Friday, December 30, 2011

Frosting for the Cause!

Cancer Sucks. But we can make a difference!
I'm really excited and proud to be posting my contribution for Frosting for the Cause. It's a truly awesome project spearheaded by Paula over at Vanilla Bean Baker.
This is the background given by Frosting for the Cause:
"Beginning January 1, 2011 a total of 365 sugar cookie & cupcake bakers/decorators and bloggers from across Canada and the United States will take turns doing a guest post here at Frosting for the Cause. Once a day, every day for a year you will be treated to a new and talented blogger who will showcase their home-made, hand-decorated cookies, cupcakes and sweets or all kinds together with their recipes. Almost everyone, everywhere, has been touched by cancer in one form or another. The guest bakers will also share in a very personal manner with readers of Frosting for the Cause, about a woman in their life who had to face this terrible disease head-on."

I only found out about the project recently, and I was so excited to find out there were a couple of days left in December! I'm currently on vacation, so I did this ahead of time. 

Why am I participating?
I've mentioned previously that I lost one of my best friends to brain cancer in August 2010. Natalie was a truly incredible person- always optimistic, she brightened every room she ever walked into. She was a talented composer, piano player, and singer. She was diagnosed in April of 2009, the spring of our senior year of high school. Chemo almost killed her that summer, but radiation was enough to send her into remission. The same time in 2010, the cancer came back, this time for good. We lost her on August 3, 2010. 

In Boston

In Spain

In Rehoboth, at the Fractured Prune

Right before our junior prom :)

Please, please consider donating to Frosting for the Cause! It's such a great project. Two of the aspects of committing to participate are donating money to a cancer charity or organization, and donating our baked goods to a hospice or women's cancer center. I chose the National Brain Tumor Society and the Cancer Center at Mount Vernon Inova Hospital in Alexandria. 
Everyone I know has been touched at some point in their lives by cancer, either directly or indirectly. I was very touched by Frosting for the Cause's mission, and I'm so excited to participate. 

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
I used my Award Winning Chocolate Cupcakes, recipe re-posted below. I had mini peppermint marshmallows I wanted to use, so I searched for a marshmallow buttercream recipe that used one! I'm posting that recipe, as well as my favorite marshmallow buttercream recipe :)

Chocolate Cupcakes
Bittersweet chocolate- 3 oz, finely chopped
Dutch-processed cocoa- 1/3 c
Hot, strong-brewed coffee- 3/4 c
Bread flour- 3/4 c
Sugar- 3/4 c
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Canola oil- 6 tbsp
Large eggs- 2
White vinegar- 2 tsp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
1. Put chocolate and cocoa in a bowl, then pour the hot coffee over it. Whisk until smooth, then transfer to refrigerator until cool, 20-30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, whisk floursugarsalt, and baking soda together, and set aside.
3. Whisk oileggsvanilla, and vinegar into the cooled chocolate mix.
4. Add flour mixture to the mix, and whisk until batter is smooth.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-19 minutes. In my oven, it worked best when I rotated the cupcake pan at 17 minutes, then let them bake an additional two {it would probably be better to do it halfway through... let me know what you find!}

Ganache Filling
Bittersweet chocolate- 2 oz, finely chopped
Heavy whipping cream- 1/4 c
Powdered sugar- 1 tbsp
1. Place chocolatecream, and powdered sugar in a microwave-proof bowl. Cook on high until mixture is warm to touch, about 30 seconds.
2. Whisk mixture, then put bowl in refrigerator. Let stand until chilled, about 30 minutes.

Peppermint Marshmallow Frosting
Adapted from
Full disclosure: Following this recipe didn't work out super great, so I adapted it/added some ingredients (included). In this case, it's more about tinkering with the recipe and ingredients to your own individual taste.
Peppermint mini marshmallows- 64
Cold butter- 3 sticks
Milk- 1 1/3 c
Vanilla- 1/2 tsp
Peppermint extract- 1 tsp
Powdered sugar- 1/2 c
Marshmallow fluff- 1/2 c
Red food coloring
1. Combine mini marshmallows and milk in a medium sized saucepan turned to low heat. Allow mixture to heat until the marshmallows dissolve. 
2. Remove mixture and allow it to come to room temperature.
3. Cream butter, then slowly add marshmallow mixture and vanilla. Beat until combined. 
4. Optional to add peppermint extract, powdered sugar and marshmallow fluff. Tint with red food coloring to make it cute and pink :)

My Go-To Marshmallow Frosting Recipe
You could totally tinker with this to make it nice and peppermint-y :)
Courtesy of Baked Bree
Butter- 1 c, room temp
Marshmallow fluff- 1 (7 oz) jar
Powdered sugar- 2 c
Vanilla- 1 tsp
1. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add marshmallow fluff. Whip for 2 minutes.
2. Add powdered sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and beat for 1 minute.

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