Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day Baking, part 2

I haven't done much baking lately and needed a fix. Mother's Day gave me the perfect excuse. I actually wanted to do even more baking, including some bread, but only ended up making two desserts. You've already seen the simple yet perfectly delicious Lemon Cake with Raspberries, but I wanted to make something a little more kid-friendly.

I'm a huge fan of foodgawker and tastespotting and have literally hundreds of recipes bookmarked in my browser and/or saved to my bloglines feed. One of them is a recipe for the "perfect" cupcake filling. I decided to give it a try.

I'd also seen a reference to a gluten-free cake mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen. It caught my attention because my sister has been tossing around the idea that she might be allergic to gluten. I went the the Cherrybrook Kitchen website to see if any local stores carry their products. Many do, including the area Super Target, the very place I needed to go anyway. Hoorah!

The cake mix came together and baked up just fine. The texture was good as was the taste, albeit less sweet than you would expect. No worries as I was planning to fill them with a super sweet concoction and top with an equally sweet frosting.

Speaking of frosting, I bought the Cherrybrook Kitchen vanilla frosting and was really disappointed. The taste was OK, but the texture was just wrong. It was NOTHING like a can of Duncan Hines frosting or homemade for that matter. It was not remotely fluffy and had the consistency of paste. Not something I wanted to put on the top of my cupcakes. So I doctored it up and it came out great. (Let this be a lesson to me—make your own frosting!)

On to the recipes. Now, I improvised like crazy, so what you read below is almost entirely an approximation.

Creamy Caramel Marshmallow Filling
loosely adapted from (click for original recipe)

5 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 jar marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (homemade, if you've got it!)

Beat the dickens out of the butter; add fluff, caramel and vanilla and beat like crazy; add powdered sugar and well, you know.

To fill the cupcakes, you can either shove the tip of a pastry bag into the center and squeeze in about a tablespoon, or you can cut a hole out of the center, fill it with cream then jam the piece of cake back on. OK, maybe not JAM it on, but you will need to be a bit forceful. I cut the pointy bottom off of the cake plugs to make some room for the filling.

Now to cover up the evidence of filling—Frosting!

Creamy Vanilla Marshmallow Frosting (with a hint of caramel)
my own "creation" — there's a hint of caramel because I left some of the filling in the mixing bowl and just added to it.

3/4 jar prepared frosting
1/2 cup ? marshmallow fluff
left over filling

Beat it, just beat it — WOO!

This is not a stiff frosting, but it holds a loose shape fairly well. Pipe it on the cupcakes in whatever manner you see fit. Enjoy!

p.s. The filling was sticky and delicious. Kids and grownups alike enjoyed them. I'd be willing to guess that the original recipe is just as good and I'll probably make it again. I might even follow the recipe next time!

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