Bridal Shower Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

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This is it guys, I’ve made it!

I just made my first batch of cupcakes for a client!

Granted, it was one of my good friends… but she still chose to ask me to make the cupcakes for her best friend’s bridal shower instead of buying them from a cupcake shop! I was so honored and flattered!

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She said that I could make whatever I wanted and she needed 2 dozen.

My Classic White Cupcakes were to-die-for, so I revisited that recipe for a sure-fire yummy hit. I wanted to do something new and fun, given the time of the year I was thinking light and fruity.

STRAWBERRY!

Doing a strawberry cupcake gave me a pretty pink color that wasn’t overpowering, and it’s a pretty safe flavor that most people would love to gobble up!

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I found the recipe for Sprinkles famous Strawberry Cupcakes on Martha Stewarts website here and decided to go for it.

I used my vanilla buttercream frosting recipe that was provided on my Chocolate Cupcakes post.

I made an extra cupcake (a baker’s dozen) so that I could taste the cake and make sure I was giving a quality product and oh my this was so so good. I can’t wait to hear how they went over. And I decorated them so beautifully, if I do say so myself!

Strawberry Cupcakes

Prep: 15 minutes     Yield: 1 dozen

Ingredients

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

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Enjoy!

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Irish BOOZE Cake

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I know, I am a little behind in posting this delectable Irish treat, but better late than never!

Especially when it comes to this irresistibly rich and perfectly boozy dessert!

My dad brewed his own Irish Stout for St. Patrick’s Day, so of course I wanted to incorporate it in to the traditional family meal of corned beef and cabbage somehow, and what better way than mixed with chocolate in a cake!

I came across a food blog called Food Babbles which posted this amazing Irish Car Bomb cake recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, and it was just too perfect to pass up!

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Jameson with my whiskey ganache.

 

It has all of the elements of the Irish Car Bomb beverage:

Irish Stout beer, Jameson Irish whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Isn’t the point of St. Patty’s day to get your drink on? This cake is the perfect compliment to whatever you find yourself sipping on.

Irish BOOZE Cake

Ingredients

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Cake

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness, I used my dad’s home brewed Irish Stout)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache

Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (I used Jameson and at least doubled the recipe- add to taste)

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8″ cake pans with parchment circles on bottom. (I also sprayed with nonstick spray)
  2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.
  4. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the two cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake until tester inserted in center come out clean, about 10 minutes longer. Cool completely on rack.

Ganache

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

  1. Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth.
  2. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature and until thickened a bit.

Frosting

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

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Enjoy!

Classic White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

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Okay so the other day when I baked Chocolate Cupcakes for my staff, I also baked some Classic White Cupcakes per Wills request. When I asked him what his favorite kind of cake was, he said white. WHITE of all things. I thought HOW BORING.

But my god these cupcakes are good.

I came across a Simple White Cake Recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com that just got rave reviews, so I decided to give it a whirl- and let me tell you these little nuggets are the bomb-diggity (Yes. Yes. I just said ‘bomb-diggity).

I got so many compliments on these cupcakes, “Oh My God did you make these?”, “My whole family was fighting over these”, “They’re the best cupcakes I’ve ever had” – you get the picture.

The buttercream recipe was also divine and can be found at the bottom of my Chocolate Cupcakes post 🙂

Classic White Cupcakes

Prep: 20 minutes     Bake: 30 minutes     Yield: 12 cupcakes

IMG_5960Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when it springs back to the touch.
  4. Finish with buttercream frosting!

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting!

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Oh my goodness.

I have not posted in nearly a week, and I am NOT happy with myself about that!

However… I do have good reason: I interviewed for a special education preschool position last Monday, started Thursday, and am still trying to wrap my head around my new students, classroom, curriculum, staff, and school!

I TEACH PRESCHOOL NOW.

Hilarious. We sing a lot of songs. Like A LOT.

I wanted to get back to my baking basics and make something that can show my appreciation to my support staff for being so amazing this week, so I decided to gift them some thank you cupcakes! I really don’t know what I would have done without them.

I decided to follow Martha Stewart’s recipe for her Chocolate Cupcakes, and Savory Sweet Life’s recipe for Classic Buttercream Frosting.

The cupcakes themselves are dense and intensely rich little nuggets. The consistency is between a brownie and a cake as these babies are moist but heavy. They are also somewhat bitter so the buttercream frosting helps balance the flavor.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep: 30 minutes     Bake: 20-25 minutes     Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
  3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then finish with buttercream frosting!

Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Prep: 5 minutes     Yield: 2.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

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Enjoy!

Hidden Heart Red Velvet Cupcakes

Hidden hearts in my red velvet cupcakes ❤

 I have always wanted to bake a shape inside of a cupcake. I have seen this done for years (even before Pinterest) and I always wondered how it was done. It’s like a present inside of a present. First you get the deliciously sweet and cute little cupcake, and you open it up and there is another little darling surprise!

This year, in the spirit of the season of love, I decided to try to bake a little heart in to some red velvet cupcakes. I know Valentine’s is still a week away, but what can I say, I got a little trigger happy.

Typically, these shape-hidden-within-a-cupcake recipes call for you to make the batter, then separate 1/3 of the batter for coloring and baking and subsequent shaping of the core. I didn’t want to do a boring old white cupcake, so I decided to spice things up for my hunka hunka burnin’ man love and do a red velvet cupcake with a white with pink marbled heart center.

Marbled white cake.

Marbled white cake.

I bought some crappy white cake box mix from the store (I hung my head as I did it, but really… I am just cutting it up and dying it… no point in making a whole quality cake to only use a few pieces of it). I spread my batter on a cookie sheet, marbled the color throughout, and baked. I did it this way because  I wanted my hearts to be as thin and petite as possible. I then stored my hearts for use in my red velvet cupcake recipe.

A couple of things did not go perfectly in this little baking craft.

I love my yellow Kitchenaid mixer!

I love my yellow Kitchenaid mixer!

First, I marbled pink gel color through my white cake, but after baking the hearts in to the cupcakes, you cannot tell that I even took the time to complete this step. The hearts just look like white cake. Which is fine, they are still cute 🙂

Second, I had filled my cupcake liners about 1/3-1/2 full of batter before sticking in my hearts. I then covered the hearts with more batter, making sure that they remained upright. I assumed as long as the batter is covering the hearts, it will rise above the heart. This did not happen, my hearts rose with the cupcakes and ended up very close to the top of the cake. If I were to repeat this recipe, I would fill the cupcake liners only about 1/4 full and make sure my hearts are as close to the bottom as possible. I made this adjustment in my directions below. 

The recipe I am using for my red velvet cupcakes is here

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Prep: 20 minutes     Cook: 20 minutes     Yield: 20 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • Hearts are covered, ready for the oven!

    Hearts are covered, ready for the oven!

    1/2 cup butter

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 fluid ounce red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 20 cupcake liners in muffin pans.

    Hearts are covered, ready for the oven!

    Hearts are covered, ready for the oven!

  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring, and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. 
  3. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling 1/4 full.*
    1. Place a prepared heart standing upright in the center of each cupcake, being careful to have all the hearts facing the same direction so you remember which way to serve them!*
    2. Disperse the remaining batter evenly among the cupcake liners, making sure your hearts will be covered during baking.*
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. 

*I added these directions so that you will have hidden hearts in your cupcakes ❤

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract last.
  2. Prepare piping bag with star tip. Spoon icing in to bag and decorate your cupcakes!

I topped with some Valentine’s colored sprinkles and some red hot lip sprinkles. Get creative with your decorating, that’s the fun part!

Enjoy!

Chocolate STOUT Cake

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Happy 24th Birthday to my little sister!

She has been a little depressed about this birthday, moping around the house, saying things like “I can’t believe I’m so old”, “it’s all downhill from here”, “look at my grey hairs” etc.

I wanted to surprise her today with a very special cake, one that combines the celebration of her birthday with her love of stout beer. (A love we don’t share)

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Mission accomplished. It was almost too obvious, right?

Chocolate STOUT Cake!

I found this recipe on http://www.epicurious.com that was originally published in Bon Appetit by Barrington Brewery, MA in 2002. I used the Chocolate Bunny Stout from Rhinelander Brewing Co. instead of Guinness! YUM.

Chocolate STOUT Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream

Icing

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • * I added 1 single-serve pack of Starbucks Via instant coffee

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
    Butter and beer.
    Butter and beer.
  2. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

Icing

  1. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate (and instant coffee) and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.
Cooling cakes

Cooling cakes

The cake looked and smelled beautiful throughout the creating process. However, after reading some of the responses to the original recipe posting, I decided to let the cakes cool almost completely in the pans before transferring them to a wire rack. MY CAKES STILL STUCK! The parchment on the bottom of the cake pans is a MUST! I had a nightmare trying to frost the cakes back together. Also, the three tiered cake was a little tall, when making this recipe again I will either do 2 cakes or a bundt cake.

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Enjoy!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

My sister just turned 18 and all she wanted for her birthday was to get her ears double pierced, sushi for dinner, and CUPCAKES for dessert.

I began my search looking for donut cupcakes, only to find that donut cupcakes are not iced! What fun is a cupcake without icing!? (Though donuts + cupcakes = yummm so I will try this at some point) This donut cupcake search led me to search for a cinnamon and sugar cupcake. After scouring the Internet for the perfect cinnamon and sugar cupcake recipe, I landed on this SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKE recipe from Martha Stewart (http://www.marthastewart.com/316419/snickerdoodle-cupcakes) and it sounded so yummy, I had to give it a whirl.

Here is the recipe for the Snickerdoodle cupcake, followed by the recipe for the Seven-Minute Frosting- also from Martha Stewart (http://www.marthastewart.com/343280/seven-minute-frosting)

Ingredients for Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, beating until combined after each.
  3. Divide batter evenly in lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.

Ingredients for Seven-Minute Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature

Directions

  1. Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.
  3. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (tested by touching bottom of bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

To finish cupcakes

  1. Spoon Seven-Minute Frosting in to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Wilton No. 1A), and pipe frosting on to each cupcake. Hold the bag directly over cupcake with tip just above the top and squeeze to create a dome of frosting, release pressure and pull up to form a peak.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the cupcakes and enjoy!

These cupcakes were fun and easy! They were not too sweet, so if you desire a more bold flavor I recommend adding more cinnamon (maybe even a little more sugar). These cupcakes also have a lot of potential for embellishing with a filling (a maple creme would be divine).

I had never made this frosting before and was excited about how it turned out. It made the cupcakes whimsical and fun. The dusting of cinnamon with the large coarse sugar ‘sprinkles’ really made these cupcakes seem festive and special.

These were a big hit, I even fit 18 candles in to one of them so we could sing “Happy Birthday”.

Enjoy!