Monkey Themed First Birthday!

When my friend Kristin asked me to make cupcakes for her son Micah’s first birthday of course I was super excited about it!  My cupcakes were going to be the first sugar baby Micah would get to eat!  Then, when she decided on a jungle theme for the party and asked if I could make monkey cupcakes, I was even more excited.  I had the perfect cupcakes that I had pinned oh so long ago and I knew they’d be great for this occasion.

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Kristin and I decided on half chocolate cupcakes and half banana chocolate chip cupcakes because, well, how cute is it to have banana flavored cupcakes that look like monkeys??  I went with one bowl chocolate cupcakes since they are my ultimate favorite chocolate cupcake recipe.  They always come out perfectly, it’s a no fail recipe if you’re looking for a good chocolate cupcake.  And for an extra bonus, you only have to use one bowl so less to clean!

monkey

For the banana chocolate chip cupcakes I went with a recipe I had made very early on in starting my blog.  But instead of the butter, I used canola oil since I think it makes for a moister cupcake.  I also used about half the amount of chocolate chips because I didn’t want them to be too chocolatey.  Blasphemy, I know.  But I figured since I was making chocolate cupcakes already and both kinds were going to have chocolate frosting, I didn’t want to go too crazy.

monkey 2

monkey3

Decorating the cupcakes were super easy.  I just used large and mini Nilla Wafers for the face and ears.  It did become a little ridiculous when I decided to pipe little white chocolate rounds for the eyes.  After I had piped about a hundred of them I realized that I had basically made white chocolate chips.  It would have been a lot easier had I made them but what can you do.  The last step is to use black gel frosting to pipe on the eyes, nose, and mouth.  I liked positioning the eyes differently so that the monkeys look like they have different expressions.  Some silly and some serious.  I’m not going to lie, I like my cupcakes better than the original ones I pinned!

The monkeys definitely fit in with the jungle theme of Micah’s birthday and he had a huge monkey balloon tied to his highchair so it was perfect!  Can I tell you how chillaxed little Micah is?  I mean that boy almost never stops smiling.  And it’s so adorable how he loves driving his little car around with his arm hanging out the window.  Parents hide your daughters!

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IMG_2410 I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the cupcakes as you can see from the picture.  He seemed a little reluctant at first and unsure but once he got a taste, he really dug right in.  I was so happy to see that mess all over him but I don’t think it was as exciting for mom and dad to clean up!  Micah definitely had a good birthday and we loved celebrating with  him!

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Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes

It’s no secret that bacon is popping up in just about every recipe lately.  Just take a look at Pinterest and you’ll see everything from bacon cookies, bacon corn bread, and bacon pancakes.  So it only seemed natural to follow the trend and put bacon in a cupcake.  Because everyone likes bacon, right?  And everyone likes chocolate!  They’re a prefect salty/sweet combination.Bacon

For Cupcakes

Makes about 18 cupcakes

  • 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 (I’ve done them with plain skim milk and have been fine)
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 6-8 strips of bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven o 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
  3. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, bacon grease, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed (it will be very liquidy but trust me, this is how it’s supposed to be).
  5. Fold in crumbled bacon, reserving about 2-3 tbsp. of bacon for sprinkling on top if desired.
  6. 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.

For Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  1. Cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time scraping the sides of the bowl down as you go.
  3. Mix in milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until the frosting is smooth and creamy.  If it is too hard you can add in a bit more milk.
  4. Add in cocoa and mix to combine.

Bacon

I know they sound like a weird combination, especially with the bacon grease in the batter, but trust me, the bacon and the chocolate works!  It’s salty and sweet like a chocolate covered pretzel.  In fact, I feel like I could have added in a little more bacon to the batter to give it more of a salty taste.  They were definitely more of a novelty kind of cupcake that some people were a little nervous to try but if you can get people to try them it’s definitely worth it!  They’ll be impressed!

Biggest Baking Adventure Yet

Back at it after some WordPress problems that have kept me quite delayed.  And first up now that I’m back up online is the long over due post of my biggest baking adventure to date.  IMG_1396

When I was asked to make birthday cupcakes for a 40th birthday celebration, I’m not sure I realized what an adventure it would be.  I was thinking maybe two dozen each of two different flavors like chocolate and vanilla.  When I got to talking to the hostess she said there would be about 75 people at the party…wow, I knew this would be the biggest haul of cupcakes yet.  And then once we ironed down flavors, I realized that it was going to be a little more complicated than I thought.

The hostess decided on a few flavors, some of which I had made before and some of which I hadn’t.  Cookie dough, Hostess, and red velvet I had made before and peanut butter and white chocolate were completely new for me.  And even thought these weren’t particularly tough recipes, I didn’t realize what making nine…that’s right nine dozen cupcakes was going to entail.

Cupcakes 4It look three days and possibly some tears and meltdowns.  Because I’m never overly dramatic or anything (sense my completely sarcastic tone), I definitely didn’t flop down in my bed and cry to Boy Cupcake that I wasn’t going to finish them.  Our conversation may have looked something like this:

Me: “I can’t do it.  Whaaaaa”

Boy Cupcake: “What are you going to do, give them a hundred unfrosted cupcakes?”

Me: “Yes.  Whaaaaa”

Boy Cupcake: “You have to finish them so get up and I’ll get you more ingredients for the frosting you messed up.”

Me: “Fine.  Humph.”

See?  Not overly dramatic at all.  But in the end it was totally worth it all and our hostess was so extremely grateful and I was happy to make her happy.  Besides, then I got to listen to her praise my cupcakes to other people at the party which I definitely don’t hate.

 

Guinness and Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

Everyone needs cupcakes on their birthday, and I feel like a kid in elementary school bringing in cupcakes to work so everyone can celebrate another occasion. I think I’m going to need a birthday calendar to keep up with everyone’s birthdays (and obviously the calendar would have to include flavor preferences). So when I was told that a birthday was coming up and that the birthday person might like Guinness or more specifically car bomb cupcakes I decided to get a little greedy. Since I’ve already made car bomb cupcakes a few times and have written about them, I had to go with a different Guinness cupcake. I did a lot of research on recipes before I settled on a Guinness and chocolate cupcake with salted caramel. And then it would by my first shot at making caramel.

For Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 a bottle of Guinness beer
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners
  2. In a large mixing bowl whist together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt
  3. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time
  4. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes

For Frosting

Salted Caramel Sauce

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. water
    • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • Sea salt
    1. Combine the sugar and water over medium-high heat in a saucepan
    2. Stir until the sugar completely melts and starts to boil
    3. Let the sugar brown for just a minute, don’t let it get too dark though
    4. Once it’s ready, remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream, butter, and sea salt.  Be careful since it can steam and foam up a lot
    5. Add in salt to taste

    For Frosting

    • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
    • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
    • Salted caramel sauce
    1. Whip butter in mixer and add in powdered sugar one cup at a time
    2. Mix in salted caramel sauce until desired taste
    3. Decorate cupcakes

    I had some extra salted caramel left so I decided to drizzle over the top of the cupcakes to make them pretty.  The salted caramel was good but I’m thinking I let it cook just a tad bit too long because it had a slight bitter taste to it.  But when it was mixed with sugar and butter you couldn’t really taste it.  They seemed like another office hit.  I’ve got to keep them coming for the compliments!

    xoxo,

    ~CurlyCupcake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What better way to suck up…ahem…I mean make friends with your new coworkers than to bring in cupcakes?  When I was interviewing for my job, they asked about what I like to do in my free time.  So I thought this was the perfect time to tell them about my cupcakes, especially since it was something different than the standard reading, travel, whatever answers.  But since I bragged about making all of these cupcakes, I had to follow through and bring them in some.

The perfect opportunity arose since one of my coworkers was leaving to move to Washington state.  I just had to decide what kind of cupcakes would be good to make her.  After browsing around Pinterest and asking a few people, a classic carrot cake was settled on.  How can you not like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting?  It’s a great combination and I could make the cupcakes a day or two ahead of time because these ones always stay moist.  And the best part about this recipe was that I did the whole thing in my food processor which made for easy clean up!

[Inspired by Martha Stewart]

For Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 5 medium carrots, washed with ends cut off
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp.baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground all spice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin with 12 liners
  2. Cut carrots into thirds and process in food processor until finely grated
  3. Add eggs and sugar to the carrots and pulse until just combined.
  4. Slowly stream in oil into the food processor until combined with the carrot and sugar mixture
  5. Add in baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 of the flour and pulse to combine
  6. Pour in 1/2 the milk and pulse to combine, scraping down the edges as needed
  7. Add in spices and remaining flour and pulse to just combine
  8. Pour in remaining milk and combine until just smooth
  9. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 23-27 minutes.  Cool before frosting

For Frosting

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz. of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Mix together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer
  2. Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed
  3. Mix in vanilla extract until smooth

My first cupcakes for my new coworkers got great reviews!  These are super simple to make but everyone seems to be impressed with my baking skills when I make them.  They’re super moist and the sweet cream cheese frosting is a great compliment.  And they couldn’t have been easier since I pretty much just did it all in my food processor.  I love recipes that are easy to clean up!

The only problem was that I brought them in and they put them out before lunch so I was on a sugar high before I had any real lunch food in me.  People were bouncing off the walls with eating lots of sugar.  But I’m totally okay with that, it definitely makes for an interesting work day!

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

S’mores…the Perfect Camping Cupcake!

For almost 2 years now, I’ve been dying to get my hands on a kitchen torch so that I could make some kind of s’more cupcake.  I briefly got one for Christmas in 2010 but then it gotten taken back because I couldn’t figure out how to use.  Maybe my family thought I was going to be too dangerous with the thing.

Well when Boy Cupcake’s friend said she wanted to go camping for her 30th birthday, I started to think about what kind of cupcakes I could bring.  And then he suggested s’more cupcakes!  Duh, why didn’t I think about that?  That’s why I keep him around.  This was going to be the prefect time to get a torch and make these off of my cupcake wishlist!

[Inspired by Annie Eats]

For Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 1 sleeve of graham crackers crushed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 oz. (1 small container) 0% Greek yogurt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.
  3. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. (Pressing them with my thumb worked best for me)
  4. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder. hot water, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.
  6. In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.
  7. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.
  8. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 6-8 minutes.
  9. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the cocoa mixture until smooth.
  10. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the Greek yogurt,just until incorporated.
  11. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾-full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22  minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Let cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of your electric mixer and set over a pan of a few inches of simmering water.
  2. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with a candy thermometer.
  3. Transfer the mixing bowl to your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined.
  4. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip.
  5. Brown with a kitchen torch.

There were a lot of steps to these cupcakes with the baking of the graham cracker crust first but actually getting to use the kitchen torch (which ended up not being a kitchen torch but a mini welding torch I bought from Home Depot) was by far the best part.  It was a lot of fun to watch them amazingly brown up and the frosting definitely tasted like marshmallow.

I will say though that the cake was a little dry, which I wasn’t a super fan of.  People thought I was crazy when I said that but we’re our worst critics, right?  Plus Boy Cupcake told me they were a little dry too, I’m glad he was honest about it.  But maybe they were like that because they were sitting in the car for a day so the little animals couldn’t get to them.  And I think using the fat free yogurt may have cut some needed fat out.  Regardless they were very s’more like.  If I was going to do them again, I might add a chocolate ganache center to get that melty chocolate taste.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Happy Birthday Boy Cupcake: Oreo cupcakes

Last Wednesday was my Boy Cupcake’s birthday, he’s now an old man at the ripe old age of 31 (okay, I told him he was an old man last year when he turned 30).  We had such a fun dinner at a hibachi restaurant, can you believe it was his first time?  It’s always a good time, I mean who doesn’t like dinner theater.  And my favorite part is the onion volcano, it gets me everytime they light that thing on fire.

I was wracking my brain to think of a cupcake that I should make him and tried to get some ideas by asking him what he might want.  Can you believe he told me I didn’t have to make him cupcakes?!?!  Yeah, okay, as if I’m not going to make someone cupcakes for their birthday.  I decided to go with Oreo cupcakes because even though I’ve done them before, they are soooo delicious.

[Inspired by Annie’s Eats]

For Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 12 whole Oreo cookies
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 plus 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups roughly crushed Oreo cookies (about 15-20 cookies)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 12 paper liners
  2. Place an Oreo at the bottom of each cupcake liner
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  4. Mix in egg whites one at a time, blending well after each addition then add vanilla extract
  5. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder
  6. Add half of the dry mixture to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture
  7. Mix in the milk, blending until just combined
  8. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix to combine
  9. Gently fold in crushed Oreos with a spatula
  10. Divide among cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes

For Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended
  2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time and add in milk to desired consisstency
  3. Mix in vanilla extract
These cupcakes are pretty amazing.  When I took them out of the cupcake carrier to have one for Boy Cupcake’s birthday, all you could smell was the Oreos and the cream cheese frosting.  Yum!  I’ve made these before but this time I added in more crushed Oreos to the batter and left them in bigger chunks, which was perfect.
I gave the rest to Boy Cupcake to take to work and he said he grabbed one and then they were all gone pretty early in the morning.  Success!  Oreo cupcakes are definitely on the must make list, and they are definitely in my top 10 favorites…maybe even top 5!
xoxo,
~CurlyCupcake