Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

My oldest daughter Callie, is on the competition dance team at her high school. Every year the team gets together at someones home and celebrates Thanksgiving.  This team of 11 sweet girls is very much like a family so it's only fitting that they celebrate together and share what they are thankful for.  Each girl brings a dish and the hosting family makes the turkey, stuffing and gravy.  My sweet friend Regina hosted this year and did a fabulous job.  Callie brought mini pumpkin cheesecakes with cinnamon whipped cream topping.  I sent some in to work today with my husband, because we all know what will happen if there are cute little cheesecakes sitting in the fridge.  Every doggone time I open the fridge the little suckers seductively call my name.  So...they had to go bye, bye! A few people have asked for the recipe today so I thought it would be just as fast to share it here.  It's a combination of a few different recipes that I've altered.  Enjoy!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Yields 18  (I doubled this recipe because, well...why not?!)
18 paper cupcake liners
18 oreo cookies  (you can use gingersnaps too! YUM! or make your own graham cracker crust which is probably my favorite but the oreos are a pleasant surprise)
12 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
(OR just eyeball a teaspoon or so of "pumpkin pie spice" instead of those spices)
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup canned, puréed pumpkin
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1. Line 18 muffin wells with papers. Place one oreo cookie, into the bottom of each. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
3. Beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice with an electric mixer. Add eggs and mix well. Add pumpkin and corn syrup; beat 1 minute.
4. Pour filling into liners, dividing evenly. I use the large scoop from Pampered Chef, perfect size! Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until just set.  If you have a convection oven only cook them about 18 minutes.  As when making most cheesecakes, I put an ovenproof bowl of water in the oven with the cakes while they are baking.  This adds humidity to the baking and will keep the cheesecakes more moist and sometimes prevents cracking.
5. Chill for 1 hour. Garnish as desired. (I used stabilized cinnamon whipped cream).

Stabilized Whipped Cream
This makes a LOT but it's so yummy in coffee too!  You can easily half it and use a pint of cream.
1 Quart of Heavy Whipping Cream
2 T Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 T Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
On low, beat all ingredients until mixed. Scrape bowl. Mix on high until nice and stiff but don't over beat.         
Use immediately if possible but will stay stiff for a while.  Can be used as a frosting as well.  I added about 1/4 t of cinnamon to the batch for the cheesecakes and then garnished with a sprinkling of nutmeg.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

wedding cake cupcakes, OH MY!!!

The post about Wegmans and the little tutorial is going to have to wait because my slacker self hasn't gotten around to actually making the fab little thingy that I was going to tutorial about. So. There.   ;-)

Just like seemingly most every other estrogen enhanced human out there, I have become a total PINTEREST slave.  This Ben guy (not sure who he is but he sends me happy little emails telling me when people have pinned my pin) is an absolute genius! I love this man with my whole heart, well not as much as my husband but you know what I mean.

One day while desperately trying to pry my pin-addicted fingers off of Pinterest, I came across these pretty white cupcakes called White Wedding Cake Cupcakes from Recipe Girl.  They were described as the BEST, MOST YUMMY MOIST CAKE, so I had to move away from the computer to try them.  The fun thing is that it starts with a box cake. Yeah, I know you are thinking one of two things: A. "Thank GOD", or B." They can't be that good then."  They are easy enough if you are from the A. train of thought and you add enough extras that you are happy if you are from the B. train of thought.  Most importantly, they are so DELICIOUSLY YUMMISCRUMPTIOUS that you will just be tickled to your toes that you made them!  They make a big batch too, which I absolutely love. Plus, they were so good that I had to make an actual cake to see how that turned out and it was perfection! Dense and moist, full of flavor and with a spongy yet pound-cakey crumb.  

Hmmm, I wonder how many words I actually made up in that paragraph above? happens all the time!

I put this antique fork in the cake for the photo thinking it would look all vintage and stuff.  Sorry that it actually just looks like a dirty fork. 

Here is the fabulous recipe directly from the Recipe Girl site, because I'm sure you are going to want to give this a try!

white wedding cake cupcakes

Yield: 36 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 18 min
I'm not usually one to use a boxed cake mix and doctor it up. I'm more accustomed to using entirely homemade recipes, but this one caught my eye and looked good. These turn out delicious, moist and fluffy cupcakes- perfect for holding buttercream frosting.


1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (you'll need approx. 36).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.
3. Use ice cream scoop to fill prepared cupcake tins- fill about 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


*Recommend: Duncan Hines "Moist" White Cake mix for this recipe.
*You can use either regular or light sour cream for this recipe, but heck... since it's a wedding cupcake and you want it to be as delicious and moist as possible, I recommend going for the full-fat kind.
*Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract (in addition to the vanilla) if you wish to have a different flavor.
*Using an ice cream scoop is perfect for getting the batter into the cupcake tins without spilling.
*You can also use this mix to make cake. Pour into greased and floured cake pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.