Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentine's Cupcakes - Lemon Raspberry

I almost feel like I'm giving a nod to a character in the Mortal Instruments books.  If you've read, then you know what I mean! :)  But anyhow.........

I've been attempting to make new flavors.  There's no point in continuing this if it's always the same thing.  I made a Lemon Blackberry cupcake some time ago and lemon is one of my favorite flavors.  So for Valentine's Day this year, I decided to try a Lemon Raspberry.

Excuse the horrid photos - it suddenly became overcast when I wanted to get photos!  Grrrr!  

The cupcake is a light lemon vanilla cake filled with raspberry puree and topped with a dark chocolate frosting, dark chocolate drizzled on top and sugar cookie hearts that I made for the theme.

Here is the inside of the cupcake, filled with seedless raspberry puree.

And for the anti-valentine, a broken heart cookie.

I can't say it's my favorite.  Could very well be my allergies are interfering with my taste buds.  However, the lemon cake came out soooo nice and along with the chocolate was very good.  Next time I may try just folding the raspberry into the lemon cake.  Recipe and instructions below :)

Ingredients (makes 24)

1 box white cake mix
zest of 1.5 to 2 lemons
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk or butter milk
3 eggs
1/2 tspn vanilla
1.5 cups seedless raspberry puree

Zest the lemons.  Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl with the zest and mix until well incorporated.  Fill cupcake liners and bake at 350 for 12 - 15 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Hand whisk puree.  Cut center out of cupcakes, fill with puree.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

2 dark chocolate candy bar, 7 oz
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
3 sticks butter, room temp
1/2 tspn vanilla

Break the candy bar up and melt.  Put butter in mixing bowl and cream.  Slowly add confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time mixing on slow.  Once incorporated, mix on high for 10 seconds to give the frosting some air.  Add vanilla, mix well.  Add chocolate (reserve 1/4 cup for drizzle), mix well (scrape down sides of bowl).   Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Butter Pecan Cupcakes

I'm not sure what made me decide to make these cupcakes.  I love butter pecan.  I'm not crazy about the ice cream but I like the coffee creamer!  :)

Anyhow it seemed a good idea like any other to at least attempt a cupcake with this flavor and it was well worth the experiment!!

The cupcake is made with a butter pecan cake topped with a vanilla nut butter confectioner's icing topped with toasted butter pecans, toffee bits and a little bit of the butter leftover from toasting the pecans.

There are chopped buttered pecans in the cake mix!  The pecans were toasted just right that they have a crispy texture but also a very rich flavor.  I wasn't sure about adding the toffee bits but figured it might add a little more crunch and flavor to the icing with it did.

They were very yummy.  Were, because they're gone.  My daughter, who doesn't like most nuts, even ate them without a second thought.  I can't wait to make them again.  If you like butter pecan this is your cupcake!

Below is the recipe for the cake and the icing.  Enjoy!

Butter Pecan Cake Mix (makes 24)

3 tblspn butter
1  1/2  cup pecans, chopped  (price of pecans makes this dessert a bit pricey)
2/3 c butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1  tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla nut butter extract  (can buy here Silver Cloud Estates)

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a small baking sheet (I toasted mine in the toaster oven), stir in pecans and bake at 350 for 10 minutes; cool.  If you do use the toaster oven watch the pecans, they will toast fast.  I burned the first batch :(
Cream softened butter in mixing bowl on medium.  Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternating with the 2/3 cup milk.   Begin and end with the flour mixture.  Mix until well blended.  mix in vanilla.  Fold in 1 cup cooled toasted pecans.  Reserve the rest for garnish.  Pour mixture into lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool.

FROSTING (makes 4 cups)

3 sticks salted butter
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1/2 tspn vanilla
1/2 tspn vanilla nut butter extract
1/2 cup reserved toasted pecans
toffee bits

Cream butter in mixture.  Slowly add sifted confectioner's sugar about 1/2c at a time, let mix well.  Then mix on high for 10 seconds between each 1/2 cup (let the sugar mix well with the mixture in the bowl or you'll have a cloud of white all over the place as the sugar is spun out of the bowl).  Add vanilla and vanilla nut butter extract.  Mix well.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Make a small well on the top of the piped icing and place some toffee bits.  Then garnish with the reserved toasted pecans and some of the butter.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hunger Games Cupcakes - Red Velvet / White Chocolate

** Warning....may be spoilers **

I am a fan of what is called YA (Young Adult) Dystopic Literature.  Some of the things people can fathom in their mind and write about blow me away.   I've read a few really good books under this "genre": Unwind, Matched, Crossed, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games and so forth.

I picked up the Hunger Games and I think it sat on my shelf for three weeks before I gave it a chance.  I had a hard time getting past the name of the main character, Katniss.  But at the urging of a friend, I did read it.  In fact I read all three in two weeks WITH a college course load.  And so I am stoked for the movie to come out in March of this year.  So, in preparation for that I decided to make Hunger Games Cupcakes.

I also made the wrappers with a template I have on the computer.  I haven't seen much in the way of "decor" for cupcakes for this book series soon to be movie series so I made my own.

I decided on a red velvet and added some cayenne pepper to it to make it hot - like Katniss's fire dress and her designation as the "girl on fire".  On top is a white chocolate salted buttercream, toffee chips and gold sprinkles.  I added the toffee chips to give it texture and a 2nd flavor to the white chocolate in the buttercream.

President Snow and the mockingjay logo.....all the other cupcakes you'll notice...well the wrappers...are profiles.  Apparently they didn't have one of Snow but the forward facing image I think gives him a more "I dare you" kinda personality - much like the arrogance he portrays in the books.

Katniss, Peeta and Gale.  The wrappers have fire on the sides....there's a better picture below.  I'm not particularly happy with my laserjet printer....or maybe it's the paper I used to print on but.....these should have come out brighter than they did....grrr....yes I nit pick things like that.

Cinna, Effie and Haymitch.....I like the profiles.  Originally I was just going to make them all with the mockingjay logo....but then saw the profiles and thought they'd be cool too.

I don't typically staple them but for the love of Pete (Peeta?) I couldn't find the tape anywhere.  I like the flames, I think they look really cool on the black wrapper.  I might play with these a little bit more to refine the wrappers.

Mockingjay Logo wrappers available here Etsy Shop

Hunger Games Cupcakes (Makes 24)

(I don't usually use a box but I have so much trouble getting red velvet to turn red.  And since this was just an experiment of flavors, the box was easier)

1 box red velvet
3 eggs
1/2c oil
1 cup milk
1/4tsp - 1/2tsp cayenne pepper (depends on how hot you want it to be)

Mix all ingredients together and fill liners about 1/2 way.  Cook for 15 minutes or until  toothpick comes out clean.

Confectioner's Sugar Buttercream

3 sticks salted butter room temp
4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
4 oz white chocolate, melted (I use Baker's squares)
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
toffee bits
gold sprinkles

Mix butter in mixer until light and fluffy.  On slow, add confectioner's sugar 1/4 cup at a time (mixing on high for 10 sec between each 1/4 cup).  When all the confectioner's sugar is mixed, on medium add the vanilla and mix well.  Then add the white chocolate and mix for 5 seconds on medium high.  Pipe on cupcakes and sprinkle with toffee and gold sprinkles.

Enjoy!  And may the odds be ever in your favor..........

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mimosa Cupcakes with Champagne infused Orange Curd filling


Yeah it's that time again.  Last year I did an anisette cupcake for 2011.  This year mimosas were on my mind.  Think it had something to do with Christmas morning breakfast and the glass of orange juice spiked with champagne.......anyhow.

I love oranges.  I love orange flavor in a cake, scones, biscuit you name it.  So I embarked in making my own orange curd.  The recipe I borrowed from Ina Garten really wasn't what I wanted but I messed with it a bit.  I wanted a more custard like curd (the lemon curd I have in my fridge, for example, has no bits of zest.  But this orange recipe has ton).  So if you don't want the bits of zest I suggest making a pudding or mousse or even infusing the buttercream with orange extract or some orange juice.  Next time I will pulverize the curd in a blender or food processor a little more and get rid of the pieces of zest.

The cake is a moist vanilla cake that I added the zest of one large orange to along with 1 tspn pure orange extract.  * Please people.  If you are going to use a fruit flavored extract make sure it isn't imitation.  I hate the imitation fruit extracts they taste fake.  Lemon is the worst.  Either use real fruit juices or pure extract.  Thank you. 

When the cupcakes were done, I filled them with the curd (which I laced with about 1/4 cup pink champagne).  I like pink champagne but you can use whatever champagne you want.

The buttercream is a simple vanilla swiss buttercream with about oh....maybe 1/2 cup pink champagne.  It was palpable in the air which means it was the perfect amount!

I decorated the cupcake with pink edible pearls and a 2012 I made out of melted white chocolate and sprinkled with gold disco dust.

Here is the inside.

Despite my feelings about the curd, it really was very yummy!!  And tasted like a mimosa in cupcake form!


1 box vanilla cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk (1 tblspn vinegar to 1 cup milk - let sit for 5 minutes)
Zest from one orange
1 tspn pure orange extract

Mix all together.

Orange Curd

*someone mentioned I could short cut and add 1 1/2 cups of Orange Marmalade rather than zest the orange and put it in a food processor with sugar.....let me know if you try it.

4 oranges
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temp
4 large eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/8 tspn salt

Remove the zest from the oranges with a vegetable peeler - avoid the white pith as much as possible.  Put the zest and sugar in a food processor and pulse until zest is finely minced.

Cream the butter in a mixer.  Add sugar/orange mix. Blend until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time then the orange juice and salt.  Mix until well combined.

Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened - takes about 15 - 20 minutes.  Do not over cook or it will curdle.  If using a candy thermometer, 175F is a good end temperature for the mix.  Remove from pan and let cool or refrigerate.


1 cup plus 2 tblspn sugar
5 egg whites
1 1/4 tspn vanilla
4 sticks unsalted room temperature butter
1/2 cup champagne

Put egg whites and sugar in heat proof mixing bowl.  Set over boiling water and whisk until sugar dissolves.  Do not let mixing bowl touch the boiling water or eggs whites will cook.

Place on mixer with whisk attachment - whisk on medium until bowl is cool to touch.  Add butter 1 tblspn at a time.  Add vanilla.  Replace whisk attachment with paddle attachment and mix on medium high until mixture thickens into buttercream.  Add champagne 1/4 cup at a time.  Mix on medium until consistency returns.  1/2 cup may be too much for you.  I found it to be very strong but still very good.