Friday, September 11, 2015

Pinterest Friday: Blackberry Frosting (and Some Thoughts on Boxed Cake Mix)

I got really excited about this frosting (not to mention I was distracted by the fact I was Periscoping this whole process), and I didn't take a picture of the ingredients.  I think you can forgive me, though.

One of my co-workers, Sergio, had a birthday on Thursday, and I'm the Official Bringer of Birthday Treats, so that's how these cupcakes came into being.  Sergio and I had had a whole conversation about cake a few days ago, and he'd indicated he has the same love for Funfetti that I do.  As such, I bought a Funfetti cake mix.

Now, I'm usually someone who prefers to make things rather than buy them pre-packaged.  9 times out of 10, when I'm baking, I don't use cake mixes unless it's an ingredient in something (cake mix cookies, for example).

But I've had some reconfigured thoughts on store-bought/pre-packaged stuff, especially after my podcast interview.  If you want to make a cake, and you want to go buy a box of cake mix to make that should 100% go buy that cake mix and make the hell out of that cake.  You don't have to tell anyone it's boxed.  (Conversely, you can tell EVERYONE it's boxed if you want.  Who cares?)

If someone's going to give you a hard time because you made them a cake from a box instead of from scratch, they're not someone you want to bake a cake for anyway.  If you go to the store and buy a rotisserie chicken and heat up some green beans and make boxed mashed potatoes for a hot date you have, and the person you're cooking for scoffs at store-bought chicken...maybe go date someone else.

Some people say about comic books "Well, it doesn't matter what they're reading as long as the kids are reading!" and I never really understood that, but I think I do now.  You mixed up those potato flakes and stirred in the milk and the butter.  You made those mashed potatoes!  You don't have to spend hours and hours peeling, cooking, mashing, seasoning, whatever those mashed potatoes to make someone a meal and let them know you like them.

I'm not 100% sure where that soapbox came from, but I'll get off of it now.

Long story short, I knew Sergio liked the specific Funfetti, so that's what I made.  Since I feel strongly about making my own frosting, though, I dug up one of my Pinterest pins called 55 Frosting Recipes and made this blackberry frosting from the Natasha's Kitchen blog.

Sergio with a birthday cupcake and an insanely decorated desk.  The fox is uninterested in sweets.

It's got sugar.  It's got berries.  It's got cream cheese.  What else do you need?

Blackberry Frosting
Makes 3 cups of frosting
From Greek Yogurt Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting at Natasha's Kitchen


1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces and softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (1 package) blackberries

Puree blackberries in a food processor, then strain them through a fine mesh strainer to get the seeds out.  Push them through the strainer with a spatula until all that's in the strainer is seeds.  Discard the seeds.

In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), mix the butter and the sugar on low speed until combined, scraping as necessary.  Once they're combined, increase speed to medium for 2-3 minutes.

Add the cream cheese a piece at a time and mix until combined and fluffy.

Add the blackberry puree and mix until well-incorporated.

Refrigerate frosting for 10 minutes before icing your cupcakes.

One Year Ago:  No Post
Two Years Ago:  Blog Redesign!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Pink Frosted Cookies

Have you guys ever heard of the Periscope app?  I hadn't before like 3 weeks ago, and now I'm fully, 100% addicted.

In the simplest terms, it's a live-streaming video app.  Like live YouTube?  I don't know.

Generally when I broadcast, it's when I'm sitting in traffic and am bored.  (People can see you and whatever you're showing, and you can talk to them, but they can only make comments.  You can opt not to respond.

All that to say, I made these cookies live on Periscope with about a dozen people watching, and it was so much fun.  It sounds kind of dumb when I try to describe it (and I told Dennis it was dumb when he told me about it.  Clearly, I've come around.)

So give the Periscope app a try.  (I don't work for them and they're not paying me.  I just really love the app and connecting with people all over the world.  How else could people in Minnesota watch Dennis film a California sunset live?)  If you try it, you can follow me -- my screen name is GarconMeansBoy.  (If you get this reference, we are immediate friends and you should come over for cookies.)

Speaking of cookies!

Have you ever visited the CakeSpy blog?  I'm obsessed with her artwork (I have one of her prints hanging in my office!) and whenever I send a greeting card, it's one I got from her Etsy shop.

The brains behind CakeSpy, Jessie Oleson Moore, also has a cookbook, and it's this week's book of the week.  The Secret Lives of Baked Goods.  It's an entire cookbook based on classic desserts (Animal Crackers!  Baked Alaska!  Whoopie Pies!) and it gives the story behind the dessert as well as a recipe for the dessert.

These Pink Frosted Cookies are my favorite kind of store-bought cookie, and they're even better when they're homemade.  These are amazing, and when I brought a bunch of them to work to share, they were gone in a matter of minutes.  They're super easy to make, so you can whip up a batch when you want to impress someone (or when you went to do a super fun Periscope broadcast!)

Also, this is a Sarah Cooks the Books rarity: I followed the recipe exactly.  No changes!

Pink Frosted Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies
From The Secret Lives of Baked Goods by Jessie Oleson Moore (aka CakeSpy)  


5 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sprinkles for garnish (optional)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4-6 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
About 6 drops red food coloring

To make the cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer (or the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy (3 to 5 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time.  Mix in the vanilla and milk.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until everything is well-combined.

Drop the dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches around each cookie to allow for spreading.

Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the cookies set for several minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Spread the frosting in a thick layer on top of the cookies and sprinkle with sprinkles.

To make the frosting:

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, best the butter and vanilla until smooth.

On low speed, gradually beat in the sugar one cup at a time.  After two cups, add the milk and combine.  Add more sugar until desired consistency is reached.  You can also add more milk as needed.

Stir in the food coloring drop by drop until you get your desired pink hue.

Frost cookies.

Two Years Ago:  Dr. Who Cupcakes:  Adipose

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Type A Artist Podcast: Featuring Me!

No recipe post today, but make sure to check out The Type A Artist podcast -- Lauren and Ingi (the podcast hosts) asked me to join them on episode 2 to discuss finding creativity in food.

The podcast can also be found on iTunes, and make sure to check out their Facebook page!

It's a long-ish podcast, so queue it up before your evening commute!  Also, for what it's worth, there's some NSFW language -- not something that I care about, but I know some people can be startled by a well-timed yet unexpected F-bomb.

It was a great experience being on the podcast, and I hope to be able to do it again soon!