Friday, July 4, 2014

New Website!

Hi Everyone!

For those that are new and those following me along the way, you can now visit me on my new website for ordering information and promotions.

I still plan on updating the blog with recipes and such, but please ask that all orders inquiries be directed to the above website or email at


Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Apologies!!

Hi Everyone! 

I've gotta make this short and sweet as I have to get back to decorating.  I want to apologize for my absence, as I have not had any time to update this blog.  I just completed my first season at the Baker's Market and it was fun!  While tiring, I did get to meet many new people, make lots of new friends and had the pleasure of making cookies and cupcakes for some of you out there! 

In due time I will be back to blogging and updating this with photos.  I have lots, and lots of creations that have yet to be shared!

Until then, please visit me on Facebook for instant updates and for ordering. 

Happy Baking!!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

Ok, so confession time.  I used to only eat Red Velvet Cake or Cupcakes because of the frosting.  However, after a few trial and error recipes in the kitchen, I've got a great recipe that will make you a believer in Red Velvet Cupcakes too.  Keep in mind this recipe is for cupcakes and cupcakes only.  Why you ask?  This recipe is very light, and not the dense, rich and heavy cake that Red Velvet is typically known for.  It is sweet with a hint of cocoa, and is balanced with a frosting that is creamy and has a slight tang.  Best of both worlds if you ask me!

Ingredients for Cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon red gel paste *you may also use liquid colouring, but will have to use a lot
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for Frosting:
  • 1- 8oz block creamcheese, cubed, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter or salted, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract (this is imitation and used if you want to achieve a white frosting)
  • 1 - 1kg bag or 2lbs powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit this if using salted butter)

1.  Preheat your oven to 325F if using dark non-stick muffin pans or 350F for light coloured pans.  Line 2 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners, or grease extremely well with a baking spray.

2.  In your stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or hand-mixer with the beater blades, beat your already softened butter for a minute on high.  Turn the speed down to lower, scrape down the sides of your bowl and add in the sugar.  Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until it has creamed, or is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  While your butter and sugar are creaming, you can sift together your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, buttermilk powder and salt).

3.  Scrape down the bowl, and on medium speed slowly incorporate your eggs one at a time.  Once all the eggs have been incorporated, add in your sour cream, milk, gel paste colour and flavouring.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  At this point your batter will look like a curdled mess.  No worries, it will all come together.  

4.  With your mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Do not overmix your batter.

5.  Fill the wells of your muffin pan 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Remove from the oven when done and let cool.  While your cupcakes are cooling, work on your frosting.  


1.  With your clean bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Add in your shortening and beat that until the mixture lightens in colour.  Scrape down the bowl and add in the creamcheese cubes a couple of pieces at a time.  You worked hard to create a smooth mixture, you do not want to dump in the creamcheese and end up with chunks and lumps.  While this does not affect flavour, it will affect your the overall look of your piped frosting.  

2.  Once all of the fat (yes, it is ALL fat) is combined, turn your mixer down to low.  Toss in your vanilla and mix.  You will now add in your powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, so as not to create a dust cloud in your kitchen and on yourself.  Trust me, it is not fun to clean, and your kids will laugh at you and tell the story to all of their friends, and their friends parents, and your neighbors and whoever else they think will get a kick out of it.    

3.  Beat your frosting until it is smooth.  It may be a touch thick, and if you need to, thin it out with some milk or cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.  I generally don't as I use this particular recipe because I like that it holds its shape when piped.  If you want a creamcheese frosting to be used as a filling, you may want to try a whipped creamcheese frosting instead.  Go ahead and fill your piping bag and toss that in the fridge and take the time to tidy up a bit.  Your cupcakes still need another 15 minutes or so to completely cool.  Piping frosting on now would result in a soupy mess.

Okay, so your cupcakes have been resting a good half an hour or so by now, and are ready to go.  I used a disposable piping bag and a Wilton 1M tip to achieve a 3 rosette design, but you can pipe any way you like.  Hell, if you want that rustic look, forgo the bag and use the back of spoon and smear on the frosting.  You can even make cupcakes in a jar, and layer it like a trifle.  Whatever you do, just make sure you are having fun doing it.  

1. Feel free to use pure vanilla extract, just know that your frosting may come out a bit yellow tinged.

2.  Don't have buttermilk powder?  Use fresh buttermilk in place of the whole milk for the cake recipe.  Don't have fresh buttermilk or buttermilk powder?  Remove 1/2 tablespoon of milk from your 1/2 cup, and replace that with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice.  Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using in your recipe.

Side Note:
My apologies for my absence.  I have been quite the busy bee working away on cookies and other orders in addition to getting ready for the Baker's Market.  The first market date was February 16th, and while I was prepared in terms of baked goods, I was not prepared for the madness!  It was busy, and stressful at times but so much fun!  I will be spending the next few days baking up a storm of more cookies, cupcakes and cakes for the weekend!

Until next time, Happy Baking!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Make Fondant---A Photo Tutorial

I have a love/hate relationship with fondant.  I love the way it looks on a finished cake, cupcake or cookie, but have always hated the way the high cost and more importantly the taste.  It tastes almost like a chalky taffy gone bad.  Today I will share with you a recipe for homemade fondant that is inexpensive, and not only looks good, but tastes good too!  

  • 15 oz mini marshmallow (this is by weight, not in liquid ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons Lorann Princess Emulsion (the secret ingrediant)
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup if you want it pure white (since I`m colouring it, I used golden)
  • 1 kg bag of icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • microwave safe bowl
  • rubber spatula
  • plastic wrap
  • ziploc bag
1.  Grease your microwave safe bowl with shortening and make sure to grease the entire surface.  We will be melting marshmallows in the bowl and it will be far easier to mix if you generously coat the surface.  Next, grease your spatula---not just the paddle but the lower portion of the handle as well.  Finally, grease your sanitized counter.  You will need a work surface large enough to knead the fondant.  Roll up your sleeves and let's get started!  

2.  Dump the mini marshmallows into the greased bowl and add the water.  You can use regular marshmallows or even jumbo in the same weight as the recipe calls for, but they do not melt as evenly and you will have to stop and start the microwave more frequently and for a longer period of time.  Heat the marshmallows on high in 30 second intervals, stirring between with your greased spatula, until they have puffed.  This should take roughly 2 maybe 2 1/2 minutes depending on your microwave. 

Your marshmallows will inflate, so be sure you have a large enough bowl

3.  Once the marshmallows have fully melted, stir in the lemon juice, salt, flavouring, and corn syrup.  You do not have to use the Princess Emulsion, but can substitute it for 1/2 teaspoon each of pure vanilla, almond and lemon extracts.  I personally love the emulsion and if I could, would use it in EVERYTHING.  The flavour combination of the extracts really stands out in the fondant.  If you don't like the sound of those 3 together, just use a tried and true favourite:  Vanilla.  

4.  After you have blended in the those ingrediants, comes the fun part.  Begin stirring in 1 cup of your sifted icing sugar.  You will be doing this 1 cup at a time, until you have reached 4 cups. The fondant should start to thicken and will be quite sticky.  At the 4th cup it will become quite hard to stir and you will now need to wash your hands, and then coat them generously with shortening.  When I say generously, I mean generously.  You do not want this mixture sticking to your hands, as it like hot glue.  The harder you fight with it, the more stringy it will become.  You have been warned.  

5.  Pour the fondant onto your greased work surface, and scrape up any remaining fondant from the bowl.  You can always knead the fondant in the bowl a bit before turning it out on the counter, but I prefer to skip that step.  Once the fondant is on the counter, begin incorporating another 1 cup of icing sugar.  See how thick the fondant is above, now looks like putty below? Again, please grease your hands well.      

6.  Knead the fondant by folding the sugar dough over itself and towards you, and then using the heel of your hands, press down and  push it away from you.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  When you feel the dough becoming sticky, add a 1/4 cup of icing sugar at a time.  Depending on the humidity and time of year, you may not use all of your icing sugar.  Today I only used 6 cups total.  Once the dough is not sticky, and is soft and pliable you have successfully made fondant.

Photo credit for the above photos goes to my
5 year old, who snuck into the kitchen for an orange.

6.  Be careful not to add too much sugar.  You do not want this to be dry.  Dry fondant will crack and be very difficult to use, and is not pleasant in appearance (or taste and texture).  Form it into a smooth, round ball and coat it with shortening. 

7.  Take some good quality plastic wrap and tightly wrap your fondant and then place in a zipseal plastic bag, remove all the air and seal shut.  Try not to use the ones made for sandwiches, but freezer bags.  This will ensure that air does not get into the fondant, which will lead it to dry out and crack.  Now toss the fondant in the fridge and let it rest overnight.  If your fridge looks anything like mine, you should probably clear some space in your fridge BEFORE starting this process.

Once the fondant has rested and firmed up a bit, you can roll it out or use it in molds to make decorations, or even colour it with gel paste.  I will be using this fondant for a special cake that I am making this weekend, and hope to show guys along the way.  Maybe I will even show you how to make a rainbow cake?  

Fondant has been coloured mauve and pressed into silicone molds.
 These can now be airbrushed or painted or used as is.


1.  If you require only one shade of fondant, you can add gel paste to the melted marshmallow at the same time you are adding in your flavouring.  Be sure to wear gloves when kneading.  

2.  This fondant does not need to refrigerated after it has rested.  Wrap tightly in saran or a zipseal bag and store it at room temperature, away from direct heat or light.  If you find that it has hardened a bit, you can gently soften it by reheating it in the microwave in 5-8 second intervals. If you see slight fissures or cracks, knead in a small amount of shortening and it will be pliable and smooth once again.  

3.  Chocolate lovers rejoice!  You can add melted chocolate or white chocolate to create chocolate marshmallow fondant (similar to modelling chocolate).  You will achieve the same finished look on your cakes but with a different flavour.  If you do use white chocolate and want to colour it, be sure to use candy colour and NOT regular gel paste or your chocolate will seize.

4.  If you do not want to use your hands or a spatula for that matter, you can use your stand mixer and a dough hook to knead the fondant.  Be sure to grease the mixing bowl and dough hook, before pouring in your melted marshmallow mixture.  

Hope you found this tutorial helpful.  I will attempt to remember to take photos during the colouring process, along with the actual covering of my cake.  If that doesn't happen, don't hold it against me.  I've got a hundred or so cupcakes to bake along with a couple of cakes this weekend, so photo ops won't always happen.  I'll be lucky if I have time to sit down and eat!

Happy Baking!
* I am not sure the origins of who created this recipe as it has been circulating on blogs and forums for years, but the recipe I use is pretty identical to this baker, so credit will go to her. Thanks Rhonda!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

No-Fail Vanilla Cake Recipe

So I know I said the Perfect Vanilla Cupcake from the other day was, well, perfect.  It is, trust me.  However, it is a cake for those cupcakes that require fillings.  Did I mention that?  Those cupcakes can withstand being poked and stuffed to the gills with a white chocolate ganache, or lemon curd.  Those cupcakes have a slighty sweet flavour that won't overpower or takeaway from your delicious filling and frosting.  While they are great unstuffed, those cupcakes have a slightly denser texture than this recipe I'm about to share.  

No-Fail Vanilla Cake Recipe
Now I can't take credit for this recipe as it has been around for years.  It is actually adapted from a Betty Crocker Cookbook!  Betty Crocker---the famous boxed cakes available in every grocery store and convenience store has a SCRATCH recipe cookbook!  

If I didn't know any better, I would've thought that this WAS a box mix, because of it's delicate, fluffy interior and superb vanilla flavour.  Now this is not a cake that can tolerate any sort of filling or heavy frosting, but would pair nice with a lightly flavoured whipped cream frosting, marshmallow frosting or any type of meringue based frosting.  


  • 2.5 cups cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated white sugar 
  • 1 tablespoons + 1/2 tsp baking powder (be sure it is aluminum free)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup shortening 
  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
1.  Sift all of your dry ingrediants together over a large mixing bowl (cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt), OR dump all of the dry ingrediants into the bowl and mix using a balloon whisk to remove any lumps.

You don't want this in your cake

2.  Now dump your shortening, sourcream and flavouring into the dry ingrediants.  Yup, just dump it all in there.  We are not creaming anything, or alternating any wet or dry ingrediants. There really is no way of going wrong, unless of course you can't measure...  

3.  Mix all of those wet and dry ingrediants for about a minute, or until it looks like a thick paste.  If you have ever made a box mix you know they never look like this.  Don't be scared, you are on the right track.  

4.  Scrape down the sides of your bowl, and now dump in your eggs.  There is no need to pre-whisk the eggs or even add them in one at a time.  Just toss em in and set the mixer to medium for a minute.  Scrape down your bowl and let it go for another 30 seconds.  That's it!  You're done!

5.  You should now have a thick, aromatic lump-free batter ready for 2 - 8" round cake pans or 2 -12 cavity muffin pans or 2 - 24 cavity mini muffin pans.  Did I confuse you?  Bake in whatever pan you like, as long you have greased it and lined it with either parchment or muffin liners.

Bake these at 325F for dark coated pans and 350F for light coloured pans.  Cupcakes will take anywhere from 15-20 minutes, so start checking at 15 minutes.  Mini cupcakes will take about 12-14 minutes and 8" round cakes are between 25-28 minutes.   Baking times will vary of course depending on your oven.  You can rotate the pans halfway through, or once the cupcakes have crowned (meaning they have that dome shape).  If you forget to, no worries, they will still turn out just fine.  This is a no-fail recipe, remember?

Cupcakes rising as they should

6.  To check for doneness I touch the tops of the cupcakes slightly, and if they spring back they are done.  If the idea of man-handling those cupcakes grosses you out, poke a toothpick in the centre.  A few crumbs attached is perfect, anything sticky or goopey leave em in a minute or two longer, and if nothing is attached pulls those babies out now!  You don't want dry cupcakes!

Use an ice cream scoop for uniform cupcakes
7.  Let them cool in the pans slightly then remove and let them completely cool on a wire rack, and then frost with a light frosting.  Of course you can frost these with whatever you like, but I believe a heavy frosting would take away from such a light and airy cake.  


1.  If the sound of using shortening makes you wanna gag, use unsalted butter.  Butter will work just fine, but make note that the end result will be a little denser than the original recipe.  This denser cake would work well as a layer cake.  If you want a cake that is good for carving and can withstand fondant, try a mudcake.  I will have a recipe for that up sometime in February.     

2.  If you want the fluffy texture but fear that shortening won't give you that buttery flavour, try this:

Or, just add in 1 tsp of butter flavoured emulsion.  

3.  Ran out of sour cream?  Go ahead and substitute an equal amount of plain yogurt, vanilla yogurt or even greek yogurt.  If you only have low-fat, be sure to drain the whey, as we don't want to add anymore liquid.

4.  Are you looking for an all white cake, without that slight ivory tinge?  Use 4-5 large egg whites in place of the whole eggs.

5.  Not a fan of vanilla?  Replace the extract with whatever extract you like---lemon is lovely in this recipe and maybe even pair it with a raspberry frosting.  

6.  Like peanut butter cake?  Replace the shortening with an equal amount of creamy peanut butter.  Top it with a chocolate whipped cream for a light yet flavourful dessert.

Hope all of you try this super easy, super delicious No-Fail Vanilla Cake recipe.    

Happy Baking!

*As a side note, there is nothing wrong with using a boxed cake mix.  I have used one in a pinch, doctored it up to taste less chemically and more homemade and no one was the wiser. However, with a recipe as easy as the one above, why bother? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Swiss Meringue Buttercream...Zero Calories

Vanilla cupcake with Chai Spiced Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Okay, so this isn't zero calories.  I lied.  This recipe is full of fat, but I had to lure you in somehow!   If you want something zero calories you are reading the wrong blog!  I am a big believer in eating anything and everything you want---in moderation.  I admit that I've eaten a cupcake for breakfast, but how is that any different from eating a donut?  Mmmmm....donuts.....

Back on track now, this recipe is a lightly sweetened Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  What does that mean?  How does it differ from other buttercreams?  This buttercream is buttery in flavour, hence the name, but what makes it "Swiss" is the cooking method.  In short, you cook egg whites with sugar, beat into a meringue and add in butter.  It is divine.  

Italian Meringue Buttercream requires you to cook sugar and water, then whip into raw egg whites, thereby cooking them and then adding in butter.  It is just as good as Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but with less of a "buttery" flavour for some reason.

Both of those meringues are far less sweet (translation: considered an "adult" frosting) than your grocery store bakery frosting, which is known as an American Buttercream. American Buttercream consists of butter, powdered sugar and heavy cream.  This sugary concoction has its place in the baking world, but not for my delicate tea flavoured cupcakes, hence why I chose Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  

  • 1/2 cup of egg whites (approximately the whites from 4 large eggs)
  • 1 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter cut into cubes, room temperature
  • 2 tsp of flavouring (vanilla, almond, etc)  
1.  You will need a 5qt or larger stainless steel bowl, and a whip attachment for your mixer or hand-mixer.  I recommend you wash these thoroughly to be sure there is no fat on your tools or wipe them down with white vinegar like I do.  Don't worry, it won't leave a funny smell to your frosting.

2.  Separate your egg whites from your egg yolks.  Don't let this step fool you.  If you get any egg yolk in with your whites, your whites will never whip into stiff peaks and you will have a meringue soup instead of a luscious whipped frosting.  There are many ways to separate yolks from whites, including using your hands, using the actual egg shell (be sure to wash your eggs), using a water bottle, a funnel or other gadgets sold at kitchen supply stores.  Here is a link that shows you  6 ways to separate an egg.  Tip:  Be sure your eggs are fresh and cold.  They will be easier to separate with less chance of the yolk making its way into your whites.

Yolks are no good for this recipe
3.  Pour your half cup of whites into the clean stainless steel bowl, along with the sugar.  Over medium-low heat, bring a saucepan with 2" of water to a low simmer.  You will be creating a double boiler and placing your stainless steel bowl over the pot, but not touching the water.  At this point you will need to whisk away, being sure that you are only heating the whites enough to dissolve the sugar, but not cooking them into a solid.  

4.  Once the sugar has been dissolved and there are not visible granules left (you can check this by touching it with your fingers; it shouldn't be grainy), remove your bowl from the heat and place in your stand mixer or on your countertop.  You will now beat the heated mixture on medium-high until stiff peaks form with the wire whip attachment.  Stiff peaks means that the meringue will hold it's shape and not flop when the mixer stops.  

Stiff peaks, and now adding butter cubes
5.  At this point, you will turn your mixer down to low and slowly toss in your cubes of butter. Once you have all of your butter in, add in your flavourings*.  Beat this on low speed for about 5 minutes.  Your mixture may look a bit soupy, even curdled before it turns into a nice, smooth frosting.  Beating on low helps to eliminate any air pockets.

Smooth Swiss Meringue Buttercream

For those that need some visual help, check out the queen of all things Martha Stewart.  She has a simple video showing you what to do.  


This recipe is another one that can be adapted to suit your needs.  You can easily use any extract or emulsion that you want OR, for a fruit flavoured frosting, add 6oz of fresh berries right after your butter and  beat until it is smooth but streaky in colour.  Do not overbeat!

You can also puree your berries and strain them if you don't like seeds, or an easier way, add 1/2 cup of your favourite seedless preserve.  Flavourings don't have to be in liquid form, feel free to add ground up tea leaves, pumpkin pie spice or just plain old cinnamon.

Experiment and have fun.  You can't go wrong!

Vanilla Cupcake with Chai Spice Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cupcakes...The Secret Is Out!

This post has been updated, please see the note below***

So today is a recipe kind of day!  I will be posting a great base recipe followed by some variations that you can play around with or be adventurous and try your own flavours!

Basic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe - adapted from Glorious Treats - Perfect Vanilla Cupcake  

Glory's recipe is pretty darn perfect---just not for me.  As per her advice she encourages her readers to play around with the recipe to what suits them.  I did just that, and about 4 dozen vanilla variations later I've come up with a recipe that suits me perfectly.  It is slightly sweet, flavourful and has a tight crumb while being moist and tender.  

**** Please note that this is not the vanilla cake you are probably accustomed to from grocery store bakeries or commercial chain bakeries.  Those cakes...I hate to tell ya, come from a box mix.  A GIANT box mix, which is actually in a bag and can be purchased wholesale for commercial use.  You can even find it at Wholesale Club, not to mention all the curds, fillings and bavarian creams to go along with it.  This is not to say that all commercial bakeries or restaurants use this, but is quite common.  For those looking for a similar taste, texture and shelf life, you can add cake enhancer

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 tsps baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp POPCORN salt (this is a finely ground salt, not your usual table salt)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup + 1/8 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract (see variations below)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature 
Preheat your oven to 350F if using light coloured muffin pans or 325F if using dark, non-stick muffin pans.  Tip:  Dark, non-stick pans tend to brown and bake faster and darker.  Wipe the top surface of your muffin pan with an oiled paper towel---you want to be sure your cupcakes don't stick if you have any spills.  I find this works better than spraying the entire pan with non-stick spray, as it can leave your cupcake liners greasy and spotted.  Oh, and if you can, use grease-proof liners; the colours remain vibrant and the pattern is still visible after baking.

In a medium bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, buttermilk powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  

Sift your dry ingrediants to avoid nasty bits like this.
In your stand mixer, attach the paddle attachment or use the beater blades on a hand mixer, and beat eggs on medium speed until yolk and whites are mixed then add in your sugar.  Beat until thickened then add in your oil and beat until combined and the mixture is creamy. 

Eggs have been beaten and sugar has just been added.  Beat until thick.

Add your vanilla to your milk and set aside.  With the mixer on low, add half of your flour mixture until just combined.  Scrape down the sides of your bowl with a spatula then add your milk mixture and beat until just combined.  Scrap down your bowl again and add the remaining flour and beat until combined.  

Add half of your dry ingrediants, followed by wet and then finish with dry.

Your batter will be a bit loose, so pour the batter into a 4-cup measuring cup and fill the wells of your lined muffin pan 2/3 full.  Bake for 15-17 minutes if using a light coloured pan and 12-14 minutes in a dark coated pan.  

Hard to see, but there a vanilla bean specs in there.
Green Tea and Black Tea variations.
Test for doneness with a toothpick or caketester and let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  
Lavender infused cupcakes with dried lavender
F-B: Mini lavender cupcakes, black tea cupcakes and in the back are green tea cupcakes
  • Almond - substitute almond extract for the vanilla in equal amounts
  • Lemon - substitute lemon extract or emulsion for the vanilla in equal amounts and add the zest of one whole lemon
  • Lavender - substitute lavender extract for the vanilla, but use only 1 tsp OR as I like to do, bring the milk to a simmer over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of dried lavender. Remove from heat and let cool.  Chill in fridge overnight, and strain before use in your recipe.  Don't forget to omit the vanilla.
  • Matcha Green Tea - bring the milk to a simmer over low heat and add 2 tablespoons good quality green tea.  Stir until dissolved and set aside to cool.  Once cooled, it can be used in immediately.  Don't forget to omit the vanilla.
  • Chai - there are a variety of ways to add the spicy flavours of chai to this cupcake including steeping 3 bags of chai tea in the milk (warmed) for 10 minutes, OR substituting 1/2 of the milk with 1/2 instant chai tea concentrate (Oregon Cafe Chai Mix  works well) OR adding 1/2 teaspoon each of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground clove and 1/16 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper (feel free to omit the pepper if you don't like your chai spicy) 
Remember, this is a base recipe and can be tweaked to whatever you want it to be.  I use superfine sugar as I find that it dissolves nicely in the cake and the finished cake has a nice, light texture.   I also use fine popcorn salt for the same reason. 

As for the buttermilk powder, I found that using fresh buttermilk gave my cupcakes a slight tang which I did not care for, even though the cake was tender and moist and had a nice crumb.  The powder achieved the same great texture and moistness without the flavour.  However, you decide what works best for you.

So there you have it.  Secret is out.  Please try this recipe if you get a chance.  It really is a great scratch recipe that I would recommend to anyone.  Are you wondering why you don't see a finished cupcake with frosting?  That is because I ate them all naked.  No, I'm not naked the cupcakes were naked. Nevermind...

Anyway...I will be posting some swiss meringue buttercream frosting recipes tomorrow that accompany those gorgeous little naked cupcakes and there you will see the final results.         

Until then, Happy Baking!