Monday, December 5, 2011


WOW...these past few months are really starting to catch up with me!! My adventures on the baking front have been relatively non-existent, while the my personal life has been one thing after another to deal with.

This is not an excuse for my lack of updates, just a poor explanation for my absence.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far. I must say, I really do love this time of year. The lights and the snow just make everything so pretty (when the snow isn't over your head, at least!) I even love putting together my Christmas list, going out into the crowds of holiday shoppers and wrapping presents up with pretty paper. It's just a great time of the year! And, miraculously, DH has the actual day of Christmas off. I really can't wait :)

Has anyone tried their hand at the Perfect Icing recipe? I managed to alter it and give it a little Christmas twist this past weekend! While the milk was warming up, I added a cup of white chocolate chips and stirred until everything was melted. Then added the flour and followed the usual steps. To the final mixture, I substituted the vanilla extract for peppermint and the final result was a perfectly minty topping to some dark chocolate cupcakes! Yum!

I know many of my readers are bakers, especially around this time of year! What are your favourite holiday treats? And what are you planning to bake this year? Do you bake for yourself or as gifts for family and friends? I'd love to hear all about it! :)

And a huge thanks to each and every one of you for your continued support, even when I'm AWOL :) I really appreciate it!!

Happy Baking!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Perfect Frosting

We've all heard of... the "I'm Not a Frosting" person...they lurk in the offices, at the parties, or stop by the bake sale table. And I really can't say that I blame them, having had my share of super-sweet frosting with a strong confectioner's sugar overtone which is enough to make one scrape the excess off with a knife.

This frosting, however, is different.

Firstly, there isn't a trace of confectioner's sugar in the mix. Crazy, right? One cup of good ole granulated sugar completes this sweet topping.There's also flour, which is plenty common in the cake, but rarely seen in the frosting. Now that I've got your mouth watering, let's get on with the recipe!

As always, we begin with the ingredients:

The first step should be done well in advance as it will require some cooling time.

The flour and milk go into a small saucepan:

Get this all whisked together and put it over medium heat.

Whisk continuously and be sure to NOT walk away from this mixture, not even for a few seconds. It will thicken incredibly fast once it starts and even just a few seconds could make or break it. The end consistency should be around the texture of pudding.

Once it reaches pudding stage, remove it from heat and continue whisking it until it's all smooth.

Put this mixture aside until it's completely cooled. You can even transfer it to a dish and put it in the fridge. Even if it's cold, it's fine. Just as long as there's no trace of "hot" left!

Once you're ready to continue, get your butter and sugar into the mixer bowl and add the whisk attachment.

Mix for a few minutes until everything is fluffy.

Add the vanilla and the cooled flour/milk mixture.

Now, here's the critical part: put the mixer as high as you can without anything going flying out of the bowl. It will take nearly 8-9 minutes of high speed mixing before the frosting starts to look like frosting. Around the halfway point, you'll stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and wonder just what the crazy cake lady has gotten you into, when you see the slightly separated mixture. Don't fret. Keep Mixing!

At 5 minutes:
 At 10 minutes: (I added orange colouring since I'm going to use this on Halloween cupcakes tomorrow night!)

The final result for your time and patience is a wonderfully smooth and silky, light and sweet frosting. It is the perfect texture for piping a 1M swirl or icing that layered cake.

If you make it the night before (like I did) you'll want to seal it in an airtight container and keep it at room temperature. In the fridge, it tends to separate. But it keeps nicely in a container on the counter until you're ready to use it!!

Enjoy! :)


The Perfect Frosting

6 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of whole milk (1% or 2% work fine too :)
1 cup of butter at room temperature
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 tsp of vanilla (or your choice) extract

Whisk together the flour and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken. It will thicken very quickly once it starts, so when it begins to look like pudding, remove it from the heat and whisk until it's smooth. Set it aside to cool completely. If it's not completely cooled, it will melt the butter in your final mixture and you'll end up with a runny final product.

Once the mixture is cooled, whisk together the butter and sugar in the mixer until it's fluffy. Then add the cooled flour and milk mixture and extract. Whisk at the highest speed you're comfortable with (around a 6-8 on my Kitchenaid mixer) for 8-10 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

This will make enough for a whole 8 inch cake or 24 cupcakes!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Equipment Post

From time to time...I get a question from one of my fabulous followers asking about the products I use and the equipment I can't live without (ok, they don't quite word it like that, but I like to gush, so...) In order to limit the rambling, I've compiled a sort of Top Ten list of the products that make the LMC kitchen what it is! 

So I present to you, in no particular order (except for number 1):

The Equipment of LMC

10. Cookie Scoops! Okay, so they're technically just oddly-sized ice cream scoops, but these are a total lifesaver! The smallest ones are perfect for portioning cake pop mix, the medium are great for cookies, and the regular sized ones are the exact amount of batter needed to make that perfect little cupcake! To put it in perspective, at this exact moment, there isn't a single container of ice cream in the LMC household, yet there are no less than 6 scoops in the big kitchen drawer. 

Check 'em out: Cookie Scoops

9. Parchment Paper! Seriously, this stuff is a God-send! I mean, how else can you explain something so simple that prevents food from sticking to your brand new Wilton cookie sheet? :) Mr. LMC likes the individual sheets for this exact reason. Just toss the paper when you're done and marvel at the clean surface beneath. The LMC favourite is the pre-cut individual sheets. 

Check 'em out: Parchment Paper Sheets

8. Decorating Squeeze Bottles! I used to look at these in the store and think that people must be nuts to pay money for a little plastic squeeze bottle. I was very humbly proven wrong the first time I drizzled a little chocolate onto my nice new cake pops. Whether decorating pops, filling a chocolate mold, or just making some easy details on that birthday cake, these bottles are simply one of the handiest little tools you could ask for!

Check 'em out: Wilton Squeeze Bottles

7. Disposable Decorating Bags! I am particularly fond of these on the days when I need to do a quick detail and am too lazy to get out the couplers out. Just snip off the end and drop in a decorating tip and voila! And as I am a fan of simplicity, these cater to my simple goal of easy and accessible cake decorating :) 

Check 'em out: Disposable Decorating Bags

6. Gel Food Colouring! I once had a reader send me an email lamenting that no matter how much liquid colour she put in her fondant, she couldn't get the colour nor the texture of the fondant in my tutorial. Extra liquid in, well, any aspect of baking is bad. It is especially bad when making fondant or icing. Gel food colouring gives you a rich and real color without messing with the composition of your recipe. The darker colours should be used in moderation, as they do tend to have a bit of a taste to them, however Wilton does make a "No-Taste" version of their red colouring...perfect for the upcoming holiday season!

Check 'em out: Gel Food Colouring

5. Cookie Cutters! I'll admit, I have a slight obsession with cookie cutters. Drawers, cupboards and baskets in my kitchen all contain, at least, a few cutters each in different sizes and shapes. On several occasions, I've returned home with a newly purchased metal shape only to find out that it's a duplicate. Oh well, there's strength in numbers, right? Whether making cookies (obvious) or creating fondant cut outs for my next cake, I couldn't do without my cookie cutters :)

Check 'em out: Cookie Cutters

4.  Fondant Smoother! You know, I have to say that I didn't like this tool a whole lot when I first received it as a gift. But the most I used it, the more I liked it. This handy little tool holds the promise of a flawlessly smooth surface on your fondant and is super useful when working on the edges. And as I learned through trial and error, don't press too hard or else you'll be cleaning icing up from underneath the fondant when it squishes out the bottom! 

Check 'em out: Fondant Smoother

3. Silicone Spatulas! I love my single silicone spatula so much that over the past weekend I reminded Mr. LMC that a few more would be a really nice Christmas gift since it seems like I'm always pulling the one I have from the sink or dishwasher and hand washing it so I can use it again immediately. There's nothing particularly genius about these, I just really love them and their ability to get that last little bit of batter from the bottom of my mixer bowl :) 

Check 'em out: Silicone Spatulas

2. Silpat Silicone Mats! It was a very long time before I finally dished out the dough (ha!) and bought my first Silpat Silicone Mat. I mean, afterall, how much different was this than parchment paper? Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled my first batch of cake pops out of the deep freeze at an awkward angle and saw that nothing slipped. Thinking they were probably frozen to the Silpat's tacky surface, I took them off with ease and a sigh of relief. This hard working little mat was soon joined by his differently-sized friends and they've been in the deep freeze, freezer, fridge and oven without so much as a minor complication. In fact, the next major purchase on the LMC list is a larger Silpat for my cookie sheet. 

Check 'em out: Silpat Silicone Mats 

1. My Kitchen Aid Mixer! I love this appliance so much because for many, many years of my life, I believed that to acquire "Martha" status, one would require a Kitchen Aid mixer. I patiently awaited the day when one would unsuspectingly fall into my budget range and when that day happened, it was less than 6 hours and my new mixer came home with me. At first glance, she was christened with the name Louise, then I remembered that I owed this purchase to The Martha and so Martha-Louise was welcomed home. And every good thing you've heard about these mixers is true :) The power and design of this mixer makes every cake and batch of cupcakes just that much easier!

Check 'em out: Kitchenaid Professional Mixer

Happy Baking! 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Go "Dough"nuts!

As most of my followers know... (and thanks to the handy little intro to the left) I am a police wife. This being said, I've heard my share of doughnut jokes. I was originally planning to make the department some chocolate cupcakes this weekend, but when I stumbled across a homemade doughnut recipe on All, I figured it was about time I caved to the stereotype. And so tonight, I am sending Mr. LMC off to work with a tray full of homemade, insert-joke-here goodness.

As I began this rather early this morning, and because nothing goes better with a fresh doughnut, step one today includes the making of coffee:

The ingredients are simple enough:

The first step is to get the yeast working for the greater good. Sprinkle it over the warm water and watch the magic happen!

Next, we throw in the rest of the ingredients, saving 3 cups of the flour for gradual adding lately. Use the dough hook attachment on your mixer to save your arm a lot of work!

Once the initial ingredients are well-combined, add the remaining flour in 1/2 cups until everything is mixed and the dough starts to pull away from the bowl. 

Once the dough is done mixing, knead it in the bowl for another 5 minutes or so, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.

Put the dough into a greased bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place until it's doubled in size. You'll know it's ready when you poke it and the indentation remains!

Next, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it until it's about 1/2 inch thick.

Using a floured doughnut cutter, cut out as many doughnuts as you can. You can save the middles and remaining dough to make some doughnut holes later! :)

Leave the cut out dough pieces in a warm place, covered lightly with a tea towel until they've doubled again.

Once the dough is ready, it's time to fry them up! Using either a deep fryer or heavy saucepan, heat up your oil to about 350 degrees. As the LMC household doesn't own a deep fryer and Mrs. LMC isn't crazy about deep frying in general, I opted to use my wok, all the while keeping a very close eye on it!

Please, please, please be careful when frying without a deep fryer. Keep your eye on the oil at all times!!

A good trick to test your oil is to use some of the excess dough as a test to make sure it's ready to fry!

Very carefully slide a few doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they rise to the top, flip them over and fry until the underside is browned and cooked through.

Remove the cooked doughnuts to a wire rack and let them cool. The best system is to put a wire rack over a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Don't they look good? :)

Next it's time to ice these yummy creations up! I used my previous tip on melting creamy frosting in the microwave until it was dippable. Then, of course, I added sprinkles. The print link will take you to the original recipe which gives a great, sweet glaze that you can make if frosting is not your thing :)

Let the frosting set and voila! I highly suggest bringing a batch of these to your local police department :)



Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cupcakes Fit for Queen

So as it would mind works in a weird and wonderful way and from the moment I decided that this weekend's project would be a batch of delicious Black Bottomed Cupcakes, I've been humming along to Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." And as a friend so nicely pointed out, enough of the first, and you'll definitely get the second! Thankfully, I don't eat much of what I make...or else I may just have a British rock song in my honour. 

Black bottomed cupcakes are, essentially, chocolate cupcakes with a cheesecake centre. In other words: heaven. There are many, many variations of this recipe, some even start with a boxed mix. This recipe actually uses a very cool chocolate cake recipe with very few ingredients (as far as cake goes.) 

So we begin with the ingredients: 

In a mixer bowl, combine the filling ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, 1 egg and salt. 

Beat until everything is nice and fluffy, then stir in the chocolate chips. 

In a separate bowl (doesn't have to be a mixer bowl, this part can be done by hand) mix together: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. 

Make a well in the middle and add the liquids: water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir until well combined. 

Now, I know what you're thinking: a cake mix with no eggs?! It's true. I figured for all the richness of the filling, I'd use Crazy Cake for the base. There are many theories on Crazy Cake, but it seems to have originated during the Depression when kitchen staples like eggs and milk were hard to come by. I promise, even without eggs, this cake is awesome. 

Fill your muffin tins about 2/3 full. 

Then add a dollop of the cream cheese mixture to the top of each. (A cookie scoop works perfectly!) 

Bake them up at 350 for about 20 minutes (make sure you're using your toothpick tester in the outer edge of the cupcake, not the centre!) and enjoy the goodness!

In the first hour after the cupcakes cool, they're deliciously moist and gooey. Longer than that and they start to resemble a nicely set cheesecake in the middle. If you want a day old gooey cupcake, 10 seconds in the microwave will do the trick!


Black Bottomed Cupcakes

1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 egg at room temperature
⅓ cup of white sugar
⅛ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of miniature chocolate chips

1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of white sugar
¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of water
⅓ cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixer bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, ⅓ cup of sugar and ⅛ teaspoon of salt until light and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips and set the bowl aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cup of sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle, then add the wet ingredients: water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Stir together until well-blended.

Fill each of the muffin liners about ⅔ way full and top with a dollop of the cheesecake mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake part of your cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from pan after 5 minutes and cool completely on a rack. Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blueberry Bliss

Something that was never lacking in my childhood was blueberries. The entire field next to my house would bloom in the spring and bring forth a sea of blue and purple berries, so big and perfect that it was hard not to eat them right off the bush! So when I stumbled across this recipe on the Joy of Baking website for Blueberry Streusel Muffins, I had to try it!

So, I got together my ingredients:

In a measuring cup went the milk, eggs and vanilla extract to be whisked together.

In another bowl, the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt got combined.

Meanwhile, LMC's new biggest fan rolled his way into the kitchen perimeter.

Now, if you own a pastry cutter and have owned it for a while, you'll likely have forgotten the frustration of trying to complete the next step with two knives. For some reason, I've no pastry cutter to speak of, so there were several words spoken while cutting the butter into the flour mixture than cannot be repeated on LMC, lest we lose our family friendly rating!!

Take the butter and cut it into small pieces.

Then using a pastry cutter or *grumble* two knives, cut the butter into the mix. It should resemble coarse crumbs when it's fully incorporated. No word of a lie, I probably didn't incorporate it as much as I should have, but my oven was beeping impatiently and I wanted to move on without throwing the aforementioned knives!

Reserve 1 cup of this mixture for the topping later on.

Next went the blueberries and lemon zest into the flour/butter/doom mixture. If you've never done lemon zest, it's really quite easy. I surprisingly had a whole lemon on hand. Somehow, it survived the bottle of tequila that came and went through the house last weekend!! So, to make lemon zest, just rub the peel part of a lemon on that weird little side of the grater you never use for anything else. Ideally, you'll get some yellow and white parts of the peel in there!

Make sure to take it easy while stirring the berries in so the batter doesn't turn purple when you add the liquid!

Speaking of liquid, it's time to add the milk/egg/vanilla mixture from the first step!

 Don't stir too much or else the batter will get tough. It's a pretty thick batter, so an ice cream scoop will work perfectly when dividing it up among the cups! I was able to make 18 good sized muffins by equally dividing the batter with my standard ice cream scoop. Two spoons would work as well.

Now, take the previously reserved cup of flour/butter mixture and add the melted butter. Mix with a fork until it's well combined and crumbly. Put a generous tablespoon of topping on each muffin.

 Bake until lightly browned and enjoy!

These were SO good! They had a nice crumbly top and super moist center.

Go to the Joy of Baking for the full recipe and enjoy!!

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Happy Baking!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The OTHER Chocolate...

I'm not a big fan of white chocolate on it's own. It's a bit too sweet for this lady, but I seem to be surrounded by people who think otherwise. Mr. LMC, LMC's real life boss, family, friends...they all seem to see something in this smooth confection that I just can't see for myself.

However, throw it into a cake batter and you've got a pretty amazing, moist treat on your hands!

I adapted this recipe from that of a wedding cake recipe I had, and while I used it to make cupcakes in this entry, you are more than welcomed to try it in it's original form. The recipe makes enough batter to fill a 3 inch deep, 10 inch round cake pan. Simply grease and flour your pan and put a piece of parchment in the bottom before cooking.

For now, however, I'll continue on with my plans to make these into cupcakes. Calculating ahead, I knew I'd have more batter than necessary, but still divided it evenly into 24 cupcake papers (LMC does not advocate eating the batter that's leftover due to the raw eggs and whatnot...) and just watered down and tossed the rest. By all means, you can make the extra few if you'd like! :)

So, like every other culinary adventure in the LMC kitchen, we start with some ingredients. They're basic except for the addition of the star ingredient:

First, chop the chocolate. I forgot to do this ahead of time the first try and it was a pain to do it while trying to continue on making the cake!!

Then, the butter and the sugar go into the stand mixer to get nice and fluffy (Mrs. Bobbinoggin will appreciate the fluffiness!!)

Next, we add the eggs one at a time, beating each in between until they're well-incorporated.

 Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Alternating the flour mixture and milk, add each in fourths until each is completely incorporated into your batter. At this point, it will be pretty thick.

 Melt the chocolate (either in a double boiler or in the microwave) until it is almost melted. Remove from the source of heat and stir until smooth. Pour into the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter into the cupcake liners (or prepared cake pan) and bake at 325 for 25 minutes (or until the toothpick runneth clean)

As cupcakes, they baked up relatively flat. The interior was moist and cakey. It was so good, in fact, that I chose not to ice them right away. They would, however, taste great with a dark chocolate or vanilla frosting! :)

Happy Baking!


PS: Do not feed cupcakes to your cat, or else you may end up with a cat resembling LMC's youngest cat, Niko (alias: KoKo Puff) [disclaimer: I didn't feed him cake. He's just fat.]


White Chocolate Cupcakes

2/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/3 cups white sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups All Purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups 2% milk at room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F

2. Line 2 cupcake pans with 24 paper or foil liners. (Or: grease and flour a 10-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides and line bottom with parchment paper.)

3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.

4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour to butter mixture in 4 additions, alternating with milk, blending well after each addition.

5. Melt chocolate in a heat proof bowl  in the microwave until it's almost melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. Pour the warm chocolate into cake batter while blending.

6. Divide batter into prepared cupcake liners and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (if making a 10 inch cake, the baking time is approximately 45 minutes.) Allow cupcakes to cool 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to racks to cool completely.

Finish options are endless as they can be filled with fresh fruit, iced with dark chocolate, ganache or fresh cream.

White Chocolate Icing

cups unsalted butter at room temperature
16 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
cups icing sugar, sifted
teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a stand-up mixer or in a large bowl with electric beaters, beat butter until fluffy. Beat in cooled melted chocolate on medium speed. Reduce speed and beat in icing sugar, vanilla and salt (icing will be a little soft). Chill for about an hour to set before using.

If you want to make this into a cake, this recipe will make a 10-inch cake.  Multiply by 6 for a 6-inch/10-inch/12-inch/14-inch cake layers. Icing recipe makes icing to fill and cover one 10-inch cake. Multiply by 8 for wedding cake.