Friday, January 29, 2010

Chocolate raspberry

I decided to do a little twist on my basic butter cream and make a raspberry butter cream. Just made basic chocolate cupcakes and butter cream, added in some pink food coloring, raspberry extract and topped it off with a piece or raspberry filled Ghirardelli chocolate square :D

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cupcakes for Haiti !!!!

The other day I asked my 8 year old daughter if she knew about the awful disaster that had happened in Haiti. She told me she'd seen a commercial about it; how sad she was for them and that she wanted to do something to help. So, we decided to put our love of baking to good use.

We baked 100 cupcakes (from scratch none the less...I'm exhausted just writing to you LOL) and sold them for Haiti relief. My husband sold to his coworkers and our favorite local store,Children's Orchard, generously let us set up on their front counter for the day. In the end we were able to raise $99 (which is being donated to the Red Cross) She's SO proud of herself and I'm thrilled that she now knows she CAN make a difference.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Green tea with almond buttercream

It was a rainy Sunday so after taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese today we stopped by the Asian market and picked up some green tea powder (Matcha) to make the green tea cupcakes I've been wanted to try :D

I made a silly mistake and missed the fact that I didn't have quiet enough flour for the recipe, not wanting to send hubby or myself out in the rain I made a substitution. Needless to say the cupcakes themselves didn't come out quiet as visually appealing as I would have liked (they spread out more like a cookie than cake and got a little overly brown) but they tasted amazing !!!!! One or two more tries with all the flour I need and I'll have them just right. Plus, the almond butter cream was amazing...already thinking about what other cupcake I can put it on :)

Green Tea Cupcakes:
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1-2 tablespoons of Edible Green® ground green tea (I used 2, might do 2 1/2 next)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and green tea. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes for standard size cupcakes (less for mini cupcakes), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
The batter is rather dense

Almond butter cream frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
1-3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons almond extract (I went with 2 I liked it stronger)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chocolate Banana

Start with a basic cupcake (white or yellow) boxed or from scratch. Just add in 1tsp.(you can add more if you like, I like a little more) banana extract.

Chocolate Butter Cream:
•1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
•1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
•3/4 cup cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
•1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
•4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
•3-4 tablespoons milk

As you can see from my photo this makes a light almost milk chocolate icing if you'd like it darker and richer add more cocoa powder.

Silicone baking cups

Our really close friends Danny and Missy are big fans of my pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. For Christmas I wanted to make some as part of their gift but wanted to add a little extra to I bought a cupcake Tupperware (the large rectangle holder carries about 18-24 cupcakes, it has handles and's great to have when you send the kids to school with their b-day cupcakes)then I went to Michales craft store and bought these adorable silicone flower baking cups . they worked great, baked the cupcakes right in them. All together it made for a cute little gift :D

Here is the link for the baking cups

Fun with boxed cake

This November my daughter turned 8 and we decided to make cupcakes....they are great with kids, no plates or fork needed. She decided she wanted strawberry cake with marshmallow filling :D

Being busy with other party planning I went for the boxed cake and pre-made frosting. Cooked the cupcakes and used a knife to cut a cone shape out of the middle. Cut off the bottom of the removed piece so there is just a little round lid. Filled it with marshmallow cream, put the little lid back on and frosted.

I colored the vanilla frosting with lilac gel food coloring (purchased a Michales craft stores...they have a wonderful cake decorating section, I also got the candy flowers and luster dust to glitter them there too)Piped the frosting on and added the candy flowers which I'd glittered with luster dust. They came out really cute. Looking back I would have added some strawberry extract to the icing but there is always next year :D

Chocolate cherry

Start with a chocolate cupcake, boxed is fine or you can use my basic cake recipe. Add
1 t. of cherry extract to the cake batter.

Cherry butter cream frosting:

•1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
•1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
•1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
•4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
•2 tablespoons milk
1-2 t. cherry extract (depending on how strong you want it)
A few drops of red or pink food coloring

Red velvet with cream chesse frosting

The other weekend my best friend and her boyfriend came to visit. They told me their favorite cake was red velvet and can you believe I'd actually never had or made it before. So I found a good recipe online and was very happy with the way they came out.....I'm now a red velvet fan :D

Red velvet cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (feel free to add more, you couldn't even taste the cocoa)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (took me about 2/3 of a container of the gel)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

My cream cheese frosting recipe is in the pumpkin cupcake post :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big Top giant cupcake

Being the cupcake fan that I am of course I had to get the Big Top Cupcake pans. It's a silicone set of of the cupcake and bottom. I was very happy with how well it worked. It did however take quiet a while for my dense cakes (red velvet and pumpkin) to cook in them because they are so it caused them to have a bit of a hard edge but they still tasted great.It was super fun and the kids just adored it. I made a giant red velvet cake one weekend when my best friend and her boyfriend visited and it was a big hit. It actually makes a lot, I ended up having to throw some of it away :(

Ever childs dream....a cupcake the size of their head LOL

Pumpkin with cream cheese frosting

This was my favorite cake when I was little (which was actually my Mom's pumpkin bread)I use to have her make my birthday cakes out of it. It's so amazing in fall but really works all year. Sadly, I can't give away the family recipe....(took me years to earn it :) but I will give you the awesome cream cheese frosting that goes with it (I also use it on my red velvet) It's super easy and super yummy !!!!

My cream Cheese Frosting:

2 softened (8oz boxes) of cream cheese
1/2 (1 stick) softened cream butter
2 cups confectioners sugar (sifted)
1 t. vanilla

Chocolate peanut butter

These cupcakes are a big hit with the guys, they taste like a peanut butter cup :)

Start with basic chocolate cupcakes...devils food works well :)

My peanut butter frosting:

1 8oz box of softened cream cheese
1 cup peanut butter (cream or chunky whatever you like)
1 cup of honey (or you can use powdered sugar, should be about 1-2 cups)
A little milk as needed to loosen it up
(you can also add 1 tsp of vanilla if you want it to be a little less peanut buttery)

It makes this really dense frosting, almost like filling (that's the way my husband prefers it) if you want it to be more fluffy like traditional butter cream frosting start with 1 - 2 sticks of soft beaten butter (or shortening) and add everything to that.

If you plan on spreading the frosting and not piping it (like on a cake) you may need to add the butter or shortening's a lot harder to spread when it's dense

A few little cupcake tips...

So my best friend asked me once how I got my cupcakes so "perfect" are a few tips:

  • It's very important to make sure your oven is fully preheated
  • Use a measuring cup to fill your cupcake tins 1/4 cups works perfectly
  • VERY important tap + shake your filled cake pans on the counter a few time (this was a trick my Mom taught me) it will get out all the air bubbles so your cake is even through and it will flatten the batter on he top so they raise in a perfect little dome.
  • Don't keep opening the oven to check on them this will make them bake un-evenly
  • Keep tooth picks or skewers near buy poke the middle cupcake to make sure they are done (if it pulls out clean your in the clear)
  • Finally ...PLEASE let them cool all the way before frosting them or it won't be pretty

Basic cakes....

I tend to play more with my frosting than my cakes so you can either use a box cake mix to make it super easy and fast or I have a couple recipes for basic cakes. You can easily add any kind of extracts to flavor these basic cakes...banana, cherry, strawberry... there are tons in the baked goodies isle of your super market.

Chocolate cake:

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 (1 oz) squares semi sweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups flour (cake flour will make it fluffier)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
Optional : 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Like with most cakes mix all wet ingredients on one bowl the dry in another. Once the wet are combined slowly beat in the dry
Bake 350 for 15-20 min

White Cake: (this one is a little long with the mixing but fluffy)

2 3/4 cups cake flour
4 t. baking powder
1 1/2 white sugar
3/4 t. salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
4 egg whites
1 t. vanilla
Optional: 1 t. almond extract

Sift together salt, flour, and baking powder.
In bowl beat egg whites until foamy gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until soft peaks form (that means when you pick up your beater it will form a little peak that may flop over a tiny bit)
Cream butter and remainder (1 cup of sugar)
Slowly add in dry ingredients...then milk and extracts. Finally add in the egg mixture (soft peaks)

Bake 350 for 15-20 min