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.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

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Well, because pumpkin season is still in full swing, it was definitely time for another pumpkin recipe. The pumpkin cake I made a while back was such a hit that I wanted to experiment with some cupcakes. Enter, this play on pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving was last week, and Paul and I didn’t get a turkey dinner with family. Working in the restaurant industry, there isn’t a lot of holiday time. I love pumpkin pie, and even though Paul isn’t a fan of the texture, I needed a little bit of a pumpkin fix to get me through.

If you are a pumpkin fan, these are for you! A little bit of pumpkin pie, in a more convenient, single serve form!
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Ingredients

Yield: 18 cupcakes

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
½ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ c. sweetened condensed milk
2/3 c. flour
¼ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, and spray liberally with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk. Once well combined, add flour, spices, baking powder and baking soda. Mix again until well combined. Spoon about 1/3 of a cup into each liner, and bake for 20-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool until room temperature, then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top with fresh whipped cream.

French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

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I woke up yesterday with a craving for french toast. I also really wanted cupcakes. Since I worked the night shift last night, I was excited for a morning to bake. However, different plans were in the works. Paul wanted to run a few wedding-related errands, and I was okay with that! Long story short, I had found this recipe for french toast cupcakes, and didn’t get to make them. I’m on night shifts for the whole week, and decided to make them this morning.

These cupcakes are a little more complex than normal, because they have a streusel topping. It’s not overly complicated, just an extra step to take these cupcakes from great to amazing.

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I also had a fantastic idea to put these cupcakes over the top.I am a lover of the unconventional ideas in baking, and the idea of having elements of your whole breakfast in a cupcake is extremely appealing to me. For a few cupcakes, I added some bacon “sprinkles”. I just used pre-cooked bacon bits, and just sprinkled a few over the tops of the cupcakes.

If you are in for a breakfast-y treat that covers the sweet (and the savoury if desired!), these cupcakes are right up your alley!
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Ingredients

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the streusel:

½ c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. sugar
½ c. flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
5 tbsp. butter, cold and cut into chunks
Cinnamon sugar, for garnish

For the cupcakes:

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 c. sour cream
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla

For the buttercream:

1 c. butter, at room temperature
4 c. icing sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
1/3 c. maple syrup
2 tbsp heavy cream or milk
¼ c. bacon bits (more or less as desired, optional)

To make the streusel, in a medium bowl combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt and whisk until combined evenly. With your fingers, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate while preparing the batter.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Whisk until combined. In the bowl of a mixer, blend the butter, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until smooth, about 30-40 seconds. Hand blend any remaining dry mixture into the wet with a spatula.

Drop about 3 tbsp (¼ c.) of batter into the cupcake liners. Top with streusel. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the streusel. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before icing.

For the icing, in the bowl of a mixer beat the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar, and stir in the vanilla, salt and syrup with a spatula. Add the cream or milk, 1 tbsp. at a time, and beat until you get a light, fluffy consistency. Spread over cupcakes, or if you want to be a little fancier, pipe onto cupcakes with a piping bag and tip. Sprinkle with bacon bits if desired.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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I have been in a cupcake mood lately. All kinds of cupcakes. My Pinterest board with desserts is full of recent pins of cupcakes all over it. Paul and I have even picked up a few funky cupcake holders lately. When I saw these Root Beer Float Cupcakes, I couldn’t resist. My parents actually sell Watkins (which is a fantastic company with some amazing extracts), and for Christmas last year (two years ago? I can’t remember now…) my parents gave us a HUGE order of Watkins products. Soup bases, vanilla, baking powder, cooking spray, and, my favourite, a couple of extracts. One of the extracts was actually a small bottle of Root Beer Concentrate.

I’ve been searching for a fun way to use some of this Root Beer Concentrate, and when I came across these cupcakes, I knew it was the perfect solution. Root Beer Floats are classic. The tang of the root beer paired with the creaminess of the ice cream, this cupcake emulates that. I found the original recipe here, and I couldn’t wait to make it.
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The recipe was extremely simple, and mixed up in one bowl in less than 10 minutes. I had all the ingredients on hand, and all together, it was about a 30 minute recipe from the start to the finish of the baking time. Super simple, with big rewards. A dozen Root Beer Float cupcakes to remind us all of summer days. What could be better?

I added a little extra of the concentrate because in my opinion, the cupcake should have a strong Root Beer flavour. A Root Beer float is essentially those two flavours, and I wanted to make sure that there was a nice punch of Root Beer flavour. For the frosting, I wanted something that emulated that perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream. Homemade whipped cream really helps with that light, creamy texture. I found a recipe for stabilized whipped cream frosting, where it holds up to days in the fridge, and on baked goods, which is perfect for me, because we don’t often eat all of my baking experiments in one day. I wanted something a little more stable because homemade whipped cream, when just the cream, can melt quite easily, and then how would that look on a cupcake? No, I wanted something that could stand up to a little tough love, and some piping.

If Root Beer Floats are your jam, try these out. Cupcakes and float flavours. Yes, please!
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Ingredients

Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 c. Root Beer (not diet)
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
¾ c. sugar
1/3 c. Canola Oil
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ tsp. Root Beer concentrate, or 3 tsp. Root Beer extract
1 1/3 c. flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt

For the stabilized whipped cream frosting:

½ tsp. unflavoured gelatin powder
2 tbsp. cold water
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. icing sugar
½ tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, combine the root beer and the vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes. Add the sugar and the oil, and whisk until frothy. Add in the vanilla and the concentrate, and slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Be careful not to overmix.

Fill the cupcake liners ¾ full, and bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in pan about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, place the cold water in a small bowl, and sprinkle gelatin over to soften. Scald 2 tablespoons of cream, and pour over gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, until the consistency of an unbeaten egg white, then whisk until smooth.

In the cold bowl of a mixer, or in a regular cold bowl, whip the remaining cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Whip in the gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape down the bowl at least twice. Whip until stiff peaks form, about 10-20 seconds longer.