Tag Archives: Cupcakes

Felix’s Caketeria ****

Cupcake Assortment

Cupcakes became sort of food craze over the past couple of years, with several “cutesy” bakeshops opening up all over the country in a very short period of time. But but very few of these bake shops have managed to survive into 2013 because their ridiculously over-priced, miniature offerings, were just trendy items and not actually quality desserts. Felix’s Caketeria on the other hand, is going strong and even expanding because they are a phenomenal bakery that has mastered the art of exquisite cakes. Fortunately, for consumers like myself, they offer their indulgent cakes in miniature sizes (dare I call them cupcakes?!) to be enjoyed on days that aren’t specialty occasions. No birthday, no problem!

Doesn’t mean you can’t sneak a cupcake on your lunch break!

Cupcake Display

My personal favorite is the Chocolate Salty Caramel, which is a chocolate cake filled with salty caramel, topped with chocolate buttercream and a caramel drizzle. 

Chocolate Salted Caramel

I also love the traditional Carrot Cake, which is made with pineapple, coconut, pecans and topped with a cream cheese icing. 

Carrot Cupcake

The only thing that you must remember is that Felix’s Caketeria uses REAL buttercream to frost their cupcakes, so the cupcake MUST be brought up to room temperature before they are enjoyed. If your impatience gets the best of you, you will be eating a rock hard cupcake and you won’t get the most of your miniature cake experience.

Ohh, and one last cupcake special that they occasionally have is the Eclair Cupcake, shown below:

Eclair Cupcake

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{ Tres Leches Cupcakes }

Girl meets boy. Girl has crush. Boy is Spanish. How does she get him to like her?

Easy, she casts a love spell by baking him Tres Leches Cupcakes. Spanish people can’t seem to get enough of tres leches desserts, and boys can’t get enough of a woman that cooks! The combination….lethal.

This recipe is guaranteed to impress and even better it’s cheap to make, considering that most of the ingredients are pantry staples and canned goods. If you aren’t the best baker, don’t worry! These cupcakes are are almost impossible to screw up because they get bathed in a rich and creamy tres leeches mixture after they are baked. So even if you happen overcook them, you can reconstitute the moisture in the cake afterwards.

For those of you who are good at baking (and really like sweet stuff), feel free to make these in cuatro leches cupcakes by adding a bit of dulce de leche to the milk mixture. Or instead of using whipped cream as frosting, make a dulce de leche buttercream (there are tons of recipes you can find on the internet). I’m a simpleton so I stick to tres leches with whipped cream, but kudos to you experimenters!

And if you are really trying to impress–as I was–it is crucial that you make the whipped cream in front of your guest! Most people don’t understand just how easy it is to make, and they are blown away by another’s ability to transform liquid into a sugary, white, pillow of deliciousness. It cracks me up when people say, “oh my gosh, homemade whipped cream!?! Wow, you’re such a chef.” Of course, I don’t mention that the kitchen aid does all the work! And finally, dust your miniature cakes with a pinch of cinnamon and voila, you have an incredibly delicious, bite-sized, morsel of bliss!

Ohhh, and you may think you are drowning your cupcakes in the tres leches mixture….but keep pouring it on!!!! They are supposed to be very moist. The first time I made this recipe, I held back on the amount of tres leches mixture I used, and I they were too dry. I ended up taking the cupcakes out of the wrapper and soaking them in the tres leches mixture over night. I then spooned the pieces out of the bowl and ate it like soup. #diary of a fat girl.

{ Ingredients }

  • 6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Homemade Whipped Cream (see instructions below)
  • Ground cinnamon, for dusting
{ To Make the Cupcakes } Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper-lines foil liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together egg whites, baking soda, and salt until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low. Add yolks and sugar, whisk until completely combined. Fold in melted butter with a flexible spatula. Add flour in four batches, folding until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven.
Immediately poke holes in the tops of cupcakes with a skewer.
Whisk together evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. With cupcakes still in tins, brush milk mixture over cupcakes, repeating until all liquid has been used.
Allow cupcakes to absorb mixture, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day in the refrigerator). Bring to room temperature before serving.
To finish, dollop whipped cream generously onto cupcakes, and dust with ground cinnamon. Serve immediately.
{ To Make the Whipped Cream } In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 2 cups of heavy whipping cream with whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar. Continue beating until still peaks form, but do not over beat or the mixture will become grainy.

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{ Coconut Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Frosting }

These were my absolute favorite cupcakes as a kid. I remember my mom would bake them in huge muffin tins rather than cupcake pans, letting the batter spill over the tops so that each one resembled a miniature-sized cake (sometimes we would only get 8 to a batch!). Then as they cooled, she would make the cream cheese frosting, allowing me to lick the beaters of the mixer before she put them into the sink—a chore that I was more than happy to do.

Today, this dessert remains one of the select few that I will eat with the frosting. In fact, I eat it predominately because of the frosting (same reason that I eat carrot cake, same frosting!). The cream cheese cuts a lot of the sweetness and gives the icing a dreamy velvety consistency. It pairs beautifully with these delicate coconut cupcakes, but you can put it on almost anything—red velvet cake, zucchini cake, pumpkin cake, carrot cake, ect…

The only notes I have on this recipe, which comes from Ina Garten’s amazing “Barefoot Contessa” cookbook, is to use unsweetened coconut when decorating the tops of the cupcakes. I think it looks prettier because it is shaved, not shredded, and it prevents the cupcake from being over-the-top sweet. Also, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by combining 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Just let it sit for about an hour and viola…buttermilk!

{ Ingredients }

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
  • Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
{ To Make Cupcakes } Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and prepare a muffin tin with liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar until it is light and fluffy (this takes about 5 minutes). With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Then add the vanilla and almond extracts.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry mix. Mix until just combined and then fold in the coconut with a spatula.

Use an ice cream scooper to put batter into the prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a tooth pick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes on a cooling rack.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting }

  • 1 pound of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds of confectioner sugar
To Make Cream Cheese Frosting } In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and almond extracts. Gruadually add the confectioners sugar, until the mixture is blended smooth (about 5 minutes).
{ To Assemble the Cupcakes } Frost with cream cheese icing and top with the remaining shredded coconut. 

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Magnolia’s Bakery **

Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes

212.767.1123
1240 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

I have postponed writing this blog post for quite some time now—almost a year, in fact—because I know what I have to say about one of “America’s most loved bakeries” will probably not be received well among the general public. However, in my defense, I have given it multiple chances of redemption. I’ve gone over five different times and tried multiple menu items, but yet I always find myself disappointed. Sure the little bakery is spectacular to look at, and everything is frosted and sprinkled to perfection, but the product itself isn’t that great (in my opinion, of course…I don’t want to upset any of the devout followers of Magnolia Bakery’s sweet-tooth subculture!).

Magnolia Bakery opened its doors in 1996, and is often dubbed as the creator of the “cupcake craze” that took America by storm in the late 1990’s. Dessert suddenly evolved into a statement piece, and people were demanding bite-sized, “trendy cupcakes.” Being a foodie and a baker myself, I was super anxious to try the so called “Grand Daddy of all Cupcakes.” On my first visit, I ordered the German Chocolate Cupcake and the Red Velvet Cupcake, as well as a Double Fudge Brownie. The red velvet cupcake was dry, the German chocolate cupcake was painfully sweet, and the double fudge brownie was mildly redemptive and good in comparison to the rest. I actually threw away the two cupcakes after a couple of bites…wasn’t worth the calories!

Double Fudge Brownies

I attributed the terrible cupcakes to the time of day (it was night when I went, so maybe they weren’t freshly baked), the off-chance that there was a substitute baker, and the possibility that my taste buds were off. I didn’t want to believe that they were normally that bad, and so I went again…four more times!

I have tried several cupcakes, bars, pies, brownies, and cakes and the cake is always dry, the icing is always too sweet, and the Magic Cookie Bar is always the only thing that I enjoy from my purchase. So if you do go to Magnolia, I recommend that you order a magic cookie bar as a plan B in addition to whatever else you decide to try! The Magic Cookie Bar is divine combination of graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and condensed milk. Other than that dessert, I am very under whelmed by Magnolia Bakery and think it is overrated.

Magic Cookie Bar

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{ Tiramisu Cupcakes }

Tiramisu Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Cocoa Powder

This year I am celebrating Christmas at my house in Philly with just my immediate family and my nagymama (meaning “grandmother” in Hungarian). But just because we don’t have a lot of people coming over, doesn’t mean that we aren’t making a big production out of the food situation. Every family has their thing, and ours is certainly food—the Von Trapps sang and the Bajeks cook! My mom had the holiday menu planned out weeks ago, but the stress of actually making it all didn’t surface until today, Christmas Eve. Why is it so stressful, you wonder?

It’s a simple answer. Four women, one kitchen—not enough room for everyone to do their respective food prep. Now our kitchen is far from small with two ovens, a six-burner Viking stove top, and an eight-foot refrigerator that resembles a walk-in closet (told you we were food people!), but tensions get high when sharing space and utensils. Of course all four of us have to have the same favorite knife! While us women slowly kill the Christmas spirit in the kitchen arguing over who is entitled to use the knife first, my dad retreats to the garage where he has been devising a squirrel proof bird-feeder for the past month or so (since the holiday cooking began actually). That tells you just how heated the kitchen gets…my dad would actually prefer to stand out in the freezing garage trying to solve bird hunger than be among us. However, the peaceful Christmas spirit is always revived once we all sit down at the table to eat together (partly because we can’t be fighting while we are eating!). We say a prayer, and then enjoy all of the delicious food that we have slaved over (even the birds are eating well this Christmas, thanks to the efforts of my father!).

This year I was in charge of dessert, and I decided to do a modern spin on an old classic—Tiramisu but in cupcake form. Tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert made of biscuits dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs and mascarpone, and flavored with liquor and cocoa. It’s so divine that it literally translates as “pull me up,” which is exactly what it does with each and every delicious forkful. Trust me, there is no emotional crisis that a large piece of tiramisu can’t improve…for a foodie like me, at least! I figured that everyone in my family could use a little bit of tiramisu joy this season and sure enough, it worked. They were light and fluffy and tasted absolutely fabulous.

First, I made the cupcake batter, which requires a whole vanilla bean. These can be expensive at most supermarkets (especially whole foods, which costs about $10 for 2 beans), so I recommend going to your local baking supply store. I got mine at a baking store by my house and only paid $1 per bean…big price difference!!

As I always suggest when making cupcakes, use an ice cream scooper to distribute the batter evenly among lined cupcake pans. In fact, I even have two different sized scoopers, one for my regular cupcakes and one for my miniature bite-sized cupcakes. The minis are always a hit at parties because they are so easy for people to pop into their mouths, and you can always manage to find room in your belly for a mini even at the end of a big meal!

Once the cupcakes have fully cooled, you need to brush the tops with the marsala-coffee mixture, which gives the cupcake a great light spongy texture. (It also can help correct a cupcake that is slightly overcooked, because it adds the needed moisture). I suggest using a silicon brush, and do not be afraid to really brush it on generously because it prevents the cupcake from drying out, and the syrup adds such a great flavor! Believe it or not, the mixture will actually soak through to the center of the cupcake and you will get a taste of it with every bite. If you are making the cupcakes the night before you intent to serve them, do up to this step and then store in an airtight container, refrigerating overnight.

The mascarpone frosting is so simple, as long as you make sure that the heavy cream is whipped long enough to form stiff peaks! If you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, do not walk away while the cream is beat or it can become over beat and then grainy. Yuck! Oncethe frosting is finished, I pipe it onto the cupcake tops and then dust with a little cocoa power for decoration. They are tremendous! The recipes for the marsala-coffee syrup and mascarpone frosting follow the basic cupcake recipe.

{ Ingredients for Cupcakes }

**Makes about 18 cupcakes

  • 1 ¼ cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon course salt (Kosher salt)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cu into pieces
  • 3 whole large eggs, and 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ounce (shot) marsala wine
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon freshly brewed strong coffee

{ To Make CupcakesPreheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles apprea around the edge (not a boil!). Remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter until melted, and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain the milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard the vanilla-bean pod.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and 1 cup sugar. The set the mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and continuously whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved (rub between fingers to check) and mixture is warm, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.

Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups (using ice cream scooper!), filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set (test with toothpick) and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup (directions below); repeat until all or most of syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

{ To Make Marsala-Coffee SyrupCombine the coffee, marsala wine, and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.

{ Ingredients Mascarpone Frosting }

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

{ To Make Mascarpone FrostingBeat the heavy cream with whisk attachment of electric mixer on medium speed, until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat or the cream will be grainy! In a separate bowl whisk together the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, until just combined. Use immediately.

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{ Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes }

Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Monogrammed Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

For my little sister’s sweet sixteen party, I decided to make a tower of cupcakes to accompany her birthday cake. I wanted to keep the cupcake design and color scheme very simple, so I chose to do an all white vanilla cupcake with vanilla butter cream icing topped with pink monogrammed letter “E” sugar cookies (letter “E” for Ella). The cupcakes took forever to make since there were three parts to assemble (cake, icing, and cookie), but they turned out beautiful and even better yet, tasted delicious. At the time, I didn’t have a go-to recipe for vanilla cupcakes, so I headed straight to the internet to find one. I googled “best vanilla cupcakes” and the two most popular search results were Billy’s Vanilla,Vanilla Cupcakes and Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes. After reading several blog reviews on both, I decided to go with Billy’s recipe and I was very happy with the result. I don’t even feel compelled to ever try Magnolia’s recipe. In fact, I’ve been to Magnolia Bakery in NY before, and thought the cupcakes were a little dry…thus my hesitation to try their recipe. Billy’s on the other hand, turned out super moist and very strong in vanilla flavor. The texture of the cake was really perfect and cooked true to the suggested time. Although I loved Billy’s cupcake recipe, I didn’t use his buttercream icing recipe (a lot of reviewers said it was too sweet), so I went with Martha Stewart’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream instead. It’s a perfect icing in my opinion, it has the flavor of a butter cream but it is much less dense than a traditional butter cream. This extra fluffy texture makes it much easier to decorate using a pastry bag. The recipe follows.

To decorate, I inserted a monogrammed sugar cookie with pink royal icing. The sugar cookies were more than just a decoration though because they were delicious independent of the cupcake. The royal icing was ridiculously sweet (as all royal icings are), but I found that adding a squeeze of lemon juice helps to cut the sweetness. The letters are piped in the same swiss meringue buttercream on top of the cupcake!

**Makes about 30 cupcakes**

Ingredients Cupcakes:

  • 1 ¾ cup cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I recommend Madagascar Vanilla)

Directions Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. (hint: I like to use an ice-cream scooper to distribute batter into pans because it does so neatly and evenly). Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cupcakes have cooled, ice the tops and decorate. Serve at room temperature.

Making the Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

(Optional) To tint buttercream (or royal icing), reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use a paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too soon, as the hue will intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.

Monogrammed Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar Cookie Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Sugar Cookie Directions:

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough into quarters; flatten each quarter into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 4-to-5-inch cookie cutter. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, and freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer, and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Consistency of Royal Icing

Swirling the Royal Icing Onto the Cooled Sugar Cookies

Piping “E”s Onto the Sugar Cookies

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{ Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting }

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of the things that I miss most about living up North is the fall; the change of seasons, the falling of leaves, and the crisp air, which creates favorable conditions forwarm Starbuck’s beverages. I’m so sick of drinking iced coffees already. I want to be able to order a delicious steamy cappuccino and not worry about the hot flashes I may endure while drinking it! But it’s the end of October and no such luck in Miami yet…sadly 80 degrees is about as “crisp” as it has gotten here. So in an effort to convince myself that it is actually fall, despite the weather, I decided to make some pumpkin spice cupcakes tonight!! I really wanted to make a pumpkin pie, but cupcakes seemed easier to pass out to friends and with Halloween right around the corner….yeah, I’m not trying to eat an entire batch of 24 cupcakes alone one week before parading around the streets of Key West half-naked for Fantasy Fest!! So cupcakes it was!

I got the recipe for the pumpkin spice cake batter from Martha Stewart. I have found that all of her cupcake recipes are very good, but instead of using the vanilla frosting she suggested, I decided to pair my cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. This is my absolute favorite recipe for cream cheese icing and it’s particularly delicious on top of red velvet cupcakes and coconut cupcakes (there is a recipe for these under desserts!).

Anyways, the cupcakes turned out delicious!! The pumpkin puree kept them super moist and the freshly ground ginger gave off a great flavor. I actually kept some without frosting so that I could eat them in the morning like a muffin! But the cream cheese frosting did turn out to be a great combination with the cake and everyone loved them! I will be making these again for sure. It made about 24 cupcakes total and the frosting recipe below makes enough to generously ice this many cupcakes.

{ Cupcake Ingredients }

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted, and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
{ To Make CupcakesPreheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, kosher salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a separate mixing bowl (the bowl of an electric mixer if you have one) combine the eggs, butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. On a low speed, mix until well combined and smooth. Then add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the pumpkin puree until well combined.

Line the cupcake pan with liners and fill each cup about ¾ the way full with batter. (TIP: Use an ice cream scooper to distribute the batter neatly and uniformly!) Place the pans into the oven and allow to bake for 20-25 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (TIP: I like to rotate the pans 10 min through baking process to ensure even cooking)

Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely in pans before removing and then icing.

{ Frosting Ingredients }

  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¾ pound of confectioners’ sugar

{ To Make FrostingIn the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extracts. Lower the speed and gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, mixing until smooth.

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{ Banana Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting }

Banana Cupcake with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

It’s two O’clock in the morning and I am unable to fall asleep because of how hungry I am. I ate the last of my groceries earlier today, and now I am laying here counting just down the hours until the grocery store opens. Of course, with all this time on my hands, I have begun to fantasize about the indulgent breakfast that I plan to make in the morning. At the moment, the menu entails banana pancakes with strawberry preserves and scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese! I’m salivating at the very thought of it! But as I was thinking about banana pancakes, I remembered one of my favorite banana desserts that I have not yet blogged about—Banana Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting. It is a recipe from Martha Stewart that I have made on several occasions (including my mom’s surprise 50th birthday) and it is always a crowd pleaser. Definitely great in the summer too!

These cupcakes are nice because the fresh mashed banana keeps the cake very light and moist, without adding an artificial sweetness or flavor to the cake. In fact, the cake part itself resembles a muffin in my opinion because it isn’t sweet like a typical cupcake. But when topped with the homemade frosting, which has a great rich honey flavor, the cake transforms into a sweet and savory dessert. I like to top my cupcakes with fresh sliced banana after piping the frosting onto them, just be careful that you add the bananas right before serving because they will turn brown very quickly. Enjoy!

{ Cupcake Ingredients }

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups mashed banana (about 4 ripe banana, plus some for garnish later)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

{ To Make CupcakesPreheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In the well mix together the butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate the flour mixture, but do not over mix!!! Use an ice cream scoop to distribute batter evenly into lined cupcake pans.

Bake for about 25 to 30 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from over, allow to cool in pans completely, and then top with honey-cinnamon frosting (recipe follows) and fresh sliced banana.

{ Frosting Ingredients }

  • 1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

{ To Make FrostingIn an medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and cinnamon until smooth (about 4-5 min).

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{ Chocolate Mascarpone Cupcakes }

Chocolate Chip and Mascarpone Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Well, tonight my boyfriend and I ended our relationship. Ohhh, who am I kidding?!?…thats just a nice way to say that WE BROKE UP and I am currently experiencing a pain greater than the removal of my wisdom teeth, which one week ago I could not imagine possible. This is my first heartbreak, and I am so sorry for anyone whose heart I have broken in my past because it is just a terrible feeling. But being a foodie, and now a rather depressed foodie, I am finding consolation in (drum roll, please) FOOD…and lots of it. But, before my ex gets excited that I’ll let myself get obese over him, let me state that I will not let myself go into full binge eating, weight gaining, break-up mode–I’m just splurging tonight!….and possibly tomorrow. It’s not like I can get into too much trouble with these four holes in my mouth anyways! But right now I am polishing off a little piece of heaven–a Cocosette bar, which is a Venezuelan cookie bar with chocolate and coconut cream. Its divine and apparently has some sort of healing power because I honestly feel better after savoring every last bite of it. Cocosette, it’s Advil for the heart! And now I’m gathering the ingredients to make one of my other favorite desserts, which is a Chocolate Chip and Mascarpone Cupcake. If you love chocolate, then you will love these cupcakes. They are a chocolate cupcake with chocolate chips in the batter and a velvety chocolate ganache on top. They are very simple to make and always a great crowd pleaser, or therapy regiment in my case! Hopefully I’ll have some more time to blog now that I’m single, and for those of you who “Yelpers” who have only been commenting on my physical appearance (I’m talking to you Mr. “like a piece of bacon on an open fire, you’re sizzlin’”), well, now would be the time to make me feel good and leave more of those comments!! Anyways, heres the recipe for the incredibly delicious chocolate cupcakes!

{ Ingredients }

  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup marscapone cheese, at room temp
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon, plus additional 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
{ To Make the CupcakesPreheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine 1 cup of the semi-sweetened chocolate chips and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate has melted, about 2 min. Cool for 2 min. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until mixture is smooth.
Heat the sugar, oil, eggs, and 1 tablespoon vanilla in a large bowl for 30 seconds. Stir in the mascarpone mixture. Which the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture. Stir until just blended.
Divide the batter among lined muffin pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely before dipping into ganache.
{ To Make the GanachePlace the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips in a small bowl. Combine the heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until small bubbles appear on the outside edge of the cream and remove immediately to pour over the chocolate chips. Using a fork, gently stir until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the mixture and transfer to baking sheet. Allow the cupcakes to set in refrigerator about 15 to 20 minutes to cool. Then allow to come to room temperature before serving.

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