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*

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