Posts Tagged ‘Cupcakes’

Basic Cupcake Baking Tips

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
Jumbo Chocolate Cupcakes

Jumbo Chocolate Cupcakes

Our Basic Cupcake Making Tips

Downsize your favorite cake…

You can turn almost any cake recipe into cupcakes. I recently decided to turn a chocolate cake recipe that was a success into something even more spectacular – cupcakes.  King size cupcakes that is, which in turn equals about 2 ½ regular cupcakes.  Almost any cake recipe can become a cupcake – jumbo, regular, or mini.  Just be sure to keep watch over your oven; baking times vary.  The safest bet is to a keep your eye on them.

What to do after baking…

After baking I am quick to remove my cupcakes from the pan, maybe a bit too quick.  I fear by letting them sit in a hot pan they will “over-bake”.  Once they are out of the oven, I use my offset spatula to pop them right out.  Then I immediately place them on a cooling rack.

I must admit, I am a “last minute” kinda girl and have often been tempted to frost early…this is a no no!  Unless your recipe calls for it, do not try frosting before the cakes are completely cooled – it never ends well, trust me. 

The subject of frosting…

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, you can frost. A generous amount of frosting is always good, but don’t go overboard.  Frosting tends to be extremely sweet, so a little goes a long way.  Try to create a balance of cake and frosting.

Directly after frosting, I get the cupcakes into the fridge. This helps set the frosting.  Buttercream, in my opinion, tastes best when it’s not too cold.  It can become hard and unappealing if it’s too cold – it is butter, after all.

It is best to keep your cupcakes chilled up until 15-30 minutes before serving.  Letting them come to room temperature will ensure that the frosting tastes its best.

Cupcake liners and wrappers…

Lastly, I need to mention cupcake liners and wrappers.  When baking a chocolate cupcake, plain wrappers work the best. The pretty printing on some wrappers just disappears with chocolate cake – so it can be a waste. It is best to use the fancy printed liners and wrappers with a lighter colored cupcake.

chocolate-cupcakes-chocolate-strawberry

The cupcakes pictured are chocolate cake with a decadent chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with a chocolate covered strawberry, YUMMY!

Food Finds – Cakes, Cupcakes & Cookies

Friday, June 12th, 2009
My Food Finds - Unique Cakes, Cupcakes and Cookies

My Food Finds - Unique Cakes, Cupcakes and Cookies


Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
Clever Cupcakes out of Montreal, Quebec prepared these cute corn themed cupcakes for a corn on the cob party (a popular tradition in Quebec).  I love the variety of toppers on each cupcake, all keeping with the corn theme – corn holders, a slice of corn on the cob, corn kernels, salt packets and pats of butter. 

Check out Clever Cupcakes for ideas for your next party.  Or, even better - order some if you are ever in the Montreal area.

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Creative Cake Art
You won’t believe these cakes and cake toppers!  Sarah Cowell of Melbourne, Australia is a true cake artist to say the least.  Her ultra-realistic chameleon cake is just one of the many cakes in her portfolio that will have you ogling.

Her cake portfolio includes life-like replicas of her clients, creepy characters, bachelor party cakes and much more.  Check out her incredible cake portfolio.

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Adorable Bridal Shower Cookies
Marian, from Sweetopia, is a master of cookie decorating.  I love the combination of green apples and blushing brides.  The detail in these cookies is incredible; the white line down the apple to accentuate the curve, the jeweled details and disco dust on the brides dress – so perfect! 

Her cookies are little works of art.  View all of her decorated cookies here - the Rainbow Tea Party Cookies are colorful masterpieces as well.

Sweetopia's Green Apple Bridal Shower Cookies

Sweetopia's Green Apple Bridal Shower Cookies

Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

martha-stewart-cupcakes

We love Martha Stewart – so of course we are super excited that today is the book launch of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes!  This paperback which sells on Amazon for $14.99, has “175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat”.   Everyone could use some cupcake inspiration! 

This cookbook contains several recipes for cakes, frostings and fillings, not to mention incredible decorating ideas.  As with all Martha Stewart Books, the photography is stunning.  Each cupcake is accompanied by it’s own photograph. 

From the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes summary:

Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
  includes templates and clip art for decorative flourishes, an equipment glossary, and step-by-step instructions for basic and advanced decorating techniques, plus ideas for presenting and packaging the cupcakes in Martha’s trademark style.”   Woo hoo!

Want to get your hands on a copy?  Click here to order yours today!

Chocolate Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, May 25th, 2009
Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing

Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Some think Memorial Day Weekend is time to relax, I feel the opposite.  No rest for the Cake Lady!  Grandma Marion is turning 87!  Holy Moley!  My family and I spent our relaxing Sunday celebrating Grandma’s birthday and putting in my mother’s garden. 

I love Sunday’s at my parent’s house, they just feel good.  Growing up, my sister and I spent every Sunday at my mom’s parent’s house swimming with our cousins and then having a huge feast towards the end of the day.  Thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 

Another thing that brings a smile to my face is Grandma Marion.  Chocolate is the way to her heart so I baked her some extra large chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting…YUM!  Once again, Ina Garten provided me with a great recipe which I swear by – Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

Chocolate Cupcake Batter

The cake comes out just the right, great texture and the perfect amount of chocolate.  Cream Cheese Frosting, who doesn’t like that?  Simple and easy, plus it compliments the chocolate oh so well. These chocolate cupcakes are sure to be crowd pleasers.

More Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

More Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese (not whipped)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 8oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

 1.) Make sure cream cheese and butter are room temperature. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add vanilla, blend. 

2.) Slowly add powdered sugar and blend until smooth.  Quick note; this is not a stiff frosting and does not pipe well.  I use this frosting for cupcakes and simple cakes…Tastes great!

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

Friday, May 8th, 2009
Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

Grandma Garretson's Chocolate Cake in Cupcake Form

I love receiving recipes – so of course, I was pleasantly surprised when my sister in law, Geri, sent me the recipe for her grandmother’s chocolate cake. 

My sister came over to help me prepare the cake – we decided to make an evening out of it.  We called this evening a  ”study in gum paste” since we were going to decorate the cupcakes with gum paste flowers. 

The evening started with a quick trip to the local Hobby Lobby for gum paste making tools.  Cupcake wrappers, gum paste mix, gel food coloring, and a set of gum paste tools and we were out the door.  I already had the gum paste flower cutters from a previous occasion.

Then, off to the local grocery store for snacks and wine – yes, I did mention we made an evening out of it ;-)

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Wine of the Evening - Oberon

Once we were home, Jody began preparing the cake batter, which we must note, turned out very thick – almost similar to a brownie batter.  We decided to do cupcakes instead of cake, since cupcakes are so much cuter.   

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

Very Thick Chocolate Cake Batter

We smoothed the batter out with a spatula – then into the oven.  At that point, I was already working on mixing up the gum paste.  I have worked with gum paste in the past, but had forgotten how labor intensive it really was.  We dyed it four colors with the gel food coloring – green, two shades of blue and an orangey-yellow. 

Colored Gum Paste

Colored Gum Paste

Jody then prepared the icing for the chocolate cupcakes that were now cooling on the stove.  This icing comes out very shiny – similar to a ganache.  The end result is a very delicate looking cupcake.    The chocolate cupcake was very chocolatey and very tasty, and suprisingly moist for how thick the batter was.  If you are a chocolate lover, these are for you.

Overall, we found that working with the gum paste was harder than we expected…but as you can see from the photos – they were adorable.  I have a new appreciation for gum paste or sugar flowers – it truly is an artform.

Thanks again Geri for sending me this recipe – we are sure it will be enjoyed by many.

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Gum Paste Flowers on Chocolate Cupcakes

Grandma Garretson’s Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. boiling water
  • 1 cup cocoa

Directions: 

1.) Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until blended.

2.) Add flour, buttermilk, soda and salt. Mix well.

3.) Combine the boiling water and cocoa in a separate bowl. Add to large bowl and mix.

4.) Spoon cake batter into cake pans. Cake batter with be thick, so you will need to smooth it out with a spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick comes out clean in center. For cupcakes, our cook time was about 15  – 18 minutes.

Chocolate Icing
Ingredients: 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. cocoa

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

2.) Place on med heat until it comes to a boil. Let boil for one minute.

3.) Spread on top of warm cake.  Decorate how you like.  Enjoy!

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes

Our Cute Flowered Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Who wants a cookie?  I do, I do!  No one ever turns down cookies at my house.  The boys have been giving me plenty of great ideas when it comes to new and creative cupcake flavors.  Not only that, but they have become my ultimate taste testers.  I am honored when they ask me to bake for class room parties…simply because it gives me a chance to show off! 

Today’s challenge was to incorporate that classic combo, cookies and cream.  I must admit it was easier than I thought.  I took a classic white cake recipe and added a bit more fat (sour cream) and crushed up chocolate sandwich cookies.  Simple white buttercream frosting tops them off and half of a cookie to give them a bit of crunch.

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French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes

Friday, May 1st, 2009

French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes

French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes

You’ve heard the expression, “everything is better with bacon” – well, who knew that this included cupcakes.  Frankly, I don’t believe I have ever met a person who can resist the magical powers of bacon.  The scent, the flavor, just thinking about bacon makes my mouth water.  It’s funny how bacon plays well with so many other flavors and types of foods. Bacon can instantly take the everyday sandwich or salad to a new level.  Bacon wrapped steak, scallops, chicken livers, or dates…the possibilities seem to be endless.

Anthony Bourdain’s show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel did a episode on Portland, Oregon.  Voodoo Doughnut was a strange local shop that specialized in unique donuts, one being a maple cream stick with crisp bacon.  This is where the idea of the French Toast and Bacon Cupcake was born.  Savory and sweet work so well together, and since I already drown my bacon in maple syrup, why not?  Cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit more vanilla are the key extras in this yellow cake recipe that give it a French Toast feel.  I should note, these cupcakes smell amazing while baking!

I whipped up a Maple Buttercream to frost them with and finished them with the crown jewel…crispy bacon.  For aesthetics I left the bacon in one piece, but would prefer it crumbled for easy eating!  Enjoy!

French Toast Cupcakes

What You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • Maple Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
  • Crisp Bacon
  • Equipment: A six cup jumbo muffin pan or 12 cup regular muffin pan
French Toast and Bacon Cupcake Ingredients

French Toast and Bacon Cupcake Ingredients

Directions:

1.) Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line the muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

2.) In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Raise the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula.)

3.) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla, and also set aside.

4.) Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter one at time, waiting for each one to be fully incorporated before adding the next.

5.) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Alternately, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next (scrape the bowl down occasionally). Raise the speed to medium and mix briefly until a smooth batter is formed. Transfer the batter to a large bowl.

6.) Thoroughly clean the bowl of the mixer and put the egg whites inside. Whip the egg whites on high speed, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks are formed.

7.) Working in 3 batches, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter, until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the cups in the muffin pan. Bake, rotating the pan once, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

8.) Remove the cupcakes  from the oven and cool completely.

Maple Buttercream Frosting
Yield: about 1 2/3 cups, enough for 6 large or 12 regular cupcakes

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 Sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon maple extract

Directions:

1.) In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

2.) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the heavy cream and maple extract.. Raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Crisp Bacon

Bacon works well for me baked in an oven at 425 degrees on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 12-15 minutes, drain grease, and bake another 5-7 minutes or until crisp.  You can do it in a pan as well.

Finally – Frost the cooled French Toast Cupcakes with the Maple Buttercream Frosting and top with a Crisp piece of Bacon!

Inside of a French Toast and Bacon Cupcake

Inside of a French Toast and Bacon Cupcake

Baby Bluebird Cupcakes

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
Bluebird Cupcake

Bluebird Cupcake

This year while scrolling through Martha Stewart’s website I came across the cutest baby bird cupcakes.  I immediately knew I was going to make this for Easter Sunday.  What better than baby birds in a toasted coconut nest to represent Sping and the Easter holiday. 

I chose a very basic Yellow Cake for the cupcakes and used my favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Martha’s served only for inspiration, the recipe and technique were all mine. 

I used disposable piping bags for the frosting and just cut the tips off at different points in order to get different thicknesses.  The nest was a simple circle of frosting with and extra layer to give it height. 

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Monday, March 23rd, 2009
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet has always been a mystery to me. As a child cake came in four flavors; White, Yellow, Chocolate, and Marble.  Today it seems every time I turn around there is a new, hot cake flavor.

For the past couple years I have seen many articles, programs and recipes featuring Red Velvet Cake, but I never bothered to make it.  Is it Chocolate?  Is it a White cake with a deep red coloring?  I decided that I would do some recipe research prior to baking.

There are a few common ingredients with Red Velvet; buttermilk, cocoa, and red food coloring. After looking over about a dozen recipes I decided to use Martha Stewart’s Red Velvet cake recipe. I did substitute regular buttermilk for the low fat kind (I like full fat everything in baking).

Overall the recipe was relatively simple and the result was wonderful. The flavor is definitely not white cake nor is it a chocolate. Instead it had a almost sweet tanginess to it with a hint of cocoa…very appealing. I topped each cupcake with a marshmallow, cream cheese buttercream and a couple of fun jimmies.

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Marshmallow, Cream Cheese Buttercream

What You’ll Need:

1 Stick unsalted butter (room temp.)
8oz. Package cream cheese (room temp)
8oz. Marshmallow fluff
1tsp. Vanilla
1lb. Powdered Sugar

Directions:

1.) Cream butter, cream cheese, and marshmallow together until smooth.

2.) Add one tsp. vanilla and blend in.

3.) Add powdered sugar a bit at a time.  Blend until smooth.

4.) Add festive jimmies or sprinkles – this is optional.


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