Sunday, 8 January 2012

Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream

I created this ice cream to help kick off the start (or birth) of 2012.   I’ve got good vibes about this year you know! Not only is the ice cream flavoured of birthday cake, but it’s got birthday cake chunks AND buttercream pieces swirled throughout!  You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound AMAZING!!  



Unfortunately 2012 didn’t start out exactly as I’d imagined.  I’d planned to spend New Years Day making this birthday cake ice cream, and then telling you guys all about it.  I had the liquid ice cream mixture chilling in the fridge overnight, so it was ready to be poured into my brand new ice cream maker (I’d won it way back in the summer from Tesco Supermarket via a contest they were having on Twitter, but haven’t had a chance to use it until now.)  Jayden had just woken up from his nap, and upon picking him up I noticed he was incredibly hot and had a temperature of 39.3ºC (102.7ºF).  To make a long story short, we ended up spending New Years Day in the emergency room at our local hospital before being transferred upstairs to the children's unit for another 3 days. They weren’t sure what exactly was causing his temperature, but every time they got it back down it would return within a few hours.  They’d ruled out all the minor infections and viruses, so decided it was best to test him for meningitis.  Thankfully the tests came back negative, and 2 days later his temperature returned to normal.  We were finally able to return home on the evening of January 4, and I’m pleased to report that Jayden is doing much better.  I couldn’t have asked for better care from the Dr’s and nurses.  I had a lot of spare time on my hands while we were in the hospital, so luckily I was able to work on my Mint Oreo Cupcake post while we were there.  
With Jayden doing much better, I wanted to give my ice cream another try.  I whipped up a fresh new batch of the ice cream mixture, chilled it overnight and then poured it into my ice cream maker.  I watched the paddle turn the liquidy mixture into a nice smooth creamy ice cream.  There’s something oddly gratifying about watching ice cream churn. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the machine!



After the ice cream reached the proper consistency, I stirred in the chunks of birthday cake and buttercream icing before transferring it to a plastic container to firm up in the freezer for a few hours.
I cannot tell you how good this ice cream is!!!  It reminds me of my birthday parties when I was a kid.  My mom would make the most amazing character cakes using these shaped Wilton pans, and then we’d eat it with a nice big scoop of ice cream.  That’s what this ice cream tastes like!  A childhood birthday party all rolled up in a single scoop of cold creamy deliciousness!  YUM!  

Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream
Serves 2 - feel free to double the recipe, but my ice cream maker only holds a small amount.
Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Double Cream or Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Yellow Cake Mix, sifted (I used Betty Crocker French Vanilla)
1 Cup Cubed Cake
1/3 Cup Buttercream Icing
Sprinkles to garnish
Instructions:

1.  To prepare your buttercream to be used in the ice cream, put a small amount in a piping bag and pipe buttercream lines onto a cutting board covered in cling film.  Put the cutting board in the freezer for an hour or two so the icing can freeze.  Using a sharp knife, cut the buttercream icing lines into 1/2 inch (approx 1cm) pieces, transfer to a small dish and pop them back in the freezer until you’re ready to use them in step 4.

2.  Pour the cream and vanilla into a medium sized bowl (one that has a lid), sift in the cake mix and whisk until well combined, set aside.  In a small saucepan whisk the milk, sugar, and egg yolk together until well blended. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until stirring constantly until it reaches 160ºF (70ºC).

3.  Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into the cream and cake mix mixture. Whisk together until well combined.    Put the lid on the bowl, and place in the refrigerator or freezer overnight or for several hours until the liquid is cold.

4.  Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions until it reaches "soft-serve" consistency. Gently stir in the birthday cake chunks , and buttercream pieces.  Transfer ice cream to a plastic container with a lid, and place in the freezer for several hours or overnight until the ice cream has firmed up a bit. 

I’m so pleased with my ice cream invention and how easy it was to make, I can’t wait create more delicious flavour combinations.  I think I may just have to sever ties with my long standing friends Ben & Jerry.  Sorry guys, but our time together may have just come to an end!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Mint Oreo Cupcakes


I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to bake these cupcakes.  It’s probably been close to two years, but I really can’t say for sure. The original recipe called for regular Oreo’s, but I had a package of mint Oreo cookies sitting on my baking shelf for over 6 months just screaming to be used.  I’d picked them up during a recent trip to the States, knowing that they were destined to become the “star ingredient” in one of my future baking creations. I’d struggled to decide what I should make with the mint Oreos - the possibilities were endless. Milk shakes, cheesecakes, brownies, Oreo truffles, cookies, etc., but in the end the cupcakes won.  It had been ages since I baked cupcakes, and ever since I saw these Oreo cupcakes online, I knew I just had to make them.  I also knew that the addition of mint would make them irresistible.  


These cupcakes required me to use the majority of my coveted package of mint Oreos (FYI: UK Oreo packages are a third of the size of the US package above!), something I was a little reluctant in doing. What if they didn’t turn out? I would have “wasted” my precious mint Oreos.

I’m going to be honest and say that I was actually quite hesitant about making this recipe because it said to whip the butter for a few minutes and then mix in the milk and vanilla.  This resulted in a cold liquidy and lumpy buttery mess.  Almost every other cupcake recipe I’ve made called for the butter to be creamed with the sugar.  I continued making them, and I’m glad I did because they turned out great!  The cake was a tiny bit denser than the other cupcakes I bake, but not in a bad way.  It was still nice and moist, and the Oreo’s were studded throughout the cupcake.  The only thing I wish I could change was that a lot of the whole Oreo’s that lined the bottom of the cupcakes stuck to the paper a little bit, which made them hard to remove from the liners.  If anyone has a tip to prevent this please let me know!  I was thinking that pouring a tablespoon of batter into the paper liners before placing the Oreo’s in may help?

I can’t wait to try this recipe with other Oreo flavours.  Unfortunately in the UK the only flavours available are regular and chocolate, but from what I remember mint, peanut butter, golden, and seasonal varieties are all available in the US. How unfair!



Mint Oreo Cupcakes
Slightly Adapted from Beantown Baker

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup (114g) Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup (250ml) Milk 
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 1/4 Cups (280g) Flour, plus 2 Tbsp for the Oreo chunks
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt 
1 2/3 Cup (375g) Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites, at room temperature
1 pkg Mint Oreo Cookies (~45 cookies)

Instructions: 

1.  Preheat oven to 350F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan. 
2.  Twist apart 24 Oreos. Place the wafer with filling on it, filling side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Cut other wafers in half. Save 24 halves to place in the frosting. Crush the other wafer halves, also for garnishing.
Cut the remaining Oreo cookies into quarters with a sharp knife. Toss with 2 Tbsp flour and set aside.
3.  In a large bowl cream the butter until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine.
4.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
5.  Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated. Stir in sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites. Beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the quartered cookies.
6.  Fill the cupcake lines three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.
Mint Buttercream Icing


Ingredients:

1 Cup + 2 Tbsp (250g) Butter, room temperature
5 1/2 Cups (700g) Icing Sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 - 1 tsp mint extract (depending on how strong you want it)
2 - 4 Tbsp Milk
Green food colouring (optional)


Instructions: 


1.  In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and a 1/2 cup (65g) of the icing sugar together until well combined. Continue to add the icing sugar to the butter mixture 1/2 a cup at a time. Once the buttercream mixture starts to get a bit stiff, add the vanilla and mint extracts, and 2 tablespoons of the milk,.  Repeat these steps until all of the icing sugar is incorporated into the butter mixture.  You may want to add in more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. 
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