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Maple French toast cupcakes

3 Feb

French toast cupcakes

Recently at work we hit a major milestone, so to celebrate I decided we all deserved some cupcakes (sound logic, right?) I flipped through my copy of Robicelli’s: A Love Story with Cupcakes and found inspiration in their Pecan French Toast cupcake, adapting it for a smaller yield, omitting the pecans and making my own maple buttercream.

The cupcakes baked up nicely, and the maple soak really added a lot (especially to the texture and aroma of the cake). I finished them off with some gold sprinkles, just to keep them classy and simple.

The cupcakes were a huge hit with my coworkers, and the perfect recipe to get me back into the swing of regular baking. This Friday will be the first Friday of 2014 where I bring in a delectable goodie for sampling, and I have the perfect recipe on hand!

Maple French toast cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cinnamon Cupcake Ingredients
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Maple Soak Ingredients
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp heavy cream

Maple Buttercream Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line pans with cupcake papers.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and gently mix to combine. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine, then add the vanilla.

Alternate the dry ingredients and milk, and mix until combined.

Divide the batter between 12 wrappers in the cupcake tins and bake for 20-24 minutes.

As the cupcakes bake, create the maple soak. Mix together the maple syrup, milk and heavy cream. Stir to combine, then microwave for 15 to 20 seconds until warm.

Once the cupcakes are finished baking, place them on a wire cooling rack and poke holes in the tops. Let cool for 5 minutes before slowly spooning the maple soak onto them (if you pour it on too quickly, it won't absorb properly).

Let the cupcakes soak in the mixture and finish cooling before frosting.

For the frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add a 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar and mix to combine.

Add the maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla, and gradually add the remaining confectioners sugar. Whip until light and fluffy.

Fit a bag with an extra large round tip and pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.

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Cupcake Friday Project turns 3!

28 Jan

Cupcake Friday Project’s 3rd Birthday by Slidely Slideshow

Three years … it’s been three years since that snowy Friday when I trekked into work carrying lemon limoncello cupcakes and gave them to some of my favorite people at work. Since then I’ve accomplished a lot, though I’m still an amateur baker, working out of my kitchen (though I have been working on finding a space I can rent!)

I rattled off my 2013 accomplishments already … and as for my plans for 2014? I’m not completely sure, and that is a little scary. I plan on bringing in goodies at least once a month for my taste testers, but it won’t always be cupcakes. I’ll be competing in baking events as much as possible, and I have some partnerships with fellow bakers and food makers on the horizon. And I think 2014 is the year I bake more for myself to simply bake, not to fulfill orders and expectations.

And to celebrate this year, I baked Saveur’s chocolate chip cookie recipe that everyone is raving about (I have some opinions to share later on about it), and wandered around the office playing the Cookie Fairy.

As always, thank you all for reading, sharing your comments, letting me know when you’re baking my recipes. I love sharing my baking with you, I love you sharing your baking with me. If my greatest accomplishment with Cupcake Friday Project is convincing someone that they can bake from scratch, then it will be a great one.

Mulled wine cupcakes

13 Dec

Mulled wine cupcakes

2013 is coming to a close, and I decided that I would keep up my December tradition of making a seasonal, holiday-appropriate cupcake. Holiday cupcakes of the past have been:

2011
Peppermint mocha cupcakes with peppermint frosting
Gingerbread cupcakes with double ginger frosting
Figgy pudding cupcakes with boozy brandy icing

2012
Cranberry cupcakes with white chocolate frosting
Candy cane cupcakes

For 2014, I decided to make something subtle, yet refined, and not a typical Christmas-time sweet. So I decided to make a mulled wine cupcake.

Mulled wine is very easy to make—I followed the instructions from Gimme Some Oven, with a couple of adaptations (I skipped the brandy, increased the cloves, and used honey). I’d never had mulled wine before, but I have to say, it’s really tasty, and your kitchen will smell AMAZING.

The cupcakes bake up light and fluffy—my one bit of advice is to definitely use a touch of food coloring with this recipe, because otherwise you have oddly grayish-purple cupcakes, and it’s not appealing.

 

Mulled wine cupcakes

Yield: 26 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcake Ingredients
2 3/4 cup (11 oz) cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp ginger
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c sugar
1 tbsp orange zest
4 eggs
3/4 cup mulled wine
2 tsp vanilla

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp vanilla

Mulled Wine Syrup Ingredients
3/4 cup mulled wine
1/4 cup sugar

Directions

For the cupcakes, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line your cupcake tins with wrappers and set aside

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Set aside.

Combine the sugar and orange zest in a bowl and stir until you begin to smell the aroma of oranges. Cream the butter in the bowl of a standmixer, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time.

Alternate the flour mixture and mulled wine and mix until combined.

Note: The color is a bit off in these...a bit of a grayish purple. I added some fuchsia food coloring to improve the look, and I highly suggest you do the same.

Divide the batter between the wrappers and bake for 18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes bake, make the mulled wine syrup so it has time to cool.

Combine the wine and sugar in a wide saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Bring the wine to a boil, then reduce the heat so that it simmers. Keep an eye on this, stirring regularly.

Reduce the wine by at least half, checking the texture of the syrup ... it shouldn't be too watery, but also not too sticky.

Once finished, take the syrup off the heat and let it cool for 15-20 minutes before putting it into a container for drizzling.

As the cupcakes and the mulled wine syrup cool, make the frosting. Begin by beating the butter until light and fluffy.

Add the 1 cup of sugar, beating until combined.

Add the vanilla, then the remaining sugar gradually, beating until combined. Once you've added all the sugar, turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip for 2-3 minutes.

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Sweet potato maple pecan pie cupcakes

22 Nov

Sweet potato pecan maple pie cupcakes

That’s quite the mouthful, right? But it’s delicious, so it’s worth it.

For my November cupcake for my CFP taste testers, I wanted something seasonal and something I hadn’t really done before. So I tweaked my maple pecan cake recipe for cupcakes, tweaked my banana mousse recipe for sweet potatoes, and kept my fluffy, yet stick-to-your-ribs good meringue untouched. Add a pretty little pecan praline half after toasting the meringue, and you have a little piece of Thanksgiving joy.

Sweet potato maple pecan pie cupcakes

Yield: 28 cupcakes

Ingredients

Maple Pecan Cupcake Ingredients
2 3/4 cup (11 oz) cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup maple syrup
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans, divided

Sweet Potato Pie Mousse Filling
1/2 lb of sweet potatoes, roasted, cooled and peeled
2 tbsp honey
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

Meringue Frosting
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
4 tbsp cold water
2 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp vanilla

Pecan Praline Garnish
30 perfect pecan halves (about a 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Directions

Start with your pecan praline garnish first to give them time to cool.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.

For the garnish, combine all the ingredients and stir gently to coat. Spoon into the baking dish

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir gently, and let cool for approximately 10 minutes.

Stir again, gently separating pecan halves from each other. Place on a sheet of wax paper separated out and let cool fully before placing on the cupcakes.

For the cupcakes, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line your cupcake tins with wrappers.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy in the bowl of your standmixer. Add the maple syrup.

The mixture might look curdled, but it's fine. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix.

Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and milk, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Place the toasted pecans into a small bowl and add about 2 tsp of flour. Toss to coat (this will help keep the pecans from sinking to the bottom). Set bowl aside.

If your cake batter still looks a bit lumpy, remove the bowl from the mixer and hand whisk it for about a minute--the batter will come together quickly.

Add the pecans tossed in flour and whisk lightly to combine.

Divide the batter between wrappers in cupcake tins and bake for 18 minutes.

Make the sweet potato pie mousse filling while the cupcakes bake.

Combine the sweet potato, honey, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and puree until silky smooth.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form; add vanilla and whip lightly until combined.

Once banana mixture is cool, fold in the whipped cream gently. Set aside until ready to pipe into cupcakes.

For the frosting, first, make sure all of your equipment is clean and grease-free. Meringue can be finicky, and it certainly will not turn out correctly if there is anything in the bowl or on the whisk.

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer (or favorite stainless steel mixing bowl) and whisk by hand until well combined.

Fill the bottom of a double boiler or pot with water, 1/3-full. Make sure that the bowl can sit on the pot without the bottom of the bowl touching the water.

Bring the water up to a steady simmer, then place the bowl in the pot and whisk the mixture steadily. Do not let the mixture boil. Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved in order to avoid a grainy frosting.

Continue whisking until the meringue reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. The frosting, at this point, should have thickened and look fluffy--almost creamy.

Take the bowl off the double boiler or pot and wipe the bottom of the bowl (just to keep things neat).

Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer or a hand mixer, whisk the meringue frosting until stiff peaks forms and it has a glossy look. This will take approximately 15-20 minutes (trust me, a stand mixer is VERY handy here).

To assemble, core the cupcakes and fill with the sweet potato pie mousse filling. Using an extra large round piping tip, pipe on the meringue frosting, then toast with a kitchen torch. Garnish with 1 pecan praline half.

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Handy cupcake reshaping tip

21 Nov

Cupcake liner reshaping tip

Ever have this happen to you? Your cupcake liners get squished one way or another, and though you fit them into the pan, they tend to propel themselves back out, as if to say, “No! No! I will not cooperate! This is what you get for letting me get squished! Pbbbbbbbbblt!” Or am the only one who imagines my cupcake liners blowing annoyed raspberries at me?

If so, hop over to The Cake Blog for their guest post on reshaping cupcake liners from Renata of Lovely Cakes. You’ll definitely have an ah-ha! moment, and no longer will slightly squished and misshapen cupcake liners get tossed.

Dirty chai cupcakes

15 Nov

Dirty chai cupcakes

I’m a huge chai drinker, and have been ever since college. My dear friend Rach turned me on to the spiced beverage 13 years ago … holy crap how time flies.

Ray was never much for chai, but since I began making my own concentrate at home, he’s begun to like it. Now that he works out of our local coffee shop regularly, he’s taken a liking to having a cup of “dirty chai” which is chai with espresso. Yum.

This was the second of two birthday cupcakes I baked for his little surprise happy hour, and according to Ray, his favorite—but only by a slim margin.

Instead of using my homemade chai concentrate, I opted to use Tipu’s Chai Now, since it worked so well in the pumpkin chai latte cupcakes I baked in October. I was able to mix some into the milk, add the rest to the dry ingredients, and even sprinkle some on top as a garnish. I love multi-use ingredients!

Dirty chai cupcakes

Yield: 14 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp instant espresso
2 1/2 tsp Tipu's Chai Now, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Vanilla Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1-2 tsp of heavy cream (as needed)

Espresso Chai Sprinkle
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp instant espresso
1/2 tsp Tipu's Chai Now

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line cupcake pans with papers.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add the instant espresso and 1 1/2 tsp of Tipu's Chai Now and stir to combine. Set aside.

Beat the egg for 1 minute, then add the sugar and beat an additional 1-2 minutes until thick and frothy.

Warm the milk slightly (it helps the chai powder to dissolve) and add the remaining 1 tsp of Tipu's Chai Now, stirring well to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add the oil and vanilla, and beat until combined.

Alternate the flour mixture and milk mixture and beat until combined.

Divide the batter between wrappers in cupcake tins and bake for 20 minutes.

For the frosting, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, beating until combined. Add the vanilla. Finally, add the remaining sugar gradually and whip until light and fluffy, adding 1-2 tsp of heavy cream as needed to improve the texture. Whip on medium-high for 3-4 minutes for maximum fluffiness.

To assemble, fit a piping bag with an extra large round tip and pipe a dollop of frosting onto each cupcake.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, instant espresso and Tipu's Chai Now to combine.

Sprinkle this mixture on top of the cupcakes.

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