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Chocolate Cupcakes

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It’s my birthday! Let’s not go into details about years, grey hairs, or anything else. Suffice it to say, my husband and I are the same age for a few months. Every year I spend copious amounts of time perusing recipes and deciding what cake to make myself this year. Yes, I make my own cake. No, I don’t consider that narcissistic at all.

My cake (or this year, cakes) is always chocolate and this year is no different. In fact, these little cakes are especially deep and dark in the chocolate department. If you haven’t noticed, I really prefer glazes on cupcakes. I have a couple of reasons for that: a) the flavor is better and more intense (icing is for pansies) and b) it is sooooo much easier and it looks nice (I’m lazy). Note: This recipe makes a lot of cupcakes, share them with friends or break out large cupcake tins.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee (I used espresso- don’t judge it is MY cake)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins (I got 36 cupcakes from this recipe).

Put the butter, coffee, water, and cocoa in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Beat the sour cream with the egg and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk the hot cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the sour cream mixture just to combine; don’t overmix. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins, filling each one about 3/4 of the way full. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool the cupcakes completely in the tin on a rack. Remove from liners and return cakes to a rack.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 6 ounces  chocolate, finely chopped (I used milk chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Put chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil (or just microwave 1 minute), then pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spread 1 tablespoon warm glaze evenly over each cake, or dip cupcakes tops into glaze.

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Orange We Gonna Stop MS? -Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

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Every year after Christmas I make a mad rush to the grocery store. Not to return gifts but to snatch up the heavily discounted Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. You know, the “whack and unwrap” chocolate oranges? I love the flavor combination of chocolate and orange, but in baking you really don’t see all that many recipes for this flavor combination. I did some digging for this recipe specifically for orange week.

These cupcakes have a deep, dark chocolate flavor that I paired with a chocolate ganache frosting. To continue the orange flavor I just added some orange zest to the ganache. It is impossible to not try at least one right away but the flavor deepens and melds if you stash the cupcakes in the fridge for a day and let them mature.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, orange juice, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and zest, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 18 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Orange Sour Cream Ganache Frosting

Melt:

  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Then stir in:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • A pinch of salt
  • Zest of one orange

Spread onto completely cooled cake. I just dipped the cupcakes into the frosting.

Carrot Cupcakes

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I’ve had a pretty mean craving for carrot cupcakes lately. What’s not to love? Dessert that counts as a vegetable! While scrounging in my fridge I came across a bag of baby carrots that I didn’t know existed. Clearly, this was a sign from the divine creator that I was meant to have carrot cupcakes! And kids, when God speaks, I listen. Usually.

This is a very versatile carrot cake recipe and you could do this as a 9×13, a layer cake, a bundt cake or just about anything else. I happen to like cupcakes so here we are. Having said that you’ll need to vary your baking time a bit if you want one of the other cakes. I love this cream cheese frosting recipe but if you go with a layer cake you’ll have to use a different recipe. This frosting is pretty loose, making it perfect for cupcakes or a 9×13 but not great for a layer cake. Another thing, don’t get lazy and use bagged carrot shreds, shred them yourself with a box grater or a food processor (second only to the Kitchen Aid Mixer, greatest invention EVER).

This recipe comes from my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook which is the first place I go hunting for recipes. They are always spot-on and they have lots of little tips and tricks.

Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound carrots, shredded (if you use baby carrots you won’t have to peel them)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans (recipe makes about 24). Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside. Mix granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. While mixing, add oil in steady stream. Mix until light in color and emulsified, about 20 seconds. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cakes on wire racks before frosting (at least an hour).

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

In food processor, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.

Guinness Cupcakes

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I mentioned in my previous post that I had a little time during my snow day to do some baking. I also mentioned that I was making Guinness Beef Stew. In my efforts to turn my snow shrouded home into a Scottish pub, I made a batch of Guinness Cupcakes to go with my stew.

These cupcakes have a very dark and deep flavor so I paired them with a vanilla frosting. If you don’t love deep, dark chocolate this recipe may not be for you. Guinness is like espresso and really brings out the flavors in chocolate. Also, if you have any good frosting recipes please let me know! I’m always disappointed in my frosting recipes. Buttercreams are always too grainy and greasy and not creamy enough. I’m looking for a recipe where the cream really shines and the sugar isn’t so front and center. Ignore the photo of the cupcakes. Cake decorating is not one of my gifts. Maybe in my copious amounts of spare time I’ll attend a class.

Guinness Cupcakes

Ingredients
:

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.

In another bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.

Prepare 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.
 Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins and frosting.