Archive | August, 2013

Monthly Competition #1

31 Aug

It’s finally here.  The first ever Monthly Competition!  I am so excited!!

Check out the video below to see our Cupcake Panel devour, judge and choose the Monthly Champ for August!

Here were the 4 competitors for August (Photography done by Danicah Waldo Photography)

Week 1 – Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

Toffee Crunch Cupcake

Week 2 – Lemon Cloud Cupcakes

Lemon Cloud Cupcake

Week 3 – Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake

Week 4 – Milk & Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

Milk & Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake

(note: my French is apparently not as good as I hoped…gamine is pronounced with a hard g — like goat — so it’s actually gameen when you sound it out.  Thanks Jon T. for letting me know.  I’ll keep working on my French, you guys keep enjoying the video.)

Thanks again to Erin Baltsar, Alex Tripp and Danicah Waldo – Our August Cupcake Panel, and to (my hubby) Ken for filming, editing and original music!

Cupcake Panel

Check back tomorrow when I begin September’s Cupcakes!

Day 31 – Fall Acorn Cupcakes (Vegan)

31 Aug

End of the line.  Well, end of the month at least.  So, later today I’ll announce the very first Monthly Winner.  I’m.  So.  Excited!!  I can’t wait for you to see it!!

But, now I’m here to talk about the last day of August.  My first “other” cupcake.  It still gets a grade, but it won’t be part of the monthly or overall competition.  The first one I chose is these Fall Acorn Cupcakes (recipe from Easy Baked).  They are so cute!  I couldn’t resist.

Vegan-Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini Vegan-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes have a nice color and texture.  Dense and moist.  Not an overly exciting taste.  Not as chocolatey as I was expecting (or wanted).  The full-size has a better flavor, but the cocoa powder doesn’t allow for as strong a chocolate flavor.

Vegan-Vanilla-Buttercream

The frosting is thick and extremely easy to pipe!  It has a decent, sweet vanilla flavor.  The shortening gives it a strange aftertaste.  The recipe had called for butter, but I wanted to make it completely vegan, so I subbed shortening.

Vegan-Acorn-Cupcake     Mini-Vegan-Acorn-Cupcake

They are definitely better together than they are separate.  A decent cupcake, despite whatever your feelings are on vegan.  But, whether that’s your choice or your necessity, these are a good option. (Note: the decoration is not vegan, but it is very cute.  And, you don’t have to eat it, so you could still use it.  Or, get creative with other ingredients to make a similar vegan-friendly version.)

I would try them again with a different ingredient for frosting.  This is the first time I’ve ever attempted anything vegan, so I’m not terribly familiar with butter substitutes.  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment, I’d love to know!!

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 3

– Frosting Taste: 2

– Overall Taste: 3

– Appearance: 5 (seriously.  That decoration is soooo cute!)

– Ease of Making: 4

– TOTAL: 17

RECIPE (from Easy Baked)

INGREDIENTS: (makes about 24 cupcakes)

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cups oil
  • 2 c. water

For acorns:

FROSTING: (I made this with shortening instead of butter, to stick with the Vegan thing)

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of salted butter (room temp)
  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 t. vanilla (use clear if you want white frosting)

For directions visit Easy Baked.

*Tomorrow: Sour Cream Vanilla Cupcakes*

Weekly Winner #4

30 Aug

Alright.  Am I the only one that can’t believe I just finished the last week of August?  Is that crazy?!  30 cupcakes.  Wow!

Well, here it was.  The last week of August cupcakes:

Sour Cream Fig Cupcake

Sour Cream Fig Cupcakes

Boston Cream Cupcake

Boston Cream Cupcake

Cherry Coke Float Cupcake

Cherry Coke Float Cupcake

Double Chocolate Cupcake with Crispy Magic Frosting

DC Cupcake with Crispy Magic Frosting

Milk & Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake

full-halved

Blueberry Cupcake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Blueberry Cupcake w Brown Sugar Frosting

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake

Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream

And our final competitor for our Monthly Champ is…

Cupcake     Mini Cupcake

Milk & Chocolate Cookie Cupcakes from raspberri cupcakes.  You can see that day here.  And, check out our 1st Monthly Competition tomorrow, August 31st, between these 4 cupcakes!

Weekly Winner #1 – Toffee Crunch Cupcake

Toffee Crunch Cupcake

Weekly Winner #2 – Lemon Cloud Cupcake

Lemon Cloud Cupcake

Weekly Winner #3 – Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake halved

Weekly Winner #4 – Milk & Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake

full-halved

And, don’t forget, that starting with next week’s Weekly Winner, I’ll be adding a “Helpful Hint”.  Just some little tricks of the trade that might help you too.  (If you have any favorites, please please please send them to me!!  yearofcupcakes@gmail.com)

Also, I’m adding more fun to all the crazy fun I’m already having. So, each Monday will be “Musical Monday” from now on.  A different video for your listening and viewing pleasure, from myself and a variety of artists!  So, get excited.  It’s gonna be amazing 😉

Day 30 – Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

30 Aug

Okay!  I wanna bring it back down to the basics for the end of the month!  We’ve had some fun ones, wild ones, odd ones.  Let’s end with simple and understandable, shall we?.  And these Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream (recipe below from Cucina Nicolina) seem like the ticket.

Vanilla Cupcake     Mini Vanilla Cupcake

The cake is almost wet, very moist.  Sticks to the fingers.  It’s a lot like a yellow box cake.  Not amazing, but not bad.  There’s a bit of a weird taste at the first bite, but it fades…

Chocolate Buttercream

The frosting is extremely smooth and silky.  It’s definitely a frosting spatula buttercream and not a piping one.  Nice, even chocolate flavor.  Semisweet is a good choice – not too milky, not too dark.

Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream     Mini Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream

Balance is ok.  It’s mostly about the buttercream.  The cake almost feels insubstantial – like it’s not even there.

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 3

– Frosting Taste: 4

– Overall Taste: 3

– Appearance: 3

– Ease of Making: 3.5

– TOTAL: 16.5

RECIPE

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream (recipe from Cucina Nicolina)

Vanilla Cupcakes

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4 oz. unsweetened (or bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
2-3 Tbs. [soy] milk, plus more, if needed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt

For directions visit Cucina Nicolina.

*Tomorrow: Sour Cream Vanilla Cupcakes*

Day 29 – Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

29 Aug

What a happy, baby-filled week!! Today I wanna congratulate my friends, Britt & Carly, on welcoming their son, Guyver, into the world!!

I promise this is not a health kick, by the way!  Blueberry Cupcakes yesterday and these Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (recipe below from Serious Eats) today.  But, seriously, they are NOT a health food!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake     Mini Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake

The cake is very chocolate-y.  No zucchini flavor at all.  All chocolate goodness.  Moist and delicate chocolate goodness, to be more specific!  I could probably justify making this a chocolate zucchini muffin.  No frosting required.

frosting

This fluffy and creamy frosting is all cream cheese. Not sweet frosting flavored at all.  It’s a little different, but I’m guessing there’s a purpose…

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake     Mini Chocolate Zucchini Cupcake

Frosting cuts chocolate richness, but just a little.  Balance is very nice.  It leans heavily on the taste of the cupcake with just a hint of frosting.

Grating the zucchini was the only semi-difficult (mostly just time-consuming) part of this recipe.  Everything else is simple.  (Note: I decorated a few with fancy piping, but the simple frost looked better.  They’re not ‘fancy’ cupcakes!)

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 4

– Frosting Taste: 2

– Overall Taste: 4

– Appearance: 3

– Ease of Making: 3.5

– TOTAL: 16.5

RECIPE

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (recipe from Serious Eats)

  • For the Cupcakes:
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound grated zucchini (not peeled,which will yield about 4 cups of packed, grated zucchini, using the large holes on a box grater)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional, to sprinkle on top)

For directions visit Serious Eats

*Tomorrow: Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream*

Day 28 – Blueberry Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

28 Aug

First, I dedicate today’s post to my dear friends, Johnny and Vicki. They (along with their utterly amazing son, Noah) welcomed Eliza Rose into the world yesterday. And I couldn’t be more excited for all of them!! So, I’m sending lots of love (and maybe some cupcakes) their way.

Now, this cupcake is not something you see every day!  Blueberry Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting (recipe below from The Baking Robot).  Those are 2 very unique things!  And, nothing works better at gettin’ me over Hump Day than new and different kinds of cupcakes!

Bluberry Cupcake     Mini Blueberry Cupcake

The cake is very delicate, and breaks very easily!  It’s a little strange.  Kinda like a banana muffin, but then tart.  I didn’t really enjoy the flavor.  The minis are really weird.  Like there’s not enough blueberry, so all the flavor is gone.  They are a beautiful blue/purple color when they go in the oven and a dark green when they come out.  The blogger had warned us about it, but it’s weird in person.  It’s looks more like chocolate than fruit, which is deceiving.

Brown Sugar Frosting

Frosting is thick and easy to pipe.  It tastes a little like cookie dough, but not that consistency.  Brown sugar is a refreshing change from the usual frosting taste. Very unique.

Blueberry Cupcake w Brown Sugar Frosting     Mini Blueberry Cupcake w Brown Sugar Frosting

The frosting definitely brings out the best flavor in the cupcake.  The end result is similar to a blueberry muffin.

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 2

– Frosting Taste: 4

– Overall Taste: 2.5

– Appearance: 2

– Ease of Making: 3

– TOTAL: 13.5

RECIPE

Blueberry Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting (recipe from The Baking Robot)

(for blueberry reduction)*
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

For cupcakes:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk

blueberry reduction*
1/2 cup blueberries

Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

For directions visit The Baking Robot.

*Tomorrow: Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes*

Day 27 – Milk and Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

27 Aug

I’m sure (by this point) I don’t need to remind you that I love cookies.  Can’t pass em up, in fact.  Milk and Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes (recipe from raspberri cupcakes).  Cupcakes stuffed with cookie dough?!  Is this for real?!?!

Cupcake     Mini Cupcake

This cake is light and moist.  And tastes like a fluffy chocolate chip cookie.  I like the chocolate chips cause they break up the smooth sweetness of the cake.

Cookie dough filling

full-filled    mini-filled

Forget it.  This cookie dough filling is insane!!!!!  So.  Good.  It’s really thick, and a little hard to spoon into the holes, but it’s malleable like cookie dough, so I just used my fingers to roll it into balls.

frosting

I have never used condensed milk in frosting.  I like it!  It’s strong and pipeable.  It has a sweet texture to it, but it’s tricky cause it isn’t actually overly sweet.

Cupcake    Mini Cupcake

full-halved

All of this works!  It’s not too rich or too sweet.  It is like eating a frosted chocolate chip cookie…which I’ve never considered doing before…but now I just might!

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 4

– Frosting Taste: 4.5

– Overall Taste: 4.5

– Appearance: 5

– Ease of Making: 3 (while there are 3 parts, none of them are even remotely complicated)

– TOTAL: 21

RECIPE

Milk & Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes (recipe from raspberri cupcakes)

For the cupcakes:
125g (1 stick plus about 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
155g (3/4 cup) sugar
2 eggs
225g (about 1 + 3/4 cups) self-raising flour + 1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2-2/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate)
For the cookie dough filling:
55 g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (about 135g) all-purpose flour
1/2 can (200g/7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (or finely chopped chocolate)
For the icing:
350g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
400g (about 3 1/4 cups) icing/confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 can (200g/7 oz) sweetened condensed milk
To decorate: milk bottle candies, mini chocolate chip cookies

For directions visit raspberri cupcakes.

*Tomorrow: Blueberry Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting*
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