Chocolate Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream OR Vanilla Orange Cupcake with Mandarin Orange Buttercream

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I dream in Buttercream 🙂

Seriously.  Many of my dreams have food of some sort and quite often it is buttercream and/or dessert related.  Since I had baked on my snow day (when I was supposed to be doing schoolwork.  This back to school thing is going to take some getting used to to.  The paper I wrote yesterday was the first since 1997!)  Sorry, got sidetracked.  Back to the topic.  So since I had baked on my snow day I had not planned on baking this weekend but I forgot that I had in-laws coming to town and they were going to stop by.  We went and chatted with them yesterday and my sister-in-law kept giving hints about the desserts she has seen me post.  I knew they were planning to stop by our place Sunday afternoon so I decided I would have time to whip something up but I was not quite sure what I wanted to make.  When I woke up this morning I was dreaming of mandarin oranges and buttercream.  I had never had that combination before but I was sure there were recipes out there incorporating oranges and buttercream.  I was correct, i found several so I had a starting point.

Whenever I bake I have this strange habit of needing to make multiple things.  This is something my husband and I have in common.  Whenever he grills he has to grill 3-4 different kinds of meat items.  It can never be just one thing.  I used to think that was strange until I realized I do the same thing with my baking.  I think it is because I am always afraid at least one item will be a flop so I want to have a backup.  Also, when I am baking for others I want to make sure I have something that will please everyone’s tastes.  So for today I decided on three things:

1.  Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream Filling and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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2. Vanilla Cupcakes with Apricot-Orange Filling and Mandarin Orange Buttercream Frosting

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3. Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Although none of the desserts came out perfectly, none were complete flops either.  My raspberry filling was originally intended to be a  fluffy swiss meringue buttercream that could be used for filling and decorating.  I don’t think I whipped the egg whites long enough and then did not incorporate the butter properly to make a smooth fluffy buttercream.   I probably added the raspberry puree too soon as well and so it came out as a thin-ish raspberry cream instead of a fluffy buttercream.  It tasted good so it I decided it could still be used for the filling but not for decorating.

The cupcakes came out good.  A basic vanilla cupcake.  For the filling I decided to just use Apricot Orange Preserves I found at the grocery store.  I originally was going to get an orange marmalade and cook it down a bit.  I decided not to cook it down and to use it as is.  It is not bad but I think I may change it next time I make these.  The orange buttercream is pretty good but I was just a little heavy handed with the Orange extract.  Next time I will either reduce the amount or eliminate it all together since I used juice from the mandarin orange cups.  Or I can just use orange juice.  We were out of orange juice so the juice from the fruit cups came in handy.

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My cookies are good.  The reason I feel these are not perfect is because of the substitution that used that I used quite often for the flavor but it makes the cookies look funny.  I prefer to use dark brown sugar in my cookie recipe but when I only have light brown sugar I will added a drizzle of molasses if I have that on hand.  It gives the cookie a more substantial flavor than just light brown sugar.  So today I needed to make that substitution.  The molasses causes the texture of the cookies to look funny and the edges spread out more than I would like.

With Molasses:

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Without Molasses:

Clasiic Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipes are posted below.  I would love to get your feedback.  Let me know what you think!!!

Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cup Flour** 2 cups sugar** 3/4 cup unsweetened coco powder** 2 teaspoons baking soda** 1 teaspoon baking powder** 1 teaspoon salt** 1 cup buttermilk** 1/2 cup oil** 2 eggs** 1 tsp vanilla** 1 cup of hot strong coffee

Combine dry ingredients,  then add liquids (except coffee).  mix until incorporated then add coffee.  Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (depending on the size pan(s) used).

Chocolate Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter(room temperature)** 3/4 cup unsweetened coco powder** 2 cups powdered sugar** pinch of salt** 2 tablespoons heavy cream(or more for a thinner consistency)

Cream butter. add coc, sugar and salt. whip until fluffy and then add heavy cream.  If you want the frosting thinner to spread more easily added more cream a little at a time.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

2 egg whites (or use Meringue powder using directions on canister to make egg whites)** 1/2 cup of sugar** 10 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (room temperature)** 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract** pinch of salt** 1/4 cup of raspberry strained puree( I put 6 ounces of raspberries in my NutriBullet then strained them.

20140216_130828 Combine egg whites and sugar then simmer over a double boiler whisking unto sugar is dissolved and reaches 160 degrees.   Then in stand mixer with whisk attachment whisk to stiff peaks. Let cool about 10 minutes.  With paddle attachment add butter 2 tablespoons at a time incorprating after each addition.  then add salt and  raspberry puree.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups Flour** 1 teaspoon baking powder** 1/2 teaspoon salt** 1 stick of unsalted butter(melted)** 1 cup sugar** 3 eggs** vanilla extract**3/4 cup buttermilk

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt.  In mixer bowl add butter sugar eggs butter milk vanilla and flour .  Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes

Orange Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)** 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar** 1 teaspoon salt** 2 tablespoons milk + 2 teaspoons** 3 teaspoons orange extract ( I recommend less)** 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon juice from oranges

Cream butter. add salt. add 1/2 of sugar, incorporate.  Add rest of sugar, extracts and juice.  mix several minutes until fluffy.

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