Tickled Pink

I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t appreciate a good red velvet cupcake. The subtle hints of cocoa mixed with a velvety cream cheese frosting—what’s not to love? My original recipe came from a friend of a friend (I think she may have borrowed her inspiration from an old Paula Deen recipe) but I’ve played around with the ingredients and tweaked it over the years. Now they have a richer chocolate taste, stronger notes of vanilla and they’re sporting a lighter shade. After all, it is almost summer!

SWWU-Pink-Velvet-Cupcake.jpgs

Pink Velvet Cupcakes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract (check out our homemade vanilla extract recipe)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 40 drops red food coloring

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing completely between each. Add half the dry ingredients, mix, then add half the buttermilk and mix. Continue until the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk are used up. Mix in the vanilla extract, white vinegar and food coloring. Add more food coloring if desired.

4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough for 24 cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (this would be a good place to splurge on a high-quality butter), at room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (check out our homemade vanilla extract recipe)

1. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the confectioners’ sugar in three equal parts, mixing completely between each. Mix in the vanilla extract. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before using.

SWWU Tip 1: These cupcakes are good enough on their own, but I usually top them with a few mini chocolate chips (shown above) or some fresh-cut strawberries.

SWWU Tip 2: Don’t have any buttermilk on hand? Make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar into 1 cup of milk. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes or until it curdles. Mix again and use as needed.

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Treats for Your Cookie Jar (and You)

Chocolate and banana happens to be one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. On ice cream, in muffins or breakfast breads—it’s all good! One place I hadn’t tried this combo was in a cookie though. I started out wanting just a banana chocolate chip cookie, but thought the texture might be a bit off. It turns out that some hearty oats is just what this idea needed to come to life. The cookies below are nice and chewy with bits of chocolate and rolled oats throughout. The banana adds a subtle sweetness and familiar flavor that I bet you’ll love. Enjoy!

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 banana)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (check out our homemade vanilla extract recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg and mix to combine. Mix in the mashed banana and vanilla extract; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing until completely combined each time.

3. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips until well combined. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in 1 1/2 teaspoonful scoops. Space cookies at least 2.5-inches apart. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until almost set in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

SWWU Tip 1: Bananas going bad? When they start to turn, stash them in your freezer. We always have a few on hand. To defrost, just move to the fridge the day before you want to use them. They’re great for smoothies, banana bread, and of course, these cookies.

SWWU Tip 2: Try adding half a cup of walnut or almond pieces to this recipe. A bit of crunch could be a nice addition. (Someone in this house is allergic to nuts, so I wasn’t able to try this tip out though, I’m sure it’s delightful!).

SWWU Tip 3: Sandwich two of these around a scoop of ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon—whatever you like) for a special treat.

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Cookies With a Kick

Brian is famous for his double chocolate chip cookies. They always make an appearance after the Thanksgiving feast and have won accolades from many of our friends. The recipe is from The Grove House Cookbook, a small spiral-bound book purchased at a restaurant by the same name on the campus of Pitzer College. It seems that the latest version of the book, available here, has made a few changes and the recipe is now vegan. I can’t speak to how the new version would taste, but the original recipe is divine. Soft with gooey chunks of chocolate, these are quite the treat. I recently played around with the recipe a bit and added a few spices for kick and tested out a new smaller size. The changes morphed the sweet cookie into a zesty treat that ended up being the perfect takeaway gift for friends after a Mexican-themed party. Lucky for all of you, this is just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies by somethingwewhippedup.com

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

(Recipe adapted from Double-Chocolate Mocha Chip Cookies in The Grove House Cookbook)

Makes about 4 to 5 dozen cookies

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (check out our homemade extract recipe)
  • 1/2 shot espresso
  • 2 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Add the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to a mortal and pestle and grind until red pepper flakes are much smaller in size. Alternately, you can blend them together in a mini food processor. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the pepper mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and dark brown sugar. Slowly mix in the eggs, vanilla and espresso. Add the dry ingredients in two equal parts, mixing until combined between each. Add chocolate chips or chunks and mix to combine. Place plastic wrap over the top of the dough and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drop the chilled dough, a tablespoon at a time, onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until cooked through (cookies should still be soft in the middle), then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are made.

SWWU Tip 1: You can make these as spicy as you like, or leave the spices out all together. Play around and see what works for you.

SWWU Tip 2: These cookies are pretty small, really just a bite or two each. You can make them bigger if you like, just plan to cook them a bit longer.

SWWU Tip 3: Want your cookies to be perfectly round like the ones pictured above? Just roll each teaspoonful into a ball before you place it on the baking sheet. 

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A Snack Worth Going Bananas For

I’m a big fan of bananas. Typically they’ll end up as a base for a sundae or sliced up and added to a piece of toast topped with Nutella. Of course, I always mange to let a few from every bunch I get over-ripen so they can be used to make the perfect banana bread. This past weekend I decided to try something new and baked up some lightly sweetened slices and ended up with a delightful afternoon snack. With crispy edges and a slightly soft middle, these tasty rounds can quickly become an addiction. See for yourself.

Baked Banana Chips

Baked Banana Chips by somethingwewhippedup.com

Baked Banana Chips

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 bananas, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine bananas, butter, salt and brown sugar. Toss to coat. Spread banana slices in an even layer on the wire rack over the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and crisp on the edges (cooking times may vary based on how thick your slices are). Let cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container for storage.

Baking the Baked Banana Chips by somethingwewhippedup.com

Baking the Baked Banana Chips by somethingwewhippedup.com

SWWU Tip 1: These chips will crisp up a bit more as they cool. Be sure they are room temperature before storing to prevent them from becoming soggy. They’re best if eaten within a day or two of baking and taste especially good within a few hours of coming out of the oven.

SWWU Tip 2: These taste great on top of ice cream, yogurt or on their own. Enjoy!

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The Sugar Addict’s Breakfast

See that gorgeous cake in the background of the photo? It showed up on our doorstep Saturday night, thanks to our friend Bethany. We immediately dove in and discovered it was one of the most moist, flavorful cakes she’s ever made. We restrained ourselves and each only had one piece, but when we woke up on Sunday morning, we wanted more. That’s when we decided to get a little creative and see how the cake would taste if we treated it like the bread in a French toast recipe. Lucky for us, the idea was a winner. Granted, it was one of the sweetest breakfasts either of us have ever tasted, and it would be best balanced out with a savory piece of bacon or two. But, it’s good to indulge and let your sweet tooth win out every once in a while. We’ve all earned it!

Lemon Cake French Toast by somethingwewhippedup.com

Lemon Cake French Toast by somethingwewhippedup.com

Lemon Cake French Toast

Makes 2 servings

  • 4 slices lemon cake (see tips below for Bethany’s recipe)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • maple syrup (optional)

1. In a shallow bowl, combine the egg, milk and cinnamon; set aside.

2. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium. Dip a piece of cake into the egg mixture, being sure to coat all sides, and transfer to pan; repeat with remaining cake. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until browned, then turn to the other side and cook for 1 minute more or until done. Using tongs, hold each piece upright so you brown all of the edges, including the sides. Divide evenly among two plates and serve with maple syrup if desired.

SWWU Tip 1: I bet this recipe would work well with a variety of dense cakes. Just be sure you pick one that won’t crumble when dipped in the egg mixture. Bethany used the lemon cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Check it out if you’d like a delicious treat!

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