Thursday, July 31, 2014

caramel corn cupcakes

I blame these cupcakes on last week's weather. 

Last week was absolutely wonderful. The air was warm, but there was a crisp breeze to cut through all the humidity. Perfection. Plus, it seems like everywhere I went I smelled fried food and I automatically started craving fall. 

I love summer, but I'm definitely ready for football games, crunchy leaves, apple desserts, pumpkin lattes, bath and body works candles, and craft fairs. For me, fall is all about caramel and I always equate the season with caramel corn. I guess it's because the scent is so warm and inviting. All these things inspired me to put the flavors of caramel corn into a cupcake. 

So, these cakes start with boxed white cake mix, but we aren't going to follow the directions on the back of the package. We're adding whole eggs instead of egg whites, salted butter in place of oil, and substituting milk (with a little something extra) for the water. My goal was to make the cake itself taste more salty, buttery, popcorn and top it all off with a sweet puff of caramel-y frosting. Mission accomplished thanks to a few tricks!


Caramel Corn Cupcakes

makes at 24 cupcakes

For the Cake

1 16.5 ounce box Duncan Hines Classic White Cake
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
2 cups caramel corn plus more for decoration ( I used Cracker Jack but homemade would be good too)
1/8 teaspoon butter extract
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put caramel corn in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan on medium-high, heat milk until tiny bubbles appear around the edge and immediately remove from heat. Pour scalded milk over the caramel corn and allow to steep and cool for about 10 minutes.

Once the milk is cool add it to the bowl of a mixer along with the cake mix, eggs, and melted butter.Mix until just combined and the cake mix is fully incorporated. Add in the butter extract and salt. Mix until just combined.

Spoon batter into 24 lined cupcake tins and bake for 13 - 15 minutes. Or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before removing cupcakes from the pan and cooling completely on wire racks.  

For the Frosting

2 sticks butter
3 - 4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup caramel (either store-bought or homemade)
Pinch of salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter on medium speed. Once the butter is light and fluffy add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing completely before adding more. Add in caramel and salt and mix until well combined. Turn mixer on higher and whip until frosting is light and fluffy. 

Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and top with caramel corn and more caramel if you want!

Bring on the apple pie floats!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

roasted peaches with walnut crumble

It's officially SUMMER, and you know what that means....peaches! Today I'm sharing my go-to summer dessert - roasted peaches topped with salted caramel ice-cream and a brown sugar walnut crumble - on Oh the Lovely Things! This dessert is so easy and is perfect for summer parties or as the perfect ending to a simple summer dinner. 

This recipe is so simple and starts with roasted peaches. If you haven't started roasting your fruit, jump on the bandwagon immediately! It's so simple and brings out all the flavors of your favorite fruit. Once the peaches are roasted to perfection they get topped with the most delicious crumble made with walnuts, butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. I'm convinced that brown sugar, cinnamon, and peaches should never be parted. After you try this recipe, you'll be convinced of that too!

After the peaches are roasted and topped with the walnut crumble the whole dessert gets finished with salted caramel gelato. You could totally skip the gelato, but please don't! The salty caramel rounds out the flavors perfectly!

I was so excited to be contacted by Clemence since her blog is full of beautiful things and lots of inspiration. Head on over to Oh the Lovely Things to see the recipe!

Friday, July 18, 2014

plum nectarine buckle

Hi Everyone! Today we're talking a light, summery ,cake-for-breakfast dish. It's a buckle! Interestingly enough, every time I type the word buckle I think of giant belt buckles. Thankfully for you, I'm not sharing an edible belt buckle recipe. You're welcome!

This, friends, is a moist (sorry if you hate that word) cake topped with plums and nectarines and the whole thing is finished off with a buttery brown sugar crumble topping. The cake is sweet with just a hint of spice that is complimented perfectly by the plums and nectarines. I can't get enough stone fruits, and next week I'm sharing my absolute favorite summer recipe. Stay tuned for that!

Plum-Nectarine Buckle

slightly adapted from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus a little extra for prepping the baking dish
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 pound plums, pitted and cut into wedges
3/4 pound nectarines, pitted cut into wedges
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a baking dish with melted butter and set aside. 

Whisk flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until combined.

In a separate smaller bowl, whisk egg, milk, vanilla extract, and melted butter together. Add to the flour mixture and stir together until combined. 

Spread batter into the prepared baking dish.

Toss plums, nectarines, lime juice, and remaning 2 tablespoons of sugar together until the fruit is evenly coated. 

Spread the fruit evenly over the top of the batter and sprinkle the crumble topping.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. 

Let cool for an hour before serving warm.  

For the Crumble Topping

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt

Place butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until creamy. Add flour and salt and pulse again until the crumble forms. Sprinkle over the top of the buckle before baking.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fizzy Orange Lemonade

Summer is in full swing and I'm loving every minute of it. The warmer temperatures and the long days just make everything seem so casual and laid back, and that's totally my style! Today I'm sharing a simple refreshing drink that I hope you love!

To go along with my laid back summer mood, I made you a fizzy lemonade with an extra juice! So much yum! I guess this drink would be perfect if you're the kind of lady who does brunch. I've never participated in brunch, but if I were hosting one I'd make this! It's tangy, fizzy, a little bit sweet, and perfectly refreshing!

Fizzy Orange Lemonade

Makes approximately 7 cups

3/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups sparkling water, divided 
4 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)

Combine sugar and 1 1/2 cups sparkling water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a heatproof container and place in the fridge to cool completely. 

Once the simple syrup has been completely cooled, combine it with the remaining sparkling water, orange juice, and lemon juice in a large pitcher. Stir to combine. Add ice and orange slices if desired. 

Slightly adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics