Archive | April, 2014

April Monthly Competition

30 Apr

I like to think of this as the month with the least amount of chocolate Weekly Winners.  It was kind of a phenomenon.  2 fruit cupcakes, 1 tiramisu (which did include chocolate, but it wasn’t the star) and 1 chocolate-starring cupcake.  Not that I have ANYTHING against chocolate.  (You really should know that by now.)  It’s just a refreshing change (yes…pun intended).  So, I’m really excited to see how the competition turns out!  Here are our competitors:

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu-Cupcake-halved

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cupcakes

Choc-Cherry-Cordial-half2

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon-Meringue-cupcake

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Strawberry-Shortcake-half2

Let’s see who wins:

Thanks again to Phyllis, Stormy and Erica – our Cupcake Panel.  And another huge thanks to my hubby, Ken, for all filming and original music!  Check back tomorrow when we start May’s cupcakes!!

Day 273 – Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes

30 Apr

It has been a crazy, yummy, not-so-health-food-filled month.  At least at my house.  So these Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe below from Cooking with Sapana) were a must.

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are very crumbly. The full-sized have a crunchy layer on top, kinda like a brownie. They have a surprisingly good chocolate taste. Not too sweet, not too bitter. They remind me of a good hot cocoa.

Chocolate-syrup

It’s Hershey’s syrup. The recipe calls for any chocolate syrup, so feel free to use your personal favorite.

Healthy-Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Healthy-Chocolate-cake

Together it’s like hot cocoa with extra syrup. It feels far more indulgent than it is. You could easily make these and not ever even have to tell people that they are “healthy” cupcakes!

Healthy-Chocolate-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 3 (n/a)
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3
  • Ease of Making: 5
  • TOTAL: 19

Mini-Healthy-Chocoate-top

RECIPE

Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe from Cooking with Sapana)

Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate , coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 /2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • Chocolate syrup

For directions visit Cooking with Sapana.

*Tomorrow: The Best Moist & Fluffy White Cupcakes*

Weekly Winner #36

30 Apr

Well.  Yet another month went breezing by.  Wow!  It’s almost May.  That’s insane, isn’t it?  So, let’s see what this week had in store…

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Coconut-Cream-Cheese

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Pink-Lemonade-Cupcake

Mojito Cupcakes

Mojito-Cupcake

Salted Cocoa & Nutella Cupcakes

Salt-Cocoa-Nutella-Cupcake

Reese’s Cupcakes

Reeses-halved2

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Strawberry-Shortcake

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

Sugar-Cookie-Cupcake

And the winner is, with 19.5 points…

Strawberry-Shortcake-half2

The Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  Check out that yummy day here.  And check back tomorrow to see how it does against these tasty treats:

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tiramisu-Cupcake-halved

Chocolate Cherry Cordial Cupcakes

Choc-Cherry-Cordial-half2

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon-Meringue-cupcake

Day 272 – Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

29 Apr

Some days just need a little sugary sweetness.  Maybe some vanilla.  And a little sugar on top never hurt anyone.  These Sugar Cookie Cupcakes (recipe below from Creme De La Crumb) looked like just the ticket!

Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Vanilla-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and oily. (They leave your fingers a little on the greasy side.) A little like a muffin. They have a simple, sweet vanilla taste. I could definitely see making a comparison between these and a thick sugar cookie.

Sugar-Cookie-Frosting

The frosting is extremely thick. I even added extra cream and it was still really, really thick! It has a classic vanilla buttercream flavor. I don’t really get any of the cream cheese flavor in it. I might even out the ratio of butter-cream cheese next time for both taste and texture.

Sugar-Cookie-Cupcake     Mini-Sugar-Cookie-Cupcake

Together it tastes like a traditional vanilla cupcake. An argument could definitely me made for it tasting like a frosted (really dense) sugar cookie as well. Vanilla and sugar are the stars of this cupcake.

Sugar-Cookie-Cupcake-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 4.5
  • TOTAL: 18.5

RECIPE

Sugar Cookie Cupcakes (recipe from Creme De La Crumb)

Cupcakes:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup fat-free half n’ half
Frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 5½ cups powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-5 tablespoons half n’ half
  • Optional: red food coloring and red sprinkles

For directions visit Creme De La Crumb.

*Tomorrow: Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes*

Day 271 – Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

28 Apr

Some weeks just need a little sweetness to get ya started, right?  This week I chose a classic combo from one of my favorite blogs to get the week started.  Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (recipe below from Sally’s Baking Addiction).  And, in case you’re not following me on Instagram, I announced yesterday that my hubby and I are working on a new kind of cupcake…

paci

…one that will finish baking somewhere around November 8th 🙂

Now, onto today’s happy cupcakes!

Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Vanilla-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense, chewy and a little sticky. They have a somewhat sweet vanilla flavor. Nothing over-stated. Just light and simple.

The filling is thick and sticky. A little like a strawberry jelly in taste and feel.

Strawberry-Whipped-Cream

The frosting is whipped and fluffy. It has a nice, sweet whipped cream taste with just a hint of the strawberry flavor.

Strawberry-Shortcake     Mini-Strawberry-Shortcake

Together this is a delightful cupcake version of Strawberry Shortcake. Vanilla. Strawberry. With a twist on classic whipped cream topping. Simple and sweet.

Strawberry-Shortcake-half2

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 3.5
  • TOTAL: 19.5

Strawberry-Shortcake-half

RECIPE

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Cupcakes

  • 1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup (62g) yogurt (Greek or regular yogurt; vanilla or plain)
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean (optional)

Strawberry Filling

  • 2 cups diced strawberries (about 10 medium strawberries finely diced)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (16g) cornstarch

Strawberry Whipped Cream

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tablespoons (43g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • reserved 1/2 cup of strawberry filling

For directions visit Sally’s Baking Addiction.

*Tomorrow: Sugar Cookie Cupcakes*

Day 270 – Reese’s Cupcakes

27 Apr

Peanut butter and chocolate.  A classic (and classically delicious) combination.  Now, these Reese’s Cupcakes (recipe below from Reese’s Cupcakes) have an odd little twist to them.  Let’s see if they stack up…

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and a little crumbly. They are extremely bitter in taste. No sweetness or chocolate flavor to them at all.

The filling is smooth, creamy and fluffy. It has a good, sweet peanut butter flavor. Pretty accurate to the inside of a peanut butter cup.

Chocolate-Frosting

The frosting is thick and smooth. It has a sweet flavor. The unfortunate thing is that nutmeg is the strongest flavor (1 tbsp of nutmeg is WAY too much…ever…in anything, in my opinion). The chocolate flavor is there, as is the peanut butter, but they take a back seat to the nutmeg.

Reeses-Cupcake     Mini-Reeses-Cupcake

Together this is an odd cupcake. The nutmeg continues to be the strongest flavor, though the peanut butter is a little more obvious in the total cupcake. The bitterness of the cake and the nutmeg though still give it a less-than-sweet overall flavor. Which, in my opinion, is NOT accurate to the Reese’s Peanut Butter taste.

Reeses-halved2

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 2
  • Frosting Taste: 3
  • Overall Taste: 3
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 4 (3 parts, but very easy, throw-it-all-in steps)
  • TOTAL: 16

Reeses-halved

RECIPE

Reese’s Cupcakes (recipe from Reese’s Cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 lightly beaten eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon of instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 24 mini Reese’s Cups (for garnish)

Filling:

  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup of sifted confectioners sugar

Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup of cocoa
  • 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of peanut butter

For directions visit Reese’s Cupcakes.

*Tomorrow: Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes*

Day 269 – Salted Cocoa & Nutella Cupcakes

26 Apr

These Salted Cocoa & Nutella Cupcakes (recipe below from Thistlewood Farms) need no introduction.  Or explanation.  I think it’s fair to say that we all know why the needed to be made.  Right?

Cocoa-Cupcake     Mini-Cocoa-Cupcake

The cupcakes are extremely crumbly. They just kinda fall about in your hand. They have an extremely dark coffee flavor. Not sweet at all. In fact, almost bitter cause they’re so dark.

Chocolate-Ganache

The glaze is smooth and liquidy. It hardens nicely if you pop it in the fridge for 10 mins or so and then sprinkle the salt on. (Otherwise the salt just melts right in.) It tastes like liquid Nutella. No joke. Like, Nutella you can drink. Dangerous!

Salt-Cocoa-Nutella-Cupcake     Mini-SC-Nutella-Cupcake

The glaze definitely brings out the best in the cupcake. It lightens it up a fair amount and brings out the Nutella flavor, instead of the coffee flavor. It’s still a pretty dark cupcake overall though.

Salted-Cocoa-Nutella-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 4.5
  • TOTAL: 18.5

Mini-Cocoa-Nutella-top

RECIPE

Salted Cocoa & Nutella Cupcakes (recipe from Thistlewood Farms)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk

Chocolate Sauce:

  • 1 oz. good, unsweetened dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt (set aside for sprinkling)

For directions visit Thistlewood Farms.

*Tomorrow: Reese’s Cupcakes*

Day 268 – Mojito Cupcakes

25 Apr

So, my hubby and I lived in Miami for about 7 years before moving to NYC.  In that time, we learned a fair amount about Miami culture.  Foods (Mojo sauce forever changed my life!).  Music (Gloria Estefan is always a good choice.)  And drinks.  From coffee drinks, like cafe con leche (which I miss daily here) to the slightly more “adult” variety drinks.  Miami knows how to make em!  And these Mojito Cupcakes (recipe below from Cupcake Recipe) reminded me of that fact!

Lime-Cupcake     Mini-Lime-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and chewy. They have a pretty plain cupcake flavor. Nothing specific. The barest hint of mint. (But none at all in the mini.)

Note: I baked the full-sized cupcakes for about 16 minutes, the recipe didn’t specify time.

Mojito-frosting

The frosting is smooth and creamy. It’s pretty good. The lime flavor is yummy, but I want more bite to it. Its creaminess softens the lime intensity.

Note: I used about 1 stick of butter with the 1 ½ c confectioners’ sugar. The recipe wasn’t specific.

Mojito-Cupcake     Mini-Mojito-Cupcake

The first thing I noticed: not a mojito. The principal flavor in a mojito is sweet mint. Then rum. Then lime. This cupcake has the sweetness and the lime, but very little mint. Having the mint garnish is a must, but the mint only lasts 1 bite because it’s a garnish. In the future, I would chop mint and make a mint-simple syrup paste, coat the top of the cupcake and then frost. This would ensure the mint/lime in every bite. The density of the cake also gets in the way. I want this cake to disappear in my mouth, giving way to the mint and touch of lime bite from the frosting.

Mojito-Cupcake-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 3
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 17

Mini-Mojito-top

RECIPE

Mojito Cupcakes (recipe from Cupcake Recipe)

Mojito Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • zest and juice of 1/2 a lime zest and juice
  • Fresh mint
  • 1 shot of spiced or dark rum
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup of milk

Mojito Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups of softened powdered (icing) sugar
  • Zest and juice of half a lime
  • Half shot of spiced or dark rum
  • 12 sprigs of mint garnish

For directions visit Cupcake Recipe.

*Tomorrow: Salted Cocoa & Nutella Cupcakes*

Day 267 – Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

24 Apr

With the exception of the (somewhat biting) wind we have in New York, it definitely looks a lot like Spring.  Flowers are blooming.  The sun in shining.  And what better way to refresh than with a nice glass of lemonade?  Right?  So, I think these Pink Lemonade Cupcakes (recipe below from Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen) will be a great addition!

Pink-Lemon-Cupcake     Mini-Pink-Lemon-cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and sticky. They have a surprisingly strong lemonade flavor. And a beautiful pink color. They have a bit of a strange aftertaste though. Like the aftertaste you get after having a glass of lemonade that isn’t sweetened enough. It’s almost bitter…

Pink-Lemonade-frosting

The frosting is thick and smooth. It’s very tart, which is a little shocking, cause there isn’t that much lemonade in it. It’s plenty sugary though too. So you don’t get the same bitter flavor that the cupcakes give.

Pink-Lemonade-Cupcake     Mini-Pink-Lemonade-Cupcake

Together they have just the right amount of sweet and tart. They really work together to give that pink lemonade flavor.

Pink-Lemonade-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 4.5
  • TOTAL: 18.5

Mini-Pink-Lemon-top

RECIPE

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes (recipe from Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 c. thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
  • 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • Pink food coloring

Frosting:

  • 3 c. + 3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. pink lemonade concentrate
  • Pink food coloring

For directions visit Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen.

*Tomorrow: Mojito Cupcakes*

Day 266 – Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

23 Apr

I don’t know about you, but on Wednesdays, sometimes, I just need a little pick-me-up.  Ya know, something light.  Fluffy.  Creamy.  Ya know.  Sweet and simple.  And these Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below from Food Network).

Coconut-Cupcakes     Mini-Coconut-Cupcakes

The cupcakes are dense, but springy, and a little sticky. They have a sweet, almond flavor, reminiscent of Angel Food Cake, but it’s a totally different texture. The coconut adds a nice texture and flavor. Kinda reminds me of a coconut macaroon.

Cream-Cheese-Frosting

The frosting is fluffy and smooth. It has a strong cream cheese flavor. I’d like more vanilla or almond, or maybe both. I’m getting mostly sweet cream cheese. Which isn’t bad, just not terribly interesting.

Coconut-Cream-Cheese     Mini-Coconut-Cream-Cheese

Together it’s almost like eating a frosted macaroon. The almond in the cupcake definitely makes up for the lack in the frosting. And the sweetness of the frosting brings out the coconut in the cupcake. Very complementary to one another.

Coconut-Cream cheese top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-Coconut-Cream cheese-top

RECIPE

Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe from Food Network)

Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 oz sweetened, shredded coconut

Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For directions visit Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

*Tomorrow: Pink Lemonade Cupcakes*

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