Category Archives: cupcakes

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

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Hmmmm …. I love cupcakes.  If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably know that already.

So when I came across a recipe for something called CHOCOLATE MUD CAKES … well I couldn’t resist. Could you?  Okay, so the word “mud” in food based items is never an appeal for good eats.  Actually visions of my youth playing in the backyard in muddy pockets of dirt with buckets and pails, pretending to serve up “appetizing” meals come to mind.

I found the recipe through “Planet Cake”

Great book on first time cake decorators with fully illustrated pictures and how-to steps.  And near the beginning of the book is our Chocolate mud cakes recipe.

I used my favourite chocolates for this wonderful recipe:  Cadbury and Ghiradelli.  Yum.

Then assembled all the ingredients together….

Mixing it all together, out came the most incredible chocolate cupcakes I have ever made.  So moist and delicious.

I think the next time I play with these cupcakes – and trust me that will be soon!  I will create a well in the middle and drizzle in some Dulce DeLeche for that extra punch.  MMMmmmm decadence!

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The Merry “Marry” Month of May

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To say that I’ve been busy this month is an understatement!

This month I have been busy making cakes and over 100 gum paste daisies. Yep – you read that right.  Over One Hundred gum paste Gerber daisies.  For those of you thinking, “What?!  That’s crazy!” … where were you earlier?!?

The daisies were for my best friend’s little sister’s very anticipated wedding.  Years, months, days and seconds went into planning the incredible event.  And in the whirlwind of wedding planning bliss, I was asked to make the wedding cake and cupcakes.  Yay!

So on May 1st, I started making little Gerber daisies….

And I didn’t stop until the Tuesday before the wedding (true story).

The lovely bride requested a simple wedding cake (vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream), covered in blue fondant and white Gerber daisies (of course).  And the cupcakes (approximately 132) were evenly divided between vanilla bean and chocolate, all topped with buttercream icing and a daisy.

This was my first time displaying all my baking efforts for a wedding, so finding the perfect looking cupcake tower was a must.  I love the look of cupcake towers – my sister had one for her wedding 2 years ago and there are a variety all over the internet now a days.  I finally found it at Golda’s Kitchen – a simple round 6 tier tower that I can easily decorate with whatever ribbon accent along the edge.

Very pretty isn’t it?

It’s prettier completely filled too!

As an additional surprise the bride requested a grooms cake for the rehearsal dinner.  Because the groom is a HUGE Boston Red Sox fan, she asked for a simple baseball cap.  Love it!  The groom apparently couldn’t get enough of it during the dinner, pretending to wear it or place it on everyone elses head.  LOL.  I’m just glad it was a hit.

 

I have to admit that doing this wedding, delivering the cakes and cupcakes to the reception hall, and walking all the boxes straight into the large walk-in freezer of the kitchen made me feel like a real cake designer.  The feeling was continued into the next day when I arrived to set up the cupcake tower and set up “my vision”.

And the wave of pride seeing the happy couple next to their cakes just made my spirit soar.

Congratulations to Ashley and Christopher.

May all your days see sunshine and daisies.

S’mores cupcakes

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A few weeks ago Sweets & Treats Boutique was calling upon volunteers to test out their new grease proof cupcake liners.  I readily emailed my name and address.  What a perfect excuse to bake and have it showcased in pretty paper.

After eagerly waiting by my mailbox, they finally arrived.  (Okay, so it felt like forever, but I was ridiculously excited!)

I received 12 zebra printed cupcake liners and 12 black & white checkered printed cupcake liners.  At a glance they look and feel like everyday cupcake liners, but remember these are suppose to be grease proof.  After much debate, I decided to use a new recipe – S’mores cupcakes – to test them out.

Okay, so I’ve gone camping as a kid with my parents and my sister, and I’ve done the camping thing in my twenties with a group of my friends and my husband (who at the time was my boyfriend).  No I’m not talking about hard core camping, like go out hiking for 20 kilometeres deep into the forest, pitch a tent and heat up something that was dehydrated and may or may not resemble it’s picture on the package.

With my parents ,we camped at the KOA and they were happy we were together as a family, away from tv and near an electric outlet (for our rice cooker – I’m Filipino! – and our electric skillet.)  LOL.

With my friends we annually camped at various public camping sites in our large group of 10 – 12 couples.  The weekend was devoted to hanging out, swimming and just being lazy.  The evenings, if we were allowed to due to dry weather, get the campfire going.  Oh those summer days….

But I can honestly say, I’ve never really had a s’more.  (GASP!)

We tried to once, a group of friends and myself.  But the hunt for graham crackers that one night proved to be a wild goose chase.

So here I am, several years after the fact, feeling nostalgic for a treat I’ve never really eaten.

I have to admit one of my favourite parts of this cupcake was the homemade marshmallow.  Something I wouldn’t have attempted had I not had a stand up mixer.  Love that beautiful kitchen tool!!!  The other part I loved about this cupcake was torching the marshmallow to have that classic “burnt” appearance.  The cupcake itself is fantastic because it’s not just a vanilla cupcake with all the fixings of a s’more over it, but an actual graham cracker cupcake base.  And it was so lovely and moist.  Heaven.

As for the cupcake liners I was testing….fantastic!!!  They held the white colour of the zebra print.

Typically this is would just become a transparent piece of paper and there’d be no clear definition of what color paper was bought.  And seeing as some are a pretty penny, being able to see the paper does mean a lot!!!

Pumpkin “pie” cupcakes – ooops!

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Autumn.

It’s my favorite season of the 4.  I love how there is a coolness in the air.  The colour of the leaves before they fall to the ground.  The fact that I look great in sweaters over bikinis!  I’m just saying….

I also love pumpkins.  Really these are great orange things that seem to go well with anything and everything this time of year.  I love it in soups, as jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, and as something to prop up my kids against when they were babies.

(What?!  You haven’t done this to your child??  Well, get yourself to nearest farm and click away, my friend.)

So with pumpkin season underway, I was more than determined to incorporate this into a cupcake.  This is the first time that I’ve cooked anything using pumpkin, and after much research I found a great recipe of Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream through My Kitchen Addiction.  It had it all.  Pumpkin, sugar, sweet and spices – what could go wrong?  (Sigh – Murphy’s Law – when saying this, always expect that something will go wrong)

And it did.

I goofed.  It was a small goof.

It was an honest mistake.

Instead of pumpkin puree, I added canned pumpkin pie filling.  Yup there is a difference.  I realized it once I pulled the cupcakes out of the oven, and although they smelled heavenly, they were a little dense.

So I did what anyone would do in this matter.  I got my hubby to test try them.  He knew something was up when I literally stared at him as he took the first bite.

Hubby: “What?”

Me: “How was it?”

Hubby: (taking second bite) “It’s good….” (Pause, now staring at the cupcake for any hidden vegetables or tofu) “What did you do to it?”

Me: “I put in pumpkin pie filling instead of puree.”

Hubby: “Oh. (finishing off cupcake) Yay, it tastes like pumpkin pie, but without the crust.”

I took a bite of one at that very moment, and he was right.  It does taste like a tiny pumpkin pie without the crust!  Crazy.  So my goof fell in my favor.  Thank goodness!  It tastes just as great with the frosting too.

So word to the wise.  Make mistakes.  Some mistakes can lead to good things.  Tasty things that are perfect for autumn days and leaning against pumpkins.

Guinness Cupcakes

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Wear green.  Hug a leprechaun.  Kiss someone Irish.  Have a beer.

I have to confess something here…I hate beer.  Never liked the taste of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll drink wine, cosmos, Smirnoff ice, long island ice teas, whiskey sours…sigh, the list goes on…but I just never got into beer.

Well, there is one beer that I will drink ….

GUINNESS

Half expected something on the lighter end of the spectrum?  Odd, I know. 

And in honor of St. Patty’s day I wanted to incorporate this cool, black liquid into a chocolate cupcake.  When I told my chocoholic Irish husband that this would be my next baking project, he literally jumped in the car to buy me several cans of the tasty beer.

I used up nearly an entire can of Guinness (the 1/4 of the liquid left over was promptly swallowed up by hubby).  Mixing in all the liquids together, you’re left with a light brown, fizzing concoction that smells faintly of beer and coffee (to me at least).  In a separate bowl, all the dry ingredients were added – including the unsweetened cocoa powder.  Adding dry to wet, I can still smell the prominent alcohol smell of the Guinness and wonder if this will be as strong as it smells once it bakes….

At least I know it will be “airy” – see the bubbles in the batter?

Once it finished baking (the recipe ended up making approx. 27 cupcakes), my kitchen was warmly overwhelmed with the subtle, sweet smell of chocolate.  No strong beer smell emitting itself from these warm brown cakes.  Phew

Allowing them to completely cool, I decided to top them off with the Swiss Meringue buttercream.  I debated if I should food colour them green.  ‘Tis the season….. My husband immediately nixed the idea, noting that a pint of Guinness has a white foamy head when poured.  Ahhhhhh!!!  Chocolate cupcake with a white, “foamy” topping.  See the connection??  

The cupcake itself tastes wonderful.  It isn’t overly chocolately and it’s delightfully light and airy.  The taste of Guinness is nicely subtle and balanced.  It works well with the swiss meringue buttercream also.  Will definitely have to bake this again for other non-green related holidays.  Hubby is ecstatic!

Everyone raise your cupcakes!  Cheers!!

L

Guinness Cupcakes (adapted from My baking addiction)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 can Guinness Stout
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add and mix the sour cream.  In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour and baking soda.  Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.  Divide the batter among lined cupcake tin.  Bake for 25 minutes, until cupcakes have risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender.   Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Makes approx. 24 – 28 cupcakes

Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer the mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size.  Add the vanilla.  (Tip: when you transfer to the mixer, make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the metal bowl, so that no water gets into the egg whites.  This can keep them from whipping up properly)

Finally add the butter a stick at a time and whip, whip, whip!  (Note: Do not start to panic when this takes a while to come together.  It will.  Patience!)

Sweet & Simple

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I pretty much wanted to tackle something that wasn’t chocolate this time around in baking.  So I went to chocolates opposite….

Vanilla.  Oh so sweet, oh so simple.

I actually wanted to play with a vanilla bean, rather than just the extract.  Oh my … what a wonderful little spice. 

I have to be honest, I’ve never used an actually vanilla bean before, but if the Food Network has taught me anything it’s rather simple to work with.  Simply split the pod open and scrape out the little seeds within that are essentially where all that vanilla flavour and goodness is hidden.

I wanted to use vanilla bean for that subtle, natural flavour and because I like the tiny black flecks that spot the cupcake and frosting.  Hehe.

Scanning the internet for its wide variety of choices on my desired cupcake, I came across My Kitchen Addiction.  I really think it was the pictures of vanilla bean cupcakes that were posted that initially drew me in.  They looked delicious!!  And the recipe looked simple enough.  Even the frosting was incredibly tempting.  Swiss meringue buttercream.  Divine decadence!  So I figured I’d give it a try….

I followed the recipe and although it calls for a teaspoon of vanilla paste (look in speciality shops), I just used 1 vanilla bean and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.  As my cupcakes baked, I went to work on the Swiss meringue buttercream.  Follow the recipe to a T, and as noted, do not give up on it.  It does become a gloupy mess, but continue to whip (I have to mention here, that I do not own a stand up mixer, but instead I have a handheld electric mixer which has served it’s purpose.  But for the length of the time whipping the meringue, I can see why the stand up mixer would be a great thing to use at this point!  On the plus, I have a wicked bicep – only on my right arm, but still….)

20 minutes later my kitchen (actually my entire house) is soon enveloped in the familiar sweet vanilla smells of a seasoned bakers kitchen.  

As much as I like the cupcake, I think the next time around I would like to find an airy angel food cake type of cupcake, as I found this poundcake-cupcake heavy.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, but with such a light frosting I’d like to have a “light” cupcake. 

Speaking of the frosting, I did Love, Love, LOVE the Swiss meringue buttercream and will definitely be adding that into my collection of favourite recipes.  Bliss….

Ingredients

(Yields approx 18 cupcakes)

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 pound sugar (approximately one cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 pound all-purpose flour (approximately 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream (via Smitten Kitchen) – the 9-inch cake recipe will make the right amount of frosting for the cupcakes, with a little bit left over

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two muffin pans with paper cupcake cups and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until the mixture is creamed and looks light and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until each egg is incorporated.  Add the vanilla bean paste and beat to incorporate.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and sour cream.  Gradually add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beating on a low-speed. Be sure to start and end with the dry ingredients.  Once the last of the dry ingredients have been added, beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cups, filling each cup approximately 2/3 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched lightly with your finger.  Cool in the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Prepare the Swiss meringue buttercream according to the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen.  I subbed in 1 vanilla bean pod for the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe swirls of the buttercream onto the top of each cupcake, and completely enjoy!

L

Bacon & Chocolate?

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So I’ve been reading alot of other blogs and posts about this unusual combo lately.  And wondering to myself, do I dare?  I have to it admit that it’s intriguing because for most people it seems so unusual to combine the two.  The reactions I got from my friends when I mentioned I’d be making it sometime in the near future was a cross between doubt and intimidation. 

But really I can see why they can go well together.  It’s the salty-sweet element that many of us crave. Okay, at least I do….

So I started off cooking half a package of bacon.  I really should have cooked up more, because I have an 18 month old little boy who adores bacon and once he figured what I was doing, well, he turned into the most sweet faced vulture I have ever seen.  Let’s just say, the ones that made it into the cupcake batter were the lucky ones.  Hehehe….

Once they were cooled, I started chopping them into smaller pieces . 

You want to make enough to make at least half a cup when cut up into small pieces.  I think I made just enough to reach the half way point – remember my little vulture ate some of them too.

Instead of making a chocolate batter from scratch, I took the easy route and simply used a chocolate cake mix.  Sometimes you can’t beat using a cake mix…especially when you know you’re running low on ingredients to make cupcakes from scratch and it’s too cold to go out to the store and the snow is blowing…. hmmm I digress…

Anyways, mix all the ingredients according to the box instructions.  I added bacon last because I didn’t want them breaking to even smaller pieces, and just simply folded them into the batter, until it was completely incorporated.  Then pour into cupcake lined cupcake pan and bake according to the box and wait….

Tah-da!

Yah, I know it looks like your everyday chocolate cupcake …( this one is topped with a sweet maple buttercream icing) but oh, how looks can be so deceiving.  Biting into this cupcake, you are hit with both chocolatey sweetness and tiny spots of salty bacon spotted through-out. 

It’s really crazy, but oddly it actually works.  Enjoy!

L