Thursday, October 23, 2008

Anniversary Cake

I know this isn't cupcake related, but I attempted my first small wedding cake this week for Grammie & Pop's 60th Anniversary! Back when they got married in 1948, they didn't have a wedding cake, so I thought it would be nice if they had one to cut on this special anniversary.
The cake is my Mom's famous pound cake recipe that I absolutely love. I cheated a bit on the frosting and made a quick buttercream (instead of a traditional Swiss or French), but it was delicious! I was in a rush and didn't have time to ice it on the cake as smooth as I would have liked, but overall, it was beautiful and tasty.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Self Frosted Nutella Cupcakes

I love Nutella. On pretty much anything. I was eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon the other day when it donned on me to combine my two favorite things in the world. So I found a recipe for Nutella Cupcakes.

Now, I love icing. To me, a cupcake isn't really a cupcake with the icing... but I thought I'd give this "self frosted" recipe a try anyway.

Pretty delicious. I loved the flavor of the cupcake, however, I was a little disappointed that I didn't get more of the hazelnut taste. When the cupcake bakes, the Nutella hardens and isn't so rich and creamy anymore. What to do? Why, just ice with more Nutella, of course! That addition really helped (photo taken before I iced them).

Overall, these cupcakes were fun to make, but I probably won't make them again. I might try to make some kind of frosting using the Nutella next time instead, and forget the swirls altogether.

Self Frosted Nutella Cupcakes - Adapted from Baking Bites

10 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup (abt 1.5 tsp per cupcake)

Preheat oven to 325*F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter doesn’t look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full, if you’re not using a scoop. Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.

Bake for 20 minutes.Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nigella Lawson's Cupcakes

Sometimes when I wake up on Saturday mornings, Nigella Lawson's cooking show is on TV. The Food Network must not have filmed many episodes, because the same one always comes on, called "Just Desserts". She makes these cupcakes and they always look so beautiful and delicious. Nigella has a way of describing food so descriptively and elegantly, in that British accent of hers, that I literally want to jump through the TV screen and eat with her.

So I finally decided to make these simple vanilla cupcakes, with Royal icing.

I decided to bake them in these party nut cups that I purchased at Michaels, just for something different. I obviously filled them too full with the batter, because they spilled over and started growing limbs. I cut off the excess cupcake (and consumed!) and then frosted the tops with the royal icing.

Now for the review. The cake was absolutely delicious! It had tons and tons of flavor and was very sweet. I modified the icing recipe and left out the lemon juice (reviewers of this recipe said the lemon flavor was way too strong) and replaced with a little milk. The icing was super sweet. It looked so smooth and beautiful, but I definitely prefer soft, creamy buttercream to hard royal icing.

The recipe only makes 12, so I will probably modify it the next I bake them, so that I'll have 24.

Nigella Lawson's Cupcakes:

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon soft butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Take everything you need out of the fridge in time to get to room temperature - and this makes a huge difference to the lightness of the cupcakes later - and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put all of the ingredients for the cupcakes except for the milk into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel, to make a smooth dropping consistency.
Divide the mixture between a 12-bun muffin tin lined with muffin papers, and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. They should have risen and be golden on top. Let them cool a little in their tins on a rack, and then take them carefully out of the tin to cool in their papers, still on the wire rack.
Ice with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing:

2 large egg whites
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice or milk
Combine the egg whites and confectioners' sugar in a medium-size mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium speed until opaque and shiny, about 5 minutes. (Whisk in the lemon juice, this will thin out the icing.) Beat for another couple of minutes until you reach the right spreading consistency for the cupcakes.

Yield: sufficient to generously ice 12 cupcakes

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Martha? In Wally World??

So apparently Martha has a new line at WalMart called Martha Stewart Celebrate! I came across this cupcake stand; it's a 3-tiered stand with decorative scalloped trim that could be used to display cupcakes, favors, or other treats. It would even make a super cute centerpiece. Now if I can just get myself into that store...

Happy Birthday, Marmie!

A few weekends ago we celebrated my fabulous Mother's Birthday! I made the good ol' Magnolia Cupcakes (recipe in earlier post). Delicious as usual. Although I was in such a rush that I forgot to sift the powdered sugar. And for those of you who think it's ok to skip that step (I won't name you, but you know who you are!), it's not. The icing wasn't as smooth as it should have been; you could even see tiny little lumps. Lesson learned.
Happy Birthday to the best Mom in the whole world!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Cupcake Under Glass...

Plastic, actually. I got this delicious cupcake at the Cupcake Station in Detroit. I just love the carry-out container so much - such a great idea.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tea Party

My good friend threw a Tea Party for a friend's Birthday a few months ago. I baked some cupcakes for the event (Magnolia's recipe). Here are a few photos.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Billy's Vanilla Cupcake + Sprinkles Chocolate Frosting

I have heard lots of great things about Billy's Bakery in NYC... therefore, it is on my list of cupcakes to bake. He was on Martha awhile back and unveiled his Vanilla Cupcake recipe, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Overall, I was disappointed in the cupcake. First, they did not rise. All of my cupcakes looked stubby and wimpy. Secondly, those things were as heavy as bricks! The texture was definitely more like a pound cake than a cupcake. I will say though, that the flavor was superb.

I had hoped that Sprinkles, my all-time favorite cupcake would save the cake with the chocolate icing, but I'm sorry to report, that wasn't the case. I have tried to make this frosting before about 6 months again, and ended up throwing it out because it didn't work. So this time, I was extra careful to follow the directions and measurements exactly. Again, it turned out horrible. The texture wasn't smooth - it was lumpy and gritty. So I piped the icing, hoping that would conceal the texture of the icing, but it didn't. Very disappointing. This absolutely cannot be the real Sprinkles Chocolate Buttercream recipe... they are totally holding out on us! Here's the recipe anyway:

Billy's Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes about 30 cupcakes

1 ¾ cups cake flour, not self-rising

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Sprinkles Chocolate Frosting

6 oz. butterPinch of salt
2 ½ C confectioner’s sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled.

Beat butter and salt in stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 mins. Reduce speed, gradually add the sugar, until incorporated, stopping the mixer to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and chocolate, mix until combined, careful not to over mix and incorporate too much air.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Magnolia Vanilla Cupakes + Choclate Buttercream Icing

My first attempt - NYC's finest - Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Icing. My good friend Kristin and I got together and made these tasty treats one night. I must say - delicious!

The cake is a pretty good consistency, although I'd have to say they are a tad bit too dense for my taste. The flavor, however, is great.
The icing is good, but way too sweet. Nothin' wrong with sweet, but when you feel like your teeth are rotting away when you bite into one... that's a little much. The icing is very very creamy and light. I think I would like to find a chocolate icing with a little more weight to it.

Of course, we didn't even attempt the famous Magnolia swirl. Kristin did invent a new icing technique - "the spike". Looks a little like my husband's hair.
Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes

· 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
· 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
· 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
· 2 cups sugar
· 4 large eggs, at room temperature
· 1 cup milk
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Magnolia’s Chocolate Buttercream

· 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
· 2 tablespoons milk
· 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 ¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Melt chocolate over double boiler.

In large bowl on medium speed with an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, abut 3 mins. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 mins. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 mins. Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until creamy and of desired consistency.