Hummingbird Cupcakes

hummingbirdcupcakes1

Baking in college is surprisingly convenient.

If I’m at home and and I realize I’m out of butter, I have to either get up and go to the store myself (and I’m much too lazy for that) or call my mom to pick up some and wait until she has time.

Here, I can scoop up butterballs at our dining hall and store them in the kitchen until I need them.

Out of eggs? I just have to ask (although I still try to buy eggs when I can). 8 ounces of cream cheese is 8 little portion cups, and milk and yogurt is plentiful.

I only really need to buy cocoa, flour, baking soda/powder, chocolate chips, and vanilla to make mostly anything.

hummingbirdcupcakes2

Obtaining ingredients is the easy part, actually cooking is harder.

For one, we have approximately one whisk and one mixing bowl in our entire kitchen. Also, I’ve seen approximately 2 measuring cups (and lately I’ve only found 1).

Also, it’s hard to find enough cake pans. But hey, when I can’t find large cupcake trays I can always make mini cupcakes, and those are arguably even better.

hummingbirdcupcakes3

I made these cupcakes last saturday morning because I woke up and wanted to bake something. I really had no reason other than an impulsive need to make something – anything, and at breakfast there was canned pineapples so I settled on hummingbird cupcakes.

These are fun little cupcakes, made with applesauce, cinnamon, pineapples and bananas, and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (I still have some I have to use up in the fridge ahhh).

They’re really easy to make, though I do advise you don’t be like me and do it to avoid actual responsibilities like homework, because you’ll probably regret it (like I did) later. Still, it’s hard to feel much regret when you have plates of cupcakes in your room.

hummingbirdcupcakes4

Oh, and another great part of college? Always someone willing to lend a hand and eat baked goods. It’s great because at home there are inevitably some leftovers that go in the trash, but here that’s not a problem.

Anyway, I should probably go and finish my essay at some point…

Hummingbird Cupcakes 

Recipe here.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon  salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup natural applesauce
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 cup pecans (I omited because nut allergies)
  • 2 large bananas, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast pecans in oven for 5 minutes, then remove and chop into small pieces.

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

In another bowl, mix the eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until no streaks of flour remain (be careful not to overmix).

Add pineapple, chopped pecans, and banana pieces and gently stir.

Pour batter into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for large cupcakes and around 10-15 minutes for mini cupcakes.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ c. (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • powdered sugar, to taste
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Whip cream cheese and butter together. Add sour cream and whip until fluffy.

Gradually beat in powdered sugar to taste, then add vanilla and cinnamon.

Advertisement

Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cake with Berries

lemonricottacake1

Originally, my family’s Christmas eve plans included lasagna. My mom commissioned me to make it, and per my request went grocery shopping, buying noodles, tomatoes, and tubs of ricotta cheese among other ingredients.

The problem was, no one really wanted lasagna, and I didn’t especially want to make it either. I made a sample batch, and with homemade tomato sauce, it took me nearly three hours. I couldn’t really imagine repeating that process, especially in the midst of our Christmas dinner chaos.

So, instead we had fish tacos, shrimp, beans, rice, turkey, and mashed potatoes…a strange (but delicious) combination. Seeing this left me with two and a half tubs of ricotta cheese, I decided to make ricotta cake for dessert. I’m not a fan of cheese in dessert (though I’m learning to appreciate cream cheese frosting – cheesecake is still a nope), but the ricotta simply made this cake deliciously tender and moist.

Everyone loved it, so much so that I’ve made two batches to use up all the ricotta. I brought it to a gathering with friends, and every last crumb was devoured. My friends and family all loved it, so hopefully you’ll try it and love it just as much.

Lemon & Almond Ricotta Cake with Berries

NOTE: The first time I made the recipe, I used a loaf pan. The second time (pictured) I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 13×18 in jelly roll pan.

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cups oil
  • 1 ½ cups whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon (save the juice for a glaze – recipe below)
  • 1 carton (~1 ½ cups) blackberries/raspberries
  • ~½ cup sliced almonds (i used the extra crushed almonds from a batch a macarons i made)
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Whisk together the oil, ricotta, and sugar in large bowl for several minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the extracts and lemon zest.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, and stir until most of the flour is incorporated.
  4. Fold in the berries, continuing to stir until no streaks of flour remain.
  5. Pour in a 9 inch loaf pan, sprinkle with almonds, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool on rack completely.

Lemon Glaze

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how much lemon juice))
  1. There are two ways to use the lemon: for a glaze or for an ‘infuser’.
  2. To make a lemon glaze topping, combine the juice from the lemon and enough powdered sugar to form a thin glaze. Pour or spread over cooled cake.
  3. To make a lemon ‘infuser,’ add enough powdered sugar to temper the sourness of the lemon juice. Poke the cake with a fork when still warm, then pour the sweetened lemon juice over it. The sauce will add additional moistness and flavor.
  4. I can vouch that both work well for this cake! It’s a great way to use up the part of the lemon the cake doesn’t use.