Archive | May, 2014

Weekly Winner #39

23 May

It is getting so close to the end of this year…I can’t believe it!  39 weeks of cupcakes – DONE!  Wow.

Lemon Lime Citrus Cupcakes

Lemon-Lime-Cupcake

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Shirley-Temple-Cupcake

Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla-Cupcake

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Double-Chocolate-Cupcake

Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked Cupcakes

Half-Baked-half2

Peachy Bourbon Crumble Cupcakes

Peachy-Bourbon-Cupcake

Key Lime Cupcakes

Lime-Cupcake-Unwrapped

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Strawberry-Shortcake-top

And, with 20 points, the winner is…

Peachy-Bourbon-halved2

The Peachy Bourbon Crumble Cupcakes from Buttercream Blondie.  Check out that tasty day here.  And check back on May 31st to see how it does in the Monthly Competition.

Day 296 – Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

23 May

Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday!!  Happy Birthday, mom!  I am one of those people who totally lucked out on in-laws when I got married.  Seriously.  They’re the best!  So, I thought these Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (recipe below from Cooking Classy) were just about pretty enough to celebrate her birthday!

Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Vanilla-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense and a little sticky. They have a pretty sweet vanilla flavor. Exactly what I’d expect from a Shortcake. Sugary vanilla cake.

Strawberry-Frosting

The frosting is light, smooth and creamy. (Be sure to follow the directions to get this result, otherwise it’ll be a “normal” buttercream.) It has a wonderful (natural) pink color with specks of red. It’s got an extremely buttery flavor. Sweet, but not aggressively so. With a little bite of tartness from the strawberry.

Strawberry-Shortcake     Mini-Strawberry-Shortcake

This strawberry shortcake is so light and delicate. The frosting does remind me a little of just whipped cream once it’s on the cupcake. So the flavors from a typical strawberry shortcake are all present and accounted for. It’s smooth and creamy and sweet.

Strawberry-Shortcake-top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-Strawberry-cake-top

RECIPE

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (recipe from Cooking Classy)

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (15g) freeze-dried strawberries
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar
  • 12 strawberries for decorating

For directions visit Cooking Classy.

Tomorrow: Fried Ice Cream Cupcakes*

Day 295 – Key Lime Cupcakes

22 May

My dear friend, Marc, is coming to visit me tomorrow.  Yay!  I’m so excited.  One of my favorite memories with Marc is doing a show in Key West.  We did lots of shows in Florida together (when we both lived there).  But, getting to go to Key West and “work”…it was amazing!  So, to celebrate getting to see him tomorrow, I decided on these Key Lime Cupcakes (recipe below from Unusually Lovely).

Lime-Cupcake     Mini-Lime-Cupcake

The cupcakes are very cakey. Not to moist, not too dry. Not too dense, not too squishy. They have a lightly sweetened flavor with just a hint of line. A very passive cupcake. The graham cracker crust has a nice crunch to it. It’s sweet, but no sweeter than a graham cracker itself.

Whipped-Cream

The frosting is whipped cream. Yum. All around. Easy to make. Always looks pretty. And yum. Sweet vanilla cream.

Key-Lime-Pie-Cupcake     Mini-Key-Lime-Pie-Cupcake

This cupcake is very light overall. No flavor necessarily overpowers the others. The graham cracker is probably the strongest flavor, though I get a lot of vanilla as well. The crunch is a nice contract to the otherwise ooey-gooey texture between the cake and the whipped cream.

Lime-Cupcake-Unwrapped

The whipped cream may benefit from a little lime juice as well, to really punch up the flavor. I don’t get a lot of lime taste overall, which is sad in a key lime cupcake.

Key-Lime-halved

Scoring Sheet:

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

Key-Lime-top

RECIPE

Key Lime Cupcakes (recipe from Unusually Lovely)

Crust: 

  • 3 cups graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cupcake:

  • 14 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • zest of a lime
  • juice from 2 limes

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For directions visit Unusually Lovely.

*Tomorrow: Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes*

Day 294 – Peachy Bourbon Crumble Cupcakes

21 May

Peachy Bourbon Crumble Cupcakes (recipe below from Buttercream Blondie).  Doesn’t that just make your mouth water?  Spring flavors.  With a kick.  Yum!  But, as you might have guessed, I was (unfortunately) unable to taste for myself, thanks to the other cupcake I’m currently working on.  So, these cupcakes were judged by my favorite guest blogger (and hubby), Ken.

Peach-Cupcake     Mini-Peach-Cupcake

This is a nice cake. Peach is present in the minis, but better balance in the normal size. Bourbon is present, but the peach flavor wins. Perhaps if you did bourbon soaked peaches and regular peaches, the bourbon flavor would be more prevalent.

Whipped-Bourbon-Frosting

The alcohol makes this not as pleasing as I would like for whipped cream, (I LOVE whipped cream). Perhaps that shows prejudice. The crumble is a nice balance and give the feeling of crust, which is my second favorite thing on earth.

Peachy-Bourbon-Cupcake     Mini-Peachy-Bourbon-Cupcake

The bourbon disappears in the whip, but who cares! This is super satisfying as a cupcake, but conjures dessert. I love how the last lingering note is the peach, reminding me that this is a peach cupcake. I think this hits the concept of peach crumble nicely. Especially if you are a shortcake fan, this will make you happy in the summery, grandma way.

Peachy-Bourbon-halved2

Scoring Sheet:

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

Peachy-Bourbon-halved

RECIPE

Peachy Bourbon Crumble Cupcakes (recipe from Buttercream Blondie)

Peach Cupcakes:
  • 5 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 & 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup diced peaches (1 large peach)
Almond Crumble Topping:
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter cubed and cold
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Bourbon-spiked whipped cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For directions visit Buttercream Blondie.

*Tomorrow: Key Lime Cupcakes*

Day 293 – Half-Baked Cupcakes

20 May

Can you every really go wrong with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream?  I mean, c’mon.  They’ve got something for everyone.  Fruit, chocolate, vanilla, cookie dough.  And, if you choose correctly, usually more than one of those flavors at a time.  Like these Ben & Jerry’s-inspired Half-Baked Cupcakes (recipe below from Life in a Peanut Shell).  Chocolate, vanilla, cookie dough…yum!

Chocolate-Vanilla-Cake     Mini-Chocolate-Vanilla-cake

The cupcakes are dense and sticky. The cake flavors run together a bit. The vanilla cake has a bit of a pound cake flavor, while the chocolate is a very faint chocolate flavor. It almost tastes like artificial chocolate to me, which is an odd taste.

Note: The vanilla batter is much thicker than the chocolate batter, so make sure not to overfill, otherwise swirling is a challenge.

Cookie-Dough

The cookie dough is creamy and smooth, just like chocolate chip cookie dough should be. The recipe indicates that it should “crumble” though, and mine definitely didn’t crumble. I had to use my hands and just plop it into the batters and frosting. It still works, but it wasn’t a smooth and seamless and I was expecting it to be.

Cookie Dough Whipped-Frosting

The frosting is fluffy and airy. Whipped-cream cream-cheese frosting may be one of my favorite things! I’ve only seen it in a few recipes, but they go so well together! The cookie dough breaks up both the creaminess in the texture and in the taste, with a little crunch and bite.

Half-Baked-Cupcake     Mini-Half-Baked-Cupcake

The cupcake flavors back up the frosting nicely. Surprisingly, it’s not an overly rich cupcake, except for the cookie dough bites. It ends up being a smooth and fluffy (quite sugary) cupcake.

Half-Baked-half2

Scoring Sheet:

  • Cupcake Taste: 3
  • Frosting Taste: 4.5
  • Overall Taste: 4
  • Appearance: 4
  • Ease of Making: 2 (so many parts. Very time-consuming.)
  • TOTAL: 17.5

Half-Baked-half1

RECIPE

Half-Baked Cupcakes (recipe from Life in a Peanut Shell)

For the Vanilla Cake:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or plain yogurt (full-fat is best)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (8 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 1 1/3 cups (9 3/8 ounces) sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups (5 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (3/8 ounce) cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (3 ½ ounces) vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) water
Eggless Cookie Dough:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Whipped Cream Frosting:
  • 1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For directions visit Life in a Peanut Shell.

*Tomorrow: Peachy Bourbon Cupcakes*

Day 292 – Double Chocolate Cupcakes

19 May

So, since yesterday was a “back to basics” kinda day, I decided today should just be a twist on that.  Chocolate is simple, right?  Basic enough?  Maybe not…Double Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe below from Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain).

Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Chocolate-Cupcake

The cupcakes are dense. They aren’t dry enough to crumbly, but they aren’t moist either. They have a nice chocolate flavor. Not too dark, not too sweet.

Chocolate-Frosting

The frosting is smooth and easy to pipe, but do it quickly cause once the melted chocolate hardens up, it’s really thick! Almost like a ganache frosting. It has a much darker chocolate taste than the cupcake does. Like a creamy, slightly-fluffy dark chocolate.

Double-Chocolate-Cupcake     Mini-Double-Chocolate

The frosting is definitely the standout part of this cupcake. I actually want more of the cupcake and less of the frosting. So, my advice: frost lightly.

Double-Chocolate-top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-Double-Chocolate-top

RECIPE

Double Chocolate Cupcakes (recipe from Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain)

Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Frosting:

  • 14 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 9 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 9 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

For directions visit Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain.

*Tomorrow: Ben & Jerry’s Half-Baked Cupcakes*

Day 291 – Vanilla Cupcakes

18 May

Ok.  Back to simple again.  Every once in a while there’s a required check-in back at “normal” cupcakes.  Simple, sweet cupcakes.  Back to basics.  Vanilla Cupcakes (recipe below from Glorious Treats).

Plain-Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Plain-Vanilla-Cupcake

The cupcakes are squishy and moist, a little oily, but not bad. They have an almost corn muffin feel to them. They have a vanilla taste that is slightly sweet, but not sugary at all.

Vanilla-Frosting

The frosting is fluffy and creamy. It has a sweet cream cheese flavor.

Vanilla-Cupcake     Mini-Vanilla-Cupcake

Together it reminded me a little bit of a donut or a cream puff. The lightly sweetened cake really brings out how sugary sweet the frosting is. So it tastes almost like a pastry as opposed to a cupcake. A soft, fluffy vanilla pastry.

Vanilla-Cupcake-top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-Vanilla-Cupcake-top

RECIPE

Vanilla Cupcakes (recipe from Glorious Treats)

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • ½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoons) butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (directly from fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream

For directions visit Glorious Treats.

*Tomorrow: Double Chocolate Cupcakes*

Day 290 – Shirley Temple Cupcakes

17 May

Today is my niece, Halia’s, 2nd birthday!

Halia

So, I wanted to do something very bright and happy for this bright and happy little girl!  These Shirley Temple Cupcakes (recipe below from Katie at the Kitchen Door) seem happy enough!

Cherry-Cupcake     Mini-Cherry-Cupcake

The cupcakes are really squishy and a little greasy. They have a pretty pink color to them. The flavor is a little on the odd side. I get the cherry because I know it’s there. I’m not sure I would know what the flavor was if I hadn’t made them, but then there’s a weird doughy aftertaste that I can’t quite pinpoint. Perhaps a little almond extract would balance it out a little – and almond is always a nice addition to cherry.

Lemon-Lime-Frosting

The frosting is smooth and creamy. Very soft. It has a nice light, sweet cream cheese flavor with just a little lemon-lime flavor.

Shirley-Temple-Cupcake     Mini-Shirley-Temple-Cupcake

The balance of sweetness is nice between the cupcake and the frosting. But the frosting doesn’t end up being strong enough to counter that weird aftertaste in the cupcake. It just throws the whole balance off. I’m not exactly sure what’s causing it, but I wish I knew so I could change it next time. I love Shirley Temples, so I really wanted this to be just like the drink.

Shirley-Temple-top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-Shirley-Temple-top

RECIPE

Shirley Temple Cupcakes (recipe from Katie at the Kitchen Door)

Lemon-lime Cherry Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 c. lemon-lime soda
  • 1/2 c. grenadine
  • 1 tsp vinegar (cider, white wine, or white will all work)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 1 1/3 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Lemon-lime Frosting:

  • 4 oz. neufchatel cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 15 maraschino cherries with stems

For directions visit Katie at the Kitchen Door.

*Tomorrow: Vanilla Cupcakes*

Day 289 – Lemon Lime Citrus Cupcakes

16 May

Yesterday was a little dreary for Spring. Today looks like it might be the same.  So, I decided we needed a little lift to kick this weekend into gear.  Lemon Lime Citrus Cupcakes (recipe below from Today’s Mama).

Lemon-Lime-Cake     Mini-Lemon-Lime-cake

The cupcakes are thick but a little squishy. They are also a little crumbly, but not dry. Very middle-ground cupcakes. They have a sweet lemon-lime flavor. A little like Sprite or 7-up, but fresher.

Lemon-Lime-Frosting

The frosting is smooth and creamy. It has a sweet cream cheese flavor with just a hint of lemon-lime.

Lemon-Lime-Cupcake     Mini-Lemon-Lime-Cupcake

Together it’s all of a sudden it’s super-sweet. Like, aggressively so. The lemon-lime flavor is strong, but the sweetness is just overpowering. Separately I didn’t think either part was too sweet, but together it needs something to balance it and bring it back down a little. A less sweet cupcake would probably be the way to go.

Lemon-Lime-top

Scoring Sheet:

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

Mini-Lemon-Lime-top

RECIPE

Lemon Lime Citrus Cupcakes (recipe from Today’s Mama)

Lemon Lime Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • zest of 1 lemon + zest of 1 lime
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Lime Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar + 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

 

For directions visit Today’s Mama.

*Tomorrow: Shirley Temple Cupcakes*

Weekly Winner #38

15 May

Another great week of cupcakes.  Pretty cupcakes.  Yummy cupcakes.

Grasshopper Cupcakes

Grasshopper-Cupcake

Moist Lemon Cupcakes

Moist-Lemon-Cupcake

Pink Grapefruit Cupcakes

Pink-Grapefruit-cupcake

Strawberry Crepe Cupcakes

Strawberry-Crepe-Cupcake

Chocolate White Chocolate Cupcakes

Choc-White-Choc-Cupcake

Nectarine Cupcakes

Nectarine-Cupcake

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Pink-Lemonade-Cupcake

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Root-Beer-Float-Cupcake

And, with 20 points, the winner is…

Grasshopper-halved2

The Grasshopper Cupcakes from The Crafting Foodie.  Check out that tasty day here.  And check back on May 31st to see how it does in the Monthly Competition.

 

%d bloggers like this: