)
  • 1c (2 sticks ) butter, melted
1) Heat oven to 350 and grease a 9 x 13 pan.
2) Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, spices, and salt.
 3) Pour mixture into the greased pan.
 4) Sprinkle dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture and top with pecans.

5) Drizzle melted butter over the pecans (Paula would be proud!)
 6) Bake 50-55 minutes.

I allowed this to cool for at least an hour before cutting a piece (the wait was torturous!) I slathered it in whipped cream and snarfed it down! *ahem* I mean, I added a dollop of whipped cream savored every little lady-like forkful. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

 Hello, all! As you may already know, fall has finally arrived and I am so excited!! Not only is it my favorite season, but it also means everything will be pumpkin-flavored! So there will be many, many pumpkin recipes coming soon!

So I had a banana lying around (OK well, I stole it off of Roger's bunch), and I decided to make just enough cupcakes for that one banana (which is about 9). I found a recipe for banana cupcakes and cut everything in half. This is the whole recipe:

  • 1/2 c shortening
  •  1 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1c mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/4c buttermilk*
  • 2c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • **1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg** (I added this and it's delicious!)
1) Cream shortening and sugar.

2) Add eggs, vanilla, bananas, and buttermilk.
3) Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to the banana mixture.
4) Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Insert a butter knife in order to determine doneness.
They look a bit overfilled, so I'll make 9 next time
Meanwhile, I made a Martha Stewart recipe for peanut butter buttercream (yields one cup-- perfect for this amount of cupcakes!)
  • 2/3 c peanut butter
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c confectioner's sugar
  • fine salt (like popcorn salt)
1) Cream peanut butter and butter on high speed using the paddle attachment.
2) On low speed, mix in the sugar until combined, then beat the mixture on high until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
3) Add salt to taste.
  And when the cupcakes and this buttercream are combined...
... something delicious and magical happens! These are amazing! My Betrothed (who is a huge fan of bananas and peanut butter) loved them! So these recipes are definite keepers! I can't wait to pair these banana cupcakes with other buttercream recipes (cream cheese? salted caramel? Brown butter?). Stay tuned!

Ah, yes. About that pesky asterisk up there...

*I didn't have buttermilk on hand when I was making this recipe, but I did have milk and lemons, so this is a way to make buttermilk for baking: Combine 1/2 cup of milk (I had 2% and it worked fine) and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Let sit for 15 minutes, and voila! You have buttermilk!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cupcakes for Two! (Or one)

My ultimate goal in life is to run my own bakery. To start, I need to come up with intriguing flavor combinations, and I have pages full of ideas! But I don't want to make a huge batch of cupcakes, so I looked up some small-batch baking recipes and found this recipe for just two cupcakes.
  • 1 egg white (** I sued about 1/2 to 3/4 because I had large eggs**)
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp (yes, one whole teaspoon!) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 heaping tsp baking powder
1) Preheat oven to 350 and place two cupcake liners in the center two cups of a cupcake pan.
2) In a bowl, whisk the egg white and sugar together, until combined.
3) Add vanilla and melted butter and mix well.
4) Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until smooth.
5) Stir in milk then bake for 15-20 minutes (or until a butter knife inserted comes out clean)

I attempted this recipe twice because the first time, my cupcakes came out rubbery and egg-y. Ew. The next time, I did not use all of the egg white. (This is probably due to my use of large-size eggs). I also made sure my baking powder was seriously heaping!
Yaaay! So round and awesome!

Decorate any way you wish!
 This recipe is a perfect idea if you want just enough cupcake to share with someone else or to eat all alone with little guilt! In my case, I would usually eat both. However, Roger (my Beloved) is quite fortunate this evening, for he will be coming home from work to see this:
I felt generous today. :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Bit of a Facelift...

As the first birthday of My Sweet Diversion approaches, I figured it was time for a bit of a makeover. I have been in love with this particular shade of purple for a while, and I wanted to incorporate it into my blog. Plus, it's easier on the eyes! :)
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