Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sushi Roll Cupcakes

These sushi cupcakes are some of the cutest cupcakes I've made! Even better, they were a surprise for my sister, who shares my love of sushi & baking. A special shout out to my baby sissy, Abby, for an awesome 4 years of college hockey :)

I used a basic vanilla cupcake, with a light coating of vanilla buttercream. White jimmies act as the rice, a dark icing with a slightly green tint outlines the rice, giving it the look of a sliced roll, and I used various candies to act as the meat & veggies inside the roll.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Filling

These cupcakes are for serious chocolate lovers! A moist, rich dark chocolate cupcake is filled with salted caramel and topped with a whipped chocolate buttercream.

Whipped Chocolate Buttercream
will frost 12 cupcakes
1 stick butter, softened
3 oz chocolate chips, melted & cooled (I used a mix of semi sweet & dark chocolate)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Make sure to scrape down the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the vanilla, and once combined, add the melted chocolate. Mix on medium for another 2 minutes, scraping the sides down once, until light and fluffy. This is a great piping buttercream!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache filling

If there is one way to take a cupcake from good to wow, it would be with a filling. I've made these Peppermint Mocha cupcakes before and they are delicious on their own. A rich, chocolate cake infused with coffee flavor, topped with a sweet light peppermint buttercream; delicious! This time, at the request of a customer, I added a filling: a semisweet & dark chocolate ganache. It reminded me of the Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, which were also filled with ganache.

Peppermint Buttercream
enough to frost 24 cupcakes
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream

Whip the butter in a stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment for 5 minutes, until butter is pale and fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, then add the peppermint and the cream. You can add more cream to get to piping consistency. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coffee & Donut Cupcakes

These coffee & donut cupcakes were for a Police Officer's retirement party. Obviously, they were for an officer with a sense of humor :)

I wanted to play off the cops & donuts stereotype, so I knew I wanted to incorporate the donut into the cupcake, as well as coffee flavor. Thinking that a coffee flavored cupcake may be too overpowering for the entire crowd, I chose to make a maple-vanilla cupcake. To top the cupcake, I made a coffee & cream buttercream by using a coffee/espresso flavoring and half & half. Finally, the cupcakes were topped with a baked chocolate donut, with a vanilla glaze & chocolate jimmies.

Maple Vanilla Cupcakes
yield 24 cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk milk, and egg whites. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla & maple extracts, then add the flour & milk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour. Once everything has been added, beat the batter for 2 additional minutes. Scoop into lined cupcake pans and bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.

Coffee & Cream Buttercream
2 sticks butter (I used 1 stick salted & 1 stick unsalted)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp coffee extract
2-4 Tbsp half & half or heavy cream

In a stand mixer, beat the butter for 3-5 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar slowly, mixing until incorporated (it may be crumbly at this point). Add the coffee extract and half & half, continuing to beat, until you reach the desired consistency. Pipe on to cupcakes.

Mini Chocolate Donuts
yield 48 mini donuts
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg (don't skip this!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
4 tsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, nutmeg & salt. In a small bowl, whisk milk, sugar, egg, butter and vanilla until smooth. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and whisk until blended and smooth. To fill donut pans, put mixture in a ziploc bag and pipe into the cavities*, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before turning out from pan.

*Even though most pans are non-stick, I recommend spraying the pan. Wipe clean & spray each time to ensure the donuts do not stick.

Vanilla Glaze
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together & use immediately. You can pour over donuts or dip each individually.

Cupcakes adapted from My Baking Addiction
Donuts adapted from The Motherload

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Iced Lemon Loaf

This is a delicious knock-off of a certain coffee chain's lemon loaf. The lemon extract plus the lemon juice make the citrus really shine, and adding the lemon glaze gives one last punch of lemon flavor and ensures the loaf will stay moist!

The ingredient list for this quick bread can easily be found in your pantry, and it's the perfect time to use citrus in baked goods!

Iced Lemon Loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder & soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon juice & extract, and oil.  Pour wet ingredients into dry, and mix until smooth.  Pour into a greased 9x5 pan, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients and pour over loaf when cool.

Adapted from Recipe Circus

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

These cupcakes are for serious apple lovers.  They're especially wonderful in the fall, but are just as delicious in the winter.  Each element of this cupcake is really special on it's own, so when they're all combined into one dessert, it's bound to me amazing!

The cupcake is made with a fresh apple cake batter with nice chunks of apple throughout.  The filling is a homemade mulled apple cider jam, with hints of cinnamon and citrus.  Sliky salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream tops the cupcake, adding a buttery, caramel flavor without too much sweet.  Finally, a drizzle of salted caramel tops off the whole creation.

Mulled Apple Cider Jam
1 1/4 firm apples (approx. 3), such as Granny Smith or Gala
1 cup water
2 2-inch strips of lemon peel
2 2-inch strips of orange peel
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
7 oz granulated sugar (approx. 1 cup)

Core & peel the apples and cut into 1/2 inch chunks.  You need about 1 lb chopped apples.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine apples, water, lemon peel, orange peel, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, cover, and then simmer until apples are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add sugar and continue to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Mash the apples and cook until mixture is clear and very thick while stirring frequently, about 20-25 minutes.  The mixture should register 215 degrees on a thermometer.  Cool at room temperature.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
Recipe from Form V Artisan

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream & Bacon

Did you know Elvis' birthday was Sunday?  I'm sure you also knew that his favorite sandwich was a peanut butter & banana sandwich with bacon, right?  And you also know that I like to put bacon on cupcakes, right?

I had an opportunity to make these cupcakes for a group of Elvis fans that were celebrating his birthday.  The banana cake was super light, the peanut butter frosting was just sweet enough, and the crispy bacon added the perfect crunch.  I also added a drizzle of caramel, because, why not?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tuxedo Cake

I'd never heard of Tuxedo cake until last week.  I was looking for the perfect New Years Eve dessert to go along with the Champagne Cupcakes.  The cake is visually impressive with it's high stacked layers and chocolate covered strawberries as a garnish.  I made this in 10" pans to serve more people, but you can use 8" pans to get a higher cake.

The cake is a rich chocolate cake, filled and iced with whipped cream.  A dark & semi sweet chocolate ganache is poured over top, and the cake is garnished with chocolate covered strawberries.