Archive | May, 2014

May Monthly Competition

31 May

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  10 months – done!  I can’t believe it!  Only 2 more months before the year is done.  After today, only 2 more Monthly Champs remain.  Let’s see which May Cupcake will join the ranks.  Our competitors are:

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Tres-Leches-Cupcake

Grasshopper Cupcakes

Grasshopper-halved2

Peachy Bourbon Crumble Cupcakes

Peachy-Bourbon-halved

Insanely Moist & Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

MD-Chocolate-Cupcake

Time to see which cupcake wins:

Thanks to my Cupcake Panel – Carly, Aida, Rob & Maggie.  And, of course, thanks to my hubby and cameraman, Ken, for all filming and original music!  Check back tomorrow when I start June’s cupcakes.

 

Day 304 – Gluten-free Lemon Cupcakes

31 May

It’s the last day of the month again.  You know what that means.  A “different” cupcake.  (And, of course, a Monthly Competition later today.  Don’t forget!)  And what better way to do a different cupcake this month than…Lemon!  Gluten-free Lemon Cupcakes (recipe below from Lemon Drop).

Lemon-Cupcake     Mini-Lemon-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and a little mealy. I can really feel the granules in the flours. But they melt away pretty quickly. The have a nice, light lemon flavor. Almost an afterthought. Not very sweet though.

GF-Lemon-Frosting

The frosting is fluffy and creamy. It has a light cream cheese sugary flavor with just the slightest hint of lemon.

GF-Lemon-Cupcake     Mini-GF-Lemon-Cupcake

The sugary frosting more than makes up for the lack of sugar in the cupcake. Together they offer a nice, light lemon flavor. Not aggressive at all. The texture of the cupcake still throws me a little bit, but with the frosting it all just kinda melts in my mouth.

GF-Lemon-top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-GF-Lemon-top

RECIPE

Gluten-free Lemon Cupcakes (recipe from Lemon Drop)

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil
zest from one large lemon

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/4 cup cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon pure lemon oil

For directions visit Lemon Drop.

*Tomorrow: Angel Food Cupcakes*

 

Weekly Winner #40

30 May

To say that this week has been variety packed would be…well…putting it lightly.  Looking back, this week was down right nuts!

Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes

Fried-Ice-Cream-closeup

Darth Velvet Cupcakes

Darth-Velvet-Cupcake

Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Strawberry-Cheesecake

Kumquat Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

Kumquat-Cupcake

Kiwi Vanilla Cupcakes

Kiwi-Vanilla-Cupcake

Fresh Lime Cupcakes

Fresh-Lime-Cupcake

Insanely Moist & Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

MD-Chocolate-Cupcake

And, with 20 points, the winner is….

MD-Chocolate-Cupcake

The Insanely Moist & Decadent Cupcakes from Dishing the Divine.  Check out that yummy day here.  And check back tomorrow to see how it does in our Monthly Competition against these cupcakes:

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Tres-Leches-Cupcake

Grasshopper Cupcakes

Grasshopper-halved2

Peachy Bourbon Crumble Cupcakes

Peachy-Bourbon-halved2

Day 303 – Insanely Moist and Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

30 May

Today is my dad’s birthday!!

mom-and-dad-pic

That’s my parents.  Aren’t they cute?!  And, just because I’ve tortured other family members with oldies-but-goodies…

2346_1097332505955_1519_n

(In order, that’s my dad, me and my sister…yup….I’m the chubby one…)

me-and-dad-pic

This one’s just because I love it soooo much!

Now, I must confess, I get my sweet tooth from my dad.  Hands down.  My love of chocolate.  Also from my dad.  No doubt about it. My mom is a lemon dessert fan, my dad is a chocolate dessert fan.  (Yes.  That means that every time I bake for them, there must be 2 kinds of dessert.)  So, when I was picking out his birthday cupcake this year, I knew it had to be something chocolatey. But chocolate without complications.  And these Insanely Moist and Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe below from Dishing the Divine) were calling my name!  Or…well…his name, more accurately.

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are indeed moist and very delicate. They have a light, sweet chocolate taste. Not dark at all. Almost milk chocolate. But so delicate and smooth, you almost forget it’s cake.

Chocolate-Frosting

The frosting is thick and smooth. It’s almost like a really thick pudding or mousse in consistency. It has a nice chocolate flavor as well. Definitely darker than the cupcake, but not super dark or bitter.

MD-Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-MD-Chocolate

The frosting definitely takes a front seat to the cake, so there’s no need to overfrost. But this is a smooth, creamy and surprisingly delicate chocolatey cupcake. I like the 2 different types of chocolate. They work nicely together. It’s not overstated or complicated. Just a simple, good chocolate cupcake.

MD-Chocolate-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 20

Mini-MD-Chocolate-top

RECIPE

Insanely Moist and Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe from Dishing the Divine)

Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For directions visit Dishing the Divine.

*Tomorrow: Gluten-free Lemon Cupcakes*

 

Day 302 – Fresh Lime Cupcakes

29 May

I have just been in a fruity mood lately!  Lots of citrus.  Lemons, limes, even kumquat.  So these Fresh Lime Cupcakes (recipe below from Southern Girl, City Swirl) should come as no surprise.  I guess my taste buds are ready for summer!

Lime-Cupcake     Mini-Lime-Cupcake

The cupcakes are moist and dense, but squishy. They’re really chewy. They have a strong lime flavor. A little sweet, a little tart.

Note: It took about 6 limes to get the right amount of zest and juice.

Lime-Frosting

The frosting is smooth and creamy, with pretty flecks of lime zest. It has a sweet cream cheese flavor with a nice hint of lime.

Fresh-Lime-Cupcake     Mini-Fresh-Lime-Cupcake

These are sweet, tart cupcakes. The flavors and textures go really well together. The creamy frosting counters the chewy cupcake really nicely. It’s a very refreshing cupcake overall.

Fresh-Lime-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 3.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 4 (super easy, just lots of zesting and juicing)
  • TOTAL: 19

Mini-Fresh-Lime-top

RECIPE

Fresh Lime Cupcakes (recipe from Southern Girl, City Swirl)

Lime Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2cup(1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

For directions visit Southern Girl, City Swirl.

*Tomorrow: Insanely Moist & Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes*

Day 301 – Kiwi Vanilla Cupcakes

28 May

Yesterday’s Kumquat Cupcakes were so different, I decided to stick with that theme.  These Kiwi Vanilla Cupcakes (recipe below from My Edible Memories) looked equally unique.  Vanilla…okay.  A pretty normal cupcake.  Kiwi…not so much.

Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Vanilla-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and a little moist. They have a sweet vanilla flavor. I don’t get a lot of kiwi flavor, unless I get a chunk of kiwi in the bite.

Kiwi-Buttercream

The frosting is soft and smooth. It has a much stronger kiwi taste than the cupcake. No doubt about the flavor! It’s sweet and tart.

Kiwi-Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Kiwi-Vanilla

The frosting brings out the kiwi flavor in the cupcake a little. And the cupcake balances a lot of the tartness in the frosting. Together it’s smooth and sweet, with just a little tart. It still has a strong vanilla flavor, with a kiwi accent. Very bright. Very summery. Almost like a citrus cupcake.

Kiwi-Vanilla-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 3
  • Overall Taste: 3.5
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 4
  • TOTAL: 18

Mini Kiwi-Vanilla-top

RECIPE

Kiwi Vanilla Cupcakes (recipe from My Edible Memories)

Kiwi Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1-2 whole fresh kiwis (enough to make 1/3 cup of mashed kiwi)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • slightly over 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites

Kiwi Frosting:

  • 1 whole fresh kiwi, mashed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • slightly over 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • a pinch or two of sea salt

For directions visit My Edible Memories.

*Tomorrow: Fresh Lime Cupcakes*

Day 300 – Kumquat Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

27 May

Today is my 300th cupcake!  I can’t believe it!  Only 65 more days in this year.  That’s.  Crazy.  So, I knew that today’s cupcakes needed to be something big.  Something different.  Something interesting.  These Kumquat Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below from One Kings Lane) really caught my eye.  Kumquats?!  That’s unusual!

Cupcake-Kumquat     Mini-Cupcake-Kumquat

The cupcakes are moderately dense. Sort of a muffin feel. The minis taste like vanilla cupcakes, you don’t get a lot of the fruit. The full-sized have a little stronger fruit flavor, but nothing too strong. It’s like a vanilla cupcake with a hint of tartness from the kumquat.

Citrus-Cream-Cheese-Frostin

The frosting is soft and smooth. It has a sugary vanilla flavor with just a hint of the kumquat. It’s very subtle. Not aggressively tart, which is what I expected from a kumquat.

Kumquat-Cupcake     Mini-Kumquat-Cupcake

The cupcake flows really well together. It’s sweet and sugary. The textures blend really nicely too – with the creamy frosting and the muffin-like cake. The kumquat aftertaste is definitely stronger when it’s all together! Still not aggressively tart, but you can tell it’s in there.

Kumquat-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3.5
  • Ease of Making: 4 (juicing kumquats is kind of time-consuming, but nothing hard)
  • TOTAL: 19.5

Mini-Kumquat-top

RECIPE

Kumquat Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe from One Kings Lane)

Kumquat Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped kumquat peel
  • 2 tablespoons fresh kumquat or orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 dozen kumquats (optional garnish)

Citrus Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 and 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon kumquat or orange juice

For directions visit One Kings Lane.

*Tomorrow: Kiwi Vanilla Cupcakes*

Day 299 – Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

26 May

Today is Memorial Day (here in the US).  Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the US for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.  Below are a few pictures we got the last time we were in Washington, DC (with cupcakes, of course), that I thought reflected Memorial Day.

The Washington Monument

Washington-Monument

The World War II Memorial

WW2-memorial

And the Freedom Plaza

Freedom-plaza

For today’s cupcakes, I chose something somewhat “All American”.  Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  It’s a classic, let’s face it.  Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (recipe below from Passion for Baking).  (The recipe is in Norwegian.  You’ll need to use Google Translate to translate it to English.  I’ve translated the ingredients below, but not the directions.)

Cheesecake-Cupcake     Mini-Cheesecake-Cupcake

The cupcakes are crumbly and quite crunchy. Almost like eating a cookie instead of a cupcake. Even more so in flavor. They taste like a sugar cookie. Sweet and vanilla. I don’t get a lot of the cheesecake or strawberry flavors. But it’s sweet and tasty.

Note: The recipe called for 4.3 ml of ice cream. Which comes out to a little less than a teaspoon. I went ahead and assumed (based on the pictures on the blog) that it wasn’t an accurate number. If it was 4.3 dl that comes out to a little less than 2 cups, which seems more likely. So that’s what I did.

Cheesecake-Frosting

The frosting is thick and smooth. It’s extremely sweet and sugary. With just a hint or aftertaste of the white chocolate.

Note: The original blog gave 2 different ways to frost. One was a rose (which I’ve tried before….somewhat successfully). The other was this ruffle look. Mine didn’t come out quite as pretty as the original baker, so please check them out!

Strawberry-Cheesecake     Mini-Strawberry-Cheesecake

The frosting brings a welcome creaminess to the dryness of the cupcake. Together it tastes almost like a sugar cookie with a white chocolate frosting on it. Very similar. Just in cupcake form. Sugary and sweet. Good flavors. Just a little odd in the texture department.

Cheesecake-top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-Cheesecake-top

RECIPE

Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes (recipe from Passion for Baking)

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes:

  • 200 g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 4.3 ml Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (see tasting notes above)
  • 6.5 dl flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups sugar

White Chocolate Frosting: (recipe can be found here)

  • 4 dl powdered sugar
  • 230 g butter
  • 200 g white chocolate
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For directions visit Passion for Baking.

*Tomorrow: Kumquat Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting*

Day 298 – Darth Velvet Cupcakes

25 May

Today I’m bringing out a bit of my inner geek.  I hide it pretty well…most of the time.  But, today happens to be the 37th Anniversary of Star Wars (Episode IV: New Hope).  37 years ago today we met Luke, Leia and Han for the first time.  Epic, right? Well, I thought a celebration was in order.  Especially when I found these Darth Velvet Cupcakes (recipe below from Average Betty).

Black-Cupcake     Mini-Black-Cupcake

The cupcakes are squishy and moist. They’re really delicate with a slight crunch on top. They have a sweet, slightly chocolate taste. Not strong, just a light cocoa.

Black-Cream-Cheese-Frosting

The frosting is smooth and creamy. It has a sugary cream cheese flavor. Simple, sweet vanilla taste.

Darth-Velvet-Cupcake     Mini-Darth-Velvet-Cupcake

The cupcakes are smooth and creamy. They have a sweet, slightly cocoa flavor. Mostly, they’re just sugary sweet. A lot like a red velvet cupcake. But…well…black. The color is a bit deceiving. I really felt like I was about to bite into something dark and rich, and it isn’t. Just light a sweet.

Darth-Velvet-top

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3.5
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 3
  • Ease of Making: 4.5
  • TOTAL: 19

Mini-Darth-Velvet-top

RECIPE

Darth Velvet Cupcakes (recipe from Average Betty)

Darth Velvet Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 TBSP concentrated black food/icing coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • 1 TBSP concentrated black food/icing coloring

For directions visit Average Betty.

*Tomorrow: Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes*

Day 297 – Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes

24 May

To get this weekend rolling, I decided we needed to spice things up a little. Ya know.  Something different.  With a little flair and a lot of flavor!  Something like these Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes (recipe below from Simple Food).

Cinnamon-Crunch-Cupcake     Mini-Cinnamon-Crunch

The cupcakes are dense and chewy with a nice crunch on top. They remind me a lot of a cinnamon streusel muffin. Dense and chewy with a sweet cinnamon flavor.

Cinnamon-Whipped-Cream

The frosting is creamy. With the cinnamon added, it’s a little thinner than a typical whipped cream. It has a sweet, but not sugary, cinnamon cream taste. Nice and simple.

Fried-Ice-Cream-top

The crisps are a nice little addition. I had extra. They make for a nice little snack. A bit like cinnamon-sugar toast, just thinner.

Fried-Ice-Cream-Cupcake     Mini-Fried-Ice-Cream

The whole cupcake makes for a big, somewhat chilly bite. The density of the cupcake balances nicely with the creaminess of the frosting and ice cream. It’s a sweet cinnamon cupcake through and through. A little vanilla and caramel thrown in, but cinnamon is the star.

Fried-Ice-Cream-closeup

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 4
  • Frosting Taste: 4
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4 (very unique)
  • Ease of Making: 2 (a whole lot of parts and time)
  • TOTAL: 18

RECIPE

Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes (recipe from Simple Food)

Cornflake Topping:

  • 1/2 c cornflakes, crushed
  • 1 1/2  T sugar
  • 1  t cinnamon
  • 1/2 T butter, melted

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 c + 2 T flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 + 1 T sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 3/4 c milk

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

  • 1 c whipping cream
  • 1 – 2 T powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2  t cinnamon

Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps:

  • 1 tortilla, cut into 16 triangles
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 T butter, melted

AND softened caramel swirl ice cream

For directions visit Simple Food.

*Tomorrow: Darth Velvet Cupcakes*

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