Archive | September, 2013

Monthly Competition #2

30 Sep

Another month down.  Unbelievable!  There have been soooo many good cupcakes…sooooo many that I can’t wait to try again.  But, alas, we had to narrow it down to the 4 Weekly Winners for the Monthly Competition.  Check out the competitors, then enjoy the competition video to find out which cupcake is the Monthly Champ for September!

Week 5 – Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcake

Week 6 – Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

Chocolate Coconut Cupcake

Week 7 – S’mores Cupcakes

Smores-Cupcake

Week 8 – Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo-Cupcakes

Thanks again to my September Cupcake Panel: Raven Wadzeck, Ian Richardson and Megan Griffey (from Frittering Away) – and, of course, to my husband, Ken, for all filming and music!

Frittering Away’s Superior Toddy Recipe

2oz Rye

4oz Frittering Away Ginger Lemonade

Cinnamon Stick

Directions:

Warm a handled glass.  Heat Lemonade until just simmering.  Pour shot of Rye in glass and add warmed Lemonade.  Garnish with cinnamon stick and enjoy!

(Rye adds a wonderful spicy note but Irish Whiskey, Scotch and Bourbon work also.)

You can find out more about Frittering Away, as well as their stand at Smorgasburg & their special events boozy lemonade packages at www.fritteringaway.com.

Check back tomorrow when I begin October’s Cupcakes!

Day 61 – Healthy(-ish) Applesauce Cupcakes

30 Sep

First, it’s Musical Monday.  Enjoy the video below!

“Mike” written & performed by Nikki Allred.  Congrats to her and Mike, who celebrated their anniversary yesterday AND are currently planning their wedding!!

And, many, many thanks to Priscilla for that amazing “My Year of Cupcakes” video.  It makes me laugh every time I watch it!!   Don’t forget to submit your “musical” or “cupcake” videos to me!

Now, second, make sure you check back later today for the September Monthly Competition!!

Third, check out these Healthy(-ish) Applesauce Cupcakes (recipe below from Cook Quilt Make and Bake).  Ideally, healthy can be tasty.  So read on to see if these hold up!

Apple-Sauce-Cupcakes     Mini-Apple-Sauce-Cupcakes

The mini is super thick! Full-size is thick, almost like bread dough.  Very apple-cinnamon-y.  (Yeah.  It’s a word…)

Cinnamon-glaze

The glaze is a thick liquid.  It’s sweet and extremely cinnamon!

Apple-Sauce-Cupcakes-glazed     Mini-Apple-Sauce-glazed

Not a bad balance at all.  Almost reminds me of a pastry or a donut.  A fantastic vegan option for a yummy treat!   (Note: I only baked them for about half the time that the recipe calls for. They are extremely easy to make, even more so if you buy applesauce instead of making it from scratch.)

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 2.5

– Frosting Taste: 3

– Overall Taste: 3

– Appearance: 3

– Ease of Making: 5

– TOTAL: 16.5

RECIPE (from Cook Quilt Make and Bake)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup apple sauce  – we made our own because we like to know whats in it and we had a bunch of apples sitting around, but you could just as easily use store-bought.

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 cup plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

a pinch of ground nutmeg

Cinnamon Icing:

1/2 cup icing sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon apple juice

2 tablespoons water

For directions visit Cook Quilt Make and Bake.

*Tomorrow: Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes*

Weekly Winner #8

29 Sep

I can’t believe it.  2 months gone!  And 60 cupcakes.  Wow!!  (Have you guys gained weight?  No!  Just me…)

Anyway!!  Here’s this past week:

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting

Chocolate-Cupcake-with-PB-f

Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo-Cupcakes

Sticky Toffee Vanilla Cupcakes

Sticky-Toffee-Vanilla-Cupca

Brownie Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

Brownie-w-Cookie-Dough

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Caramel-Apple-Cupcake

S’more Cupcakes

S'more-Cupcake

Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing

Tea-Cake-w-Icing

Chocolate and Toffee Cupcakes

Chocolate-Toffee-Cupcake

And now, with 20 points, the winner is…

Oreo-cupcakes-all

The Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes from Back for Seconds.  Check out that day again here.  And, definitely come back tomorrow to see which cupcakes win the September Monthly Competition.

Here’s our competitors:

Snickerdoodle Cupcake

Snickerdoodle Cupcake

Chocolate Coconut Cupcake

Chocolate Coconut Cupcake

S’mores Cupcake

Smores-Cupcake

Chocolate Oreo Cupcake

Oreo-Cupcakes

Day 60 – Chocolate and Toffee Cupcakes

29 Sep

This is it.  Last day of the competition portion of the month.  Do you know what that means?  Month 2. Gone!  So crazy!!!  And, good news, I’m still having a blast.  Phew! So, here it is.  Last contestant for September.  Chocolate & Toffee Cupcakes (recipe below from Sugar & Snapshots).  And check back later to see which cupcake wins this week AND what cupcakes will compete in tomorrow’s competition!!

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcake is crumbly and a little dry.  With a dark chocolate taste.

Cupcake-w-ganache     Chocolate-Ganache     Mini-Cupcake-w-Ganache

Ganache is between a liquid and a mousse – thicker than a sauce but thinner than a mousse. Very easy to work with.  It has a dark, rich taste.

Caramel-Buttercream

Frosting is very creamy and buttery.  It’s sweet, but with a salty edge.

Chocolate-Toffee-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Toffee-Cupca

The balance is very good.  The ganache adds the dark chocolate balance, the frosting adds the light, caramel taste. Toffee adds a nice crunch, though I actually prefer the bites that don’t have toffee.

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 3.5

– Frosting Taste: 4

– Overall Taste: 4.5

– Appearance: 4.5

– Ease of Making: 3

– TOTAL: 19.5

RECIPE (from Sugar & Snapshots)

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 7 oz Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 7 oz Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 5 oz Flour
  • 3 oz Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 c Sour Cream

Ganache &  Heath Toffee Crumble

  • 4 oz Heavy Cream
  • 4 oz Dark Chocolate (60%)
  • 4 Heath Bars (5.5 oz)
  • Optional: 16 Heath Mini’s to decorate

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 5 oz sugar
  • 16 oz (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2-2/3 c Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Caramel Sauce

  • 1c Sugar
  • 1/2 c Water
  • 2/3 c Heavy Cream, warm (110°F)
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter, cold

For directions visit Sugar & Snapshots.

*Tomorrow: Healthy-ish Applesauce Cupcakes*

Day 59 – Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing

28 Sep

I like tea…usually of the fruit variety, but I’m open to new things.  So, I was intrigued by these Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing (recipe below from Food Network).  And now that’s it’s slightly cooler outside, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday – curled up on the couch (preferably with my dog), watching movies and eating cupcakes.  Excellent!

Tea-Cake     Mini-Tea-Cake

The cakes feel like they’re gonna be hard, but they are a lot like brownies on the inside.  Very gooey.  Not hard at all.  The full-size is a lot gooey-er (??) than the mini is and has a crispy top.  They taste like a brownie but they’re not too chocolatey or too dark.

Earl-Grey-Icing

The frosting is a lot like 7-minute frosting.  Maybe slightly thinner. (Note: I had to whisk for longer than the 5 minutes it calls for with my hand mixer to get it pipeable.)  It tastes a lot like Earl Grey, but not crazy black-tea flavored.  The lemon adds a nice, light hint.

Tea-Cake-w-Icing     Mini-Tea-Cake-w-Icing

The tea flavor seems like it’s gonna be overpowering at first, but the chocolate finishes off nicely.  They balance really well.  These cupcakes were meant to be mini cupcakes, so that’s what I’m mainly judging here, instead of the full-size as usual.  The minis balance better than the full-sized, but both are pretty good.  These would be great for an afternoon tea!!

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 4

– Frosting Taste: 3.5

– Overall Taste: 4

– Appearance: 3.5

– Ease of Making: 4 (batter is super easy and the frosting is a typical egg-white frosting, not for easy, but not hard)

– TOTAL: 19

RECIPE (from Food Network)

For the Cupcakes:6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Icing:

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 bags Earl Grey tea

For directions visit Food Network.
*Tomorrow: Chocolate & Toffee Cupcakes*

Day 58 – S’more Cupcakes

27 Sep

So many S’mores recipes, so little time…oh, no. Wait!  That not true at all!!  I’ve got all kinds of time!!  Yay!!!!  S’more Cupcakes (recipe below from Remodelaholic)

S'more-Cupcake

The cake is wet and sticky.  It’s kinda missing a crunch factor.  It does taste just like a S’more though!  All the flavors are good.  The chocolate comes out nicely against the graham cracker.  I could always use more marshmallows.  Always.

Mini-S'more-cupcake

The full-size has a nicer balance of flavors, but the mini is a good bite-sized option.  This is a yummy cupcake.  Not overly pretty to look at and, obviously, no frosting.  But it’s a good dessert in cup form.

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 4

– Frosting Taste: 3 (I judged the marshmallows alone, which aren’t really a 3, but they aren’t really a frosting either…)

– Overall Taste: 4

– Appearance: 2.5 (They sink a lot in the center where the Hershey is)

– Ease of Making: 4.5

– TOTAL: 18

RECIPE (from Remodelaholic)

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
  • 36 mini marshmallows

For directions visit Remodelaholic.

*Tomorrow: Tea Cakes with Earl Grey Icing*

Day 57 – Caramel Apple Cupcakes

26 Sep

It’s Tip Thursday again!!  I hope you enjoy the tip and, as usual, let me know what your favorite tips are!!

As promised, here are some more details, in case you’re curious.  The protein in each flour is what determines the density of your baked goods.  This varies (as shown below) from bread flour, which produces the most dense baked goods, to cake flour, which produces the lightest.

– Bread Flour: 14-16% protein

– All-Purpose Flour: 11% protein

– Pastry Flour: 9% protein

– Cake Flour: 7-8% protein

Also, here’s the DIY tips for substituting flours:

– Using All-Purpose instead of Cake flour – for each cup of Cake flour that’s called for, you can substitute 1 cup of All-Purpose flour, minus 2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

– Using All-Purpose instead of Self-rising – for each cup of Self-rising flour that’s called for, you can substitute 1 cup of All-Purpose flour, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Okay, now it’s cupcake time!!

Clearly, Fall is upon us.  And, clearly, I am ready to jump in.  These Caramel Apple Cupcakes (recipe below from My Recipes) are no exception!  I mean, what goes better with a lovely Fall day than a tasty Caramel Apple?!

Apple-Cupcake     Mini-Apple-Cupcake

The cakes are very muffin-esque.  But, they’re pretty much all apple.  Next time I would maybe use half the apple, cause I don’t really get as much of the cake as I’d like to.  It also tastes a bit more like a sweet muffin than like a cupcake.

Caramel-Frosting

The frosting is extremely thick and very stiff.  (Note: I needed to beat it on high speed for it to not be a crumble.)  It has a very strong caramel flavor but is not overly sweet.

Caramel-Apple-Cupcake     Mini-Caramel-Apple-Cupcake

Together they totally taste like a caramel-apple dessert!  I’m missing a major crunch factor – it tastes so much like an apple pie or an apple crumble, that I want the crumble or the crunch of a pie crust.  It doesn’t scream dessert.  It’s somewhere on the border of a muffin and a cupcake.  (That’s probably due to the oversweet muffin craze.)  This would be a great Sunday brunch cupcake – it’s can definitely be a dessert, but for those people who don’t want a “dessert” at brunch, these are also totally justified as a muffin-like-dessert!

(Note: Since the caramel in the frosting needs to chill for an hour, I’d suggest making the caramel, then the cupcakes, then the frosting.  Just to save a little time.  I’d also chop the apples really, really small for the minis. Since they end up being mostly apple.)

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 3

– Frosting Taste: 3.5

– Overall Taste: 3.5

– Appearance: 4.5 (recipe called for crab apples, but I couldn’t find any, so I improvised)

– Ease of Making: 3.5 (while the waiting for the caramel is tedious, the overall process is quite easy)

– TOTAL: 18

Caramel Apple Cupcakes (recipe from My Recipes)

Ingredients

  • Fresh Apple Cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • Paper baking cups
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Old-Fashioned Caramel Frosting:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (16-oz.) package dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Toppings:
  • Toasted pecans
  • Fresh crab apples (optional)

For directions visit My Recipes.

*Tomorrow: S’more Cupcakes*

Day 56 – Brownie Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

25 Sep

First, I gotta shout out to some very special people.  I missed it, but Happy (belated) Anniversary to my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Ted!  AND, a Happy Birthday to my Uncle Ted.  (Big week for them!!)  Hope it’s filled with lots of yummy things!!

thanksgiving pic with nana

This is my Aunt Nancy and I in the kitchen on Thanksgiving (about 3 years ago…) She is a huge part of the reason that I love to bake!!  Love you, Nana!!

Now, let’s talk about these insane cupcakes.  I mean.  Totally speaking my language with that name.  Brownie Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting (recipe below from Cooking Classy).  Uummmmmm, yes!!  Brownies AND cookie dough.  Together?!  Not even a question.   These are happening.

Brownie-Cupcake     Mini-Brownie-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense, but the minis are really dense!  Borderline tough.  The full-size sank because I took them out early – the recipe says to shorten the time for gooey-er cakes.  (It won’t matter once they’re frosted anyway!)  They taste exactly like a fudge brownie.  Ooey, gooey chocolatey brownie goodness.

Cookie-Dough-Frosting

The frosting is a buttercream consistency but with mini chips it isn’t pipeable.  (The recipe does note that if you’d like to pipe it, top the frosting with chips instead of mixing them in.)  It tastes like brown sugar cookie dough.  The chips are a nice way to break it up without being overpowering.

Brownie-w-Cookie-Dough     Mini-Brownie-w-Cookie-Dough

The cake brings out the salt in the frosting.  I might use unsalted butter and salt to taste next time, instead of using salted butter.  The mini is a little tough to eat, but not bad once the parts are together.  It does taste like a brownie topped with cookie dough, so if that sounds like your cup of…well…cake…then these are for you!

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 4.5

– Frosting Taste: 3.5

– Overall Taste: 3.5 (the cakes are better without frosting, but it’s a good, fun dessert)

– Appearance: 4

– Ease of Making: 4 (brownie cakes are a no-mixer-required batter!)

– TOTAL: 19.5

RECIPE (from Cooking Classy)

Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
    • 3/4 cup butter, melted
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 Tbsp milk
Cookie Dough Frosting
  • 10 Tbsp salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 2-3 Tbsp cream or half and half
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For directions visit Cooking Classy.

*Tomorrow: Caramel Apple Cupcakes*

Day 55 – Sticky Toffee Vanilla Cupcakes

24 Sep

It’s finally time to dig in to Fall.  The weather, at least here in New York, is beautiful!  So, what better way to jump in than these Sticky Toffee Vanilla Cupcakes (recipe below from Aninas Recipes)?

Vanilla-Cupcakes     Mini Vanilla-Cupcakes

The cake is spongy and dense.  It’s kinda like an egg-y pound cake or a butter cake.

Sticky-Toffee

(Since you have to glaze the cakes with it so fast, I couldn’t get a “pretty” picture.  Sorry…)

The glaze is creamy, but hardens fairly quickly.  (I never got it quite as golden as the recipe’s page, but it was the right consistency and I didn’t want it to thicken.  Trust me, the flavor did not suffer.)  It tastes like a caramel toffee.  Legit toffee flavor.   And, bonus, it’s not any more time-consuming to make than a regular buttercream, which is nice.  (PS my hubby wanted to take the leftover frosting and dip apples in it.  Seriously.  It’s that tasty.)

Sticky-Toffee-Vanilla-Cupca     Mini-Sticky-Toffee-Cupcake

This cupcake tastes exactly like Caramel Kettle Corn.  No joke!  If you like caramel corn, you’ll love this one!  The cake is exactly what the frosting needs so that it’s not too sweet of a combination, but also not bitter.  It makes me want to curl up and watch Halloween movies.  That might be strange, but I don’t care.

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 2.5

– Frosting Taste: 5

– Overall Taste: 4

– Appearance: 3

– Ease of Making: 3.5

– TOTAL: 18

RECIPE (from Aninas Recipes)

For the cake:

  • ¾ cups of milk
  • ½ cup of sunflower oil
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt

For the sticky toffee topping:

  • 125 gr butter
  • 1 ½  cups of brown sugar
  • ½ tin of sweetened condensed milk.
  • 5 ml vanilla essence

For directions visit Aninas Recipes.

*Tomorrow: Brownie Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting*

Day 54 – Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting

23 Sep

It’s Musical Monday!!!  Yay!!  I get so excited to share these artists with you all!!

Today’s artist is hope hazy.  She’s accompanied by Benjamin Hazlett – more info on both of them below the video!

Find more information on hope at:

https://www.facebook.com/hopehazy  http://www.hopehazy.com

Twitter: @hopehazy  iTunes: hope hazy

And more information on Benjamin at themusicofbenjamin.com

Now, there are sooooo many takes on the Cookies & Cream Cupcake.  I fully intend to find the best one!  So, today I’m trying Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes with Cookies & Cream Frosting (recipe below from Back for Seconds).

Chocolate-cupcakes     Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

These cakes are almost brownie-like.  The mini is dense, kinda like a slightly overcooked brownie, but not too dense to enjoy.  They have a nice chocolate flavor, more obvious in the full-size.  The chunks of Oreo make for a nice, rich bite of cake.

Olivia-frosting     Oreo-frosting     Olivia-frost

(I had a little helper for these cupcakes.  My friends, Meredith and Dave, lent me their daughter, Olivia, for a baking assistant! Obviously, she hates baking…)

Oreo-Cupcakes     Mini-Oreo-Cupcakes

The frosting is a good consistency.  (Note: be sure to really crush/grind Oreos that go into the frosting, otherwise piping is difficult and messy.)  It tastes like a typical cream cheese frosting with a twist of Oreo.

Oreo-cupcakes-all     Olivia-tasting

They have a nice balance.  Sweet, chocolatey cupcake.  A good cupcake for anyone who likes Oreos.  And, bonus, you don’t even need a mixer for the batter.  I used one as a time saver, but it’s wasn’t necessary.  And, they got a definite thumbs up from Olivia!

Scoring Sheet:

– Cupcake Taste: 3.5

– Frosting Taste: 4.5

– Overall Taste: 4

– Appearance: 3.5

– Ease of Making: 4.5

– TOTAL: 20

RECIPE (from Back for Seconds)

Ingredients
1/2 cup chopped Oreos
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cake
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Frosting
3/4 cups butter (softened)
4oz cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4-6 heaped tablespoons milk
1/3 cup crushed Oreos
For directions visit Back for Seconds.

*Tomorrow: Sticky Toffee Vanilla Cupcakes*
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