"I'm on a diet. I only eat cupcakes on days that ends in a Y."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake? - Week 10

I am a follower of the blog,  Cupcake Project.  Steph, the author, has been working diligently to find the "Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake."  This week she crowned the winner, and it is the cupcake I chose to make for week 10. 

I was really excited to try this recipe. I was slightly intimidated that it called for whole vanilla beans, something I have never worked with. When I went grocery shopping for the needed supplies I nearly abandoned my quest to try this cupcake.  Whole vanilla beans are EXPENSIVE.  I paid seven dollars for two beans.  In retrospect, that is not a horrible grocery store price.  I'm glad I didn't change recipes, I really liked working with the vanilla beans.  In the future I will probably purchase them online in bulk.  The  flavor is EXCELLENT!!!

I'm looking forward to hearing back from my faithful cupcake testers about what they liked or didn't like about this cupcake.  I'm still deciding if it's my favorite vanilla recipe, but it is certainly a make again!  If you give it a try, let me know what you think!!!

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake - From Cupcake Project
I made no changes to her recipe because I wanted to see if  it lived up to the hype.  Take some time and click on the link to read about how Steph determined to crown this particular recipe the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake.

Yield: 16 cupcakes

  • 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (For those of you who are new to using vanilla beans, check out this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.  Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  The batter will be liquid.  (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong.  It's supposed to be that way.)
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown.  If they are not done, test again in two minutes.  If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.

I topped this delightful little cupcake with Nutella buttercream and chocolate sprinkles.  If you are a Nutella fan you will LOVE this frosting.  I am quite happy with how it turned out. 

Nutella Frosting
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 jar Nutella
4 cups powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla
1/3 cup whole milk

Using paddle attachment, cream butter, Nutella, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. (Approx 3 minutes.) Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Snickerdoodle - Week 9

The flavor of the week is....
SNICKERDOODLE!!! I love all things snickerdoodle.  What I like the most about this cookie is the texture, but I am unsure how to translate that into a cupcake.  My sister-in-law, Paula, introduced me to The Farm Girl, and her recipe inspired me to give these a try.  On her blog I discovered chocolate snickerdoodle cookies.  It seems perfect. The following is my copy-cat version of  The Farm Girl's cupcakes/cookies.  I'm still drooling thinking about chocolate in my snickerdoodle.  The cupcake itself does not reflect the texture of a snickerdoodle, but that's why there is the cookie on top!!!

 Snickerdoodle Cake- adapted from The Farm Girl

3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 sticks butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
Cinnamon sugar: 
1 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together dry ingredients (except for cinnamon sugar).  In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 -3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour.  Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Frosting - adapted from The Farm Girl
(I could get used to cinnamon in my frosting!)

1/2c butter, softened
1/2c shortening
1 tsp vanilla
4 c powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons half-n-half
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream butter and shortening in mixer until smooth. Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar  Add half-n-half until the frosting is the consistency you would like for decorating. Add cinnamon and mix until combined. 

Frost cupcakes and top with 1/2 of a chocolate snickerdoodle.

Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies - The Farm Girl
1/2 c. butter flavored shortening (it's totally worth it)
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. cocoa
2 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
sugar, for rolling

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cream shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add vanilla and beat again.  

2.  In a medium bowl combine cocoa, flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and stir until completely incorporated.  Place extra sugar in a small bowl.  Roll mixture into small balls and roll in sugar.  Place about 2" apart on greased cookie sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Remove, let sit for 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes - Week 8

When  margarita cupcakes were suggested to me I was rather skeptical, but I think they are Yum-o! I searched high and low for a recipe for margarita cupcakes I found nearly 90% of the recipes used a box cake mix.  I am pretty anti-boxed mixes, for the purpose of this blog.  I thought about creating my own version using a favorite white cake recipe, but I did want to have to play trial and error this week.  I finally decided on a recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker.  Thanks to Kristen Lichtle for introducing me this blog.  I LOVE it!!

I made a few cupcake holders for these and I think they'd be really cute with either an umbrella or a straw placed off to the side.  Overall I think these turned out well. It's been a really long time since I've had a margarita, so I'm not sure they really taste like one.  The tequila flavor is mild, and I think it compliments the lime nicely. 

Margarita Cupcakes - from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes
For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!)
6. Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.
7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.
8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.
9. To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.

*Note #1: If you would prefer to not use liquor in these cupcakes, you can absolutely omit it from both the cupcakes and the frosting with no problem. If you do omit it, I would add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the frosting.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Got Recipes?

I have received several recipe ideas from other people as a result of blogging about my adventures in cupcakes.  Although completely unexpected, I really  appreciate this!!!  If you find something you think I should give a try, send it my way!  No promises I'll get to it right away, but I will add it to the cupcake list! 

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes - Week 7

This week I decided to create my own version of a homemade hostess cupcake. They turned out pretty well, but be warned they are a bit addictive.   My family loves dark chocolate, so these have a dark chocolate spin compared to a traditional hostess cupcake. Give them a try and tell me what you think!!!!

The Cake
The credit for the find of this cake recipe goes to my father-in-law, Jim. Thanks Dad!! Sadly he did not get to indulge in the temptation of tasting this delicious recipe. 

The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes -adapted from a Cooks Country Episode, Season 11
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 hot coffee (I made the coffee strong)
3/4 c bread flour
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 T vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refridgerator to cool completely.  Whisk flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together in a medium bolw;set aside. Whisk oil eggs vinegar and vanilla into cool chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth.  Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.  Fill muffin pans 2/3 full.  Bake until set an just firm to touch, 17-19 minutes.  Cool completely.  Makes 12-14 cupcakes

The Filling
I made the filling of a combination of a marshmallow cream recipe and a buttercream recipe.  I whipped 1/2 cup of the butter cream into the marshmallow cream. 

Marshmallow Cream: adapted from Annie's Eats

4 egg whites
 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix egg white, cream of tarter, and sugar together.  Heat in a double boiler over medium high heat.  Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 160 degrees. Transfer liquid into a mixing bowl and beat using a whisk attachment until fluffy and peaks form. Let cool.

Buttercream -   I usually do not use a specific recipe for buttercream, so this is what I threw in the mixing bowl this time around. 

 8T butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1-2 T heavy cream

Mix butter and powdered sugar together in a mixing bowl.  Beat in vanilla and cream. 
Filling a cupcake.
 I did not take pictures of how I did this, but it's not difficult.  Remove a small portion of the cake from the center of the cupcake.  I use a knife, or if I have been doing a lot of baking and have no clean knives I use a baby spoon.  (If you like a little more filling, remove a little more cake.  If you like a little less, remove a little less.  My tastes fall on the little more side of the spectrum.)   Pipe or spoon in filling.  I prefer piping filling. 

The Ganache

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips ( If you are a huge dark chocolate fan I suggest using bittersweet 
3/4 cup heavy cream

Mix chocolate and cream in a double boiler.  Stir regularly until smooth. Frost cupcakes. 

The Buttercream Curly Cues
To create the curly cues on top of the ganache, first let the ganache frosted cupcakes cool completely. Add a little more cream to the left over buttercream to make it a little less stiff.  Pipe curls onto cupcakes