Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to bake for Valentine’s Day. Not just what I want to bake on that day, but in the weeks preceding (hey, a girl’s gotta milk any holiday that involves lots of chocolate, right?). There are the classics like red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, chocolate covered strawberries… But I just kept coming back to the thought “What could I possibly make that could top those classics?” I think we all know there’s only one logical answer here: all of the above in ONE dessert. Oh yes. So much goodness that I couldn’t even work all of the major flavor components into the title (I think my SEO program would just self-destruct if I tried to title this post “Red Velvet Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cream Cheese-Filled Cupcakes”).
Red Velvet Strawberry Dream Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the red velvet cupcakes: 4 tbsp. (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1/2 cup milk 2 tbsp. baking cocoa 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 cup all purpose flour Red food coloring
For the strawberry cream cheese filling: 4 1/2 oz (130 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature 1/4 cup strawberry puree 1-2 tbsp. granulated sugar A dash of vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting: 6 oz (170 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 cups powdered sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract
We’ve had some extreme weather here in western Norway this last week! We’ve been hit by not one, but TWO hurricanes! Now, for those of you who’ve heard/read me talking about where I live in Norway, you might be thinking “But Claire, you live inland. A hurricane (or two) wouldn’t really effect you 3 hours inland.” Well, let’s just say that fjords are essentially giant, natural wind funnels, and I live at the end of the second longest fjord in Norway (some fun facts: it’s called Hardangerfjord, it’s the third longest fjord in the world, and it’s 111 miles/179 km long). For us, this has meant winds in the vicinity of 80-90 mph/130-145 kph, and buckets of rain. And just a 30 minute drive away, our local ski resort has been digging out it’s ski lift because they’ve gotten so much snow (you can check out some insane videos on their facebook here). It hasn’t exactly been warm, let’s-go-outside sort of weather. And I couldn’t think of a better time to stay inside, next to my warm oven, and bake doughnuts than now!
Hot Chocolate Doughnuts
Makes 6 doughnuts
For the doughnuts: 2 tbsp. (30 grams) butter, melted 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/3 cup granulated sugar 2 tbsp. baking cocoa 1 cup all purpose flour
For the glaze: 2 1/2 cup powdered sugar+2-3 tbsp. 1/4 cup milk 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2-3 pieces of dark chocolate Mini marshmallows
About a month ago, while I was watching some news on the internet, I came across a segment about Georgetown Cupcake. I know I’m probably way behind the rest of you in discovering Georgetown Cupcake’s delightful little cupcakes but holy cow am I hooked! To be more specific, I’m hooked on their signature swirl (I still live a little too far away to have actually tried their cupcakes at this point). There’s just something… perfect… about that low signature swirl… Maybe it’s how smooth the frosting is, or the fact that a little divot forms in the center, perfect for holding little bits of candy or sprinkles. Either way, I just knew I had to learn how to make that swirl myself, and then use it to make these chocolate mint cupcakes with little bits of chocolate candies!
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the chocolate cupcakes: 1 oz (25 grams) dark chocolate 1/2 cup hot water 1 egg
1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup baking cocoa 3/4 cup all purpose flour
For the mint buttercream frosting: 8 oz (230 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 cups powdered sugar 1-2 tbsp. milk 1 tsp. mint extract Green food coloring Andes mint, diced (optional garnish)
Winter is still in full tilt here in Norway. Well, kind of. One minute it’s freezing and snowing, and the next it’s relatively mild and sunny. Having a hard time making up your mind, Norwegian weather? But no matter. We’ve had so little cold weather in Western Norway this year that I’m actually still in a winter sort of mood. The kind of winter sort of mood that inspires warm winter cookies. And what could combine warm, winter, and adorable better than owls in hats?! I love drawing on cookies with edible pens, so in addition to talking specifically about these cookies, I thought I’d go over some of my favorite tips for making awesome hand drawn cookies such as shading with an edible pen, and how to create awesome drawings even if you’re not very good at drawing (trust me, I’m actually a terrible artist).
Hand Drawn Owl Cookies
Makes however many cookies you want to decorate
What you’ll need: Cookies iced with royal icing Black edible markers with a fine tip (I use Rainbow Dust’s double ended pen in jet black)
The new year wouldn’t be complete without a little champagne, right? I know not everyone is a fan of the drink (personally, it took 26 years for me to be able to drink it without making that scrunched-up “oh-this-is-tart” face) but how can you not like a bubbly-inspired cake? A PINK bubbly inspired cake? With BUBBLES! Gelatin. Bubbles. If you take nothing else away from this, I repeat: bubbles.
Pink Champagne Cake
Makes one 3-layer 6″ cake
For the pink champagne cake: 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) butter 3/4 cup champagne 3 eggs 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar 3 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. vanilla extract 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour Pink (or red) gel food coloring
For the vanilla buttercream frosting: 5 egg whites 10 oz. granulated sugar 3 3/4 sticks (425 grams) butter 1-2 tbsp. vanilla extract Pink gel food coloring
For the gelatin bubbles: 4 tbsp. gelatin powder 5 tbsp. water Pink gel food coloring Luster dust or edible glitter (for extra sparkle) Small balloons
Hei på deg! I'm Claire, the baker and blogger behind The Simple, Sweet Life. Whether you like cookies or cakes, baking or decorating, you're sure to find something here to sweeten your day! Get to know me better here.