Orange Glow Chiffon Cake / Recipe Review

I have only tried baking chiffon cake once before, and on that attempt I had beginners luck. Everything went perfectly. This time I was excited to use a new recipe from The Cake Bible, by Rose Beranbaum. The Cakes turned out beautiful! Well…that is until I tried to take the first one out of the pan. Lets just say I ended up keeping that first one and making another to replace it.

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The cakes were for a friend of my mothers. Last time I made a chiffon cake, it was for her, and also my first time making them. I am so pleased that I seam to have the knack for it. Its just tricky and takes patience to get the cake out of the pan, and still looking nice. BUT the taist? Now I had never even tasted a chiffon cake before this. WOW. I think I have fallen in love!

I have always liked angle food cakes, but they are so dry. I just can not enjoy them with out a lot of sauce or ice cream. But this? Its the perfect middle ground between a butter cake and an angle food. Light, airy, but still moist. I LOVED IT. This Orange Chiffon cake is SO yummy all by its self. Its divine with an orange glaze as well.

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This time around I was asked if I could make the cakes a bit fancy, seeing as it was my mom’s friend’s birthday. I was dreaming of orange Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and a generous shell border with fondant daises around the bottom. Well…as you can see not all of that happened. But the Orange Swiss Meringue Icing was just lovely.

It was a cloudy chilly day, and the orange sent wafting threw my kitchen really brightened things up. The picture isn’t that great but the gold sprinkles I opted for in loo of time really added a lot as well. As I was icing the cakes I was wishing I had fresh raspberries to fill the middle and garnish the edges, but I had forgotten to ask if the birthday girl liked them. (Her husband was out of town, and the cakes were a surprise. So no one to ask if it was okay.)

NOW I am dreaming of raspberry chiffon cake…

But back to the recipe. Absolutely 5 starts from me. The baking time was right on for my oven, and the instructions were easy to fallow. I love how Rose makes sure she has the ingredient amounts in grams as well as US measuring cups. I also love it that she makes sure you know how many eggs or egg whites make up so many ml. I am enjoying The Cake Bible recipes more and more as I go along.

You can find Rose Beranbaum book The Cake Bible on Amazon, or check out your local book stores cooking section.

Another great Orange Chiffon Cake Recipe can be found on JoyofBaking.com.

God bless!

Mary Grace

Strawberry Bride and Groom Wedding Cake

I recently had the unique experience of helping out a friend with a wedding cake she took on. Things have really picked up for her, with the addition off a food trailer to her catering business. Its been so exciting to watch! Imagine being able to have a kitchen no matter where the venue of a wedding is? Being able to serve wedding guests scrumptious meals out in the middle of nowhere? SO AWESOME!

But as sometimes happen, she found she had over booked herself during the local fishing tournament. She needed to be at the tournament with her food trailer, but also had a wedding cake to do. Some of her help wasn’t around that week as well. In comes Mary Grace!

Did I mention that this dear lady is the same lady who made MY wedding cake? The same lady who has given advice and cheered me on as I learn about cake decorating? I was honored to trusted with this responsibility.

She baked the cake and made the icing to her standards and recipes, and I came in to assemble and decorate.

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It was a good learning experience working in a kitchen other then my own. I didn’t get the icing as smooth as I wanted. I liked the piping pattern I came up with at first, but after standing back from the cake it wasn’t what I was going for. Not as full as I wanted, but I couldn’t decide how to fill it up with out making it look weird. Its always a little stress full for me to make a wedding cake, and it didn’t help that this was only my SECOND all buttercream wedding cake. My first was my Rustic country Wedding Cake.

My FAVORITE part of this cake was the cake toppers. Originally the bride wanted real strawberries dipped in chocolate all over the cake, as well as 2 jumbo strawberries decorated as a bride and groom. But My friend was afraid the strawberries would bleed out all over the cake in the heat. So the bride decided that we could make 2 fake jumbo strawberries for the top of the cake. This is what I came up with.

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They looked a lot better in person trust me. I was vary pleased with this bride and groom.

I was not present when the cake was delivered and the topers added, so I do not have a photo to show it all together. I spent a day having the feeling that I MUST have done something wrong, or my friend, or even the bride and groom would not like the finished product…

Of course that fear was unfounded and I was told that everyone was happy with the wedding cake. Why do I do that to my self? I think its just because I care so much about getting it right.

Thank you Mickey for tusting me enough to ask for my help. And to the Bride and Groom. God bless your marriage!

Thank you for reading!

Mary Grace

Pink with Sparkle Cupcakes

Have I ever said that I love cupcakes? Well in case you missed it…I do. They are my favorite thing to bake for my friends and family. I have been making so many of them the last few months that I decided to pick up some actual cake/cupcake boxes. I LOVE my reusable cake carriers but not everyone finds it easy to bring them back to me.

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They served me well this week when a friend asked for 30 cupcakes, and I had not gotten my big case back from the last person I lent it to. My husbands commented as he watched me fill them with these goodies. “Now you look like a REAL cake lady.” You mean I wasn’t one already??

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ANYWAY. I made these cupcakes for a speshial lady turning 92. When her daughter came to pick them up I was heartbroken to here this dear lady was in the hospital. I send my prayers and love her way. Its so bitter sweet to think that one of my cupcakes might be the last desert she will enjoy before God comes to take her home. If you are a praying person, please think of her this week.

The pink frosting is regular vanilla American Buttercream. I was excited to be asked for a few with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on them as well. (The white ones) For the cakes I used my go to Chocolate cake recipe and my new favorite Vanilla cupcake recipe.

A testament to how good these recipes are. last night the cupcake boxes were returned to me and I was asked ‘refill please?’. So today is another day of baking and filling those boxes with sweetness!

God bless!

Mary Grace

 

Simple Owl Cupcake Toppers Tutorial

I don’t know about you, but I think owls are so cute. For boys or girl, for children or adults. They are a BIG favorite. So I was really happy to make these vary simple, yet sweet cupcake toppers for a friend and her little one’s first birthday party.

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How did I do it? Let me SHOW you!

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First off, your going to need fondant. I work with Marshmallow fondant for almost everything. Its inexpensive to make and taists alot better, in my opinion, that almost everything you can buy. I say almost everything because you never know, there might be something out there I have not tried that is good. BUT moving on…here is a link to how I make marshmallow fondant. I have also posted a chocolate marshmallow fondant recipe that would be great for this little brown owl.

You will need two different shades of brown, or whatever color you would like your owls to be. White and a contrasting color for the eyes, and yellow or something close to that for the beak. (Yellow is not in the photo because I used the remnants of the white and colored it after I made the eyes.)

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Second your going to need 3 different sizes of circle cutters of some kind. Here you can see I put a variety of piping tips to good use. The first and largest is a #789 wilton. I find the circular opening at the bottom is almost exactly the same size as the top of most cupcakes. If you don’t have this tip, or want to make your owls smaller or larger, biscuit cutters are great for this. As well as any kind of circle cookie or fondant cutter. The next two tips are a #1m wilton, and a #3. This last one I actually swapped after the photo for a smaller one. I wanted the pupils a bit smaller. But this size works fine. (All standard sized icing tips are roughly this size along the BACK side.)

I also use water and a clean paint brush.

my fondant cutting tool. (even a butter knife would work.)

A smaller sized fondant rolling pin. (Use any size you have on hand.)

And crisco shortening.

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I start out with making the eyes. Role out your white fondant and using the back side of a #1m pipping tip, cut out as many circles as you will need for eyes. Two to a bird of course. Set aside.

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Next role our your chosen contrasting color and using either the back side of a #3 or here I chose to go smaller and used the tip of a #12, cut out a dot to go with each eye.

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Using the tip of my finger I gently rounded the edges of my blue dots. This makes them seam thinner and more flush with the eye whites. (It also makes them slightly bigger. Witch is why I chose to go a bit smaller with my cutter.) Then using a small dab of water on my clean paint brush, only enough to moisten the back of my dots, I applied them to my eye whites. Wala! Eyes. Set aside.

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Now comes the main body of the owl. Role out your darker brown. Using back side of the large #789 tip, or your cutter or choice, cut out as many circles as you need owls. Set aside.

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Using the lighter shade of brown, or any color of your choice, role and cut out half as many circles as you need owls. (Using the large #789 piping tip.) Then using this tip cut away a small section of each side of your circles as shown in the pictures above.

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Cut each of the resulting shapes in half. Now you have two ‘feather skirts’. Proceed to cut out as many as you need for your owls.

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Using one of the tips, gently make half circle impressions in a horizontal patter along each feather skirt. This makes it look like there might be some plumage there.

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Now its time to start assembling our little owls. I start with the feather skirt. Moisten the back of one with your clean paint brush and watter, line it up with the bottom of a dark brown circle, and gently smooth it on. Above this place two eyes. My eyes were a bit large for the body so I had to gently mold them to fit after sticking them on. (Yes…they do look more a giant eyes and a duck bill at the moment, but stay with me.)

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Now we need ears. Cut a small strip of dark brown fondant. Using a fondant cutter or butter knife cut this strip in to small triangles. Cut them a bit larger then you think you will need them. Part of them will be tucked under the main body of your bird.

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Take two triangles and moisten the bottom edges of each. Line them up with the eyes and tuck them under the main body. Then using the flat of your hand gently press down on the whole owl. This secures the ears.

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Lastly our little owl needs a beak. using the same method for making the ears, cut out small triangles. Again moisten the back of this triangle and place it in the center of your owl. I like to mold my bills a bit by curving the edges and making sure they fit well.

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There you have it! My army of little owls. Cute! As well as easy to make! Need them a bit more girly? Add a tiny flower or bow beside one of the ears, or make the feather skirt pink or purple instead of light brown.

I recommend making these a few days ahead of when you need them. They need time to dry so they will not sag on your cupcakes. These could also be used as decorations on the side or top of a full size cake. In that case you will not need to dry them. They will stick better if they are freshly made, or stored in plastic wrap until needed to decorate.

Note: I have seen many owl patterns vary similar to this one. I take no credit for coming up with it all on my own. This tutorial is just to show how I achieved the look my self.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.

God bless!

Mary Grace

Green Apple Caramel Cupcakes

My family are BIG fans of the flavor, green apple. As teens my brothers and sisters and I drooled over those green apple caramel lolly pops they sell in the US. So I have been on a search to combine these flavors in a cupcake.

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My brother is home for a visit this week, so I NEW it was the perfect time to try out a new recipe. I was so excited back in April when Foodlikecake.wordpress.com posted a Green Apple Cupcake recipe. So yesterday, as I was home alone, with a bad cold, lonely and feeling sorry for my self. I decided what better therapy then to bake these cupcakes! Thank you to my mom who found the Jones Soda I needed for the recipe, JUST IN TIME!

For the original cake recipe please visit Foodlikecake.wordpress.com.

I had used cake recipes with carbonated beverages as a key ingredient before and I was expecting the cupcakes to come out a bit lighter and fluffier then they did. The batter is vary runny, like allot of my favorite cupcake recipes. So I was a LITTLE disappointed with the cake texture. But the cake has a pleasant hint of the green apple Jones Soda in it.  That hint is just that, a hint. I was expecting the flavor to be light though so was not disappointed with this. Despite the cake not being as light and fluffy as I had anticipated it was still yummy! (I did not add any green food coloring to my cupcakes.)

Next came the frosting. I didn’t want to use regular butter/icing sugar icing, if I could get away with it. I had some left over Swiss Meringue Icing in the fridge that needed to be used…my brain started to buzz. Could it work? No… But why not just try it? Okay! So after letting the icing come back to room temperature and lightly re-whipping it in my stand mixer, I slowly, apprehensively added in 1/4 us c. of Jones Green Apple Soda.

Your probably all screaming at me…WHAT? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU DO THAT? IT WILL NEVER WORK! Well, if I had not JUST had the experience of making Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and having the water in the blueberries separate from it while re-whipping, and then coming back together, I would have given up right away. At first it resembled, well…what it was. Fat floating in liquid. but I was persistent, I whipped and whipped and whipped. LOW AND BEHOLD when I stopped to scrape down the sides it seemed as if there was less soda in the bottom of the bowl. KEEP WHIPPING! It took about 10 full minutes before it all come together, but it did! I was floored. I mean really…who would have thought that would work?

Again the green apple flavor was light, and if I had made the icing especially for this I would have left out the vanilla to see if that let the green apple threw a bit more. But all in all…I thought I would end up with a mix throw away mess. I am so happy that it worked! (I did add a drop of green color to the icing.)

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I filled each cupcake with caramel, (the recipe here) and then thinned some of that same recipe down with a bit of extra whipping cream to drizzle over each iced cupcake. The caramel really overwhelmed the light green apple flavor. *sigh* So I will have to try another variation in the near future. But here is to seeing my brother again after a year and a half of missing him, and getting to try out a new recipe to welcome him home! Love you John!

Next time I am thinking forget the soda and go for the real thing. finely graded or chopped granny smith apples in a vanilla cupcake batter? Possibly looking in to trying some kind of green apple syrup. Got any ideas? I would love to here them! And maybe I will try this recipe again sometime, with out the caramel. I am just so stuck on the caramel part of it right now.

Thanks for reading!

Mary Grace

Cute Owls First Birthday Cupcakes

Birthdays are such speshial occasions. I love it when my family are invited to celebrate with friends, and other family members. I was so excited to make these cupcakes for a good friend, and her sweet baby girl, for her first birthday!

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They turned out really well, and it was lot simpler to make those little owl then what I had at first thought.

I used my new favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, icing them with vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing. The cupcake toppers were made from Marshmallow Fondant. I was so happy when my friends asked for the new Swiss Meringue Icing. I love it so much and am so excited to have everyone try it! One of the guests at the party declared it was her new favorite icing of all time. (And that was before she had even tasted a cupcake. The day before she had gotten a small sample of the icing when she came for a short stop in visit at my home while I was making it. One lick of a spoon and she is a new Swiss Meringue convert!)

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I also topped a few of the cupcakes with the number one. A little bit less fondant for the guests that aren’t huge fans of vary sweet deserts.

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Happy Birthday Baby Bella!

Want to know how I made the owl cupcake toppers? Stay tuned for a picture tutorial coming up in one of my next posts.

Thanks for reading.

Mary Grace

Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I am quickly falling head over heals for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. So when my mother gave me some fresh wild picked blueberries I HAD to use some of them in my new favorite way!

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You know a desert is good when my Dad asks if he can have more. When BOTH my parents asked if they could have another one…well, that is the ultimate seal of approval in my book.

Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Servings: about 3 cups
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Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter softened ( 1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tb. Vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup blueberry puree

Method

  1. Over a double boiler, heat the whites and granulated sugar and salt, whisking constantly, until all the sugar is dissolved. Heat this slowly. You don’t want to scramble your eggs! (If using fresh egg whites you MUST heat your eggs to between 140 f. and 160 f. This pasteurized the eggs. If using pre-pasteurized eggs you need only heat until all sugar is dissolved.)
  2. Place the mixture in a stand mixer and whip on high until a stiff peak forms and the mixture is cool, about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer to low/medium speed and add the softened butter a little at a time. The mixture may resemble cottage cheese at first. Keep mixing until everything comes together smoothly. (This may take several minutes, don’t give up, just keep mixing.)
  4. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix again until smooth.
  5. Last add the blueberry puree and again mix until smooth.

Note: This frosting can be refrigerated for several days, but is best fresh made. If you do refrigerate, make sure you bring it back all the way to room temperature and re-whip. Durring the re-whiping proses the juices from the blueberries may separate from the rest of the frosting. This is normal. Just keep mixing and medium/low speed and it will come back together. (This could take up to 5 minutes, don’t give up!)

Here are some photos of the proses, starting with the blueberry puree.

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I love my magic bullet. But you can use any kind of small food processor or blender for this. I love the added color and texture of the whole fruit in my frosting. But if that is not something your keen on after this step feet free to press it all threw a siv of some kind to remove the skins.

Next start on the buttercream its self.

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Mixing your egg whites and sugar in a double boiler until sugar is dissolved. Again, if you are using fresh egg whites you must head this mixture to between 140 -160 f. to make sure they are properly pasteurized. My thermometer is not reliable so I always buy pre-pasteurized egg whites in a carton.

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Beet on high until stiff peeks form. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. With a hand held mixer possible 10-15 minutes. (I have not tried it with a hand mixer my self, but I do know it can be done.)

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Now its time to start adding your butter, small pieces at a time, beating on low medium speed. Things will start out looking a bit curdled at first, but just keep the mixer going and it WILL come together. This will take a few minuts. Patience is a virtue here. Feel free to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides, but do not turn the mixer up to a higher speed. (The first time I tried this  did that and it broke the meringue. your iving will not be fluffy if that happens, it will be greasy and compact.)

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When your icing has come together, is the time to add in the half cup powdered sugar and vanilla. Now many recipes do not use any powdered sugar. But this is how I was taught, and it dose add a little more stability to the icing. Mix until everything is smooth again.

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Last comes the blueberry puree. I started with 1/4 c. but felt it needed more so added another 1/4 c.

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Using your favorite piping tip and pastry bag, pipe on to your cupcake of choice. Here I used my new favorite Vanilla Cupcake recipe. Oh my friends, you must try this mouth watering, smooth, delicious icing! It has truly ruined me for traditional American butter/shortening/powdered sugar icings.

God Bless!

Mary Grace

Cornflower Blue Wedding Cupcakes

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I had a really good Friday baking these for some new friends and there daughters wedding. I spent the morning smelling fresh baked, from scratch, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. I can not think of a better way to spend those usually groggy morning hours.

I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe for the chocolate cakes, and my new favorite vanilla recipe for the others. Fallow the links to visit my posts about them.

The icing was regular American vanilla buttercream. Vary sweet but vary yummy. The larger purls are chocolate, and the smaller ones are sugar.

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This is what 200 cupcakes looks like, along with 1200 edible purls. For the record it takes one person, 2 hours to hand place all those purls. (Just in case anyone needs to know that. Yes, your arm will be sore.)

Edible purls are such an easy way to add elegance to so many cake and cupcake designs. There are so many different sizes and colors to choose from. I usually pick mine up from Amazon.com. But sugarcraft.com is also a great place. (If your US.)

I did not have the honor of attending this wedding, but my friend graced me with a photo after she had finished placing them on the cupcake stand, already for the reception.

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Is that not one of the neatest cupcake stand you have ever seen?? I LOVE IT!

God bless!

Mary Grace

My Search For A ‘Go To’ Vanilla Cupcake / Recipe Review

I am not sure I am done looking yet. But I am SOO happy to say that I have found a recipe worth sharing.

Not all cake recipes translate in to really good cupcakes. So I have been looking for a ‘vanilla cupcake’ recipe. Not one just borrowed from a full size cake. After several trials and a lot of cupcakes. Some good, and some with more to be desired. I have found one I really like.

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The recipe is Perfect Vanilla Cupcake Recipe from Natashaskitchen.com. Please visit Natasha’s site for the full recipe.

They really are delicious. Soft, fluffy, with just the right amount of moisture. I pared mine with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and the whole cupcake melts in your mouth. They are a beautiful golden color, and the recipe though not the easiest I have ever tried, is definitely on the easy side.

WHEN you try them don’t be afraid of the runny batter. It is vary runny compared to most cake batters. But don’t worry, as long as you fallowed the recipe they will come out great. I found it quite interesting that this, my favorite vanilla cupcake so far, has a vary similar batter consistency to my favorite chocolate cake recipe. Maybe cupcakes do better with a lighter batter? I love learning new things on my baking journey! Has anyone ells experienced this as well?

I plan on using this recipe for the next wedding I will be baking for. I can’t wait to share how it goes with all of you.

Thank you for reading! God bless.

Sour Cream Butter Cake / A Recipe Review

I recently ordered in a new cook book, The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I am, and was so excited about being able to add this book to my ‘cook book’ shelf. The first recipe I picked to try was a simple Sour Cream Butter Cake recipe. I chose to bake it in cupcake form.

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I fallowed the recipe instructions to the letter, except for making cupcakes instead of a single cake. The book says to bake this recipe in a 9 in. spring form pan. But with little ones, cupcakes are a lot easier for this mommy to handle and then to pack away and freeze if needed.

I started out not knowing exactly what to expect. The recipe calls for vary little liquid. 4 egg yokes and 2/3 cup sour cream, and that is all, besides the butter. But the batter, though definitely on the solid side was not as heavy as I had at first thought it would be. I enjoyed watching the texture change as I beat it for a minute and a half, as per instructions. I will confess to tasting it before baking…just a touch. HUMM…even in that state it yummy.

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The recipe made 20 cupcakes. I used my favorite baking scoop from Pampered Cheff to keep the amounts even. Since the recipe was for a full cake I was not sure how long it would take to bake these properly. So I set my timer for 15 minutes, and after hearing the buzzer checked for doneness with a toothpick. It came out clean, but the cupcake tops looked a little pail and when touched and pressed slightly did not spring back. So I added 2 minutes to the timer and closed the oven door again. At 17 minutes they were perfect. A beautiful golden color, and springing back at a light touch. I let them cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack.

For ‘sciences’ sake I tried one hot, worm, and then fully cooled. Then after that I pared one with some of my newly learned Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Ohhh…I love to see how the texture and crumb as well as the taste develops as cooling happens.

I love the flavor of this cake. Its a lot lighter then some would expect. It has a wonderful buttery flavor, and the crumb is soft and tender. Its not supper moist, but its not dry at all. It was really wonderful un-frosted, and when I tried it with the Swiss Meringue Buttercream it was SO GOOD. It would be to sweet, in my opinion, if pared with American Buttercream. But with a cream cheese or less sweet frosting, oh the possibilities.

Oh, and those 20 cupcakes? Gone by the next morning…and no that dose not usually happen. I had little monsters stealing them when I wasn’t looking, and a husband who piled a few empty cupcake wrappers together at a time after a feast of cake. (So now I don’t feel as bad about the 4 I ate threw out the day.)

Do any of you, my friends, family, and readers own The Cake Bible as well? Have you tried this recipe? If so what did you think?

Rose’s book ‘The Cake Bible’ can be found on amazon, ebay, or check out your local book store with a cookery section.

I will be making cupcakes for a friends, daughters wedding in the next few weeks. Any thoughts on a recipe from this book? I am so looking forward to trying more recipes and learning as I go along.

Thanks for reading!

Mary Grace