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.