Archive for ‘Cupcakes’

November 6, 2011

Easiest Chocolate Cake

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My internal dialogue was definitely discouraging, while making this cake. No egg, who bakes a cake without eggs – even brownies have eggs, this was certain to be a disaster. And now add lemon juice or vinegar! What was this going to taste like? And really!? I’m going to prepare this cake right in the baking pan! No mixing bowl? No creaming the butter, but melt it? Huh? Where am I!? What is going on? After all of that, the batter was thinner than pancake batter! We were surely headed for thin deflated cupcakes. Certainly, you are asking me why would I even consider this recipe after reading it? Well it comes from the Joy of Baking website, a place I trust and the photo was very enticing. New and different is what I like, new challenges!

Joy of Baking – Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup granulated white sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder(not Dutch-processed), sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon lemon juice(or vinegar)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.

In an ungreased 8 inch square cake pan, stir together the flour, sugar, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the melted butter, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. With a fork, mix all the ingredients together until well blended.

Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

**NOTE: I made these into cupcakes rather than a cake. Fill the baking cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes – or until a toothpick comes out clean.**

In the end, this is a very good simple recipe. It’s a heavier, moist cake. Not a light cake. The best description was somewhere between a brownie and cake. I’m more amazed by how well this cake came out and that it doesn’t have any eggs! (can’t get over that!).

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~Enjoy~

Amanda

October 31, 2011

Ghosties Cupcakes

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We have been reading the “Three Little Ghosties” book by Pippa Goodhart, this Halloween. It has best illustrations! (by AnnaLaura Cantone"). This is where I got the name for these cute little cupcake treats.

For my daughter’s Halloween Party at school we were assigned a dozen cupcakes. For this recipe I used my Chocolate Cake recipe and Vanilla frosting recipe:

Chocolate Cake

2  cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 package of instant chocolate pudding (only the powder)
1 1/4 c. milk
2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt. Measure out the milk, set aside.

With an electric mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient.

Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk.

Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes. Scoop a heaping scoop of the batter into each cup. Stick one Reese’s miniature peanut butter cup in the middle of the batter in each cup.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. (The time will depend on your oven.  Since moving and changing ovens I have had to cook these for 21 minutes otherwise they deflate because they aren’t cooked thoroughly.)

 

Vanilla Buttercream

1/2 cup shortening (used the Crisco stick because it’s easier to measure)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
2-4 T. whole milk
1 T. vanilla extract

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the vanilla bean and extract.  Incorporate the sugar gradually – 1c. at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 2-3T for a medium consistency.

Cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.

Use a cake decorating bag or a zip lock bag and spoon in the frosting. Cut a big sized corner off the bag. Pipe on the ghosties by holding your bag straight up and down and squeeze some frosting in a spiral motion onto the cupcake. You can also squeeze the frosting out and press down a little then back up and then down again, repeating this action.  

Eyes & Mouth

Melt some of your favorite milk or dark chocolate in the microwave (at 30 second intervals stirring each interval until completely melted) or melt in a double boiler (I use a small pot with a few inches of simmering water, and a metal mixing bowl that is big enough to sit on the pot, not in it).

Allow the chocolate to cool enough to handle.  Pour your chocolate into a zip lock baggie, cut a super small tip off the corner of the bag and pipe on the eyes and mouth. Using dots for the eyes and different shapes for the mouths – oval, sad, circular – filled in solid with chocolate.

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August 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup—Cupcakes

This, my friends, will make you weak in the knees if you like chocolate, peanut butter, especially the two combined. Funny enough I know a guy, he doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate – I think someone needs to check his frontal lobe for injury or maybe his medulla oblongata needs adjusting!

Moving on…this was a fun cupcake to make. I was inspired by Amanda Cupcake (it must be in the name!) who made milky way cupcakes and melted milky way candy bars and added it to her frosting—so many ideas went fleeting through my head, but first this one…Reese’s PB Cups!

 

Chocolate Cake

(makes about 30 cupcakes)

2  cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 package of instant chocolate pudding (only the powder)
1 1/4 c. milk
2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs

1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups miniatures

1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups minis (the smallest of them all)

Preheat oven to 350

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla to the milk, set aside.

With an electric mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient.

Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating – 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the milk. Once all the milk and dry ingredients are mixed beat the batter for a minute or two.

Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes. Scoop a heaping scoop of the batter into each cup. Stick one Reese’s miniature peanut butter cup in the middle of the batter in each cup.

Bake for 18 minutes.

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Peanut Butter Ribbon

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Mix ingredients together in a sauce pan. Heat over low heat stirring constantly until peanut butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Set and aside and cool, while making the frosting.

Melted PB Cups for Frosting

Melt 1/2 cup of peanut butter cups with a little heavy cream over low heat until completely melted. Set aside and cool while making the frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

1/2 cup shortening (used the Crisco stick because it’s easier to measure)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
2-4 T. whole milk
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter ribbon (recipe below)

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the vanilla bean and extract.  Incorporate the sugar gradually – 1c. at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the peanut butter ribbon and milk 1 T. at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 2-3T for a medium consistency.

At this point you may cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place the frosting in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.

In your pastry/frosting bag (or Ziploc with the corner cut off) drizzle a little peanut butter ribbon down one side of the bag and a little of the melted peanut butter cups down the other side, just enough coat the side of the bag. Don’t let the two pool at the bottom of the bag or you’ll have a giant glop of the candy without frosting. You want the candy to swirl in the frosting…this is fun!

Pipe on the frosting with your favorite tip (or if using a Ziploc cut the tip as big as you prefer for decorating).

Use the new Peanut Butter Cup minis (in the candy isle) to top.

~Enjoy

Amanda

July 30, 2011

S’mores Cupcakes

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That classic summertime, campfire dessert. A gooey mix of melted chocolate, toasty marshmallow and crunchy graham crackers. This is one of the things I most look forward to each camping trip – you cannot camp without eating S’mores! That would be criminal.

As much as I love summer, and S’mores, it’s only natural that I create a special summertime cupcake! I spent a lot of time searching the web, looking at recipes and photos deciding how I thought best to represent S’mores in a cupcake form. I saw everything from a graham cracker crust (similar to a cheesecake) with chocolate cake and a marshmallow on top to a chocolate cupcake with marshmallow crème with graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on top.

I really wanted that graham cracker flavor but the texture of melted chocolate and gooey marshmallow – to stay true to S’mores. So I decided to go with a graham cracker flavored cake, replacing some of the flour with ground graham crackers. Then topping the cake with Nutella (the texture is just like melted chocolate and it tastes so good) and using my favorite Meringue frosting and torching it – which is a good reason on its own to make these cupcakes!

(Note you could also use marshmallow crème in place of the meringue. Pipe the crème on and then torch it)

Graham Cracker Cupcake Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground graham cracker
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. room temperature butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°

In a food processor, process the graham crackers until you have a fine powder.

Whisk together flour, ground graham cracker , baking powder, and salt.  Separately mix milk and extract, set aside.

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl or in a stand mixer. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each one to incorporate well before moving on.

Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk.

Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter, heaping scoops so the cup is about 3/4 of the way full. It makes the perfect size cupcakes.

Bake for 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

If I told you that this recipe for Meringue is from chef Thomas Keller, the chef of two 3-star Michelin rated restaurants: The French Laundry and Per Se, you might be inclined to skip the frosting and choose the Marshmallow crème. Please don’t! It is not as difficult as you may think. The recipe is, after all, in Chef Keller’s Ad Hoc at home cookbook – for the home cooks (ambitious cooks). This is a fantastic meringue for frosting, lemon bars, lemon tarts and lemon pies! I highly recommend at least attempting this frosting…then you can say you are able to cook like a 3-star Michelin chef (wink wink).

Meringue Frosting

1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract (if using for frosting)

Combine 1 1/14 cups of the sugar and the water in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat to 220°, stirring at first to dissolve the sugar. (Note the syrup will boil vigorously and become very clear when it reaches this temperature, still use a thermometer).

Meanwhile, in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they begin to look foamy, then gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the whites form soft peaks.

With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar syrup, pouring it down the side of the bowl to avoid the whisk. Add the vanilla, if using, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool.

Assembly

Cool the cupcakes. Spread some Nutella onto the cupcakes (while resisting the urge to lick the spatula)

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Pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes, leaving enough of the chocolate showing for the S’mores look. Fire up the torch and toast the tops!

~Enjoy~

Amanda

March 24, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes

This month was my daughter’s birthday. For her birthday we had a party at Chuck E. Cheese. All the bad things that come to mind, set aside, this was a fun birthday party. The kids had fun, the food was subpar, but the host guided every moment, moving the party along, with very minimal effort on my part . I had no clean up, all kids left with prizes from their ticket winnings and my daughter felt like she was a V.I.P. The attention the hosts pay to your party is worth the cost of this party. I will tell you I cannot throw a kids birthday party at my own house for the price of Chuck E. Cheese and include everything they do, with no clean up and a personal host. My suggestion, definitely do not go there expecting anything even mediocre from their food, bring your own cake and tell the adults to eat before they come. Kids will eat the pizza without complaint or care and really they are there for the games and the cake! All-in-all I was pleased with our experience and am likely to hold another Chuck E. party. My daughter really liked the ticket blaster (as seen on TV), she had a blast.

On with the food. We made cupcakes twice this month for my daughters 5th  birthday (I am blown away that my baby is now 5 – a school age kid – not a toddler, not a preschooler – but a kid!). For school we made marble cupcakes with vanilla frosting. For her party we made vanilla confetti cupcakes with marshmallow flowers.

Marble Cupcakes

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Real easy use my vanilla bean cupcake recipe and frosting excluding the vanilla bean (just use extract the delicate bean will be overpowered by the chocolate so save your money on expensive beans) remove 1 cup of cake batter and stir in 1/8 cup of cocoa powder. Fill each cupcake liner with vanilla batter. Dollop a few teaspoonfulls of chocolate batter into the vanilla batter. Using a toothpick swirl the batters together. Do everything else the same in the vanilla bean recipe.

I just frosted the cakes with vanilla buttercream (in the vanilla bean cupcake recipe) and let my daughter sprinkle on the decorations. Everyone loved them. We walked into school and you would have thought we had mini-paparazzi following us!

Confetti Cupcakes

Again, use the vanilla bean cupcake recipe and frosting (minus the vanilla bean, just use vanilla extract) and stir in some decorative sprinkles – those long skinny, waxy sprinkles work great!

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Bake the cupcakes the same as in the vanilla bean recipe.

Now for the decorating. I used the vanilla buttercream frosting (see vanilla bean recipe, minus the vanilla bean again) and dropped a few drops of red gel food coloring in to make it pink.

On wax paper lay out small piles of different colored decorating sugars. Take a marshmallow – hold it horizontally and cut it into thirds, maybe even in quarters if you want thinner petals. This creates an oval shaped petal, you can press the marshmallows between your hands to flatten them a little and stretch them to make longer petals (I didn’t figure this out until after). Press the cut side into the sugar and set aside.

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Frost the cupcakes with the pink frosting. Set 4-5 marshmallow petals in the frosting on top of the cakes and use a jellybean for the center.

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Hope you enjoy these!

December 16, 2010

Think Pink Potluck

Each year at the law firm I work at, we get together and have an annual Think Pink fundraiser. The fundraiser is held to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  This cause is near and dear to me. Breast cancer runs in my family genetics. My grandmother, aunt, and my grandmother’s niece have all been diagnosed with breast cancer in their lives. Luckily, and thanks to all the research and attention breast cancer has received, all three survived breast cancer. Now my grandmother is no longer with us, but she was diagnosed in the 70’s with breast cancer and even back then, with less resources than we have now she survived!  Susan G. Komen is a fantastic foundation and I am very proud that my employer supports such a terrific cause.

Now I know I am a few months late, but I still wanted to get this posted on the blog because being healthy and teaching people healthier eating habits is very important. Everyone in the office came up with very creative and yummy dishes incorporating “superfoods.” On our potluck sign up sheet we listed “superfood” items with a breif explanation of what is “super” about the particular ingredient. The ingredients each have a property that helps our bodies fight against cancer – from breast cancer to prostate cancer – and many harmful diseases and environmental pollutants.  These foods are just plain good for you (although some of these recipes below may not be ALL good for you, but they do contain some foods that are very good for you).  Below are some photos and descriptions of the items that were served at our Think Pink Fundraiser. My recipes are included below.

Coconut Cupcakes

COCONUT – high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s oil is has been described as one of the “healthiest oils on the earth.”

 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 package of instant vanilla pudding (only the powder)
1- 13oz can unsweetened coconut milk
¼ c. shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 c. room temperature butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs 
½ – 14oz bag of sweetened shredded coconut.Preheat oven to 350°Toast the shredded coconut until browned about 8-10 minutes. Spread out on a sheet of wax paper to cool.Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt. With an electric mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient. Incorporate the dry ingredients and coconut milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the coconut milk. Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes. Bake for 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. 

 

 

 

Frosting Recipe   1/2 cup shortening (used the Crisco stick because it’s easier to measure)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
2-4 T. coconut milk (just the creamy top portion of the canned coconut milk)
1 T. vanilla extract

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the vanilla extract.  Incorporate the sugar gradually – 1c. at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the coconut milk 1 T. at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 3T for a medium consistency.Cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.

 

Deviled Eggs

EGGS – one study showed that women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%

Shrimp with Spicy Chili Sauce

 SHRIMP – contain selenium , an antioxidant which some studies link to the prevention of cancer.

Bacon Wrapped dates and almonds with balsamic reduction (aka “bacon balls”)

ALMONDS –  also contain selenium ,  and they help heart health.

Caprese Salad

TOMATOES – contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant

1lb roma tomatoes

1 pkg fresh mozzerella

1 bunch of basil

Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper

Thinly slice the mozzerella, slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Lay mozzerella on a plate, top with basil leaf and a tomato. Drizzle balsamic dressing over the salad. Serve!

Walnut Torte

WALNUTS – some studies indicate that walnuts positively impact heart health, bone health, diabetes and weight management.

Kale, Apple and Pancetta Salad

KALE – contains sulforaphane, which some studies have shown to have anti-cancer properties. Also Indole-3-carbinol which some studies have show to help repair damaged cells.

This recipe came from Food and Wine magazine, the Thanksgiving issue. I wasn’t unsure about Kale, as I had never tried it and was under the impression it was a green that should be cooked. But after trying some in the store it reminded me a lot of broccoli. The strong flavor of Kale with the sweet apple, salty pancetta and the tangy dressing mix so well with one another! This salad went over very well even with the threat of KALE.

2c. pecans

1/2c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2tsp cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

1/4c extra-virgin olive oil

6 oz thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced

1/4c. white wine

2Tbsp caper brine (from a jar of capers)

3Tbsp maple syrup

Freshly ground black pepper

2 granny Smith Apples, cut into matchsticks

1 large head radicchio, shredded

one 8-oz bunch of kale, finely shredded

3Tbsp snipped chives

1Tbsp chopped tarragon

2 oz. shaved pecorino

1.     Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, cayenne pepper and 1 1/2 tsp salt. In a sieve rinsk the pecans in water and strain completely.  Add the pecans to the sugar mixture and toss. In a sieve shake off the excess coating.  Arrange pecans on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pcans are golden.

2.     In a skillet, heat the oil with th pancetta and cook until the pancetta is browned, about 6 minutes.  Strain the pan drippings into a large bowl; whisk in te vinegar, caper brine and maple syrup. Season the dressig with salt and pepper.

3.     Toss the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and dressing. Top with pecorino.

NOTE: I did not use radicchio, I couldn’t find anything in my local grocery stores that looked good.

October 19, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Delish devil’s food cake, creamy chocolate ganache filling, topped with white chocolate buttercream frosting.

I seriously don’t think that I could say anymore that would entice you enough to want to try these cupcakes. This was the birthday flavor of the month. A definite must make again recipe (as if any of the recipes I post I wouldn’t make again). The ganache turns into this thick creamy center in the cupcake kind of like a chocolate truffle. It’s sinfully delicious and makes you want another one! Luckily all of these were pretty much designated to be given to people, otherwise I would not have let one of these tastey cakes go to waste!

Cupcake Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 package of instant devils food pudding (only the powder)
1 ½ c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla extract
1t. almond extract
1/2 c. room temperature butter
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt.  Separately mix milk with vanilla and almond extracts, and set aside.

With an electric or stand mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient.

Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk.

Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes.

Bake for 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting Recipe   

1/2 cup shortening (Crisco has sticks and they are so much easier to measure)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
2-4 T. whole milk
1 T. vanilla extract
1 c. melted white chocolate

I used Wilton’s Candy Melts for the white chocolate because the Candy Melts, melt nice and smoothly too. Melt according to the package directions. (or use almond bark or your favorite white chocolate chips or bars).

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the cooled melted chocolate and beat at low speed 1-2 on a KitchenAid stand mixer.  Now, incorporate the sugar gradually – 1c. at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the milk 1 T. at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 3T for a medium consistency.

Cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.

Filling Recipe – Ganache

1 ½ c. heavy cream
15oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped

Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In a saucepan heat the cream to just before it reaches a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow the chocolate to melt and the mixture is smooth.

Now you need to completely cool the ganache either in the freezer for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator covered.

Once completely cooled whip the ganache with a whisk or using a hand or stand mixer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assembly

Using a cupcake filling tip on a decorating bag, fill the bag with filling then inject the cupcakes with the filling. (or use this method).

To decorate use the coupler only (without a decorating tip) and pipe the frosting in a circular motion. I sprinkled some black sugar flake I found at Michael’s Art and Craft store.

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

September 27, 2010

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

 

In my office I self appointed myself to make cupcakes for the office birthdays. It was a reason to practice baking, I can get creative with cupcakes, and everyone loves cupcakes. This month the request was for a simple vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. So to make plain vanilla a little more exciting I chose vanilla bean. I used my favorite cake recipe (see also lemon raspberry cupcakes). I had been looking for a butter cream frosting that tasted like something you would get from a local bakery that was not greasy like the buttery recipes I always came across.  Alas, I found one!! It’s actually from Wilton cake website, and several of my favorite baking blogs use the recipe as well.

This cupcake recipe can be altered for any flavor your heart desires, for chocolate I would add chocolate pudding powder and a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder (and bump the amount of milk to 1 1/4 cup). For the lemon recipe on my blog I experimented with vanilla pudding and lemon pudding it was good either way the lemon zest and juice really is what makes the lemony flavor. I haven’t tried other flavors yet, but you can be sure I will be experimenting.  This recipe will likely remain my staple cupcake recipe.  The pudding cake comes out so good!

Cupcake Recipe

2  cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 package of instant vanilla pudding (only the powder)
1 1/4 c. milk
2 t. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pudding powder and salt. Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and then using the blunt edge of your knife scrape out the vanilla bean. Separately mix milk and vanilla bean and extract, set aside.

With an electric mixer in a large bowl combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time allowing each to incorporate well before moving on to the next ingredient.

Incorporate the dry ingredients and milk by alternating – half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk.

Use a small ice cream scoop for the cupcake batter. It makes the perfect size cupcakes.

Bake for 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Frosting Recipe   

1/2 cup shortening (used the Crisco stick because it’s easier to measure)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
2-4 T. whole milk
1 T. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean

In a stand mixer, beat the shortening and butter together, add the vanilla bean and extract.  Incorporate the sugar gradually – 1c. at a time. Once sugar is incorporated (it will look dry) add the milk 1 T. at a time until you get the consistency you like. It will be about 2-3T for a medicum consistency.

Cover with a wet cloth while not in use, or place in the fridge if you plan on using it much later.

Behind the scenes – mini food blogger in training, (in dress up).

The new cupcake carrier! SO much more convenient – Target for about $20
August 5, 2010

Cheesecake Cupcakes

For Kim’s birthday I decided to make cheesecake cupcakes since her favorite is cheesecake.  I have been making cupcakes each month we have birthdays in the office, which helps me develop better baking skills too. So I came up with this genius idea! Ha Ha I know I’m sure there are plenty of cheesecake cupcake recipes out there, but they are NOT all as good! This one got requests for the recipe…so they must be pretty good.

I made three different flavors – chocolate cheesecake, regular, lemon curd…

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Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4c. sour cream
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 package of crushed Oreos

Heat the oven to 350°

I like to use my food processor to crush the Oreos, they come out more consistently. You can also put them in ziploc bag and pound them or roll over them with a rolling pin, or glass cup.

Mix together the softened cream cheese and sugar until forms a whipped consistency. Add vanilla and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and incorporate each one well before adding the next. stir in the cocoa powder.

I have found the foil cupcake cups are sturdier and work better for all cheesecake cupcakes. Put foil cups in each muffin tin. Add some crushed Oreos in the bottom of each cup, just enough to cover the bottom. Fill the cups all the way full with cheesecake mixture (unlike regular cupcakes you want to fill these to the top so they are full and you get thicker cupcakes).

Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

IMG_4375 For decoration I cut an Oreo in half and pressed it in the cupcake. The key is to do this immediately after pulling the cupcakes out of the oven otherwise the cupcakes crack and get messy.

 

Tragedy strikes…

I dropped the whole carton of eggs and an egg broke…but not the one you’d think! The one that broke wasn’t the one that hit the floor, but the one in the egg carton!!! WT….ha ha ha!

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Okay on with the rest of the cupcakes…

Regular and Lemon Curd Cheesecake Cupcakes

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This is the same recipe used for both of these cupcake versions, and just a slightly altered version from the chocolate cupcakes.

2-8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1c. sugar
1t. vanilla
2T. sour cream
2 eggs
1T lemon zest
1 box vanilla wafers

Heat the oven to 350°

Mix together the softened cream cheese and sugar until forms a whipped consistency. Add vanilla and sour cream and lemon zest until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and incorporate each one well before moving on.

Put foil cups in each muffin tin. Add a vanilla wafer to the bottom of each cup. Fill the cups all the way full with cheesecake mixture.

Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes.

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For lemon cupcakes, just add a dab of your favorite brand lemon curd and spread over the top of the cupcake.

That’s all! It’s that simple and just about that fast too. These are very impressive but simple cupcakes. Let me know what you think!