Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Smores Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cake on a graham cracker crust topped with a marshmallow meringue frosting. These were well-received cupcakes. I think these would be perfect if I used regular cocoa. I love dark chocolate cake and even the recipe said to use dark cocoa but I think a less bittersweet flavor would scream Smores Cupcake. I've tried to make frosting before with marshmallow fluff/creme but this one was much better. Even though it doesn't use any marshmallows or vanilla extract, those egg whites whip up to such a beautiful flavor and texture that sends you to smores heaven. I especially loved how beautifully this frosting browned when I used my kitchen blow torch. Fun stuff!

So next time I would use this recipe for the cake and I would even throw in some semisweet chocolate chips on top of the crusts! That sounds delicious!

Smores Cupcakes
Adapted from: Life Love and Sugar
Yield: 17 cupcakes

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
5 tbsp butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine crust ingredients and mix well. Press about 1 1/2 tbsp of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Set aside. Reserve left over graham cracker mixture to garnish top of cupcakes.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 325º F.

To make the cupcakes, add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together. Add egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add vanilla and boiling water and mix well.

Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling a little more than half way, and bake for about 21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove from cupcake tin and allow to fully cool.

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
Yield: generously frosts 20 cupcakes

4 eggs whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
Chocolate sauce or melted chocolate chips
graham cracker crumbs

Combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a metal, heatproof mixer bowl of a stand mixer. Place over a saucepan with simmering water on medium heat (double broiler method). Make sure the mixer bowl does not touch the simmering water.

Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. You'll know it's ready when you press the mixture between two fingers and you do not feel any grains of sugar.

Using the whisk attachment, beat on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.

Ice cupcakes and if desired, use a kitchen blow torch to brown the tops. Garnish with chocolate sauce and graham cracker crumbs.

Must be piped right away or within 20-30 minutes before icing begins to deflate. Cupcakes can be left out unrefrigerated for a few days. This frosting is delicate and may melt if left out in warm temperatures. Browning the tops with a blow torch however will help keep its shape, and yet still be gooey inside.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Coconut cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

I've been wanting to master the coconut cupcake forever and now I can finally take it off the list. These are not only some of the best cupcakes I've ever made, but they are also just one of the best things I've ever baked. They were so moist and soft, and the coconut flavor shined through perfectly. The buttercream was insanely fluffy, it was hard not to just eat it off a spoon.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream
Adapted from: Cooking Classy
Yield: 40 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

6 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

2 cups (396g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 tablespoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups well shaken canned coconut milk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.

Sift cake and all purpose flour into a large mixing bowl, then add baking powder and salt and whisk mixture for 30 seconds or until thoroughly combined. 

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 6 egg whites with cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.

In the same bowl of the electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together granulated sugar, butter and canola oil on medium speed until well combined. Add in only 2 egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until combined after each addition. Then mix in coconut and vanilla extracts. 

Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, begin by adding 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix until combined and then add half of the coconut milk and mixing just until combined. Repeat process.  Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to fully mix everything.

Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold 1/3 of the egg whites into cake batter at a time and fold just combined after each addition (don't over-mix and deflate egg whites). 

Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling only 2/3 full (they will rise). Bake only 15-16 minutes. You will notice the tops may still look wet or underdone but if you insert a toothpick into the center of cake, it comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

Coconut Buttercream
Yield: frosts 36 cupcakes

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons coconut milk

2 teaspoons coconut extract
shredded coconut, for top of cupcakes

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use "4" on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
Add remaining 3 ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 5 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy. Pipes the best if you use it right away.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vanilla Chai Spiced Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

I made these deliciously spiced cupcakes twice. The first batch I made with cake flour. They came out really light, and you have to be careful not to overbake them even the slightest so they remain moist and tender. Then, I made them again with all-purpose flour. They still came out light and fluffy, but I would say the perfect texture would be right in between these two. I modified the recipe below so that its half and half. If you don't have both flours, they still come out great when just using one. Just don't over bake these tender cupcakes!! I like how you can still taste a hint of vanilla and also the chai spices.

Vanilla Chai Spiced Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
Adapted from: Taste and Tell Blog via Taste of Home
Yield: 16 cupcakes

½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Place cupcake liners in 16 muffin cups.

In a small bowl, combine the ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and black pepper. Set aside.

 In another bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt and 1½ teaspoons of the reserved spice mixture. 

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beating just until combined after each addition.

Fill the prepared cups ⅔ full of the batter. Bake for 16-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes the remove from the pans to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Cinnamon Buttercream
3 sticks + 3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups + 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon clear vanilla
Cinnamon, to taste (sprinkle it in alittle at a time, I probably used 1/8 - 1/4 tsp total)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use "4" on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 5 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy. Pipes the best if you use it right away. Yield: generously frosts 18 cupcakes.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Eggnog Cheesecake Cupcakes with Eggnog Whipped Cream

Eggnog Cheesecake Cupcakes with Eggnog Whipped Cream
Adapted from: Taste of Home
Yield:  22 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted

You can process the graham crackers in a food processor or blender to finely chop. Add butter and mix together. Line muffin tin with 22 cupcake liners. Press a tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each liner. Set aside.

Eggnog Cupcakes
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon rum extract, optional
Dash ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325° F.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Gradually stir in the eggnog, extract and nutmeg. Divide filling over crust, filling each liner about 2/3 full.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until center is set and top appears dull. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until cold or overnight.

Eggnog Whipped Cream
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy whipping cream
1/3- 1/2 cup eggnog
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine everything in a bowl and whip to medium-stiff peaks. As is true for any time you make whipped cream, popping your bowl and whisks into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before you start are best practices.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

I loved this cake! It was so different! I was afraid the cake texture would be too nutty, but it came out tender and fluffy. The buttercream was very different too. I wasn't sure if that hot milk was actually going to whip up but it did and it reminded me of a swiss meringue buttercream in texture, except better! I loved the addition of honey, but I was thinking this cake would be wonderful with a dark chocolate ganache as well. Maybe next time I'll pour some over the top!

I was also skeptical about the ice water. Coffee is added to chocolate cake batter to enhance the flavor and milk or buttermilk is added to most other cakes but ice water? How is that going to add any flavor? I don't think it did, but it did something wonderful for the cake texture. It really made this cake light and refreshing. Milk may have made it too dense and heavy. This cake didn't taste sinful at all, so if you want alittle more richness, I am contemplating making this again with half ice water and half milk.

Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream
Adapted from: Joanne Eats Well with Others

1 cup shelled pistachios
2½ cups cake flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cups sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup ice water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Try not to use dark pans because they brown the cake edges alittle more.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios until it is coarsely chopped. Remove 2 tbsp to a small bowl, and reserve to garnish cake. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they have almost a powder-like consistency. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together the fine pistachios with the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a very clean bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.

Without needing to clean the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the butter in the stand mixer for 3 minutes, fitted with a paddle attachment. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the whole egg and mix until just combined.

Turn the mixer to low. Pour 1 cup ice water into a measuring cup. Add the flour/pistachio mix to the batter in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans, onto the rack and let cool completely before frosting. Remove parchment paper from the bottoms.

Honey Vanilla Buttercream
1½ cups sugar
⅓ cup flour
1½ cups milk
⅓ cup heavy cream
1½ cups unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey

For the buttercream, in a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the flour and sugar. Add in the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and then thickens, 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the hot milk mixture to a stand mixer bowl and mix with the paddle attachment on high speed until cool, about 9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is full incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, a few minutes.

Add in the vanilla and honey and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, chill it and mix again.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer top side up on a serving platter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the top so that it is flat and even. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the next later and, again, trim so that it is flat. Top with another cup of frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and trim the top again. Spread cake with a very thin layer of frosting for the crumb coating. Put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tres Leches

Tres Leches
Adapted from: Allrecipes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely and then evenly pierce cake with a fork.

2 cups whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
Caramel topping, store bought, optional, to serve on top
Bananas, to serve on top, optional

Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled, pierced cake.

Whip whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Caramel Apple Streusel Cheesecake Cupcakes

Caramel Apple Streusel Cheesecake Cupcakes
Adapted from: Cooking Classy
Yield: 19 cupcakes

11 graham crackers sheets, finely crushed (1 1/3 cups)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon. Pour in butter and using a fork, stir until evenly moistened. Divide mixture among 19 paper lined muffin cups, adding a rounded tablespoon to each cup. Press into an even layer. Set aside. 

Caramel Apple Streusel
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (one and a half large apples for me)
2 tsp lemon juice
Salted caramel sauce, homemade (recipe and tutorial here) or store bought

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, quick oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add cold butter and using fingertips, rub butter into dry mixture until it comes together it small crumbles and pieces of butter are no longer visible. Transfer to refrigerator while preparing apples and filling.

In a bowl, toss chopped apples with lemon juice, set aside. I recommend chopping very small, about 1/4-1/2 inch cubes so they can cook all the way through.

Cheesecake filling
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium-low speed, cream together cream cheese with sugar just until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, then blend in sour cream and vanilla.

Pour cheesecake batter into muffin cups filing about 1/2 full. Top with a heaping tablespoon of chopped apples evenly over cheesecake layer, then finish by sprinkling a heaping tablespoon of the streusel. 

Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes. Cool at room temperature 30 minutes, then transfer to fridge and chill 3 hours. Serve with caramel sauce.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pumpkin Flan Cake

Pumpkin Flan Cake 
Adapted from: My Baking Addiction and Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Pumpkin Cake
1/2 cup caramel sauce or topping (store bought or homemade)
1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan, taking care to get in all the nooks and crannies. Pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of the pan (the caramel sauce, if store-bought and thick, may need a quick warm-up in the microwave to be pourable).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Pour the batter in the pan evenly over the caramel.

2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 cups whole milk
6 ounces cream cheese
6 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add all the flan ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Slowly and carefully pour the flan mixture over the the cake batter. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and carefully pour warm water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the bundt pan. Bake the cake about 75 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean in both the pumpkin cake and the flan, or until the flan registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If the cream part of the flan is still not set up (does not come out clean on the toothpick), continue cooking, may take up to 90 minutes. 

Remove the Bundt pan from the roasting pan (the easiest way for cleanup is to leave the roasting pan and water in the oven until it has cooled) and place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for 8 hours (or up to 12).

To remove the cake from the pan, fill a large bowl with hot water and place the bottom third of the Bundt pan in the water for 1 minute. Carefully invert the cake onto a flat plate or cake platter - I do this by putting the cake platter or plate over the Bundt pan opening and then, holding onto the edges of both platter and cake pan, I gently turn the pan upside down while flipping the cake platter. Slowly remove the pan letting the caramel drizzle over the top of the cake. Serve chilled.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from: Sweetopia

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger, into a medium bowl.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely. 

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp clear vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup

Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a medium sized bowl with the mixer on high speed.  Add the sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth.  With the mixer running, gradually add the maple syrup and beat until the frosting looks whipped and creamy.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mini Smores Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes

Mini Smores Dark Chocolate Cheesecakes
Adapted from: Life Love and Sugar
Yield: 4 mini cheesecakes

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine ingredients and mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of four 4.75 inch springform pans. Set aside.

24 ounces packages of cream cheese, softened (three 8 ounce packages)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup cocoa (I use Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot fudge topping, warm, for topping
35-40 large marshmallows (for topping)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, blend the cream cheese, sugar, flour and cocoa with an electric mixer until combined (Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add eggs one at a time, beating slowly and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until well combined. Divide the cheesecake filling into the pans.

Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and leave cheesecake in oven with door closed for 20 minutes. Open oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for another 30 minutes. Chill in refrigerator.

Once completely chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees on convection bake. Remove springform pan sides from cheesecakes and place cheesecake on a cookie sheet. Top cheesecake with a layer of marshmallows. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until marshmallows begin to brown. If you have a kitchen blow torch, you can finish by browning the marshmallows.

Remove cheesecake from oven and drizzle with hot fudge and graham cracker crumbs. Cheesecake can be served warm out of the oven (which I recommend), or refrigerated and served cold.
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