Banoffee Cupcakes

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INGREDIENTS:

Serves: 24

for the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking spice (can substitute cinnamon)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⅓ cup white sugar
  • 4 large, overripe bananas, mashed well (approximately 14 ounces)

for the Filling:

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter

for the Frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional:

  • Toffee chocolate bar pieces for garnish (like Heath bar)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, baking spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and mashed bananas on medium speed until smooth. Gradually stir dry ingredients into banana mixture. Spoon into cupcake liners.
  4. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean. Do not overbake.
  5. To make the filling: combine the dark brown sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Do not stir! Boil for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture deepens in color. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and butter. Stir constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture thickens ONLY sightly.
  6. To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream.
  7. To assemble. Use a knife to cut out the top of a cupcake in a cone shape. Spoon/pipe in toffee filling. Put frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip. Frost. Garnish with toffee bar pieces, if desired.

Pina Colad Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
Fresh pineapple puree

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium-large pineapple, peeled, cored, and chopped

METHOD:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar and water without stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Add the pineapple to the boiling sugar water and return to a complete rolling boil, without stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and cover the pot with a lid.  Let cool overnight.
  4. Once cooled, drain the liquid from the pineapple.  Save the syrup for other uses.
  5. Put the pineapple in a food processor and process until completely pureed with no chunks.  You will need 1/2 cup of this pineapple puree for the buttercream.  Save the rest for eating on its own or other uses.

Coconut cupcakes

  • 180 grams egg whites (~6 eggs)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tspn coconut extract
  • 400 grams flour
  • 2 Tbspn baking powder (if making a cake instead of cupcakes, decrease this amount to 5 tspn)
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 375 grams sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together egg whites.  Add 1/3 cup coconut milk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.  Whisk to combine.  Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Place butter in a mixer bowl.  Beat on low for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
  5. Gradually add sugar to the butter and beat for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Add 1 cup coconut milk to the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat until combined.
  7. In three parts, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients to the batter.  Beat thoroughly between each addition.
  8. Spoon or pipe batter into cupcake molds, filling the molds about halfway.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  (For mini-cupcakes, bake 15 minutes.)
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Pineapple Italian Meringue Buttercream

  • 11 oz. sugar
  • 5 oz. water
  • 150 grams egg whites
  • 65 grams sugar
  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple puree
  • 2 Tbspn rum or tequila, optional
  • shredded coconut, optional
  • sprinkles, optional

METHOD:

  1. Combine water and 11 oz. sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat.  Without stirring, bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature reaches 115 degrees C.
  2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment, begin whisking the egg whites when the syrup cooking on the stove reaches 105 degrees C.  Start whisking on low until the whites begin to foam, then increase speed to high and gradually add the remainder of the sugar.  Whip until soft peaks.
  3. Once the syrup has reached 115 degrees C (soft ball stage) and the whites have been whipped to soft peaks, gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites, whisking on medium high continuously.  Be careful not to allow the sugar syrup to fall on the beaters.
  4. Continue whisking until the bowl of the mixer is at body temperature and not warm anymore.
  5. Slowly begin to add the butter, about a half tablespoon at a time.
  6. Once all of the butter is incorporated, continue whisking while adding the pineapple puree and alcohol, if using. If the mixture looks curdled, keep whisking until consistency is restored.
  7. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes when complete, top with shredded coconut and sprinkles, if desired.

Olallieberry Extra Dark Mocha Cupcakes with Candied Cacao Nibs

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~15-18 regular-sized cupcakes

for extra dark mocha cupcakes:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 Tbspn black cocoa powder (you may substitute Dutch-processed cocoa powder here)
  • 1/3 cup (5 Tbpsn) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbspn espresso powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 heaping Tbspn instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line the cupcake molds with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine sugar, flour, black and Dutch-processed cocoa powders, espresso powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix. Then, with the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
  4. Combine the boiling water and the instant coffee. Pour the hot coffee into the cake batter and mix on medium low until smooth, making sure to occasionally scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

for olallieberry buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup olallieberry puree, from about 3/4 – 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen berries
  • 1 Tbspn creme de cassis
  • 1 tspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 11 oz. sugar (~310 grams)
  • 5 oz. water (~140 grams)
  • 150 grams egg whites (~5 egg whites)
  • pinch of cream of tartar, optional
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 4 sticks (1 lb) butter, at room temperature

METHOD:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olallieberry puree, creme de cassis, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. Combine water and 11 oz (310 gr) sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat. Without stirring, bring to a boil and let cook until the temperature reaches 240 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment, begin whisking the egg whites when the syrup begins to bubble on the stove. Start whisking on medium low until the whites begin to foam all over, then increase speed to high and gradually add the remainder of the sugar. Whip until soft peaks form and stop.
  4. Once the syrup has reached 240 degrees F (soft ball stage) and the whites have been whipped to soft peaks, gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites, whisking on medium high continuously. Be careful not to allow the sugar syrup to fall on the beaters.
  5. Continue whisking until the bowl of the mixer is at body temperature and not warm to the touch anymore.
  6. Slowly begin to add the butter, about a half tablespoon at a time.
  7. Once all of the butter is incorporated, continue whisking while adding the olallieberry puree. Beat until incorporated. Use to pipe immediately.

for candied cacao nibs:

  • 3 Tbspn sugar
  • 3 heaping Tbspn cacao nibs

METHOD:

  1. Prepare a baking tray lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar.
  3. Once the sugar has completely melted, quickly add the cacao nibs. Stir and cook until the sugar turns a deep golden color (there might be a little bit of smoking–don’t be alarmed!). Remove from heat immediately before the sugar burns and let the cacao nibs cool completely on the silpat, trying to separate them out as best as you can.
  4. Once cool, crush the candied cacao nibs into small pieces. Use to top the cupcakes.

Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups almond milk (or soya milk)
  • 2 tspn apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tspn vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine the almond milk and vinegar with a few strokes.  Allow them to sit for a few minutes until curdled.  Then add the sugar, oil, and vanilla.  Beat until frothy.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two stages, beating thoroughly in between.  After last addition, beat until smooth but do not overmix.
  5. Fill cupcake molds (greased or with cupcake paper) until about 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes and then remove from oven and cool for 10.

Vegan Pumpkin ‘Buttercream’

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (i.e. Earth Balance)
  • 8oz. canned pumpkin
  • nutmeg, to taste
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • clove, to taste
  • powdered ginger, to taste
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

METHOD:

  1. Sift the powdered sugar. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is in a food processor, since I go through vast amounts of the stuff.
  2. Combine shortening and margarine in a mixer bowl.  Beat until creamy.
  3. Add the pumpkin to the shortening and margarine and beat until combined.
  4. Add spices to taste and add the vanilla.  Mix.
  5. Slowly begin to mix in the powdered sugar, beating all the while, until the desired consistency is achieved.  If the buttercream gets too stiff, you can stir in a bit of almond milk.

After frosting the cupcakes, decorate as desired or with sifted cocoa powder.

 

Strawberry and Cinnamon Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
makes 12 cupcakes

for strawberry cupcakes:

  • 1/2 lb. frozen strawberries, thawed with juices
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn (17 gr) + 3/4 cup (150 gr) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups (200 gr) AP flour
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature

METHOD:

  1. Combine thawed strawberries (with juices) and 1 1/2 Tbspn sugar in a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the saucepan. Cook and simmer until the strawberries have reduced by a half, leaving about 3/4 cup. Puree in a food processor and let cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare and line 12 cupcake molds.
  3. Whisk to combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the egg whites and whole milk. Set aside.
  5. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and continue beating.
  6. Add the wet and dry ingredients in two additions, alternating between dry and wet. Beat until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the cupcake molds, filling each mold to 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes come out cleanly. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

for cinnamon-cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 Tbspn (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 gr) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz. (113 gr) cream cheese, cold

METHOD:

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  2. Gradually beat in the sifted powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition.
  4. Frost cupcakes immediately. Top with sprinkles, if desired.

Cake recipe loosely adapted from Sky High Cakes.

Double chocolate (espresso) Cupcakes with Rose-scented cream cheese frosting

INGREDIENTS:
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible
makes 6-7 large cupcakes, more if using regular-sized cupcake liners

  • 2 Tbspn Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbspn + 1 1/2 tspn black cocoa powder (or substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa)
  • 1 tspn instant coffee powder or espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (125 gr) AP flour
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbspn (175 gr) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn salt
  • 13 Tbspn (184 gr) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Whisk to combine the cocoa powders, coffee powder, and boiling water. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Once the chocolate mixture is cool, whisk in the vanilla and eggs until combined and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine.
  5. Add half of the chocolate mixture and the softened butter to the flour. Mix on low until the flour is moistened and then increase speed to medium and beat for one minute to aerate.
  6. Add the remaining chocolate mixture to the batter in two additions, beating for twenty seconds after each addition. Finally, beat in the chocolate chips.
  7. Divide the batter amongst the paper cupcake molds, filling each about 3/4 of the way.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Rose-scented cream cheese frosting
adapted from Magnolia Bakery

  • 1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tspn rosewater
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cold
  • 1 drop pink gel food coloring

METHOD:

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and rosewater and mix until combined.
  3. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar.
  4. Gradually add small chunks of the cold cream cheese, beating well after each addition. Mix in the food coloring at the end.
  5. Use to pipe onto cupcakes immediately.  Top with shaved dark chocolate.

Earl Grey Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:
makes 12 – 14 cupcakesfor cake:

  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (46 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee

for frosting:

  • 6 teabags of Earl Grey
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbspn heavy cream
  • 5 oz (142 g) unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 Tbspn butter
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • flaked finishing salt

METHOD:

  1. for cake. Preheat oven to 180° C. Prepare 12 – 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk. Stir to mix.
  4. With the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until evenly distributed.
  5. Pour the hot coffee into the batter gradually and mix on medium low until smooth.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done. Remove from oven, remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. for frosting. Place the Earl Grey teabags, condensed milk, and heavy cream in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover tightly, and let steep for at least one hour.
  8. Meanwhile, finely chop the chocolate and cut the butter into pieces. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
  9. Remove the teabags from the milk mixture, making sure to squeeze as much liquid from the teabags as possible before discarding.
  10. Add the sugar to the milk mixture, return to the stove, and bring to a simmer.
  11. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate and butter. Let sit for two minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let cool completely to room temperature.
  12. Once cool, transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Whip on medium until light-colored and fluffy. Use immediately to spread or pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. The whipped ganache will firm up more once spread or piped.
  13. Top with a sprinkle of finishing salt.

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

INGREDIENTS:

Bottom Layer:

  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 packets stevia

METHOD:

  1. Line a mini muffin tray with 10 paper liners.  Stir all ingredients together until smooth and divide between the 10 mini muffin wells (each should be about half full).  (Try not to dribble on the sides since it will give your candy a streaked look.)
  2. Put the tray in the freezer on a flat surface and freeze until solid (about 15 minutes, give or take a little while depending how cold your freezer is).

Top Layer:

  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 10 walnut halves (optional)

METHOD:

  1. Stir all ingredients together (except walnut halves) until smooth and divide on top of the set chocolate mixture.  Transfer back to the freezer and freeze until partially solid (about 5 minutes), then lightly press 1 walnut half into the top of each candy (if using the walnut halves).  Return to the freezer and freeze until solid.
  2. Store the treats in the fridge in an air-tight container between layers of wax paper.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

 

INGREDIENTS:

makes ~24 regular sized cupcake

  • 1 12 oz. bottle of Guinness
  • 1/2  cup chocolate pudding (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbspn vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking soda

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Combine cocoa powder, sugar, flour, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine Guinness, pudding (milk), oil, and vanilla.
  4. Beat eggs into wet ingredients one at a time.  Mix in sour cream.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  6. Pour batter into lined cupcake pans (or make sure to butter your pans if they are not lined), about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes if making regular sized cupcakes and 15-18 minutes if making mini sized ones.  Allow to cool before removing from tins.

Mascarpone cheese frosting

  • 1/2 lb. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

METHOD:

  1. Place all ingredients in an electric mixer bowl.
  2. Beat on medium high until soft peaks form. Do not overmix!  Use immediately.

Chocolate cupcakes with lemon mascarpone frosting

INGREDIENTS:
makes about 18 cupcakes

for chocolate cupcakes:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Prepare 18 cupcake molds and liners.
  2. In a mixer bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Mix to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil, and milk.  Stir to mix.  Then, with the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Mix on low until evenly distributed.
  4. Pour the boiling water into the batter and mix on medium low until smooth.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes.  When a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out cleanly, the cakes are done.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Tip: I highly recommend using cupcake liners for this because the cake is so moist and fluffy that it would probably stick to the cupcake molds and create much trouble!

for lemon mascarpone frosting:

  • 1/2 lb. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • freshly grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixer bowl.  Beat on high until soft peaks form.  Do not overmix!
  2. Immediately after the frosting forms, pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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INGREDIENTS:

Yields about 18 cupcakes

Blueberry Cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (169 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) sour cream (or plain, non-fat yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) fresh blueberries

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the milk, stirring until batter is uniform and smooth. Stir in the blueberries.
  3. Fill baking cups about 2/3 full (or a little less) and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack, and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (375 grams) powdered sugar

METHOD:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. If frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add more milk until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
  2. Before serving, pipe or spread frosting on top of cooled cupcakes and decorate with a few fresh blueberries, if desired. If cupcakes will sit out more than a day, keep refrigerated in an airtight to help preserve the cupcakes. Serve at room temperature.

 

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

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Yields about 18 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup (169 grams) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) sour cream (or plain, non-fat yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces or 255 grams) fresh raspberries

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes). Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the milk and lemon juice, stirring until batter is uniform and smooth. Gently stir in the raspberries.
  3. Fill baking cups about 2/3 full and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack, and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups (500 grams) powdered sugar

METHOD:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. If frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add milk until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
  2. Before serving, pipe or spread frosting on top of cooled cupcakes and decorate with a few fresh raspberries, if desired. If cupcakes will sit out more than a day, keep refrigerated in an airtight container to help preserve them. Serve at room temperature.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Image

Lemon raspberry cupcakes unfrosted

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcake batter:

  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup milk, at room temperature

For the filling:

  • About 1/3 cup of raspberry jam

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup fine, or, even better – extra fine granulated sugar
  • 6 oz (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lb (2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp natural raspberry extract (optional)
  • A few drops of red food color (I use organic color and it takes about ¼ tsp to get the right tint)

METHOD:

  1. Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 180C. Fit parchment cupcake liners into regular-size muffin molds.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Rub with your fingertips to release fragrant lemon oil.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few seconds, until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the extracts. With the mixer on medium, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the bowl as necessary, and beat only enough to incorporate the ingredients after each addition.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin molds. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in their molds for 5 minutes on a cooling rack, and then unmold and cool completely on the rack before filling and frosting.

Make the frosting, fill and frost the cupcakes:

  1. First, in a small bowl, combine the jam and fine sugar together, stir and let it sit for a few minutes, stirring a couple of times to help the sugar get dissolved.
  2. In a small bowl, using electric beaters, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  3. In another larger bowl, using the same beaters (no need to wash them) beat the cream cheese until light, creamy, and completely lump-free. Beat in the jam-sugar mixture and extracts. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the creamed butter just until the ingredients are combined, should take less than a minute, add the color.
  4. To fill the cupcakes, cut out a small, round, fennel-like hole with a sharp paring knife in the top of each cupcake. Enjoy the scraps right away. Spoon about a teaspoon of raspberry jam into each cavity. Don’t overfill the cupcakes; otherwise, the frosting can slide off.
  5. Transfer the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe a rosette over the top of each cupcake. Refrigerate to firm up the frosting a bit, for about 20 minutes or so.
  6. The cupcakes can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Remove the cupcakes from the fridge 30 minutes prior the serving time.

Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Cakelettes with Basil Buttercream

INGREDIENTS:
makes ~eight 3 x 2″ cupcakes
for cake:

  • 10 Tbspn butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 12 oz. dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn espresso
  • 1 Tbspn vanilla
  • 1/2 tspn salt

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Butter and flour the cake molds or tins. Line the bottom with parchment paper and grease again. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, beat the butter and light brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well between each addition.
  4. Beat the melted dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla, and salt into the batter until well-combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks.
  6. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate batter, then fold the remaining egg whites into the batter just until combined.  Be careful not to overmix!
  7. Divide the batter evenly amongst the prepared pans. Immediately place in the oven and bake for 15 – 18 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the meringue.

for meringue layer:

  • 2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 Tbspn cornstarch
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 Tbspn sugar

METHOD:

  1. Combine the dark chocolate, hazelnuts, and cornstarch
  2. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, gradually adding the sugar as you whisk.
  3. Fold in the hazelnuts and chocolate mixture to the egg whites, being careful not to deflate the whites too much.
  4. Remove the chocolate cakes from the oven and spoon the meringue over the chocolate cakes.
  5. Return the cakes to the oven for ~15-20 minutes until the meringues are set.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Using a knife, unmold the cakelettes and let cool completely before frosting.

for basil buttercream:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large handfuls of basil, roughly shredded
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • green food coloring, optional

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the milk and the basil. Bring to just a simmer, cover, and let steep for ~30 minutes.
  2. Strain the basil from the milk and discard the basil. Set the milk aside.
  3. Whisk together the sugar and flour in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in the prepared basil milk and the cream, making sure that there are no clumps.
  4. Cook the flour and milk mixture over medium heat until it boils and thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl.
  5. Beat with a paddle attachment on high until the flour and milk mixture is completely cool.
  6. With the mixer on low, gradually add the butter. Then, increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy. (If the buttercream gets too soft, put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before re-beating.) Briefly beat in a few drops of green food coloring, if desired.
  7. Use immediately to frost the cakelettes.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/3 cup strawberry puree
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 tablespoons strawberry puree from above (about 1/2 cup whole strawberries)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature to slightly cold
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature to slightly cold
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 22 ounces of confectioners sugar (about 1.4 pounds)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with liners and set aside.
  2. Add strawberries to the bowl of a food processor (include the strawberries from the frosting if using).  Puree until smooth.  Measure out 1/3 cup and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the milk, vanilla and 1/3 cup strawberry puree.  Set aside
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and cream on medium-high until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Turn down the mixer speed and add the egg and egg whites slowly.  Beat until just combined.
  6. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Mix until just incorporated.  Add the milk and strawberry mixture and mix until just blended.  Scrape down the sides and slowly add the remaining flour.  Mix just until incorporated.
  7. Divide evenly among the lined muffin cups.  Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool completely before icing.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the cream cheese and beat on medium until light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed and slowly add the confectioners sugar.  Beat until well combined.  Add the vanilla and 3 tablespoons of strawberry puree.  Mix until just blended.  Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to frost the cupcakes.

Note: I didn’t read the directions well when I made the frosting and added 1/2 cup of puree to the butter/sugar mixture.  I ended up adding 2 cups more powdered sugar to make the frosting thick enough to pipe!

Chocolate Kahlua Hydrangea Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Devils Food Cake Mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup Kahula
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Mix first 5 ingredients together with a stand mixer or hand mixer until incorporated well.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. For Cupcakes: fill muffin tin lined with papers to 2/3 full.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  For Cake: spray the pan with cooking spray (no flour) and bake for 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Frost with frosting or top with powdered sugar and fresh berries.

Note: I used a can of Cream Cheese Frosting and added 4 drops of neon purple to half of it and 7 drops of neon purple to the other half.  Put half of each colored frosting mixture on each side of the pastry bag so that when you extract it, you will have a mixture of both colors.  Use Wilton tip # 224.