Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Champagne Cupcakes - Happy New Year!

The year is just about at its end.  What better way to celebrate than with cupcakes?

I have dabbled in the world of alcoholic cupcakes before with Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, but New Year's Eve always has a champagne toast.  Champagne cuppies it is!

I spent four dollars on some champagne, so it wasn't that great and I therefore opted not to put any in the frosting.  However, if you get some good spumanti or asti, feel free to replace the vanilla in a frosting with champagne.

The following cupcake recipe just uses a cup of champagne and will have a hint of champagne flavor.  It's also a light cake with the egg whites folded in at the end so that it stays fluffy.

Champagne Cupcakes - Makes approximately 4 dozen mini-cupcakes
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup champagne
  • 6 egg whites
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini-cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. Cream the butter for 2 minutes on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the sugar to the butter and beat together until fully incorporated and smooth on medium speed.
  4. In a separate small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt with a whisk.  
  5. Add the dry mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the champagne until fully incorporated.  The batter will be sort of sticky.
  6. In a separate smaller bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.  
  7. Fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter.  
  8. Fill the paper liners 2/3 full and bake for 11-13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

I just used a regular vanilla frosting recipe and a 1M tip to make the little swirl.  I rolled out some fondant that I purchased at Michael's and used some Wilton ready-made cake decals that said "celebrate," "cheers," and had the decorative swirls to make little edible placards for the cupcakes.

Have a safe new year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ain't No Mountain High Enough: Skier Cupcakes

Every year, my family is on a ski trip when it's my brother's birthday.  Jason happens to love skiing, and many of his birthday cakes from the local grocery store featured a skier figure, much like the one on the cupcake above.  About 1/3 of the time, Jason has selected a Yule Log cake for his birthday.  He likes the way they look, even though he dislikes the raspberry jam that's in it.  This year I thought ski-themed cupcakes would be perfect for his birthday.  What did he choose?


I always wonder what the people at the bakery think when they write "Happy Birthday" on a Yule Log.

Despite Jason not picking cupcakes for his birthday treat, I still wanted to make ski mountain cupcakes.  My family had a dinner date with some friends and so what would my contribution be?  Ski cuppies!

When we were at the grocery store getting the ingredients for the cupcakes, I asked the bakery counter if they would sell me some plastic skiers.  I got a cute little package of two plastic skiers and two pine trees.  Perfect!  I would make the rest of the cupcakes look like moguls with frosting and coconut.

Since I am not home, I used a box mix... again.  However, I added a cup of mini-chocolate chips to give it an extra burst of chocolate.  I used Martha Stewart's Fluffy Vanilla Frosting to top of the cuppies.  I used a knife to make a mound of frosting (my mom came over and demanded more frosting).  I dumped some sweetened shaved coconut into a shallow bowl and dipped the frosted cupcakes into the coconut to make the moguls look snowy.  If you have white/clear sanding sugar, you could use that instead of the coconut.

Chocolate cuppies hot out of the oven!

I used an extra dab of frosting to get the skier to stay.  Since I'm not with my SLR camera, my dad and I used our phone cameras to take the cuppies on a little photo shoot.

Would you like to make your own skier cupcakes?  You can purchase a skiier here or here and trees here.  You can even ask a local grocery store bakery if they will sell you some.

Oh, and did anyone notice the new Baa Baa Cupcake layout?  Do you like it?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chai Tea Spice Cupcakes

Are you still looking for a good cupcake recipe for the holidays?  You already made some gingerbread cookies, and peppermint, let's face it, isn't really that yummy. I made these Martha Stewart Chai Tea Spice cupcakes with condensed milk glaze about a month ago.  They are soooo good!  I would recommend buying some nice black tea with which to make these cupcakes.  Look for a store where you can buy it loose-leaf as you don't really need all that much.  It has a delicate spice that is balanced with the sweetness of the condensed milk.

I didn't alter the recipe at all, so I won't repost it.  It's found in Martha Stewart's cupcake compendium.  This recipe does require quite a few different spices.  I'm a compulsive buyer when it comes to baking goods.  However, the spices are pretty common for apple cider and the like, so you might just have some cloves and nutmeg hanging around the house.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures!

As evident form the above picture, I had some fall/Thanksgiving cupcake liners left over :)

I also like how the glaze looks when it just drips over the edge.  I used the method of dipping the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze and then quickly turning them over.  And of course, I topped them with the dragees that I have.  No matter how frequently I use them, I always have some left in my sprinkle drawer!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hanukkah Cupcakes

I snagged some cute star of David sprinkles a couple of weeks ago and decided to bring some Hanukkah cupcakes to work last week.

Nothing too special.  I just put the sprinkles in a shallow bowl and rolled the edges of the cupcakes in the sprinkles.

I had some gold dragees leftover so I put those on there too to make it more festive.

I used a Red Velvet Without the Red recipe.  More on that another time. Chag Sameach!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I like it when you call me big cuppy

Jordan bought be a Big Top Cupcake mold a couple of weeks ago.  Perhaps you have seen the commercial.  However, you might be like me and not own a TV and just have a blank stare when I say "big top cupcake."  It's a large silicone cupcake mold that is 25x the size of a regular cupcake! WHOA!

I actually don't tend to use silicone when I make my cupcakes, since the point of silicone is that you can reuse it and I never want to track down people after I give them a tasty treat.  However after using these molds I am now no longer afraid.  Just be sure to spray the mold with adequate cooking spray (or use the Wilton Cake Release, which works amazing) and your cake will easily pop out.

I used the mold for the first time yesterday to make a huge cuppy for Jordan's birthday.  He really enjoyed the Snickers Cupcakes that I made a little while back, so I decided to give it a shot at the big time.

Unfortunately, I have a big exam coming up next week and I just couldn't devote the time to making a full cake from scratch... so... I used box cake.  I really dislike box cake because it tastes a little bit like chemicals to me, but it's definitely a lot faster than gathering all of the ingredients from the store and around your kitchen.

To make the cake part, I used one box of Devil's Food Cake and then chopped up a bunch of fun sized snickers and put them in the batter.  I divided the batter evenly between the two halves of the Big Top cupcake mold.

After letting it bake for about 35 minutes, it was ready!

The big top!

First, I used a knife to level the two halves.  This is what was left over, which my roomies were happy to munch on:

I then made the chocolate malt frosting from the Snickers Cupcake recipe.  I noticed that I had a typo, which I corrected.  I sometimes write these posts when I am quite tired, so if something looks a little funny to you, let me know!  Otherwise I don't notice until I use my blog to make the recipes again.  Yep! I use this thing too :)

I then decided to take things a step further since the cupcake cake is a much larger canvas to use than a regular cupcake.  I wanted to make something to resemble the nougat inside an actual snickers bar.  I had some marshmallow fluff sitting around (I do a lot of impulse buying and therefore buy a lot of random things that I think might be useful for baking in the future).  This is what I came up with:

Faux Nougat Filling 

  • 1 1/2 cup Marshmallow fluff (this stuff sure is sticky! Go ahead and approximate)
  • 1 tsp butter, room temperature
  • Caramel Sauce
  1. Combine the fluff and the butter in a medium sized bowl.  Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to mix it up.  As the fluff gets warm, it should mix better with the butter.
  2. I used a squeeze bottle of Caramel Sauce and I just sort of squeezed in some caramel without measuring.  Sorry.  But just sort of add it to taste.  I probably added a couple of tablespoons.
Ok, now you have the filling.  To fill the cupcake, take your frosting and squeeze out a ring of frosting along the bottom, which will create a dam to prevent the nougat goo from coming out.  You can use any large tip or a plastic zip-lock bag with the corner cut off.  Once you have your ring of frosting, pour in your faux nougat.  Mine looked like this:

Hooray! Ok, now place the top of your cupcake over it.

Bravo! Now it's looking like a cupcake.  Don't worry about the fact that there is a little space in between the top and bottom layer as you will cover it up with frosting.

I then used an off-set spatula to cover the top of the cupcake with frosting.  I then used a large star tip to make it a little more fancy looking.

And then another view from above:

I couldn't just let it be.  I had a lot more chopped up Snickers bars.  And more Caramel sauce!

Oh yea.  That's more like it!

The restaurant where we had dinner for his birthday kept it in the back and then brought it out as a surprise once we had all finished eating.  Jordan's first thought: "Wow, they serve giant cupcakes here?"  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I can't wait to make more giant cupcakes in the future!

PS - The title is to be sung/said like you are the Notorious B.I.G.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do you Baa Baa Cupcake at home?

My longtime friend, Jess, does! She wanted to surprise her boyfriend, Clint, with some cupcakes. She selected my Lemon Rasperry Cupcakes since Clint likes lemon.

She sent me such a nice text message:

Omg that recipe was so easy and they came out GREAT! Clint loved them and the frosting was SO GOOD. Thanks!!

Followed by an email with a picture:

Dear baa baa cupcake,

Thank you.

Jess and Clint

Thanks, Jess, for trying one of my recipes.

Have you tried anything that I have featured on a blog? Shoot me an email with your pictures at baabaacupcake at gmail dot com.

Keep on bakin'!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Second Cake

Ok, I know it's not a cupcake, and I do love cupcakes, but I took a cake decorating class and I wanted to share my final product with you. It's the second cake that I have ever made. The worst part was smoothing out the frosting on the top and sides and then when my sweater got stuck around my neck when I tried to take it off. It was pretty terrible.

The cake ended up being pretty delicious and it was a big hit even though I served it at morning report at 8am. The inside had a saffron and rosewater cream filling.

I made the roses first and then placed them on the cake.

Hopefully I'll get to take more cake decorating classes. Unfortunately my surgery rotation starts in January, so it might be a while before I am baking any full size cakes. So until then... cuppies rule!

Sweet Peas around the bottom :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Like the Deserts Miss the Rain: Prickly Pear Cupcakes!!

The gray cloud coverage during the winter months in Michigan has sadly started. No snow on the ground, but it's certainly cold! This is now my 7th winter living in a cold place, but as I have mentioned before, I hail from a desert, and I think that I will never get used to dressing in layers and seeing the sun less than 363 days a year.

You can therefore imagine my excitement when I saw these prickly pear fruits (also known as cactus fruit) in my local grocery store! If you live in an area where these are native, you could even just go out and collect them.... with some thick gloves, of course!

I remember the days of my desert biology class in elementary school and going on field trips and eating prickly pear candy. After the nostalgia wore off, I knew that I had to purchase some and turn them into my adult love: cupcakes!

For my recipe you only need two prickly pear fruits. It takes a little bit of work, and the flavor is sort of difficult to describe. But hey, who doesn't like trying something new and exotic?

The cupcakes involve first making a prickly pear syrup and then using that in the batter and in the frosting.

Prickly Pear Syrup - makes approximately 1 cup
  • 2 prickly pears
  • 1 cup of sugar
  1. Carefully peel the outter skin of the prickly pear fruit.
  2. Cut the prickly pear fruit into medium pieces and place in a blender.
  3. Pulse the sliced fruit until liquid.
  4. Using a strainer, separate the liquid from the large, black seeds. THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT! I didn't do this and prickly pear seeds are not chewable, even when cooked. No one likes a stone surprise when they chew cupcakes. You should end up with about one cup of juice.
  5. Pour the prickly pear juice into a saucepan and add the sugar. Turn the heat on to low-medium and stir continuously until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool. This will last in your refrigerator for a least a week in an airtight container.
Ok. Now you have your prickly pear syrup. Now on to the goodies...

Prickly Pear Cupcakes - makes approximately 15 cupcakes

  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup prickly pear syrup
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners
  2. In a large bowl, add the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together with a wire whisk.
  3. Add the oil, water, prickly pear syrup, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed iwth an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. For the meringue, in a separate small bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff.
  5. Fold the meringue into the batter until lightly mixed. Your batter will be relatively thing, but a beautiful pink color:
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter.
  7. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then move to a cooling rack to completely cool.
Unfortunately, your cupcakes will not stay that brilliant pink color after being baked. They will look more like this:

I tried to capture the steam coming out of a nice and warm one. If you look closely I think that you can see it:

Don't worry, though. You'll get that natural pink color back!

Pink Prickly Pear Frosting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup prickly pear syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3-6 cups confectioner's sugar
  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Make sure that it's nice and smooth!
  2. Add one cup of confectioner's sugar. Beat until completely added to the butter.
  3. Add the syrup and milk. Beat until well combined.
  4. Continue to add the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency and sweetness. If it gets too dry or stiff, add a little bit more milk.

Getting ready to decorate! I used a 2D tip.

Let me know what your think about prickly pear! I think that it is sort of like a mix between a fruity flavor and a mild bubblegum, but maybe I'm just moved by the pink!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Snickers Cupcakes

The blog posts are starting to be quite behind my baking, which can only mean one thing: I'm on inpatient again. Yes, inpatient pediatrics. And it's that time of year for RSV and influenza and all sorts of other goodies so it has been quite busy.

I made these a couple of weeks ago, inspired a prior attending's craving for a snickers bar one afternoon. It was aright after Halloween, so I was able to buy those cute little "fun sized" snickers on sale. I brainstormed for quite a while about what to do about the nougat part of the snickers bar, which is actually my favorite part. The nougat recipes I found online didn't really appeal to me. That meant that I had to be creative.

I made mini-cupcakes, so I decided not to add on any peanuts since I thought that would be sensory overload. However, don't let my choice stop you from topping the cuppies off with some peanuts. Heck, put them inside of your cupcakes!

I think that I may have mentioned this in a prior cuppy post, but it's worth typing it again: you do not want to pinch pennies when purchasing your cocoa powder! It's worth it to buy some nice chocolate - you'll be able to taste a difference.

Snickers Cupcakes

Chocolate & Snickers Cake - makes approximately 4 dozen mini-cupcakes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • approximately 24 fun-sized snickers, frozen and then cut in half
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini-cupcake pans with paper liners
  2. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl.
  3. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla to the above mixture and beat with an electric mixer until nice and foamy.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (minus the snickers) together.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until smooth and well mixed.
  6. Fill the paper liners approximately 3/4 full of batter. Place a frozen half piece of snickers into the cupcake, cut end down.
  7. Bake for about 13-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Ok, so why put the Snickers cut end down? Because otherwise you might get a little cave in your cupcake when the caramel starts to bubble in the oven:

Actually, it's not that big of a deal since you can just cover it with some frosting!

Chocolate Malt Frosting - enough to cover 48 mini cupcakes
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • heaping 1/3 cup of chocolate malt powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Cut the stick of butter into smaller pieces and place into a medium sized bowl
  2. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the chocolate malt powder and cocoa powder to the milk in a small bowl. Whisk until the powders have dissolved.
  4. Add the vanilla to the milk mixture and stir with a spoon.
  5. Alternate adding the milk mixture and the confectioner's sugar to the butter, mixing well after each addition. You may use more or less confectioner's sugar, based on the consistency you desire.
  6. If the frosting becomes too stiff, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

This may have been the best job that I have done with a frosting completely from my imagination. Mmmm I love malted milk, and I think it did a good job taking the place of the nougat.

And last but not least... top off those cuppy babies with a little caramel syrup. No one will know if you use store bought syrup, which is what I did.

Oh yes. Much better. I made these the night before and put them in the refrigerator overnight and they still tasted great the next day.

One last note. I normally used a Wilton 1M tip to decorate my cupcakes. I used a 2D tip, which I think I like better.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a rose by any other name

I just wanted to share some icing roses that I made. It took me a while to make them actually look like roses and not like a pathetic blob. I'm not good enough to make a tutorial, but you can see some nice directions by Wilton here. I'm left handed, and I actually needed someone to show me how to do it as a lefty, since watching videos of right handed people making them wasn't all that helpful to me. The secret is to use very stiff icing. You can use the vanilla buttercream recipe that I shared with you (it's the second recipe on that post), but once you're done keep on adding confectioners sugar until you can stick a spatula in it and the spatula will stay standing up. If you're icing is creamy and smooth, you'll get a wilting rose!


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