Yes, I said four. I made four different kinds of cupcakes in one day and it was kind of fun, since no one (KEVIN mostly) really likes cake (frosting) here and I rarely make cake that isn't from a box. I think I did pretty darn well, wanna see?
Up first, the chocolate cupcake! I found this delicious recipe on one of the coolest cupcake blogs out there, from Clara at I *heart* Cuppycakes. It was a fun one to make and HOLY COW--the Swiss Meringue Caramel Swirl Buttercream--is to die for. Just make some of that and eat it until you're sick. So good and so bad! ;)
I followed Cuppycakes recipe pretty much exactly. She used Sees Candy Molasses Chips on the top of her cupcakes and I used Heath Toffee Bits. That is the only difference. After looking at this post, go check out Clara's cuppycakes!
Chocolate Caramel Crunch Cupcakes—by Clara, I *heart* Cuppycakes
For chocolate cupcake
2/3 cup AP flour
2-1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut in pieces
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
For Swiss meringue caramel swirl buttercream
3 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, room temp
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
chocolate-toffee, crushed, garnish
To make chocolate cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In heatproof bowl, place chocolate and butter over simmering water and stir constantly until melted, about 5 minutes. Let the chocolate mixture cool to room temp before adding sugar. Stir sugar until incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine after each egg. Beat in vanilla. Gently stir in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until all combine. Do not overmix. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-22 minutes. Let cool before frost.
To make buttercream—
In a large heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over simmering water in a saucepan and whisk constantly until sugar is completely dissolved (160F), about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. In a stand mixer using a whisk attachment, whip egg white mixture on high until it holds stiff peaks, about 5-6 minutes Switch to flat beater and add the salt. Add butter a few at a time, beating well after each addition. Don’t worry if buttercream starts to look curdled. Just keep beating on until buttercream is smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the caramel ice cream topping to the buttercream, folding only until swirled but not completely combined.
I only got 9 cupcakes, instead of 12, but I wanted to make sure they were each well filled. I also have NO skill on the fun, fancy way cake pros are frosting cupcakes--I tried, like the one in the picture above on the right. Of the 9 cupcakes, that is the only one I felt looked okay. For the others, I just piled it on. Practice, I guess. I've never made a Swiss meringue buttercream before and though I suppose it's detailed, it wasn't hard--the mixer does most of the work. With the caramel ice cream topping swirled in at the end, this was just amazing.
I've wanted to try the cupcakes Lisa Roman recently won on the Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown in the dessert category. She won $25,000 for these Babycakes. They have baby food in them. Creative!
I made them as regular sized cupcakes, she made cute little mini cakes. Either way, the cupcakes are a good lightly spiced, sweet cupcake. Lisa made these with two different kinds of baby food. One is pumpkins with pears and the other is applesauce and apricots. Both are easy to find at your grocery stores. These also have some honey in them. I like that these have ground pecans in the batter and really, the star of the show here is the frosting, made with cream cheese and vanilla, as well as almond extract. Great flavor. This recipe made 19 cupcakes, I filled them pretty full as I wanted good round cupcakes.
Babycakes—Lisa Roman, Ultimate Recipe Showdown winner, Food Network
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup clover honey
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 (4-ounce) jar pumpkins with pears baby food (recommended: Nature's Goodness brand)
- 2 (4-ounce) jars applesauce and apricots baby food (recommended: Earth's Best brand)
- 1/2 cup ground pecans
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (I added an extra cup of powdered sugar to get the consistency I wanted)
- 1/4 cup ground pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl add the baking soda, salt, baking powder and flour. Mix thoroughly with a fork and set aside. In a large mixing bowl add the eggs, honey, both sugars and butter. Mix until smooth using a hand mixer. Add the cinnamon and baby food. Mix until smooth. Using a rubber spatula fold in the pecans. Slowly add the flour mixture using a sifter and fold in until ingredients are evenly mixed. Place 24 mini baking cups (2-inch, nonfoil) into each hole of the mini muffin pan. Place a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag into a bowl (for support) and pour the cupcake batter into the bag. Seal the bag and cut the tip off 1 of the bottom corners of the bag. Squeeze the batter into each baking cup, filling them only 3/4 of the way full. Place the mini muffin pan in the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12 minutes.
In a small mixing bowl add the extracts, milk, cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and creamy using a hand mixer. When the cupcakes are done baking remove each cupcake from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Place the cooling rack in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 minutes Once the cupcakes are cooled remove them from the refrigerator. (I frosted mine after they cooled at room temperature.) Frost each cupcake by putting a generous dollop of frosting on the top with a spoon. Garnish top with ground pecans and they are ready to serve.
Hmmm, which cupcake next? Let's talk about the Strawberry Cupcakes. I wanted to make a nice variety of cupcakes, and I had recently found these on Becky's Blog, Satisfying My Sweet Tooth. I actually didn't have one of these cupcakes, but Sam helped himself to one off the counter before I could even frost them, so I'll bet they're really good! I did, however, taste (a lot of fingers-full) of the wonderful frosting--both the cupcakes and the frosting have strawberry puree in them and the frosting also has white chocolate. YUM! Great job, Becky!
1 C pureed ripe strawberries (about 10 large strawberries total)
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 egg whites
whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In small bowl, mix together cream, vanilla, and 2/3 C strawberry puree. (Don't discard the rest, you use it in the frosting!)
cream butter until light and fluffy and gradually add sugar. Mix until well combined. Add egg and egg whites one at a time and continue to beat until just combined.
Add half of the flour mixer to butter mixture, all of the strawberry mixture, and the rest of the flour mixture, mixing well in between additions.
Divide batter among cupcake cups and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.
Strawberry White Chocolate Frosting
3 squares white baking chocolate
2 T (or more) heavy cream
2 C (or more) of powdered sugar (I added quite a bit of extra pwd. sugar to get the consistency I wanted--like 3 cups--but that's just me and how I wanted the frosting! I will just use less puree next time)
1/3 C strawberry puree
3 T butter, melted
Melt white chocolate squares with cream in the microwave until just melted. Be careful to just put it in for 20-30 seconds at a time and stir well in between heating sessions.
Add powdered sugar, melted butter, and strawberry puree (whatever is leftover even if it's more than 1/3 C) and mix well. Add more powdered sugar and cream to get the desired texture of frosting you want.
Last, but not least, I made Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla Icing. I found these on a yummy blog called Stephanie's Kitchen. Delicious! Banana just might be my favorite. I actually didn't taste these either as I was making all of these for a church activity, but I WILL make these again. Hafta since there is leftover icing! Followed Stephanie's recipe exactly. The only thing I might do next time is add some walnuts. I'm a firm believer that banana and nuts belong together. I left them off in case of nut allergies. Oh, but again, I tasted PLENTY of the icing! Had to make sure it was just right, you know.
Banana Cupcakes With Cinnamon-Vanilla Icing
makes 18 muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 medium bananas)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Using a mixer, beat the eggs, sour cream, butter and bananas; slowly add the dry ingredients and blend just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes (I only baked mine for 18 minutes). Top with Cinnamon-Vanilla Icing. Top that with chopped nuts if desired.
2 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Using a mixer, mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined. Add half of the confectioners’ sugar and mix until creamy. Add the milk, cinnamon and the remaining confectioners’ sugar and beat until creamy and smooth.
I don't care what Kevin thinks, cake AND frosting really are good. Shhh. (No, really, he knows I like this stuff!) You gotta try one, two, three or four of these nummy cupcakes!