Category Archives: frosting

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

You could not pay me to drink a glass of eggnog, but I will happily bake with it all Christmas season long. Being made of eggs and dairy, it’s just a thin custard—think melted ice cream—so it’s an easy swap for the liquid in many of my favorite bakes.

I’ve made eggnog sandwich cookies, cakes, scones, and puff pancakes over the last several years, plus a few more treats that I still need to perfect before I pass them your way. These Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies though? They couldn’t wait. They’re the seasonal sibling of the Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies I posted earlier this year, and they are spectacular.

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

I think of these as a slightly-sophisticated holiday take on the Lofthouse Cookies I loved in college. Made with ingredients like softened butter, sour cream and eggnog, and sweetened with a mix of granulated and confectioner’s sugars, these cookies are super tender and slightly cakey (but in a good way). Their flavor is rounded out with cinnamon and nutmeg; you can add 1/2 teaspoon of rum extract (not straight rum!) too, if that’s your deal.

Heads up that this recipe requires a fair amount of inactive prep time. Initially, the dough is super sticky and needs a long chill to be workable. There is no way around this—I tried the freezer, rolling it between parchment, and separating it into quarters before the chill. You need to set aside at least four hours between mixing and baking, or prepare to have sticky hands and be extremely frustrated. No, thanks! Once the dough is cold and the ingredients have had a chance to meld though, it’s smooth sailing.

Make sure to roll your cookies out so that they’re super thick. I like them to be 1/2-inch thick before baking, and though they will spread somewhat significantly, they’ll still get some good height. They won’t look particularly enticing coming out of the oven, but that’s because they aren’t done yet. Ohhh no. Each of these ultra-soft sugar cookies is topped with a blanket of buttercream and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and eggnog for maximum holiday cheer.

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies

I know I say this about every recipe, but these are so good, y’all—feather soft with plenty of eggnog flavor and a little tang from the sour cream. The combination of tender cookie and hearty schmear of buttercream is akin to eating the top a cupcake. If that’s not the ideal way to consume eggnog this holiday season, I don’t know what is.

Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies
Frosted Eggnog Sugar Cookies
makes about 3 dozen

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream (not fridge-cold)
1/4 cup eggnog (not fridge-cold)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Eggnog Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons eggnog

Special Equipment:
a 2-inch round cookie cutter
offset icing spatula

Make the cookie dough. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar until creamy. Mix in egg, followed by sour cream, eggnog and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 2 installments, beating until combined. Dough will be a bit sticky.

Divide dough into halves and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

Generously flour a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one half of the dough. Roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, lifting and turning the dough frequently so that it doesn’t stick to your surface. Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut cookies. Cut directly down. Do not twist.

Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 10-11 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom and back-to-front at the 5 minute mark. Cookies are done when puffed and no-longer raw-looking. They should be mostly pale, but there may be some golden coloring at the bottom edges. Let cookies cool on the pans for 8-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Let sheet pans come to room temperature before proceeding with the next batch.

Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining half of dough. Re-roll scraps as desired, refrigerating if anything gets too sticky.

Make Eggnog Buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in confectioner's sugar in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Add eggnog and beat until combined.

After cookies have cooled completely, use an offset icing spatula to frost each one with about 1 tablespoon of Eggnog Buttercream. Garnish with pinches cinnamon and nutmeg immediately after frosting. Buttercream will crust after an hour or so. You may serve the cookies immediately after frosting, but they are softest the next day.

After they’ve crusted, leftovers may be layered with wax or parchment paper and kept in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for a couple of days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

My birthday is coming up this weekend, so this week is all about birthday cakes!

I have made a lot of birthday cakes—a lot!—and they have all been highly personal. I’ve had requests for everything from mousse cakes to Funfetti to Neapolitan to Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut, but Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting is the favorite by far. For whatever reason, it just screams “birthday” to a lot of people. And while I am inclined to rebel against anything that everyone seems to love (hello, I am a Gemini), I can’t say I’d be anything but delighted to blow out candles on a Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

I mean, what’s not to love about an egg-yellow vanilla butter cake with rich chocolate frosting? Nothing, that’s what. This cake is a classic for a reason.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

That said, not all yellow cakes are created equal. Yes, they’re all made rich and yellow from lots of eggs, yolks and butter, and they all have some amount of vanilla, but that is frequently where the similarities end. Some are too dense, others too light. Some taste vaguely like cornbread despite containing zero cornmeal (so weird). Even the really good ones vary wildly in terms of flavor and texture. I can say that from experience—I’ve tried a lot of them.

This Yellow Cake though? I like to think it strikes a balance. Yellow, buttery, vanilla-scented, not too dense, and not a hint of cornbread flavor to be found (seriously, it’s a thing). It’s made using the reverse creaming method I use for white cake. You mix the butter into the dry ingredients, then add loads of eggs and a mix of milk and sour cream. It feels wrong, but it’s so simple and produces tender results every time.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

I haven’t even mentioned the Chocolate Frosting, but as you can hopefully tell from the pictures, it’s absurdly good. Made with cocoa, melted dark chocolate and just enough confectioner’s sugar, it’s pure luxury. I like to frost this cake simply for a homemade look with lots of swoops, but feel free to increase the batch size if you want to pipe. Birthday person’s prerogative, you know.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
makes one two-layer 9” round cake

Yellow Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream

Chocolate Frosting:
3 ounces dark chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
rainbow sprinkles, for garnish (optional)

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Combine flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together (I like to do this by running my mixer on its lowest speed for about a minute).

Add butter to dry ingredients. Gradually turn the mixer from low up to medium, to mix in the butter until there are no large pieces and the texture is sort of rubbly. This will take a few minutes.

With the mixer running, add eggs and yolks one at a time, followed by vanilla. Mix until combined.

In a measuring cup or small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together milk and sour cream. Running the mixer on medium, add the milk mixture in two installments and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl well to ensure even mixing.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Tap each full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake layers on the center rack for 31-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let let layers cool in their pans for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the layer before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Make the Chocolate Frosting. Place chopped dark chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature (this can be done quickly by putting it into the fridge for 5-8 minutes, then whisking with a fork).

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until very light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). Beat in confectioner's sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in melted chocolate, followed by vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Fill and frost the layers as desired. Garnish with rainbow sprinkles, if desired. Serve.

Layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes

Red Velvet Marble CupcakesThis marks the first time I’ve posted a new cupcake recipe on here in more than four years. Wild, but true. I vastly prefer to make layer cakes and I hate cleaning muffin/cupcake pans, but there few reasons for whole layer cakes in a pandemic and cupcakes are far more precaution-friendly than sliceable options, so I’m trying to get back into them. People really like no-contact cupcake delivery. Just saying.

Today’s offering? Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes! With swirls of red velvet in both the cake and the cream cheese frosting, these are perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day!Red Velvet Marble CupcakesBefore I get to how these cupcakes get their marble, let’s discuss red velvet on its own. This southern flavor is divisive; some love it, some hate it, and some love to hate it. I obviously love it, as evidenced by years of red velvet treats for Valentine’s Day (and Oscar Night). The big appeal for me is that it isn’t chocolate or vanilla—it’s a little of both! It’s like the soft serve swirl cone of cakes (?), but red. The signature color used to primarily be from the chemical reaction of cocoa and baking soda, but now it’s usually from food coloring. You can leave out the dye in this recipe if you really want to, but I love the deep ruby color.Red Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesNow for the marbling! Here, red velvet cake batter is swirled into delicious vanilla sour cream cupcakes. These little cakes are moist and springy and out-of-this-world good. They are assembled from just one batter—the red velvet is made by stirring cocoa powder, a tablespoon of milk and red food coloring into a small portion of the vanilla mixture. Both colors are scooped into the cupcake pans, then swirled together before baking.Red Velvet Marble CupcakesAs for the cream cheese frosting, I had originally planned to keep it completely traditional, but ultimately decided to continue the marble motif, dying half the frosting red and flavoring it with a hint of cocoa for maximum red velvet realness.Red Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesTo achieve a marbled/swirled frosting effect, I loaded both colors into the same piping bag, doing my best to keep them on separate sides. You can purchase specialty piping bags for this, or use two smaller bags in a larger bag, but I took the easy way out and also tried to let go of the outcome. Baking is much more fun when you let go of the outcome. I totally love how they all turned out a bit differently!Red Velvet Marble CupcakesThese cupcakes, y’all! If you or your valentine(s) are into red velvet, you’re going to love them. The vanilla portion is delicious, but that chocolate-vanilla hint of red velvet really takes the (cup)cake!Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Red Velvet portion:
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk
1-2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (I used 1/4 tsp red gel + 2 teaspoons water)

Marbled Red Velvet Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (1 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (I used 1/8 teaspoon red gel)

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Make the red velvet portion. Scoop 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Add cocoa, milk and red food coloring and mix to combine.

Add 1 tablespoon of plain batter to each cupcake liner. Top each with 1 tablespoon of red velvet batter, followed by 1 tablespoon of plain batter. Liners should be 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the marbled frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, until completely combined. Beat in vanilla. Once combined, beat on high for two additional minutes, until light and fluffy.

Remove half the frosting to a medium mixing bowl. Mix in cocoa powder and 1-2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring.

Load half the plain frosting into a piping bag fitted with a coupler and star tip, pressing it as much to one side as possible. Carefully load half the red velvet frosting into the remaining side. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect or symmetrical. Twist the bag closed, then pat it a couple of times to remove the air bubbles. Frost cupcakes as desired, adding remaining frostings to the bag when needed.

Cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five. Red Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble CupcakesRed Velvet Marble Cupcakes

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. Try saying that five times fast. Or, you know, skip the silliness and just make ‘em.Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

These are a homemade take on the super soft, vibrantly frosted Lofthouse Cookies I loved during my college years. While you won’t find me buying them these days, I think about them more than is probably reasonable. They are like a supermarket birthday cake and some sugar cookies had a baby and I am here for it.Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Like the cookies that inspired them, these are feather-soft thanks to the sour cream and confectioner’s sugar mixed into the dough. Those ingredients in particular make these puffy sugar cookies super tender and almost cakey. I know I’ve railed against cakey cookies in the past, but I’ll make an exception for these.Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

The dough comes together pretty quickly, but is on the sticky side and needs a chill before baking. I roll these cookies super thick (1/2 inch) and cut them with a 2-inch cutter. I tested with bigger cutters, but found that a smaller diameter helps the cookies to bake evenly, reducing the chances of dense centers and crisp edges. While those are usually good things in cookies, these are best when they’re soft all around. In fact, I prefer to eat them the day after they’re baked for maximum softness. So good.

Quick tip: in case you want to take your sugar cookie game to the next level, you could absolutely make these in the shape of a football, heart, Christmas tree or other simple shape. Keep in mind that this dough spreads and puffs a bit, so you won’t want to do anything terribly intricate. But also…go wild.Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are good unadorned, but a thick smear of vanilla buttercream and smattering of sprinkles take them over the top! I went with a pink marbled motif, dying half my frosting and then spreading both colors together, but feel free to use whatever color(s) of frosting or variety of sprinkles you like here. Get festive with it for holidays, big games, birthdays or any day!Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
makes about 3 dozen medium cookies

Cookie Dough:
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream (not fridge-cold)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Decorating:
Vanilla Buttercream (recipe below)
food coloring, if desired
sprinkles of choice

Special Equipment:
a 2-inch round cookie cutter
offset icing spatula

Make the cookie dough. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, confectioner’s sugars, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in sugar, followed by egg, sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in 2 installments, beating until combined. Dough will be a bit sticky.

Divide dough into halves and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

Generously flour a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one half of the dough. Roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, lifting and turning the dough frequently so that it doesn’t stick to your surface. Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut cookies. Cut directly down. Do not twist.

Place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 9-10 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom and back-to-front at the 5 minute mark. Cookies are done when puffed and no-longer raw-looking. They should be mostly pale, but there may be some golden coloring at the bottom edges. Let cookies cool on the pans for 8-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Let sheet pans come to room temperature before proceeding with the next batch.

Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining half of dough. Re-roll scraps as desired, refrigerating if anything gets too sticky.

After cookies have cooled completely, use an offset icing spatula to frost each one with about 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Buttercream (I used 1/2 tablespoon each pink and plain white buttercreams). Garnish with sprinkles immediately after frosting. Buttercream will crust after an hour or so. You may serve the cookies immediately after frosting, but they are softest the next day.

After they’ve crusted, leftovers may be layered with wax or parchment paper and kept in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for a couple of days or I’m the refrigerator for up to a week.

Vanilla Buttercream

makes enough for 3 dozen cookies (with a little leftover)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
food coloring, if desired

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt and vanilla. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

To dye half of the buttercream, remove half to a smaller bowl. Add a drop of gel food coloring (or a few drops of liquid) and use your electric mixer to beat until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Use buttercream to frost Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar CookiesSoft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Chocolate Whipped CreamFor most of my 35 years, I’ve been under the impression that whipped cream is a perfect food. At it’s simplest, it’s just cream and air, and it goes on pretty much everything. Truly, it’s a one ingredient recipe (or two if you add sugar, or three with vanilla) to rule them all. I literally cannot think of a dessert that isn’t improved by the addition of whipped cream. It’s as perfect as a garnish gets…Chocolate Whipped Cream…or so I thought before I whipped cocoa powder into it. Chocolate Whipped Cream is a more perfect food. Beyond perfect, really. And I say this as an outspoken vanilla person. *clutches pearls*Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamLike classic whipped cream, Chocolate Whipped Cream is a snap to make. Simply whip cold heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Alternatively, small batches take well to my beloved jar method.Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped Cream is every bit as airy and smooth as it’s classic counterpart, and has a deep chocolate flavor to boot. I prefer mine on the bittersweet side, but feel free to bump up the confectioner’s sugar if you prefer yours sweeter. Oh, and if you don’t have confectioner’s sugar on hand, the granulated stuff will work just as well, although your final product may not be quite as stable.Chocolate Whipped CreamAs for ways to use Chocolate Whipped Cream, follow your dessert-loving little heart. Use it as a fruit dip or as a topper on homemade sundaes, sandwich it between cookies, triple the batch and frost a cake, whatever. You can’t go wrong. Here, it’s topping a bunch of little chocolate cheesecakes. Recipe coming at you Friday…Chocolate Whipped Cream

Chocolate Whipped Cream
makes enough for 6-8 desserts

1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2-4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, depending on preference

In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Do not over whip (but if you do, just add a little more cream).

Load whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a tip or scoop with a spoon and use as desired.

Leftover Chocolate Whipped Cream should be covered and refrigerated. It may need to be lightly re-whipped before serving.Chocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped CreamChocolate Whipped Cream