Love and Confections: December 2013

December 19, 2013

BABY L&C IS HERE and Pink Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

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I am so excited to publish this post. Baby Grace has decided to make her appearance! Mr. L&C and I could not be happier with our little princess. If you follow my Instagram feed, there will be many more pictures to come! Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishes and following my progress through this experience. We are doing well and can't wait to start this new journey with our little one.

To celebrate our new arrival I thought I'd share a go-to cake recipe of mine. Everything around here has been pink lately - even the cupcakes! This is a great recipe to whip up for any occasion. The cake flour makes it so light and I love the little flecks of vanilla seeds from the Vanilla Bean Paste.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
adapted from Swans Down Cake Flour

Vanilla Bean Cupcake Ingredients:
 - 2 sticks unsalted Butter, room temperature
 - 2 cups granulated Sugar
 - 2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste*
 - 4 Eggs, room temperature
 - 3 cups Cake Flour
 - 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
 - 1/2 teaspoon Salt
 - 1 cup Milk

Vanilla Bean Cupcake Directions:
 - Heat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.
 - In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the Butter and Sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add in the Vanilla Bean Paste and mix to combine.
 - Add in Eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides before adding flour.
 - In a separate bowl, sift together the Cake Flour, Baking Powder and Salt. Add Flour mixture and Milk, alternating by starting and ending with the Flour. Be careful not to overmix. Only mix until just combined to prevent a dense, dry cake.
 - Using a cookie scoop, evenly distribute in the cupcake tin and bake for 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes or 15-18 for standard size cupcakes, or until the cupcakes are just done and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
 - Cool for a few minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Vanilla Frosting from Sweetapolita - I tinted it light pink

*If you don't have Vanilla Bean Paste, you can use Vanilla Extract instead.

Until next time,

December 13, 2013

Homemade Holiday Gift Roundup

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Simple and easy homemade gifts are the perfect touch for the holiday season or as a hostess gift.

December 6, 2013

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

These Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies are sure to become a family favorite. Great chocolate taste with some festive peppermint candies mixed in.

December 3, 2013

Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts


I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday and long weekend! Now that it is December, I am counting down the days until Baby L&C makes her appearance. We are so excited (and scared - first-time Mom here) and ready to meet our little one. I have been doing some last minute baking to prep for baby down-time from the Blog. Hoping she holds out so I can get a few more recipes done. Speaking of recipes, here is one that I have wanted to try for a while...

I love doughnuts! Who doesn't? I mean, when you decide to go to the local mom & pop donut shop to celebrate your birthday, it's kind of a given. I love all kinds of doughnuts: baked, fried, filled, etc. There is no doughnut snobbery in this household.

I was given the opportunity to try out King Arthur Flour's Doughnut Pan recently. Aside from doughnuts, this pan is great for making Breakfast Sandwiches. King Arthur Flour also gave me a bottle of Boiled Cider to try out - man is this stuff good! There was no question when I decided to make Apple Cider Doughnuts for my first doughnut-making experience - I know, never made doughnuts. It's crazy, especially since they are so easy to make.

This is a great doughnut pan. It bakes evenly and is a breeze to clean. The little handles make it easy to take out of the oven. I still use cooking spray, even though it is a non-stick surface - you can never be too careful. It is slightly bigger than my other doughnut pan by another baking company. I will probably adjust my recipes to make a fluffier doughnut because it is slightly bigger. There are no complaints on my end about it and I can't wait to whip up another batch of delicious doughnuts!

Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts
adapted from King Arthur Flour
yield 18 doughnuts

Apple Cider Baked Doughnut Ingredients:
 - 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
 - 3 large Eggs
 - 1 & 1/4 cups granulated Sugar
 - 1 cup Applesauce
 - 4 tablespoons Boiled Cider*
 - 1 & 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
 - 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
 - 1 & 1/2 teaspoon Salt
 - 1 & 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
 - 8 ounces All Purpose Flour

Apple Cider Baked Doughnut Directions:
 - Heat oven to 350F and lightly grease the doughnut pan with cooking spray.
 - In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients except the Flour. Add in the flour and mix until combined.
 - Using a 1/4 measuring scoop, fill the doughnut tray and bake for about 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Maple Glaze Ingredients:
 - 1 & 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
 - 1 teaspoon Maple Flavoring, optional
 - 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
 - 3-5 tablespoons Heavy Cream, depending on glaze consistency

Maple Glaze Directions:
 - Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and dip the doughnut tops to cover. Alternatively, spoon glaze over doughnuts. Let sit for a few minutes so the glaze sets. Enjoy!

Until next time,

* The Boiled Cider has a very tangy and potent apple flavor. You can use anywhere from 2-4 tablespoons depending on the flavor profile you want.

Disclaimer: I received a Doughnut Pan and bottle of Boiled Cider for review purposes. All opinions are my own.