Easter Desserts Inspired by ‘Sprinkles Baking Book’ With Candace Nelson

The co-founder and executive pastry chef behind Pizzana and Sprinkles cupcakes Candace Nelson joined us live with Easter-centric desserts inspired by desserts in The Sprinkles Baking Book. The Sprinkles Baking Book can be purchased at Amazon or Sprinkles.

Pizzana is located at 11712 San Vincente Blvd in Los Angeles.  For more information, visit their website.

And see the recipes below for the delicious desserts featured in the segment.

Easter Dessert recipes courtesy of Candace Nelson, co-founder and executive pastry chef for Pizzana and Sprinkles cupcakes

Italian carrot cake mini loaves with honey mascarpone frosting
Makes 4 mini loaves
Italian carrot cake mini loaves
1 ½ cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
¾ c olive oil
¼ cup buttermilk, shaken
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey
2 large carrots, finely grated, 1 ¾ cups grated (plus extra for garnish)

Prepare 4 mini loaf pans (6x3x2) by buttering, flouring and then laying a sheet of parchment paper across the width of the pan, so that it provides a 2 inch “handle” on either side of the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat brown sugar, olive oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and honey on medium high speed until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add half flour mixture, then the carrots and then the remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended after each addition

Honey mascarpone frosting:
1 cup mascarpone or cream cheese (not whipped!)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey

In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat mascarpone, butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. Increase speed to medium, add vanilla and honey and beat until fully belnded, approximately 1 to 2 minutes, making sure not to incorporate too much air.

Frost loaves and garnish with carrot curls just before serving

Chocolate ganache tarts
Makes 12 tarts
Chocolate tart dough
1 1/3 cups flour
3 tbsp cocoa
½ cup powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1 1/3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 12 (3 1/8 inch) tart rings on parchment lined baking sheet.

Process flour, cocoa sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add egg and vanilla and pulse until dough starts to clump together – but before it becomes one cohesive ball.

Form dough into two disks, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out 1 disk on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 6-inch circles (or circles that equal the width of your tart plus the two sides) and push gently into each ring mold. Repeat with remaining dough/rings. Cover entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Remove molds from the freezer, and using a rolling pin to roll over the top, create a flat top. Remove the excess dough.

Place parchment or aluminum foil into each tart crust and cover with pie weights or beans. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until foil easily releases from the dough.Take out weights and paper or foil and bake for 5-10 minutes longer until crust is fully dry and baked.

Chocolate ganache filling:
1 cup chopped semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup chopped milk chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
Candy sugar eggs

Place chopped chocolate in a large glass or metal bowl.

In a saucepan, bring cream and butter to almost a boil and then pour over the chocolate.

Let stand for 2 minutes and then begin whisking, slowly, starting from the middle and moving outward to bring chocolate in until mixture is emulsified.

Pour ganache into baked chocolate tart shells. Let set for several hours at room temperature or in fridge.

Before serving, bring back to room temperature and top with candy-shell chocolate eggs.

Meringue nests with lemon curd and raspberries
Makes 8-10 meringue nests
For the meringue:
2 large egg whites, room temperature
½ cup super fine sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk egg whites on medium low until frothy, then increase speed to medium. Once your whites reach soft peaks, start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time until completely dissolved and egg whites reach stiff peaks.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a piping bag fitted with a star attachment pipe “nests” by piping a coil of about 3-4 inches directly on the prepared baking sheet, and then continuing to pipe in a circle, building up the sides.

If you do not have a piping bag you can use a spoon to dollop meringue and then use the back of the spoon to create a bowl or nest in the middle.

Bake meringues at 210 degrees for 1 hour 45 minutes.

Once cooked, turn oven off and don’t open the door. This can be done and left overnight, otherwise just leave for a few hours until temperature in the oven has dropped.

For the lemon curd:
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tsp lemon zest
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 ½ sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Whisk juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium low heat.  Stir in butter one piece at a time and cook over medium heat, whisking until curd thickens and first bubbles begin to appear on the surface, approximately 5-7 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl to cool slightly. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge.

For assembly:
Fill nests with lemon curd by piping or by the spoonful. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Easter cinnamon rolls with orange glaze
Makes 18 rolls
For dough:
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
2 (¼ ounce) packages dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
5 cups bread flour
3 large eggs

For cinnamon-orange filling
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp orange zest

For icing:
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest

Grease large ceramic or glass bowl with butter. In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium high heat, making sure it does not boil. When you see tiny bubbles form on side of pan, remove from heat. Stir in butter and cool.

In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp tepid water and set aside to bloom for 10 minutes

In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat remaining sugar with salt and milk mixture on medium-low speed until incorporated, approximately 1 minute. Add 2 cups of flour and beat for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add yeast mixture and beat for 1 minute more. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Stop mixer and switch to hook attachment. Add remaining 3 cups flour and knead on medium high speed until dough forms a smooth ball, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer dough to the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap followed by clean kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rise for about 2 hours.

Make rolls:
Butter 3 9-inch round cake pans. Whisk sugars, cinnamon and zest in a small bowl. After dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times with floured hands until dough is no longer sticky. Divide it into 3 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out one piece into a thin 12-inch circle on a lightly floured work surface. Spread one third of the softened butter evenly on top of the dough, followed by one third of the cinnamon-orange sugar mixture. Roll the dough over the filling into a tube and cut it into six equal size pieces.  Place the pieces cut side up in the prepared pan and set aside to rise again, covered loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, for 1 hour until almost doubled in size.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Twenty minutes before baking preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.  Cool slightly before icing.

Make icing:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter sugar, vanilla, juice and zest on low speed until just combined then increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Spread the icing evenly over the still-warm buns.

Rhubarb Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
Courtesy of Candace Nelson, The Sprinkles Baking Book
Serves 8-10
For the rhubarb bottom:
1 ½ pounds fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut on an angle into 1 ½ inch pieces (about 4 cups)
½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the cornmeal batter:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup fine yellow cornmeal or instant polenta
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup sugar
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened, plus 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
¾ cup full-fat sour cream
½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar

Sweet whipped cream to serve (recipe below)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wrap the outside (bottom and sides) of a 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil and set it on the baking sheet.*

Make the rhubarb bottom:
In a large bowl, toss together the rhubarb, brown sugar, and cornstarch.

Make the cornmeal batter:
In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar with 10 tablespoons of the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully blended between additions. Reduce the speed to low and add half the flour mixture, then the sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended after each addition.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture is bubbling and the sugar has partially dissolved, 2 minutes. Drizzle the mixture evenly over the bottom of the foil-lined pan, then pour the rhubarb into the pan, completely covering the bottom and piling the rhubarb slightly higher around the outside of the pan than in the center if you can (the rhubarb sinks slightly on the sides). Pour the batter over the rhubarb, smoothing it out to the sides to evenly cover the surface.

Bake, turning halfway through, until the surface is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65 to 70 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes, run a sharp knife around the rim of the cake, then invert the cake onto a serving platter and let it sit, still in the springform pan, for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the foil from the outside of the pan, then release and remove the springform ring from the pan. Cool to room temperature and serve with whipped cream.

Sweet Whipped Cream
Makes 2 cups
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form, 2 minutes. Cover and chill until ready to use.

*Tip: Since the unbaked batted can be a bit runny, we recommend wrapping the springform pan in aluminum foil for an extra layer of insurance against leaks. Once baked, make sure to follow the directions, letting the cake sit, inverted, in its pan before releasing the outer ring – this will ensure that all the rhubarb ends up on top of your cake – not stuck in the pan.