Merry Christmas Neighbors Vanilla Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting



These cupcakes are from the "Cupcakes from the CakeDoctor" book...she calls the recipe "The Best Birthday Cupcakes" but I think they are the best Christmas vanilla cupcakes...Other than Billy's Vanilla Vanilla cupcakes...and Layla seems to think so too!


Found the cute cupcake liners at Pier One...who would have thought. And, I'd like to give a shout-out to our cupcake-loving neighbors Arthur and Linda and a little further down our street Marie and Teddy (her doggy who is so cute!).

Merry Christmas, Everyone!! See you in the New Year!

CQ and Layla

Martha Stewart's Gingerbread Cupcakes without Cookie Cutouts (#20)

First of all, Layla wishes everyone a happy National Cupcake Day!
I just couldn't resist creating a snow scene with my cupcakes this week. My sister, Robin, gave me one of her cameras and it has this awesome lense that allows me to get very fine photos of my "little people."
The cupcakes were very easy to make...and they taste awesome~!
Here are links to my other Xmas cupcakes that you might enjoy:


Martha Stewart Gingerbread Cupcakes:
Makes 12
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 recipe Butter Glaze

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper baking cups, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.
Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Hope you have a great week!
CQ & Layla

Folks....It's About Your Inner Turtle Glow

video
Here's the University of Maryland's 2009 Holiday card that we've been filming for a few weeks...Featuring Maury Povich, Connie Chung, Greivis Vasquez, Scott Van Pelt, Gary Williams, Johnny Holliday, Stephon Heyer, Dean Kevin Klose, Tom McMillen, Steny Hoyer, Ben Cardin and Testudo!  Visit the holiday card web site at HERE

Martha Stewart's Applesauce-Spice Cupcakes with Brown-Sugar Cream-Cheese Frosting! (19)



This is the November Bonus Challenge suggested by Sherry of Sherry Starts Cooking in our ongoing MS: Cupcakes Club!


These were really simple to make and are very moist and full of flavor. The frosting is to die for!


I added a little darker brown sugar to the top of the frosting just because I could not leave it plain...I can't help it now...I have to decorate everything I bake!



Layla liked the look of this cupcake!



Here's the recipe...you really should give these a try!

Have a great week!

CQ

Martha Stewart’s Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On a low speed, add applesauce and then the flour mixture, beating until just combined.

Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter. Bake 20 minutes. Frost with Brown Sugar, Cream Cheese Frosting (see below).

Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar

In the clean bowl of electric mixer, mix cream cheese with 1 stick butter and 1 cup light brown sugar on medium speed until smooth. Spread cream-cheese frosting on cupcakes. Cupcakes can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.

Martha Stewart's Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes

These cupcakes taste so yummy...I actually made the sweet potatoes just the way Martha told me to and they worked out beautifully! The candied pecans were a little more trying because they stuck together so quickly that it was hard to control them!


Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!






Here's the recipe:

Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes From Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

2 pounds (about 3 medium) sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups miniature marshmallows
Candied pecan pieces (I skipped this)

Preheat oven to 400°. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake until completely soft and juices begin to seep from the potatoes and caramelize, about 1 hour. Reduce oven to 325°.

When cool enough to handle, slice potatoes in half lengthwise and use a fork to scrape the flesh from the skin into a bowl, discarding skins. Mash potato with fork until smooth. (You should have about 2 cups.)

Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in mashed sweet potatoes and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, beating until completely incorporated after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes are set and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 3 months in airtight containers.

Make topping: Dividing evenly into 4 mounds, place marshmallows on a large baking sheet or nonstick baking mat. Using a small kitchen torch, brown marshmallows all over (or heat under the broiler). With an offset spatula, transfer mounds to cupcakes, and top with candied pecans, dividing evenly. Cupcakes are best served the day they are topped; keep at room temperature.

Calling Out Larry's Cupcakes!!



Today is Larry's Elletson's birthday so if you see Larry, give him a big hug and tell him Happy Birthday!



Larry asked me to make him some birthday cupcakes to take to his office. I came up with two kinds: Lemon Curd Cupcakes with Limoncello Frosting and Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes with Starbucks Cream Liqueur

Layla was very curious about these cupcakes...and definitely disappointed when they were put in the car!

CQ and Layla

Martha Stewart's Almond-Hazelnut Cupcakes with Faux-Bois Toppers



Martha says: "You might want to throw a woodland-themed celebration just to have an excuse to make cupcakes topped with chocolate faux-bois rounds. Faux bois, or imitation woodgrain, is a favorite Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia motif; it can be applied to chocolate using a wood-graining rocker, found at paint-supply stores. Made with ground almonds and hazelnuts and covered with dark chocolate frosting, the cupcakes are also worth serving on their own, without any other embellishments."

I made these cupcakes for a pretty special weekend dinner that included Eric's (Catherine's fiance) parents...Tom and Pat Olson...visiting from Norwich, NY...we had such a great time with them and learned many fun things about Eric! Look out! Now back to the cupcakes...actually, the reviews were mixed...the cupcake turned out to be surprisingly dry. It was better with the dark chocolate frosting and the chocolate toppers...but on its own...sorry to say it was very blah! I think I might need some one-on-one lessons with Martha!

Layla...on the other hand...here she is looking at the cupcakes over her shoulder from under the table...she thought they looked great!


One major problem I had was finding the wood-graining tool...grrrrrr...and, when you make the toppers you also need a baking sheet-sized piece of acetate....think about it! There are several steps to both the cupcakes and the toppers, so beware...these takes some time to create.



Recipe (page 277)
For Cupcakes (Makes 16 cupcakes):
1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds, toasted (see page 323)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (have you ever tried to skin a hazelnut?)(see page 323)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
4 large egg whites

1. Make cupcakes: Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a food processor, pulse together almonds and hazelnuts until finely ground (do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste). Into a mixing bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the ground nuts.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating well after each.

3. In another mixing bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. In two additions, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

5. To finish, use an offset spatula spread a thin layer of frosting over cupcakes, then transfer remaining frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a larget open-star tip (#821). Pipe a ring of frosting around the perimeter of each cupcake, then place a chocolate disk on top. Decorated cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 1 day in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

Dark Chocolate Frosting (Makes about 5 cups)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

For toppers: Go to this link on Martha Stewart's web site...there is a really great "how to" there.

Day of the Dead White Russian Cupcakes with Chocolate Kahlua Frosting


Maggie Van Ostrand of Mexconnect explains Day of the Dead this way: In some countries, this time of year is referred to as Halloween and in others, such as Mexico, it's The Day of the Dead, even though, technically, it lasts four days. (In Oaxaca, the Day of the Dead begins eight days prior to November 2nd and is sometimes called The Week of the Dead.)

This is the time of year in which families remember and honor the dead, welcoming their souls home on their annual visit.


She goes on to say that influences from Halloween can also be felt in Mexico during this period, such as little kids ringing doorbells seeking dulces, some dressed as Frankenstein, Dracula, or generic monsters with gruesomely painted faces and rubber hatchets embedded in their skulls.


I love the Day of the Dead artwork and I totally believe in honoring those who have gone to the other side...no matter how they get there. I also am addicted to The Ghost Whisperer!

Layla loved this photo! BTW: if you see Kim Leffler on Saturday, wish her "Happy Birthday"...She had the good luck to be born on Halloween!

Have a great week, CQ

Here is the recipe for White Russian Cupcakes:

Recipe from Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn.

White Russian Cupcakes
Makes 22-26 cupcakes

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Kahlua Whipped Cream
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlua
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate shavings, for garnish

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
2. Prepare the cupcake batter: Place the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, milk, eggs, vodka, 1/4 cup Kahlua, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. Spoon or scoop1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 26 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.
3. Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 17 to 20 min utes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the remaining 2 tablespoons Kahlua. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners. Lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: Place a large, clean mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters in the freezer to chill for 1 minute. Remove the bowl and beaters from the freezer. Pour the cream into the bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream has thickened. Stop the machine, and add the sugar and Kahlua. Beat the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. DO NOT OVERBEAT OR IT WILL TURN INTO BUTTER.
5. Frost cooled cupcakes with whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Devil's Food Halloween Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting....and Skeletons!


I whipped up these cupcakes this morning using the CakeDoctor's Cupcakes From the CakeDoctor book...she had a recipe for Halloween Spider Cupcakes...I, however, did not have any of the candy pieces around the house...and the decorations seemed too mild for me for Halloween....so I pulled out the skeletons in my closet! ;)


The recipe is super easy...cake mix, eggs, oil and vanilla...all in one bowl and mixed all together...so easy.


Then I had to dig out my Halloween stuff...I have a special XXL box which is overflowing with fun, scary stuff!


I did try a new frosting that I found at the Safeway last week...It's called Pillsbury Easy Frost. It has a star-tip so you can frost like a baker, with fancy points, and it comes in three flavors, chocolate fudge, vanilla dream, a cream cheese. It was so fast...I'm going to try chocolate next time!


Layla wasn't very interested in the cupcakes today...she was more fascinated with the birds having their dinner!

I'll be making another Halloween cupcake later in the week...See you then!

CQ




Here's the recipe for the Halloween Spider Cupcakes:

Halloween Spider Cupcakes
Recipe written by Anne Byrn September 09, 2005
from Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor, page 203

Makes 24 cupcakes (2 1/2 inches each)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Spider chilling time: 30 to 40 minutes
Baking time: 16 to 20 minutes
Assembly time: 15 minutes

24 silver or foil liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2-inch size)

CUPCAKES
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil's food cake mix
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FROSTING:
Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
6 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops red food coloring

GARNISHES:
24 Chocolate Spiders (recipe follows)
Tiny round decorating candies (optional)
Brown decorating gel (optional)

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with silver paper liners. Set the pans aside.

2. Prepare the cupcake batter: Place the cake mix, cocoa powder, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. Spoon or scoop a heaping 1/4 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it two thirds of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.

3. Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 16 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cupcakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely, 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the Buttercream Frosting. Place G cup of the frosting in a plastic sandwich bag and set aside. Add the yellow and red food coloring to the remaining frosting. Blend well so the frosting is evenly orange. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread it out with a short metal spatula or a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely.

5. Garnish the cupcakes: Cut off a small piece from one of the bottom corners of the plastic bag holding the frosting. Pipe 2 eyes on each of the Chocolate Spiders. Place a small round decorating candy in the center of each eye, if desired. Place a spider on top of each cupcake. There will be 6 extra spiders for additional platter garnish or simply to enjoy. If you wish, pipe a web on the platter using brown decorating gel. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

Store these cupcakes, uncovered or in a cake saver, at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze the unfrosted and undecorated cupcakes in a cake saver for up to 6 months. Thaw the cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator before frosting, decorating, and serving.

CHOCOLATE SPIDERS
You can make these spiders up to two days before you bake the cupcakes. The six extras make wonderful platter decorations or sweet treats by themselves.

1 1/4 cups chow mein noodles
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup crispy rice cereal

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside.

2. Measure out 1 cup chow mein noodles and break them into small pieces. Break the remaining noodles into 2-inch pieces. These will be the spiders' legs. Set the noodles aside in separate groupings.

3. Combine the chocolate chips and milk in a medium-size saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar, cereal, and the small chow mein noodle pieces until blended. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop the chocolate mixture by tablespoons in a slightly oblong shape (the body of the spider) onto the prepared baking sheet. You will have about 30 bodies, about 2 inches in size. Immediately insert the noodle legs into the spider bodies, 4 on one side and 4 on the opposite side. Space them evenly apart. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill the spiders until hardened, 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Once chilled, remove them from the waxed paper by pushing up from the underside of the waxed paper.

Store the spiders in a plastic storage container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

the Cupcake Doctor says . . .
Here's something to remember when you're making orange-colored frosting: Use drops of yellow
and red food coloring in a 3 to 1 ratio, adding for example, 6 drops yellow and 2 drops red.

the Cupcake Doctor says . . .
Once the frosting for the cupcakes is made, reserve a small amount of it to pipe on each spider for its eyes.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Makes 2 1/2 cups, enough to frost 24 cupcakes (2 1/2-inch size)
Preparation time: 5 minutes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature (see "the Cupcake Doctor says" below)
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla.

2. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Add up to 1 tablespoon more milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes (#16)




Martha says: "Pumpkin spice cupcakes with tiny marzipan pumpkins are an unexpected alternative (or addition) to pie for Thanksgiving, but these treats would also be welcome at a Halloween party or any other fall occasion." Have you bought Martha's book yet?? It's awesome...go here right now. You'll be so happy you did! This cupcake was the Oct. 15 (I'm a few days late) for the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club "MSC".



This cupcake was pretty fun to make...it has three parts: cupcakes, frosting, and the little pumpkins. I actually made the cupcakes first and then worked on the pumpkins. They were easier to make than I thought they would be...While I did have my doubts at first, things went really well. Last I made the frosting!



Layla was in my studio laying on her mat when I just plopped two of the cupcakes down to near her eye level...she's such a pro now...I think she's been "making" cupcakes with me for more than 4 years now. Mostly they don't even phase her...but I think it all depends on if it's close to her dinner time or not!



These cupcakes are really moist and the cream cheese frosting is slightly tang-ee...nice combination.


I think these cupcakes are great as a pre-Halloween cupcake! Next week, look out! It will time to unveil the 2009 Cupcake Queen Halloween Cupcake. Who knows what could happen??? Only the Shadow knows for sure!

Have a great week...CQ



For Cupcakes (page 236):

4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground giner
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2-1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

For Decorating:

Cream-Cheese Frosting (page 303)
Makes 4 Cups
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl on high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, then vanilla, and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down side of bowl as needed.


Marzipan Pumpkins

Marzipan Pumpkins:

You'll need a total of 14 ounces of marzipan to make 32 pumpkins. Tint two thirds marzipan orange with gel-paste food color. Tint remaining marzipan green. Using a small rolling pin, roll out green marzipan o about 1/8" thick on a work surface lightly dusted with cornstarch; use a mini leaf cutter to cut out leaf shapes (check out this link: Golda's Kitchen). Note: I just used green marzipan to make a green vine since I didn't have this cutter.. With the palms of your hands, roll bits of orange and green marzipan together into small ropes; cut and shape into stems. Shape pieces of orange marzipan into 3/4 inch balls. Use a toothpick to poke holes in tops of ball and press creases along outer edges from top to bottom. Attach leaves and stems to tops.

CPCK...Everything Cupcakes



Send me an email at 52cupcakes@gmail.com if you'd like one of these CPCK bumper stickers I designed!

CQ

Martha Stewart's Dotted-Letter Cupcakes...Well, Not Exactly Dotted! (#15)



This is the 15th cupcake idea I've made from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat, and I will admit right up front that my royal icing "dots" connected themselves into straight lines! Granted, I was in a bit of a hurry to make these for a baby shower...isn't that always the way...but, still it was a fun cupcake idea to try.




This "idea" has four parts: make the royal icing and create the letters...make the cupcakes (I made Martha's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes)...make the frosting (I made Billy's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting). Then you assemble everything! Layla was in the kitchen for the entire process...Oh yeah: Before you begin the royal icing, make sure that you have meringue powder, which you can buy at Michaels.


I only needed 18 cupcakes for the baby shower...so I frosted the rest with Billy's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and brought them to work today!


Here's what Martha says about the Dotted-Letter Cupcakes: "Spell out a birthday wish--or whatever your celebration calls for--with homemade dot letters on a big bunch of cupcakes. The colorful letters (and numbers) are made of tinted royal icing piped oonto parchment paper and allowed to harden before they're placed atop the cupcakes. To save time on the day of the party, pipe the decorations the day before."

I will definitely try these dotted letters again...with more time and the knowledge I gained from this cupcake idea, it should be much easier to get the desired effect!

Have a great week...Layla and I will be back soon!

CQ




Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 18 to 24

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Billy's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough for 30 cupcakes

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.


Royal Icing

Ingredients
2 pounds confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup water, plus more if needed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder (wilton.com)
Gel-paste food coloring (optional)

Directions
Beat sugar, water, and meringue powder with a mixer on low speed until smooth. (If icing is too thick, slowly add more water, beating to desired consistency. If icing is too thin, continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes more.) Add food coloring if desired, a drop at a time, until desired color is reached; if making more than 1 color, divide icing and work in batches. Icing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Martha Stewart's Maple Cupcakes with Maple Frosting (#14)



Martha says: "Here the crimson autumn leaves are cast in marzipan and placed atop maple-flavored cupcakes and frosting."

Layla says: "I will have one of those, please, with milk!"



Who can resist a maple cupcake the the early fall? Not me and not Layla! These cupcakes have 2 cups of pure maple syrup in them...very maple-ee...Then there's there's the maple frosting with another two cups in that...my Martha Stewart Cupcakes book smells like maple as I sit here writing this!


I did have one minor glitch while making the buttercream frosting: I used a pan that was too small for the maple syrup and it by the time I realized that it was too small, it had started to boil over....trust me, it was extreme stress! So, better to use a pot that may seem too big!



Maple Cupcakes Recipe (page 240 in book)
Ingredients for Cupcakes
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
2 cups pure maple syrup,, preferably Grade B
3 large eggs, room temp
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard or mini muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medum-high speed, cream butter until smooth. Add the maple syrup, and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture, and beat well to combine. Beat in milk and vanilla until combined.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until glden and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes for standard, 10 to 13 minutes for minis. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

4. To finish, use an offset spatula to spread each cupcake with maple buttercream. top with marzipan leaves. Decorated cupcakes can be strored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.




Ingredients for Maple Buttercream Frosting (page 309 in book)

Martha says: "Before adding the maple syrup to the beaten eggs, it should be heated to 240 degrees F. If you don't have a candy thermometer, you can test by adding a drop of syrup to cold water; it should immediately form a soft ball. Be sure to buy only pure maple syrup, not a brand labeled "pancake" or "maple-flavored syrup," which is actually corn syrup flavored with maple extract. Pure maple syrup is graded according to color and flavor; grade B has a robust flavor that works well in baking and other recipes."

6 large egg yolks
2 cups pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into tablespoons

1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix egg yolks on high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring maple syrup to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook until syrup registers 240 degrees F, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. with mixer on medium speed, carefully pour syrup in a slow, steady stream down the side of the bowl until it is completely combined, about 1-1/2 minutes. continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is only slightly warm to the touch, 5-6 minutes.

4. Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing until completely incorporated after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, scrape down the sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until buttercream is fluffy, about 4 minutes more. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and whisk on low speed until fluffy again, about 5 minutes.



Marzipan Maple Leaves

Divide 5 ounces of marzipan into thirds, and tint with red, orange, and brown gel-paste food colors. Knead all pieces together briefly until colors are streaky. Using a rolling pin, roll out marzipan to 1/8 inch thick on a work surface lightly dusted with cornstarch. Cut out 24 leaves using a 2-1/4-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter (I found mine at Michaels) for standard cupcakes or 66 leaving using a 1-3/4-inch cutter for minis. Marzipan leaves can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in an airtight container, between layers of parchment paper.

Have a great week...CQ

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes #13


For those of you in the know: This is my 13th cupcake in my 175 Martha Stewart Cupcake ideas self challenge. According to Martha Stewart: "Salted caramel's, including chocolate varieties, have become quite popular in recent years; a touch of salt draws out caramel's buttery taste and highlights the sweetness. This cupcake created with the candy's popularity in mind, serves as an excellent incentive to try your hand at making caramel at home. The soft caramel centers hide under a piped peak of satiny chocolate frosting. Fleur de sel, a type of sea salt prized for its distinctive flavor, in available at specialty stores; if you can't find it, you may substitute another sea salt, such as Maldon."




With this recipe you get to make the cupcakes, the caramel that goes into the cupcakes, and the dark chocolate frosting. I did these cupcakes over two days. First I made the cupcakes,which was fairly easy. While the recipe called for makeing 56 mini cupcakes, I really didn't think that I could handle that, so I opted out for the 18 regular cupcakes instead.




Then, last night I made the caramel and I thought it was pretty easy. It seemed to take longer than I thought it would to turn amber, but eventually, it did! And, was it ever good! I can picture making caramels for the holidays with this recipe. It's the first one that's worked for me.



Today, I made the frosting. I was blown away at how easy it was. And, I was surprised at how with such little confectioner's sugar, it help up to the pastry bag. This recipe called for 4-1/2 sticks of butter! You could probably use it as moisterizer! The recipe has just a few ingredients, but has awesome flavor.


The one thing I was having a problem figuring out was how to melt both the chocolate chips in the microwave, and/or boiling the water for the dry chocolate. I ended up doing it at the same time. It was a little harried but eventutally worked out just right!


Finally, we got to the part where we photograph the the lovely Layla with the cupcakes...She was very attracted to the chocolate aroma. But, regally hung in there and earned her special treat of a nice salmon doggy biscuit.

Below are the three recipes...have a great week...CQ and Layla!

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The Cupcakes
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line mini muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, add eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract, and the water; beat until smooth and combined.

Spoon the batter into liners about two-thirds full. Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Transfer tins to wire racks and allow to cool for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month in air tight containers.

To finish, use a paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece (about 1/2 inch deep) from the center of each cupcake and throw away the pieces. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons warm Salted Caramel Filling into each hollowed-out cupcake. You will notice the caramel will sink into the cupcake a little, just fill it up a bit more. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.

Use a pastry bag with a medium open-star tip (I used Wilton #1M) and pipe Dark Chocolate Frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Garnish each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted. Store at room temperature in airtight containers - do NOT refrigerate. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Filling
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

Directions
Heat sugar with the water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high, stirring occasionally, until syrup is clear; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan and stop stirring.

Cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and just reaches 360°F. Remove rom heat and slowly pour in cream; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.

Use immediately; if caramel begins to harden reheat gently until pourable.

Dark Chocolate Frosting
Ingredients:
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Directions:
Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved.

With electric mixer on medium-high, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.

Frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month in an air tight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again.