ONE BOWL, ONE WHISK CONFETTI CUPCAKES

Cannot get much simpler. These are egg-free cakes, easy and fast to prepare. The buttercream icing is a lot more involved than the cake, but if you prefer you can serve them with a dusting of powdered sugar, or a simple glaze. Many cookbooks and blogs have versions of these cupcakes, I based mine on smittenkitchen.com

CONFETTI CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
(adapted from several sources)

200g all-purpose flour
160 grams granulated sugar
1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup full-fat milk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

for the buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (1 stick, 113 g)
4 cups powdered sugar (32 oz)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in a 12-cup standard muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. To the center, add the milk, oil, lemon juice, and flavoring extracts. Whisk very well until smooth. It will be very liquid. Add sprinkles, fold them gently. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake lines 2/3 full.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter with 2 cups of the powdered sugar, the milk, vanilla, and salt. Once that is smooth, keep adding the rest of the powdered sugar. You might not need it all, add it until you have the desired spreading consistency.

Frost the cupcakes using a Wilton 1M tip, then add confetti sprinkles, if desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As I mentioned, these are probably the easiest cupcakes ever to make, even a cake-o-phobe will have no issues. They are tender, light, and delicate. Also festive, because rainbow sprinkles make anything festive… I like the addition of vanilla buttercream, even if it increases the complexity of the bake a bit. You can omit it, the cupcakes are delicious without it also.

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SIMNEL CUPCAKES

I’ve wanted to make a Simnel Cake for the longest time, since it is such a classic, but baking a large cake is not something I do very often. Cupcakes are a different story, easy to share, great to include in my weekly box of donations. I made a few changes from recipes I found in my cookbooks and online, keeping the details that matter in the original, larger version.

SIMNEL CUPCAKES
(adapted from several sources)

100 marzipan
150g butter, softened
75g brown sugar
75g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, whisked
150g full-fat yoghurt
zest of 1 Lemon
170g mixed dried fruits
175g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

To decorate
200g marzipan
agave nectar to brush

Start by preparing the thin layer of marzipan that goes in the middle of the cupcakes. Divide the 100g in 12 little portions (about 8g each). Flatten them with your hands and stretch as a round that will fit inside your cupcakes. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt, reserve.

Heat the oven to 375F. Place paper liners inside the cupcake pan. Beat together the butter, sugars and lemon zest, until pale and light. Add the 2 eggs, slowly, whisking the batter well after each addition. Add the yoghurt, continue whisking. Add the flour mixture, incorporate gently, then add the dried fruit, folding until homogeneously mixed in.

Place a little cake batter in each cupcake liner, place the thin round of marzipan on top, press gently into the batter. Fill the cupcakes with more batter until 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out slightly moist, with some crumbs attached. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

When the cupcakes are cold, make the topping: roll out the fondant and cut rounds to cover the top. Make the layer as thin as possible. Use trimmings to make little balls. Attach the layer of marzipan to the cake by brushing a tiny amount of agave nectar on the cupcake, and pressing the marzipan over it. Place the little ball on top, using some agave nectar to help glue it in place. Run the cupcakes under a broiler to give some color to the marzipan. Pay close attention, because it goes from golden to burn a matter of seconds!

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is a delicious cake. The trickiest part is dealing with the marzipan, other than that, the recipe is quite straightforward. The mixture of fruit with the cake and the marzipan is a total winner. I highly recommend you give it a try. Plus, don’t they look just adorable? The cake stays fresh for a few days at room temperature, which is another big plus in my book…

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CHOCOLATE CHERRY MIROIR CAKE: A VEGAN SHOWSTOPPER

Please, do not allow the vegan word to scare you away. This was one of the tastiest cakes I’ve ever made, and I simply cannot BELIEVE it is vegan. The recipe comes from Fran Costigan’s cookbook: Vegan Chocolate, Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-free Chocolate Desserts. Ms. Costigan has decades of experience creating dairy-free cakes and concoctions that do not rely on margarine and tofu like most do. As she points out in the introduction of the book, you can always taste margarine in the icing, and tofu will never fail to make a cake heavy. This cake – included in her “Showstoppers” chapter – is a bit involved to make, but one of the things I love about her cookbook is that she lays out a timetable suggesting how you can break the process in stages in a smooth and efficient way. I made the cake, the vanilla custard cream, and the chocolate decorations two days before. Made the mousse, assembled the cake and covered with the glaze the day before showtime. Basically, the cake was ready and waiting in the fridge before we had to take it to a get-together with friends. All that was left to do was add the chocolate decorations. Piece of (vegan) cake!


CHERRY CHOCOLATE MIROIR CAKE
(from Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate)

RECIPE OVERVIEW

1 recipe for Chocolate Torte to Live For (click here), baked in a 9-inch round pan and cooled
(can be made a couple of days in advance)

Other components

Soaked dry cherries

Vanilla Custard Cream: based on cashew cream and coconut milk, thickened with agar-agar

Magic Chocolate Mousse: water-ganache with a touch of olive oil, very interesting and quite tasty version

Mirror glaze: Cherry juice, coconut milk, cocoa, chocolate, agar-agar

Comments: Vegan baking is not simple. Fran’s book takes that challenge and turns it into art. I don’t think it is right to publish the full recipe for such a complex cake, when so much work and effort went into its design and optimization. But the cake component, which by the way, stands beautifully on its own, can be made according to the recipe she published in her website (click here). In that version, the cake is covered with a vegan ganache and ends up very elegant in its simplicity. It remains as one of her most popular cakes, and having made it, I can understand why.

For the decorations, I tempered chocolate and used some of it to pipe designs on acetate sheet. The remaining I spread over transfer sheets (I get mine usually at bakedeco.com) and before it was fully set I cut small triangles. Fran’s version in the cookbook used fresh cherries covered in tempered chocolate, but they are not in season at the present time, so I went with my Plan B.

Everything works perfectly well in this cake, I would not change a thing. The cake is intensely chocolate-y, the two mousse components soften the overall taste. I really like the texture of glazes made with agar-agar instead of gelatin, find it a lot easier to work with and more reproducible. Gelatin-based glazes tend to get a bit slimy, particularly if sitting at room temperature for a while.

To get Fran’s cookbook – a must-have if you are into baking adventures – follow this link to amazon.

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THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS TWELVE!

POST #1441

A PALINDROME!


Twelve years. Hard to believe. It’s been such a journey, I sometimes don’t recognize myself in earlier posts. Like those written when I was a certified cake-o-phobe and decorated cookies were not to be found in my virtual spot. Twelve years later, I turned into a passionate baker, so much so that I started a second site just devoted to cookies. How did that happen? I have no idea, but I am having a blast with it. First things first. What is a Birthday party without cake? To celebrate this special day, I made a cake that joins my Brazilian roots (brigadeiros) with the cookies that launched me into a more serious baking path: macarons. Raspberry is the flavor. Pink and gold the colors. Happy 12th, my dear Bewitching Kitchen!

CELEBRATION PINK AND GOLDEN RASPBERRY CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, cake slightly modified from My Cake School)

for one batch of cake:
(I made two batches to have 4 cake layers, used 3 in the cake)
350g) sugar
285g cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
15g baking powder
5 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup (242g) buttermilk
1/3 cup (72g) vegetable oil
140g unsalted butter, slightly softened.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 x 2 inch round cake pans. Reserve.

In the bowl of your mixer add the dry ingredients, sugar, flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Reserve. In a separate bowl, add the egg whites, buttermilk, vanilla and oil. Stir with a fork to combine.

With the mixer on low speed, add the slices of butter a few pieces at a time to the dry ingredients. Increase the mixer to medium speed and beat until the dry ingredients look crumbly and moistened by the butter. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the egg mixture, increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes, the batter will become thick and fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans 10 minutes, then turn out.

for the raspberry filling:
2 cups ( 320g) raspberries
4 tbsp (60ml) water
1 cup ( 200g) sugar
25g cornstarch

Add the raspberries and water to a food processor and puree until smooth. If you’d like, you can strain the puree to remove the seeds, but in this case start from a bigger amount so you end up with 320g.

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Stir in the raspberry puree. Cook over medium heat, stirring consistently until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 8-10 minutes.
Allow to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Refrigerate and allow to cool completely.

for the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon salt
2 pounds (approximately 8 cups) powdered sugar
food gel dye, Americolor Dusty Rose

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed (if you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment), beat together the butter, shortening, and extracts until smooth and creamy.

Add 2 tablespoons of the milk or water, the salt, and half the powdered sugar and mix just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, gradually add in the remaining sugar. Add more milk or water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Divide the frosting in three bowls, and add increasing amounts of gel dye to get the ombre effect.

for decoration:
Raspberry Brigadeiros (recipe here)
Lemon Macarons (recipe here, but omit the blueberry jam)
Egyptian Gold luster powder
Everclear or vodka

Cake layers can be made a week in advance and frozen. Thaw still wrapped in plastic at room temperature. Assemble the cake by placing one layer on a rotating cake stand over a cardboard round base. A little buttercream on the cardboard helps it stay stable as you work on it.

Make a little dam with buttercream frosting (use the lighter color), then add the raspberry filling. Place the second layer on top, repeat the process and top with the third. Frost the cake first with a crumb coat, refrigerate for 30 minutes, then frost with the darkest tone at the bottom. If desired, add texture with a cake comb or spatula. Use the darker color to make rosettes on top, add the brigadeiros and macarons.

Finish the look with a few strokes of gold color on the edges of the buttercream roses and ridges on the sides of the cake. If you have golden sprinkles, put them to use…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I should thank Tanya, my tent-baking friend, for the help and advice she gave me to make this cake. It turns out that I had not baked a cake in about 10 months and was feeling pretty rusty. But I am thrilled with the way it turned out, because I had this image in my mind, and the cake came pretty close to my goal. I loved making the ombre effect with the three tones of pink. Come to think of it, Dusty Rose from Americolor is a total must-have. Pink is tricky. Just a little more than you think you need will take you into bubblegum territory. Not what I wanted for my cake. Dusty Rose gives a nice pastel tone.

For the macarons, I painted one shell in solid gold, and added a brush of gold on the other side. I think the lemon of the macaron filling was a good match for the raspberry cake. As to the frosting, I went with a type of buttercream that stands well at room temperature for several hours. It is important to use a good quality shortening, and butter. I went with Spectrum and Kerrygold.

If you’ve been following me for a while or if you are new here, thank you for your support, and thanks for leaving comments and feedback on recipes you try. I step into the 13th year of this journey with the same enthusiasm I had on the second year. Or third. Or 10th. I’ve never set goals for my blog, it is a reflex of what goes on in my life as far as cooking and baking is concerned. I just try to keep it varied and interesting, and hope that it inspires others to cook and bake.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 11!

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SIX YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen Turns Six!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Five!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Four!

NINE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Three! 

TEN YEARS AGO:  The Bewitching Kitchen turns Two!

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Bewitching Birthday!

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Welcome to my blog!



VICTORIA SPONGE MINI-CAKES

I made these cakes in November 2019, if you can believe it… Sometimes things take their sweet time to go from a folder with pictures to the blog post. Victoria Sponge is a true classic from the UK, named after Queen Victoria, because it was her favorite sweet to enjoy during afternoon tea. It is a sandwich type cake with strawberry jam, often whipped cream, and usually not iced, the top and sides left naked. Many variations exist, I am sharing a version that makes them in individual format. I find them irresistibly cute.

VICTORIA SPONGE MINI-CAKES
(adapted from this article)

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
185g all-purpose flour
1 + 1/8 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

whipped cream lightly sweetened
strawberry jam

Heat the oven to 350°F. Very lightly grease the molds of a mini-cake pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Reserve.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and light. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla extract and mix again.

Add the flour mixture to the batter, mixing gently until smooth. Fill the mini-cake mold, each cavity 3/4 full, no more than that. You should have enough for 12 mini-cakes. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden, well risen and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of one of the cakes comes out clean.


Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then ease out onto a wire cooling rack and leave until completely cool. Cut each cake in half, and pipe the whipped cream onto the bases, in dots. Drizzle the jam over the buttercream dots, place the sponge tops on and lightly dust the cakes with icing sugar.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I had to play around with the recipe a bit to get it right, adjusting the baking powder amount and not filling the mold to the top, so that the doming was just right. It was a huge hit with our departmental colleagues, I got several emails about it. The cake is tender and moist. The original recipe called for American buttercream for the filling, but I decided to go with whipped cream, stabilized with gelatin. Follow the recipe from this link. For the pan, I used this one. At the time I bought it on ebay, but could not find it available right now.

I think whipped cream is less sweet and makes the cake feel a bit lighter, but if you prefer to go with buttercream, follow the original recipe in the link I included.

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