I Am Baker

Neapolitan Hi-Hat Cupcakes

I have been waiting all week long to share these with you!  My favorite, favorite, mostest favoritest everest summertime flavor combination is Neapolitan.  And this one is extra special to me!

 

Neapolitan Hi-Hat Cupcakes!

 

This cupcake is adapted from a cake in my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!  I have an entire cake that is a Neapolitan Hi-Hat.  It is a glorious and amazingly delicious and seriously unique HI-HAT CAKE!!

Neapolitan Hi-Hat Cake!  from Surprise-Inside Cakes!

 

photo credit Susan Powers from Surprise-Inside Cakes

I love that cake.  Sorry, I can’t help myself.

Back to the cupcake!

Neapolitan Hi-Hat Cupcakes!

 

This has got to be one of the greatest cupcakes ever, is that it is a Brownie bottom layer, a Strawberry cake layer, whipped cream (cool whip) piled high, and then semi-sweet chocolate coating.

Um, yeah.  It’s good.

To make the brownies you can use this recipe.

To make the strawberry cake you can use this recipe.  (That recipe is huge, so plan to make a cake from the left over batter)

For the whipped cream you can use this recipe. (substitute vanilla)  You can also use Cool Whip.

Chocolate Shell

Ingredients

  • 11 oz. chocolate chips or finely chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or shortening)

Instructions

  1. Combine chocolate and oil in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to small container with high sides (like a drinking glass, just make sure its wide enough to fit cupcake), and let cool about 15 minutes.
  2. OR
  3. Place chocolate and oil in a tall glass in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir. If chocolates not all melted, return to the microwave in 15 second increments until chocolate is all melted.
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To assemble the cupcakes you can use the method outlined on this post, Mardi-Gras Hi-Hat Cupcakes.

Neapolitan Hi-Hat Cupcakes!

 

Or you can get my book and use the all original from-scratch recipes in it!  I mean, who wouldn’t LOVE that Hi-Hat Cake?

Ok, I will stop.  Sometimes it’s hard to reign in the excitement when you love something, but for you I will try. :)

Neapolitan Hi-Hat Cupcakes!

Did you see all of the other cupcakes I shared this week?

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Coconut Angel Food Cupcakes!

Coconut Angel Food Cupcakes

Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes! Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

s'mores cupcakes! #chocolate #summerdessertsS’mores Cupcakes

I Am Baker

s’mores cupcakes

I think one of my favorite summertime flavors is s’mores.  There is something so comforting about melting marshmallows between chocolate and graham crackers.

It’s almost as if the food has transcended flavor to represent something more; a feeling of joy, peace, love, family and friends.

s'mores cupcakes! #chocolate #summerdesserts

More specifically though, there is something quite magical about a melting marshmallow.  I have to admit, I am one of those people who likes it burnt.  Are there any other burnt fans out there?

How to Make Marshmallows for Smores

 

(from the Great Marshmallow Debate)

Completely burnt and still on fire.  I mean, I try to put the fire out first, you know, for safety reasons and stuff.  Those burnt marshmallows above?  They are not quite burnt enough.

Seriously.  But I digress.

s'mores cupcakes! #chocolate #summerdesserts

Upon reflection, I think half of the fun in s’mores is the process.

Being with loved ones on a warm summer evening.  Sharing oozy gooey desserts, licking fingers and laughing at all the messes.  Cleaning up the garbage by throwing it in the fire.

Now that is fun. #youknowyourareoldwhen

s'mores cupcakes! #chocolate #summerdesserts

Now when it comes to the cupcake, everything changed.  Since the emotion and tradition was tied to the original process (and not the the s’mores cupcake)  I was completely focused on flavor.

Here is how I like a s’mores cupcake.  The chocolate has to be RICH and bold.  The graham cracker and marshmallow, they can hold their own and need no assistance.  The chocolate cake, however, needs to be kicked up a notch.

This is the Perfect Chocolate Cake simply done in cupcakes.

s’mores chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I use decaf)
  • 1 cup good quality chocolate, preferably bittersweet and finely chopped
  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 20 crackers)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 24 regular sized marshmallows (not mini)

Instructions

  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl and mix until combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Fold in finely chopped chocolate.
  5. Prepare graham cracker crust. Add metled butter to graham crackers and combine until moistened. Spread about 1 tablespoon of crumbs into bottom of cupcake liner. Press down flat.
  6. Pour the batter (a heaping tablespoon) into the prepared cupcake pans and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  8. Marshmallows
  9. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, set out 6 marshmallows. (You will be working in batches of six) Place under broiler for about 1-2 minutes, or until marshmallow starts to turn brown and deflate. Remove from oven and (being careful not to touch pan!) slide a spatula under the marshmallow and set on cupcake. Press gently to flatten. (You can also just pick up slightly melted marshmallow from cookie sheet and transfer to cupcake.)
  10. Best served warm!
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This recipe was adapted from a million sources, and I claim no credit in the idea what-so-ever.  I read about a hundred posts on s’mores cupcakes and have yet to find the original source.  If you know, be sure to let me know! :)

s'mores cupcakes! #chocolate #summerdesserts

I had a couple issues with process here.  I liked the idea of placing the marshmallow right on the cooled cupcake and then placing under the broiler, but this also sometimes burned the edges of the cupcake liner and that is no fun.  However, if the cupcake is very chilled it will help.

Basically all that happened because I was too scared to use my husbands medium sized blowtorch by myself.  #foodbloggerproblems

Overall though, I preferred the method of roasting the marshmallows separately then placing them on the cupcake.  It was easy and fun and ended up being an effective way to brown the marshmallow without a mini torch.

s'mores cupcakes! #chocolate #summerdesserts

 

Now I just need to make these a few more times with the kids so that we will develop a new s’more tradition.  These are the sacrifices I make for my family. ;)

It has been Cupcake Week here at iambaker, where I am showcasing easy, fun, and delicious SummerTime flavors of cupcakes!  Check out these other flavors!

 

Cherry Limeade Cupcake! Delicate lime cupcake with sweet Maraschino cherry frosting!

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Coconut Angel Food Cupcakes!

Coconut Angel Food Cupcakes

Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes!

Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

And don’t forgot to stop back tomorrow for my FAVORITE summertime cupcake flavor ever.  You will not want to miss it!!

I Am Baker

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Let the summertime fun begin!

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

 

This week I am all about baking.  Let me get even more specific:  baking cupcakes.  Wait, I can get even more specific.  Baking summertime flavor cupcakes!

There are a few “flavors” that come to mind when I think about the warmth and fun of summer.  Drinking a refreshing limeade is one of them!

 

Cherry Limeade Cupcake!  Delicate lime cupcake with sweet Maraschino cherry frosting!

I have to tell you, this cupcake is heavenly.  I adapted it from Sprinkles Key Lime recipe, (very small adaptations!  There is a reason she has a successful cupcake empire!) and am completely smitten.  The crumb is delicate, the texture is soft and the flavor is subtle, yet bold.

Well, that makes no sense.  It’s subtle until you add the secret weapon of flavor!

Right after the cupcakes come out of the oven, brush on some extra lime juice.  I made some with this method and some without and absolutely loved the extra little zing that it gives the final cupcake.

Cherry Limeade Cupcake!  Delicate lime cupcake with sweet Maraschino cherry frosting!

 

I also made some with lime zest sprinkled over top but did not like that as much.  It was a tad overpowering and didn’t add anything to the cupcake texture-wise.  So a lone cherry it is!

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp lime juice, divided
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • Frosting
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffins tins. (This recipe yielded 15 muffins for me.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together room temperature butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add in eggs, one at a time and mix until just blended.
  4. Add in vanilla, 2 tablespoons of lime juice and milk and mix for about 30 seconds on low. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Remove from mixer then fold in lime zest with spatula.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes.
  7. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack.
  8. Use pastry brush to brush remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice over the top of the cupcake.
  9. Let cupcakes cool completely and dry before topping with cherry frosting.
  10. Frosting
  11. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  12. Add almond flavoring and cherry juice continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more juice if needed for spreading consistency.
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Tips for success:

I bought a jar of cherries and then simply placed them on the cupcakes before serving.  However, I would recommend removing the cherries from the juice and placing on a paper towel prior to placing.   Doing that will ensure that the cherry juice doesn’t drip into the frosting and all over the place.  I only recommend this for appearance sake; if you like the extra cherry juice flavor then ignore.

If you want extra extra lime juice flavor you can poke holes into your cupcakes with a toothpick before brushing on lime juice.

I used a 1E tip from Bakery Crafts to pipe the frosting onto these cupcakes.

Cherry Limeade Cupcake!  Delicate lime cupcake with sweet Maraschino cherry frosting!

 

I completely adore these simple and fun cupcakes and hope you will too!

cake-res

If you love creative and beautiful creations (dang I am humble, huh?) , be sure to get my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!

I Am Baker

Brownie Frosting

I have a confession.  I have never liked frosting on brownies.  It was a rash decision that I made when I was a teenager and for some reason it stuck.  Kind of like deciding that you dislike peas so never ever ever trying them ever again.

The Perfect Chocolate Frosting for Brownies

Well.  I was a foolish, foolish, foolish girl.

I made some From-Scratch Brownie Mix this week.  As I was scouring the internet for simple yet delicious recipes, I stumbled upon this frosting recipe.

It was new to me in that it had honey.

Why honey?

I don’t know.  But I love it.

The Perfect Chocolate Frosting for Brownies

 

Let me tell you why this is the perfect frosting specifically for brownies.

1.  It’s soft, but ‘crusts’ ever so slightly.  The texture and consistency is natural and pure.

2. It is complimentary.  It adds to the overall flavor combination, not making one or the other the star of the show.

3. It is made to be applied to warm brownies, meaning that it locks in the moisture of the brownie itself and creates this seamless transition of velvety smoothness to chewy gooey brownie.

Brownie Frosting

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk (or heavy cream)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (may also use hand mixer), combine room temperature butter, cocoa, honey, vanilla and sugar.
  2. Turn mixer on low and let it combine ingredients for about 30 seconds.
  3. Slowly add in milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency. You may not need all 3 tablespoons, you may need 1 more.
  4. Spread over warm brownies.
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Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

The Perfect Chocolate Frosting for Brownies

 

I think it’s safe to say that I am officially converted into a fan of frosting on brownies.

But I am curious to know, what do you prefer?  Frosting or no frosting?

Be sure to check out my new book, Surprise Inside Cakes!

 

I Am Baker

Homemade Brownie Mix

I am a sucker for a good box mix brownie.  I know, I know, it’s like against Foodie Law to say such a thing, but I can’t help it.  I like a consistently good brownie.  I like it to have a flakey crust.  I like it chewy inside.  I like to taste the chocolate.

From-Scratch Brownie Mix!

 

But I also like convenience.  And ease.  And being able to dump stuff in a bowl and make magic.  (I know, I know, it’s bad and wrong, but it was how I was raised.  Isn’t there something to be said for the comfort of a tradition?)

So this is my attempt to capture the ease of a box mix, but without the other icky stuff.

Here is why I like this recipe:
It tastes good and easily lends itself to adaptations. (Add chocolate chips, double the recipe, add frosting, etc.)

It’s not huge.  Most people don’t have five kids like me and prefer “normal” size pan of brownies.  (This recipe yields nine brownies.)

There are only three “wet” ingredients.

Homemade Brownie Mix!  This will replace your box mix!

 

Butter, eggs, and vanilla.

And the recipe can be made on one bowl too.

How awesome is that?

Homemade Brownie Mix

Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Wet Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter melted, then cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Sift together all dry ingredients. Place into a jar or airtight container.
  2. On a gift tag or label write the wet ingredients and quantities and then directions. "Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat two eggs with the vanilla. Add in and gently stir dry ingredients. Pour the melted butter into brownie mixture and mix until just incorporated. Spread batter in a prepared 8-inch square pan and bake for 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees."
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Recipe just barely adapted from allrecipes.com.

For a fun option you can add in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or tie a good quality dark chocolate candy bar to the jar.  It can be chopped and added to the batter.

 

Homemade Brownie Mix!

I think these brownies are really good, but I especially loved them when paired with a sweetly tart fruit like raspberries.

And stacked in a pile of three and covered in chocolate sauce.

That’s just how I roll folks.  That’s just how I roll.

Here is the perfect chocolate frosting made just for these brownies!

The Perfect Chocolate Frosting for Brownies

Check out these other great homemade treats:

Homemade Cake Mix!

 Yellow Cake Mix From Scratch

Homemade White Cake Mix

White Cake Mix From Scratch

And don’t forget to check out my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!

 

I Am Baker

White Chocolate Confetti Cheesecake

This is just plain fun!!

White Chocolate Confetti Cheesecake

 

It’s a little something of everything I adore… cheesecake, Oreo crust, white chocolate, and sprinkles!

But here’s the skinny: (Please note, that will be the only time I will use the word ‘skinny’ in reference to this recipe)

My husband keeps telling me that the Oreo crust is too much!  Like in this neapolitan cheesecake.  Just stop with the Oreo crust he says!

But I can’t.  I love it!

However, he may have a small point in that the chocolate crust does compete with the delicate flavors of white chocolate and cream cheese (and strawberry in this case).

I think a shortbread, graham cracker or vanilla cookie crust would all be really lovely with this cheesecake.

White Chocolate Confetti Cheesecake!

 

I utilize Cool Whip as a topping, but you can certainly use heavy whipped cream and make your own.

To make Homemade Whipped Cream:

Start with cold heavy creamy and pour it into stand mixer with whisk attachment.  When the cream starts to thicken, add in sugar. (A good rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons of sugar for every cup of cream)  Continue beating until soft peaks occur.

Don’t overbeat as you will then have butter.

White Chocolate Confetti Cheesecake

The star of this show is definitely the sprinkles!  I added some into the cheesecake as well as on top.  They are so fun to look at and surely do bring a smile to anyone’s face.  Which is why I do what I do.  I am a SMILE MAKER darnit!

White Chocolate Confetti Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup rainbow sprinkles, plus extra for garnish

Instructions

  1. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in stand mixer until well blended.
  2. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.
  3. Add chocolate; mix until just combined.
  4. Pour in sprinkles and fold into cheesecake batter with spatula.
  5. Pour over crust.
  6. Bake 55 minutes to an hour or until center is almost set.
  7. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.
  9. For the whipped cream I used a large closed star tip and piped out little billows.
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Recipe inspired by this recipe from Kraft.

As I mentioned above, I used Oreo for the crust.  I use the pre-packaged crumbs, as seen in detail here.  Simply add 2 tablespoons melted better to crumbs then press into springform pan.  I used an 8-inch springform pan for this recipe.

White Chocolate Confetti Cheesecake!

 

As you can imagine, this was a huge hit with the kids.  They love the color and and fun that sprinkles bring!  Heck, so do I.

If you like what you see on my blog, be sure to check out my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!

I Am Baker

BEST Ever Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

There is a reason I can say that.  These cookies are adapted from the New York Times BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  With a few simple modifications, the recipe turned into a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie!

New York Times rated Best Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie!

Well, its actually a chocolate, chocolate, white chocolate chip cookie, but that is just a bit redundant don’t you think?

To which my husband would say, “No.  It is an accurate representation of the ingredients, redundant is excessive use of, or not useful.”

To which I say, “Shut up.  No cookies for you.”

Then he takes one anyway and smacks me on the behind.

Then I punch him in the arm.

The end.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (6 ounces) good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 heaping cup (8 ounces) granulated
  • sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (chips are fine)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped (or chips) in microwave safe measuring cup and add in 2 tablespoons butter. Heat for 45 seconds, then remove and stir. If chocolate is not all melted, return to microwave for 10 second increments until fully melted.
  2. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream room temperature butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time.
  4. Slowly add in melted (and slightly cooled) chocolate and vanilla.
  5. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours. (Do not skip this step!)
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. (325 convection)
  8. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake. Slightly gooey centers is the best way to eat!
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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie!

We loved all the different layers of flavor in these cookies.

One thing I recommend:  DO NOT SKIP THE REFRIGERATION TIME!  I know it adds a day to the process, but it is worth it.  Also, the dough is yummy so you can snack on that if you are insanely patient like me.

Don’t skip the salt either.  It really makes a difference.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies based on the NYTimes Best Recipe!

 

Hope you enjoy these!

I Am Baker

Vanilla Bundt Cake with Vanilla Frosting

I have probably made three bundt cakes in my life, and I totally plan on rectifying that this year.  I declare 2014 the YEAR OF THE BUNDT!

My bundt cakes will be overly a-bundt-ant.

Ha, ha, see what I did there??

Vanilla Bundt Cake on MacKenzie-Childs Cakestand

 

This is simply a vanilla bundt cake with vanilla glaze.  Well, maybe there is a bit more to it than that…

But what I really want to talk about here is that cake stand.  I am completely smitten with it!  The designer is MacKenzie-Childs, and this particular stand is called “Flower Market”.

MacKenzie-Childs Flower Market Cake Stand

 

There is something so beautiful to me about the bold geometric design paired with the delicate yet colorful beautiful flowers.  This cake stand is one of my most prized! (It is available in two sizes and both are wonderful!)

I really wanted to make sure that the cake could stand up to the elegance of it; that the cake was subtle in beauty, but delicious and bold in flavor.

Vanilla Bundt on MacKenzie-Childs Cake Stand

 

Vanilla Bundt Cake with Vanilla Glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla Glaze
  • 2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour Bundt pan.
  2. Beat granulated sugar, butter, and eggs in stand mixer at medium speed until well blended. Change speed to low and add milk and vanilla; change back to medium speed and mix well. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat about 1 minute or until smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared pan.* Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Gently loosen cake from pan with knife and turn out onto wire rack; cool completely.
  4. Vanilla Glaze
  5. Put powder sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in medium bowl and mix until fully incorporated. If glaze is not runny enough, add more milk. You will want glaze to be thick enough to hold it's "drip" on the cake, but runny enough to pour.
  6. *If making surprise-inside cake see additional directions in blog post.
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Two things:  I made a Surprise-Inside Cake in my bundt!  I was so inspired by the flowers on the cake stand and plates that I added a two-toned blue flower with a yellow center to my bundt cake!

To make the flowers I followed this general design for a surprise-inside cake.

If anyone wants to know how to do this flower specifically, let me know in the comments and I will put together a tutorial.

 

Vanilla Bundt Surprise-Inside Cake on MacKenzie-Childs Cake Stand

 

Also…

MacKenzie-Childs is giving one lucky i am baker reader a $1000 Gift Card!

Now YOU can shop at MacKenzie-Childs to your hearts content.  Just look at this page.  It’s like a dessert makers DREAM!

Just answer the question in the giveaway entry form below and you will be all entered!

This giveaway is open until June 21st.  $1000 gift card provided by MacKenzie-Childs.  I was provided with some product, but all opinions about the product are my own.

Official Rules HERE, although this giveaway is open to world.

If you like surprise-inside Cakes, be sure to check out my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!!

I Am Baker

Neapolitan Cheesecake

I am all about easy and fun this summer.  With my youngest babe now a year old, getting out and about outside is definitely a priority!

Neapolitan Cheesecake!  Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate no-bake cheesecake!

 

Not only do we love to spend as much outside as possible, but when I am inside, I don’t always want to be in front of a hot oven.  That’s why this recipe is a great one; it has a really fun and pretty design and it is NO BAKE!  No turning on the oven!  No cranking up the AC to compensate!

Neapolitan Cheesecake!  Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate no-bake cheesecake!

 

And it’s got an Oreo cookie crust.

Which basically means that it will be awesome, because anything with an Oreo cookie crust is awesome.  It’s like the law or something.

Oreo Law.

(that’s totally a thing)

Neapolitan Cheesecake!  Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate no-bake cheesecake!

So this past few days I spent a lot of time listening to Todd & Diane from White on Rice Couple.  They just did a wonderful class with CreativeLive over the course of three days.  It was intense and jam packed full of amazing and useful information.

They talked a lot about lighting for photography and food photography.  Specifically, they talked about backlighting.  And I became obsessed.

So I made this cheesecake specifically so that I could photograph something utilizing back light.

Neapolitan Cheesecake!  Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate no-bake cheesecake!

 

Well… get to day three and Todd & Diane are actually photographing a cake  ***squee*** and I could not be more excited.  I have my cheesecake ready to go.  I have gotten a few shots of the un-cut and cut-into cheesecake already, trying to remember the wonderful tips they shared.

As much as I love the idea of backlight, it was SO hard!  The front was too dark.  The white backgrounds all turned really grey.  The top was totally blown out!  WHY DO I SUCK SO BAD AT THIS!?!

So anyway, I was listening to them talk about shooting the cake and what do I hear? Diane casually says, “I don’t like backlight for this (their chocolate cake).  It’s too blown out.”

Dang it.  Dang it.  DANG IT!  It’s so obvious.  DA!  I have already cut into my cheesecake and committed to the back light idea and it was the WRONG thing to choose with this cheesecake.  I mean really, what was I thinking?  BLACK and WHITE contrasting colors.  Of course it was going to get all blown out!

***hangs head in defeat***

Neapolitan Cheesecake!  Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate no-bake cheesecake!  This was as close as I could get to not-hideous using backlight.  I am going to start saving my pennies so that I can take a class from Todd & Diane in person!  That or I need to purchase their CreativeLive class and watch it again without distraction. :)

All that being said, this cheesecake was pretty darn good.  My husband said that it was way too chocolately and my daughter asked if I could remove the strawberry and vanilla layer so she could just eat the chocolate.

So yeah.  That’s helpful.

Neapolitan Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Chocolate Cheesecake
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whipped cream (can be homemade or store bought)
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry extract
  • 1 cup whipped cream (can be homemade or store bought)
  • **red food coloring if you prefer
  • Vanilla Cheesecake
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup whipped cream (can be homemade or store bought)

Instructions

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in 2 cup measuring cup. Add Oreo cookie crumbs and combine. Press crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed or buttered. Use a glass or flat object to evenly press crumbs into bottom and sides of pan.
  2. Chocolate Filling
  3. In stand mixer combine room temperature cream cheese and sugar, blend on medium low for about 2 minutes.
  4. While that is mixing, place chocolate chips in microwave safe measuring cup and add in 2 tablespoons butter. Heat for 45 seconds, then remove and stir. If chocolate is not all melted, return to microwave for 10 second increments until fully melted.
  5. Pour chocolate into cream cheese mixture and beat on medium for about 30 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in whipped cream with spatula.
  6. Once combined, pour chocolate cream cheese into springform pan.
  7. Using spatula, carefully press the chocolate cream cheese down and towards the sides, ensuring it gets into every nook and cranny. You will want a flat, level layer of the chocolate cream cheese.
  8. Place springform pan into freezer.
  9. Clean out mixer bowl.
  10. Strawberry Filling
  11. In stand mixer combine room temperature cream cheese and sugar, blend on medium low for about 2 minutes. With mixer off, add in strawberry extract.
  12. **If you want a deeper color, now is the time to add 1-2 drops of red food coloring.
  13. Blend for 30 seconds on medium speed, then remove bowl from mixer.
  14. Using rubber spatula, fold in whipped cream.
  15. Place all strawberry cream cheese mixture into a plastic disposable pastry bag (16 inch works best) and cut off about 2 inches from top of bag.
  16. Remove chocolate cheesecake from freezer.
  17. Starting at the outer edge, pipe out the strawberry cheesecake in circles, moving in. The goal is to create an even and level layer of cheesecake over the chocolate cheesecake. If necessary, go back in with an offset spatula and even out layer.
  18. Place cheesecake in freezer.
  19. Vanilla Filling
  20. In stand mixer combine room temperature cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice, and blend on medium low for about 2 minutes.
  21. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in whipped cream with a spatula.
  22. Place all cheesecake mixture into pastry bag and cut off about a 2-inch tip.
  23. Remove cheesecake from freezer.
  24. Starting at the outer edge, pipe vanilla cheesecake on top of strawberry cheesecake. Move from the outside in. If necessary, go back in with an offset spatula and even out layer.
  25. Place cheesecake in fridge for 1-2 hours or until ready to serve.
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Neapolitan Cheesecake!  Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate no-bake cheesecake!

 

I just love how this looks… with the deep dark chocolate crust and then chocolate cheesecake, then strawberry cheesecake, then the sweet vanilla cheesecake.  It’s a Neapolitan  and Cheesecake lovers dream!

Check out some of my other Neapolitan Desserts:

Neapolitan Rose Cake

Neapolitan Rose Cake!

 

Neapolitan Bars

Neapolitan Bars!

 

Neapolitan Rose Spritz Cookies

Neapolitan Rose Spritz Cookies!

 

Neapolitan Cupcakes

Neapolitan Cupcakes!

I Am Baker

Blueberry Brownies

I was on a mission to create the most decadent and fudgey and chocolately and blueberrily brownie ever.

Decadent Blueberry Brownies! #fudgey #chocolate #brownie

 

The center had to have a rich fudge-like texture but the top had to have a delicate and crisp flakey crust.  That in itself is the definition of a perfect brownie (in my humble opinion), but I had to take it one step further.  With all the richness of the multiple levels of chocolate, I wanted to add in a slightly natural raw bitterness most perfectly accomplished with a plump, juicy blueberry.

I heart blueberries.

With all my heart.

And I hope you heart them too.

Decadent Blueberry Brownies! #fudgey #chocolate #brownie

I love them so much I am not even offering up alternatives to blueberry in this recipe.  Please only use blueberries.  Also, I am going for a record on how many times I can say blueberries in one blog post.

This recipe is an adaptation of my Original Blueberry Brownie recipe.  That recipe has a bit more of a cake-like texture and I felt like going for more of a fudge-like consistency, which is why I omitted the baking powder.  If you prefer a cake-like texture, be sure to use that original recipe.

Blueberry Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 stick butter (I use unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 350 and prepare your pan. ( I baked mine at 325 in a convection oven for 31 minutes.)
  2. In a saucepan, add butter and blueberries and simmer over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and add in mini chocolate chips. Stir until melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add a spoonful of the blueberry mixture to the egg mixture to temper it. (you dont want your egg to scramble)
  4. Now add your tempered egg mixture to the saucepan of blueberries and mix well.
  5. Add in cocoa, flour and salt and mix until just combined.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with minimal crumb. It is essential that you want to center to be gooey if you want a fudge like consistency, so try to not over bake.
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If you do want to add baking powder, I would add about 3/4 tsp.

Decadent Blueberry Brownies! #fudgey #chocolate #brownie

 

These brownies are AH-mazing.  The texture is everything I dreamed it would be and the flavor is outstanding.  When those blueberries pop and burst within the rich chocolate brownie bite, it’s nothing short of perfection.