Saturday, February 27, 2010

He Liked It So He Put A Ring On It Cupcakes


My friends Jess and Dan got engaged on Valentine's Day while cross-country skiing.  Basically, Dan liked it, so he put a ring on it.

Dan and Jess.... proposal part two with cuppy

I have been dreaming about making engagement cupcakes for my friends once they received the sparkly ring.  When I heard that Jess' mom was coming into town and that we would be going to a celebratory dinner, I knew that I wanted to surprise the happy couple and their guests with special cuppies.


Unfortunately, my surgery clerkship is coming to an end and that means that the available time for baking is between slim and none.  I had planned on making some candy diamonds and fastening them to fondant rings, but who has that kind of time?  I decided to take a trip to good 'ole Michaels and see what kind of goodies they had.  They have a whole wedding section that has cute little wedding bell candies and candy hearts and the like.  I found some "bling ring" candy that I decided would be a great accessory for an engagement cupcake.  You can purchase the exact candy rings that I used online here, but there are some similar rings here and a cocolate ring mold that would also be deliciously appropriate here.


I decided to go for a brownie cupcake with raspberry filling, mostly based on what I had around the house already and my desire for the cupcake frosting to be pink.  Chocolate and raspberry go so perfectly together... just like Jess and Dan!



Chocolate Brownie Cuppies - Adapted from Martha Stewart - Makes 12 Cupcakes
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature and cut into tablespoon pieces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2  cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a cupcake tin wtih paper liners.
  2. Using a double boiler (or a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water), melt the semisweet chocolate and butter together, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  3. Once the chocolate and butter are melted and uniform, remove from heat.  Use a whisk to combine the sugar and salt to the mixture.  Whisk until smooth.
  4. Whisk in the eggs.
  5. Whisk in the flour and cocoa until just combined.  Don't even think about overmixing.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs.
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then remove and set to cool completely on a cooling rack.



These cupcakes really give of an incredible aroma.  The kind of aroma you would want during an open house.  Licking the bowl wasn't too terrible, either.


The raspberry frosting is from my lemon raspberry cuppies recipe.  I'll repost it here:

Baa Baa's Raspberry Frosting - enough to generously frost one dozen cupcakes
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter,room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 oz raspberries
  1. Cream the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy with an electric mixer
  2. Slowly add the confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time to the butter, mixing until well combined after each addition.
  3. Add the milk. Mix well.
  4. Add the raspberries to the mixture.  If you prefer to not have seeds, puree in a blender and remove the seeds with a strainer before adding. Beat with the electric mixer until completely combined. The frosting will turn a bright pink color. You can add more milk or sugar to get a desired spreading consistency, if necessary.

I just placed the candy rings on top of the cuppies.  The rings on top of the cupcakes were SUCH a hit! 



I named them "he liked it so he put a ring on it" cuppies.


Anuja had some fun wearing the candy ring.  She's into bling.


It was such a pleasure to be able to take part in such a special occasion in Jess and Dan's lives!  And what better way than to celebrate with a cupcake?  I'm also especially honored that they asked me to do their wedding cake!  There will definitely be updates as I experiment to find the perfect dessert for them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes



Yes, I know that ice cream cone cupcakes have been done (many times) before.  But I have never made them before.  And I "happened" to have cones in my pantry.  And they are just so darn adorable.

It's very easy to make cupcakes that look like ice cream cones.  First, make your cuppies!  I used cake cones because they have a flat bottom, which makes them easier to bake, decorate, and serve.  I wrapped a cupcake tin in aluminum foil and poked holes in each depression where the paper normally sits.  I then pushed the cone through the hole in the foil so that they stood up, like so:


Then I made some cupcake batter.  I filled the cones full until about 1/4 of an inch from the top.  If you really want to be sneaky, you can put some chocolate chips at the bottom for a tasty surprise!  Then you bake them just like you normally would, although the baking time might be a little longer than normal depending on the size of the cone that you use. The cones do not burn, although if you drip batter on them the batter itself will burn.

I used a Wilton 1M tip with buttercream frosting to make the tops of the cupcakes look like soft serve ice cream.


You can use all different colors of frosting and sprinkles to make very attractive desserts.


Oooh, did you notice the blend of teal and white frosting on that front cone?  It's so easy to do!  You just need to stripe your bag.  All you need to do is add a stripe of colored frosting to your pastry bag:


Then you just fill the rest of your pastry bag with white (or whatever other color you want) and then the colors will swirl :)


Cupcake ice cream cones are very photogenic.  So I took about 1,000 pictures.  You can see the complete photostream on Flickr.



I used candy covered chocolate chips on these

The whole gang!

I actually made these to take to my classmates on one of our long lecture days.  They were a huge pain to transport to the hospital.  I tried to make a protective cocoon out of foil and plastic wrap:


If you look closely, you can see that there are cuppies in there:


Unfortunately, some of the cones still fell over in the car :(   People seemed to enjoy them nonetheless.  They are especially a good treat if you like frosting.  Some people took the frosting off and just dipped the cone in it.  They are cute, but they are not all that easy to eat!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcakes


Do you need to whip up some cupcakes in a hurry?  Are you or your guests not fans of frosting?  Well, then do I have a cupcake for you!

I modified an Epicurious recipe to make these cupcakes.  It's a great way to use leftover buttermilk from pink (red) velvet cupcakes.  It only takes about 15 minutes to whip these cuppies together!

Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcakes - Makes 12 cupcakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (shaken)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Sanding Sugar in the color of your choice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the sugar to the butter and beat on medium speed until combined.  
  5. Add the vanilla to the large bowl and mix until combined.
  6. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the large bowl.  Mix until just combined.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.  Spread the strawberries evenly among the cupcake liners.

9. Generously cover the pre-baked cupcakes with sanding sugar or any large sized sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw.  I happened to have some white and red sugar, which matched the strawberries.  Next time that I make these, I would add more sugar to the top.  It gives them a little crunch and looks sparkly once they are baked!


10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

And that's it!  They are a great early morning cupcake, too. You may be thinking that these cuppies need frosting or at least a glaze.  Don't cover up the berry and sugar top with that unnecessary frosting.  These cuppies can stand on their own without it.


Another thing that you can do with this recipe is that you can substitute the strawberry for any kind of fruit.  Just remember that if you are using frozen fruit you want to make sure that they are thawed a little before you use them.  This can be facilitated by running the frozen fruit under hot water.





Friday, February 19, 2010

Am I A Cupcake Hero?

Remember when I made those olive oil & citrus cupcakes with lemon glaze?  Here's a picture to jog your memory:


Well I made them for I Heart Cuppycakes' Cupcake Hero contest :)


If you are so inclined, you can vote for my cupcakes to be February's winner on her website (http://iheartcuppycakes.com/) - just vote for Baa Baa Cupcake on the poll on the right side of her blog between now and February 21st.  Thanks for your support, friends!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gimme S'more


Just because there is snow on the ground (well, here in Michigan, anyway) doesn't mean that you can't enjoy that tasty, outdoor campfire treat called s'more.  I have a favorite recipe that I use.  It's a slightly altered one found here on Martha Stewart's website.



I admit that it takes a lot of effort to make these cuppies.  However, it's unbelievably delicious and quickly became a favorite among my friends.  I'll share with you a little later how you can make some alterations that will create an easier but no less yummy cuppy.


I used the above cupcake liners because nothing screams s'more like plaid.  And you don't even need to go to a specialty shop online to find these! They are Reynolds Party Cups and I found them at a local grocery store in the baking aisle. 



S'more Cupcakes - Makes approximately 28 cupcakes

Cupcake:

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or approximately 18 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, add 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix with a whisk.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla on medium speed with an electric mixer
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until well combine.
  5. Add boiling water and stir to combine.  Set the cake batter aside.
  6. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl.   Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.  It will smell very, very good!
  7. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use a small glass to pack down the graham cracker at the bottom of the cupcake liner.  I used a small candle holder that I received from my cousin's wedding.   

 
Glass on top of graham cracker crust

  
aaaaaaaand.....

 
Ta da! Smooth graham cracker bottom   

9.  Cover the graham cracker layer with chocolate chips.  

 
You can use more chocolate chips if you like

10.  Place cupcake tins in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes.  The graham cracker crust should be nice and golden.  
11.  Remove from oven and fill the paper liners 3/4 full with batter.  Return the tins to the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
12.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin placed on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.  Then remove the cupcakes from the tin and allow them to completely cool on the wire rack.


Ok, now on to my favorite part: the marshmallow frosting!  I have made this frosting 3 times.  Twice with a hand mixer and once with a standing mixer.  It is MUCH easier to make with a standing mixer.  You can use a hand mixer, just prepare to be patient and give your arm a little workout. 
 
 

Marshmallow Frosting - Enough to generously cover at least 24 cupcakes
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a metal bowl. Set over a saucepan with simmering water to create a double boiler. Using a whisk attachment on a hand mixer, whisk continuously until the sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch.  This should take less than 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer contents to a large bowl at room temperature.  Using a whisk attachment, beat on low speed.  Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to high and keep whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form.  If you are using a standing mixer, this will take approximately 5 to 7 minutes but may take longer using a hand mixer. 
  3. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. 

It will come out decadently fluffy and sweet.  Just try not to eat some of it out of the bowl before it makes it onto a cupcake!

It is possible to swirl the frosting using a large zip-lock bag and cutting a corner off.  However, I used a pastry bag and a 1M Wilton tip.  If you make cupcakes frequently, it's worthwhile to purchase either a reusable pastry bag or some disposable pastry bags and a 1M tip.  They are not very expensive and it gives your cupcakes a professional look with minimal effort.



To finish off your cupcakes, transfer the frosting to a pastry bag with your 1M tip (or if you don't use Wilton, you could use Ateco #867 or Ateco #809).  Wilton has a good tutorial on how to do this here. They also tell you how to make the 1M swirl here.  Basically, hold the bag at 90 degrees to the cupcake.  Make a swirl from the outside of the cupcake into the center.


You're now at the last step... toasting the marshmallow!  If you are a lucky person with a kitchen torch, you can use that.  Otherwise, put your oven on broiler and place your cupcakes on the top shelf of the oven.  Watch them carefully! It should take about 8 seconds or so depending on your oven for the frosting to turn a nice brown color.


If you're feeling extra fancy, you can even add a little teddy graham or bunny graham to the cupcake at the end.  If you add it before you toast the cupcakes they might burn in the oven.



It's a lot of work, but worth it if you have the time and the energy.  If you don't you could replace store-purchased marshmallow fluff for the frosting (I don't know if you can make the swirl with it, though).  You can just use a chocolate box bake and forgo the crust and just stir some graham cracker pieces into the cake and save the entire baking adventure for another day. 
 

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