Archive | October, 2013

Monthly Competition #3

31 Oct

AAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! 3rd month – DONE! That’s so crazy. Yes, yes, yes. I know. There are still 9 months left, but still. It’s 3 months. Yay!

So, here are the 5 (count them FIVE) Weekly Winners in October. Then check out the video to see which cupcake is October’s Monthly Champ!

Week 9 – Peanut Butter Banana Elvis Cupcakes

PB-Banana-Elvis-Cupcake

Week 10 – Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Brownie Cupcake with Pumpkin

Week 10 – Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

Chocolate-Smores-Cupcake

Week 11 – Blackout Cupcakes

Blackout-Cupcake

Week 12 – Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Apple-Pie-Cupcake

Thanks again to my October Cupcake Panel: Erin Gotthelf, Sarah Garza and Anna Perilo. And, of course, thanks to my hubby, Ken, for all the filming and original music.

Check back tomorrow when I begin November!!

**slight correction: The Apple Pie cupcakes are originally from The Tale of Two KitchensI want to make sure they get the credit for those amazing cupcakes!**

Day 92 – Healthy Halloween Cupcakes

31 Oct

Halloween is finally here!! I hope you enjoyed the candy all month long, as well as the pumpkins (check those out below the cupcake as well as the website I got the ideas from!) To finish off October, I decided on these Healthy Vegan Halloween Cupcakes (recipe below from Kiran Tarun). Let’s see if it holds up to the Trick or Treat test…but first, enjoy the Tip Thursday video!

Now, on to the cupcakes!

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and moist. Almost like a devil’s food cake.  The pumpkin flavor is slightly more apparent in the full-size, but you wouldn’t know it was there if you didn’t know it was in the batter. They’re not overly chocolate or overly sweet, but not bad either.

Chocolate-Ganache

The ganache is thick and creamy.  It has a semisweet flavor. Almost a little nutty hint to it, I’m guessing that’s the earth balance, cause it’s not the chocolate.

Halloween-Cupcake     Mini-Halloween-Cupcake

Together they really surprised me! The flavors balance each other so well, they bring out the strong-points from each other. That nutty hint in the ganache brings out the light pumpkin-spice in the cupcake and gives it a nice balanced flavor. The crunch of the non-pareils is nice too, just to break it up.

Notes: This is a tasty combination whether you’re looking for a cupcake, a healthy cupcake or a vegan cupcake. All your friends and family could enjoy these and NEVER have to know that they aren’t bad for them!!

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 2.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3
  • Ease of Making: 4.5 (no mixer required for either part)
  • TOTAL: 17.5

RECIPE

Healthy Vegan Halloween Cupcakes (recipe from Kiran Tarun)

Wet ingredients (at room temperature) :

  • 1 cup of almond milk or any non-dairy/dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Dry ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate ganache:
  • 4 oz bitter/semi sweet chocolate squares, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance butter

For directions visit Kiran Tarun.

*Tomorrow: Chocolate, Banana, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cupcakes*

PUMPKINS
So, I got these ideas from Brit + Co. They are all No-Carve pumpkins. They have 18 on their site, but I only picked 3 (the face one was 100% my hubby’s idea…).

Thumbtack Cupcake     Thumbtack Cupcake outside

The Thumbtack Cupcake Pumpkin – Spray paint a pumpkin white, then press thumbtacks into the pumpkin in whatever shape you like. I painted my thumbtacks first, for extra flair, using China Glaze Hunger Games Nail Polish Collection. (Yes, I’m a geek. And I love Hunger Games!)

Candy corn      Candy-corn-outside

The Candy Corn Pumpkin – Spray paint the top of the pumpkin white and the bottom of the pumpkin yellow. It takes a little maneuvering, but it’s really easy and super cute.

Melted Crayon     Melted Crayon-outside

The Melted Crayon Pumpkin – This one is very easy, but a little time-consuming. I’d also recommend using a candle or 2, instead of having to hold a lighter the whole time.

Jack-o-lantern hippie     face-outside

Jack-o-lantern Hippie – This is just creative sharpie, a hair piece from one of my shows and a headband. Simple, quick and cute. Thanks, Ken!

All Pumpkins

Do you have favorite pumpkin ideas? Carve or no-carve? Hope you have a Happy Halloween!! And, check back later for the October Monthly Winner!!

Weekly Winner #12

30 Oct

Another pretty good (and pretty fun) week for My Year of Cupcakes!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate PB cupcake

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Frosted-Cupcake

Halloween Cupcakes

Halloween-cakes-w-pk

Trail Mix Cupcakes

Trail-Mix-Cupcake

Puppy Chow Cupcakes

Frosted-Cupcake

Black Lagoon Cupcakes

Cupcake-with-ooze

Spooktacular Cupcakes

Spooktacular-Cupcake

Vampire Cupcakes

Vampire-Cupcake

And, with 20 points, the winner is….

Apple-Pie-Cupcake

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting from Cook’n is Fun.  Check out that day here.  And, tomorrow is the October Monthly Competition.  The competitors are below so we’ll see you tomorrow for that!!

Week 9 – Peanut Butter Banana Elvis Cupcakes

PB-Banana-Elvis-Cupcake

Week 10 – Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Brownie Cupcake with Pumpkin

Week 10 – Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes

Chocolate-Smores-Cupcake

Week 11 – Blackout Cupcakes

Blackout-Cupcake

Week 12 – Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Apple-Pie-Cupcake

Day 91 – Vampire Cupcakes

30 Oct

With Halloween tomorrow, I couldn’t possibly resist these Vampire Cupcakes (recipe below from Baking Bites). A very simple cake with a very fun twist!

Cupcake     Mini-Cupcake

The cake is dense and extremely moist and sticky.  It tastes (and feels) a lot like angel food cake.

Filled-cupcake     Mini-Cupcake-filled

(It’s a pureed cherry filling.)

Marshmallow Frosting

Frosting is thick and very sticky! Frosting tastes more like a vanilla meringue than a 7-min frosting.

Vampire-Cupcake     MIni-Vampire-Cucpake

The delicate-ness of the cake, with the sweetness of the frosting and the tart cherry in the middle all balances really well. None of the flavors are overly aggressive or over-powering. It comes together very nicely for an all-around flavor.

Notes: the frosting is almost twice as long as a typical 7-min frosting. I would probably just stick with that version, this is more complex and not necessarily any tastier.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 2.5 (only 2 parts, but the frosting takes significantly longer than usual frostings.)
  • TOTAL: 17

RECIPE

Vampire Cupcakes (recipe from Baking Bites)

Vampire Cupcakes
2 cups cake flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large egg whites
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Filling
1 can cherry pie filling

Marshmallow Frosting
(previously used on Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup water
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For directions visit Baking Bites.

*Tomorrow: Healthy Halloween Cupcakes*

There’s still time….

29 Oct

To adopt a shelter dog during October (aka Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month)!!  All month long I’ve posted about Bideawee, which is an amazing organization her in NYC.  But, what about those of you that aren’t in NY?  This one’s for you!!

My dear friend (and owner of Miami Pet Concierge), Nicole, gave me the names some of the organizations she has worked with.  She also sent me this adorable pic of her 2 pups, Gus and Dorothy, enjoying a care package from My Year of Cupcakes! (click on the pic for the close-up version)

Dorothy and Gus

You can find out more about Dorothy (and her brother, Gus) on her Facebook Page.

Now, here are some great places that might be near you!

Do you have a favorite shelter?  Please share in the comments below!

Did you adopt a shelter pet?  We’d LOVE to hear your story!! Feel free to comment or email it to me yearofcupcakes@gmail.com and I’ll share it on the blog!!

Aleshanee,-Ken-and-pups

(My hubby and our dog, Aleshanee, with the 5 puppies she had just weeks after we adopted her.)

Day 90 – Spooktacular Chocolate Cupcakes

29 Oct

With Halloween only a couple of days away, I am allllll over the Halloween-themed cupcakes (and Halloween candy, but that’s an entirely different subject…).  Today will be no exception.  Spooktacular Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe below from Hershey’s Kitchens).  And, check back later today for more adopt-a-shelter-dog fun!!

Chocolate-cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcakes

The cupcakes are very soft and delicate. Moist but not sticky.  They have a nice, soft chocolate flavor, not too rich, but not too light.

Frosting

The frosting is very creamy and smooth.  It’s a very light, sweet peanut butter flavor. Not too strong of peanut butter or of cream cheese flavor.

Spooktacular-Cupcake     Mini-Spooktacular-Cupcake

They definitely taste like a Reese’s peanut butter cup in cupcake form. Very accurate to that flavor.

Notes: recipe doesn’t call for how long to bake. I baked the full-size for about 20 minutes and the minis for about 10 minutes. Filling the full-size as directed worked perfectly, but not for the minis – they just split when filled, so I’d just top them with frosting if you want to use the minis.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 19

RECIPE

Spooktacular Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe from Hershey’s Kitchens)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • PEANUT BUTTER CREAM FILLING
  • Assorted candies
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar

PEANUT BUTTER CREAM FILLING

  • 2 packages (3 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup REESE’S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

For directions visit Hershey’s Kitchens.

*Tomorrow: Vampire Cupcakes*

Day 89 – Black Lagoon Cupcakes

28 Oct

Ok! It is officially time to get into the holiday spirit now! Halloween, that is!! And I could not resist these adorable Slime-filled Cupcakes from the Black Lagoon (recipe below from Baking Bites). So, enjoy a little Musical Monday then enjoy the cupcakes!!

You can find out more about Shauna on her website and Facebook page.  Now on to these slime-filled cupcakes!

Cupcake     Mini-cupcake

The cake is dense and moist. It has a light, vanilla flavor. Clearly meant to be the blank slate for the filling and frosting.

Cupcake-with-ooze-filling     Mini-with-ooze

The curd is typical curd consistency, maybe slightly thinner.  It has a very tart, lime flavor. Not bad, just not subtle.

Green-frosting

The frosting is a good buttercream consistency – thick enough to easily pipe and very smooth.  It’s a typical sweet-vanilla frosting.

Black-Lagoon-Cupcake     Mini-Black-Lagoon

For a Halloween cupcake, this is a really good dessert. The filling is definitely the star. It’s so strong, and so tart, but it balances really well with the simplicity of the cake and the sweetness of the frosting. (It helps if you have warning that it’s lime.  I didn’t tell my hubby and he was, well, let’s say, shocked.)

Cupcake-with-ooze

It’s also really fun once you cut into it and it oozes out. Perfect for a Halloween party, or any kid party where slime is fun!

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4 (the inside is where the party is)
  • Ease of Making: 3.5 (even though there are 3 parts, the batter is a no-mixer job!)
  • TOTAL: 17

RECIPE

Slime-filled Cupcakes from the Black Lagoon (recipe from Baking Bites)

Slime (Lime Curd) Filling:
2/3 cup strained fresh lime juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
10-12 drops green food coloring

Black Lagoon (Vanilla) Cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (low fat is ok)

Swampy Vanilla Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
green food coloring

For directions visit Baking Bites.

*Tomorrow: Spooktacular Chocolate Cupcakes*

Day 88 – Puppy Chow Cupcakes

27 Oct

Were you lucky enough to have puppy chow when you were growing up?  I was!!  The cereal covered in peanut butter covered in chocolate tossed in powdered sugar.  So bad and so good all at the same time!!  So there was NO way I could resist Puppy Chow Cupcakes (recipe below from The Dormestic Goddess).  No.  Way.

Cupcake     Mini-cupcake

The cupcake is dense and crumbly, but not dry. The full-size is moist, the mini isn’t as much.  It has a rich chocolate flavor.

Frosting-close-up

The frosting got a little thinner when I added the butter, but I beat on high for an extra minute or so at the end and it thickened enough to pipe.  The frosting tastes a lot like puppy chow – the flavor really incorporates well. I would leave the lemon juice out though. It gives it a weird tartness that you don’t really need.

Frosted-Cupcake     Mini-Frosted-Cupcake

The lemon in the frosting throws off the whole combination. I would definitely make these again without lemon juice. My guess is that they’d be pretty stellar!

Notes: I would definitely recommend using the “additional” chocolate. I know typical egg white frosting has lemon juice in it, but I would definitely omit it when adding it to chocolate and peanut butter. The flavors really don’t mesh well.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3
  • Overall Taste: 3 (the tartness of the frosting makes it a little strange)
  • Appearance: 3 (the frosting isn’t terribly appealing visually. The garnish is cuter)
  • Ease of Making: 3.5
  • TOTAL: 17

RECIPE

Puppy Chow Cupcakes (recipe from The Dormestic Goddess)

Puppy chow
1 box Crispix cereal
2 cups (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 TBSP unsalted butter
4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar
Cocoa-Buttermilk Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)
Puppy Chow Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (freshly squeezed preferred, but bottled will work)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups pulverized puppy chow (I used my food processor to do the pulverizing)
For directions visit The Dormestic Goddess.
*Tomorrow: Black Lagoon Cupcakes*

Day 87 – Trail Mix Cupcakes

26 Oct

So, I’m taking a little road trip today, and I thought, what better snack is there than trail mix?!  I love trail mix.  A justified “healthy” snack that includes chocolate?  Yes, please?!  So, what better to go with my trail mix than these Trail Mix Cupcakes (recipe below from Life in a Peanut Shell)?  I can’t think of a thing…

Chocolate-Vanilla Cupcake     Mini swirl cupcake

Swirled-cupcake

The cake is dense and moist. Lost most of the minis just trying to get them out of the pan.  It doesn’t have a strong flavor. You get a little white cake and a little chocolate, but neither is very aggressive. It’s just a delicate little treat.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

The frosting is relatively thick, but extremely creamy and smooth.  It’s very sweet and very chocolatey! It reminds me a lot of the chocolate frosting that used to come with Dunkaroos, for anyone who remembers those…

Trail-Mix-Cupcake     Mini-Trail-Mix

The balance without the trail mix is really nice. I’m very happy now that the cake isn’t a powerhouse, cause it would be overwhelming. The frosting is the star, but the cake is a lovely canvas for it. The trail mix actually lightens to whole combination up. It gives it a nice crunch and saltiness. This would be a good combination either way – with or without trail mix.

Notes: This recipe makes SO much batter!!! I made 24 full-size cupcakes and 24 minis and still had about half the batter left. If you’re making all the cakes, double the frosting recipe, cause it won’t be enough to frost all the cakes. But, if you’re looking for a tasty, adorable recipe that makes lots and lots of cupcakes (for a party or something), this is your cupcake!!

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4.5
  • Ease of Making: 2 (none of the parts are terribly difficult, but you are literally making 2 full batches of cupcakes, plus a frosting)
  • TOTAL: 18

RECIPE

Trail Mix Cupcakes (recipe below from Life in a Peanut Shell)

For the Yellow Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 9 ounces (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs plus 3 large yolks, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Cake:

  • 3/4 cup(s) Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 cup(s) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla

For Dark Chocolate Fudge Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup hot fudge topping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For directions visit Life in a Peanut Shell.

*Tomorrow: Puppy Chow Cupcakes*

Day 86 – Halloween Cupcakes

25 Oct

It’s Friday!! And, at least around here, we are getting ready for next week – Halloween!! So, I wanted to get it rolling with these Halloween Cupcakes (recipe below from Martha Stewart).

Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Vanilla-Cupcake

The cake is thick and dense, mini is almost dry, full-size is not dry at all! It has a light vanilla taste. Not overly exciting, but nice.

Frosting

The frosting is a typical vanilla buttercream.  It is completely typical of a vanilla buttercream, nothing more and nothing less. Sweet, vanilla flavor.

Halloween-cakes-w-pk     Mini-Halloween-w-pk

The cupcakes have nice, balanced flavor. Still not an exciting cupcake, but not bad either. Just a nice, plain vanilla cupcake. No zing!

Notes: These cupcakes are really meant to be a blank slate for your decorating pleasure. You can use this to get as wild and crazy as you want for any holiday. The use of jelly beans isn’t overly exciting, but they could definitely be so much more.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 4.5
  • TOTAL: 18

RECIPE

Halloween Cupcakes (recipe below from Martha Stewart)

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

For direction visit Martha Stewart.

*Tomorrow: Trail Mix Cupcakes*

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