Easy Fall Bake Sale Goodies

Last week at the office we had a bake sale to raise money for United Way. (We raised $140 so go us) I brought in Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins and Mini Pumpkin Loaves.  These are two very easy, but crowd pleasing bake sale staples. I really needed easy, since I was sick off my rear all week. (Feeling much better now, thanks) I figured as it is definitely bake sale time of year I could share these two ideas that are almost cheating they are so easy for anyone who is short on ideas or time.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins:

What you will need:

12 oz Cream Cheese

1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

4 packages Blueberry Muffin Mix (the kind that requires mix + ½ cup milk; I like the Martha White kind, you can use whatever)

Milk

Paper Muffin Cups

Small Ice Cream Scoop

2 Mixing Bowls

To make:

In 1 mixing bowl prepare muffin mix as directed on package.

In second mixing bowl combine Cream Cheese, Powdered Sugar and Vanilla Extract with hand mixer.

Fold Cream Cheese mix into muffin batter.

Use small Ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups. (This will make all of your muffins exactly the same size, which is important for pricing/selling/packaging)

Bake as directed on package.

*Do not package for sale until completely cooled, usually overnight.*

*Note bake time will be longer as batter is more dense, keep an eye on them and use the toothpick test for doneness.*

That was the easiest thing ever, right? Now for Pumpkin Bread! If you use regular sized loaf pans this recipe makes 4 loaves. What I did was make 1 regular loaf (so we could have yummy pumpkin bread at home) and then 9 mini loaves. For your own baking purposes, do not make & try to store/freeze this batter. You can make loaves and then refrigerate or freeze them. I do this a lot as they will thaw fairly quickly and then make a great in-a-pinch fall hostess/teacher/etc gift. In fact as mini loves I give them to teachers before Thanksgiving Break.

Pumpkin Bread:

What you will need:

1 package Vanilla Pudding Mix

6 cups Flour

4 Cups Sugar

4 teaspoons Baking Soda

2 teaspoons Ground Cloves

2 teaspoons Cinnamon

2 teaspoons Nutmeg

2 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

24 ounces Canned Pumpkin

1 1/3 cups oil

6 eggs

1/2 cup 2% milk

*If you are making Low-sugar variety substitute Sugar with Splenda for Baking (equal amounts) and add 3/4 cup flour.*

*Wing-Spreading Tip: When a recipe calls for “Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix” you can buy the tiny jar or make your own, using the proportions listed in this bread of the Nutmeg, Ground Cloves, and Cinnamon.*

To Make:

Grease pans and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large mixing bowl mix all ingredients except flour. Make sure to mix very well.

Add flour and mix until just blended.

*Too much mixing at this point will make bread with weird peaks/uneven slices/ect.*

Bake about 1 hour for regular sized Loaf Pans. About 1 1/2 hours for Bundt Pans. About 3/4 hour for Mini Loaves, muffins are even less. Always check back frequently!

*Bake time will vary greatly depending on size of pan. You can even make a low-sugar Bundt Cake out of this bread by adding a glaze and a few crushed pecans on top. *

Happy October all! Bring on the pumpkin!

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Easy Glaze

This is a basic glaze, you can use it on any dense cake or bread, like Pumpkin Bread or Pound Cake. Having a standard glaze recipe is essential to any cook’s repertoire. The first one here is the most basic and then a few variations are listed below that.

*Remember glazes should be drizzled, they are not frosting and should never completely coat.*

What you will need:

3 3/4 cups Powdered Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup Water

Small Saucepan

What to do: This is like making simple syrup for drinks, only you will want this to be slightly thicker, even when it’s still hot. Keep in mind, once this becomes cool it will harden.

Whisk constantly while on low heat. Add water to pan first, then vanilla, then gradually whisk in powdered sugar.

Once all ingredients are combined alow to cook until mix begins to thicken (just a few seconds after boiling) stirring the entire time.

Remove from heat once beginning to thicken.

Pour over cake/bread/etc. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Sugar Free Glaze:

Substitute Splenda for powdered sugar. (Splenda has the best consistency for this particular recipe)

Add 1/2 water to start, gradually add more until consistency is right. (If you accidentally add too much water allow to cook a moment longer to thicken back to desired consistency)

Lemon Glaze:

Use Lemon Juice instead of water and Lemon Extract instead of Vanilla.

Chocolate Glaze:

Use Chocolate Extract instead of Vanilla.

Add 1/4 cup baking cocoa and 1/3 cup additional powdered sugar. Add additional water 1 Tablespoon at a time until consistency is correct.

Coffee Glaze:

Use brewed (preferably strongly brewed) coffee instead of water. If you want a more espresso feel substitute Coffee Extract for Vanilla.

Raspberry or Strawberry Glaze:

Substitute appropriate Extract for Vanilla.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

This basic frosting is an important recipe to have in your baking repertoire. This recipe will cover 1 medium to large-sized cake. Cream cheese frosting is versatile and goes with most cakes. It is also is perfect for coloring and shaping it to whatever you need it to be. So chalk this recipe up under your culinary wing spreading (the ladies here did when I showed them) and wait to make it till the short people are in bed so no one catches you licking the beaters all by yourself…

You will need:

A hand mixer (don’t try with a spoon/whisk/etc)

16 oz cream cheese (softened, not melted. Let is sit on the counter in its package for the day or overnight and it’ll be just right)

1/2 cup butter (also softened, not melted. See above)

32 oz (2 medium-sized bags) of powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Always, unless otherwise instructed in the recipe directions, mix liquids then add solids. For the purpose of baking (including this recipe) cream cheese and butter are liquids. So you will blend thoroughly all the ingredients except the powdered sugar.  Then gradually add sugar, continuing to mix until smooth. This is called creaming (baking term). Voila! You have frosting! You can add whatever color (I recommend paste to keep the consistency thick and creamy) you need.

Do not store this in fridge or freezer. Make what you can use and use it. Baring other toppings or cake ingredients it will keep on your counter just fine for about 2 and a half weeks.