White velvet cupcakes

Velvet. Silk. Leather. At what point do textile-inspired recipe names become weird? Oh, who cares. I have never eaten white velvet before, and I’ve been curious about it for some time.

I found an amusing white velvet recipe on cookbookmaniac that appealed to me, and I paired it the cream cheese frosting in my Betty Crocker book.

Good to know before you start: This recipe uses cake flour which is milled from soft wheat flour (as opposed to all-purpose flour which is milled from a blend of soft and hard wheats), which results in a finished product with a very tender crumb.  Cake flour also has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour.

You can find regular cake flour and self-rising cake flour, which already contains salt and baking powder. I used self-rising, so I skipped the salt entirely and lowered the amount of baking powder. The original recipe calls for full cream milk and caster sugar which I don’t have, so I substituted with granulated white sugar and 2% milk.

Cream cheese frosting must be refrigerated. If you are like me, and don’t like cold cupcakes, don’t frost them ahead of time. Store the cupcakes at room temperature and frost them as needed.

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 36 mini cupcakes

Cost per cupcake: $1.17

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $42.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • KitchenAid

Cake ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites, room temp
  • ⅔ C milk
  • 1½ TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 C self-rising cake flour
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 1 TSP baking powder (instead of 2½ TSP)
  • NO SALT (instead of ½ TSP)
  • ½ C butter, room temp

Frosting ingredients:

  • one 8 0z block of cream cheese, room temp
  • 4 TBSP butter, room temp
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 4 C icing sugar


1. Pre-heat oven to 175°C / 347°F. Use rack that is third from the top.

2. Separate the egg whites into a medium bowl, and save the yolks for something else. Stir in the vanilla and three tablespoons of the milk. Whisk until just combined.

You know, I really wanted to show you a picture of me separating egg whites like a pro, but since nobody was home to be my camera man you’ll just have to use your imagination.

3. In your mixer, with a flat beater attachment, add: cake flour, white sugar, and baking powder. Beat on Low for 30 seconds.

4. Add butter and remaining milk. Beat on Low until combined, and then beat on Medium for 90 seconds.

This is the first time I’ve used the flat beater and it is AWESOME. It is so much easier to beat ingredients with, why did  I use the wire whip for so long??

5. Add half the egg white mixture and continue on Medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add the remaining egg whites, beat another 30 seconds.

6. Spoon into muffin tins.  Bake 14 minutes. Cool in pan for 1 minute, before transferring to cooling rack for at least one hour before frosting.

7. Make your frosting by combining the cream cheese, butter, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat well, and add the icing sugar one cup at a time. Beat until smooth.

(Edit Aug 17, 8:40am) Got up early to take one more picture.

Verdict: Delicious. White velvet cake is really good. My frosting turned out very runny though, next time will use a little less milk, and more icing sugar. These were a big hit, Boyfriend was quite impressed.

It has an unique texture and comes out of the oven so pale, an interesting change from the cupcakes I’m used to. Really enjoyed these.

No idea why I only got 36 minis instead 48, which is what I usually get from converting a cake recipe to minis.

I was discussing this recipe with Best Friend, who (poor girl) has never eaten any type of velvet cake.  Can you imagine? That’s going to be remedied STAT next time I go home.

Next up: blue velvet!

Playlist: A-ha – Take On Me


Apple cake with cream cheese frosting

This was a delicious accident. It was supposed to be my first carrot cake, but instead became my first apple cake, with cream cheese frosting.

apple cake with cream cheese frosting

Back in November I purchased Betty Crocker Baking Basics – recipes and tips to bake with confidence, which is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. It’s been a very useful book.

I planned to make the carrot cake recipe but didn’t have any carrots, so I went to the store, and was promptly distracted by the shiny apple display. I came home and emptied my shopping bag, perplexed with what to do with a bag of Granny Smith apples and cream cheese.

Not to worry! A spice cake can be made with either apples or carrots, and all the other ingredients remain the same

Good to know before you start:

This cake is perfectly delicious without frosting at all, however if you intend to frost this, take the cream cheese out of the fridge now.

After frosting cake must be refrigerated. Let frosting set before cutting.

getting started

(Here is the moment I realized I bought apples instead.)

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 32 squares

Cost per slice: $1.63

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $52.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • apple peeler & apple corer
  • spatula (do not use a flexible one)
  • baking pan: 9″ x 13″
  • electric beaters

Cake ingredients:

  • 3 tart apples (or 6 medium carrots)
  • 1½ C granulated white sugar
  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 2 C flour
  • 1½ TSP ground cinnamon
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP vanilla
  • ½ TSP salt
  • ¼ TSP ground nutmeg

Frosting ingredients:

  • one package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temp
  • ¼ C butter (half a stick or 4 TBSP), room temp
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 TSP vanilla
  • 4 C icing sugar

Step 1 – preheat oven to 176°C / 350°F, centre rack. Grease and flour baking pan.

Step 2 – peel apples, core apples, and dice into small pieces. Set aside.

apple peelers are GREATso are coring devices

Step 3 – in medium bowl combine:  flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Step 4 – in large bowl, beat on Low for 30 seconds: sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs.

Step 5 – beat dry ingredients into wet, adding a third at a time until blended. Once all dry mixture is added, beat on Low for 1 min, frequently scraping the sides.

adding dry to wet

Step 6 – using a hard spatula, stir apple pieces into batter

never using a flexible spatula again

Step 7 – “pour” (hah!) batter in greased pan, use spatula to smooth batter down. Shake pan and let it settle for a few minutes, then place in oven.

Step 8 – bake 40-45 min, it’s done when toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool cake in pan, on rack, at least 1 hour.

Step 9 – remove cake from pan and make your frosting.

Step 10 – forgot to take pictures of making the frosting but it wasn’t that exciting anyway:

  • In medium bowl on High, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add butter, milk, vanilla, and beat on Low until smooth.
  • Still on Low, beat in icing sugar, one cup at a time, until mixture is smooth and spreadable.
  • Store frosted cake in fridge, covered.
  • Let frosting set before cutting cake. Oops.

You can’t tell, but before frosting this I cut off a piece to try the cake on its own. Yum.

mmm I love creamcheese frosting

apple cake with cream cheese frosting

Verdict: I loved this. Boyfriend’s reaction was lukewarm.

Two things I’ll change next time; use apple sauce instead of vegetable oil, and instead of frosting the cake after it cools, I’m going to make the frosting and put it in the fridge, and just frost pieces as they are served because storing a frosted cake in the fridge was irritating.

My favourite part of making this dessert was that while baking, it perfumed my whole home with spiced apple goodness.