A Taxing Day: Martha Stewart's Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes!

These cupcakes are so yummy, you might want to eat them all yourself! The recipe is below.....

Enjoy! CQ

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The Cupcakes
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

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
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

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
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

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.

Layla Would Have Loved Today...

Layla would have loved today...lying out on the back deck, nose up high sniffing the soft breeze...happy as a clam. Layla was my cupcake baking partner...I made the cupcakes and she got to have her photo taken with the cupcakes...and some of the time she actually got to taste a bit of frosting or just some of the cupcake. She was always willing to participate in the baking process!

Layla has been ill for more than a month since the vet discovered that she had canine dilated cardiomyopathy. This morning it got the best of her and she passed over the rainbow bridge around 3:30 a.m. Today I know that Layla has become part of that breeze I feel. RIP Layla 4.4.11...I am missing you today and forever. My heart is very sad today.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Starbucks Coffee Liqueur Buttercream Frosting for My PT Friends!!

Today was my last day of physical therapy for my "Lucky" knee replacement...2-1/2 months worth! I made these cupcakes for the ladies at the Shady Grove Center for Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation. They are the most awesome people and I recommend them highly...Pat, Lita, Jen, Karen, and Jan!

Then I took some of the cupcakes to work...ran in to Laura Scott and she got to finally taste one of CQ's cupcakes...the funny thing about that is that she was carrying a vente Starbucks at the time!

Have a great weekend...I'm heading to Williamsburg to visit my Mom and sister!

CQ and Layla

52 Cupcakes Named One of Top 10 Blogs Where You Can Discover Something

Here's what Mei-Lynn Destouche blogs.com says:

Top 10 Blogs Where You Can Discover Something New:

52 Cupcakes
Who can resist a cupcake? Not me! This is embarrassing to admit, but this blog makes me drool. This blog features yummy cupcake recipes.These aren't your typical school bake sale cupcakes.

Thanks for the accolades!

Have a great day, CQ

Holy Baking, Batman...They're Junior Mint Valentine Cupcakes!

These are Double Chocolate Junior Mint cupcakes with pink mint frosting...ready to be eaten on Valentine's Day 2011!
Don't you love love songs...especially on Valentine's Day...one of my favs is by Celine Dion...Because You Loved Me...

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'cause you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

Happy Valentine's Day, Batman!

CQ and Layla

The Absolutely Best Chocolate Reese's Cup Peanut Butter Cupcakes You'll Ever Eat!!

Notice the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on the bottom!


Okay, Kids...here is the recipe:

Cupcake Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/3 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcakes cups with paper liners sprayed with PAM. Place one Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures on the bottom of each paper liner.

Then, place the cake mix, cocoa powder, peanut butter, water, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend for 30 seconds on low, then increase speed to medium for 1 minute and 30 seconds. 

Spoon 1/3 cup of batter on top of each miniature peanut butter cup. 

Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger. Check them after 15 minutes. They may take 17 minutes, depending on your oven temperature.

Frosting Ingredients:
1 stick of butter (room temp)
1/2 cup shortening
4 cups confectioners sugar (sifted)
1 tsp vanilla
8 tbsp milk (may need a little more or less)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup peanut butter (creamy)

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a hand mixer. Then, decorate your cupcakes!