Skinny Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cake

pumpkin3Happy Halloween everyone! As today comes and goes Thanksgiving will approach soon thereafter, with pumpkin being the favorite flavor to represent the season. Pumpkin pie may be the go to classic but pumpkin cake is a close runner up. What is not to love about a moist, fluffy cake flavored with delicious pumpkin and warm, comforting spices??? I certainly can’t think of anything! Then you add the rich layer of cream cheese frosting that not only creates an adored classic combination but it also locks in the cake’s moisture for days. At this point it shouldn’t take much convincing to get any pumpkin lover to give this recipe a go.

pumpkincake1However, if flavor and texture are not enough to convince you to try this cake the ease itself should persuade you. A sheet cake is the easiest type of cake to make and it can feed a lot of people (both essential perks for the holiday baker). Simply prepare the batter, spread into the pan, and bake. Once the cake cools you spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top and cut into squares to serve. There is no trimming or chilling layers or preparing huge batches of frosting, making this cake the perfect addition to the holiday table or as a quick treat to whip up for a work, school, or church function.

Pumpkincake2If having said all of that still wasn’t enough convincing, how about the fact that this cake is a much lighter version of all its competitors. Traditional pumpkin cakes with cream cheese frosting run well over 350 calories per slice and triple the amount of fat content found in this recipe. The cake is easily made lighter by swapping traditional all-purpose flour with whole-wheat while organic light brown sugar stands in for the typical refined version. The cream cheese frosting is lightened up with the use of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, minimal butter, and organic powdered sugar that again stands in for the refined alternative. This cake is a much lighter and welcoming change from the traditional pumpkin pie and will yield approximately 24 servings (1 square). If you are following Weight Watchers, one square of cake is equal to 3 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. Whole-Wheat Flour (approximately 2¼ cups)
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Organic Brown Sugar (such as Wholesome’s); packed
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Puree
  • Nonstick Cooking Spray (Olive Oil)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Organic Powdered Sugar (such as Wholesome’s); sifted

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pie spice, and salt in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until just incorporated.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl) combine the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until incorporated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Gently fold in the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan, making sure to smooth out well as it will not smooth itself while baking. Bake the cake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack.
  5. While the cake cools, prepare the frosting by combining the butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or medium bowl). Beat the mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until mixture is smooth and well combined. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Square)

PumpkinCakeCreamCheeseFrostingWeight Watchers: 3 Points or 5 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: TRISHA KRUSE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

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Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

DSC_0373Christmas is quickly approaching and you know what that means… Cookie season!!! Holiday dessert tables always have cookies and are adorned year after year with the traditional family favorites. These favorites typically include sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and anything peppermint infused. I love all of these but sometimes you just want something fresh and new to try. That is why each year alongside the traditional cookies, I always make sure that I add one new cookie to the platter that everyone can try to enjoy alongside the usual favorites.

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It is from that tradition that I created my annual dedication to diverse holiday cookie options in the month of December. For the next few weeks you will be seeing many posts on cookies that I find can be a great addition to any holiday dessert table. I started this year with Cherry Cheesecake cookies. These cookies have been sweeping the social media airwaves as of late but I actually came across this cookie back in 2010 and fell in love. Cherry cheesecake was always a favorite of mine as a kid and melding those flavors into the portable ease of a cookie is heavenly.

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I like to make the cookie dough ahead of time not only to save precious time for baking other things but also because these cookies do not have a very long lifespan after they have been baked. It is best to make them the day they are going to be devoured because the cream cheese filling causes them to spoil at an accelerated rate. Also the extended chilling time will make it much easier to shape and roll the dough balls in the graham cracker crumbs.

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The formula I use makes about 2 dozen cookies and is enough for my family at the holidays, but if you have a larger family you can certainly double the recipe. Once the cookies have been baked be sure to store them in an airtight container for no more than 2 days.

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Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) Pkg. Cream Cheese; softened
  • 10 tbsp. (1 ¼ sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 (20 oz.) can Cherry Pie Filling

Formula:

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and sugar together on medium-high speed until the texture becomes smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix the dough together until it is incorporated. Do not overmix. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Place the cherry pie filling in a shallow dish. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the graham cracker crumbs. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use the back of a tablespoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
  3. Use a small spoon to place 3 cherries in the indented center of each cookie. Be sure to strain off as much of the filling/juice to ensure the cherries do not end up swimming in a cherry bath and creating a soggy-centered cookie. Bake the cookies until golden around the edges, about 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking.
  4. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM STEPHANIE MATTHEWS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Fall has officially arrived here in Florida today. Waking up to a very brisk, chilly morning was refreshing but also a bit of a shock to the system I must admit. It is rather ironic that as I sit here freezing in Florida while family in Queens, New York will most likely be hit by a Hurricane in the coming hours. With that said, I guess it is only fitting that there is no better way to warm up your day then starting it off with a sweet and gooey, calorie-laced cinnamon roll straight from the oven. Although there are many food court or fast food leaner and punier cousins to the homemade cinnamon roll, nothing is quite as satisfying as eating a cinnamon roll made from scratch or a neighborhood bakery. Processed cinnamon rolls lack the richness of soft, buttery Brioche dough, the gooey abundance of cinnamon-sugar filling, and the thick and sticky cream cheese glaze that a great homemade cinnamon roll can offer.

To start the cinnamon roll off on the right foot, selecting the proper type of yeast dough is key. Some cinnamon roll formulas will use a sweet bread dough which is too lean, a Danish dough which is overly buttery and way too much labor, or Challah which is neither rich or soft enough for the ideal roll. By far the best in my opinion is Brioche, which isn’t flaky or overly buttery, but rather a tender and rich base with which to begin the Ultimate Cinnamon Roll. Next stop is the filling. Granulated sugar is far too bland in a cinnamon roll of epic status. Using light brown sugar instead adds a caramel flavor which is further emphasized when it melts down into ooey gooey deliciousness. Just be sure that you use light brown sugar and not dark because then you will go from one extreme to another. First being too bland and then to being too bold and overshadowing the cinnamon with caramel flavor. Any cinnamon of course would do in this formula but I wanted the Ultimate most Epic Cinnamon Roll and to do that you need some fine cinnamon. I chose to use a blend of hand-mixed China, Vietnamese, Korintje, and Ceylon Cinnamon. The result… filling that is PERFECTO!!! Of course with more filling comes the risk of it all crumbling out everywhere as it is rolled up. To prevent this, a slathering of butter is necessary and since the original yeast dough base is not a significantly buttery dough to begin with, slathering the butter in this step doesn’t affect the dough in a negative way but rather enriches it perfectly and provides the desired rich, gooey filling.

Last stop on the road to Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls ends with the glaze. Most formulas top the rolls with a cream cheese frosting full of butter and confectioner’s sugar, causing already rich rolls to be just too darn sweet. By eliminating the butter and replacing it with a bit of milk and vanilla, the cream cheese glaze now had the perfect amount of rich flavor without being too over the top. By adding a bit of the glaze while the rolls were still warm allowed the it to penetrate the rolls and add an extra element of flavor and tenderness. Adding the rest of the glaze after the rolls had cooled for some time prevented it from melting and created a nice thick layer of frosting sure to never disappoint.

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Brioche Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Milk, warmed to 110°
  • 1 envelope Rapid-Rise or Instant Yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
  • 3 Eggs, room temp.
  • 4 ¼ cups Bread Flour
  • ½ cup Cornstarch
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. Salt
  • 12 tbsp. ( 1 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups Confectioners’ Sugar

Brioche Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 200°. Once preheated, shut off the oven. Line a 13 x 9 in. pan with foil, allowing a bit of excess to hang over the edges. Grease the pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Mix heated milk and yeast together until yeast dissolves. Allow to bloom a few minutes. Fit a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and use the bowl to mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add the milk/yeast mixture in a steady stream. Add the eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Increase to medium speed and add the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix the dough until it is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl in a cohesive ball, about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven. Let rise until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours. (If not using a stand mixer, be sure to place the dough in a oven safe bowl before placing in the preheated oven.)

Filling Formula:

  1. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll the dough into an 18 in. square. Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a ½ in. border around the edges. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and lightly press the sugar mixture to adhere it to the dough. 
  2. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam lightly to seal it and place the seam side down. Use a metal bench scraper or knife to cut the rolled log in half and then into 8 pieces for large cinnamon rolls or 12 pieces for mini cinnamon rolls. Transfer the pieces, cut side facing up, into the prepared 13 x 9 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and proof in the warmed, shut off oven until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

Glaze/Bake Formula:

  1. Remove cinnamon rolls from oven or warm spot. Discard plastic wrap. Heat oven to 350°. Bake cinnamon rolls until golden brown and filling is melted, 30 to 40 minutes. While cinnamon rolls bake, whisk cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Once the cinnamon rolls have finished baking, transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and ice the rolls with ½ cup of the glaze, reserving the remaining glaze for later. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for about 30 minutes. Using the foil overhang created earlier, gently lift the rolls from the pan and top with the remaining glaze. Serve warm.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY

ERIKA BRUCE 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2012

Carrot Cupcakes

Spring is officially here. The plants are in full bloom, spring breakers are flooding the area, and the Easter holiday is just around the corner. I must say I do love the smell of Orange Blossoms in full bloom, which scents the air of citrus when I walk out my door. It is most definitely the best perk of living outside the city and near the orange groves. The thing I hate most about spring happens to be the spring breaker tourists, which remind me of the long few months ahead of tourists. I shouldn’t much complain about tourists I suppose, as they do keep me busy in business equaling  more hours and a larger paycheck. However I can’t get myself to like the onslaught of invaders crowding the Florida roadways with maps on the steering wheel driving twenty miles under the speed limit looking for the nearest Disney World signs and causing me to leave for work and school hours in advance just to get anywhere on time. Perhaps the best part of spring is Easter as I love all holidays. I love the food, I love the cute Easter bunny toys and bags and chocolates. It is with the Easter bunny in mind that this cupcake has come about. What better way to lure the Easter bunny to your home then with his favorite food inside it… the carrot. Carrot Cake is traditionally…well a cake cut into squares and covered in a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. But in order to make it more accessible for mom or dad err I mean the Easter Bunny to eat on the go after hiding countless Easter eggs and baskets around the house, I present to you the Carrot Cupcake.

These little Easter delights are a mouthful of moist and richly spiced cake with a fluffy sweet cream cheese frosting. The Easter bunny would never know these cupcake versions of the 1970’s cake fad were once considered health food as they are so deliciously satisfying as a junk food treat. By adding chopped walnuts and raisins, they are also more interesting and a bit more eclectic when put against the traditional cake. Even though the Carrot Cupcakes are reminiscent of a bake sale offering for children they are most definitely a grown up treat. So to all the Easter Bunnies out there this year…enjoy a treat designed just for you!!!

Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup Flour
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ # Carrots, peeled and grated/processed
  • ½ cup Raisins, chopped
  • ½ cup Walnuts, toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350°. Line a standard sized muffin tin with cupcake liners. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. 
  2. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the muffin tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once cool frost cakes with a thick and even layer of cream cheese frosting (formula follows).

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened but slightly cool
  • 1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened, cut into pieces
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar together until it appears light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese one piece at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition (you should have about four pieces). Add the vanilla and mix gently until no lumps remain.
  2. Using an offset spatula, gently spread a thick layer of frosting over the cooled cupcakes.

Special Thanks To:

Keri Fisher

Peter Mendoros – Photography


All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012