Raisin Spice Cupcakes (Birthday Cupcakes #2)

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In addition to the strawberry cupcakes I made for my niece’s birthday celebration, hubby made a request for some raisin spice cupcakes.  So we had some of each type on the birthday plate.  This is a kind of family heirloom recipe.  I have a handwritten copy of my grandmother’s, who got it from her sister, Julie, and my mom made it often when we were kids.  We know it as Aunty Julie’s Cake.  My sister and I usually have a bit of a laugh every time we make this cake, as it reminds us of the childhood memory we have of the time her and I decided to surprise our mom with some baking.  The recipe is written without any flour mentioned.  The adults knew you had to add flour, but the young teens didn’t know that yet 🙂  Needless to say, the first round was a complete flop!  I think we feed it to the chickens, hoping nobody would have to know about the fiasco.  We phoned Grandma to find out where we went wrong;  she was very kind to explain, but I’m sure she had a bit of chuckle too.  Besides including an amount for flour, I’ve also made a couple of other  minor adjustments over the years.

Aunty Julie’s Raisin Spice Cupcakes

½ cup butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar  (may be reduced to 1 cup)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 2/3 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg OR allspice

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup raisins

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and soda and spices. Alternate additions of flour and milk to creamed butter until all flour is incorporated. Gently fold in raisins. Pour into greased and floured 9”x 9” cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Makes about 24 cupcakes using medium size paper liners.

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

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We were invited to celebrate my niece’s 17th birthday last weekend.  I made cupcakes.  I like the recipe, it’s got good flavor, but next time, I’m skipping the icing and calling them muffins.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with large/jumbo cupcake liners.

4-5 large strawberries

1 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 large egg

1/4 cup strawberry yogurt

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pulse strawberries in food processor until finely chopped (not pureed). Pulsed strawberries should measure about 1/3 cup. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When butter mixture has cooled slightly, stir in yogurt, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the butter/milk mixture into the flour. Gently stir to combine all ingredients. Fold in the strawberry puree. Batter will be quite thick. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners and bake for 18 minutes (375 degrees F) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

 

Birthday treats

It’s middle son’s birthday today.  The celebration was low-key, but nonetheless heartfelt and full of good wishes.   We sang “Happy Birthday” for him, and after he blew out the token birthday candle, we all partook of slices of his two favorite cakes–Marble Tea Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

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Carrot Cake Loaves

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I used my trusty carrot cake recipe, but doubled it and made four loaves, one to eat now, two to give, and one for the freezer.  I used buttermilk, as it gives a denser texture, which is nice in a loaf — you want to be able to spread a bit of jam and slap on a nice bit of Cheddar cheese without the slice crumbling to pieces.  I don’t normally add nuts to the carrot cake, but this time I did, as I knew who the eaters would be.  I whizzed  1  1/2 cups of pecan halves in the food processor till they were very finely chopped and stirred them in with the grated carrots.

Carrot Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup coconut

3 cups grated carrots

3 eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk (or ½  – 2/3 cup buttermilk, which give a denser texture)

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add coconut  and grated carrots and mix.  In a separate bowl, combine eggs, oil and buttermilk.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.  Bake in two 8” layer pans, using parchment to line the pans, or butter and flour.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  This recipe will make about 18 cupcakes or 2 loaf pans (increase baking time to about 40 minutes for the loaf pans)

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Chocolate Swirl Banana Loaf

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Chocolate Swirl Banana Cake

2 cups of flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 bananas, mashed

½ cup canola oil

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp cocoa

2-3 tbsp hot water

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  In a smaller bowl, stir together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour in wet mixture and add mashed bananas.  Combine all ingredients just until moistened.   In small bowl, mix cocoa and just enough of the hot water to make a smooth mixture.  Add in about 1 1/2 cups of the batter and gently mix to form the chocolate batter.   In a 9″x 5″ loaf pan that has been greased and floured, alternate dollops of of white and chocolate batter.   Use a knife to swirl the batters together.   Bake about 55 minutes total, 15 minutes at 375°F, then reducing temperature to 350°F and baking for an additional 35-40 minutes.  Bake until inserted tester comes clean.  Let loaf cool 5 minutes in the pan,  then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, drizzle with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cocoa

1/2 cup icing sugar

2 tbsp very hot water

In a medium size microwave-safe bowl, melt butter.  Stir in cocoa and icing sugar.  Add hot water and mix thoroughly.  If glaze seems too thick to flow, add more hot water a little at a time until desired constituency is reached.  Glaze will set quickly, so once the hot water is added, work quickly.  Drizzle over loaf as desired.

Hummingbird Birthday Cake

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An upcoming birthday is always a good excuse for some  cake-making.  My elder sister will be celebrating her birthday this week, so we had tea and cake with her this afternoon in anticipation of the event.  This is a recipe that was published years ago in a Martha Stewart magazine.  I’ve had the clipping in my files for so long, the time had come to either do the deed or get rid of the clipping.  I did the deed 🙂

Hummingbird cake is a southern classic and there are lots of variations.  Check out the original Southern Living recipe here.

I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit for personal taste, reducing both the sugar and oil.  Much to my chagrin, I somehow missed adding the cinnamon into the cake batter, so instead  I added it into the icing and that was just fine.  If you don’t have inclination to decorate using the pineapple “flowers”,  a sprinkle of chopped pecans on the top of the icing would be a classic finish.

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Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp  cinnamon

pinch of salt

2/3 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 large eggs

3 large bananas, mashed

3/4 cup canned pineapple tidbits,  well-drained and chopped

1 cup chopped  pecans

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two round layer cake pans (8″ or 9″) with non-stick spray.  Line bottoms of pans with parchment.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In mixer bowl, stir together sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy.  Stir in mashed bananas, chopped pineapple, pecans and coconut.  Add flour and gently mix just until all ingredients are combined.  Divide batter between cake pans and bake for about 35 minutes, until cakes are golden brown.  Invert baked cakes onto wire racks to cool.  While cakes are cooling, prepare pineapple decorations (see below).  When cakes are completely cooled, ice with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 250g pkg cream cheese (NOT low fat)

½ cup  butter or margarine

3-4 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 drops almond extract

Beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth.  Add flavorings and mix well.  Stir in icing sugar in several additions.   Avoid overmixing as icing will become too grainy to spread smoothly.

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Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.   Peel pineapple and remove eyes with a small melon baller or paring knife.  Slice pineapple into thin slices, 1/8″ or less if possible.  Lay slices in a single layer on baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until tops feel dry.  Flip slices and bake 30 minutes more, till slices are completely dry.  Thicker slices will need more drying time.

Pineapple Flowers

Remains of the day

Remains of the day

Marble Tea Cake

So called, not because there’s tea in the cake, but because it goes so well with a cup of tea at teatime.

Marble Tea Cake

2 cups flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2  tsp soda

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 -3 tbsp cocoa

2 tbsp water

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.  In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, oil, milk and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just to combine.  Pour about 3/4 of the batter into a 9” greased and floured layer cake or bundt pan.  In a small bowl, mix cocoa with water till smooth.  Stir the cocoa into the remaining dough.  Drop spoonsful here and there over the vanilla batter and then swirl together with a knife.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Let rest in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack.  Let cake cool for 10 minutes, then glaze.

Chocolate Glaze

4 tbsp butter

3 tbsp cocoa

1 cup icing sugar

3-4 tbsp very hot water

Melt butter.  Whisk in cocoa and icing sugar.  Add hot water and mix thoroughly.  If glaze seems too thick to flow, add more hot water a little at a time until desired constituency is reached.  Glaze will set quickly, so once the hot water is added, work quickly to glaze cake.

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Almond Butter Cake

This is a rich, buttery treat that calls out for a cup of tea, English Breakfast preferably.  We call it cake, but it’s almost closer to a shortbread in texture.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s delectable.

Almond Butter Cake

2/3 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tbsp cream or milk

1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and almond extract, mixing well.  Add flour and baking powder, mixing till a dough forms.  Press into a greased 8” round cake pan.  Brush with cream or milk.  Sprinkle with  almonds.  At 325 degrees F, bake for about 30 minutes till very lightly golden, middle should be set.  Be careful not to overbake!  Let cool, then cut into small wedges to serve.

Carrot Cake

Fall is a good time for carroty goodness in your cakes and muffins.  I wish it were still fall here in our neck of the woods.  It feels like we went right from late summer to winter.  Maybe all the more reason to turn the oven on and fill the house with delicious aromas.

Carrot Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup shredded coconut

3 cups grated carrot

3 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1/3 – 1/2 cup milk

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.   In a separate smaller bowl, stir together eggs, oil and milk.    Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, stirring (use a folding technique) just to combine.  Pour batter into greased and floured pans and bake at 350 degrees F  for about 30  minutes till golden brown.  This recipe will make  two 8″ layers, OR about 18 large cupcakes.

Apple Custard Cake

The apples are falling off the tree, so it’s time to do some apple baking.  This is an old  tried and true recipe from the days when heavy cream was not something to be frowned upon.  2 % evaporated milk can be substituted for the cream with good results.  It’s delicious warm from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream.

Apple Custard Cake

Crust

2 cups flour

½ cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup butter

1 egg, beaten

6 cups peeled and sliced apples

Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Rub butter in until crumbly, then mix in beaten egg.  Press into greased 9”x13”.  Layer on sliced apples.

Custard

1 cup sugar

½ cup flour

½ -3/4 tsp cinnamon

½ cup melted butter

½ cup evaporated milk or heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

Stir together sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Add melted butter, cream and vanilla, mixing till smooth.  Pour over apples.

Topping

¾ cup flour

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

Stir together flour and sugar.  Rub in butter till crumbly.   Sprinkle over custard.  Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 50 minutes, till golden brown.

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