Funfetti Cupcakes for Two

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My sister gave up chocolate for lent. I’ll give you a moment to digest that information and react accordingly.

Who gives up chocolate for lent?! Crazy people. Unless you gave up chocolate for lent, I like you.

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If I’m being honest, I already find it tough not to bake with chocolate. I find ways to sneak it into almost everything. Maybe it’s excessive?

All that aside, I did have to put my thinking cap on. Good thing Caroline came to the rescue with these. I saw them today and made them today. And I’m glad I did.

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This recipe only make two cupcakes with just enough frosting. They are soft and fluffy, aromatic and full of sprinkley goodness! These are perfect when there are only two people around to eat them.

Or when your sister is a piggy (;P) and eats them both in less than 5 minutes flat without offering you a single bite. I’m not bitter or anything.

Both, almost all gone!

Funfetti Cupcakes for Two
Yields 2 cupcakes + frosting

FOR THE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sprinkles (I used non-pareils)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with two liners (in the middle for even baking).

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and sugar until thoroughly combined.
Add in the flour and baking powder and whisk gently until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add in the sprinkles and using a rubber spatula, gently fold them in. Don’t over stir!! If you stir too much the dye from the sprinkles will bleed and you’ll have tie dye cupcakes instead of funfetti.

Pour batter into your prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

In a medium bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until a frosting forms. If you like a thinner frosting, add a bit more milk until you reach your desired consistency. Frost your cooled cupcakes, toss on some more sprinkles (because they make everything better, duh) and enjoy!

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Cupcakes adapted from Chocolate & Carrots; frosting adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Oatmeal Cream Pies

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Today is a special day.

It’s Mr. Picky-pants’ birthday today!!

It’s also Pi Day (03/14 = 3.14). How lucky he is to be born on Pi Day?! (I was born on Pecan Day and even though I have a very soft spot in my heart for pecans, I firmly believe that I was meant to be born on Brownie Day or I-ate-way-too-many-cookies day, just sayin’). He gets to enjoy all the wonderful pies that people around him make. Oh, wait… he doesn’t like pie. Not one single flavor. Commence eye roll. He’s Mr. Picky-pants for a reason, after-all.

Pie hating aside, I love him and I hope to make his birthday as special as I can. I’m taking him out for some of his fave food with good friends and sending him to work with his favorite chocolate chip cookies.

If you’re nice, I’ll share that recipe soon.

Until then, have some oatmeal cream pies.

Originally I wanted to make a mini fruit pie or at least a chocolate pie but motivation and ingredients were low. So Tracey helped remind me that there were loopholes. I quickly exploited that loophole and made these “pies.”

So, grab a cookie-pie and celebrate! Happy Pi Day!

Happy birthday hubby, I love you sooo much!!

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Oatmeal Cream Pies
Yields about 12 cookie sandwiches (24 cookies)

Ingredients:

For the cookies
1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick cook oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 /2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the marshmallow filling
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 7-ounce container marshmallow creme
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together until thoroughly mixed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Scrape down the bowl with the butter/sugar mixture. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix on low setting until just combined (the flour just disappears).

Use a cookie scoop (mine holds 2 Tablespoons) to measure out dough balls on your prepared cookie sheets. Leave at least 1 inch between cookies (I fit 12 on each cookie sheet and it worked great!)

Bake for 8-11 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the filling:
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and marshmallow creme. Slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and fluffy.

Add a generous dollop of filling to half of the cookies and top with another cookie, lightly pressing down. Enjoy!

Recipe from Baked Bree

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

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Hey there, stranger!

Well, technically I’m the stranger. It’s almost as if I dropped off the face of the blog-world. You probably thought I forgot about you, that I gave up on sugar and baking, and that I’ve turned the other cheek. I assure you, I haven’t.

Life happened and in the midst of everything, I needed a hiatus. That hiatus turned to laziness then a loss of motivation. I think I’m ready to give it another go, I hope you’ll still have me.

After all, I made you cupcakes.

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These bad boys are SO tasty. A fluffy vanilla infused cake base with a cherry base, frosted with cherry infused buttercream and topped with a cherry.

So what do you say? Friends again? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

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Shirley Temple Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 and 1/2 cups (6 oz) plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup Cherry 7-Up, at room temperature*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
Red food coloring

*I used regular 7-Up with a splash of maraschino cherry juice. It worked well!!

Instructions:

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a cupcake pan with your desired paper liners, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), add the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. (My mixture looked satiny at this point.)

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and alternate adding the flour mixture and the Cherry 7-Up, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, mixing well. (My mixture actually looked a bit curdled but they baked up great!)

Place about 3/4 cup of the cupcake batter in a separate small bowl and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, maraschino cherry juice, and red food coloring (to your desired tint).

Evenly distribute the red cupcake batter among your prepared liners, about 1-2 teaspoons per liner, gently smoothing out the batter.

Once the red batter is in place, evenly distribute the remaining cupcake batter among the cupcake liners, making sure not to mix the two batters. Be sure to cover the red batter completely so it doesn’t bake up the sides and to the top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (do not overbake). Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the Buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch salt
2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

For garnish:
12 maraschino cherries with stems

To make the Buttercream Frosting: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the pinch of salt, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, lemon juice, and maraschino cherry juice into the bowl. On low speed, incorporate the ingredients until the powdered sugar is mixed in. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2-3 minutes. If you like your frosting thicker, add more powdered sugar (small amounts at a time) and if you like it thinner add a bit more cherry juice.

Pipe as desired onto your cooled cupcakes and garnish with a maraschino cherry. Enjoy!

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Recipe from The Curvy Carrot For a gluten-free version go to Simply Gluten-Free for the recipe.

Butterbeer Cupcakes for Harry Potter

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My initial idea for this week was to post a different Harry Potter inspired recipe leading up to the premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. And maybe even getting a few more out there after just to get the recipes swimming in my head out of my system. Apparently I wasn’t the only evil genius because everywhere I look today, there are Harry Potter recipes running amok.

It’s crazytown out there, folks. But calm yourself because I have made you some of the BEST cupcakes to ever grace my kitchen.

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When I first read about Butterbeer in the Harry Potter books, I imagined butter… and beer. And that did NOT sound tasty to me at ALL (not to mention that I was wondering why these 11 year olds are drinking beer!). Oh sure, I’m all for butter, my baking world would be lost without it. But in beer? Blegh.

But it turns out that Butterbeer really has nothing to do with beer at all. At least not the recipes that I’ve found. Most of them include butterscotch and butter flavors.

These are pretty sweet so if your sweet tooth isn’t as hardcore as mine, I suggest skipping the butterscotch filling and just sticking with the cupcakes and frosting.

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Butterbeer Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Sweet Tooth

For the cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

For the butterscotch ganache:
1 11-oz package butterscotch chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/8 tsp salt
1 lb powdered sugar
Splash of cream (as needed)

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Making the Cupcakes:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl and a hand mixer), cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffly, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing until well incorporates (about 1 minute), scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition.
5.  Add in vanilla and butter flavoring, mix for about 1 minute.
6.  Combine buttermilk and cream soda in a small bowl (or measuring cup for ease).
7.  Alternate adding the flour and the buttermilk mixture with the mixer on low, starting and ending with the flour.
8.  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full (I would fill 2/3 full) and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks.

Making the Butterscotch Ganache:
1.  Melt the butterscotch chips and heavy cream together using a double boiler until completely smooth (or in a heat safe bowl in the microwave). Cool to room temperature to allow the ganache to slightly thicken.
2. Set 1/3 cup or mixture aside and fill a plastic squeeze bottle with the remaining ganache. Insert tip into each cooled cupcake about halfway down, squeeze gently filling until the ganache starts to slightly overflow.

Making the Frosting:
1.  Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add remaining 1/3 cup of ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar and allow it to come together for about 2 minutes. Add cream a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
2.  Pipe frosting onto cupcakes with a large tip and drizzle leftover butterscotch ganache over each.

Recipe yields 18 cupcakes.

For more Harry Potter fun, check these out:
Pumpkin Pasties
Sorting Hat Pita Bread
and stay tuned for more :)

Independence Day Cake – Red White and Blue Vanilla Cake

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Happy Fourth of July!!

Happy Birthday America!!

How are you celebrating? Fireworks? BBQ? Family fun in the sun? How about with cake?

Not just any cake will do. How about a cake that is a silent stunner? Plain and simple on the outside, but once you cut into it… BAM!! American flag flying high!!

Yes, yes I think this will do nicely. Bold and proud just like America!

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Independence Day Cake

Ingredients:

3 cups sugar
4 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
3 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, soft (18 TBSP)
1 3/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons milk, at room temperature
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs

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To Make The Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour three 9″ round cake pans. Set Aside.

1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

2) Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy.

3) In a measuring cup, combine the milk and vanilla and add, all at once to the sandy flour mixture. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds until it looks just combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 25 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.

4) In the measuring cup that you used for the milk/vanilla, add all eggs and gently whisk together. With the mixer running at medium speed, slowly add eggs in three batches mixing until almost incorporated. Scrape the bowl once more, then beat at medium-high speed for 20 more seconds.

5) Separate the cake mix into three medium bowls (or 4-cup measuring cups to be as accurate as possible) and color one bowl red, one blue and leave the last white. Mix the dye thoroughly and transfer the batter to the prepared pans and smooth out the tops. c

6) Bake for 30 minutes until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached and the layers begin to pull away from the edges of the pan.

7) Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool before removing it from the pan.

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To Prep The Cake:

Using a serrated knife or cake leveler, slice the red and white layers horizontally in half. You’ll end up with a blue layer (2″), two red layers (each 1″), and two white layers (each 1″). Set one white and one red layer aside, those will be the bottom two stripes of the flag.

You only want a square of blue in each slice, not an entire layer. Stack the blue layer, white layer, and red layer on top of each other. Using a serrated knife, cut a large circle through all three layers. I used a bowl as a guide. Now you have a ring of blue (2″), a ring of white (1″), a ring of red (1″), and three inner circles in each color (the blue is 2″ and the other two are both 1″). Set aside the inner circle of blue and eat the outer rings of red and white. ;)

To Assemble The Cake: (see below for the frosting recipe I used)

Frost the bottom two layers together – set the uncut white layer on a plate and spread with frosting. Top with the uncut red layer. Spread the uncut red layer with frosting, then set the blue ring on top. Use a spatula to spread a very, very thin layer of frosting around the inside edge of the blue ring. This will help keep the blue layer and the two top stripes together.

Frost the white inner circle and place the red inner circle on top of it. Place both frosted inner layers inside the ring of blue. Frost the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting; don’t worry about perfecting it as this is just the crumb coat. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes to let the crumb coat set and harden. Remove cake from refrigerator and add final coat of frosting to entire cake.

In a small bowl, crumble the blue inner circle of cake you set aside earlier and sprinkle it on top of the cake. Slice and serve and watch the oohs and aahs roll in.

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Vanilla Buttercream:

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb confectioners sugar
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:
In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk. Beat at high speed until fluffy, adding an additional 1 tablespoon milk if necessary.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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The stores are bursting at the seams with red and pink… everything.

Hearts adorn everything from windows to pillow cases.

And you can’t go to Martha Stewart’s website without getting a million and three ideas of what to make (or not make) for your sweetie.

So if you have ill feelings towards Vday, I suggest you look away because it won’t be any different here.

Red, check.

Hearts, check.

Sweet, check.

Giftable, check check.

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Even if you don’t celebrate Vday, you can still make these and give them to your mom or your kids or heck… even your neighbor. Or, make them for yourself, wrap them up real nice and leave them on your desk and pretend that someone else made them for you so that your crush knows that you’re in demand ;)

I have my go-to red velvet cake recipe but I wanted to try another one to broaden my horizons. The only thing that hinders these from being my go-to is that the color isn’t as vibrant as I’m used to. But if that doesn’t bother you, get out your bowls and spoons because these are great!!

And do try to stay out of the frosting bowl. :)

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yields 24 frosted cupcakes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Heart sprinkles for decoration

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Directions:

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Frost each cupcake with a small offset spatual (or butter knife) or your favorite piping bag tip.

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Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

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Birthday cakes should be something special. Something that the birthday girl really loves. And most importantly, something that tastes phenomenal.

And in this case, the birthday girl was my mother in-law so I knew JUST the flavor profile I’d be working with!

A simple moist chocolate cake that is sure to please and my favorite buttercream frosting ramped up with a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream.

The result: a moist chocolate cake, delicious frosting, and a happy birthday girl.

Mission Accomplished!

I made this cake as the cake for our wedding reception and a certain birthday girl chose this as her cake. (Happy Birthday Adriana!!) I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it for her :)

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HERSHEY’S “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” Chocolate Cake
makes 2-6″ layers

Ingredients:
1 cups sugar
7/8 cups all-purpose flour (1/2c + 1/4c + 2 TBSP)
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 6-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Sift cocoa powder into dry ingredients to prevent lumps. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 25-30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Frost and decorate as desired.

5. If you will not frost and decorate the same day, wrap layers separately in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or 1 week in the freezer.

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My Favorite Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract (or regular, frosting will be off-white)
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
1 tablespoon of Bailey’s Irish Cream
3-5 tablespoons very cold milk

Directions:
Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar (roughly) 1/4 of the bag at a time mixing on low speed to generally incorporate then back to med-high to mix thoroughly. Repeat until the bag is empty, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, add the Bailey’s Irish Cream and combine very well. Then begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach your desired consistency. Then whip the heck out of that buttercream for 30 seconds for a beautifully smooth texture.

*REMEMBER: working slowly when adding the milk is KEY. You can always add more to thin the frosting, but you can’t take it away leaving your frosting thin. The goal is for a frosting that is thick enough to set up well but not so thick that you can’t pipe it out of a pastry bag or spread it easily with a spatula.

**This recipe yields a whopping amount of frosting. Use what you need and place the rest in a tightly sealed container and either refrigerate it or freeze it (letting it come to room temperature before using it.)

***Scrape out the seeds of 2 vanilla beans and add them in place of the vanilla extract.

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I also made this cake and frosting combo for my little brothers 6th birthday… minus the Bailey’s in the frosting, of course. I used the vanilla beans in the frosting instead of vanilla extract and topped with slivers of chocolate. He certainly enjoyed it ;)

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