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


Week 18 – Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes


Week 19 – Kahlua Coffee Cupcakes


Week 20 – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes


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.


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


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


Candy Cane Cupcakes


Christmas Tree Cupcakes


Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting


Dulce de Leche Cupcakes


Sparkling Cupcakes


Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes


Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes


And, with 19.5 points, the winner is….


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:


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.


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


Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes (recipe from Sprinkle Bakes)


  • 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


  • 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.


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.


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.)


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


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.


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


Sparkling Cupcakes (recipe from The Daily Meal)


  • 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


  • 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.


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


Dulce de Leche Cupcakes (recipe from Got Mixer?)


  • 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


  • 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*

Day 148 – Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

26 Dec

Ok…Christmas is over.  I.  Am.  Exhausted.  And, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who could use a drink.  And, obviously, a little chocolate.  Hence today’s cupcake.  Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting (recipe below from Sweet Revelations).  Cause, let’s face it.  We all need one right now.

But first, enjoy today’s Tip Thursday video!!

Now dig in to these well-deserved cupcakes!

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Mocha-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and solid. They aren’t moist, but the aren’t dry either, which is good.  They are extremely coffee flavored. The “mocha” part takes a backseat to just plain coffee. I get very little chocolate. I think the cocoa just adds to the depth of the cupcake.

Note: The mini cupcakes are a little on the dry side.


The frosting is thick, but smooth and creamy. Exactly what swiss buttercream should be.  It isn’t overly sweet, which surprised me. It can have a strong or weak Bailey’s flavor, depending on your taste, which is nice.

Mocha-Baileys-cupcake     Mini-Mocha-Baileys

Together they taste like an Irish Cream Coffee. Yum! It’s a shot of dark, rich coffee topped with the creamy, Bailey’s flavor. Simple. And yummy.


Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 3.5 (nothing particularly hard, but a LOT of dirty dishes!)
  • TOTAL: 18.5


Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting (recipe from Sweet Revelations)


  • 3/4 cup strong hot coffee
  • 3 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise, room temperature


  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • Bailey’s to taste

For directions visit Sweet Revelations.

*Tomorrow: Dulce de Leche Cupcakes*

Day 147 – Christmas Tree Cupcakes

25 Dec

I have been waiting to do these Christmas Tree Cupcakes (recipe below from Raspberri Cupcakes).  I can’t even tell you.  They’ve been calling my name.  

And now, the day has arrived.  It’s Christmas!  Let the day of eating too much, working out too little and enjoying too many memories (and, hopefully, far too many cookies) begin!!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.  And enjoy these cupcakes!

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are very squishy, but not overly dense or too moist.  They have a nice, smooth chocolate flavor.


The frosting is thick (I had to add extra milk just to get it to a pipeable consistency).  It’s extremely peppermint-flavored! It tastes like the center of an Andes mint.

Christmas-Tree-Cupcake     Mini-Christmas-Tree

The frosting was an indication. These taste like Andes mints. You know. Those little, creamy mints you get after dinner at some restaurants. Chocolate layered with mint. That’s this cupcake. Which is kinda fantastic and fun! You could make these as any after-dinner cupcake and decorate them a little differently OR have them for your (obvious) Christmas cupcakes.

Note: I’m judging these based on the minis, cause that’s what the recipe is for. So, not surprisingly, the flavor is better in the minis.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 5 (my execution of the trees might not be perfect, but there’s no mistaking what they are)
  • Ease of Making: 3.5
  • TOTAL: 19.5


Christmas Tree Cupcakes (recipe from Raspberri Cupcakes)


  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarb soda
  • 20g Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 85g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 125g unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint essence
  • Green food colouring
  • Silver/Multi-colour cachour and/or other sprinkles for decorating

For directions visit Raspberri Cupcakes.

Day 146 – Candy Cane Cupcakes

24 Dec

Okay.  I have to begin by telling you that these Candy Cane Cupcakes (recipe below from A Spoonful of Sugar) appear to be pretty similar to the Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes from a couple of days ago.  But.  That’s cause they kind of are….Not exactly though.  There’s some twists, I promise.  And, besides, can there be too many peppermint and chocolate cupcakes right before Christmas?  I don’t think so!

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and moist. A little like Devil’s food, but not quite as airy.  They have a nice, sweet chocolate flavor.


The frosting is smooth and fluffy.  It’s a sweet buttercream with just a hint of peppermint. Not strong or overwhelming at all.

Note: I couldn’t get my stripes to work the way the recipe called for so I dyed half of my frosting and left half white.

Candy-Cane-Cupcake     Mini-Candy-Cane

These are really nice together. Not an overstated or complicated cupcake. Just a sweet, simple chocolate with a hint of peppermint.

Note: The minis have a really nice flavor balance. I actually preferred it to the full-sized.

Candy-Cane-top     Mini-Candy-Cane-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4.5
  • Ease of Making: 4 (one-bowl/no mixer batter!)
  • TOTAL: 19.5


Candy Cane Cupcakes (recipe from A Spoonful of Sugar)


  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Bicarb soda (baking soda)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 125 g butter (1 stick), softened
  • 3 cups icing (confectioners sugar)
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • red food coloring
  • 1 candy cane, crushed
  • drop peppermint flavoring

For directions visit A Spoonful of Sugar.

*Tomorrow: Christmas Tree Cupcakes*

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