Saturday, March 19, 2011

Little Tiny Pies

Two things I wanted to do once I was back on my feed: use the jar of Low Country Produce Colonial Chutney that Fishy sent me last month as winner of the Haiku Monday she was hosting; and give the Breville Personal Pie Maker I bought from Williams and Sonoma last Christmas another go. The instructions caution to use pre-made, store-bought puff pastry only, but fork that. I never follow instructions. So the first time I attempted a meat pie for S.B.'s supper, I used my own pie crust, which didn't quite have the texture I was looking for. Also, I didn't make my filling juicy enough. Dry pies are not only no fun to eat, they also make S.B. grumpy.

In the interim, however, I was inspired by a Karmic Kitchen post to try my hand at a savory galette. I used Julia Child's recipe for the crust and my mother's recipe for the filling, basically a variation of the classic Alsatian onion tart filling.

I have to tell you, this is a GREAT crust, similar in texture to what I consider a perfect pot pie or craw fish pie crust: buttery and near puff-pastry flaky.

So, I figured, maybe this would be the perfect crust for the fussy little tiny pie machine? Last night, I gave it a go.

One recipe Julia Child galette dough
Two large chicken breasts, pre-cooked, cooled to room temp, and cut into quarter inch chunks
One 16-ounce jar Low Country Produce Colonial Chutney, room tempertaure
Salt and pepper to taste (the chutney is pretty well-spiced, but some folks want extra)
Four ounces goat cheese


Heat the little tiny pie maker.

Place cut up chicken, entire jar of chutney, and salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the pre-chilled dough to about 3/16". Use the small side of the cutting thingee that comes with the little tiny pie maker to cut out four pie bottom rounds:

The reason why my dough looks so "rustic" is that I battled an invasion of pantry moths last November and have not yet replaced my stock of corn meal; instead, I just Cuisinart-ed a bunch of plain Doritos chips. Works great.

Set aside and re-roll dough to same thickness. Use the larger end of the cutting thingee to cut out four pie top rounds. All dough is now gone.

Place bottom rounds into the pie maker, and use the press thingee to push the dough firmly into place so that it comes up over the edge (you can see by the photo that I forgot to do this, but not to worry, the pies sealed anyway). Fill to the brim with the chicken, top each pie with 1 ounce of the goat cheese, and place the pie top rounds over the filling. Close lid and wait the 5-10 minutes it takes to seal and cook the pies.

When done, carefully scoop pies out with a thin, flexible plastic spatula, place on plate, and eat.

The filling was delicious. The crust, while tasty, didn't have the same texture as it did when I cooked it as a galette in the oven, leading me to conclude that there is something about this particular gizmo that isn't all that kind to crust. Plus, it undercooked the lower right hand pie, which didn't happen the first time I used it. Hmm.

I'm not quite ready to eBay this puppy yet, so I think I'll make S.B. some little tiny peach pies and see what this does to a sugar dough.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Just because there are Brooklyn Bridge-sized gaps between my baking posts, doesn't mean I haven't been spending time in the kitchen. It just means I've been baking my standard issue sweet stuff, some of which I've already posted about here.

Now that the holiday season is gearing up, so am I. Baking and winter go together like central and heating, and when the days start getting progressively chillier, nothing warms me up physically or psychologically like working in a toasty kitchen making something sweet to eat. And then forcing those sweets onto unsuspecting friends and family. After all, if I'm going to add five pounds onto my rear end because of it, everyone else must suffer, too.

Baking is also wonderful therapy. When I'm up to my neck in work, frustrating deadlines, and any other number of life's little hassles, I shake things loose in my brain by doing something that requires both physical and mental exercise. Kind of like running, only I get to lick the bowl when I'm done.

This is what I made yesterday. Actually, it started the night before, when on a lark I decided to make a batch of caramel sauce, using the recipe in my tried and true copy of Williams and Sonoma's Pies and Tarts.


1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


In a heavy duty saucepan over medium high heat, stir together the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Stir just until mixed and then leave it alone, or your sugar will crystallize. Allow to cook until the sugar melts and just begins to turn a golden color. Turn heat to medium low and cook, shaking or tiling pan on occasion but not stirring, until a golden brown color. Remove from heat and add in the cream, pouring through a sieve to prevent splashing. Stir until cream is incorporated.

It will look like this. And it tastes fabulous. Better than anything you can buy in a store.

I have made caramel!

Now, what to do with it, other than eating it by the spoonful in front of the television? Why, make a tart, of course.

Normally, I'd use it to make a cranberry/almond tart, but since I didn't have any cranberries and I didn't have any slivered almonds, I decided to use apples and . . . what? Raisins? Nah. Pecans? Double nah. Then I remembered an apple and Gorgonzola pie I used to order at one of my favorite restaurants in Albuquerque, the now sadly defunct Chef du Jour. Man, it was delicious and I've never tried to replicate it. But blue cheese in some form or another is something I always have in my refrigerator, so there you go.


For the dough:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice cold water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the apple filling:
2 large or 3 medium cooking apples of your choice
2 ounces blue veined cheese of your choice, crumbled
4 ounces sharp cheddar, grated

Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a larger bowl, either with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. You can also do this in a food processor. Mixture should look like this:

Beat together the egg yolk, water, and vanilla then pour into middle of flour mixture and use fork to stir until a rough dough forms. Again, you can also do this in a food processor.

Then, pour mixture out onto a clean, lightly floured surface, and knead very briefly until a dough forms:

Do not overmix or your tart dough will be tough.

If making tart right away, roll dough out on a thoroughly floured work space to a little less than 1/4" thick. Place inside a 10" non-stick tart pan with removable bottom and freeze for 30 minutes.

At the 15 minute mark, place rack in the middle of your oven and pre-heat to 375 degrees F. Line tart pan with heavy duty tin foil and fill with pie weights or beans to weigh down. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, core and peel apples. Cut in half, then cut the halves from the top or bottom end into wedges 1/8" thick.

Once tart is pre-baked, remove from oven and start layering apple slices in an overlapped, circular pattern.

Pour the caramel on top, making sure to coat the apples evenly.

Bake tart in oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the cheeses. Place back in oven for another five minutes to melt.

Remove, cool, and place in refrigerator. Tart should be served cold.

If any of you is the person who consistently outbids Moi on eBay for these plates, stop it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dim Sum Sunday: Bread

I used to bake bread nearly every week, mostly French bread, using a recipe from an old-as-the-hills yellowed, dog-eared paperback copy of The James Beard Cookbook. Growing up, my mother made all our bread from scratch and I soon fell into the habit of making everything except our sandwich loaves from scratch. In addition to French bread and a variety of sweet and savory loaves, I've attempted with varying success tortillas, pretzels, cinnamon rolls, naan, puri, and bagels.

I even bravely ventured to follow Bread Meister Nancy Silverton's instructions for making a sourdough starter from scratch scratch, which involved red grapes, water, white bread flour, and no end of hair pulling on my part during the a 14-day process. What did I get for my efforts? Something that looked like it was produced in the lab of some cheesy Hollywood Sci-Fi film and that proved utterly useless for bread-making, but which, when combined with some sugar, butter, and flour, made the best tasting pancakes this side of the sun.

One of my all time favorite breads, though, made utilizing a much saner method, is challah. With its brioche-like texture, challah is one of those breads you can eat on Saturday evening slathered with butter and dipped in soup and then slice up on Sunday morning for French bread.

The recipe I use is straight out of Julia Child’s Baking With Julia, and it’s pretty much foolproof. I make most of it in the bowl of my little red KitchenAide Ultra Power mixer, and then finish it up by kneading it by hand. Julia hits the nail on the head when she calls the result, “just a little sweet, just a little soft, and just this side of heavenly.”


2 T unsalted butter, melted
T active dry yeast (or two packets)
1/2 cup tepid water (80ºF to 90ºF)
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 T mild honey
2-1/2 t salt
4 large eggs
6 -1/2 cups (approximately) flour


Brush a large mixing bowl with some of the melted butter; set aside. Reserve the remaining butter for later use.

Whisk the yeast into the water. Add a pinch of the sugar and let rest until the yeast has dissolved and is creamy, about 5 minutes.

Cut butter into small pieces and heat with milk in a saucepan until hot to the touch and the butter has just melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a large, electric stand mixer), and add the remaining sugar, the honey, and the salt, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let the mixture cool to to 110ºF or lower.

Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture, along with the eggs, and stir to mix. Stirring vigorously, or with the mixer on low, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping when you have a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl and is difficult to stir.

At this point, you can continue to let the stand mixture knead your dough, but I’ve never been satisfied with the results, so I remove and knead by hand.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the buttered mixing bowl. Brush the top with a little of the melted butter, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel. Let the dough rises at room temperature for one to 1 1/2 hours, or until double in size. When the dough is fully risen, deflate it, cover as before, and let it rise until it doubles in bulk again, 45 minutes to one hour.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half and keep one piece of dough covered while you work with the other.

Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 16 inches long; it should be thick in the center and tapered at the ends. Align the ropes vertically, side by side, and pinch the ends to seal and tuck under the loaf. Braid the pieces and then pinch the other ends together and tuck under the loaf. Braid the second loaf. Cover both loaves with a towel and let rise at room temperature for 40 minutes, or until soft, puffy, and almost doubled.

Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.

Beat together one large egg, one large egg yolk, and one T heavy cream. Brush tops and sides of loaves with the glaze, let stand five minutes, and brush again. Reserve left overs. Sprinkle glazed loaves with poppy seeds, caraway seeds, or coarse salt.

Transfer bread to a baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven, then brush newly exposed dough with the rest of the glaze. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the loaves are golden in color and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

Let cool, slice, and eat!

Head on over to Dim Sum Sunday's host, Big Shamu at Karmic Kitchen, to see what everyone else baked up!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dim Sum Sunday: Baking

The thing about having a sweet tooth the size of a Mac Truck is that, in spite of all my running/hiking/swimming/biking/worrying, the pounds can really sneak up on my ass because of it. So I haven't been doing much baking lately. I think I'm still hungover from all that holiday partying, so I've mostly been sating my sweet tooth with fruit and tiny bits (ah hem) of hard candy. But when Shamu announced a Dim Sunday Sunday with a baking theme, how could I resist?

This recipe is inspired by something La Diva Cucina made during my recent visit to her swanky Miami abode. After plying Moi with wine, tostones, grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, potato salad and the best cole slaw I've ever had, I still managed to have room left over for a fig compote with walnuts, balsamic vinegar, and mascarpone cheese. Which promptly made me think of how wonderful the combo would be as a tart. Which I fully intended to make for this challenge, but when I found out a dinner guest to whom I would serve the tart didn't like figs (!?!?!), I used strawberries instead. But I still intend to use the figs at some point . . .

Anyway, here's what I did, using what in my mind is the most fail safe tart dough known to man, courtesy the sadly now defunct Gourmet magazine. I apologize in advance for the crap photos. I STILL can't figure out my camera. Sheesh. Math.



For the dough:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice cold water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the strawberries:
Core and cut into half a pound of fresh, ripe strawberries, and place in large bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar stir, and let sit about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place strawberries in a sieve over a small saucepan, and let the juices slowly strain into the pan, about 30-60 minutes. Reserve berries. Add to the juice in the pan 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar (you can also use any alcohol of choice, like sherry, port, Kirsch, etc.), along with a tablespoon of sugar. Stir and bring mixture to a rapid boil until sugar has fully dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Let sit for about 30 minutes to cool and thicken.

For mascarpone:
Take one pound of mascarpone cheese (2 cups) and thoroughly mix with 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar, and one
teaspoon each of fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Set of six, 3" diameter tartlet pans (I like the shiny tin ones from Williams and Sonoma. They're French, don't cha know, and their surface is perfect—your dough won't stick, but neither will it slip and shrink while baking like non-stick surfaces tend to do.)

OR: a 10" round tart pan with removable bottom.

Blend together flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a larger bowl, either with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. You can also do this in a food processor. Mixture should look like this:

Beat together the egg yolk, water, and vanilla then pour into middle of flour mixture and use fork to stir until a rough dough forms. Again, you can also do this in a food processor.

Then, pour mixture out onto a clean, lightly floured surface, and knead very briefly until a dough forms:

DO NOT OVER MIX or your tart dough will be tough.

Form dough into a flat disk about 5" around, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. with rack placed in the middle of the oven.

Once dough is thoroughly chilled, take out of fridge and roll out into a round disk about 1/4" thick. Use tartlet pans to cut out perfectly formed disks and press those disks evenly into the pans, building up a kind of ridge at the top. Place tartlets on a larger baking pan.

Line each pan with a small piece of tin foil and fill with pie weights or beans to weigh down. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take pan from oven and carefully remove foil and weights. Place back in oven and cook another 15-20 minutes, turning once, until shells are an all over uniform deep golden brown. Cool in pans about 30-45 minutes.

To assemble your tartlets, spread about two tablespoons of mascarpone in each tart shell. Then, top with strawberries and drizzle the balsamic vinegar glaze over the top.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Fruitcake in Christmasville

Because I bake, each year around this time a few poor confuzzled souls will grab me by the upper arms, beseech me with widened eyes, and ask me to tell them, please, if there is, somewhere, somehow, some way a fruitcake recipe that doesn't suck butt.

To which I sadly reply, "No."

However, that does not mean one cannot successfully mix fruit and cake. You just have to stay away from those weirdly colored pieces of stained glass window shards masquerading as "fruit" that, when mixed with a batter of equally puzzling construction, results in something more appropriate to tossing at the heads of our New World Leaders at Climate Change Summits than actually imbibing at Christmastime with a steaming hot cup of Joe.

Non. What you want to make is THIS cake. I originally started making it a few years ago when I had a direct connection to fresh-off-the-tree Italian plums. You know, those little oval shaped, dark blue babies that look like Concord grapes on steroids and taste like all the angels in heaven disco dancing in your mouth? Mah, gawd, I loves me those plums. But my source has since dried up, so I moved on to using pineapple. Just. As. Tasty.

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 cups white all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup plain yogurt
Zest of one small orange
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 cups diced plums or pineapple cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Confectioners sugar for dusting tops of loaves

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter and flour two 9x5x2 loaf pans or spray with non-stick baking spray.

Wash and dry the plums and, leaving skin on, dice into 1/2 inch pieces. Alternatively, thoroughly drain a 14-ounce can of chunk pineapple and pat dry with paper towels. Place fruit in a separate bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of flour to coat. Set aside.

Sift together flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda in a separate bowl and set aside.

Measure out yogurt into glass measuring cup and mix in the lemon juice and lemon and orange zest. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down bowl in between additions. Alternate yogurt mixture with dry ingredients, mixing well and scraping down bowl in between each addition. Mix in orange liqueur. Then stir in fruit and nuts until evenly incorporated.

Divide batter evenly between the two pans and bake in oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out completely clean. Let pans cool 10 minutes in pan before inverting onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.

Since the base of this cake is essentially a pound cake, the result is a dense but moist crumb that actually is better the second day. Will keep at room temperature, wrapped tightly, for about 3-4 days, in refrigerator for 5-7 days, and in freezer for several months.

P.S. These are Italian plums. Smaller, more oval in shape, sweeter, and to me, tastier, than regular plums.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Break Up Cookie

Seriously, Party People, was it really February that I last posted something on here? Mah, gawd, what have I been DOING all this time? I know I've been baking because, well, hardly a week or so goes by that I don't. I just haven't been posting.

Well, now, let's just break the dry spell with a cookie, shall we? I know, I know, it's a summer cookie, but I also know there are those among my readership who live in perpetual summer, and those for whom cold weather is rapidly approaching like a dog running down a rabbit, which means you're probably needing a little bit o' the islands in your life right about now.

This cookie comes straight out of Nancy Baggett's award-winning The All-American Cookie Book, which is not only a great baking book but also a great overview of the cookie's genesis in the U.S. This is one of several citrus glazed, shortbread-style cookies in the book, and it's simply melt-in-your-mouth irresistible.

A cautionary note: A couple summers ago, I put a platter of them out at happy hour, at which a good friend and her brand new beau were in attendance.

"No, no," the beau said, waving me away. "I'm not much of a sweets person."

"Oh, you'll eat these," said S.B. knowingly.

Sure enough, the beau proceeded to shovel about a dozen of these down his gullet over the course of an hour, as a result suffering one heck of a tummy ache later on that evening, no doubt putting a damper on whatever romantic plans the newly blissed-out couple had in store for each other.

Regardless. My friend eventually Dear Johned him. Most likely a good choice, because not 24 hours had passed after the break up and he called me in tears, begging me to explain what he could have possibly done wrong. I politely begged off, stating it was quite simply none of my business. But before hanging up, he said something that did endear me slightly to his plight: "And I'll never get to eat those cookies again!"


For the cookie dough:
2-1/2 cups all purpose white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and slightly softened
1/4 cup flavorless vegetable oil
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest (colored part only)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (colored part only)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (Key limes preferred)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice)

For the glaze:
1-1/3 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (colored part only)
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 tiny drop of green liquid food coloring
1 tiny drop of yellow liquid food coloring

(Note about lemons and limes: I have discovered that all total, you'll need one lemon and 3-4 regular sized limes or 5-6 key limes for the recipe.)

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, beat together butter, oil, and powdered sugar until well blended, about a minute. Scrape down bowl, increase speed to high, and beat until very well blended, about another minute. Add the egg, lime and lemon zests, lime juice, vanilla, and lemon extract (or juice) and beat until very light and smooth. Turn mixer to low and beat in flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease several baking sheets or line with Silpat mats.

Shape portions of the dough into 1-inch diameter balls. Place on baking sheets about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time in upper third of the oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly tinged with brown at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Once cookies are thoroughly cooled, stir together all the ingredients for the glaze, including the food coloring, until mixture is completely smooth and satiny. Adjust texture as necessary with drops of water or small bits of powdered sugar to produce a fluid glaze that isn't runny.

Set wire racks with cookies over sheets of plastic wrap or newspaper to catch drips. Gently dip the tops of each cookies into the glaze, swirl briefly to coat and set back down on rack to set completely, at least one hour. Or, drip glaze over each cookie with a small spoon, being careful to coat completely.

These will keep their freshest for about a week and freeze nicely for up to two months.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Love in My Tummy

Valentine's Day can either be a day of romantic anticipation or a day of romantic disappointment. For me, it's a day to bake. Food is love, folks. Food is love. Unless it's a big ol' chubby ass diamond something-or-other, in which case, stick the bling inside the cake and just tell me to be careful.

This year I decided to follow the heart-felt theme and make red velvet cupcakes. Actually, I made them two weeks ago for a party with my wine group and as an homage to Elvis's birthday, but I did stow a half dozen in the freezer for this weekend. Since I'm too lazy at this point to pull them out and frost for a true blue photo, I copped this one off the Web instead. So, shoot me. But then believe me when I tell you, they look EXACTLY the same.

The thing about Red Velvet Cupcakes is, they're fun. Okay, despite the slightly freakish color, they can actually taste good – there's enough cocoa in them to give them a chocolaty kick (which comes in handy in case your Valentine's Day starts heading towards the Kleenex), and who in their right mind doesn't love a luscious cream cheese icing? But most importantly, they look cool and you can decorate them with all kinds of fun chocolate or candy heart thingees or little plastic bow and arrows. Or, if your mood is swinging the other way, little plastic devil horns.

And, of course, the absolute BEST thing about cupcakes is they're already pre-portion controlled, clocking in at about, oh, I dunno, 300 calories each, frosting and all. Unless you decide to have two, in which case I can't help you there. But I do understand.

The cake portion of this recipe comes straight out of an interesting little book by Linda West Eckhardt called Cakes from Scratch in Half the Time. I've made a lot of things out of here, and mostly the recipes – and the advice to bake at 400 degrees for half the normal time – come out great.  

So come on, put a little love in your heart:

For 24 cupcakes or two 9-inch round regular cakes:

2-1/4 cups of cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 one-ounce bottle of red food coloring (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 400º F and line two twelve-cupcake cupcake pans with cupcake liners. 

Sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Set aside. In mixing bowl, cream sugar and vegetable shortening at high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping bowl at least once. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping bowl after each addition. 

Stir together the vanilla, buttermilk, and food coloring in a glass measuring cup. Add to the batter in thirds, alternating with the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder mixture, scraping down bowl after each addition. Turn off mixer. Stir together the vinegar and the baking soda – it will foam – in a glass bowl and fold into the batter using a spatula or wooden spoon.

Quickly fill each cupcake tin 2/3 full and bake in the middle of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle of a cupcake comes out clean. You can start checking at 8 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove. Cool completely and frost with the following:

Yummy Cream Cheese Icing:
1 pound (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners sugar

Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla together until smooth, scraping down bowl at least once. Sift the confectioner's sugar into the mix and beat until incorporated. Turn mixer on high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.