Vanilla Cupcakes

I’m back! I was gone for about a week because I went up to Edmonton to mark English diplomas. I ended up working for about 12 days straight, and wanted to just take a little break.

After I got back, I wanted to make something, and I asked Paul if he was craving anything. His answer was just a simple vanilla cupcake. Hence, this recipe.

This recipe was also extremely easy. It uses simple, pantry ingredients and can be whipped up in about 10 minutes. It also uses only a few dishes, so you can have cupcakes in less than an hour!

This is going to be a short post, mostly because I’m still extremely tired, but these are a simple treat that yield a high reward.

Ingredients

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2½ c. flour
2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
½ c. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. water

For the frosting:

½ c. butter, room temperature
½ c. shortening, room temperature
4 c. icing sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla
2-3 tbsp. milk

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until combined.

Slowly add the water to the batter, and whisk gently until combined. The batter will be thin.

Fill the cupcake liners halfway, then bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the shortening and butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until combined and fluffy.

Add two cups of sugar, and beat on low until sugar is combined. Add in the vanilla and 1 tbsp. of milk and whisk again.

Add the remaining icing sugar, and beat on low until well combined. Add more of the milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Fill a piping bag with a large star tip and ice the cooled cupcakes. Serve immediately.

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Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Hello lovely readers!

I have never done just a frosting post, but with this frosting, I couldn’t help it!

Last week, one of my beautiful friends, Emma, got married! It was a small wedding, but a very touching one. Well, I have known this amazing girl for the past 10 years. We met on the first day in the first class of university, and the two of us, along with another phenomenal friend Breanna, have been close ever since. We also got into a little tradition of taking a picture of the three of us at each of our weddings. I know, we are pretty freakin’ adorable.

Anyways, I digress. I was asked to help out with the wedding! I put my Teacher-in-July time to good use, and made paper flowers for the centerpieces, a decorative paper flower bouquet, and I was the exclusive cupcake provider for the wedding!

It was an amazing honour to be able to provide the cupcakes for the wedding, and I couldn’t be happier for this wonderful human I am lucky to call a friend. Cheers to you, Emma!

For dessert, I provided twelve dozen cupcakes. Six dozen were London Fog cupcakes; that is, my Earl Grey Tea cake to which I added a simple vanilla buttercream frosting, and the other six dozen were Chocolate Raspberry. I used my Death by Chocolate cake recipe, and topped it with this beautiful buttercream.

I unfortunately only got a few pictures in passing, and no close ups of the London Fog cupcakes, so I can’t really write a post on that buttercream. The above picture was not even taken by me, but I saved it because it is a beautiful picture of my work (cupcakes and paper flower bouquet), so I am using it as shameless self-promotion. But, I can tell you that I used my cake recipe, and just cut the baking time down to about 25 minutes for the Earl Grey tea cakes.

The Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes were decadent. As I have already done a post on the cake, I figured why not create a post on the Raspberry frosting?

So, here goes! The best thing about this frosting is that you can use fresh or frozen raspberries! I had a huge Costco bag of raspberries, so I used frozen and the frosting turned out gorgeously.

Lastly, don’t worry. I had to times this recipe by five in order to ice all 6 dozen cupcakes. The recipe below is for a single batch of cupcakes, usually between 12 and 16 cupcakes. Remember, icing varies depending on the maker, so if you don’t like a lot of icing on your cupcakes, you will be able to ice more of them.

Ingredients

Yield: 4-5 cups icing (enough for 12-16 cupcakes)

1½ c. raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1 c. butter, softened
3½ – 4½ c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. heavy cream or milk
¼ tsp. salt

Put the raspberries in a food processor or blender, and blend until a puree is formed. Push the puree through a metal sieve into a saucepan to remove the seeds.

In the saucepan, gently boil the raspberry puree while stirring occasionally. Allow to boil for 10-20 minutes, or until it is about ¼ to 1/3 of the original volume. It should be nice and thick, like jam. Transfer to the fridge or the freezer to chill fully. The puree must be cold before adding to the frosting, or the frosting will separate.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until fluffy. Turn the mixer off, add 2 cups of icing sugar, and incorporate the sugar on low, then beat in to fully incorporate.

Beat in 2-3 tablespoons of the chilled raspberry puree and the salt. If you want to add more raspberry puree, you can, but it will change the consistency, and you might need to add extra icing sugar to stabilize.

Beat in the remaining icing sugar, a half cup at a time, until your desired sweetness. If the frosting is a little thick, you can add the cream or milk and incorporate until your desired sweetness and consistency is achieved.

Spread onto your desired cake, or pipe onto cupcakes.

Death by Chocolate Cake

I am a huge chocolate fan, and this cake is EXTREMELY chocolatey. As in, you-need-a-really-small-piece-and-a-big-glass-of-milk-to-go-with-it chocolatey. It’s a very rich cake, but so worth it.

I found the original recipe here, and the only thing I changed was double the recipe, so I got a three-layer 6-inch cake, and cupcakes. I made a teeny error in judgement though, and only made 12 cupcakes. I could have easily gotten two dozen cupcakes from the recipe. They rose like crazy, and I had a dozen monster cupcakes. (Paul wasn’t complaining!)

I’m posting the original recipe, and it makes one triple-layer 6-inch cake. If you are a chocolate fan, then go and make this cake! You will not be disappointed. Rich chocolate cake with a creamy, silky chocolate buttercream icing. Oh, yes. Death by Chocolate indeed!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 triple-layer 6 inch cake

For the cake:

1⅓ c. flour
⅔ c. cocoa powder
1½ c. sugar
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 eggs
¾ c. milk
⅓ c. vegetable oil
1½ tsp. vanilla
¾ c. strong brewed coffee, hot

For the frosting:

1 c. butter, softened
3½ c. icing sugar
½ c. cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. heavy cream

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 6-inch pans and dust with cocoa powder (or brush pans with Miracle Cake Release). Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-low until yolks and whites are combined, but not over-mixed. Add in the milk, oil, and vanilla, and mix. Slowly pour in the dry ingredients while the mixer is on low. When the batter is cohesive, slowly add in the coffee and mix on low. When batter is smooth and thin, stop the mixer. (The batter will look VERY thin. It’s okay, trust me!)

Pour batter evenly into the prepared plans (recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes if you don’t make a cake), and tap lightly on the counter to remove any air. Bake in the preheated oven for 32-35 minutes, or until centers are set, and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely on wire rack.

To make the frosting, cream the butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer, and add 3 cups of the icing sugar, and all the cocoa powder into the mixer. Mix on low until combined.

Turn mixer to medium and add vanilla, salt and cream. Beat until fully absorbed and creamy. Add more icing sugar or milk if needed.

To assemble the cake, place a cake layer on cake stand, and spread an even layer of icing on the first cake layer. Top with second layer of cake, another layer of frosting, and top with last layer of cake. Finish cake with remaining frosting, covering the top and sides of the cake evenly.

Store cake in the fridge until needed, then take out about 30 minutes before serving. Slice, and serve.

Turtles Cupcakes

Why have a Turtle when you can have a Turtle’s cupcake? I was invited over to a friend’s for a wine night and she jokingly suggested that I bring cupcakes. Well, she told me she was joking, but that really got me thinking. I haven’t made cupcakes in a long time, and therefore decided to!
I scoured through my Pinterest board, and came across these beauties. I knew as soon as I saw them that yup, these cupcakes were the one to make. I found the original recipe here, and I didn’t modify it in any way… except to double it. I’m sorry, but I need more than just 12 cupcakes. A girl needs to share!

These cupcakes are totally reminiscent of Turtles. There’s a chocolate base, covered in a salted caramel buttercream, then sprinkled with chopped pecans and more salted caramel… Oh yeah, these things are good! I also decided to make a little surprise in the middle of the cupcake. With a paring knife, I cut out a small hole in the top of the cupcake, filled it with chopped pecans and caramel, then put the cupcake back over the hole to fill it and iced the cupcake. It was beautiful – the little surprising crunch of the pecans and the soft gooey caramel right in the middle. A great little bite.

If you want, you can also drizzle some chocolate sauce on top of these beauties. I chose not to, because I sprinkled a generous helping of pecans over the top, and I wanted that crunch factor.

I forgot the best part! You don’t even need your mixer! Just one big mixing bowl, and you’re set! 🙂 Like you needed another reason to make these cupcakes! I also use the homemade salted caramel recipe that I first posted about in my Salted Caramel Apple Bars. It’s a great recipe – I’ll have to do a post just on that – it takes 10-15 minutes at most.

Ingredients:

Yield: 12 cupcakes (recipe can easily be doubled)

For the cupcake batter:

1 c. flour
¾ c. sugar
½ c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ c. milk
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. boiling water

For the salted caramel buttercream:

¾ c. butter, softened
3½ c. icing sugar
1/3 c. caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnishing:

Caramel sauce
Pecan
Chocolate sauce or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Mix in egg, vanilla, milk, and vegetable oil until combined. Whisk in boiling water until smooth and incorporated.

Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and tops spring back.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before cooling completely on wire rack prior to adding frosting.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a bowl using a stand mixer or your hand mixer, cream butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Beat in powdered sugar and slowly mix on low speed until mixture comes together. Add caramel sauce then vanilla and beat on medium-high speed. Add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until light and fluffy or desired consistency is reached.

Fill a pastry bag with frosting and pipe onto cupcakes. Top with chocolate chips, chopped pecans and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

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These cupcakes came about as a bit of a challenge. Paul, and one of our co-workers, challenged me to make some Pina Colada cupcakes. Now, I’m not the hugest fan of Pina Coladas. I mean, I will drink them if that’s one of the only options, but the pineapple-coconut combination is one that I only like in small increments.

Even so, I decided to rise to the occasion and make something out of my comfort zone. I fished around on the internet, and came up with this recipe. It sounded quite good, with pineapple juice and coconut milk in the cupcake, which was a bonus, because even a small can of pineapple is more than I’m ever going to eat.
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The juice and the milk in the cupcake make them extremely moist, and the only pineapple that I used I actually chopped up and sprinkled just a few small pieces on each cupcake. I also ended up glazing the actual cupcake with a bit of spiced rum. (I would have used coconut rum, but I was all out!) I added a bit of rum into the buttercream as well to give it that extra pop of flavour.

Once in a while I decide to accept the challenge that people offer me, and these cupcakes turned into a hit with my challengers. Either way, even though they are not my personal favourite flavour combination, others definitely seem to love them!
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Ingredients

Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 2/3 c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ c. brown sugar, packed
¼ c. sugar
½ c. butter, melted
1 egg, at room temperature
½ c. pineapple juice
½ c. coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla

For the buttercream frosting:

¾ c. butter, softened
3 c. icing sugar
¼ c. coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut or spiced rum

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin with paper cups, and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl melt the butter and whisk in the brown and white sugars. Add in the egg, pineapple juice, coconut milk, and vanilla. Whisk together slowly until there are no lumps in the batter.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full of batter. If desired, chop up some fresh pineapple, and sprinkle over the top of each cupcake. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack, and brush the tops with rum if desired. Let cool completely.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add in the icing sugar, coconut milk, vanilla, and rum. Cream together until smooth. If the icing is too wet, add more icing sugar. If it is too stiff, add a little more coconut milk.

Pipe onto cupcakes, then garnish with shredded coconut and pineapple.