Vanilla Cupcakes with Rose Pink Pomegranate Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes with Rose Pink Pomegranate Buttercream

  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s the perfect time to bake something pink and adorn it with pretty flowers! So, I broke out my seldom used muffin tin and put my rusty cupcake frosting skills to work and made these vanilla cupcakes with rose pink pomegranate buttercream. It’s been quite some time since I last made cupcakes or just a plain, yellow cake for that matter. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever come up with a yellow vanilla cake for the blog, so this is probably a first. After two failures and thirty cornbread (they literally looked like cornbread, thanks, chickens!) cupcakes later, I finally got my ratios right. The outcome was a soft, moist, and not too custardy-tasting cupcake. The frosting came out smooth, and not too sweet; with a pleasant tang and rosy pink hue from the pomegranate juice. I was originally going to use a fresh pomegranate but found it was much easier to use the bottled juice instead. 

  Then came the recollection of why I don’t like making cupcakes in the first place: frosting cupcakes. You would think it easy compared to a layer cake, but damn it’s difficult to get these things looking good! Seriously though, it’s an art and it takes lots of practice. Out of twelve cupcakes, I was only able to frost five. FIVE. The rest I may or may not have stabbed with the frosting spatula and angrily ate. In the end, it was nothing a few mini-roses and baby’s breath couldn’t fix. Overall, I’m quite happy with how these cupcakes turned out, even if it was just five that made the cut.


Vanilla Cupcakes with Rose Pink Pomegranate Buttercream

  ingredients: makes about 15 cupcakes

180 grams (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

64 grams (1/2 cup) cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

226 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

196 grams (1 cup) sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 large egg, room temp. 

3 large egg whites, room temp.

107 grams (1/2 cup) coconut milk (preferably the brand ‘So Delicious Dairy Free Original Coconut Milk’), room temp.

  frosting:

339 grams (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temp.

3 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cups pomegranate juice, room temp.

2 tablespoons coconut milk, room temp.

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt (use more if needed)


  method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F / 177° C. Prepare a muffin tin with paper baking cups.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract on high speed until pale and fluffy; about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl half-way through. Add the whole egg and beat on low until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg whites. Beat on low until combined. With the mixer still on low, add half the flour and half the coconut milk to the creamed mixture; once just combined, add the remaining 1/2 of the flour and milk. Beat until the flour is just incorporated(don’t over mix!). Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the baking cups, filling them half-way full. Use a spoon to spread them around until they’re even in the cups. Bake 17-19 minutes, checking for doneness at the 17-minute mark. If not done, bake for two more minutes. Immediately remove the cupcakes (carefully) from the muffin tin and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely. 
  3. Meanwhile, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla, coconut milk, and pomegranate juice. Beat on high speed for 4-5 minutes until voluminous, smooth, and light. Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost then decorate with fresh flowers if desired.

Lemon Layer Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  With the vast amount of flowers on display for Valentine’s Day, there was only one reasonable excuse for me to buy a lovely bouquet: cake.  It is nothing extravagant, just a simple lemon layer cake.  Four, delectable and moist layers might I add, with the right amount of lemon to them.  I about gave up on the recipe, to be honest.  Twice it failed on the density and moist scale, with a mouthfeel like cornbread.  The lemon flavor was just right, though.  The third time was the charm, and with the addition of applesauce, the outcome was just as I wanted: a moist, tender crumb with layers that rose nicely.

  Over time I have tried many buttercream methods, from meringue buttercreams to your standard American buttercream.  One of my favorites will always be German Buttercream, it’s absolutely amazing.  So, I have gotten in the habit of basing most my buttercreams on a flavored custard.  It’s easy to infuse with different flavors and is never too sweet.  For this lemon cake, I infused coconut flakes into the milk, which then goes into eggs and sugar to create a smooth custard.  Due to the presence of egg yolk, I wasn’t able to keep it white in color, instead, it’s a pale yellow.

lemon layer cake from afar

lemon layer cake from afar

These warm February days have had me aching for spring to arrive.  It was one of the reasons that spurred me to create this very spring-like cake.  I’ve already noticed changes everywhere, however small they may be.  The days are getting slightly longer and the tulips have begun peeking out from beneath the loose soil; the birds have become even more melodious in song as the days grow increasingly warm and longer.  Those may be just a few changes, but they’re enough to fuel me through the remaining days of winter.  I love spring as it inspires me to continually change and grow, whereas in winter something seems to die within me, along with the fallen leaves.  It’s hard to find inspiration, so I always feel stuck, like nothing can grow.  But, come spring or just things that remind me of spring, I find that those parts of me were just dormant, like buds on the trees and shrubs; just by a few days exposure of warmth, they are reminded their time to bloom is near.  

 On the subject of seasonal change, there will be much change to this blog come summer: a complete renovation, including a new name.  It has been in the back of my mind for some time now.  When I started this blog, I really needed a name to get things moving, so I pulled one from thin air, and as it turns out, one I’m very unhappy with.  To me, ‘The Sticky Spatula’ is a bit hollow.  I would like a title with meaning, one that’s flexible with the content I want to produce.  I would like to share more of my photography that isn’t strictly baked goods, and I feel my current title keeps me in a box, so to speak.  None of this is in the works yet, but it will be in the next month or so, hopefully.  I’m excited about these changes, but at the same time frightened as I’ll be switching to a different platform.  I can only hope the move will be smooth and without losing any of my current content.

close up flowers on lemon layer cake

top of lemon layer cake

sliced lemon layer cake view

slice of lemon layer cake

slice of lemon layer cake


LEMON LAYER CAKE WITH COCONUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

cake

260 grams cake flour ( 2  1/3 cup ) 

30 grams unbleached all-purpose flour  ( 1/4 c )

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

300 grams sugar ( 1  1/2 c )

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp.

2 large, whole eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temp.

2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

130 mL almond milk, room temp. ( 2/3 c ) 

coconut buttercream

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

2 cups whole milk

3 teaspoons cake flour

3 teaspoons cornstarch

1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temp.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

METHOD:

for the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and line with parchment paper two, 6-inch (or two eight-inch) pans.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric standing mixer with whisks attached, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 6-7 minutes.   Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and add the lemon extract and egg yolk, beating on low until just combined.  Add the two whole eggs and beat until combined, about 20 seconds.  Add one-third of the flour, half the milk, the applesauce, and lemon zest; beat on medium speed until just combined, then scrape down the bowl.  Add the remaining milk and another third of the flour and beat until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl once more and add the remaining third of the flour, beating until no flour is seen(about 10 seconds).
  4.  Pour the batter equally amongst the two prepared pans, making sure they’re no more than half full.  Spread around evenly.  Bake for 30-37 minutes, checking for doneness at 30 minutes.  They’re done when the cake springs back up when lightly touched with your finger.  Remove from oven and let them cool in their pans for 10 minutes.  Then, using a sharp knife, loosen the cake from around the edges of the pan and invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

for the buttercream

  1. Line a tall baking sheet with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, add the milk, coconut flakes, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, remove from heat and let it sit until cool to the touch.  Once cooled, pour into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour the milk through a very fine-meshed sieve or a straining bag over a clean, saucepan.   Discard the coconut pieces(or re-use by toasting in the oven).  Measure out 1/4 cup of the milk and set aside, then bring the saucepan back to a boil; removing from heat once it begins to boil.  
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cornstarch, egg yolk, and the 1/4 cup of cooled milk.  While whisking the egg mixture, pour in half of the hot milk.  Strain the egg mixture back into the remaining milk and continue to whisk over medium heat until thickened and smooth.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread around evenly.  Cover with another layer of plastic so it doesn’t form a skin.  Place in the freezer until cool to touch(it should not have a hint of warmth to it, nor should it be cold).
  4.  With an electric hand mixer with whisks attached, beat the butter along with a pinch of salt, until smooth.  Add the cooled custard and powdered sugar and beat until pale in color and fluffy.  It may look curdled in the first stages, but continue to beat until it comes together.  

assemble the cake

  If the cakes have a dome, be sure to level it off before commencing the second step.  Once each cake has been leveled off, carefully halve each cake into two smaller layers.  You should have four, equal layers in total.  Place the first layer bottom side down on a cake board/stand/plate.  Spread about 1/2 cup of the buttercream around evenly using an offset spatula.  Place the second layer evenly on top of the first, and add the same amount of frosting.  Continue to frost and stack each layer until all the layers are intact.  Use the remaining frosting to frost the top of the cake and around the edges.  Decorate with fresh flowers and coconut flakes, even dried lemon slices.

Vanilla Bean Macadamia Nut Cake with Lavender Buttercream

  It’s cake time!  You’d think as much as I love baking and eating cake I’d make more of them.  I’m thinking about creating a page on here dedicated entirely to cakes.  I really want to start making more of them and I feel a page for that reason would remind me to make them more often.  If I do create a page, I’ll try and make other cake flavors besides chocolate variations(I’m a little crazy for a good chocolate cake), don’t worry, haha!

  This cake flavor was inspired by the most delicious latte I drank at a local coffee shop.  It was a vanilla lavender latte, and the shop grows their own lavender for it!  It tasted amazing, so I started to envision it making a really good cake flavor.. then thoughts of white chocolate and macadamia nuts came to mind (probably because everyone seems to be making those cookies right now) and now I have this cake.  Which is so good!

  Yes, I realize my ways of gaining inspiration are odd ones, haha.  A sip of coffee, a smell, or just looking at a flower can spark it for me.  It isn’t all that bad, considering I’m prone to get myself in a creative rut very easily, so any help getting out of it is fine by me.

vanillalavendercake-(2-of-2 vanillalavendercake-(3-of-2

  Oh, and see that cake stand?  Besides clothes(cause who doesn’t love vintage clothes), it is my best vintage find yet from Etsy.  You know those people who see shoes while walking through Target and just HAVE to buy them all?  Yeah, that’s me with cake stands.  I really couldn’t pass this deal by!  One can never have too many stands, right?

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  Now back at this cake.  It’s so good.  Wait, I already said that. . . It’s delicious, moist and full of flavor.  The buttercream is something else, too.  It has a pleasant floral taste which, by the way, isn’t too strong.  I really love lavender and the thought of it in buttercream just sounds perfect(it is, believe me).  The cake itself is sweet, but not super sweet, and the macadamia adds a nutty flavor.  The white chocolate ganache is more of an accessory which is why I drizzled only a little just to make it look more elegant, but it still complements the other flavors.

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Vanilla Bean Macadamia Nut Cake with Lavender Infused Buttercream
Serves 8
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Cake
  1. 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1 1/4 cups sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean*
  4. 3 eggs + 1 yolk, room temperature
  5. 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  6. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  8. 2 tablespoons lavender syrup
  9. 1 cup milk
  10. 2/3 cups macadamia nuts, chopped finely*
Lavender Syrup
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup lavender buds/leaves (dried or fresh, I used fresh. You can also use the leaves and buds)
Lavender Infused Buttercream
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  3. 4 tablespoons lavender syrup
  4. Pinch of sea salt
White Chocolate Ganache
  1. 2 ounces heavy whipping cream
  2. 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
CAKE
  1. *To chop the macadamia nuts, just put them in a food processor/blender and pulse till chopped finely.
  2. *To scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean pod, use a sharp paring knife and split down the center of the pod and scrap all the seeds out and use them as directed.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F/ 177°C. Prepare two, 6-inch cake pans. Grease the pans then line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  4. In an electric mixer, beat the butter till smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the sugar; beat till light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides again and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
  5. In another bowl, add the vanilla, vanilla beans, and lavender syrup to milk and stir. Set aside. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half the flour to the butter mixture and half the milk. Beat on medium speed till incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the remaining flour and milk. Beat till just combined. Stir in the chopped nuts with a spatula.
  6. Evenly divide batter into prepared pans, smooth and level the top by using an offset spatula. Bake 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or the cakes spring back up after a light touch with your fingers. Bake the full 26 minutes at first then test to see if done, if not, bake in 3 minute intervals till done. Cool in pans 10 minutes and using a sharp knife, loosen the edges. Move to wired racks to cool completely.
LAVENDER SYRUP
  1. In a small sauce pan, add the water, sugar, and lavender. Bring to a boil and stir till sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from stove top and steep for 1 hour(or over night for a more powerful flavor). Remove the lavender and run syrup through a very fine meshed strainer.
LAVENDER INFUSED BUTTERCREAM
  1. In an electric mixer with beaters attached, beat the butter and salt till smooth. Add the powdered sugar and lavender syrup and beat till light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  1. Chop the white chocolate and place in a bowl. In a small sauce pan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir then set it aside for 10 minutes. Stir till smooth. If it is runny, let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
Assemble Cake
  1. Once the layers have cooled and the buttercream and ganache have been made, level the tops of the cakes by using a serrated knife and carefully cut off any dome that may have formed during baking. Once the layers are leveled, place cake on a stand/plate to be assembled.
  2. Place the first layer in the center of your stand, then spread about 1 cup of buttercream evenly around the top. Place the second layer, bottom side facing up, onto the iced layer; and finish icing the cake by using all the frosting around the cake. Carefully pour ganache over the top and let it drizzle down the sides. Cut and serve.
The Sticky Spatula http://stickyspatula.com/

Vanilla Bean Rum Cake with Maple Buttercream

  I’ve been all about cake for the past few weeks now; I absolutely love making them!  Especially when they involve fresh flowers.  My local grocery had the prettiest mini carnations on sale, naturally I could not pass!  They looked so beautiful and reminded me so much of warmer days.  

rumcake-(11-of-18)rumcake-(17-of-18)

  This cake is very simple to put together.  The icing is rather sweet so the cake is what I like to call, half naked.  By having so little frosting on it, though, it lets you taste the cake(which by the way, is rather delicious with all that rum and vanilla in it!).  It’s tiny just so you know.   I was finally able to get those 6-inch cake pans I’ve been wanting so badly so, I had to try them out!

rumcake-(3-of-18)rumcake-(2-of-18) rumcake-(4-of-18)   

rumcake-(8-of-18) rumcake-(7-of-18)

 

Vanilla Bean Rum Cake with Maple Buttercream
Makes one, two layer 6-inch cake.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  3. 2 cups cake flour
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  6. 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  7. 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped out
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  9. 3 tablespoons rum
  10. 3 eggs, room temperature
MAPLE BUTTERCREAM
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  4. 1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two, 6-inch cake pans; grease well, and cut out round pieces of parchment paper that will fit at the bottom of each pan.
  2. Take two vanilla beans and split them both in half, scrap out the seeds and put in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer with whisks attached, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla till fluffy, about 2 minutes. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and add half of it to the butter mixture and add half of the milk also. Beat till just incorporated, about 20 seconds. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula and add the other half of the milk and flour then add the vanilla beans and rum, beating till just incorporated, 20 seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time beating till each one is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl after each addition. After they're all added, beat the batter on medium speed till smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Equally divide the batter amongst the pans, about two cups each pan and evenly spread around the tops.
  5. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until the cake springs back up after gently touching it. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife and flip onto a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
BUTTERCREAM
  1. With an electric mixer with whisks attached, beat the butter and salt till smooth. Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and beat for 4-5 minutes on medium-high until light and fluffy.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
  1. With a serrated knife, carefully even out the tops of each cake layer by cutting any dome that may have formed, off. Place the first layer on a cardboard cut out and add about 1 cup of frosting. Evenly spread the frosting around the top of the layer and place, making sure it's even, the second layer, bottom facing up. Add the remaining frosting all around the cake, with more on the top of the cake. Decorate with fresh flowers(optional, just for fun).
The Sticky Spatula http://stickyspatula.com/