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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Win a $10.00 Gift Card to Tim Hortons or Starbucks

And the winner is.....Marcia!  Thanks to all who played along! 

This week A Cupcake Story hit 1000 page views!!!!  In celebration,  I'm doing a Starbucks or Tim Horton's gift card give away!!!!  Here are the details: 

1) Become a follower of my blog.
2) In the comments section of THIS BLOG POST- Leave a message as to your gift card preference and a way to contact you if you win (email or FB message)  
3)  Only individuals with a US mailing address will be eligible to win.
4)  My Five year old will randomly choose a winner from my blog followers on Tuesday November 1st.

Let your friends know!!!! Thanks and have fun!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes - Week 14

This delicious cupcake post dedicated to my dear friend Jamie!! Thanks so much for the idea.  My only regret about making this recipe is  not being able to deliver them to you!!!

If you are a cookie dough fan, then you don't want to skip this cupcake recipe!  If you are not a cookie dough fan, then shame on you!!!!  My only complaint  is  it might  be a little TOO much cookie dough.  (GASP!!! Until today I didn't think such a thing was possible!) Ladies, turn your brain on auto pilot when you see how much butter is in the recipe.  There's a lot of calories packed into a tiny wrapper, so plan on working in an additional jog the day you indulge.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Adapted From:  Annie's Eats

For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups), at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Line cupcake pan with 24 liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I did not use the filling from the original recipe.  I filled the cupcakes with safe to eat cookie dough.

Filling: Raw Cookie Dough (SAFE TO EAT!!!)
Adapted From: Cupcake Project

2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1c packed brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 T vanilla extract
4 T milk 
mini chocolate chips - use as many or as few as you would like

Mix all ingredients in a big bowl. That's it! To fill cupcakes, remove a small amount  of the cake from the top.  I prefer the cone method.  Then fill with the appropriate size ball of cookie dough.

Note:  This nearly double the amount of cookie dough that I needed.  I suggest cutting the recipe in half.  Another idea might be to make the whole recipe and save the left over in the fridge to shamelessly indulge in on a rough day.  

Cookie Dough Frosting
Source: Annie's Eats

3 sticks unsalted butter (1 1/2 cups), at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons milk
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.  This recipe make enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche - Week 13

I have wanted to make dulce de leche for 12 weeks, and I finally decided I would pair it with pumpkin!!  The perfect fall combo.  These cupcakes scream fall flavor!  They seem as if they have a lot of steps, but if you make the dulce de leche ahead of time they come together quickly!   The end result it a rich treat! If you are looking for something a little less rich, do not fill the cupcake. 

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, "What is dulce de leche?"  I am honored that my little blog gets to introduce it to you.   Dulce de leche is a thick milk based caramel spread. In Rachel terms, it's heaven on a spoon!!!  It's absolutely worth the wait time that it takes while you are making it!   I did cheat a little bit when I made it this time around.  I did not start it from scratch.  I made it using a can of sweetened condensed milk.  There are many different ways to prep it, but I choose to follow the seasoned advice from Steph at Cupcake Project.  I have not included how to make it in my recipe, but click on the link to see her extremely easy method.  It's extremely easy!  All you need is a crock pot, sweetened condensed milk, and 8-10 hours!

Dulce De Leche -Crock Pot Method 

Pumpkin Cupcakes- 
This cupcake is delicious and moist! 
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 12 cupcakes Ingredients
1 cup pluse 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
7.5 ounces pureed pumpkin

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

When I was trying to decide how to decorate this cupcake, I came across the exact cupcake I was attempting to make at The Sweetest Kitchen.  She even used the same Martha recipe I did.  I thought my cupcake idea was brilliant, but apparently it's not my cupcake idea at all!!!  I'm posting the frosting recipe from her page, because it's approximately what I did, but I didn't measure!

Dulce De Leche Buttercream
From The Sweetest Kitchen
Makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons prepared dulce de leche

Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer. Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.

I filled the cupcake with Dulce De Leche and made the spider web by piping on melted chocolate chips!

Enjoy!!!! Let me know what you think in the comment section!!!  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apple Pie - Week 12

 A few weeks ago we took our boys to a local apple orchard and it inspired me to start looking for apple cupcake recipes.   Delicious yet slightly messy to eat.  Enjoy!!! 
Apple Pie Cupcakes

Adapted from Annie's Eat
Yield: 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2  tsp cinnamon 
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
For the apple filling: (I doubled the filling recipe to fill 24 cupcakes)
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
2-4 tbsp. sugar
3 large apples, peeled, cored and diced  (I used Yellow Delicious)  

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine.  Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3-3/4 full.  Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the apple filling, heat the butter a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble.  Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples.  Mix well.  Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

While the apple mixture is cooling,  use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake.  Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture.  What's the cone method?  It's pretty simple.  Use a knife to cut out a cone shape out of the center of your cupcake. 

 I drizzled a caramel syrup over the tops and then topped them off with a swirl of vanilla buttercream. 

Caramel Syrup
15 caramels
2-4 T half in half
Place unwrapped caramels and half in half in a microwave bowl.  Heat for 1min 30seconds, stir well.  Continue to heat in 30 sec increments until mixture is smooth.  

Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c Crisco
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2-4 T half in half
Cream butter and Crisco.  Beat in sugar until fluffy, approximately 2 minutes.  Mix in sugar and Vanilla.  Add half in half one tablespoon at a time until frosting is the desired consistency. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mocha Cupcakes - Week 11

“Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed, but cupcakes makes it worthwhile."   Combine cupcakes and coffee and you have pure delight! 

If you know me, then you know I am a coffee addict.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE coffee, and I am fairly certain I need it almost like I need air.  (I can see my husband shudder as he reads the previous statement.  Insert his rant on my caffeine addiction here.)  This week's cupcake is a salute to my addiction.  This recipe is from the blog Life in a Peanut Shell.  

This cupcake creation is NOT overly sweet, but it is big on coffee taste.  If you are not much for coffee, this week will not be your favorite cupcake.  I think these are DELICOUS!!  I particularly enjoy  the light and fluffy whipped topping.  The whipped cream certainly makes the mocha!!!   If you'd prefer frosting on the sweeter side I suggest adding confectioners sugar to the whipped mocha ganache.

FRIENDLY WARNING - If you are like me and you taste as you go, caffiene/sugar buzz may directly co-inside with the making of these cupcakes.  Maybe my caffeine frenzy could be directly related to the fact that I had three cups of coffee prior to making these.

Chocolate Coffee Cupcake
(Recipe Adapted From Daniel Boulud)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup instant coffee powder (I used nearly double this amount)
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter -- at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

To make the chocolate-coffee cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin cups with paper liners.

Combine the milk, cocoa, coffee and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, constantly whisking, until the cocoa and coffee have dissolved. Let cool and pour into a liquid measure.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture in three batches, ending with the liquid. Fill each muffin cup halfway with the batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. My cupcakes only baked for approx 16 minutes.  Watch these very closely because they go from being perfect to dry very quickly.  I got 20 cupcakes from the recipe.  

Espresso Buttercream  adapted from Life in a Peanut Shell

This is the frosting recipe I used to fill these cupcakes.  It is YUMMY!!!

1 cup butter, softened or at room temperature
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3-4 Tablespoons Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso & Cream, or until desired consistency

Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy (Approimately three minutes.) Add Espresso until frosting reaches desired consistency.  This made more than enough frosting to fill the cupcakes.  You can probably half this recipe and still have extra frosting.  I choose to make the entire recipe and then enjoyed a spoonful or two.  :)  

 I topped the cupcakes with the suggested ganache and whip cream.  My adaptations of the recipes follow.  

Whipped Mocha Ganache adapted from Life in a Peanut Shell

1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup coffee beans -- crushed
8 ounces milk chocolate -- finely chopped 

Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream and coffee beans in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean sauce-pan and bring back to a boil. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over it, stirring slowly, until the ganache is smooth.  Let ganache cool to room temperature and then whip in a mixer until fluffy.  Spoon enough ganache over cupcakes.  

White Chocolate Whipped Cream adapted from Life in a Peanut Shell

8 ounces of white chocolate chopped
2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Put the white chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. In a small sauce bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1-minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the white chocolate cream stand until cooled to room temperature.
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream and vanilla until softly whipped. Stir in the white chocolate cream and beat until fairly stiff. taking care not over beat, which would cause the ganache to separate.

This makes almost double the amount needed to frost 20 cupcakes, however it is also really good with strawberries.  Save the extra whip cream in the refrigerator and use it with strawberries a few days later.  If you choose to save this make sure to re-whip before serving!