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White Chocolate Cupcakes

Now that December is officially underway my life is completely hectic. It seems like every weekend I have at least one hockey game to write about or sell tickets at, which leaves little time for rest. In fact next weekend I happen to have a possible four games in a matter of three days as well as my brother’s 18th birthday celebration (which I’m not baking for thank goodness!) and a CCSU women’s basketball. I’ve learned to thrive off of a hectic schedule, but it does but a strain on the time that I can spend baking and blogging.

However, despite the fact that my life happens to be consumed by hockey, I was still able to find time to bake some flavorful cupcakes when I got back from the last Sunday night’s CT Whale game.

Christmas time is filled with so many different flavors, but one of my favorites is white chocolate. I’m not a big chocolate eater, but white chocolate happens to be my favorite. Over the holidays I tend to pair it with anything and everything, from white chocolate macadamia nut cookies to white chocolate blueberry cookies. This week was no exception as I took my love for the chocolate and incorporated into cupcakes!

Sunday morning my mom and I got up and went shopping like every other weekend, but this week she happened to pick up a bag of Toll House white chocolate chips, which inspired my White Chocolate Cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting!

Recipe:

I was able to adapt the recipe from the Curvy Carrot.

White Chocolate Cupcakes

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

4 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped and melted- I used Toll House chips melted down and used about 1/3 of the bag

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk (I used whole because I had it on hand…use whatever you have)

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

3. In another bowl and with a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

5. Add the melted white chocolate and vanilla, mixing well. Don’t melt the chocolate until right before you are going to add it to the mix to avoid it from going hard.

6. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the milk in 2-3 portions, mixing well after each addition.

7. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pan.

8. Bake the cupcakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes or so.  Let cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 ounces white chocolate, melted- Again I estimated with the leftover chips that I had

2 teaspoons vanilla

6 teaspoons milk

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Steps:

1. In a bowl cream the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

11. Add the melted white chocolate, vanilla, and milk.

12. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar, until you reach your desired consistency. *The more cups you add the thicker it will be. I stopped at 3 cups due to my preference.

13. Pipe as desired on completely cooled cupcakes.

Every week I bring the cupcakes I make into the Recorder newspaper office so I can get feedback from my fellow writers. Well, this cupcake definitely garnered some of the best reactions. The batter was much like the Funfetti batter I experimented with earlier in the semester, but the melted white chocolate gave it a sweetened touch. The cake itself was nice a compact, not too airy, which is a problem I notice with boxed cakes.

I’ve learned through this blog that I prefer cream cheese frostings, Buttercream is too sweet for me, but like the batter, the white chocolate gave just enough added sweetness to compliment the cake.

White chocolate is a fun flavor to enhance any plain vanilla cake and for an added festive twist try some flaked coconut to look like snow or red and white sprinkles like I did!

 

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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Cupcakes

 

Tis The Season…For Cupcakes!

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

Thanksgiving has come and gone and once midnight struck on the bountiful holiday that meant that it became fully acceptable to start preparing for Christmas! For me growing up, the Friday after Thanksgiving wasn’t known as Black Friday, it was the day that I helped my nanny decorate her entire house.

Each year my family and I would eat Thanksgiving dinner at my Nanny and Grandad’s and I would spend the night in order to help them bright and early the next morning. The artificial Christmas tree (needles are too messy for my nanny) was put up, lights were strung, the mini-Christmas village was put up on the mantle and the fake snowflakes were sprinkled on top. 

It’s memories like these that make Christmas time my favorite time of year (minus the start of hockey season of course). No matter how overplayed Christmas movies and songs get, nothing can deter my love for the season. This is why making Christmas-inspired cupcakes were perfectly acceptable to make while my Thanksgiving leftovers still sit in their containers in the fridge.

I was planning on making triple chocolate “Black Friday” cupcakes from Bitchin Kitchen, but when I went shopping this morning with my mom I found Andes peppermint candies in the holiday aisle. Andes candies are a family favorite every year (we usually make mint cookies) so I couldn’t pass up the chance to try them in a cupcake, which was perfect because a cupcake recipe using the morsels happened to be on the back of the package…it was like fate!

In making these cupcakes I broke my own vow and followed the recipe by using a boxed devils food cake mixture. I know I said I would avoid using anything out of a box from now on, but bridesmaid duties kept me tied up for the day and the taste of the cakes wasn’t hindered.

The main difference in using a boxed mixture is the density of the cake. The boxed cupcakes are much lighter and fluffier than a cake made from scratch. However, the peppermint candies in the cupcake and in the frosting added a cooling touch to the sweet chocolate, which reminds me of a york peppermint patti. 

The recipe on the back of the bag not only called for a boxed cake mix, but also a canned frosting, which I couldn’t bring myself to do. Instead I married my original idea with my new inspiration and the result was a fabulous addition to any holiday platter!

Recipe:

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 Box Devils Food Cake mix (holidays are hectic so a boxed mix wouldn’t be such a bad time saver, but any devils food cake recipe would suffice.)

1 C Andes peppermint candy (about half the bag)

Steps:

1. Follow directions on the boxed mix to make the cake batter

2. Fold in the Andes candies and put them in the oven for 18-22 minutes

3. Put the cupcakes aside and let them cool

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from the Cupcake Project

Recipe

8 oz (1 pkg) of cream cheese frosting- room temperature

1/4 C unsalted butter- room temperature

3 1/2 C confectionery sugar

1/2 C cocoa powder

Peppermint candies- any desired amount (make sure to save some to sprinkle on top)

Steps:

1. Combine the cream cheese and butter until creamy

2. Mix in the confectionery sugar one cup at a time

3. Once the sugar is mixed in add in the cocoa powder

4. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle the rest of the candies on top.

 

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Cream Cheese, Cupcakes, Desserts

 

A Novice Baker Finds the Magic in Cupcakes from Brittany Burke on Vimeo.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Cupcakes

 

Holiday Traditions: Mince Pies

I’m proud of my heritage, I’m part Italian and French from my mom and completely English and Irish from my dad, who was born in Liverpool. Being that my Nanny and Grandad grew up in Enlgland, my brother and I were raised with typical English traditions. 

I eat carrot and turnip with mushy peas and malt vinegar on my french fries. I drink tea religiously, love Newcastle Ale, say “mind” instead of move, wait all summer for it to turn cool so I could eat scouse and shepard’s pie and search for the first sighting of Quality Street candy, which only comes out around Christmas. These are all just minor ways that I’ve been influenced by my English heritage, mostly ways in which my diet has been affected actually, and while I love most food that comes from England, I was never a fan of Mince Pies. 

 

Mince Pies

Each year as my nanny made these small little tarts I refused to try one, only because I didn’t like the idea of meat being in my dessert…I was young and didn’t know any better, until a few years ago. I got courageous, tried one and have been in love ever since.

Mince meat isn’t actually made of meat, it’s a jam-like filling with spices, raisins and different fruits. Searching for mince meat is like searching for Quality Street, jars are only sold around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, which means that’s the only time we can make them. 

Mince Meat

With a little sugar on top, these desserts are really simple to make, especially if you cheat and use pre-made dough like I do for the pastry crust! They’re a sweet addition to any holiday meal, whether fresh out of the oven or cold from a tin in the fridge.

Recipe

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Cupcakes

 

Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes


Self-Frosting Cupcakes!

This week I was inspired by a tweet I received about Nutella frosting. I was introduced to the wonder that is Nutella my sophomore year at CCSU by my old roommate who used to eat it directly out of the jar on pretzels. Needless to say one taste of the rich, chocolate, hazelnut spread and I fell in love. So the idea to incorporate that flavor into a cupcake is genius.

Even though I wanted to bake with Nutella, I didn’t want to shy away from the fall flavors, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner. So I did my usual Google search to try to find a recipe that I could work with, and one of the first ones that came up was “Self-Frosting Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes” from the blog, 52 Kitchen Adventures. Now to be completely honest I didn’t search for any more recipes after finding this one, I was sold by the words “self-frosting” right in the blog’s title.

Not only did this recipe allow me to conduct a science experiment, but it also saved me from the frosting step, which has started to become my least favorite task. What is fun about these cupcakes is you make the pumpkin cake batter and rather than frosting them after, you put a spoonful of Nutella (or any hazelnut spread) on top of the batter in the cups and swirl it in with a toothpick. As the cupcakes bake in the oven the Nutella warms and spreads, virtually frosting the top of the cupcake.

Pumpkin and chocolate aren’t two flavors that are combined often, but I loved this cake. The cupcake itself is dense due to the weight of the pumpkin puree, but the Nutella serves as a nice compliment to the strong nutmeg and cinnamon flavors and the hardened Nutella could be broken off and eaten like a piece of chocolate!!

RECIPE

Self-Frosting Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes

Adapted from 52 Kitchen Adventures

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Nutella for topping
Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a muffin pan with foil or paper liners.

2. Place the pumpkin, oil, eggs, vanilla, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat to combine.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

4. Fill muffin cups around 3/4 full. Place a couple of teaspoons of Nutella on top of each cupcake. Use a toothpick to swirl the Nutella around the top of the batter.

Ready to go in the oven!

5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If you love Nutella as much as I do try some of these other inspired recipes, and don’t forget World Nutella Day is Feb. 5, 2012!

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Cupcakes, Desserts, Fall Flavors

 

Butterscotch Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Harry Potter Butter Beer Inspired Cupcakes!

Butter beer inspired cupcakes!

I am a Harry Potter fanatic, there I’ve said it.

I’ve re-read the books more times than I can count, can recite the movie scripts line for line, and my freshman year of college I even took a class on Pottermania. The world the J.K. Rowling and the movie cast have been able to create has captured the hearts of people of all ages all around the world, including my own.

I knew starting this blog that I wanted to attempt a recipe that I found for butter beer cupcakes. Butter beer is the iconic drink coveted by the wizards and witches in the wizarding world and more so by the muggles who longed to taste the frothy, sweet drink from the Three Broomsticks.

While I haven’t been able to make the exact recipe (I couldn’t find butter extract, though I still plan to make them…especially with the Deathly Hallows Part II being released Nov. 11!) I was inspired to make some sort of butterscotch cake.

Last week I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a mini park inside Universal Island of Adventures. Walking through the entrance way is like being transported to England and into the secret world where wizards are real. The life-like attractions, including Hogwarts castle, are just the beginning for what the park has to offer.

Aside from rides, you are also able to walk through shops like Zonkos and Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Despite all of this one of the best features happens to be the butter beer carts scattered along the streets. The first thing my friends and I did to begin our Harry Potter experience was buy some butter beer, which happens to be an extremely sweet cream soda with a butterscotch froth along the top. Hence the butterscotch inspired cupcakes!

Vats of Butter beer

Journalism Loves at Harry Potter World!

The recipe I found on Parenting.com, from Betty Crocker was a last-minute find, which yielded delicious results! Like I said, I planned to use a butter beer specific recipe, but I’m happy with what I’ve made regardless.

The recipe itself is a little confusing, in fact I thought I would be blogging about my first batch of failure cupcakes, but alas, the butterscotch shines through and gives the cake a sweet edge to an otherwise plan vanilla flavor.

Butterscotch Cupcakes from Betty Crocker

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips, coarsely chopped
The ingredients was the confusing part for me, because as you can see some ingredients, such as sugar and vanilla extract are listed twice. To solve this I mixed all the ingredients, saving the 2 tsp of vanilla and 1 c sugar for the end, while hoping for the best!
I also added extra butterscotch chips to really settle in that flavoring, which definitely helped!

Steps

1.    Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups, grease bottom and sides of muffin cups with shortening and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

2.    In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and milk, about 1/2 at a time, beating just until blended. Stir in butterscotch chips. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each with about 3 tablespoons batter or until 2/3 to 3/4 full.

3.    Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; place on cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Steps
1.    Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar with whisk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/4 cup milk. Return to boiling. Remove from heat; cool until lukewarm, about 30 minutes. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Frost cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle each with kosher salt.
I also had a minor heart attack making the frosting, which was due to adding too much sugar too quickly. Instead of creaming together the sugar grew lumpy, although I was able to fix this by adding a splash of milk. However, to avoid this I suggest adding the sugar in 1/2 cup increments.
The final touch is adding a dash of sea salt to the frosted cupcakes. It is completely optional, however the salty taste offsets the sweet intensity created by the caramel and butterscotch chips.
 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Beer Cupcakes, Cupcakes

 

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Happy Halloween!

October 31, the night of all-hallows-eve has come and gone. Children have dressed up, gone door-to-door trick-or-treating for bite size candies and costume parties with spooky treats have since passed; that is of course if you live in Connecticut.

Last week I made candy corn cupcakes, cute, simple cakes that matched the famous color scheme of yellow, orange, and white, in honor of Halloween. While most houses give out miniature forms of famous candy bars, and Buddy Velastro, aka “Cake Boss” of Carlo’s Bakery gives out cupcakes (how cool is that?!), the one candy associated with this holiday still happens to be candy corn.

Who doesn’t get the nostalgic feeling walking into a store every October and seeing the orange Brachs bag? I know I do, and so does my mom, which is why I thought these cupcakes would be the perfect addition to our Halloween celebrations.

Sadly however, I had to make them early because I spent my Halloween weekend in Orlando, but that didn’t stop my friends from ravishing them! Lucky for me and this blog though, Storm Alfred hit New England depositing snow in the early stages of autumn, which caused trees and power lines to come down and Halloween to be postponed!

So with trick-or-treaters big and small still celebrating this beloved, candy-filled holiday I hope you enjoy my colorful concoctions!

Recipe:

The actual execution of candy corn cupcakes is very simple, and they are meant more to go with the theme of a holiday. Begin by making your favorite vanilla cake mix, I chose to use this recipe from All Recipes.

Once the white cake mix is made I divided the batter evenly into two separate bowls.

In one bowl add in yellow food coloring (I use Wilton’s) until the batter turns a bright hue. In the second bowl do the same with orange food coloring.

First spoon the yellow batter into the cupcake tins, enough to line the bottom.

Once the yellow batter is finished, spoon the orange batter into the tins on top of the yellow batter.

In a preheated oven of 350 degrees, bake the cupcakes 20-25 minutes.

Frosting

The white tip of the candy corn is represented in the white frosting. Whether a buttercream or cream cheese frosting is used is dependent upon the baker, but I chose a simple, sweet and classic buttercream to enhance the vanilla cake.

Ingredients:

2 Cups confectionary sugar

2 sticks of butter at room temperature

2 tbls of milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Steps

Mix the sugar, milk and butter together with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the vanilla extract last for a hint of flavor.

The final step is to frost and decorate the cupcakes as desired. Personally, I started with Halloween themed, black and orange sprinkles and topped the cupcake with either a piece of candy corn or pumpkins. Let your imaginations run wild, because that is what Halloween is essentially all about.

For other versions of this take on candy corn check out these:

Come Together Kids

 

Seattle Times: Food & Wine

 

Sugar Turntable 

 

Java Cupcake

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Cupcakes

 
 
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