Friday, September 2, 2011
A retroactive cupcake post, but too cute to pass up. Father's Day was the reason behind these cupcakes--my dad is a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I could post pictures of the parties we have, but I might incriminate myself a bit (I dressed as Ron). I am not a Harry Potter-head, but I will indulge the obsession--lord knows people indulge my obsessions :) I found these Butterbeer Cupcakes from a blog online, and they came out perfectly!! There is a lot of butterscotch and butter extract (who knew??) to make these buttery, moist and caramel-y. They were a hit among the family, and are a second runner up for my dad only to the Boston Cream Pie cupcakes I made later in the summer. Dad contributed the background decorations for the pictures!!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
It is the last Cupcake Wednesday of the school year!! And for that, I decided I needed to make it special. I have A MILLION (ok well, over 100) new recipes to try because I found cheap cupcake cookbooks on Kindle (a super awesome birthday present for my 31st!!), and had to try them out. And in order to get a few in before the end of the school year, I made three recipes and put them all in mini cupcake form so everyone could enjoy all three flavors!
Flavor #1 comes from "Cupcake Cookbook: 100+ Super Cute and Droolworthy Recipes to Impress" by Sharlene Alexander on the Kindle. It is a Lemon Cream cupcake and I used some left over raspberry frosting to complete the flavor pairing--sour and sweet (kinda like me, or Sour Patch kids). I piped on a little flower/star and added a mint leaf to spice it up a bit.
Flavor #2 was from Kindle book #2 "The Absolutely Most Delicious Cupcake Recipes Cookbook" by Madison Parker--Key Lime Cupcake. Well, I used regular limes but put in a LOT of zest to make it lime-y. I thought a good complimentary frosting flavor would be coconut, and I have a tried and true coconut cream cheese frosting. I like the tropical inspiration of these cupcake. Gets me ready for summer.
Flavor #3 is from "Who You Callin' Cupcake" (see the section on Books), a banana cupcake. It's a good solid banana flavor, and could be used for bread as well. To sweeten it up, I added a new frosting--Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting. I googled it and found one I could live with. Essentially, it's cream cheese frosting, but replace some of the cream cheese with Nutella, and add powdered sugar as necessary.
All three cupcakes are very moist, and stayed that way after being baked and frosted ahead of time. The lime is very flavorful, despite the lack of lime extract. The group really liked the banana, and the consensus on the frosting is A+!! And, as mentioned above, the lemon and the raspberry are a good combination for the contrasts they provide.
Happy summer!! :)
Monday, May 16, 2011
There are a lot of new ingredients here that I have not worked with (ever or recently). There are MANY recipes for these types of cupcakes online, and I took a component here, a component there, and made my own cupcake.
To start off, I baked a white cupcake using "Hey There Cupcake" by Clare Crespo. Good basic cupcake, tasty flavor. The next step was to make the Mascarpone filling/frosting using 1 lb mascarpone cheese, 2 cups of whipping cream and 1 cup of powdered sugar. I made half a batch at a time because I don't have one of those huge standing mixers (I know, pity me :P). I whipped the cream until ALMOST stiff peaks with the sugar, then added the cheese. It solidified nicely, just don't overbeat or it gets icky. I hollowed out the cupcakes with a little do-dad from Bed Bath and Beyond and lightly "soaked" the middle with a mixture of instant coffee, water, sugar and Kahlua (flavoring since I had to take these to school). Then I piped in the filling, covered it back up with the little bit of cupcake I had carved out, and "frosted" it with the same concoction.
Now the reason I use quotations is because this is not really frosting and should not be used or paraded around as frosting. It melts. Quickly. I had to return the frosting to the refrigerator to let it harden up a little and then pipe it back on, then RUSH the cupcakes back in. They are now safely in Kelli's mini-fridge in her classroom, but in my opinion, that is a lot of work to make the darn frosting stay on top of the cupcake.
To finish off the illusion of the dessert, I sprinkled a little cocoa powder on the top. I think this is the only time I will be making these cupcakes, which is a total bummer because I have a whole tupperware bowl full of the filling and it is too hard for me to throw it away!! Unless these cupcakes are FABULOUS, I will be eating tiramisu in its normal form....from a restaurant.
Ok after actually tasting the cupcake (I hadn't when I wrote the above information), I LIKE it. It's yummy. And aside from the annoying consistency of the frosting, I call this Cupcake Wednesday a success!!!
It has been a while since I have posted, and although I have not stopped baking, they weren't really anything special. However, my creative juices started flowing again and I have a list of cupcakes I want to make, and the end of the school year is fast approaching (no one is complaining, don't get me wrong!). My first new concoction was a Pineapple "Right Side Up" cupcake. I saw a bunch of recipes for upside down cupcakes online, but they seemed messy to transport, so I kept with the flavors and just retooled it a bit. I used a pineapple cupcake recipe from "Hey There Cupcake" by Clare Crespo, which turned out FABULOUS. I like the cupcake much better cold than warm--the pineapple flavor comes out more when it has been in the refrigerator. Then, for the brown sugar that is usually on the bottom and all crystalized and yummy, I made some brown sugar frosting, using another new and untried recipe from a recent birthday present from the Cupcake Wednesday lunch group--"Who You Calling' Cupcake" by Michelle Garcia. My only change in the recipe (and I don't know if it would remain the same if I did it the other way, but just a note) was that I melted the brown sugar FIRST with the shortening instead of adding it in at the end. I thought it might be grainy the other way around. Top it off with a little maraschino cherry and your Upside Down Pineapple Cupcake is right side up!!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Being that it's the first Wednesday in March, and, to me, March means spring (even if it is 65 outside), so I chose a fun, fruity cupcake for today, with a bright, spring-like cupcake wrapper! These lemon blueberry cupcakes are adapted from a recipe I found on the Internet. My main goal was to find a blueberry cupcake that wasn't just a white cupcake with blueberries thrown in--my foray into fruit cupcakes that tasted just like the muffin or bread version (see: Banana Caramel Cupcakes) made me gravitate toward something with puree instead of whole fruit. This recipe gave me the ingredients for the blueberry puree, which I added to (essentially) a yellow cupcake. I replaced one tsp of vanilla with a tsp of lemon extract and then stirred in the zest of 2 lemons along with the blueberry puree. To add my own "flair" (which is healthy), I used Egg Beaters, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1/2 the sugar. The cupcakes are light and sweet, and not as close to blueberry muffins as the banana cupcakes were to their bread version, so I was satisfied. I think I might be able to keep this recipe and replace the blueberries with any type of fruit--strawberry, mango, etc. The frosting is a standard buttercream that I have made a million times, but with lemon extract and a touch of fresh lemon juice. Fun, fruity and festive for spring!!
Side note: I cannot remember the last time a batch of cupcakes got devoured like the did this week!
Like I mentioned, my new obsession with my cupcakes now is to find new and maybe unexpected combinations (I will NOT, however, be using bacon). I know this combo is not unexpected, but it's new and I got to play scientist a little with the mixture. I found a banana cupcake recipe that used brown sugar instead of white (Google it, I don't remember) and mixed that baby up. After filling the cupcake tin with batter, I dropped a dollop of caramel (homemade of course--see last post) in the middle in the hopes it would stand out after baking--it didn't. But whatever, I tried. The frostings are different based on what I had left over--a basic cream cheese, caramel buttercream or a whipped cream cream cheese frosting. After slicing a banana as garnish I drizzled a bit more of the caramel for effect and served them up. Now, my honest opinion/criticism is that this tasted like banana bread. I wanted a sweeter cupcake, but if you want a banana cupcake, just make banana bread--it's probably healthier anyway. But it was a recipe I had been wanting to try and a flavor I had not made yet, so it was not a total bust.
My challenge now is to find or create new recipes and combinations of cupcakes, frostings and additions. I have been looking up different ideas on Google and found this combination that intrigued me. I cannot, however, tell you where I found it--just google it :). The cupcakes are a brown sugar flavor, which is fun and caramel-y and toffee-y. I crushed up some toasted pecans (how expensive are they, by the way??) and mixed them in. Cupcake done. Now for the frosting. I REALLY wanted a caramel flavor, and so many called for heating this, boiling that, and to be honest, I did try heating the egg whites and sugar and I was not successful. SOMEONE needs a double boiler and a candy thermometer. So as I was making the base with powdered sugar and butter, I said "Forget this" (Cee-lo style, tho) and started making my own. Again, I couldn't tell you how I did it, but it is essentially a buttercream with caramel added to it. OH, but I DID make the caramel. Not too hard, but dangerous if you stop watching the boiling sugar. And then if the frosting is too runny as you add the caramel (1/4 cup maybe?), just add a little more sugar. Easy! I topped it off with a toasted pecan. I really adore these cupcakes--the flavor of the brown sugar is different and I love pecans!!