Archive | January, 2014

January Monthly Competition

31 Jan

The time is here.  The first Monthly Champ of 2014 will be announced!  Here are our competitors:

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


S’more Cupcakes


Really Lemony Lemon Cupcakes


Tiramisu Cupcakes


Check out the video to see how they did:

Thanks again to Eric, Tony and Matt – our Cupcake Panel.  And a huge thanks to my hubby, Ken, for filming and all the original music!  See you tomorrow for the start of February’s cupcakes!

Day 184 – Almond Amaretto Gluten-free Cupcakes

31 Jan

The last day of January!  You know what that means?!  A cupcake with a little variety to it.  Today: Gluten-free!!  Yes.  I know.  Exciting.  And I’ll think you’ll like the results…Almond Amaretto Gluten-free Cupcakes (recipe below from Cupcake Project).


The cupcakes are extremely moist on the inside, but crunchy on the outside. Very sticky as well. Like, stick-to-your-teeth.  They have a lovely, light sweet-Amaretto flavor to them. Not complex. Just simple and easy.


The whipped cream got very soft and a little runny once I added the amaretto.  But it has a very tasty amaretto-cream flavor! Super yummy!


Though the cupcake itself might be slightly on the muffin side, this is a tasty cupcake. And, (especially) as far a gluten-free desserts go, really tasty!! It’s sweet and light. Good amaretto flavor. Not overly complicated or rich. Just simple and easy. A great brunch cupcake!

Note: I didn’t have any sliced almonds to garnish my cupcakes with so I used some chopped almonds. The sliced look beautiful though, so make sure to check out the original post to see that!!

Scoring Sheet:

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


Almond Amaretto Gluten-free Cupcakes (recipe from Cupcake Project)


  • 1 C unsalted butter
  • 2 C almond meal
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/3 C caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Amaretto liqueur


  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp powered sugar
  • 5 tbsp Amaretto liqueur
  • sliced almonds (optional)

For directions visit Cupcake Project.

*Tomorrow: Fudge Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting*

Weekly Winner #24

30 Jan

Last week of January.  Wow!!  What a visually stunning week!

Red Velvet Cupcakes


Marble Cupcakes


Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes


Candied-Hazelnut Cupcakes


Tiramisu Cupcakes


Bailey’s Cupcakes


Hot Cocoa Cupcakes


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting


And, with 20 points, the winner is…..


Tiramisu Cupcakes from Cupcake Project.  Take a look at that yummy day here.  And check back tomorrow to see how it holds up against these cupcakes:

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


S’more Cupcakes


Really Lemony Lemon Cupcakes


Tiramisu Cupcakes


Day 183 – Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

30 Jan

More accurately Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures).  Quite a name, right?  But an interesting combination.  And a whole lot of flavors that I like!  So, check out the Tip Thursday video and then see how all those flavors come together.

Pumpkin-Cupcake     Mini-Pumpkin-Cupcake

Pumpkin cupcakes are always so pretty! They seem to come out with that perfect top every time. I love it! They are squishy and dense. And somewhere between moist and oily.  They have a surprisingly strong pumpkin flavor. Not as much of the spices as pumpkin cupcakes usually have. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a sweet, pumpkin cupcake.


The frosting is smooth and creamy. A little soft, but no softer than a typical cream cheese frosting.  It has a nice caramel flavor, but you get a lot of the cream cheese still too. Which is really interesting.

Note: My frosting was thick enough to pipe without needing to refrigerate, which is what the recipe suggests.

Pumpkin-Caramel-cupcake      Mini-Pumpkin-Caramel-side

When I put them together, I’m surprised at how strong the caramel and the pumpkin flavors remain. And how well they seem to go together. It’s not a combination I had considered in the past, but, at least according to this cupcake, it totally works. It’s smooth and creamy. It’s really sweet, so consider yourself warned. But this would make a lovely addition to any holiday meal for sure! As long as you have pumpkin and/or caramel fans at the table.

Note: I didn’t have any caramels, so I topped mine with caramel Nips and the caramel bits I had.

Pumpkin-Caramel-top      Mini-Pumpkin-Caramel

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 3 (Easy cupcake! Caramel takes a bit of time though.)
  • TOTAL: 18


Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature


  • 1 lb confectioners’ sugar, sifted divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For directions visit Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

*Tomorrow: Amaretto Gluten-free Cupcakes*

Day 182 – Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

29 Jan

So, the weather is still a little on the cold side.  And by a little, I mean freezing.  So lovely.  But, not a bad time for sitting on the couch with a good book and some hot chocolate.  Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?  Or, if you don’t wanna make a cup of hot chocolate, you should try these Hot Cocoa Cupcakes (recipe below from Bella Cupcake Couture).  They’ll be a great substitute!

Cocoa-Cupcake     Mini-Cocoa-cupcake

The cupcakes are crumbly, but not dry. They’re not moist either. Just kinda in that in between. (The full-sized are definitely more moist than the minis.)  They have a nice chocolate-cocoa flavor. Sweet, but not too sweet. A lot like a good, homemade hot chocolate.


The frosting is smooth and fluffy. Extremely easy to pipe.  It has a sweet, marshmallow flavor. Not too sugary though, and not too much vanilla. Very well-balanced.

Note: The frosting recipe didn’t make quite enough to cover all of the cupcakes. Maybe I frost too heavy, but I’d make extra next time. I’d prefer to err on the side of leftover-frosting-to-eat-with-Nilla-wafers than not enough. Just sayin’.

Hot-Cocoa-Cupcake     Mini-Hot-Cocoa

This is literally a ‘hot cocoa with marshmallows on top’ cupcake. That’s exactly what it tastes like. It’s not necessarily a WOW cupcake. But it is a legit, tasty, simple, homemade kinda cupcake. A comfort food cupcake, if you will. Which, in my opinion, you can never have too many of!

Note: The flavor is stronger in the full-sized, but the mini is a really tasty, bite-sized version.

Hot-Cocoa-Cupcake-top     Mini-Cocoa-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4.5 (so simple and so cute)
  • Ease of Making: 3.5
  • TOTAL: 19


Hot Cocoa Cupcakes (recipe from Bella Cupcake Couture)


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream

Marshmallow Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 a (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To Garnish (optional):

  • 12 mini marshmallows
  • 1 oz. dark chocolate

For directions visit Bella Cupcake Couture.

*Tomorrow: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting*

Day 181 – Bailey’s Cupcakes

28 Jan

Who doesn’t love Irish Cream?  I mean, come on.  Right?  It’s amazing.  Even if you’re not an alcohol person.  It’s just yummy.  So, I can’t even resist a cupcake with Irish Cream involved.  Hence, these Bailey’s Cupcakes (recipe below from Good To Know Recipes).

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-chocolate-cupcake

The cupcakes are moist, but crumbly. A little like a brownie.  They taste a bit like a brownie too. But a dark, almost bitter, brownie. I get a lot of the coffee flavor, but not as much Bailey’s.


The chocolate buttercream is thick, but smooth and easy to pipe.  It has a very yummy chocolate flavor. Something between cocoa and semisweet. Really yummy. I feel like it could be a versatile frosting, easily used for other cupcakes.

The Bailey’s buttercream is smooth and silky. Almost a cream. But a pipeable consistency.  It has a sweet Irish Cream flavor. Nothing too extreme. Together the frosting looks really cool, but I’m not sure how I feel about the flavors. They are both so distinct, and so different. It’s not that they don’t work, I’m just not sure what to think…

Bailey's-cupcake     Mini-Bailey's-cupcake

The frostings definitely bring out the best in the cupcake. The Bailey’s and the chocolate and the star players once you put it all together. The frostings also make the overall cupcake a little smoother. It’s a thick and rich cupcake though. So have your glass of milk at the ready.

Bailey's-top     Mini-Bailey's-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 2.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4.5
  • Ease of Making: 2.5 (the frostings are both simple enough, but there are 2 of them)
  • TOTAL: 17


Bailey’s Cupcakes (recipe from Good To Know Recipes)


  • 55g butter
  • 55g 48% dark chocolate
  • 5g coffee granules
  • 30g self-raising flour
  • 30g plain flour
  • 5g cornflour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • Pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 25 ml buttermilk
  • 40 ml of water
  • 1 bar of Irish cream chocolate

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 340g icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 100 ml milk

Bailey’s Buttercream:

  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp Irish cream/Bailey’s

For directions visit Good To Know Recipes.

*Tomorrow: Hot Cocoa Cupcakes*

Day 180 – Tiramisu Cupcakes

27 Jan

Mmmm mmm.  I love tiramisu.  The cream, the espresso, the ladyfingers.  Yum, yum, yum!  So, these Tiramisu Cupcakes (recipe below from Cupcake Project) were a no-brainer.  Enjoy the song below and enjoy these cupcakes!

“Inner Swagger” by Marcus Lewis Band

Ladyfinger-Cupcake     Mini-Ladyfinger

The cupcakes are extremely dense and sticky.  I had to keep in mind that they’re really more of a cookie than a cake. Cause, as a cake, they’re kinda weird. They have a good sweet vanilla flavor. They just don’t taste like they’re meant to be a cupcake.

Note: Be sure not to overfill the cupcakes. They are very chewy and can easily distract from the overall tiramisu texture. You want a fairly thin cupcake. I used my small ice cream scoop aka cookie dough scoop.


The egg cream is thick and easy to spread.  It has a very yummy, sweet flavor! Dangerously tasty. Like a custard filling, but with that sweet mascarpone flavor.

Tiramisu-Cupcake     Mini-Tiramisu

Together, with the thin ladyfinger cupcake, the rum coffee, the egg cream, whipped cream and chocolate on top this is one tasty cupcake! It’s a legit tiramisu flavor. No doubt what it’s supposed to be. But it a tasty little treat for sure! It’s sweet with that nice hint off coffee, rum and chocolate.

Tiramisu-Cupcake-above     Mini-Tiramisu-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 4.5
  • Overall Taste: 4.5
  • Appearance: 5
  • Ease of Making: 3 (again, more time-consuming than difficult)
  • TOTAL: 20


Tiramisu Cupcakes (recipe from Cupcake Project)

Ladyfinger Cupcakes:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp + 2/3 C white sugar
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a small amount of dark chocolate for chocolate curls (optional)

For directions visit Cupcakes Project.

*Tomorrow: Bailey’s Cupcakes*

Day 179 – Candied-Hazelnut Cupcakes

26 Jan

Sometimes, just sometimes, you come across a recipe where the end result looks infinitely cooler than you thought it would. These Candied-Hazelnut Cupcakes (recipe below from Martha Stewart) are totally that. Read on. You’ll see.

Hazelnut-cupcake     mini-hazelnut-cupcake

The cupcakes are extremely dense and fairly moist. Very muffin-like.  They have a surprisingly sweet, nutty flavor. The hazelnuts are extremely strong. Not overly strong, I’m just surprised cause they’re normally not a super-intense nut.


The frosting is a cross between a ganache and a buttercream. It’s smooth and thick and easy to spread.  It has a very chocolatey flavor. Sweet, but leveled. You can really taste the cocoa powder and the semisweet chocolates.

Candied-Hazelnut     Mini-candied-hazelnut

Together it’s a lot like a chocolate-covered hazelnut cupcake. You get the nut. And the chocolate. They mesh together nicely. If you’re not a nut-in-your-food fan though, these will not be your style. So, keep that in mind when you’re baking them.

Candied-Hazelnut-above     Mini-candied-hazelnut-above

Note: In mini form, you really just get the chocolate frosting. I’m not gonna say that’s bad, I’m just gonna say it’s chocolatey.

Candied-Hazelnut-cupcake     Mini-candied-hazelnut-whole

Note:  It’s quite a bit of time and effort to make the candied hazelnut. They are beautiful, but I’m not sure spending that much time on a topping is my cup of tea.

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4.5
  • Ease of Making: 2.5 (more time-consuming than difficult)
  • TOTAL: 18


Candied-Hazelnut Cupcakes (recipe from Martha Stewart)


  • 1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 large egg whites


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled


  • 24 hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

For directions visit Martha Stewart.

*Tomorrow: Tiramisu Cupcakes*

Day 178 – Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes

25 Jan

Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes (recipe below from Bake or Break)

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are very dense. They look and feel (and taste) a lot like a devil’s food cake. Dark and fudgy.  A nice, sweet chocolate flavor. Not too dark, but not weak either.


The caramel is thick and dark.  It tastes a little burnt. Not like a typical sweet caramel. It’s possible that it’s on purpose.

Note: The recipe says to let the caramel get to 360 degrees. I didn’t quite make it there before my house was filled with smoke.


The frosting is the consistency and texture of chocolate pudding. It holds its shape way better than I would have expected!  It tastes a bit like chocolate-chocolate cream. The 2 different chocolates give it a much deeper flavor. Really interesting. Really tasty.

Choc-SC-Cupcake     Mini-Choc-SC-Cupcake

These cupcakes are meant to be minis, and there’s a reason. The full-sized cupcake gets way too much of the caramel and the salt and it overpowers the whole thing.

Choc-SC-Cupcake-top     Mini-Choc-SC-Cupcake-top

The caramel turns in to a hard, candy caramel in the center of the cupcake. Making the full-sized even harder to eat. The minis have a nice chocolate to caramel to salt balance. They are dark cupcakes. Not overly sweet or sugary. But the minis are nice, bite sized, chocolate-covered salted-caramels.


Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 4.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4.5
  • Ease of Making: 2.5 (None of the parts are overly difficult. Caramel and chocolates are pretty time-consuming.)
  • TOTAL: 19


Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes (recipe from Bake or Break)

For the cupcakes:
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • sea salt, for garnish
For the filling:
  • 2 & 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 & 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 & 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For directions visit Bake or Break.

*Tomorrow: Candied-Hazelnut Cupcakes*

Day 177 – Marble Cupcakes

24 Jan

So I have to start today by reminding you that I am not a cake decorator….I have gotten significantly better since Day 1 of the this blog.  But, nowhere near as good as some of my fellow bloggers.  But, I am working on that.  And it never stops me from trying.  (Trust me.  You’ll see what I mean when you scroll down.)

Marble Cupcakes (recipe below from District Kitchenette).  Doesn’t sound complex, I know.  But just wait…

Marble-Cupcake     Mini-Marble-Cupcake

The cake is very dry. It almost feels powdery in my mouth.  The white part gives the impressions of angel food cake, while the dark part is, obviously, chocolate. It’s sweet, but not too sweet.

Chocolate-Ganache     Chocolate-Ganache-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Ganache

The ganache is smooth and creamy, but pretty thick.  It’s got a sweet but very dark chocolate taste.


The frosting is extremely thick. As is, I used about 1-2 cups less sugar than was called for and my arm was shaking while I piped the frosting cause it was so thick.  This tastes like the buttercream that comes on cakes when you get them at a shop. It’s a buttercream, but half shortening, so it’s just a little different.

Finished-Cupcake-side     Mini-Finished

This has a nice chocolate-vanilla balance. The cake offers both, then chocolate ganache, then vanilla buttercream. So you get the full combo, for sure. The toppings definitely negate the dryness a little, but I still really want to a glass of milk or water to wash it down.

Note: The recipe offers a how-to video for the flower petals (yes, that’s what the design is supposed to be.) It’s a good video. And mine aren’t too bad for the first time with this style. But check out the original, cause hers are beautiful!

Finished-Cupcake     Mini-Finished-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4.5
  • Ease of Making: 3.5
  • TOTAL: 18.5


Marble Cupcakes (recipe from District Kitchenette)


  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water


  • 8 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup


  • 8 cups (2 pounds) confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

For directions visit District Kitchenette.

*Tomorrow: Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes*

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