Archive | December, 2013

December Monthly Competition

31 Dec

Okay, it has been a chocolate and mint and pumpkin and holiday-flavor packed month!  And, the results were tasty!!  After all the tasty cupcakes I’ve had so far, I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store!!  So here are the December Competitors:

Week 17 – Hostess Inspired Chocolate Cupcakes

Hostess-halved

Week 18 – Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Perfect-Vanilla-Cupcake

Week 19 – Kahlua Coffee Cupcakes

Kahlua-Cupcake-top

Week 20 – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

CB-PP-Cupcake-halved

Thanks again to my December Cupcake Panel – Amy Northup, Trevor Kluckman & Jesse Graham.  And, as usual, thanks to my hubby, Ken, for all the original music!  Check back tomorrow for the start 2014’s cupcakes!

Day 153 – Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes

31 Dec

To get ready for ringing in the New Year, something a little lighter was in order…Or, so I thought at least.  Cause, as it turns out, these Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes (recipe below from Gimme Some Oven) may not be as “light” as I predicted.  Oh well, that’s what New Years Day is for, right?

I hope you all have a wonderful New Years Eve!  And may 2014 be even tastier than 2013!!

Flourless-chocolate-cake     mini-Flourless-Chocolate-ca

The cupcakes are extremely thick and dense. Somewhere between and brownie and a cookie.  They have an extremely strong chocolate flavor.

Whipped-cream

The whipped cream is…well…it’s just whipped cream.  And it’s tastes like whipped cream. Cause it is…whipped…cream.

Flourless-cake-frosted-side     Mini-frosted-flourless-side

This is as good a flourless chocolate cake as I’ve had. Nothing complex. Very dark. Feel free to pile on the whipped cream – or ice cream…or both – cause you’ll need it to cut through the cake a little.

Flourless-cake-frosted      Mini-frosted-flourless-cake

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 19.5

RECIPE

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes (recipe from Gimme Some Oven)

  • 4 large eggs, cold
  • 8 oz. chocolate (semisweet or bittersweet), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 3 cups whipped cream
  • sprinkles for topping (optional)

For directions visit Gimme Some Oven.

*Tomorrow: French Toast & Bacon Cupcakes*

Weekly Winner #20

30 Dec

Last week of the year.  Well…of 2013…not of My Year of Cupcakes.  Anyway.

Oatmeal Cookie Cupcakes

Oatmeal-Cookie-halved

Candy Cane Cupcakes

Candy-Cane-Cupcake

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Christmas-Tree-Cupcake

Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

Mocha-Baileys-cupcake

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

Dulce-de-Leche-cupcake

Sparkling Cupcakes

Sparkling-Cupcake-side

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

CB-PP-Cupcake-halved

Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes

Half-cupcake

And, with 19.5 points, the winner is….

CB-PP-Cupcake

The Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes from Half Baked Harvest.  Check out that day here.  And check back tomorrow to see which cupcake will be December’s Monthly Champ!

Day 152 – Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes

30 Dec

Well, today is the last day of the “competition” cupcakes for 2013.  And, what better way to go out than with a toast.  To the past 151 cupcakes.  And to the next 214 cupcakes.  So, raise a Sparkling Champagne Cupcake (recipe below from Sprinkle Bakes) with me to celebrate!

But first, enjoy today’s Musical Monday selection:

Cheers!

Cupcake     Mini-Cupcake

The cake is nice and moist. Very fluffy.  It has a nice, sweet vanilla flavor with a hint of champagne.

Cupcake-filled     Mini-Cupcake-filled

The curd filling is very easy to make (considering that sometimes it isn’t the easiest). It’s thick and smooth.  It has a vanilla flavor with a bit of champagne as well. Very similar to the cupcake.

Sparkling-Frosting

The frosting is fluffy. It looks like it’s going to be to thin, but it pipes very easily.  It is very, very sweet. This is where they type of sparkling wine you buy makes all the difference. Don’t get anything too insanely sweet, cause it will push it over the edge.

Sparkling-Cupcake     Mini-Sparkling-Cucpake

When you put it all together the frosting really steals the show. You lose a lot of that wonderful pastry cream and cupcake flavor. So, frost lightly. It’s nice all together, I just want more of the other flavors to stand out.

Sparkling-Cupcake-top     Mini-sparkling-Cupcake-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 2.5
  • TOTAL: 18

Halved-cupcake     Half-cupcake

RECIPE

Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes (recipe from Sprinkle Bakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup champagne, prosecco or your choice of sparkling wine

Pastry Cream Filling:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup champagne or prosecco
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:

  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
  • 2 sticks of butter softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

For directions visit Sprinkle Bakes.

*Tomorrow: Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes*

Day 151 – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes

29 Dec

So, in case you didn’t eat enough in this holiday season, today’s cupcakes will get you there.  If you’re still full….well…these Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes (recipe below from Half Baked Harvest) might send you right over the edge.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.  This is a flavor-packed cupcake!  Get ready!!

Chocolate-Bourbon-Cupcake      Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and squishy. Not moist, but not dry at all. Very cakey.  They have an extremely strong bourbon flavor. Like. Surprisingly strong. Bourbon. Then chocolate. That’s it.

Note: The mini cupcakes are almost bitter, so I don’t recommend them. Not to mention, there’s not much room for that nutty filling.

Pecan-Pie-filling

My filling never quite thickened to caramel consistency, but it worked just the same.  It has a nice sweet, bourbon flavor. Then you get the pecans, which add a nice bite as well as texture.

CB-PP-frosting

The frosting is a little on the thin side. (You can freeze it for longer to get it as thick as you want it. I liked it a little creamier.)  It has a really nice caramel and cinnamon flavor. The nuts remind me a lot of the street vendor nuts you find here in NYC.

CB-PP-Cupcake     Mini-CB-PP-Cupcake-side

This is not a cupcake for the non-bourbon lovers. It’s strong. Really strong. Oh sure. There’s a little sweet and a little chocolate, but it’s mostly bourbon. I like it a lot. Very tasty.

CB-PP-Cupcake-top     Mini-CB-PP-Cupcake

(And, my hubby said that the inside is exactly like a pecan pie…before I told him what kind of cupcake it was.)

CB-PP-Cupcake-halved

This cupcake takes a very long time to make, or at least a lot of planning or organizing to condense the time.  It’s what we call a “Snow Day” cupcake at our house.  You know, the kind of cupcake that you would make on a snow day. When you have LOTS of free time to kill and you want something indulgent.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4.5
  • Frosting Taste: 5 (between the filling and frosting)
  • Overall Taste: 4.5
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 1.5 (so many parts, so time-consuming)
  • TOTAL: 19.5

RECIPE

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes (recipe from Half Baked Harvest)

Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
Pecan Pie Filling
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter Pecan Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped raw pecans + 18 whole pecans

For directions visit Half Baked Harvest.

*Tomorrow: Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes*

Day 150 – Sparkling Cupcakes

28 Dec

Ok, so these Sparkling Cupcakes (recipe below from The Daily Meal) might be a little early.  But, c’mon.  Let’s face it.  Is it ever too early for champagne?  I didn’t think so!

Besides, today is my parents 40th wedding anniversary.  And that deserves a toast-in-cupcake-form for sure (or just a toast, but you get what I mean)!  Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!!!!!!!!!

Cupcake     Mini-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense with an oily (but not wet) texture.  They taste like a simple, sweet vanilla cupcake.

Sparkling-glaze

The glaze is nice. Thick enough to dollop on, but not so thin that it melts all over and makes a mess.  It’s got a very sweet champagne flavor. It takes on a very strong flavor of whatever sparkling wine you choose though, so choose carefully.

Sparkling-Cupcake     Mini-Sparkling-Cupcake-side

Together this is like a nice, small toast at midnight on New Years Eve. It’s not overly exciting. But a sweet, little morsel.

Sparkling-Cupcake-top     Mini-Sparkling-Cupcake

Notes: You can decorate these with anything you’d like to, that’s the joy of a glaze. I had a variety of sprinkles left from the holidays that I used. The recipe calls for minis, so that is what they are judged on. But, I will say, the minis and the full-sized are almost identical in taste and texture.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 3
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 17.5

RECIPE

Sparkling Cupcakes (recipe from The Daily Meal)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons prosecco or champagne
  • Sanding sugar or tiny pastel candies, for decorating

For directions visit The Daily Meal.

*Tomorrow: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes*

Day 149 – Dulce de Leche Cupcakes

27 Dec

There are so many different versions of the caramel (or dulce de leche) cupcake.  Some call for homemade caramel.  Some for a can of dulce de leche (which you can make yourself — see this Tip Thursday video).  So, I figure, I need to at least try a few (or a dozen) varieties. Can you blame me?

So, with that, I give you today’s Dulce de Leche Cupcakes (recipe below from Got Mixer?).

Dulce-cupcake     Mini-dulce-cupcake

The cupcake is dense, but not dry. Almost a muffin consistency. With extreme chewy parts, where the caramel bits are.  It’s a sweet vanilla flavor with bites of caramel tossed in.

Note: I couldn’t find the caramel bits anywhere in NYC. I did find them at the grocery store in Nebraska when I was home for Thanksgiving, so I got them there.

Dulce-de-Leche-Frosting

The frosting is a whipped cream consistency, as long as you are delicate when incorporating the dulce de leche.  It’s very yummy. A caramel whipped cream. What’s not to like, right? (And it may or may not be really good with Nilla wafers….)

Note: The hand stirring of the dulce de leche into the whipped cream is time-consuming, but not at all difficult. Just don’t try to do it in a hurry.

Dulce-de-Leche-cupcake      Mini-Dulce-de-Leche

The frosting really carries the flavor when you put them together. The cupcake doesn’t bring it down, per se, it just doesn’t add anything to it. It’s a nice, sweet, caramel-y cupcake. Just not overly exciting.

Dulce-top     mini-dulce-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 19

RECIPE

Dulce de Leche Cupcakes (recipe from Got Mixer?)

Cupcakes:

  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon on vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of milk at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  •  about a 1/2 cup of Kraft Premium Caramel Bits

Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 can of dulce de leche

For directions visit Got Mixer?.

*Tomorrow: Sparkling Cupcakes*

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