Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrating 100 posts with a giveaway :)

Wow!  I can't believe that I have had my blog just over a year and that I made it to 100 posts with my Dulce De Leche entry.  I have a cupcake book to giveaway as a thank you for reading :)


Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

two dulce de leche

Ahh... dulce de leche: milky caramel goodness.  I've had it inside churros in Costa Rica, in cookies in Ecuador, and in ice cream in places far less exciting than Latin America.  I have been wanting to make a dulce de leche cupcake for a while.  I don't have enough time to make dulce de leche myself (and let's be honest: I'm not brave enough) so I purchased a small can  (La Lechera) of it from the grocery store to make these chocolate dulce de leche cupcakes.

There are really two ways that you can make this.  Either add a couple of tablespoons to your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, or follow the instructions below.  You'll end up not needing an entire can of dulce de leche, but you can always use it on ice cream, drizzled on top of the cupcakes, as a cupcake filling, or find a spoon to eat it with.

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Chocolate Dulce De Leche Cupcakes - Makes about 18 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 4-5 tablespoons dulce de leche


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners. 
    2. In a large  bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
    3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and water.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until well combined and smooth.
    4. Spoon in heaping tablespoons of the dulce de leche.  Mix well with the beater.  
    5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes for regular sized cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
            
These cupcakes come out very moist and have a nice hint of dulce de leche in them.  The frosting of these cupcakes, however, is what makes them special.

dulce de leche cupcakes from above

Dulce De Leche Buttercream
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3-4 tablespoons dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.  Don't cheat - you want to make sure the butter is nice and soft when you do this, not hard as a rock and straight from the fridge.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time to the butter mixture.  It will look somewhat dry when all of the sugar has been added.
  3. Add the milk and mix well.
  4. Add one tablespoon of dulce de leche at a time and mix well after each addition.  I used 4 tablespoons because I wanted a strong flavor in my frosting.  Be warned that it will make your frosting sweeter with each addition.  
 I brought these cuppies with me to camp and people were still talking about the frosting 2 weeks later.  Mm.... dulce de leche.  I used a wilton 2D tip and pearlized jimmies to give them a little something special on top.  Mini or regular size, these cuppies are a winner!


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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dress me up, cupcake

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I compulsively buy cupcake liners.  I have an entire box of them in my kitchen.  You never know when you are going to need a purple polka-dot liner, or Wall-E, and Halloween will definitely be here before you know it.  I bought some beautiful folded cupcake liners a few months ago.  They are sort of expensive (you can purchase some online here) but I like how they add elegance to the cupcake without any additional work.

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Icing the cupcakes was more of a challenge than it usually is, but still doable! :)  

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I'm making the cupcakes for a wedding of two people from camp in about a month, and I wanted to show them all the amazing things that one can do with cupcakes.  I think hundreds of cupcakes in the pleated baking cups would be overwhelming.  What do you think?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spice Up Your Life

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I'm back from spending the last 2.5 weeks on the west side of the state working at a camp for children with bleeding disorders.  Amazingly, I received school credit for basically being a kid again (oh, and working in the camp health center, too).  I worked with amazing co-counselors, learned a lot about what it's like for children living with hemophilia, and even got to swim in a lake and do arts and crafts.  I will be blogging about the cupcake decorating class that I did with the older campers in the future (did you really think that I wouldn't think about cupcakes just because I was at camp?!).

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These are a variation on a Martha Stewart's Cupcakes recipe.  I didn't love them.  They taste a lot like a chocolate version of gingerbread.  I don't like gingerbread, but Sara (who makes her own gingerbread) enjoyed these cuppies.  Some of the people I fed them to expressed disappointment that they weren't as chocolatey tasting as they looked.  If you want something different and like spice, give these a try.

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Chocolate-Spice Cupcakes - Makes about 12
  •  5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line cupcake tins with paper liners
  2. Stir baking soda into the boiling water (it will bubble)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the b utter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and mix well.
  6. Add the molasses and baking-soda mixture and beat until well combined.
  7. Using low speed, slowly add the flour mixture.  Continue to mix until the batter becomes relatively smooth (it may be somewhat lumpy when you spoon it into the liners).
  8. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter.  These cupcakes will rise beautifully (remember all that baking soda you added?) so don't be too generous when dishing out the batter
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean.


I didn't try this, but I wouldn't be surprised if these taste yummy out of the oven warm with some butter.  OK, everything pretty much tastes yummy with some extra butter....

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I topped these with some sweet buttercream frosting to even out the spiciness and some orange sugar.  Honestly, I don't know that I will be making these again, but if you try these out let me know how you liked them! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Let me see your grills

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It seems like it has been ages since I have last updated.  I live in a very charming house that was build sometime in the early 20th century, which means that there is no central air.  The heat is on here in Michigan.  And you know how the saying goes... if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen (in this case, literally).

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I can't take credit for coming up with the idea for these cuppies on my own.  I saw them on the Disney family website (they have a great video on how to make them here).   You can get really creative with what you put on the grill by molding different candies to put on the grill.  I used some red and orange colored sugar to make it look like there was a fire under the grill.  I used a Wilton 3 tip to make the lines of the frosting. 

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The hot dogs are hot tamales that have little grill lines on them with an edible marker.  The hamburgers (veggie burgers?) are mini-tootsie rolls with starburst cheese on top.

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The fourth of July might be over, but there are still plenty of grilling opportunities left!

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