Vanilla Ice Cream with Rhubarb and a Cookie Swirl

Vanilla Ice Cream with Rhubarb and Cookies Rhubarb and Cookie Swirl Ice Cream Guys, I need ice cream. And not just any kind of ice cream. Oh no, I need super special, super summery fruity-to-the-max ice cream. In other words, I need another scoop of this amazing vanilla ice cream with rhubarb compote and a cookie swirl. Yes!

Wait, what? How was the Taylor Swift concert, you say? Well… awesome! Thanks for asking. My niece and I had the best time ever: the show was rocking (even though Tay is the queen of pop these days), every second person we met complimented us with our bright pink tutu’s (they even admired my, um, “incredible sewing skills”), and the look on my niece’s face when Taylor appeared on stage was priceless!

Oh, and I had a delicious ham and mustard sandwich, so yeah, kind of the perfect night out…

But enough about the concert, let’s talk ice cream!

To be honest, the weather around here hasn’t been summery at all! I don’t know about you, but torrential rain and near-freezing temperatures (oh all right, “moderate” temperatures) aren’t exactly my idea of summer. Which is why I’m in need of ice cream right now!

Vanilla Ice Cream with Rhubarb and Cookies Rhubarb and Cookie Swirl Ice Cream Ice cream always makes me think of summer, whether I’m chilling out on a sunny beach wearing nothing but a pink bikini and half a bottle of sunscreen, or snuggling up under a blanket next to a cozy fire: to me, ice cream takes me back to those days when me and my peeps (aka: my family) would go out on warm summer evenings for ice cream and a stroll in the park.

And this particular ice cream is super summery. I think I mentioned that, didn’t I? Well, it’s true. Because, like ice cream, rhubarb to me equals summer!

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Vanilla Cake Filled with Juicy Strawberries and Super Dark Chocolate Frosting – AKA: The Taylor Swift 1989 Tour Cake

Vanilla Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate - Taylor Swift 1989 Tour Cake Here comes the good stuff!

A light and spongy vanilla cake filled with juicy strawberries, strawberry syrup and an insane super dark chocolate frosting! And see those pretty fondant cut-out numbers up there? Hand-painted with edible watercolor? 1 – 9 – 8 – 9?

Wait, what? 1989? Yes! I made this cake for a Taylor Swift 1989 Tour pre-concert party! Because I’m a total Swiftie like that, just like my 10-year-old niece. You remember my Swiftie niece, right? In this post, you can see her then eight-year-old hand picking redcurrants of the stem. I infected her with the Taylor Swift virus years ago, back in the ‘Speak Now’ era, and she’s recently had her first guitar lesson from the Rocking Rebel, who taught her how to play ‘Shake it off’.

Anyway, last November, when Taylor had just announced her world tour on Twitter (Instagram? Tumblr? I can’t remember…) I immediately bought two tickets, one for me, and one for her, which I gift-wrapped in a pretty envelop with a pink bow. On my niece’s birthday, two days later, I first helped her make a cupcake candy village, and then, when it was time for presents, I gave her the ticket. You should have seen her face! I’m glad my brother caught it on camera…

Anyway, the concert is tomorrow, so I threw a (very small but very fun) Taylor Swift themed party last Wednesday. It was super fun. And we had cake!

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Peanut Butter ‘n Cookie Buttercream – American Style

Peanut Butter 'n Cookie Buttercream Frosting Yup, that’s right: Peanut Butter ‘n Cookie Buttercream – American Style.

I know, I know… I told you that I was going to make a variation on the vanilla flour buttercream I posted about last Sunday. But guess what? After I’d mixed up that gorgeous bowl full of peanut butter ‘n cookie flour buttercream, I placed it in the fridge so I could use it the next day, and when I pulled it out of the fridge the next morning the buttercream had totally separated…

Apparently making a peanut butter version of flour buttercream really isn’t an option, so I’ll have to come up with another flour buttercream variation. One that will actually still look good after a day or two in the fridge.

Still, I didn’t want you to miss out on the flavor of said separated buttercream! It was sooooo good!

Seriously guys, if you like peanut butter, or snickers, or peanut brittle, or sugared peanuts, or anything else with peanuts in it, you’ll love this buttercream! It tastes like fluffy snickers bars.

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How to Make Flour Buttercream or Ermine Buttercream – The Battle of the Buttercreams 2.0

How to Make Flour Buttercream or Ermine Buttercream Okay, time for the fourth post of my new ‘Battle of the Buttercreams’ series, featuring the second type of buttercream: flour buttercream! The buttercream that inspired me to do the original ‘Battle of the Buttercreams’ series one-and-a-half years ago.

If you’ve missed the first three post of this fabulous new series, here they are: first, second, and third… The third post, which explains about the ‘beaten butter method’, is particularly important for today’s recipe.

Now, before I begin, there’s something I think you should know: flour buttercream goes by many names! I just so happen to call it flour buttercream here on the blog, because the flour in the buttercream is really what sets this type of buttercream apart, in my opinion. But this stuff is also known as ermine buttercream (or ermine frosting) or cooked milk buttercream (or, again, cooked milk frosting). And if you’re familiar with The Pioneer Woman (who isn’t?), you might know this buttercream as “that’s the best frosting I’ve ever had” (<– her words, not mine. Although it is very delicious!). 

First off, there are two ways of making this buttercream. Some people, including The Pioneer Woman, make it by combining flour and milk in a saucepan and cooking it until it becomes a thick paste. Once cool, this paste is beaten into softened butter with a whole lot of granulated sugar.

As I don’t believe in mixing large amounts of granulated sugar into not-so-liquidy-mixtures (I can’t stand grainy buttercream!) I came up with a different method. Instead of adding the granulated sugar to the butter along with the cooked milk paste, I add the sugar to the milk and flour mixture before it’s cooked. In other words, I cook the milk, flour and sugar together! That way, all those little sugar crystals dissolve into the milk, which will thicken as it cooks because of the flour, and you end up with a smooth, sweet, but otherwise flavorless, pudding base. This pudding base is then mixed into beaten butter. Add vanilla and you’re done!

The result? A super smooth, super creamy, incredibly delicious buttercream. Trust me, if you want to make super smooth flour buttercream (or whatever you prefer to call it) without having to worry about undissolved sugar crystals, this is the way to go!

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