Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cupcakes Week 41

And of course to ring in the New Year we would need some blubby!

May you all have an amazing and safe evening, and here's to a great 2012!

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream
Servings: About 20-22 cupcakes
For the cupcakes

2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup champagne
6 egg whites

For the buttercream frosting

3 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature
For the spun sugar
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
5. In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
6. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.
7. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
9. For the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter.
10. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.
11. Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.
12. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
13. For the spun sugar: Secure a long-handled wooden spoon under a heavy cutting board on the edge of the counter, with the handle facing out and extending over the edge.
14. Place newspapers on the floor, directly under the cutting board. (Believe me, you will need them as this can get messy….)
15. Prepare an ice-water bath.
16. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and the water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
17. Stop stirring.
18. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
19. Cook until the mixture turns pale amber and registers 300 degrees (hard-crack stage) on the candy thermometer.
20. Plunge pan into ice bath to stop the cooking; let cool, stirring occasionally, until caramel registers 250 degrees. ***Be careful. The pan is hot and will steam very strongly when you cool it so rapidly.
21. Dip the tines of a fork into the caramel.
22. Holding the fork about 2 feet above the spoon handle, swing caramel back and forth like a pendulum in long arcs, allowing strands to fall in threads over the handles. **You will most likely lose a lot to the floor below; hence, the newspapers.
23. Let stand until ready to use, then gently gather some of the strands and shaped as desired. You can break them for shorter pieces
24. Garnish the cupcakes with the spun sugar.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cupcakes Week 40

Since the season is almost over, and starbucks is almost done with their holiday flavors, I needed a way to capture them before it was gone. so here you go!

Gingerbread Latte Cupcake
Gingerbread Cupcake:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/2 cup strong, very hot coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon thinly sliced crystallized ginger

To make the cupcakes:

Add flour, the ground ginger, the cinnamon, the cloves, the allspice, and the salt in a bowl and sift.
Add 1/2 stick of the butter and granulated sugar in bowl and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add molasses and egg beat until the mixture is smooth. In a measuring cup combine the baking soda with 1/2 cup very hot strong coffee water and stir until baking soda is dissolved. Stir the baking soda mixture into the molasses mixture (the mixture will appear curdled) and the combined molasses and baking soda mixture into the flour mixture, stir until ingredients are well combined.
Fill cupcake liners halfway. Bake the cupcakes on the middle rack of a 350 degree °F. oven for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Cupcakes will be flat on top.) Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Add cream cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla into a bowl and beat until fluffy and smooth. Add in the zest and lemon juice and beat to combine. Chill frosting for 30 minutes before using.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cupcakes Week 39

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes
1 cup (4.5 ounces) all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7.3 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) SCHARFFEN BERGER Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and warm
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon instant coffee (recommended: Starbucks Via)
1/2 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup chopped peppermint Andes

1. Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a blow and mix thoroughly to combine. Add the butter, eggs, and peppermint extract and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add the butter and egg mixture and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the instant coffee and the hot coffee. Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. Fold in chopped peppermint Andes. The batter will be thin enough to pour. Divide it evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool. Store and serve at room temperature.

TIP: For light tender cupcakes, spoon flour and cocoa lightly into measuring cups (instead of dipping the cups into the flour or cocoa) and then sweep the measures level without tapping or shaking them.

Peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites
11/2 cup sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Combine egg whites and sugar in a bowl placed over simmering water. Bring mixture to 150 degrees F while whisking constantly.
Transfer mixture to stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools and doubles in volume and forms soft medium peaks; about 10-12 minutes).
Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first-this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
Add salt and peppermint extract and mix to combine.
Chocolate Pouring Sauce

2/3 cups dark chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 tablespoons water, warm

Place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2-3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine.
Add powdered sugar and mix to combine.
Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached.
Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.
To Assemble Cupcake:

Frost cooled cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Freeze frosted cupcakes for ten minutes. Drizzle chocolate pouring sauce over frosting (reheat chocolate pour in microwave as needed to keep pouring consistency). Sprinkle chopped peppermint Andes on chocolate sauce. Finish with a peppermint candy on top.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cupcakes Week 38

It's Dec. which means it's time to start making some Christmasy cupcakes!

Candy Can Kiss Brownie Cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
1 c. flour

For the buttercream you’ll need:

Two sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla extract (or peppermint would also be delicious!)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (F).

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a microwave safe bowl for 90 seconds to two minutes, on high. Stir the mixture until all the chocolate is melted and combined with the butter. Stir in the sugar until it’s well combined, and then add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and salt, and stir until creamy. Finally, add the flour and stir until just combined.

Fill paper-lined mini cupcake tins with a heaping tablespoon of the brownie batter. Press one Candy Cane Hershey Kiss into the center, and cover with a little bit more of the batter, so the candy is fully covered (the little peak of the kiss might be visible, that’s okay). Bake for about 23-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the brownie comes out clean. Keep an eye on them, you don’t want to overbake.

Allow to cool, then make the buttercream.

Whip the butter until creamy, then add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until it’s fluffy. Whip in the vanilla and then give it a taste and make sure you don’t need more of anything.

To get the candy cane stripes, paint a couple of red stripes of food coloring gel straight up the side of a pastry bag. Then fill with buttercream, and pipe onto the brownies as usual. (If you’re doing this method, you may need to add another stick of butter and cup of powdered sugar to the buttercream recipe to ensure you’ll have enough for all the brownies—piping uses more frosting than just spreading it on.)

Finish with some chunky sugar sprinkles for a frosty touch. And enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cupcakes Week 37


Butterscotch Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Scotch (or other whisky)
1/4 cup 35% cream, hot
2 tablespoons salted butter
Vanilla buttercream icing
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons 35% cream, hot
With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place paper or silicone liners in 9 or 12 muffin cups.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with the vanilla using an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is smooth. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly. Unmould and finish cooling on a rack.
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Cook until the mixture turns golden-brown. Off the heat, add the Scotch, the cream and butter. Continue stirring until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
Vanilla buttercream icing
In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream in a thin stream and continue beating until smooth. Set aside.
Using a apple corer or a melon baller, cut a pocket from the centre of each cupcake, removing about 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of cake without cutting through. Fill the pocket with 15 ml (1 tablespoon) butterscotch. Ice the cupcakes with the buttercream icing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cupcakes Week 36

Hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic and filled with food!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup half and half

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners. *If using paper liners, evenly coat them with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined.

Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.

Distribute batter evenly in the muffin tin. (they should be about 3/4 of the way full.)

Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. (They will sink as they are cooling.)

Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 12

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cupcakes Week 35

Chai Cream Cupcake Recipe

1¾ cups cake flour
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
4 Chai Spiced Tea Bags
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut-up
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1½ tablespoons vanilla extract

Heat milk in microwave until hot (about 60-90 seconds). Steep 3 Chai tea bags in milk 10-15 minutes. While tea is steeping, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut open remaining tea bag and grind until fine. (I used my electric coffee grinder.) In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift together, flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and ground Chai tea; mix to combine. Add butter and mix until coated with flour.

Once tea has steeped, squeeze milk from tea bags and discard bags. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs, tea-steeped milk, and vanilla. Mixing at medium speed, slowly add wet ingredients, pausing to scrap the bowl a couple of times. Beat the batter until ingredients are thoroughly combined, being careful to not over beat.

Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Using a large scoop, fill each liner about two-thirds full. Bake until cake tester comes out clean, 18-22 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2-8 ounces packages cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 pounds sifted confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon for dusting
Cinnamon sticks for garnish

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and cream cheese until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add confectioners' sugar until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.

Once cupcakes have cooled, pipe cupcakes with frosting. Dust lightly with cinnamon and garnish with half of a cinnamon stick if desired.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cupcakes Week 34

Cupcakes are amazing. Wine is amazing. Together it's phenomenal!

Sauvignon Blanc Wine Cupcakes

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc wine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
6 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Sauvignon Blanc wine
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Yellow decorator sugar crystals
Edible yellow pearls

1Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make cake batter as directed on box, using cake mix, water, 1/2 cup wine, oil, eggs and 2 teaspoons lemon peel. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full).
2 Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
3In large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter and salt with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat in 1/3 cup wine and 1 teaspoon lemon peel. If frosting is too thick, beat in more wine a few drops at a time. Frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with yellow sugar and pearls.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cupcakes Week 33

This is my all time favorite dessert, and now in cupcake form? I mean seriously, how does it get better than that??

Creme Brulee Cupcakes
For cupcakes
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch for the egg whites
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk (I used half and half)
3 tablespoons caramel syrup (I used Hershey ice cream topping)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream
1 cup light brown sugar
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature


To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Alternately beat in dry ingredients and milk.

Add caramel syrup and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. Gently fold whites into batter.

Spoon batter into cupcake papers, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool.

To make meringue buttercream—
Put sugar, egg whites and salt into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees). Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes total.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and continue beating 1 minute to reduce air bubbles.

To assemble cupcakes—
Remove center of cupcake using the cone method. Fill cupcake with buttercream. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and caramelize with creme brulee torch.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cupcakes Week 32

Went apple picking and needed to use up the rest of the apples, but I was totally sick of I made these :)

Apple Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated apples (mix up the more tart with the sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until creamy. Beat in the the orange juice, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Slowly add the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in the grated apples. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Caramel Buttercream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bring 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Wash sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until caramel is dark amber. Immediately remove from heat, and slowly add cream, salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool.

Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Place whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and attach bowl to a mixer. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add beaten butter, cup at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add caramel, and beat until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cupcakes Week 31

The best part of a cinnamon roll is the center, right? I mean everyone knows that!
You can achieve that with these little gems :)

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 56.5 grams) unsalted butter (melted)
1/3 cup (85 grams) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coffee Icing


2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (125 grams) confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) brewed coffee

1/2 recipe of Cream Cheese Frosting

To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir all of the ingredients together until combined. Set aside until ready for use.

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl, making sure there are no streaks of flour remaining (do not over mix).

Place one tablespoon of batter in each of the paper liners in the prepared muffin pan. Make a small well in the middle of each cup of batter with a toothpick, Stir the filling to make sure the butter is combined, then spoon a scant 1 teaspoon of the filling into each cup. Use a toothpick to swirl the filling and batter together.

Add another tablespoon of batter to each cup and repeat the filling/swirling process.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the icing: In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla until combined. Add the coffee until desired consistency is reached (I only used 1 tablespoon). For more coffee flavor, add more coffee, but you may need to add additional confectioners’ sugar to keep a good consistency.

Ice the cooled cupcakes with the coffee icing. Allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then top with cream cheese frosting.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cupcakes Week 30

I thought that since I was creating a few cupcakes with alcohol, that I should pay tribute to my geographical area ;)

Boston Lager Cupcakes
½ cup butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose Flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup water
½ cup Samuel Adams Boston Lager
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place butter, sugar and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Add in eggs and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour in water and Boston Lager, then salt. Mix until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Line muffin tin with muffin liners. Pour approximately 3 - 4 oz into each cup. Bake in oven at 325 degrees for approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Boston Lager Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whipping cream
2 tbsp Samuel Adams Boston Lager

In a standing mixer with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended, then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract, Boston Lager and whipping cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cupcakes Week 29

The first drink I ever drank was a White Russian. So here's the drink, in cupcake form of course :)

White Russian Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg and 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup Vodka
1/4 cup Kahlua, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a seperate bowl or in a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Add egg and egg white, one at a time. Then add the vanilla, Vodka, and 1/8 cup of Kahlua. Gradually add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions, ending with the flour mixture.

Bake 17 -20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcakes comes out clean. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with the remaining 1/8 cup Kahlua. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Kahlua Buttercream

1 stick of butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3 - 4 tablespoons Kahlua

Beat butter until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add Kahlua 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cupcakes Week 28

How about some vodka in your cupcakes?
Here you go! You can thank P Diddy for these

Strawberry Lemon Drop Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 cup Ciroc vodka (you can use the new Red Berry for an extra boost!)
2 cups fresh, chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and lemon zest.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and vodka.
Working in three or four additions, alternate adding the flour mixture and the vodka/milk mixture, ending with an addition of dry ingredients. Only mix until no streaks of flour remain visible. Stir in strawberries by hand.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes on a wire rack before frosting.

Lemon Drop Frosting
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Ciroc vodka
2 tsp lemon zest
approx 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
sliced strawberries, for garnish

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, lemon juice, vodka, lemon zest and about 2 cups confectioners’ sugar. With the mixer at medium-high speed, add in additional confectioners’ sugar (using even more than 3 total cups, if necessary) until frosting is thick , fluffy and spreadable.
Spread onto the tops of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with strawberry slices, if desired.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cupcakes week 27

How about a little breakfast?

Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cup sugar
3 eggs
2 egg whites
3 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

 Maple Buttercream: 
½ cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons Mapleine (maple flavoring)
4 cups powdered sugar
Milk, as needed
Cinnamon sugar and fresh blueberries to decorate

 Note: If you really want to treat yourself, put a warm cupcake in a bowl and pipe some of this maple buttercream over it and let in melt into the cake. It is absolutely to die for!

1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners (yields 24)
2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. On low speed, add eggs and egg whites one at a time until each in fully incorporated.
 4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
5. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the wet (milk, vanilla extract and sour cream). Let each ingredient fully mix in before adding another, still be careful not to over mix. 
6. Fold in blueberries.
7. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for about 18 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
8. Maple Buttercream: Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add maple flavoring and powdered sugar and let beat again. If needed, add 1 tablespoon of milk to loosen.
9. Pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and top with cinnamon sugar and berries.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cupcakes week 26

The halfway point!!!  Wahoo!!!

how about something fun and a little different?

Parfait Cupcakes
makes 6
¾ cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
 ½ cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
Zest of one lemon
A few drops of lemon oil

1 cup cream (or half and half will work)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen thawed, drained)
½ cup lemon curd
6 wine glasses
6 teaspoons limoncello (lemon liqueur or other)
Flakes of colored sugar, candies, etc.. (For decoration)

For the cupcakes
In a bowl, beat the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until frothy and airy, about 5 minutes.
Add the lemon zest, lemon essence and eggs one at a time, beating one minute after each addition.
Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients and beat just until everything is well blended ( do not over beat!).
pour into muffin pan previously buttered and lined with boxes of paper.
Bake on center rack at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cool completely at room temperature before you handle.
For Cream
In a bowl using an electric mixer, whip cream , sugar and vanilla until firm. Transfer half of the whipped cream in a second bowl and fold in raspberries. Add the lemon curd to the half the remaining cream and whisk a few minutes more times, until well incorporated and set aside.
For mounting 
Turn the cupcakes, make sure they fit well in the cups, cut the excess if necessary. Cut cupcakes in half horizontally, put a teaspoon of limoncello at the end of each cup and place the bottom half of each cupcake to the limoncello. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of raspberry mousse on top of each cupcake half, spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Place half on top of each cupcake with raspberry mousse and garnish each cup of lemon curd mousse (with a spoon or pastry bag, to taste). Decorate with colored sugar, candy or other, to taste.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cupcakes Week 25


For the Cupcakes
  • 2 cups  sugar
  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa (I used Hershey’s special dark)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons coconut flavoring
  • 1 cup coconut, packed
  • 1 (scant) cup boiling water
1. Preheat oven to 350° and line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. Add in eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and coconut flavoring.  Mix well.
4. Fold in coconut, then add boiling water.  (Batter will be very thin)
5. Pour batter into muffin tins, filling each cup no more than 3/4 full.  Bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for several minutes, but then remove cupcakes from tins on cool on a wire rack.
For the Salted Caramel Buttercream
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping, plus more for drizzling (I used butterscotch caramel)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1. Cream butter until fluffy.
2. Add in vanilla extract and caramel topping.  Add powdered sugar and salt and mix until smooth.  If icing is still too thin add a bit more powdered sugar (the consistency differs based on the type of caramel topping you use)
3. Wait until cupcakes are completely cool, and use a pastry bag with a 1M tip to ice the cupcakes.
For the Homemade Chocolate Syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s special dark)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients except vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium-heat, and whisk until smooth.
2. Bring sauce to a boil and continue to whisk until sauce becomes thick.  Remove from heat, let cool slightly and drizzle over cupcakes or store in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.
To Finish:  Top cupcakes with toasted coconut and using small squeeze bottles (or simply a spoon) drizzle with chocolate sauce and remaining caramel sauce.

Never Forget

A beautiful sunny September morning. I was dressed in my best for an interview at the Boston World Trade Center. I got my good friend Lauren, got on the train, and got off at South Station. We walked to the Trade Center from there, for our interviews with the Spirit of Boston Cruise lines there were to take place at 9. We were about 10 minutes early. We took the escalators up to the floor we needed. We were waiting for the group interview to start when all of a sudden we were rushed into a board room. A TV was brought in and everyone in the office rushed in to watch. None of us could believe what we were seeing. Then the second plane hit. We didn't even have time to process it, security ran in and told us to "GET OUT NOW! WE MAY BE NEXT". Lauren and I took off. We ran into the streets, with everyone else who works in that area. I can remember not being able to see Lauren for a minute and starting to freak out. I finally spotted and her and we started to make our way to South Station. SWAT team running by. Both of us trying to call our families and our roommates. I remember making it through to Melissa and telling her to turn on the TV. I didn't make it through to my mother, the network was too busy. We got to South Station. SWAT Team members everywhere. People running around. We had no choice but to get on the train and try to get back to campus. We rode the train. Packed like sardines. With a SWAT Team member standing beside me.
Finally we made it to the Fenway stop. The had to be the longest ride of my life. Lauren and I tried to make our way towards campus. it was completely chaotic. We finally made it to Emmanuel College, and the gate was locked. We walked around the entire campus trying to find a way in. Finally at the parking attendant house they checked our IDs and let us in. We rushed to our dorm building and up to the 5th floor. there was a deafening silence in the hallway. All you could hear were TVs. People's doors were open, and all tuned in. We finally got to our rooms and everyone sat. In silence. and just watched.
Classes were canceled. we didn't know what else to do. We just sat. Finally in the afternoon we were all able to get a hold of our families. We then felt like we couldn't sit there any longer. We left for Star Market to buy candles and little American Flags. We created a little makeshift memorial on Emmanuel College Chapel steps. We didn't know what else to do. We felt helpless. Just like the rest of the United States.
Reports started to come out that one of the terrorists was at a hotel just a couple blocks from our campus. Tension was high, and we couldn't do anything about it.
Later in the week, our school, along with 4 others, gathered together in a candle lit ceremony. Starting at Emmanuel we walked around Boston in the dark, from school to school, to pick up more students, and we all walked united. candles lit. singing.
I will never forget. No one ever will.

Where were you?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cupcakes Week 24

Mudslide Cupcakes
Servings: approximately 20 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
3 eggs, separated and at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup strong cold coffee
3/4 cup Kahlua
For the Kahlua buttercream:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups (or more, if needed) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons Kahlua
3 tablespoons hot coffee
For the Bailey’s buttercream:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved in curls
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

1. For the cupcakes:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare your cupcake pan with your desired liners.
2. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy.
3.  Add the granulated sugar to the eggs with the mixer running and continue to whisk, at medium-high speed, until the mixture is thick, stiff, and glossy.  Transfer the egg white mixture to another bowl, and clean out your standing mixer bowl thoroughly.
4. In your clean mixer bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
5. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda.
7. With the mixer speed on low, slowly add the flour mixture, coffee, and Kahlua alternately, ending with the flour mixture.
8. Stop the mixer, and gently fold in the egg whites into the batter using a rubber spatula, until well-combined.
9. Fill each prepared cupcake liner about two-thirds full.
10.  Bake the cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
11. For the Kahlua buttercream:  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and powdered sugar on low speed until smooth.
12. Add the cocoa powder, Kahlua, and coffee, adding more powdered sugar if necessary.  Set aside.
13. For the Bailey’s buttercream: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or another bowl if you are getting tired of cleaning your mixer bowl out….), combine the butter and powdered sugar until smooth.
14. Add the vanilla extract and Bailey’s Irish Cream, mixing well until combined.
15. Pipe the buttercream (description of how-to above) onto the cupcakes and garnish with chocolate curls.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cupcakes Week 23

I have never worked with lychees, so this was totally new to me.

Lychee Rose Cupcakes

(makes 24)
 1.5 cups self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
250g butter, softened
2 cups sugar (i only used 1.5 cups)
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
60ml rose syrup water (2 parts water to 1 part syrup)
1 tsp rosewater essence
24 pcs canned lychees

 Directions : 
1. combine flours and ground almonds in a bowl. in another bowl, beat butter & sugar until light and fluffy, then add in eggs one at a time and whisk until combined.
2. add in flours in 3 additions, alternating between milk and rose syrup water. do not overmix. fold in batter until just combined.
3. spoon 1/2 mixture into cupcake liners, top with a lychee and pour in another 1/2 batter (total height should come up to 3/4 of liner).
4. bake in preheated oven of 170C for 20 mins or until skewer inserted comes out clean. * for the **raspberry cream cheese frosting, i combined cream cheese, butter, raspberry puree & sifted icing sugar according to taste.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another break from the cupcakes...

If you guys haven't heard about Pinterest, you should hop on over there and sign up. Seriously so addictive. It's like a virtual pin board of all your ideas, recipes, crafts, vacations, and more! Whenever I'm bored I always jump on and find stuff to do or new recipes to try.
Well that is what happened with tonight's dinner. I seriously haven't made a dinner where my husband has licked the plate clean, like he did tonight.
These 2 recipes went so well together.
I want to make sure to give the original blogger and website get props, so here are links for you.

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

Cupcakes Week 22

Good morning! If you can't have a mimosa in the morning, you can always have a Bellini :)

Bellini Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Cake Ingredients:
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup champagne
1 ½ cups cake flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Cake Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In small bowl, mix egg whites and champagne. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Mix butter into dry ingredients until it resembles moist crumbs.
Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients until fully combined.
Divide evenly between twelve cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Filling and Frosting Ingredients:
15 oz can sliced peaches
½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
White sanding sugar for topping

Filling and Frosting Directions:
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized skillet on medium heat.
Drain and discard liquid from peach can.
Use a towel to pat dry the peach slices, removing excess moisture.
Place the peaches in a single layer in the hot skillet.
Cook for about three minutes or until the bottom side is browned, then flip.
Repeat until all sides of the peaches are browned.
Remove peaches from skillet and cool.
Use a food processor or immersion blender to puree the peaches.
Use a small paring knife or cupcake corer to remove a piece of cake from the center of each cooled cupcake.
Fill each hole with approximately two teaspoons of the peach puree.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on high speed for five minutes.
Slowly mix in the powdered sugar and beat for another five minutes.
Mix in vanilla extract, salt, and ¼ cup of peach puree and beat for two minutes.
Pipe onto cupcakes using Wilton tip 4B.
Sprinkle cupcakes with white sanding sugar.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cupcakes Week 21

A little slice of summer before it ends...

Key Lime Cupcakes


3/4 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons key lime zest
3 large eggs
1/4 fresh Key lime juice
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Key Lime Filling

14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
3/4 cup whipping cream

Key Lime Whipped Cream

2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. key lime juice
1/2 Tbsp. key lime zest
1 Tbsp. key lime filling
*Adjust amounts to taste

Key Lime Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 cupcake liners in muffin tins.
In a large bowl beat butter, sugar, and lime zest at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in juice until combined.
In a medium bowl, combine cake flour and baking soda; sift.

Gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour evenly into prepared cupcake tins.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Key Lime Filling
Mix together the sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream, and lime juice.

Two Filling Methods:
(1) Poke several holes into the cupcakes with the back of a mixing spoon. Use a pastry bag to pipe filling into each hole.

(2) Use a butter knife to cut a hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill with filling. Cover with cut out cupcake piece.

Refrigerate cupcakes for about an hour.

Key Lime Whipped Cream
Use a stand mixer to combine 2 cups heavy whipping cream and 3/4 cup powdered sugar. When stiff peaks form, add juice, zest, and filling to taste.

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes after they come out of refrigerator. Garnish with a slice of lime

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cupcakes Week 20

What's better than pink lemonade on a hot summer day? That-in cupcake form ;)

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1/3 c. thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
1/4 c. buttermilk
2 or more drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with liners.

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

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until just smooth. Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter a light shade of pink.

Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting (see below).

Lemonade Buttercream:
3 c. + 3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. pink lemonade concentrate
Red food coloring

Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemon juice, and a few drops of food coloring to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the buttercream is fluffy and uniformly pink. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cupcakes Week 19

Who likes Cosmos? I do! I do!
Who likes Cupcakes? Me! Me! Me!
Who likes the two combined? EVERYONE WILL!!

Cosmo Cupcakes

You will need:
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/4 cup Cosmopolitan (recipe below), room temperature
zest of 1 lime
Red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

With a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat until
well combined. Add the lime zest. Combine salt, baking powder, and flour in a separate bowl and set aside.
Make the cosmopolitan and measure out 1 ½ cups in a separate bowl.

Add in 1 cup each of the dry ingredients and cosmo mixtures alternately, beating on low until the whole
mixture is well combined. Last, slowly add the red food coloring until you achieve the desired color. I choose
to keep my cupcakes on the lighter hot pink side, but do whatever color you would like!

Fill cups with batter two-thirds full. Bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes or until cupcakes
spring back in the middle when touched lightly. Cool for 10 minutes in pan.


You will need:
1/2 cup cosmopolitan

Heat the cosmopolitan in a sauce pan over med heat until thickened and slightly reduced. Allow to cool slightly
and then brush glaze on the tops of each cupcake while the cupcakes are still slightly warm.
Allow the cupcakes to completely cool before frosting with Cosmo Buttercream.

Cosmo Buttercream

You will need:
3 sticks butter, room temp
4 c confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder (optional)
a pinch of salt
3-4 tbsp of the Cosmopolitan (or more until you reach desired consistency)
red food coloring

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the powdered
sugar one cup at a time beating well with each addition. Add the meringue powder and the salt. Add the Cosmopolitan
one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency. And lastly add red food coloring, slowly, again until you
reach your desired color. Pipe onto cupcakes, and top with a straw or a drink umbrella!


You will need:
1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger cranberry flavored/infused vodka
1/2 fluid ounce cointreau
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 fluid ounces cranberry juice
1 twist lime zest, garnish

Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with lots of ice.
Shake vigorously for several seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lime twist.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A break from cupcakes

I know this blog is all cupcakes all the time right now, but I had to break to share this recipe I just made. I wanted to make something summery for lunch for the week and while surfing pinterest (of course!) I found this yummy looking salad. Whipped it together for myself and hubs to take to work for the rest of the week.

Chinese Chicken Salad

6 large chicken breasts
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. green beans, asparagus, or sugar snap peas - ends removed, cut into 1" to 2" pieces
2 sweet bell peppers - red, green, yellow, or orange - cored, seeded, and sliced into 1" to 2" pieces
1 10-oz. bag shredded carrots, or a couple peeled carrots that are thinly sliced
4 green onions (white and green parts), sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 T. white sesame seeds, toasted

for the dressing:
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. soy sauce
2 T. dark sesame oil
3 T. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 T. white sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


First, prepare your chicken. Depending on what I'm in the mood for, I'll either roast or grill the chicken breasts. Whatever you choose to do, first rub some olive oil onto your chicken breasts and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. If roasting, place the chicken on a sheet pan covered in foil (easy clean-up!) and place in a 350° oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until chicken is just cooked. If grilling, place on a medium-high grill and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is done. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then shred the chicken by using two forks to pull apart into bite-sized pieces.

While the chicken is cooking, blanch the green beans in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Immediately place them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.

If you don't have some toasted sesame seeds on hand, toast some now. Do this by placing the 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds (2 T. sprinkled over the finished salad, plus 1 T. in the dressing) in a dry saute pan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they are nicely browned and fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool.

Combine the shredded chicken, green beans, peppers, and shredded carrots in a large bowl.

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Gently combine. Sprinkle the green onions and 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds over the top and season to taste. I always add some freshly cracked pepper over the top. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cupcakes Week 18

My husband loves lemon lately. So I had to make him a lemon cupcake. I like lemon too, but I like it with other flavors. Problem solved with these little delicious gems :)

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

For the lemon cupcakes:
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temp
3 Tbsp lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 cup buttermilk

For the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream frosting:
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 egg whites
3 sticks butter, cubed and at room temperature
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup strawberry puree (from about 6 medium, hulled strawberries)


Preheat oven to 325. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Turn mixer to the low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated.
Fill each muffin cup ~3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing.
Place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160 degrees with a candy thermometer.
Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes). Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back togethe. Add lemon juice, and strawberry puree. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cupcakes Week 17

I love coffee. I love coffee flavored items. I feel bad for those you don't live in the North East and can't get Coffee Ice Cream or Coffee Milk.
I also love everything Italian. Haven't met an Italian dish I don't like.
Here's something to try :)

Tiramisu Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
1¼ cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ cup milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
3 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar

For the Coffee-Marsala Syrup:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce marsala
¼ cup granulated sugar

For the Mascarpone Frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.

3. Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir ½ cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

5. Make the syrup: Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

6. Brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes.

7. Make frosting: With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

8. To finish, Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cupcakes Week 16

Wanna spice up your life? Or maybe just your chocolate?
a growing trend in the chocolate world is spicing it up with chilis.
Here's a great recipe to try this out :) These are filled with a hot and sweet pudding. I know it sounds odd, but try them. You'll love them!

Cinnamon Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch cayenne
3/4 cups whole milk
1/2 bar (2.75 oz.) Olive & Sinclair Mexican Style Cinn-Chili chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3-4 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne (trust me on this or add gradually to your preferred heat level)
Olive & Sinclair chocolate, optional for garnish

1. For the cupcakes, heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper baking liners.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.

3. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. For the pudding, combine the cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne in the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a larger pot filled with 1 inch of water. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form.

5. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a small bowl and cover, gently pressing a layer of plastic wrap against the surface before refrigerating (this will prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.

6. For the buttercream, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar a 1/2 cup at a time until completely incorporated, adding up to 4 tablespoons of milk when the icing gets too thick. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne and beat until just combined.

7. Using a small pairing knife, cut out cones from the tops of cupcakes approximately 1 inch in diameter. Discard cut outs. (Or save for a late night snack!) Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of pudding into each cupcake. Pipe buttercream on top, taking care to cover the pudding filling. Top each cupcake with half a square of O&S chocolate.