Apple Pie with Oat Pecan Topping

A few weeks ago we officially hit winter, yet I can honestly say I’m not ready. From as far back as October, the weather here in central Florida has been all over the place. It has either been too hot, too cold, or even rainy for days in a row, despite it supposedly being the dry season. There was honestly never a day where I could enjoy the flavors of autumn and have it feel like it was actually autumn outside. But since fall happens to be my favorite season, I decided to celebrate it today with my ultimate fall comfort dessert, apple pie. Apple’s seasonality may peak in fall, but thankfully you can always find this fruit’s warm, inviting colors year round in practically every store. This means, no matter the time of the year, you can always serve a delicious apple pie. To free me from the guilt associated with possible year round pie consumption, I’ve spent the past two months cleaning up and testing this recipe so that it can fit into any healthy lifestyle.

While apple pie is certainly not the worst dessert for your health, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. So to begin the process of making this pie healthier, I had to first look at what makes it so desired and how those elements affect nutrition. This would then give me a foundation of what I could cut and what I needed to retain in order to improve the nutrition content without sacrificing taste. A traditional apple pie aims to please with a rich, flaky pastry crust on both the bottom and the top to encase the filling. This may taste delicious, but it also translates to a lot of fat (typically from shortening), and empty calories from heavily processed white flour. To avoid the downsides of a typical crust while also saving time, I opted for a frozen whole-wheat crust from my local organic market. The crust is made from whole wheat pastry flour and safflower oil, which boosts nutritional content, adds a bit of extra flavor, and contains less protein than regular flour, thus preventing the crust from getting tough and chewy. Since a lot of the calories in an apple pie come from the crust, I chose to ax the top layer altogether and go with a Dutch-style blend of oats, pecans, and cinnamon. This adds a nice texture to the pie, removes unnecessary calories/fat, and eliminates any stress that dealing with pie dough creates.

Once the pie crust was in order it was time to tackle the filling. Since apples are the star of the recipe, choosing the right variety is key. In my eyes, the definition of the perfect apple is crisp yet soft while also having a proper balance of sweet and tart. The Golden Delicious variety fits all of this criteria, providing the familiar, comforting taste we all know and love while also being easy to find in any supermarket. As a bonus, since Golden Delicious apples are not overly tart, I was able to cut the amount of added sugar this recipe needed significantly without sacrificing a pleasantly sweet filling. I opted for raw cane sugar as my added sweetener over a liquid sweetener like honey or a non-cane source such as maple sugar. The reason for this is due to the role sugar plays in fruit pies. Sugar influences how the juices in the pie thicken, making raw, organic cane sugar the better option. In addition to the type of sugar, I also relied on the help of tapioca flour and the natural thickening agent in apples, pectin, to ensure that my filling was neither too jelly-like or watery. To prevent some of the other common issues apple pies often face, like burnt crust or raw apples, I made sure to keep the apple slices thin, only about 1/8 of an inch thick. This step ensures that the crust gets cooked properly and the apples get tender, yet still offer some resistance when pierced (we aren’t making apple sauce here). To put the final touch on the filling I needed to add depth of flavor. I kept it simple and added just a bit of spice with cinnamon. The result was a delicious, healthy new take on a classic.

Making an apple pie can be intimidating, especially one that is designed to be healthier, but it is really not as difficult as it seems. Like anything else in life, take your time and enjoy the process. This apple pie is worth every bit of effort, as it tastes just as good as a traditional recipe but slashes calories, fat, carbs, sodium, and cholesterol in half, greatly reduces sugar, and increases the fiber content of each slice. Pie making is very much a labor of love and your body will love you for treating it with this healthier take on apple pie!

Apple Pie with Oat Pecan Topping


Ingredients

  • 1 Prepared Whole-Wheat Pie Crust; fresh or frozen
  • 6 Golden Delicious Apples; peeled, cored, & thinly sliced (1/8 in. thick)
  • ½ cup Raw Cane Sugar
  • ¼ cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon; divided
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 oz. Unsalted Raw Pecans; chopped
  • ¼ cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place prepared pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet. If using a roll-out variety of prepared pie crust, mist a 9 inch pie dish with cooking spray and then roll out dough into pie dish. Crimp sides down with a fork. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the apples, cane sugar, tapioca flour, vinegar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and salt until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together pecans, oats, and remaining ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. Spoon apple mixture into crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecan mixture over the top of the apple mixture. Cover top of pie loosely with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350° and continue baking until liquid is bubbling, crust is golden brown, and apples offer only slight resistance when pierced, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove foil and cool on a wire rack. To serve warm, cool at least 20 minutes. For a cleaner slice, wait at least 2 hours before serving.

Nutrition

Per Serving (1 Slice): 257 Calories; 3 g Protein; 8 g Total Fat; 1 g Sat. Fat; 5 g Fiber; 146 mg Sodium; 25 g Sugar; 46 g Carbs; 19 mg Cholesterol.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: J. O’HARA
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2020

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Angel Food Cake

20160526_163523Angel food cake is a dessert as heavenly as the name suggests. It is light, spongy, and just sweet enough to satisfy without feeling as if one has gone overboard. As great as angel food cake is on its own, its simplicity provides endless possibilities for creating different versions of the dessert. With very little effort, a plain angel food cake can be transformed into an elegant cake for any occasion.

20160526_163534Traditionally, angel food cake is dressed up with fresh fruit and whipped cream to keep the cake light. I elected to go a bit of an unconventional route and add some heavier flavors because the rest of the cake is light enough to handle such additions without being too much. I took the flavors found in a turtle sundae (chocolate, caramel, pecans) and drizzled them across the top of the prepared cake. The results were a divine cake from top to bottom.

20160526_163739Chocolate & Salted Caramel Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (7oz.) container Dark Semi-Sweet Dipping Chocolate (such as Baker’s)
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp.) Unsalted Butter
  • 3 tbsp. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Chopped Pecans; toasted

Preparation:

  1. Bake angel food cake according to package directions. Cool completely.
  2. Melt dark chocolate according to package directions. Place melted chocolate in a clear, decorating squeeze bottle. Squeeze bottle over top of cake, moving back and forth to create a drizzled effect on both sides of the cake. If you do not have a squeeze bottle use the back of a spoon to drizzle the chocolate using the same motion.
  3. In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, whipping cream, and salt over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring only until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly drizzle caramel over the cake in the same motions as the chocolate. Top with pecans and serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll

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With the onset of fall many families have their own go to favorites that remind them of the season. For some it may be caramel apples, others pecan pie, but for me nothing screams fall like Pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is usually my go to dessert this time of year, especially for Thanksgiving dessert but after many years of the same slice of pie and a dollop of cool whip you start to want to branch out a bit, keeping the similar flavors of pumpkin pie but transformed into a new dessert. I stumbled on a pumpkin roll recipe and I won’t lie it looked a bit daunting. Even in culinary school I remember making a similar sponge cake and having to quickly roll it while it was fresh out of the oven and still on fire just to ensure an easy roll later. I let these thoughts fend me off for a little while and was tempted to make some cupcakes instead. That was until I ran into a quaint little jar of Sparkling Pumpkin Cider while at the market and for some odd reason or another it inspired me to give the pumpkin roll a try. I imagined paring up the elegant roll with a glass of cider in a champagne glass and from that moment on I was sold to the idea of taking this recipe on.

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I must admit I was quite surprised at its overall simplicity. I had a lot of concern over how the end result would be but as long as you follow the directions you really run into no problems at all. I have honestly had more problems with cookies that appear much simpler than this. Not to mention this type of cake is by far the easiest you will ever make and the most divine on the taste buds. Instead of having to cut and trim layers the cake batter is simply spread into a sheet pan prepared with greased parchment paper that makes removing it from the pan and rolling it a breeze. By rolling the cake while it was still warm, the cake was able to cool and be trained into the shape necessary to prevent it from cracking or breaking after spreading the filling in place.

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I allowed the cream cheese to soften at room temperature to ensure a smooth frosting and easier spread onto the cake. Make sure the cake is completely cooled before trying to spread the frosting on and then gently re-roll it into a tight cylinder. To get the glamorous look that will make every holiday table shine, all you need is a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and some spiced pecans. If you can’t find spiced pecans, regular pecans you find in the baking aisle can be toasted and then top the cake as shown. The roll can be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic or sealed in an airtight container for up to three days.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll

 

Pumpkin Roll Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Cake Flour; sifted
  • 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting; ingredients and formula below
  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Spiced or Toasted Pecans

 

Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • 8 oz. (1 pkg.) Cream Cheese; softened; cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

 

Formula:

  1. For the Pumpkin Roll: Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Heat oven to 350°. Line an 18 by 13 inch rimmed sheet pan with greased parchment paper. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on low speed until incorporated. Gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Give the pan a gentle tap to expel air bubbles and even out the batter. Bake the cake until it is firm and springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the sheet pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out onto a clean sheet of parchment paper dusted with a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off the parchment paper attached to the cake while baking and discard. Beginning from the short end, roll the cake with the fresh piece of parchment into a log and allow it to cool seam side down, about 1 hour.
  2. For the Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, one piece at a time, making sure to beat thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly blended and no lumps remain. Before assembling the cake, be sure the mixture is at room temperature for easiest spreading.
  3. To assemble the roll, gently unroll the cake and spread the cheesecake frosting evenly, leaving a 1 inch border around all the edges to prevent the frosting from leaking out the ends when you roll it. Gently re-roll the cake snugly around the filling, leaving the parchment paper behind as you roll. Wrap the finished roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is well set and chilled, at least one hour and up to 2 days. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap, dust with confectioners’ sugar and top with pecans.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

 

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Turtle Rice Krispie Treats

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While on the trail for unique or more grown-up versions of the traditional plain Rice Krispie Treat, I stumbled across this little variation inspired by a delicious sundae flavor I love… Turtle. What I love about this formula is not just the taste but that the preparation still stays relatively simple like everyone relies on Rice Krispie Treats to be when they need a go to treat on the fly. Practically the hardest part of this rendition is having the patience to unwrap all the little caramel candies!!! With the flavors of Chocolate, Caramel, and Pecans in a beloved childhood treat, what could really go wrong about this… absolutely nothing 😉

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Now the original version of Turtle Treats I stumbled on uses Cocoa Krispies cereal rather than regular. You can surely do this and it does save time but I prefer melting chocolate with the marshmallows as it gives it a much richer flavor. If of course you are really in a pinch for something then go ahead and use the Cocoa Krispies as an efficient substitution to the chocolate. Of course if you wanted a double chocolate flavor you could melt chocolate with the marshmallows and use Cocoa Krispie cereal. I personally did not choose to do this for fear it may overpower the caramel flavor but I certainly can recommend any chocoholic’s out there to try it.

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Turtle Rice Krispie Treats

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 ½ bags (15 oz.) Marshmallows
  • ¾ cup Dark Chocolate Chips (can substitute Semi-Sweet)
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 7 ½ cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • 25 Soft Caramel Candies, quartered
  • 1 cup Toasted Pecans, chopped
  • Caramel Sauce (Optional)

 

Formula:

  1. Grease a 13×9 in. baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Melt butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the caramels and pecans until evenly distributed. Add the Rice Krispies cereal and mix until well incorporated. Scrape the mixture evenly into the prepared pan set aside earlier and press firmly into the bottom and corners with a greased rubber spatula. Allow to cool completely, approximately 1 hour.
  3. *Optional: You may purchase a caramel sauce or make your own (Use the remaining caramels from the bag you purchased along with enough milk to cover the caramels about halfway. Melt in the microwave stirring every 15 seconds until smooth and creamy. If needed, add more milk to create a creamy smooth texture). Drizzle the caramel over the cooled Turtle Treats. Allow caramel to cool and set, about 15 minutes. Cut treats into squares and serve.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM JEREMY SAUER

 

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Maple Pumpkin Cupcakes

It’s Friday!!! Time to wind down from the long week and what better way than to enjoy another fall favorite flavor. Besides Caramel, another favorite flavor of fall for myself is Pumpkin. I always looked forward to Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving as a kid and to this day I still crave it this time of year. But now that I am an adult, I like to experiment with the flavors I have always loved and deconstruct old favorites into new products. Today’s post is the result of a deconstructed Pumpkin Praline Pie translated into a cupcake.

The beauty of these cupcakes are they have the wonderful flavors of a Pumpkin Praline pie but are far easier to transport than the traditional pie and are easy for kids to swipe and run away with before you even knew they were in the kitchen. The base of the cupcake is rich in pumpkin flavor and accented by a great blend of spices. For the Pumpkin Pie Spice I chose a blend that contained China Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, Ginger, Mace, and Cloves. You can use any brand of Pumpkin Pie Spice but I really enjoy what this particular blend brings to the cupcakes and how it accurately brightens the pumpkin flavor without overpowering it. I would have the base flavor no other way.

To bring the Praline flavor to the cupcake without overshadowing the pumpkin flavor, which must always be the star of the show, I chose a very light and airy whipped topping like frosting called Chantilly Cream. I chose this not only to be a light and delicate way to introduce the praline flavor, but also keeping in mind that this is a deconstructed version of a pumpkin pie and how do most people top their pumpkin pies… with Cool Whip.

To make Chantilly Cream you simply whip cold heavy cream to stiff peaks then add any flavors you are wishing to achieve. For my flavoring, I chose Maple Syrup because it gives a nutty caramel flavor much like what is found in a Pumpkin Praline Pie.  Now I know I often give short cut time saver tips but I really don’t suggest you ever use Cool Whip as a substitute to making Chantilly Cream yourself because there is no comparison to the homemade variety and since it is so simple and takes only a few minutes the stuff you buy prepared really doesn’t save much time and costs far more than standard cream and imparts a processed flavor which can overshadow your flavor additions and even the cake base itself. So no cheating with this one.

To round out the final flavors of the traditional Pumpkin Praline Pie and add an elegant finishing touch to the look of the cupcakes, I toasted and chopped a few pecans and garnished the Maple Chantilly Cream. After a slight traumatic incident involving a spooked cat, cut toe, and suicidal cupcake I had to clean off the floor, I was finally able to enjoy this fall masterpiece that had scented up my kitchen all morning. Let me tell you… the moist, tender pumpkin cake slathered with the light maple cream and crunchy pecan garnish was… truly…. delicious!!!

Maple Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (7.5 oz.) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (8.75 oz.) Sugar
  • 8 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted & cooled
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 ½ cups Heavy Cream, chilled
  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Pecans, toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350°. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan and grease liners with cooking spray (You can use Halloween or Fall themed liners for added effect). Mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, and eggs on medium-high until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the pumpkin, mixing until incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. A few small streaks of flour may remain which is okay.
  3. Place the batter in a measuring cup for easing pouring and fill each cupcake liner ¾ full. Bake about 12-15 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on the wire rack.
  4. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, use a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and beat the cream and maple syrup together on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. If you are old school you can also use a whisk and whip the cream by hand for the same results minus a sore arm 😉
  5. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the Maple Chantilly Cream and pipe in a circular motion on the top of the cooled cupcakes. Finish cupcakes with a sprinkle of pecans. Serve. Store any leftovers in refrigerator up to three days.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2012

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Welcome to another hump day, which on a happy note, happens to be the last one in the month of May for the year 2012. I have been a busy bee lately. Work has consumed me as of late and when not working I will admit I am just too darn tired to do anything else. I do have some side projects currently in the works which have also consumed much of my free time. Keep your fingers all crossed that those do work out. But for today I will be sharing with you some delicious cookies inspired by one of my favorite sundaes I used to eat as a kid from the fast food chain… Culver’s (a chain located in the Midwest). In fact they also do resemble another childhood favorite of mine, the thumbprint cookie with the jelly/jam filled center. I used to make them in my Easy Bake Oven and speaking of Easy Bake Ovens I just realized how old I’m getting lol. Definite 80’s born baby here. So basically these cookies are a mishmash of Turtle Sundae meets jelly filled thumbprint cookie and let me tell you I love the duo. These got devoured so fast I forgot I had made them and hence why I have yet to post on the blog for such time. Even my boyfriend who isn’t the biggest fan of sweets managed to polish off more than the usual one try taste test. Great thing is they are also rather simple. If you are not a big fan of pecans you can of course skip them but I prefer them as it makes the cookie look a bit more exotic and hides any flaws of cracked cookie underneath… even though you know my cookies are just perfectly smooth under that layer of pecans I’m just giving you the heads up. Our little secret 😉

Just a few technical notes before I send you off to the land of baking. The caramel filling is easily prepared by melting caramel candies however you can prepare homemade if you are that ambitious. I chose not to as the shortcut method tasted just as good and saved so much time and pulled hair. I like to keep every strand of hair I can and caramel isn’t one to spare me much luck. Also, I preferred to use a decorator’s squeeze bottle to portion just the right amount of caramel into the cookies. It made for easy dispensing, less sticky mess and a more clean cookie. However if you are not quite sure how much caramel to place in the center and are afraid you may run out before you reach the end, then use a ½ tsp. measure and fill the indentations with that amount of caramel. If you have any leftover caramel you can look over your cookies and see if any centers need a bit more or be like me and eat the rest. How can you resist fresh caramel… I sure can’t 🙂 Happy Baking!!!

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg, separated
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 tbsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped fine
  • 14 soft Caramel Candies
  • 3 tbsp. Heavy Cream

Formula:

  1. Combine the flour, cocoa, and salt in a bowl. With mixer on medium-high, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least one hour.
  2. Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat the oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another small bowl. One at a time, roll the dough into 1 in. balls. Dip each ball into the egg whites and then roll in the pecans. Place the balls 2 in. apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using a tsp. measure, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time.
  3. While the cookies bake, place the caramel candies and heavy cream in a bowl. Microwave the candies until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes, and making sure to stir occasionally. Once the cookies are removed from the oven, use the tsp. to gently press into the existing indentations. Fill each indentation with about ½ tsp. of caramel. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Special Thanks To:


Robin Evans

Peter Mendoros – Photography


All remaining content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012

Pink Azalea Mini Cakes

dsc04544Although I am a day late…Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!! What can I say I had an epic time with my amazing boyfriend Peter. It was a relaxing day in the house. I baked, he helped me take these photographs for the blog, we exchanged chocolates, we ate New York style pizza with mushrooms and extra cheesy goodness, played video games together… it was simplistic but fun. We will certainly be going out this weekend for a more formal dinner but to me I was happy nonetheless. I hope all of your Valentine’s day wishes were granted and this quick and easy formula for Pink Azalea Mini Cakes may just make your day that much brighter. Although I made them with Valentine’s Day in mind, they can be made for any occasion…Anniversaries, Wedding Favors, Birthdays, or just when you feel like cake but don’t have the energy or time to spend on a large one.

dsc04567Although the images you see first are the cupcake version, they still taste as decadent as if they were a mini personal cake. I did prepare a traditional version of the mini personal cakes but for some reason I was most proud of the cupcakes. They are so simplistic yet elegant and especially for a holiday, you want something that is easy to travel with and something small to share with your loved one after you have already more than likely consumed a large formal dinner. To begin this formula, whether you elect to make all mini cakes or one mini cake and use the remaining batter for cupcakes (as I did), you must first prepare a white cake batter. Depending on your time or skill level, you can either prepare the white cake batter from scratch or use a boxed caked mix. Once the batter is prepared you must divide it, as one batter will be pink and have added ingredients while the other will remain white without external flavor additions. To prepare a mini cake and cupcakes as I did, first fill your mini cake pan with the plain white cake batter. Then mix in chopped strawberries, chopped pecans, and red food color into the remaining batter and fill another mini cake pan of the same size. With the remaining batter, fill cupcake tin lined with 12 wraps. If you elect to make only mini cakes, then you can fill two mini cake pans with plain white batter and two with the pink batter.

likeAs the cake layers bake, prepare your favorite frosting. My favorite for this particular cake is Chantily Cream as it is light and airy much like the cake is and you don’t want something overly sweet like a traditional buttercream frosting as it is too heavy and will distract from the flavors. Of course if buttercream is your favorite don’t hesitate to prepare it but be sure not to add any external flavors. Keep the only additional flavoring to vanilla, just like I did with the Chantily Cream. Once you prepare your favorite frosting, add a few drops of red food color until it takes on a light pink hue. For added decor, fan some strawberries or slice them and arrange them in the shape of a heart or a simple slice to add height, flavor, and interesting texture. What’s not to love about strawberries on Valentine’s Day!!!

Once the cake layers have had ample time to cool, fill a pastry bag fitted with a mid-sized star tip (#842) with your choice of frosting and set aside. Trim the cake layers and cut each in half. Place one white cake layer on a turntable cover with frosting. Place the pink cake layer on top and layer again with frosting.

dsc04581Place the final white cake layer on top and cover  the top and sides with frosting, making sure the cake layers do not show through and the frosting is smooth. Gently press chopped pecans along the base and pipe shells along the top edge. Pipe a rosette on the top of the cake in the center and place a fanned strawberry on the rosette to complete the mini cake look. For the cupcakes, pipe your frosting in a circular motion, making sure to cover the entire surface of the cupcake. Build up the frosting a bit in the center. Place your choice of adornment, whether a fanned strawberry, single strawberry slice, or strawberry slices shaped into a heart, in the center of the cupcake.

dsc04549-1Whichever method you choose, whether mini cakes are you fancy, cupcakes, or both, you are sure to please your Valentine and have great memories to share for a lifetime. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours… from Honeybee’s Patisserie!!!

Pink Azalea Mini Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Formula for White Cake Batter (or 1 Box White Cake Mix)
  • Red Food Coloring
  • 1 cup Strawberries, chopped
  • ½ cup Pecans, chopped
  • 1 formula for Chantily Cream (Formula Below)
  • Whole Strawberries, fanned or sliced (Decor)

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Prepare batter for a white cake or follow box directions for a white cake mix (be sure not to bake the batter according to box directions). Grease and flour two mini cake pans and line a 12 slot cupcake pan with paper cups if making 1 mini cake and cupcakes. If preparing only mini cakes, grease and flour 4 mini cake pans. If making only cupcakes, line two 12 slot cupcake pans with paper cups.
  2. Fill one mini cake pan with plain white cake batter if making only one mini cake. If making two mini cakes, be sure to fill two pans with plain white cake batter before proceeding (VERY IMPORTANT). With the remaining white cake batter, mix in a few drops of red food coloring until the batter turns a pink hue. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries and pecans. If making one mini cake, fill one mini cake pan with pink batter. With the remaining pink batter, fill the cupcake pan, making sure each tin is filled ¾ full (12 cupcakes in all). If making only mini cakes (no cupcakes), fill two mini cake pans with the pink batter. If preparing only cupcakes, mix the red food color, pecans, and strawberries into all of the prepared white cake batter. Do not reserve any plain batter. Pour the pink batter into the prepared cupcake pan and bake for about 18 minutes. For the mini cakes, bake for about 20 minutes.
  3. Allow the cake layers and cupcakes to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes. Once slightly cooled, remove the cakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. As the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Once cooled completely, fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with your desired frosting tinted pink with red food color (Chantily Cream was used here). If making only cupcakes, pipe around the surface of the cupcake with your choice of pink frosting and top with a fanned strawberry or strawberry slices. If also preparing a mini cake or only mini cakes, set aside the piping bag. Trim the tops of the mini cakes level and cut each in half. You should have two layers of white and two layers of pink. 
  4. Lay the white layer down first and cover with an even layer of pink frosting. Lay the pink layer next and cover with an even layer of pink frosting. Lastly, top with another white cake layer and cover the entire top of the cake and sides with pink frosting. Be sure to smooth the frosting before proceeding to the next step. Once smoothed, gently press chopped pecans along the bottom of the cake to create a nut border. With the reserved piping bag, pipe shells along the top, outer border of the cake. On the top of the cake in the center, pipe a single rosette and place a fanned strawberry on the center of the rosette. If desired, sprinkle some chopped pecans around the fanned strawberry.

Chantily Cream 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. Combine cream and sugar in a large bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Fold in vanilla. 

Special Thanks To:

Peter Mendoros – Photography

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