But Sugar is Sweeter

Posts tagged “Cupcakes

Turtle Cupcakes

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Being in the position I’m in can be very stressful,  with lots of uncertainty in the future and I’m not the best at dealing with it.  That’s why I’m so grateful for wonderful co-workers who help keep me grounded, make me laugh and always know how to calm me down. They are the best; and while terrible at our short lived diet plans, I still love them.   Eating healthy is hard when you work in a dermatology office that seems to have an endless supply of girl scout cookies and leftover cake.  So when it was my funniest friend’s birthday, I obviously had to make cupcakes, to contribute to the problem.

I toyed with a few flavor ideas, but ultimately decided on turtle because, 1) I had all the ingredients and 2) who doesn’t love a turtle sundae.  It’s basically a super moist, yet sturdy, cupcake base, topped with a caramel cream cheese frosting, ganache and a caramel pecan filling.  “Some people” were a little worried about how nuts would taste on a cupcake, but I assure you, you have nothing to fear.  It was delicious.  If I had to make them again, I would probably double the caramel and pipe some caramel filling, or scoop some caramel pecan filling, into the center.  I also used low fat sour cream (because it’s what I had), but no one complained :-)!

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TURTLE CUPCAKES 

Makes 2 dozen

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Recipe from Annie’s Eats 

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

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I promised you the recipe for these cupcakes, and I didn’t want to disappoint!   I had a few ideas in mind for my friend’s birthday, which perfectly coincided with the academy awards, but I’m so glad she chose these!    I made them once before for another birthday, but for some reason decided I didn’t like the pictures I took, and so never posted the recipe.  Of course with the business of the party, I didn’t get around to taking any better pictures this time, but in retrospect the ones I took way back in June aren’t bad!  In fact, they look so delicious, they kind of make me want to make these cupcakes again!

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I really made my day when one of the guests at the party said, “Seriously…These look so good, I thought they were from Cake in a Cup! ” – which is the local cupcake place that happened to have won Cupcake Wars.   The truth is, it’s pretty easy to make these look professional, and as long as you follow the recipe, you can’t go wrong with taste.  In fact, I think these cupcakes are even better then any you could buy, because I don’t think too many places put a half an oreo on the bottom of the cupcake, and then another 20 in the batter.  Let’s just say this isn’t exactly a “light cupcake”…like seriously when you pick it up you will be like, OMG this is heavy!  But it is SO good!
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In order to get half an oreo with the frosting on the bottom of the cupcake, I ended up using a sharp knife to get the frosting all on one side.  I tried the old “twist” method, but ended up breaking (and then eating) a few too many oreos.  Overall you will need 56 oreos for these, so be sure to buy 2 packs.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

– Makes 24 Cupcakes

  • 24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • Oreo cookie crumbs
  • 24 Oreo cookie halves

1) Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.

2) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
3) Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4) To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5) Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired, I used a large round tip with a pastry bag.   Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.
Source: Annie’s Eats, Adapted from Beantown Baker

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Based on my experience thus far in life, I can firmly say that you can never go wrong with pumpkin flavored anything and cream cheese frosting.   I made a different version of these cupcakes last year, and there are a few things I liked about each recipe.  Last year’s recipe was ridiculously moist, but almost to the point where the cupcakes stuck to the wrapper and couldn’t support the weight of the frosting when you went to take a bite.    I liked this new recipe because  the cupcakes are a little bit sturdier, and you don’t have to use part of a box of cake mix (what does one do with a left over 2/3 cup of cake mix? ).  Plus, when I’m going to the trouble of making cupcakes from scratch I really prefer ones made with unique ingredients that wouldn’t be part of a box mix – like butter instead of oil and buttermilk for some extra moisture.  I used to think that recipes that called for buttermilk were a bit annoying because you generally have to buy a whole quart, but I’ve found it lasts a lot longer than milk (like over a month) and I’ve found several other things to do with it in that time – like John’s birthday cake, ranch dressing, and then these cupcakes.  But as I said before, you can’t go wrong with pumpkin and cream cheese so if your so inclined, try both recipes!

I actually made these for the children’s Halloween party that our medical school hosts every year.  Now technically this party if for children with diabetes, and while you might think cupcakes wouldn’t be the best idea, the point of the party was to help the children learn how to balance their carbohydrates with their insulin. (And it is really hard to find low carbohydrate halloween desserts).  So I made a double batch of these cupcakes, and calculated that each cupcake with frosting has 35 grams of carbohydrate.  I got about 40 cupcakes from the double batch, and saved a few to take with us to Cincinnati for my now living in Ohio brother and sister -in-law.  These went so fast that I’m pretty sure my father-in-law thought he wasn’t going to get one.   Apparently they were also a big hit at the halloween party – but really what kid can resist sprinkles?

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 20-24 cupcakes with piped frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 c brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the Icing:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 10 oz powdered sugar (about 3 cups), sifted

To Make the Cupcakes:

Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Mix in the vanilla until fully incorporated.

In a separate  mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  In another small mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin and buttermilk until smooth.

Turn the stand mixer on to the lowest setting and alternately add the dry ingredients and the pumpkin mixtures to the creamed butter.  Start and end with the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the pans, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool enough to handle and then move to a cooling rack.  Store in airtight containers until frosted.  Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator.

To Make the Icing: 

Cream the butter, cream cheese  and vanilla together on high speed.  Add the powdered sugar, a small amount at a time and blend until smooth and creamy.  To ice the cupcakes using a pastry bag, chill icing in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15 minutes in order to harden the icing enough to frost.  Alternatively, frosting can be added immediately to cooled cupcakes using an offset spatula.

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Cupcakes from Pennies on a Platter, Originally from My Kitchen Addiction

Icing inspired  Ina Garten


Samoas Cupcakes

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After 2 weeks of “summer vacation”, it’s back to the (harsh) reality of 3rd year – but don’t worry about me, because these cupcakes made life better.  The last day of break happened to fall on our friends Kat’s and Griffin’s birthday, which obviously called for celebration.  I decided to make these cupcakes because both of them happen to love samoas.  I’m a thin mint/tagalong girl myself, but I have the unique ability to see the good in just about any cookie :-).  I thought these cupcakes turned out delicious, but I think if you are really trying to perfectly replicate a samoas you might want to add try making a filled cupcake with toasted coconut and caramel.

These cupcakes turned out to be much simpler to make than my endeavor of chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, but I still found it helpful to make the cupcakes one day and then to ice them the next.  I didn’t want to make them too far in advance for fear of dryness, but I shouldn’t have been worried because these are unbelievably moist.   The only qualm I had was that the cupcake itself isn’t particularly sturdy for the heaviness of a caramel icing.  I later found out that putting them in the fridge before serving really helped the overall texture.  The only other change I would make in the future is to use 2 cupcake liners for each cupcake, because the batter is very thin, so tends to wash out the colors of the cupcake liner.  I think baking these using 2 liners would really give it a perfect finish.

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For the Cupcakes

  • 2 cups  sugar
  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa (I used Hershey’s special dark)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flavoring
  • 1 cup coconut, packed
  • 1 (scant) cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3. Add in eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and coconut flavoring.  Mix well.

4. Fold in coconut, then add boiling water.  (Batter will be very thin)

5. Pour batter into muffin tins, filling each cup no more than 3/4 full.  Bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for several minutes, but then remove cupcakes from tins on cool on a wire rack.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping, plus more for drizzling (I used butterscotch caramel)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1. Cream butter until fluffy.

2. Add in vanilla extract and caramel topping.  Add powdered sugar and salt and mix until smooth.  If icing is still too thin add a bit more powdered sugar (the consistency differs based on the type of caramel topping you use)

3. Wait until cupcakes are completely cool, and use a pastry bag with a 1M tip to ice the cupcakes.

For the Homemade Chocolate Syrup

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s special dark)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients except vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium-heat, and whisk until smooth.

2. Bring sauce to a boil and continue to whisk until sauce becomes thick.  Remove from heat, let cool slightly and drizzle over cupcakes or store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.

To Finish:  Top cupcakes with toasted coconut and using small squeeze bottles (or simply a spoon) drizzle with chocolate sauce and remaining caramel sauce.

Slightly adapted from The Novice Chef 
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