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Archive for the ‘Cupcakes’ Category

The long awaited day has come. The day when I have to face my fear and dive right in. The day when I have to get over my fear and just do it. Okay, this is becoming too dramatic even for my tastes.

I haven’t stated this, but I’m deathly afraid of shortening. There is just something about that white goop that just really scares me. I don’t know why, but it just does.

In order to make this buttercream that I’ve been hearing all about, I knew that I had to use shortening. As soon as I saw shortening on the list of ingredients required, a little piece of me died. Another little piece had decided right then and there that I was not going to make buttercream.

Despite all of the little voices in my head telling me not to do it, I knew that I needed to grow up and just do it.

The biggest part of this recipe, for me, was making the buttercream. I’ve made yellow cupcakes before and tasted even more. But I’ve never made nor tasted buttercream.

Maybe it was the way I made it, or maybe it was just the icing, but it sure didn’t live up to my expectations. In my head, I was anticipating something better than just plain chocolate.

It was chocolatey, but it tasted like almost pure confectioner’s sugar. Everyone else had a positive reaction to the icing, but my Mom and I were just not satisfied with the results. Maybe I will try just plain buttercream instead of chocolate. Maybe? I don’t know at this point.

The cupcakes, however, we’re delicious. They were rich and fluffy. I can always count on Martha Stewart to help me through anything. And I don’t care what anyone says, Martha is and always will be my hero.

I still get into arguments on Queen Martha’s behalf to this very day. Some people just do not know when to let things go. If you ever want to ruffle my feathers, don’t ask me about my political affiliation or tell me that that music I listen to  is terrible, tell me that Martha is a bad person.

I will always defend Queen Martha. Always and forever. Maybe I should consider getting that as a tattoo someday?

Oh, I forgot to mention that I filled the cupcakes with more chocolate buttercream.

It was really bad because I tried to use a round-tip for the icing, but it ended up looking like poop. Needless to say, my Mom and I ate those two cupcakes. Not that we were complaining or anything.

When I was finally done icing the cupcakes, I was up to my eyeballs in buttercream. It was all over my arms, the counter, and pans, and anything else in my general vicinity. It looked like World War III was fought in my kitchen using buttercream.

Yellow Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/2 cup  milk.
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature.
  • 3/4 cup sugar.
  • 2 large eggs.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard cupcake pan (12 cups) with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
  5. Add eggs into butter-sugar mixture one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients (Step 2), followed by the milk-vanilla mixture (step 3), and then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well, but do not overmix.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  8. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of the cupcake and come out clean (20-25 minutes).
  9. Cool the cupcakes in the tin (5-10 minutes), remove and cool completely on a rack before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Makes 3 cups

  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened.
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar.
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk.

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
  2. Add cocoa and vanilla. The gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition on medium speed.
  3. Scrape sides and bottom of bowel often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
  4. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing in bowl in refrigerator when not in use.
  6. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored for 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

Time Spent: 30 minutes prepping cupcakes, 25 minutes cooking, 35 minutes cooling, 30 minutes prepping icing, 30 minutes making icing, 20 minutes icing/filling cupcakes, 20 minutes for blogging ~ 3 hours spent.

 

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You are so beautiful to me. Can't you see?

I’m back on a cupcake kick. I really do have an obsession with cupcakes that is incurable. There is no help for me, and I have accepted that fate. Not that it took a lot of effort for me to accept it. I really didn’t have a problem with it in the first place.

I figure that I should stop baking other things and just bake cupcakes. I’ll make them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s probably a savory cupcake that I could make. Is it even considered a cupcake if it isn’t sweet? Wouldn’t is simply be a savory muffin? I feel like I should know these things, but I don’t. To be quite honest, it doesn’t make one bit of difference to me.

One thing that I’ve always loved baking is my brownie cupcakes. I made my first batch for my friend Ashley’s birthday. However, those were mini-cupcakes and had a peanut butter cup on the inside. Those were quite the hit. Since then, I have expanded my brownie cupcakes, and also made them quite larger. They were actually what my Mom requested for her 50th birthday. She’s going to kill me once she sees that I announced how old she was on the Internet. Whoops. If I never blog again, just know that I love you.

Maybe these rants are pointless. Goodness. I really need to stop, but blogs are the ULTIMATE place to be self-centered. It wouldn’t be a blog if you didn’t talk about yourself, right? Well, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.

For now.

Back to the brownies. I started with a brownie batter. Some people will probably want to use a box batter, which is perfectly acceptable. I’ve tried using those before, and they turn out very nicely as well. They also make the perfect amount of batter for 12 cupcakes.

My Mom is secretly a hand model.

When the cupcakes finally cooled, I simply melted about 1 cup of white chocolate chips in the microwave, filled up my Dessert Decorator (see below), and used the filling tip to insert said white chocolate into the cupcakes. I wish I would have added a little bit more to the center, but I will work on that next time (because there will certainly be a next time).

Isn't she beautiful?

I just got the Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus yesterday. Normally, I would say that this is a cop-out, but it is the best thing that I’ve ever bought. Parchment bags and other decorating bags give me a lot of trouble. A lot of that probably has to do with my lack of technique and training. And patience. Definitely patience. My Mom and I went to look at some of the cake decorating supplies they had yesterday, and we looked at this minuscule section for almost an hour. We pondered the pros and cons of this decorator vs. decorating bags. The decorating bags had a longer list of cons than pros. The decorator had a longer list of pros than cons. It was only like $12, and I felt like I had won the lottery.

But my life only got better once I actually used it. It was a really close call. I thought that I was going to start crying tears of joy. I settled for a yelp. My Mom thought I was being attacked, but she wanted to wait until she was done doing whatever she was doing. Once she came out, she was like, “I assumed nothing was wrong because I didn’t hear any screams following the first one.” Cute.

The icing came out so nicely. I really do have bad luck with decorating bags. This was a great purchase for me because I can start with these, and work my way up to the decorating bags. Decorating bags seem to be more versatile due to the large range of tips, but I want to work on that later.

I used to star tip for these, and I got a really nice swirl on the icing. I was going to use the round tip and go for more of a dollop, but I was feeling adventurous, and it paid off. I do, however, plan on using the round tip for my Easter-themed cupcakes that I’m planning on doing.

White Chocolate-Filled Brownie Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter.
  • 11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped.
  • 3 large eggs.
  • 1 cup sugar.
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa.
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Nonstick cooking spray.
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips (depends on how much filling you want).
  • Chocolate icing (I used a pre-made kind because I’m feeling lazy).
  • Filling tip and star tip.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-count muffin tin with cupcake liners, and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and 8 ounces of chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Stir in the melted chocolate until combined. Stir in remaining 3 ounces of chocolate.
  4. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake until a firm crust forms on the cupcakes, about 20-25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and continue to cool on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).
  5. Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler, and insert into decorator (I guess this would be difficult with decorating bags). Add on the filling tip. Poke a hole into the middle of the cupcakes, and insert the white chocolate.
  6. Add a star-tip to the decorator/decorating bag and insert the chocolate icing into the decorator/decorating bag. Ice the cupcakes generously.

Time Spent: 60 minutes spent shopping for supplies, 30 minutes prepping, 25 minutes cooking, 45 minutes cooling, 25 minutes spent icing/filling 30 minutes for blogging ~ 3.5 hours spent.

Dang, I really need to work on speeding things up a little bit.

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This week has been lacking in many things: sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, and chocolate. Considering the massive amounts of homework that I have, I can really only fix the lack of chocolate.

In order to satisfy my intense longing,  I decided that I was going to make some cupcakes. My favorite thing to bake, by far, is cupcakes. I honestly cannot think of anything that is better than a mini-cake topped with copious amounts of icing. It sounds like a little piece of Heaven, if you ask me.

Originally, I was a little skeptical about making dark chocolate cupcakes. Not because I don’t like dark chocolate, but more because other people don’t like dark chocolate (it’s weird, I know). However, my Mom and I both adore it.

But when I tasted these moist, delicious cupcakes, all doubts were erased. The dark chocolate wasn’t overly powerful, and it added a nice zing to the cupcakes.

The batter alone was enough to send me into a sugar-craze. Of course, I’ve learned to not really trust batters. More often that not, they’re really misleading. Sure, it tastes great when you put the batter in your mouth. But something about baking the batter (sometimes) makes it extremely unappetizing.

Maybe that’s just been my experience. It’s not like I’m admitting to experimenting in the kitchen. Not me. Never.

Now that I think about it, that’s only really true for actual food. Needless to say, cheese doesn’t always taste  good on everything.

Despite what I like to tell myself.

Either way, I think that this was the perfect recipe to start me off on my  baking extravaganza. There’s nothing better than having a cake that doesn’t fall. Not that my attempt at making a mint-chocolate cake failed or anything. I’m definitely not bitter. And I’m definitely not upset.

Who am I kidding? I’m still upset about that cake, and I made it like two months ago. I’m obsessed with everything chocolate and everything mint. Of course my attempt to combine the two would end in bitter disappointment.

But I digress.

These cupcakes were delicious, moist, and crumbly. My three favorite adjectives when it comes to cupcakes. Oh, and chocolate. I cannot forget chocolate.

The best part about actually starting my blog is knowing that I finally finished my paper to accompany it. Two tedious hours spent in front of the computer only to come out with a paper with bad wording and choppy sentences. My effort makes up for it, right?

I think my favorite part of the cupcake (as well as other people’s favorite) was the white chocolate ganache.  This was my first time ever tasting (or making) ganache. Despite the fact that I have nothing to base it on, I’m  still fairly impressed. Mind you, it took like 1 hour to boil, I still enjoyed it. (I eventually kicked it up to medium). Maybe that was a mistake, but I don’t know. And I certainly don’t care.

I definitely see ganache in my future. Ganache in tubs. Ganache in buckets. Ganache in truckloads.

Maybe I’ve found my new obsession. Just maybe.

I find myself proofreading this post as I make it. At this point, I’m half-asleep, but somehow trudging through this post. The only thing keeping   me alive at this point is the promise of a Mexican casserole with some pico de gallo. Nothing like a little spice to keep you going.

I think my next recipe is going to involve mint. I definitely need to get back on my mint-kick. I have a bottle of peppermint extract and a bag of Andes peppermint chips calling my name. “Savannah, we need for you to add us into a delicious cake and douse us in chocolate. Please. We beg of you!” Being the caring and loving person that I am, I must agree to their requests. What kind of baker would I be if I didn’t?

I found this recipe on How Sweet It Is. I have this site bookmarked, and I am obsessed with it. Right after I check Facebook, Twitter, and NPR in the morning, I always check this site.

This recipe originally had candied bacon on top, but I left it out. I know that some of my friends (Ashley) would have enjoyed the bacon a lot. However, I decided that after my one year Veggiversary, I was going to continue with my goal.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Ganache

Makes 12 cupcakes

Found here

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

  • 1 and 1/8th cups all purpose flour.
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa power (I used Hershey’s).
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 1/2 cup milk.
  • 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon heavy cream.
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted (I used unsalted).
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream (I used all natural).

Directions for Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the egg and brown sugar until there are no lumps remaining.
  3. Add in milk, cream, butter (cooled so it doesn’t cook your egg), and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Stir in the sour cream.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients together (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt).
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth.
  7. Add batter to muffin tins.
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes (depending on your oven) and let cool before frosting.

Ingredients for White Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  • 6 oz. of white chocolate chips (I used Nestle.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter (unsalted).

Directions for Ganache:

  1. Heat a saucepan on low heat and add heavy cream (or do like I did and wait an hour for it to boil to no avail and end up cranking it up to medium. Or not.).
  2. Wait for cream to come to a boil and remove immediately.
  3. Add chocolate chips to a separate bowl and pour the cream over them.
  4. Stir in the butter.
  5. Once combined, put a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes (I waited for 30 because I’m impatient).
  6. Frost the cupcakes and refrigerate them for 15-20 minutes so the ganache has time to set (or just eat them immediately).

Time Spent: 30 minutes for prep, 18 minutes for cupcakes, 1.5 hours for ganache, 30 for ganache cooling, 30 for cupcake cooling~ 3 hours. I know that’s a really long time for cupcakes, but I’m not very speedy due to my lack of…speed.

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