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Betty Crocker’s Easy Design Cupcakes

August 25, 2009

easydesigncupcakesTo give you a glimpse into Betty Crocker Just Cupcakes: 100 Recipes for the Way You Really Cook, here’s the recipe for Easy Design Cupcakes. The prep time is only 40 minutes, so from start to finish (including cooling time) with this recipe, you’ll have 24 cupcakes ready to eat in under 2 hours. All said and done, each Easy Design Cupcake is a 220-calorie snack (see below for more nutrition facts).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 packages (3 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 bag (6 oz/1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 box (1 lb 2.25 oz) devil’s food cake mix with pudding in the mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 1 1/2 oz cream cheese (from 3 oz package), softened
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (for cream cheese decorating mix)

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In medium mixing bowl, beat 2 packages cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and the egg with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips; set aside.
2. Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Top each cup with 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture (mixture will sink into batter).
3. In small mixing bowl, beat 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese and 4 teaspoons sugar with spoon until smooth. Spoon into corner of small plastic food-storage bag. Cut 1/8 inch tip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Pipe mixture onto batter in a small design to decorate tops of cupcakes.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tops spring back when touched lightly. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 50 minutes.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1 cupcake (cake and frosting); 220 Calories, 110 Calories from Fat, 12g Total Fat, 5g Saturated Fat, 45mg Cholesterol, 200mg Sodium, 26g Total Carbohydrate, 1g Dietary Fiber.

For this and more recipes like it, see Betty Crocker Just Cupcakes: 100 Recipes for the Way You Really Cook by the Betty Crocker Editors. Click here to read my review of the cookbook.

Review: Betty Crocker Just Cupcakes

August 24, 2009

bettycrocker-justcupcakesWith recipes based on ready-made cake mixes and shortcuts for decorating, Betty Crocker Just Cupcakes delivers just what it promises – 100 recipes for the way you really cook. In this cookbook, you’ll learn how to make special-occasion cupcakes with every-day simplicity.

One of the most irresistible of all babycakes is the sugary confection of a cupcake. Just like cupcakes themselves, this cookbook is short and sweet. It includes everyday treats, seasonal recipes, celebration cakes, holiday themes, and cupcakes for kids. After each recipe you’ll also find a quick glance at nutrition facts for 1 serving, which is handy if you’re counting calories or have dietary restrictions.

If you’re looking for baking babycakes from scratch, this is not the cookbook for you. Although baking from scratch can be labor-intensive, I enjoy it immensely; but Betty Crocker Just Cupcakes, in a Sandra Lee-esque kind of way, offers some simple recipes for everyday treats with all the store-bought shortcuts and cheats. Ingredients are even built around what items (and sizes) you can most commonly find at a grocery store. Best of all, it offers some tricks for decorating that make it a valuable reference. After all, presentation is key. And if you’ve got kids around – whether they’re helping you with the mixing and decorating or just gobbling them up – Betty Crocker Just Cupcakes will be a good book to have on-hand. Next time you have a cupcake emergency, one of these recipes might just save the day.

The cover photo features the “Anniversary White Truffle Cupcake” which appears on page 82 inside the book. Every recipe has been tested by Betty Crocker Kitchens to make sure it meets their high standards of reliability, easy preparation and great taste. Get a glimpse inside the cookbook with the recipe for Betty Crocker’s “Easy Design Cupcakes.”

Oh, my Nana Banana Bread!

August 19, 2009

nanabananabreadA bundle of bananas we’re turning brown, so I put them to use for my über-moist Nana Banana Bread. Crazy delish for breakfast or afternoon snack! It’s bananas! My father calls it “monkey bread” because its so moist and banana-rich; he prefers it nutty with a handful of walnuts. On that note, this tasty recipe can be modified to suit your taste buds, cravings, or seasonal palette. See variations listed below the recipe for ideas.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 cup brown sugar or 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 medium-sized overripe bananas, mashed

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with butter or baking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Any excess batter can be poured into muffin or mini-muffin pan.
3. Bake loaf pan in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Muffins will be done after 20 to 30 minutes and mini-muffins after 12 to 15 minutes, depending on size. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

VARIATIONS

  • Go nuts and add 1 cup chopped walnuts to batter before pouring into pan.
  • Or, fold in 1 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips. After all, chocolate makes everything better.
  • Also, you can add 1 to 2 cups of raisins for additional texture.
  • Instead of sugar, use 1/4 cup of honey with 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
  • Or, go really rich and use 1 cup molasses in lieu of sugar.
  • To inspire autumn leaves to turn, add 1 to 2 teaspoons nutmeg to taste.

NUTRITION

1 serving roughly estimated, 1 slice or medium-size muffin (recipe as stated above made with 12 oz bag of chocolate chips added): 142 calories, 5g Total Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 22mg Cholesterol, 114mg Sodium, 22g Carbohydrates, 1g Fiber, 12g Sugar, 2g Protein.

Baking is a cathartic ritual

August 15, 2009

Somehow I find solace in mixing bowls and baking tins. I can clear my mind through the quiet rhythm of baking, especially at the end of a foul work day. How I love the process! And what’s not to love about a row of fluffy babycakes?! My husband grins when he finds me in the kitchen donned in a flour-covered apron with pie plates and spatulas in hand. He questions not my reasons, even if it’s midnight. Nothin’ but love for my babycakes. So, I’ve started this humble blog to chronicle my recipes, to share and discover new recipes and cookbooks for fellow bakers like myself, and also, to remind myself each day about all the sweet things that life has to offer. Stay tuned for my babycakes!