Category: cupcakes (page 1 of 45)

Sweet summertime vanilla and cherry cupcakes

Vanilla and cherry cupcakes
Despite the weather in the mid-Atlantic being gray, wet, and dreary, I decided to look to sunshine and summer for my inspiration for this cupcake. Baked for a late-December baby shower for my co-worker and fellow sassy lady Julie, I kept things light, and let the natural color of the sour cherries celebrate that she and her husband are having a little baby girl.

12346028_428636040670045_1867468682_n

Because I am the most appropriate when decorating for a baby shower…the first shower I did for Julie had a banner that read “Yay!” This time, it was “Whoo!”

Sour cherries can be tricky to work with in a buttercream due to their liquid content — that’s why it’s important to cook them for a bit, then remove them from any of the juices that don’t cook down and cling to the actual fruit. Otherwise, you end up with a sad, watery buttercream, and no one wants that.


Sweet Summertime Vanilla and Cherry Cupcakes
Yield: 28 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup oil
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
• 2 tbsp vanilla

Buttercream Ingredients
• 2 cups cherries (I used frozen sour cherries that I had picked last summer and froze)
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioners sugar
• 1 tbsp cream (if needed for consistency)

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line pans with cupcake papers.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

Whisk the egg for 20 seconds, then add the sugar and whisk an additional 30 seconds until thick and frothy.

Add the oil and vanilla, and beat until combined. Alternate the flour mixture and whole milk and beat until combined.

Divide the batter between wrappers in cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

For the frosting, first heat the cherries over medium high heat until liquid is reduced. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the cherries into a food processor and pulse to chop, leaving behind the extra cherry juices. Add the butter and 1 cup of sugar, beating until combined. Add the remaining sugar gradually and cream. Transfer to a stand mixer and whip until light and fluffy.

Fit piping bag with a star tip (or your favorite), and pipe buttercream onto cupcakes. Enjoy!

Manhattan cupcakes

Manhattan cupcakes

You know I love booze in my desserts, and these Manhattan cupcakes won’t disappoint (but also won’t tip you over the legal limit!)

I made these as a dessert to accompany the first meetup of a group my friend Ryan has brought together to pair intellectually stimulating conversations with excellent food. And after enjoying a lovely meal of pho and Vietnamese vermicelli dishes, everyone dug into these cocktail-themed treats.

The base for this cupcake is chocolate, though I think I’d like to try it again, but with a whiskey cake instead of chocolate.


Manhattan Cupcakes
Yield: 24-26 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
• 2 cups flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/4 cup whole milk
• 2/3 cup whiskey
• 1 tsp vanilla

Extra whiskey to brush on the top of the cupcakes

Buttercream Ingredients
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
• 2 tbsp sweet vermouth
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp cardamon

Topping: Cherries (I prefer sour cherries over maraschino cherries)

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line cupcake pans with papers.

For the cupcakes, combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar, whisking to blend; set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed, medium pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add the cocoa — gradually — whisking to combine. The mixture should come to a simmer, but not a boil. You want it to thicken.

Once thickened, cool the cocoa mixture for about 10-15 minutes (the freezer is handy here).

In your stand mixer, whip together the eggs and milk. Add the vanilla.

Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, slowly add a little bit of the mixture to temper the eggs, keeping the mixer’s paddle spinning constantly at a slow-medium speed (You can also accomplish this by taking the bowl off the stand mixer and whisking by hand, then putting it back on to the mixer for the dry ingredients).

Add the dry ingredients in 3-4 stages. Add the whisky, mixing well to combine.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 5 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

If you want additional whiskey flavor, brush some on to the top of each cake before frosting with the buttercream.

For the sweet vermouth buttercream frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of sugar, beating until combined.

Add the cinnamon, cardamom, and sweet vermouth, then add the remaining sugar in 1/2 cup increments to your own taste.

Whip on high for about 5 minutes to make the buttercream light and fluffy. Fill the piping bag, already fitted with your preferred tip, and pipe the frosting onto each cupcake. Top with a cherry and enjoy!

Triple threat cupcakes: Chocolate, vanilla, and caramel

Mocha cupcakes, dipped in ganache, topped with vanilla bean buttercream and finished with salted caramel

These are the cupcakes you bake when you want simple, well-loved flavors, but still want to impress the ever-living crap out of people. They’re a triple threat of chocolate, vanilla, and caramel and they LOOK classy as hell.

Gotta love a classy cupcake, right?

I made this as a mini-fundraiser for PAWS, a local shelter that I volunteer for and love very much. My coworkers and friends rose to the occasion, and from their pockets alone $79 was raised. To come up with a more rounded number, I threw in an extra $21 so we could make a $100 donation, which will enable PAWS to do some combination of the following:

PAWS donation possibilities

This cupcake was also a great way to get me back into the groove of baking, while still exercising my creative muscles just enough. I highly recommend putting the work into this recipe, because you won’t be disappointed when people are wowed by the dessert you bring to the table, that’s for sure!

Another quick note: I’m going to be gradually transferring all my recipes out of the various recipe plugins I’ve used over the years and into the main body of the post. I don’t like how they’re displayed currently, and since I’m a bit of a layout and formatting priss at work, this is definitely driving me nuts here. It’s going to be a slow process to convert, but totally worth it in the long end!


Triple Threat Cupcakes: Chocolate, Vanilla, and Caramel
Yield: 24-26 cupcakes

Mocha Cupcake Ingredients
• 2 cups flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp freshly brewed coffee
• 2 tbsp espresso powder
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
• 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup heavy cream

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Ingredients
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 cups confectioners sugar
• Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• Heavy cream as needed

Salted Caramel Ingredients
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 tbsp water
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Start with the salted caramel so it has time to cool to room temperature. Stir together granulated sugar and water in a saucepan, bringing to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream, stirring, until very smooth.

Add the vanilla and salt and stir until fully combined.

Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes, until it is just barely warm and still pourable.

For the cupcakes, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line cupcake pans with papers.

For the cupcakes, combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar, whisking to blend; set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed, medium pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add the coffee and whisk together. Add the espresso powder and cocoa — gradually — whisking to combine. The mixture should come to a simmer, but not a boil. You want it to thicken.

Once thickened, cool the cocoa mixture for about 10-15 minutes (the freezer is handy here).

In your stand mixer, whip together the eggs and milk. Add the vanilla.

Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, slowly add a little bit of the mixture to temper the eggs, keeping the mixer’s paddle spinning constantly at a slow-medium speed (You can also accomplish this by taking the bowl off the stand mixer and whisking by hand, then putting it back on to the mixer for the dry ingredients).

Add the dry ingredients in 3-4 stages, mixing well to combine.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 5 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

For the chocolate ganache, heat the heavy cream until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips in a bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir to combine and cool slightly so the mixture thickens a bit.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, dip the tops into the ganache, then let them sit and set before piping buttercream on. Wait at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours (just make sure they’re kept safe in a covered container).

For the buttercream frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, beating until combined between measurements. Add the vanilla bean seeds and vanilla extract and beat on medium high speed for 2-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

2015: What will be the ‘new cupcake’?

What's the new cupcake infographic

Source: Slate.com

Thanks to the Will Write for Food newsletter, I came across the chart above from a July 2014 post on Slate.com titled “Every Food That’s Ever Been Called ‘The New Cupcake’ in One Chart.”

I find it pretty fascinating that for the past 8 years, so many food writers have been calling for “the new cupcake.” From the Slate.com article:

Since the mid-2000s, food journalists and publicists have announced new trends by calling various foods “the new cupcake” literally hundreds of times. What is “the new cupcake” according to all these trend stories? We searched news database Nexis for the phrase “the new cupcake” and tallied every instance of its use in English language publications, whether it was a writer declaring doughnuts “the new cupcakes,” wondering whether frozen yogurt was the “new cupcake,” or quoting someone else asserting that pie was “the new cupcake.”

How about this? What if we stop looking for “the new cupcake” in 2015 and simply recognize new and interesting desserts as they come along? Or acknowledge when a retro dessert makes its way back into the limelight?

Cupcake Friday Project’s 2014

Cupcake Friday Project's 2014 stats
2014 is drawing to a close … and I’m not sorry to say that I look forward to it ending. Now, I know that for many, 2014 has been a great year, and I’m happy for all of you and the joy that entered your lives. Sadly, that was not the case for me, and I can see that reflected here on my blog.

In 2013, I wrote 103 new posts, co-hosted an event, held fundraisers for She’s the First and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and did a lot of baking. But in 2014, I only wrote 43 posts. I didn’t bake for any fundraisers, I didn’t host events … and I stopped bringing in treats to work.

What changed? Well, I had a lot of things — both good and bad — going on in my life. But because I want to think of myself as a positive person, let’s look at some of the great stuff I achieved in 2014 … things that I may not have shared here:

Cookie Monster cycling jersey

My fellow cyclists LOVED my jersey! I earned the nickname “Cookie” and was asked often if I had cookies to share. Sadly, I did not.

I participated in my first Bike MS City to Shore Ride, biking 45 miles in late September and raising $1,601. I’ll be back next year, this time maybe riding 80 miles if I can get the training in, otherwise I’ll be riding a solid 45.

Working on Luscious Bakery's Food Truck

Vending at The Oval, right outside the beautiful Philadelphia Art Museum.

I’ve always loved food trucks, but in 2014 I got to actually work on one. Though I only worked on the Luscious Bakery truck a handful of times, mainly due to my 9-5 style work schedule, I consider the shifts Jamie offered me hugely influential. I got to learn another side of the bakery business, and learn directly from someone I consider a wonderful friend and mentor. I hope to spend more time on “Marcia” in 2015, and watch Jamie’s business grow and flourish.

My Table Matters Writing Portfolio

Maybe one of the main reasons I didn’t write as often here is due to the fact that from May-November, I developed recipes and wrote for Table Matters. In total, I wrote 8 articles, ranging from personal stories about family trips to CNY and shortcake to how to make best use of the bounty of figs in the early fall. I even pitched the idea of tackling my Grandma Betty’s Hungarian Chocolate Cake again, this time finding a quiet success in the deep chocolate layers of the cake. I shared 21 recipes during that time period, often using ideas I had put on the back burner, just waiting for a good reason.

Cookie and Caramel Corn Club goodies

Top, left to right: pecan pie caramel corn; blueberries and cream cookies; sriracha peanut butter cookies; Middle, left to right: peanut butter chocolate delights; salted caramel corn; matcha green tea cookies with crystallized ginger; Bottom, left to right: cacao nib and orange shortbread; chinese 5 spice snickerdoodles; peanut butter and jelly caramel corn

I also began a small, mail order cookie and caramel corn club in 2014, with a handful of dedicated customers. To date, I have baked more than 35 dozen cookies and over 13.75 lbs of caramel corn. I took November and December off, but will finish up my club offerings during 1Q of 2015. Then who knows what I’ll do next! Some of the recipes have been posted here, with more to come, and others to perfect.

By my counts, I developed 34 new recipes in 2014, though only a handful made it to this blog. They break down into:

  • 12 cookie recipes
  • 8 caramel corn recipes
  • 5 pie/tart recipes
  • 3 cupcake recipes
  • 2 cake recipes
  • 1 blondie recipe
  • 1 brittle recipe
  • 1 brownie recipe
  • 1 scone recipe

Looking at all of this, I can see that while I may have only published fewer than 50 posts in 2014, I did a lot. And sometimes you need to take a closer look before you throw your hands up in the air and say “I got nothing accomplished!” Because all of this is evidence that I did do a lot this year.

So what will 2015 bring? Jan. 28 will be Cupcake Friday Project’s 4th anniversary … it’s kind of amazing to look back at the last 4 years of blogging and see every I did. I hope to continue writing for Table Matters, and may begin pitching a few other food publications. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

For all of you, I hope that 2015 brings you light and love, butter and sugar, and as many good things as possible. Until next year!

5 cupcakes to make with leftover Halloween candy

Halloween Cupcakes

From the top left: Milky Way cupcake, Butterfinger cupcake, NERDS candy cocktail cupcake with gin and lemon

Halloween is here! Do you have a plan for all the excess candy you bought (aside from slowing grazing on it at work for the next few weeks … oh wait, is that just me?).

Well never fear, here are 5 of my favorite candy cupcake recipes that use the leftover Halloween treats you have around the house. And if you don’t have any, then hit up your local grocery or drug store when it all goes on sale!

Butterfinger cupcakes
Junior Mints cupcakes
Milky Way cupcakes
NERDS candy cocktail cupcakes with gin and lemon
Twix cupcakes

 

Older posts
Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE