Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Banana Spice Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Frosting


Hello there! It is always such a pleasure to make cupcakes for special occasions, especially when someone you know and love asks you to make it for them! It is a challenge that I feel honored to take on, and get a little nervous just to make sure the cupcakes are well received :)
Well, this time my sister asked me to bake cupcakes for a work baby shower she was hosting. How sweet! The mother-to-be does not know the gender of the cupcake, so I wanted to add both blue and pink onto the cupcakes. So I tried to add coloring to the frosting... some cupcakes took on the colors well, some didn't... but at least the cupcake liners have the correct colors ha!
So these cupcakes are made with spice cake mix, and then adding some special ingredients. I used my trusty  "Hello Cupcake!"  book for inspiration for the cake part, and then the frosting was from "Martha Stewart's Cupcakes".  
Here is the recipe, and I hope you enjoy these cupcakes!

Banana Spice Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting
~makes about 24 cupcakes~

Ingredients:
-1 box (18.25oz) spiced cake mix
-1 cup mashed bananas (about 3-4 medium)
-3/4 cup buttermilk
-1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
-4 large eggs

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degreesF. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners; set aside.
2. Add mashed bananas, butter milk, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Add cake mix and beat on medium for about 2 minutes, until well mixed.
3. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way full and place the pans into the preheated oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven temperature. To check for cupcake doneness, insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out clean, they are done.
4. Remove the cupcakes from the baking pans, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Honey-Cinnamon Frosting
Ingredients:
-2.5 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
-2 Tbsp honey
-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:
With an electric mixer on medium speed fitted with the whisk attachment, beat all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 5 days in an airtight container; before using, bring to room temperature and beat until smooth.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownie Bars


Good day everyone! 
This recipe I found on Pinterest (surprise, surprise!), originally from Pizzazzerie, caught my eye one day, and this past week I made sure to include all the ingredients in my grocery list to have on hand to make it when "I felt like it". Well, I felt like it on Thursday night, so I whipped this up for a church meeting I had to go to on Friday. 
Oh my gosh, talk about being decadent! I think you really have to enjoy chocolate (and who doesn't, right?!) to appreciate all of this dessert's intricate layers of goodness. Red velvet brownie, Oreo truffle, chocolate ganache... *cue the trumpets* It's to die for!!!

Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownie Bars 
~makes one 9x13 baking dish~

Ingredients:
Red Velvet Brownie layer:
1 Duncan Hines (or another brand) box Red Velvet cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 package instant white chocolate pudding (3.3oz)
6 Tbsp canola (or vegetable) oil

Oreo Truffle layer:
2 packages Oreos
2 packages cream cheese (16oz total), softened

Chocolate Ganache layer:
3 cups chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
mini chocolate chips for garnish

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, then spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray (You don't have to use the aluminum foil part; it just makes it easier to remove from the dish and cut the brownie pieces later). Set it aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, melted butter, eggs, pudding mix, and canola oil; mix well until thoroughly combined (2-3 minutes on medium of electric mixer).
3. Spread the red velvet mix onto the pan. It will be VERY thick; use the back of a spoon (or clean hands) to help spread it into all edges of the pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (ovens vary so watch closely). Let cool completely before adding next layer.
4. Crush package and a half of Oreos in a food processor (or in a large plastic bag and rolling pin). Reserve the remaining half package uncrushed (about 24 Oreo cookies) for the garnish.
5. Melt cream cheese for 15 seconds in microwave to soften.
6. Stir together crushed Oreos and cream cheese until blended smoothly.
7. Carefully spread out Oreo truffle mixture on top of baked red velvet brownies. Use your hands to help press it down instead of spreading to avoid tearing the brownies. Arrange remaining whole Oreo cookies on top of the truffle layer.
8. Place chocolate chips in heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream until it boils. Add hot heavy cream onto chocolate chips. Then DO NOT DISTURB IT for 2 minutes (no mixing, nothing!). After 2 minutes, take a spatula and carefully mix heavy cream and chocolate chips together. Keep mixing until very well blended and chocolate chips are completely melted. Pour over top of Oreo truffle layer, spreading it out evenly as needed.
9. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips while still warm.
10. Let cool completely (refrigerate if possible) before cutting into squares.
Recipe adapted from Pizzazzerie

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vanilla cupcakes with blueberry filling and mascarpone frosting


Happy anniversary to my wonderful parents! They have been married for 32 long years. Through so many ups and downs that life has brought them, they have overcome them and raised three great children (the greatest being me of course ha!), and provided us with a great life. I am so proud to have them as my "mae" and "pai". Love you guys!
Now, my parents love fruity cupcakes, so much so that when I make chocolate varieties, my dad especially sort of wrinkles his nose... Really? Who doesn't like chocolate?! Anyways, due to my parents preference to fruits, I was inspired to make these vanilla cupcakes filled with a blueberry and lemon filling, and then topped with a light mascarpone frosting. How did I come up with that combo? It's partly what I already had at home haha!
The vanilla cupcake recipe I found on Pinterest, and have been dying to try it out. It came out nice and fluffy, with that pretty little dome you expect to see on a great cupcake. It's one I'm happy to try again!! Each of the locations I got the recipes from are listed below.
Vanilla Cupcakes
Yields about 18 cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line cupcake pan(s) with baking cups.
Sift and mix together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the yogurt, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the dry ingredients in 3 separate batches, alternating with the milk (start and end in dry ingredients). Mix until just incorporated.
Fill baking cups about 2/3 full (or a little less) and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack, and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting or serving.
Blueberry cupcake filling
Ingredients:
8oz frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt


Directions:
1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened.
2. With a paring knife cut cylinders out of the center of each cake and set aside. Fill with blueberry filling and “re-cap” with cut out cake. 


Mascarpone Frosting

Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
8oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted

Directions:
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

Resources:
Vanilla Cupcakes inspired by Pastry Affair
Blueberry Filling inspired by Quarter Cup Kitchen
Mascarpone Frosting inspired by Martha Stewart

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mocha cupcakes


Recently I've been baking for different occasions/people, but then I forget to post it... Well, I certainly don't want to forget this recipe!
The "making" of this recipe started back last summer, when I was really supposed to come up with a chocolate/coffee cupcake combo for my brother-in-law (officially now!) for his birthday. I didn't get his treat made last year, so I promised him I would definitely make it this year.
So here is the promised cupcakes, and they turned out very well!!! The cupcake base is the famous Hershey's chocolate cake recipe, but I substituted the boiling water for hot coffee. All in all, it was birthday boy approved!
Mocha Cupcake
~Makes 24-30 cupcakes~

Ingredients:

-2 cups sugar
-1 and 3/4 cup AP flour
-3/4 cup cocoa powder 
-1.5 tsp baking powder
-1.5 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-2 eggs
-1 cup milk, room temperature
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup (very hot/boiling) brewed coffee

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two dozen-cupcake tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
Combine all dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a separate bowl by sifting and whisking it all together.
In a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until well incorporated. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Stir in coffee (batter will be thin, that's ok!) and mix well until batter is even.
Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full and bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until inserted tester (usually toothpick) comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before next steps.

Mocha Ganache

Ingredients:
4oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (or you could do 8oz total of just bittersweet chocolate)
1 cups plus 2 Tbsp of heavy cream
1- Tbsp instant coffee granules
Optional: 1 Tbsp coffee licquour (like Kahlua) -- if not adding this, add another 1/2 Tbsp of instant coffee granules. 

Directions:

Place chopped chocolate and instant coffee granules into a heat-proof medium bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate. Let stand for about 2 minutes (this step is important! Don't touch it at ALL for 2 whole minutes!)
With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate with the cream in small circles. Once chocolate is smooth, start adding 

Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons espresso powder

Directions:
1. Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.
2. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.

Adapted recipes:
Chocolate cupcakes from Hershey's
Mocha Ganache from Annie's Eats
Espresso Buttercream Frosting from Brown Eyed Baker

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Triple Meyer Lemon Cupcakes


  
Happy spring everyone! Now with Lenten season over, my husband can finally eat sweets again... I know right? What a horrible thing to give up! And when he gives up eating sweets, then I can't BAKE sweets...
Well, my baking hiatus is over! And in perfect timing too, as we saw these lovely Meyer lemons at the store the other day, and made me want to make something with them. I didn't know what exactly yet, but I figured I'd try! Last time I used Meyer lemons for a sweet treat were when I made my Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake, and that turned out so great!
For these cupcakes I ended up mashing different recipes together, but I mainly used Martha Stewart's Cupcakes' recipe for Martha's Meyer Lemon Cupcakes. The curd I made from the same book too, no changes made to the recipe. For the cake I didn't have any cream cheese (I swear someone took the box I was saving for this recipe from the fridge...) so I substituted sour cream instead, and increased the amount of baking powder. 
Since this recipe didn't call for any frosting, I had to figure out how to go about that. I mean, what kind of cupcake doesn't have frosting, right? That's just the best part! :) So I sort of made a recipe up, using cream cheese (I went to buy some for the frosting) and butter. I was aiming for a tangy, sweet, and light frosting, to complement the denser cake and very tangy curd. I think this recipe nailed those requirements!
Next time you are at your local store/market/grocery and find Meyer lemons, you'll know just what to do with them!

Triple Meyer Lemon Cupcakes
(makes ~40 cupcakes)

Ingredients
Lemon Curd:
-2 whole eggs plus 8 eggs yolks
-1 cup sugar
-2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
-2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature

Lemon Cupcake:
-3 1/2 cups AP flour, sifted
-2 Tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon zest
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
-3 cups granulated sugar
-1 cup (8oz) sour cream, room temperature
-7 large eggs, room temperature
-1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
-1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
-8oz (1 box) cream cheese, room temperature
-3 Tbsp fresh Meyer lemon juice
-3-4 cups confectioner's sugar 

Directions:
For the lemon curd:
1. Combine whole eggs and yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.
2. Strain through a fine sieve into another bowl, and cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap, pressing it directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).

For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, zest, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating until just combined after each.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes.Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. 

For the frosting:
1. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and cream cheese together until well incorporated. Then add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1 cup of confectioner's sugar and whisk well, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Alternate between lemon juice and confectioner's sugar, until all the lemon juice is used. If frosting seems too runny for you, add another 1/2 to a full 1 cup of confectioner's sugar. 

Assembling it all together
1. Using the cone method, cut holes into the cupcakes. Fill each cupcake with curd, then top with frosting. I personally did not add the "lid" of cake back on the cupcake like the above cone method shows just so I would have lots of curd on the cupcake. You can put the lid back on if you'd like so you have an uniform cupcake amount. 


For those of you who have ever asked, that's how I make "roses" with my frosting :)

Recipes adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes'

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Champagne Cupcakes


Hello everyone! So I've been wanting and wanting to make this recipe for almost two months now... every weekend I thought about making it, I ended up being busy with something else or not had the chance to just bake to my heart's content. The printed recipe and the bottle of champagne just sat in my kitchen, patiently waiting until the day I could bake... and that day, my friends, was today!! Hurray! With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I wanted to make something a little bit more "sophisticated" and grown-up, and I think these cupcakes fit the bill.
So what about these cupcakes? I found the recipe through Google from Sprinkle Bakes towards the end of last year. Her cupcake pictures were so cute and festive, and the recipe just sounded great. And 
I always love to make cupcakes that have a filling... the filling adds another layer of depth to the cupcake, and always surprises the person eating it, especially if they weren't expecting it. Okay, starting with the cake itself: it's a very fluffy and light cupcake, and you can't really taste the champagne in it. Now this filling: man, I couldn't get enough of it! There is a definite flavor of champagne, but not strong at all. And the frosting was very airy and "light" (if butter and sugar can ever be called light ha!) We had a little bit of the filling left over, and it was gone in a blink of an eye as we ate it with the extra cupcake cones and some strawberries we had at home. :) One quick note, I used Martini and Rossi's Asti Sparkling Wine as my "champagne", and I thought it turned out perfect. Asti is pretty sweet, so if you'd like something less sweet, then maybe the Prosecco type of champagne called for in the original recipe may be better. 
So hope you get a chance to make these cupcakes for your loved ones, I promise it will be a hit!
Champagne Cupcakes
Yields about 18 cupcakes

Cake ingredients: 
-1/2 cup butter softened
-1 cup granulated sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 3/4 cups flour
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup champagne, prosecco or your choice of sparkling wine


Cake directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little).  Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Batter will be a little thick.
Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.  Bake for 17-20 minutes.  Set aside.

Pastry Cream Filling ingredients:
-1/4 + 1/4 cup heavy cream (divided)-1/2 cup champagne
-2 Tbsp cornstarch 
-4 Tbsp granulated sugar
-1 whole egg
-2 egg yolks
-2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-1 tsp vanilla


Pastry Cream Filling directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture.  Pour 1/3 of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook.  Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil.  Pour in the hot egg mixture into the simmering champagne/heavy cream mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.  
Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake, using the cone method, and fill with pastry cream.  Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a "lid" and place on top of the filled divot.
Champagne Frosting ingredients:
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
2 sticks of butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


Champagne Frosting directions:
Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan.  Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together.  Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus  1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.

Recipe originally from Sprinkle Bakes

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Irish Car Bomb Cupcake


Happy New Year everyone! I'm so thankful for 2012 and everything that it brought, and am looking forward to what this new year will bring. 
Today I bring you a cupcake recipe that was made for a very special occasion: I'm partner! After lots of planning, talking, tweaking, talking, planning, and a sea of e-mails, it's finally done! These last three years have been great, working in an amazing office, with amazing people. I just can't be more blessed than that! But it seems that they also like me, so they have permanently adopted me, ha! It's such a great accomplishment and I just couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity.
After all the help from everyone who participated in making this happen, I wanted to make a booze-filled cupcake to celebrate together (kinda of like a baked celebratory shot!). I had seen these cupcakes before, and it just seemed to fit the bill. And fit they did!
Where to begin with this cupcake's description? Oh man, so many good things... First, the cupcake: the stout in the batter boosts the chocolate flavor to the cupcake, and you really can't tell that it truly has beer. The ganache: oh my the ganache... the way I made it (which was an oops because I read Tbsp instead of tsp) was actually very perfect for me and my husband taste tester. Even though it was more than the amount in the original recipe, the added whiskey was great. And the buttercream was a just concoction full of win.
So hope you get to try this recipe soon!
Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, aka Chocolate Stout and Whiskey Cupcakes
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
-1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
-1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 cups AP flour
-2 cups sugar
-1.5 tsp baking soda
-3/4 tsp salt
-2 large eggs
-2/3 cup sour cream

Whiskey Ganache
-8oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
-2/3 cup heavy cream
-2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
-2 Tbsp Irish whiskey

Bailey's Frosting
-3 to 4 cups confectioner's sugar
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
-2 to 3 Tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream

Directions:
For cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
2. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring stout and butter to a simmer. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
3. Sift and whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Set aside.
4. Using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium-high speed, beat eggs and sour cream until well blended. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Lower speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture in increments and beat until just combined.
5. Divide batter into cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 of the way full. Bake cupcakes until toothpick test comes out clean, about 15-17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

For ganache:
1. Chop chocolate very finely, and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. 
2. Heat heavy cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. 
3. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.

For frosting:
1. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
2. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Bailey's and whip it until well combined. 

Assembling cupcakes:
1. Use either of these items: 1-inch round cookie cutter, apple corer, or bottom of a large decorating tip (I used the decorating tip) and cut the center out of the cooled cupcakes.
2. Put ganache into a piping bag and fill the holes of each cupcake to the top. Let it cool completely (ganache will harden).
3. Using the frosting and your favorite decorating tip, pipe frosting on cupcakes.

Recipe adapted from Bake at 350 and Smitten Kitchen