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Vanilla Bean Nutella Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting Topped with Toasted Coconuts and Almonds

Vanilla Bean Nutella Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting Topped with Toasted Coconuts and Almonds! Phew! What a mouthful. I’ve gotta start making less complicated cupcakes… just kidding.

Vanilla Bean Nutella Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

I don’t think I use coconut enough in baking and I really should! Toasted coconut is one of the simplest cupcake toppings (way easier than candied bacon) but it looks beautiful and tastes delicious! But more importantly, coconut tricks you into thinking you’re kind of sort of eating something healthy. Because it’s technically fruit… No? Just me?

Vanilla Bean Nutella Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

For the crazed chocolate lovers out there, you can also make this cupcake with a chocolate cake… but one of the greatest chocophiles I know told me that these vanilla bean ones are “gems of confectionarianism” so you can’t lose either way!

The recipe calls for cake flour. If you’re anything like me, you probably won’t want to run out to the store just to buy cake flour when you have good old all-purpose flour at home. In that case, substitute your flours. All-purpose flour is denser than cake flour.  For every cup of cake flour you need, measure out the same amount of all-purpose flour BUT remove 2 tablespoons of flour before adding it to your mixing bowl. By removing the 2 tablespoons, you’ve decreased the density of the cake flour. Or if you hate doing math/measuring/being lazy, you could just go to the store and spend extra money on the cake flour…

Vanilla Bean Nutella Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

Recipes for the individual components are below. Be sure to let the cupcakes completely cool before stuffing/frosting.  To assemble, start by either piping Nutella into each cupcake–I use a #230 piping tip. Be sure to warm up the Nutella a little bit before piping! Alternatively, you can cut out the center of each cupcake and spoon the Nutella into each center.  Bonus: extra vanilla cake crumbs! Top with frosting: I literally took a spoon and just plopped the icing on top of each cupcake. It was way easier than piping the icing on! Don’t worry if it looks ugly–the toasted coconut and almonds cover everything up!

Vanilla Bean Nutella Filled Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes (recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups)
ingredients
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 eggs
1 cup milk
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract

directions
1. Preheat oven to 350° and line cupcake pan with liners.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt).
3. With mixer on low, slowly add butter a few cubes at a time continuing until all butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse sand.
4. Add eggs one at a time on low speed.
5. Measure out milk and add the vanilla beans and extract.  Add this mixture until fully combined.
6. Fill liners (about 2/3 full) and bake for 15-20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Whipped Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting
ingredients
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp gelatin
1 tbsp water
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
~1/2 to 1 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

directions
1. Skip this step if you plan on using your frosting the same day. Gelatin stabilizes the whipped cream so you won’t have to deal with a wilted, watery frosting. Add gelatin and water to a small container. After it sets, melt the mixture using the microwave in 5 second intervals until it is a liquid. Set aside to cool.
2. Using a mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.  While mixing, slowly add gelatin mixture.
3. Add powdered sugar until desired sweetness is reached. I usually add around 1/4 cup.  Keep in mind that you’ll end up folding this into a sweetened cream-cheese frosting mixture.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cream cheese and butter until uniform. Again, add powdered sugar until desired sweetness is reached.
5. Using a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream and coconut into the cream cheese mixture.

Toasted Coconut and Almond Topping
directions
1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Spread 1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut and 1/3 cup sliced almonds out on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until lightly toasted. Be careful, it can go from toasted to burnt very quickly!

Red Velvet Chocolate Stuffed Pancakes with Strawberry Mascarpone

I love Sunday brunches in Philly.  Even though I try to visit a new place every time I go out to brunch, there’s something about Green Eggs Cafe that keeps me coming back. It’s probably because of their red velvet pancakes.  If you’ve ever gone to Green Eggs, you know that their pancake portions are GINORMOUS. I could never finish an entire plate, so whenever I go, I usually split the kids size version with friends as a brunch “appetizer” in true tubby fashion.  And more importantly, my favorite brunch food is Eggs Benedict and I can never turn down Green Eggs’ extensive eggs benny menu (seriously, what kind of tubby would I be to say no to Pork Belly or Chicken & Waffles Eggs Benedict?! Mmm…) so all the more reason to get the kiddie size!

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes

These pancakes are surprisingly easy to make.  The batter is fairly simple and although I’m guilty of using Bisquick every now and then making these from scratch is totally worth it! 

The only tricky part is “stuffing” the pancakes with chocolate.  After pouring half the pancake batter onto a hot skillet, I quickly put a handful of mini chocolate chips before pouring on the remaining pancake batter. You have to work fairly quickly so the pancake cooks evenly.  Another note: generally, the rule is to wait until you see bubbles appearing on the pancake’s surface before flipping. I didn’t want the pretty red pancakes to burn, so I flipped it a little earlier. Give it around two minutes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet CupcakesWhen all the pancakes were done, I layered them with a strawberry mascarpone and topped off the stack with fresh strawberries and some whipped cream. Green Eggs serves theirs with maple syrup but I don’t think they need the extra sugar! 

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes

red velvet chocolate stuffed pancakes (adapted from Cooking Classy)
ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
5 teaspoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons butter, unsalted and melted
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

10 large strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

directions
1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
2. In a separate bowl, add milk and vinegar. Let this mixture sit for three minutes before adding the remaining ingredients: sugar, eggs, red food coloring, vanilla, and butter.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until fully incorporated.
4. Heat a non-stick skillet at medium-high heat.  While the skillet warms up, mix the chopped strawberries, mascarpone cheese, and powdered sugar in a small bowl.
5. Pour about half of a 1/3 measuring cup of batter onto a hot, non-stick skillet.  Add chocolate chips if desired and add the remaining batter, covering the chocolate chips.
6. Cook for about 2 minutes before flipping and finishing the opposite side! Done!
7. Spread strawberry-mascarpone mixture in between pancake layers. Top with chopped strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!