Monday, November 9, 2009

happy fall, ya'll

I'm not big on pumpkin pie, but I love pumpkin-flavored baked goods. So when I saw this recipe, I couldn't resist. These were easy to make and went quickly at our work Thanksgiving potluck.
ps- canned pumpkin is on the aisle with the apple sauce & canned fruit, not with the yams & veggies.
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting
From Smitten Kitchen, Adapted from David Leite
Yield: 17 to 18 cupcakes (don't even try to get 24 out of this like I did. trust me)

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
* (Instead of these 4 spices, I used 2 teaspoons of apple pie spice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (little less than 2 cans)

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I think more like 1/2 cup of have been better... will do that next time).

Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° (175°C). Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.
2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
3. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grazie Mille!

Thank you to Kendall for bringing me back this adorable cupcake shirt all the way from Rome. It's the next best thing to gelato or those delicious little Italian cookies! Grazie Kendall!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July! Today I made some simple red, white & blue cupcakes for a cookout. I cheated and used a box mix (white cake) and then Nigella Lawson's Royal Icing, which is very forgiving. Just spread it around the top of the cupcake it becomes smooth and shiny. Taste wise, I definitely prefer a buttercream frosting, but I was low on powdered sugar, so this worked out well. I let the icing set for a few minutes and then added some blueberries & raspberries. Easy and delicious!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hello, Sprinkles!

Last week I traveled to Dallas for work with my husband. We were fortunate to have enough time to make a "required" stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes. I love the modern design of the place. It's sleek and clean and has lots of natural light. They have a "cupcake bar" where you can sip a coffee and eat your delicious cupcake while people-watching out the window.

I love these fabric cupcakes placed under the glass on the bar. Each flavor has a different colored dot.

A trip to Dallas would not be complete without taking some of these babies back home to Florida. Oh, a dozen should do it. I had to check them through security at the airport and the lady at the X-ray scanner yelled out "Who's cupcakes are these?" I proudly exclaimed, "Mine!" And she said, "You know there's one missing. Don't go blaming the TSA employees for eating your cupcake". (I just got a little hungry on the way to the airport, okay?). The flavors included: chocolate marshmallow, vanilla with chocolate icing, ginger lemon, cinnamon sugar, red velvet, dark chocolate, peanut butter chocolate and black & white! Yum!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Cupcakes

My Mom is one of my biggest fans, especially when it comes to my baking. So I wanted to make her the perfect Mother’s Day Cupcakes. Yellow with chocolate is her favorite, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out this moist yellow cake recipe (altered for cupcakes) from one of my favorite baking blogs. This is a first for the butter flavouring and I was pleasantly surprised. I have to say, I think this cupcake recipe trumps Magnolia. It’s not nearly as dense; it’s lighter, but without being spongy or airy. It’s so moist and delicious, even my Mom votes for this recipe. I think it's now going to be my standby yellow cake recipe! Try it out and let me know what you think.

Moist Yellow Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter (room temperature)
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
3 cups of sifted self-rising flour (White Lily)
1 cup of whole milk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon butter flavouring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 24 cupcake tins.
Using a mixer, cream butter until fluffy.
Add sugar and continue to cream for about 7 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg is added.
Add flour and milk (alternating to creamed mixture), beginning and ending with flour.
Add vanilla and butter flavoring to mix; until just mixed.
Spoon batter into liners, filling them about three-quarters full.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes (depending on your oven) until done.
Cool for 5 - 10 minutes.

For the icing, I used Magnolia’s Chocolate Buttercream. Yum!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mini Baby Shower Cupcakes

We had a baby shower at work and mini cupcakes just seemed appropriate. They turned out wonderful. The cake is a new yellow cake recipe that I just tried, which was delicious and very moist. Unfortunately, I ran out of steam at 11pm and dug through the pantry and found a can of chocolate icing. I piped it on so it looked homemade and topped them with tiny silver dragées. I remember using these as kid to decorate cookies, but I was never able to find in the stores later in life. Apparently the FDA took them off the market or something ridiculous. So what's a girl to do but go to Italy to buy some. I found them in a tiny grocery store in Rome. And the way I see it, if they're good enough for Rome, they're good enough for me!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My First Cake Dome

I've always wanted a cake dome. My sweet Mom just picked this up for me at an estate sale for only $5. It looks even prettier with cupcakes inside of it!

Monday, February 9, 2009


My best friend is getting married next month so my Mom and I gave her a shower on Sunday. Since it's so close to Valentine's Day, we did a red and white theme. I bought these cute little plastic takee outee boxes for the favors, but didn't want to fill them with the usual candy kisses, so I made mini cupcakes. We tied them with ribbon, printed everyone's names on them and then used them as the place settings. A delicious take away.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vanilla's Cupcakery

I have been meaning to post about the new (well, not so new anymore) cupcake shop in Jacksonville. It's called Vanilla's Cupcakery and is located on St. John's Avenue. I went a few months ago and got 4 cupcakes to go: 2 vanilla cake with chocolate icing, one strawberry, and one chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. Exremely delicious.

I went back over the holidays and discovered that they had changed their cupcake size from standard to jumbo. More for your money...good. But jumbo cupcakes... bad. There's something about the standard cupcake size that is delicate and simple. The jumbo ones just don't look as cute and "bite-size" to me. But they did have some new flavors (my friend Kristin and I cut ours in half and shared). They revamped the Strawberry cupcakes (which totally tasted like Bryers strwaberry ice cream!), and I was brave enough to try the Aztec Hot Coca flavor. It was definitely different.

Anyway. If you're in the area, definitely stop by. The cupcakes run from $2.50-$3.50 depending on the flavor.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cupcakes in NYC

A few weeks ago I went to visit my good friend in New York City. We both have an affinity for cupcakes, so we made a point to stop at some of the most delicious bakeries. Our original plan for the "cupcake tour" didn't officially happen, because we we always too full to stop at yet another bakery.

I did come across these too-cute-to-eat cupcakes in Chelsea Market.

We also made it to Billy's Bakery in Chelsea. I have been wanting to try this place for awhile after seeing the owner do a segment on Martha. The cupcakes were very good, and the shop was cute, too.

Of course I couldn't go to NY without a trip (okay - trips) to my favorite bakery of all, Magnolia. There is a new one that has opened in Rockefeller Center that is not as crowded as the one located in the Village, where the line wraps around the building!
So many places on the list that we didn't make it to. Like Buttercup, Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Two Little Red Hens, so I have plenty of reasons to return!