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.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cupcakes Week 15

If you like cupcakes, (and really you doesn't?) then I'm sure you've heard of the famous Magnolia's Cupcakes in NYC. The line is always out the door and around the corner, at all FOUR locations. They have gotten so much praise that they are now in LA with one location, and in freakin' DUBAI!! So that should be proof to you how amazing they are.
Well for Fourth of July I wanted something festive, but pretty basic since it was a) so insanely hot the thought of having some crazy concoction of a cupcake made my stomach turn and b) there were a billion other desserts so why mess with perfection? So I decided to make Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes and make them look puuuurty. So here is their vanilla cupcake recipe and their vanilla buttercream recipe. ENJOY! :)

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcake


* 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


* Vanilla Buttercream

The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners' sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yield: enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 (9-inch) layer cake


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.