Valentine's Cupcakes

| Friday, February 18, 2011 | 0 comments |
So...in honor of Valentine's day I made cupcakes  (big surprise right?). These weren't fancy or anything, but they ended up being really good. I used a regular boxed white cake mix, divided into thirds, and used red & pink food coloring to dye it (leaving 1/3 white). After I baked them, I cored the center (a cupcake corer is essential to life I think) and added a teaspoon of strawberry preserves. Then I topped them with...get ready for it....meringue! I had never really thought about topping a cupcake with meringue...but it turned out pretty good. It was very gooey at first, but once they stay out for a bit the meringue kinda crusts a little. So you had the slight hardness of the outside of the meringue, which was still soft and fluffy in the center, then the moistness of the cake, and the fruity strawberry preserves.

Meringue is definitely a big pain in the ass to make...especially if you don't have a stand mixer. I would have never attempted it had I not received that Kitchenaid. It took about 15 minutes to get the egg whites and sugar to the consistency I needed (and that's AFTER I dissolved the sugar in the egg whites over a pseudo double broiler). Nope, not doing that with a hand mixer....don't care that much. Anyway....here's the recipe for the meringue. It says it makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes...WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! I decided that I would need to double the recipe since I was frosting 24 cupcakes...and ended up with almost an entire mixer bowl FULL of meringue. I had enough left to make a couple dozen meringue cookies and still had almost 1/4 bowl of meringue left.

WHITE MERINGUE FROSTING
Courtesy of CakeJournal.com

2 3/8 c granulated white sugar
6 egg whites
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

It is best to make this frosting in a metal bowl from a kitchen mixer. But if you don't have one you can make it in a double boiler, using a hand mixer.

1. Place all ingredients in the mixer bowl and whisk until well combined. Fill a saucepan with water about (2-3 cups). The saucepan should be large enough for the mixer bowl to “rest in it” but without touching the bottom of the saucepan.

2. When the water is simmering place the bowl in the sauce pan and whisk the mixture. The mixture must not boil (or you'll have hella sweet scrambled eggs). Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved or you will end up with a grainy looking frosting. Check to see if it has reached a temperature of 160-170° F (to reduce the risk of salmonella). Remove from the saucepan.

3. Place the bowl in the kitchen mixer with the whisk attachment on. Whisk the meringue frosting until stiff peaks forms and has a glossy look. This can take up to 12 -15 minutes or more.

4. When the frosting is ready, you can use it as is or color it with food gel colors. This frosting will crust over time but the center of the frosting swirl will still be thick and fluffy.

Cakes and cupcakes with white meringue frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for two days.


The gooeiness was short lived

OH - for meringue cookies...I found an awesome "no bake" recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet (or two) with foil. Pipe cookies onto foil and place in oven...then turn the oven OFF. Let the cookies sit in the oven until it cools. I let them sit over night and they were good by morning.

Happy Valentine's Day to me...

| Saturday, February 12, 2011 | 0 comments |
So this Valentines Day my oh so wonderful bf surprised me with a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer!!!

Yeah...it's like that

I've been wanting one of these things forever...but even more so recently with all the cupcakery (is that even a word?) I've been doing. I got it on Friday and have been itching to use it, BUT I only tend to bake on Sundays. This is because I don't actually eat anything I bake. Hahaha....I take it all to work. I like the baking part, but not the fatness that tends to come with eating what you make. Really, as my bf has pointed out many times, it's all part of my diabolical plan to make everyone around me fat. Haha...but ya know, they enjoy it. I've already been told my food needs to come with a diabetes warning label...yet people still mow through it like they haven't seen baked goods in years. Co-workers have even gotten upset when they come down to my office and all the cupcakes are gone. It reminds me of Woody Harrelson in Zombieland looking for the ever elusive twinkies. No lie.

But I digress...since there isn't going to be any baking in my kitchen until tomorrow, yet I can't wait any longer to use this damn mixer...I decided to make whipped cream. I've never made whipped cream from scratch before. I always thought it would be a pain in the ass. Alas, it was SO super simple with this mixer. It took less than 5 minutes and I only needed 2 ingredients. I'm sure most people know how to make whipped cream, but I know I was unsure of the ratio of cream to sugar...so I'm gonna go ahead and post this "recipe" anyway.

Whipped Cream

1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
3 T sugar

1) Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and stick it in the fridge for a few minutes (to make sure both the bowl and the liquid are chilled). Once chilled, place bowl back on the mixer and use the wire whisk attachment. Start on a lower setting and slowly work up to a medium/high setting. Once soft peaks start to form, add sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Done.

See how easy? And it's mighty tasty...

Electric Cupcakes

| Wednesday, February 9, 2011 | 0 comments |
So you can call these whatever you like...I've seen them called inside out cupcakes, rainbow cupcakes, fireworks cupcakes, etc...I called these Electric because...well...the colors were. They are really simple to make, but look AMAZING! I suggest using a white paper liner so you can see the cupcake's colors through it. That's my plan for next time.


ELECTRIC CUPCAKES

1 vanilla box cake mix (I used Duncan Hines French Vanilla)
1 c sour cream
1/3 c oil
1/2 c milk (I used Vanilla Almond Milk)
2 eggs
Food coloring of your choice (I suggest gel coloring. I used Duff Electric Gel colors - hence the name)
Small bowl of water

1) Preheat oven to 325° or 350° depending on your box directions. Prepare box cake mix with all ingredients except food coloring and water. Once the mix is blended well, separate the batter into however many colors you plan on using (I used 4 colors, so I separated the batter into 4 bowls) - NOTE: This is going to be a thick batter.

2) Drop in food coloring until you reach desired color (do this with all bowls - duh)

This is the only tricky part...finding out how much of each color batter you need to fill the cupcake pan. What I did was experiment with the first cupcake. I tested out how much of each batter I would need to fill the cup 2/3 - 3/4 full. For four colors I needed a little over 2 t of each color batter.

NOTE: Another good trick is to use water see how many teaspoons or tablespoons it takes to fill your liner. Then use that measurement for your batter.

3) Using a measuring spoon, scoop desired color batter and using a WET finger (that's what the bowl of water is for) slide the batter into the cupcake liner. Using the same wet finger, spread the batter to the edges of the liner. Repeat with all other colors.

4) Bake until done. Mine took about 18-20 minutes. Let them sit in the pan about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

THEY ARE AMAZING!



Nutrition content based on cake portion only - NO frosting. I used the LIVESTRONG recipe calculator.
Idea courtesy of Our Best Bites

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

| Sunday, February 6, 2011 | 0 comments |
Mmmm...caramel apples. A tasty fair treat made even better by replacing the healthy apple with a sugar laden cupcake...haha. These are actually made in a mini cupcake pan, so the batter produces somewhere around 48 mini cupcakes. Whether or not you make ALL of those into "caramel apples" is up to you. You would just have to double the amount of caramel and crushed peanuts that the recipe calls for. Honestly, these things are a total pain in the ass to make...but they're worth it...at least occasionally. You could even use the batter to make your 24 mini cupcakes and then use whatever is left to make some regular sized muffins. (Yes, I said muffins...the only real difference between the two is whether or not there's frosting right?) Those would be pretty good for breakfast.

From the book Fun Stuff Cupcakes - Taffy Apple Cupcakes

CARAMEL APPLE CUPCAKES
Makes 24, maybe up to 48 if you so please

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour (I actually used 3/4 c whole wheat all-purpose flour and 1 c regular all-purpose flour)
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 c applesauce
3/4 sugar (I used raw turbinado sugar)
1/2 canola oil
1 egg
1 1/2 c chopped roasted peanuts (I actually threw these bad boys in my food processor cause I'm lazy like that)
20 wooden craft sticks (I got these at Michael's. I suggest using the flat ones as opposed to the round ones I used. My cupcakes had a tendency to rotate when I tried to coat them with the caramel)
2 packages (14 oz each) of caramels - unwrapped (now you see why this is already starting out as a pain in the ass?)
5 T milk (I used vanilla almond milk)

1) Preheat oven to 350°. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray (I like Baker's Joy). Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, stir together applesauce, sugar, oil, and egg until well blended. Add flour mixture a little at a time; stir until blended. Don't use a hand mixer for this...you want to be gentle. Spoon into prepared cupcake pan, filling about 3/4 full.

2)Bake about 16 minutes. Do the toothpick or the finger test for doneness. Cool in pan about 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

3) Line baking sheet with waxed paper; spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place peanuts in a shallow dish. Insert craft sticks into the 24 mini cupcakes.

4) Place unwrapped caramels and milk in a large microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Now comes the pain in the ass part: Working with one cupcake at a time, hold over bowl and spoon caramel over the cupcake, rotating the stick until the cupcake is completely coated. Immediately roll in peanuts to coat the cupcake, pressing nuts lightly with your fingertips (so to speak) to adhere them to the caramel. Stand cupcake (stick side up obviously) on prepared baking sheet. Repeat. Caramel may need to be reheated a few times if it becomes to thick. Let stand at least 20 minutes until caramel is set.

I then moved these to mini cupcake liners. I will forewarn you that the caramel and peanuts will probably slide down the cupcake a bit, pooling at the bottom. If you see this happening, press the caramel up the cupcake a little. You'll still have the pool of caramel at the bottom of the cupcake, but eh...it still looks pretty good and tastes even better.


See that sneaky little hand...he only thought he was gonna steal one

Mt Dew Cupcakes

| | 1 comments |
Yep...you read that right. Mt Dew cupcakes. I've seen a TON of recipes for Mt Dew cupcakes...but most don't really cut it for that authentic Mt Dewey flavor. I found one on food.com that looked promising and tweaked it a bit. The result was pretty damn good...the cupcake itself wasn't very sweet at all, but the frosting - wow..it was the sugary "I feel like my teeth are going to rot out of my mouth this instant" goodness that you expect from regular Mt Dew. So they complement each other well. I wouldn't suggest eating one or the other strictly by itself...but together...deliciousness.

MT DEW CUPCAKES
Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes

1/2 c unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1/4 c Mt Dew soda
2 T Mt Dew syrup (I'll explain in a minute)
2 T frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
Zest from half a lemon and half a lime
1 1/4 c + 2 T all-purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/8 t salt

FIRST AND FOREMOST: Pour about 2 1/2 cups of Mt Dew into a pot and place on the stove. Bring to a boil and then turn to low and let it condense/evaporate. It took me about 20-30 minutes to get a syrup. Please note that it won't be sticky like maple syrup, but it will be thicker than the non-condensed soda. You'll need this for both the cupcake and the frosting.

1) Preheat oven to 325° and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.

2) In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3) Combine Mt. Dew and orange juice concentrate in a cup and set aside.

4) In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer and cream butter and sugar. Scrape sides and add zest, blend. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg and then scraping sides of bowl.

5) Add dry mixture to sugar/butter bowl, alternating with Mt Dew mixture. So add flour, blend on low, scrape sides, add Mt Dew, blend, scrape sides, add flour, blend, scrape sides...blah, blah, blah...try to add dry ingredients in three batches and liquid in two.

6) Pour the batter in the lined cupcake pan (about 2/3 full) and bake for 16-18 minutes. You can do the toothpick test or just touch the tops of the cupcakes. If the cake bounces back, it's done. Let them sit in the pan about 5 minutes and then cool them on wire racks.

For the frosting

1/4 c Mt Dew syrup
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temp
2 1/4 c powdered sugar
2 T Heavy cream
2 t frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
Zest of half a lemon and half a lime
Food coloring (Optional of course. I used both yellow and green)

1) Using a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Add heavy cream and Mt Dew syrup. Beat until fluffy. Add OJ and zest and blend again. At this point you can either use the frosting as is OR add the food coloring. I divided the frosting into 2 bowls and colored one with yellow and one with green. Just add a few drops of food coloring at a time and beat with the mixer until combined.

To use two colors, take a piping bag and fill one side with one color and the other side with the other color. Squeeze the bag until both colors start coming out of the tip. I used a Wilton 1M Star tip with these (it's my new favorite). Enjoy!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

| | 0 comments |
Okay...so I know it's been years or something...but I just haven't found the time to write...or really, I just didn't feel like writing. It happens I spose. Anyway...as of recently I've been baking up a storm. Generally one new type of cupcake every weekend (during the week is almost impossible seeing as I have kids and all). BUT, while I will post all the other recipes for the deliciousness I've been baking up...I wanna start with the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes I just made. Who doesn't like peanut butter and chocolate? Anyway...here it is - serve with a nice tall glass of your dairy or non-dairy beverage of choice:

REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES
Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cake

1 Box chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food)
1 c sour cream
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
2 eggs
24 Reese's Peanut butter cup miniatures - unwrapped

1) Preheat oven to 325° and prepare cupcake pans with liners.

2) Combine all cake ingredients except candies. Spray a measuring tablespoon with cooking spray (the batter will be thick and will stick if you don't) and plop 1 T of batter in each cupcake liner. Wet your finger with some water and spread batter to edges of cup. Place a Reese's miniature in the center of all the liners (upside down works best). Next spoon approx 2 more tablespoons of batter over each candy, making sure it covers it completely.

3) Bake in oven for approx 25 minutes. So, the toothpick test won't work with this cupcake because of the PB cup in the middle...so the easiest way to know if they're done is to touch the top of the cupcake. If it springs back up, it's done.

For the frosting

1 1/4 cup + 2 T peanut butter (for me that was about an entire 16 oz jar)
3/4 stick butter, about 6 T (room temp)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Heavy cream (about 3 - 5 T depending on what consistency you'd like. I used 4 T)

1) In a bowl use a hand mixer, or fancy stand mixer, and cream sugar and butter. Scrape down the sides and then add peanut butter and 1 T of cream. Blend everything together. Add more cream as you're blending until you reach desired consistency.

2) Frost as desired! I used a 1M tip from Wilton and a pastry bag. I also topped each cupcake with chocolate sprinkles and a Reese's mini...no, not miniature...mini. They come unwrapped in the bag and are about the size of a dime...PERFECT for topping cupcakes! You could also cut the miniatures in half or chop them up and sprinkle them on top.

NOTE: You may have a lot of frosting left depending on how much you use for the cupcakes



I used LIVESTRONG to compute nutrition info

The surprise inside