If you know me, or read my post Cupcake Anonymous then you know that I LOVE to bake.
Since embarking on a healthier lifestyle involving Clean eating, I have been trying not to bake too often and when I do to make sure that there are plenty of other people who will be eating the
fruits sweets of my labor. So this weekend I was given the perfect opportunity to bake, have a little treat, and have other people eat the rest.
A young couple that Jonathan and I have come to know and love dearly over the past several years have been called to become missionaries. Tyler and Rachel English were married almost 2 years ago while Rachel was still in nursing school and Tyler works at our church with children. What is very unique about this couple is that Tyler’s family was missionaries when he was younger and Rachel has an aunt and uncle who have been missionaries for a number of years. Several years ago, Rachel had the amazing opportunity to go to Africa for about 6 weeks to serve children and experience the life of a missionary for a brief period of time. What they didn’t know at the time was that God was giving her a sneak peak of their future. Then Tyler was able to go to Africa with a missions project where our church has partnered with in Botswana.
Last year, Tyler and Rachel discovered The Reclaimed Project and knew they found their calling. “Born from a desire to exalt Christ by fulfilling the Biblical mandate to serve orphans and the poor, Reclaimed Project strives to serve the least of these in our state and around the world. To accomplish this, Reclaimed Project is providing adoption grants to local families, while also launching orphan care centers and creating jobs in Africa.” (To read more about Tyler and Rachel’s mission and plans, check out their blog.
This August, they be moving to Lesotho, Africa to serve as missionaries and disciples for Christ, working with children of an orphanage. In order to support their time in the mission field, they are seeking to raise the necessary funds. And that is where this weekend’s baking comes in. A group of people from our church are putting on a bake sale tomorrow morning to raise donations to support Tyler and Rachel. And I COULDN’T resist the opportunity to do some baking!
I wanted to provide a variety of items to go along with what other people are making. The bake sale is in the morning, so I needed something that could pass as breakfast- sort of. Enter, Coffee Cake Muffins…
The recipe was can be found here.
Then I needed something sweet, but not overwhelming first thing in the morning. These little mini cupcakes seemed to fit the bill….
I used the following Yellow Cake recipe that is my favorite go-to cupcake and can be modified to fit many different taste buds.
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups milk
Directions: Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners (or more for mini-cupcakes). Preheat over to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium until well combined. Scrape sides of bowl, beat for 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternatively add flour mixture an milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then place on wire racks to cool.
I used 2 different icing recipes.
- My go-to icing recipe is a classic American Buttercream (the pink icing in the picture)
- 3/4 cup butter, softened (do not melt, just leave on counter for 30 minutes)
- 2 pounds powdered sugar (about 8 cups)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla
Directions: In a mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth, gradually add powdered sugar, alternating with milk until combined, add in vanilla.
2. Salted caramel buttercream (Adapted from Cooking Classy)
- 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup Caramel Sauce, recipe follows (cooled completely)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- 1 1 /2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
- 6 Tbsp salted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream/whole milk
Directions for the caramel sauce:
- Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed. In a heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan, heat sugar and water over moderately high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. Once mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow mixture to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, carefully swirling pan occasionally. Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter has melted then immediately remove from heat. Wait 3 seconds then carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine (it will bubble vigorously). Whisk until mixture is smooth. Allow caramel to cool several minutes then pour into a glass jar to cool completely and refrigerate.
Directions for the salted caramel frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add powdered sugar and blend on low speed until mixture comes together. Add caramel sauce and vanilla and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.
So then….. I decided it was time to give people something to give them a bit of a sugar high, a very decadent and deliciously chocolate dessert.
I like to call these Salted Caramel Triple Chocolate Brownies and they are adapted from verybestbaking.com.
Directions: oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Melt 1 cup semi-sweet morsels and butter in large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in eggs. Add flour, sugar, baking soda and vanilla extract; stir well. Spread batter into prepared baking pan; sprinkle with remaining morsels. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.
Microwave caramels and milk in small, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring until melted. Drizzle over warm brownies. Cool in pan on wire rack.
I had one of my mini-cupcakes and one small brownie. They were both DELICIOUS! No- they were not clean. No- I didn’t need them. But I did want them. BUT guess what…? I am NOT craving more. I actually do not want more. I could feel the sugar within 2 minutes of eating the brownie. When you have been eating clean for a couple months, it is really amazing the affect going off course can do to you. Do I regret it? NO. That is life. I wouldn’t want to go the rest of my life without eating a REAL brownie or REAL cupcake. The difference from today and my pre-Christmas baking is that I had one smaller brownie and one mini cupcake (and well, let’s be honest, a few licks of the spatulas throughout the day), and before, I would have had at least one (if not 2) of the large brownies, and definitely wouldn’t have stopped at one mini cupcake. THEN I would be planning on having more tomorrow. But not now. In this balanced, healthy, clean lifestyle I am choosing to live, I had my 20% “non-clean” food today and will be right back on track tomorrow. These little “treat” days will NOT derail me anymore. I do not let food control me, anymore!!
Now, back to Tyler and Rachel….. If you want to learn more about the Reclaimed Project or support them in their mission, please check out the Reclaimed Project, here:
AND if you’re in town tomorrow, come by the Missions Cafe at Cool Spring to get some delicious baked goods (I hear there will be scones, cookies, muffins and more!).