Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

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Chocolate Cupcakes – sweetenuf.ca

Preheat oven to 350F.  Paper line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Chocolate Cupcakes with chocolate icing need no explanation or description.  They are a favourite with adults and kids alike and this recipe gives you a dozen perfect treats for anytime!

This recipe bakes up a tender, chocolatey cupcake with a fine crumb.  I topped mine with a basic chocolate icing but vanilla, peanut butter or a burnt sugar frosting would all compliment these little cakes.

I used a Wilton 1M tip and piped the icing starting in the centre.  A few Wilton blue ‘jimmies’ I picked up at my local Michael’s store finishes them off.  The ‘jimmies’ are available in small packs at a reasonable cost giving you access to a variety of colours to bedazzle all your baked goods without a big price tag!

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Chocolate Cupcakes – sweetenuf.ca

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup warm (not hot) brewed coffee

10 tbsp. butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Method:

Place cocoa and baking soda in a small bowl and slowly whisk in coffee until smooth.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Whisk in the egg, vanilla and salt until the batter is smooth.  Stir half the flour mixture into the batter until combined.  Stir in the chocolate liquid, then add in remaining half of the flour mixture until smooth.  Do not overbeat.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups.  Bake approximately 15-18 minutes until tops spring back when lightly touched or toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool completely and ice.

Chocolate Icing:

IMG_0162Beat 1/2 cup room temperature butter with electric mixer for a couple of minutes until light in colour.

Add in 4 cups of icing sugar, 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa and 2 tsp of vanilla extract.  Mix on low until combined.  Add in enough cream or milk until spreadable consistency (approximately 1/4 cup, add a little at a time).  Beat on high for about 5 minutes until fluffy.  Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.  Leftovers may be frozen.

Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream

Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream

vanilla-cupcake-topped-with-brown-sugar-maple-buttercream

Simply delicious with subtle molasses flavour from the dark brown sugar and a little hint of maple from 3 tablespoons of pure Canadian maple syrup this buttercream is terrific atop a cake or cupcakes and will definitely be the filling in my next macaron foray.

This recipe is from Layered baking book by Tessa Huff.  It is full of great recipes for cakes with chapters like ‘Classic Cakes’, ‘Chocolate Cakes’ and ‘Whimsical Cakes’ plus a variety of frostings! layerd-by-tessa-huff

Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and brown sugar.  Place over a double boiler and bring the egg/sugar mixture to 160F, whisking occasionally.

Remove bowl from double boiler and put on stand mixer.  Using whisk attachment and on medium-high speed beat the mixture until cool and medium-stiff peaks form.  This will take about 10 minutes.  (You need to make sure this mixture is cool before adding butter.  I waited about 10 minutes before I started whisking my egg mixture to cool it off slightly!)

On a low speed add in the butter in tablespoon increments and the vanilla, mixing well after each addition of butter.  This will take about 8-10 minutes.  Add in the maple syrup. Increase mixer to high and whip for a minute or two.  If mixture looks curdled just keep mixing as it will come together nicely when cool enough.

Note: In Layered they say to switch from whisk to the beater once you begin adding the butter.  I find using the whisk attachment works as well through the whole process.

brown-sugar-maple-buttercream

 

 

White Chocolate Buttercream

White Chocolate Buttercream

Icing, frosting, buttercream…which is it?!  I grew up calling the sweet deliciousness my Mom made by combining butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and a few tablespoons of cream or milk, icing. My brother and I used to each get one of the beaters to lick once the Sunbeam Mixmaster had come to a stop.

In the U.S. I believe they refer to it as frosting, whether you make it at home or open a can off the grocery shelf.

If you were to talk to a pastry chef they would, most likely, screw their face up at what we like to top off our cakes and cupcakes with and whip out the egg whites and show us how to make buttercream.  Swiss, Italian or French buttercream, they vary slightly, but taste like heaven whether eaten directly off the spoon or with a bite of cake.

whiteTruthfully, I love it all.  True buttercream is just that…lots of butter whipped into cooled egg whites and sugar. Add in some vanilla, fruit puree or flavourings and your buttercream varieties are endless.  Butter is key so if you are not a butter lover you’d better stick with frosting from a can.

AND, what’s not to like about the slightly sweeter homemade icing my Mom made.  I still whip that up and haven’t received any complaints on it to date.

I recently made some white chocolate cupcakes and topped them off with a White Chocolate Buttercream.  photoAny leftovers of this soft, billowy icing can be wrapped well (like a Rubbermaid Foodsaver or Tupperware) and kept in the fridge for a week or so or even frozen for future use.  Just bring to room temperature before using and give it another whip with your mixer.  If just craving a sugar hit, well, I’m sure you know to grab the largest spoon you can find and dig in!!

This method is slightly different from most Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipes since your not whipping the hot sugar and eggs to make a meringue first.  I followed the method described in thecakeblog.com by Summer Stone and will definitely be doing my buttercream this way again.  Thank you thecakeblog.com!

White Chocolate Buttercream

6 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped into 1-inch or smaller pieces

4 large egg whites

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tbsp corn syrup

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla paste

Heat egg whites and sugar together in double boiler being careful to whisk mixture to keep eggs from cooking.  Bring egg mixture up to 160F to ensure sugar is dissolved and to  kill off bacteria.  Add in the tablespoon of corn syrup and mix.

Now pour egg white/sugar mixture into a heat proof bowl and put in freezer for 20-30 minutes to cool it down to about 45-60F.

Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave on low until melted and stir until smooth. Let cool.melted chocolate

In a stand mixer, beat the butter on high until light and fluffy.  Scrap the bowl and beaters and beat for another minute.  Add in the cooled syrup slowly and beat well on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla paste and the cooled chocolate and beat well.

If desired add in a few drops of food colouring.  Now go ahead and swirl or spread onto your most recently baked cake or cupcakes or fill some macaroons.  Mmmm Mmmmm Yum!

 

 

 

Bite Me, oh baby, Bite Me More

Bite Me, oh baby, Bite Me More

Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat Great Cook Book
Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat
Great Cook Book

NO, I have not turned into one of those Vampire Groupies nor do I normally hurl out “Bite Me” to annoying people, although I must admit the thought has crossed my mind on more than one occasion. Today began great with a kind stranger ahead of me at McDee’s paying for my coffee…I really thought this was an urban legend but lo and behold, it is fact…but what if you want to surprise the person in the car behind you and their order is, like $12 and you only ordered a coffee which was $1.65, so then you change your mind and tell the cashier to forget it, then you feel cheap, so your good deed has now made you feel lousy…hmmm

Oh well, back to the topic at hand, cupcakes.  My lemonade cupcakes from the Bite Me Too cookbook turned out amazing and were incredibly delicious even when naked – the cupcake, not me, OK .  (Thought eating the cupcake before the icing would save me calories but I was just fooling myself as the icing tasted soooo good I had to sample a finished product, meaning self control 0/cupcakes 2.)

Take a Bite out of This!
Take a Bite out of This!

This Windows 8, the most frustrating program ever, is what is making me have an OMG You Must Be Kidding Me ‘Bite Me’ moment now. But as I have mentioned many times, a cup of tea and a sweet (I have stopped counting now as I am sure frustration burns many calories and at the same time firms and tones the butt offsetting any overindulgences), such as a moist, light, lemon tasting cupcake topped with a pink swirl of buttery icing can turn you around like nothing else.

I found the recipe at Bitememore.com and after seeing the recipe went looking for the 2 cookbooks by Julie Albert and her sister Lisa Gnat I had purchased several years ago.  (I don’t need to go into my over abundance of cookbooks and magazines again, do I?!)

Anyway, I re-discovered their great and tasty recipes.  These sisters from Toronto have put out Bite Me and Bite Me Too, with chapters like ‘Grab Me’, ‘Catch Me’ and ‘Join Me’, lots of tips and great photos.  Give their Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons a try sometime.

And take a minute to check out their blog at bitememore.wordpress.com.

A couple of tips for today’s offering, if you don’t have buttermilk use sour mik (add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a 1 cup liquid measure and fill with milk, let sit for 5 minutes), make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature and use real vanilla.

The sisters have a lemonade cream cheese icing to go with these cupcakes but I used butter, icing sugar, a little vanilla and a little whipping cream along with some pink food colouring and a few sprinkles.

So for today’s Pink Lemonade Cupcakes you will need:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tbsp. lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup pink lemonade concentrate

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F  Line 24 muffin tins with liners

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, lemon zest, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Mix in vanilla and pink lemonade concentrate.  On low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to creamed mixture.  Starting with the addition of flour mixture, then buttermilk, then flour, then buttermilk then remainder of the flour.

Mix until just combined.  Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes.  Tops will spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted into the middle will come out clean.

Lemonade Cupcakes with a pretty in pink swirl.
Lemonade Cupcakes with a pretty in pink swirl.

Vanilla Icing & Cream Cheese Icing

Vanilla Icing & Cream Cheese Icing

Vanilla Cupcakes

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In the last 2 days I have baked up about 50 cupcakes. Half I iced with a yummy buttery icing and the other half of the cupcakes I morphed the remaining icing into cream cheese icing by adding about 6 ounces of cream cheese a little more icing sugar and a little more whipping cream. Tint any colour you like and look how pretty they are.

Great for any celebration or occasion.

For the buttery icing beat 1 cup room temperature butter for about 5 minutes on medium-high speed.
Turn beaters off and add about 4-5 cups of icing sugar and beat it in on low.
Add in about 1 tablespoon of vanilla and about 1/4 cup of cream or whipping cream. Beat on medium until well mixed then beat on high for about 5 minutes. Add in cream and or icing sugar as required until light and fluffy.

Delicious.

Snicker’s Cupcakes

Snicker’s Cupcakes

Snickers 006It has been a few weeks since I have had a chance to get into my kitchen and try out something new.  My house has been put up for sale so that has meant it has to look like no one lives in it during the open houses and showings.  Hide the knife block, the cupcake tins, the mixmaster, the dogs and the kids!

So during this time of exile how did I pass the hours?  Why, by looking at more and more food porn everyday.  I must say you do get a little tired of the ‘same old’ day after day.  I don’t get the same tingle from the candy sprinkled chocolate iced cupcake that I used to.  Show me more, show me something I haven’t seen before. Luckily I was saved from going to far by the return of my kitchen.

And people tell me I need to get out more!!

These ‘cheater’ recipes I keep coming across all seem to have one element in common…the cupcake or cake starts from a mix.  And they are raved about.  I think most of us are used to store bought cakes and cupcakes and want that light, airy texture that is not quite there in a scratch cake.  Although I think a cake from scratch is more flavourful it usually is a little denser and people just don’t understand all the real ingredients make it this way.  Well, that is my opinion.  But as most of us are in a rush these recipes are pretty much fool-proof and do get great reviews!

In these quick, easy recipes it seems to not matter what type of cake mix you use, vanilla, devil’s, chocolate (I have noticed the American’s use Devil’s food and call them chocolate yet chocolate mix does exist…not sure why they do this) you just add the same ingredients: 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup oil, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1-2 tsp. of vanilla.

What sets these little darlings apart is the icing and the embellishments.  So here are some pictures and the recipe for Snicker’s Cupcakes.  Easy, peasy, really!  You only need a mixer for the icing!

Snicker’s Cupcakes

You will need 1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix (or chocolate)

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

3 eggs

1-2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 18 muffin tins with liners.

Whisk together all the ingredients except the cake mix until well combined.  Stir in cake mix and mix until combined.

Fill prepared muffin tins about 3/4 full and bake 20-25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.  Set aside and cool.

Peanute Butter Icing – I WOULD DOUBLE THIS IF YOU LIKE TO HAVE NICE FULL PILLOWS OF FROSTING!

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth

3-4 cups icing sugar, possibly more

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons milk or cream (as needed to get spreading consistency)

Snickers bar or 2, cut into pieces to garnish tops

Peanuts, whole or chopped to garnish tops

In a medium bowl using electric mixer beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth and combined well.  Add in the vanilla and mix together.  Add in icing sugar a cup or two at a time and beat until smooth.  Add in milk as needed to get nice smooth spreadable consistency.

Use a knife or an icing bag with a star tip to ice these moist, yummy little cakes and top each with a piece of the chocolate bar and a sprinkle of peanuts.

Want even more….chop another couple of Snickers bars and fold into the cupcake batter.

These are certainly sweet enuf for this Thanksgiving’s dessert table.