Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

My mom is a big fan of key lime pie.  And I don’t blame her, a buttery graham cracker crust with a tart lime Key Limefilling, and soft whipped cream on top.  There’s a lot to like there if you make it right.  This year I wasn’t going to be able to spend Mother’s Day with my mom so I decided to drive down to Connecticut the weekend before for a surprise Mother’s Day celebration.  On a side note, you can see how overdue this post is since I’m talking about something that happened in May.  Since we weren’t going to be spending actual Mother’s Day together I wanted to make her some special key lime cupcakes based on one of her favorite desserts.

For Cupcakes

[Inspired by Annie Eats]

Makes about 18 cupcakes

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5  Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 16 tbsp. (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Zest and juice of 4 key limes
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Key Lime

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with 18 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..
  4. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.
  5. For the cupcake batter , combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  6. Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.
  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.  Add in the lime zest.
  8. Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  9. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.
  10. Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
  • Zest of 6-8 key limes
  • 4 tbsp.  unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  1. In a saucepan, combine the eggs and sugar.  Whisk together until well blended.
  2. Whisk in the key lime juice.
  3. Place the pan over medium-low heat.  Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until the mixture is warmed through.  Be careful not to heat the mixture too quickly to avoid curdling the eggs.
  4. Whisk in the butter a little bit at a time, stirring in each addition until completely incorporated before adding more.  Continue to cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and a spoon or spatula leaves a path when drawn through it.
  5. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
  6. Cut holes in the center of your cupcakes and spoon or pipe in filling until it reaches the top of the cupcake.

For FrostingKey Lime

  • 1 Tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp.cold water
  • 1 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small dish and let sit for a few minutes until the gelatin absorbs the water.
  2. Microwave the gelatin for about 30 seconds at high heat.  The gelatin will be clear and melted.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream until it gets thick and starts to form peaks.
  4. Gradually add in your sugar.
  5. Mix in the melted gelatin and water mixture into the whipped cream.
  6. Add in vanilla and mix well.
  7. Pipe a ring of whipped cream frosting around the outer edge of the key lime cupcake so that you can see the lime filling in the center of the cupcake.

Key LimeThese cupcakes taste almost exactly like a slice of key lime pie!  I had seen other recipes that were just key lime flavored but I think the graham cracker crust on the bottom of these really gives them the essence of the pie.  They are tart and sweet with a little bit of crunch from the crust on the bottom.  I think my mom was very happy with her special Mother’s Day cupcakes.

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Boston Cream Cupcakes

It’s pretty much known that Boston cream anything is going to be amazing.  I mean even Boston cream donuts from Dunkin Donuts are pretty awesome and their donuts completely…well…suck for lack of a better word.  So when I offered to make cupcakes for a going away and was told my cupcakes were legendary, I knew that I had to pick a pretty great flavor that people would go crazy over.  Of course I turned to my trustee source for all cupcake ideas, Pinterest.  But this time Pinterest let me down.  I just couldn’t seem to find anything that I thought would be perfect.  Randomly Boston cream pie was in my head so I just went for it since it’s usually a crowd pleaser!

[Inspired by Martha Stewart]

Makes 18 Cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour cupcake tins.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
  5. Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla.
  6. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes for 15-18 minutes or until light gold.

For Vanilla Cream Filling

*Note…This recipe didn’t quite fill the 18 cupcakes.  I suggest doubling the filling recipe so that each cupcake has a little extra filling.*

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  1. Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.
  4. Core cupcakes and fill with pastry cream and replace with top of the cut out core.

For Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Place butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval
  2. Cool for at least 30 minutes before topping cupcakes

Yum, these were tasty little guys!  The only thing I’d do differently is double the filling recipe because I didn’t have enough to fill 18 cupcakes…mine only filled 16.  If I had a double batch, then each cupcake would have more of the delicious filling.  I actually had a nightmare before I brought them into work that people bit into them and there was just a hole in the middle with no filling.  Thank goodness they had filling in them!  I think these are a make again recipe!

Xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Nanaimo Bar Cupcakes: A Canadian Treat

Before trying to find the perfect cupcake for a birthday, I had never heard of nanaimo bars.  Apparently they are a Canadian treat and since our birthday girl is Canadian, it was suggested I try to make them into a cupcake.  According to Wikipedia, nanaimo bars  were voted “Canada’s favourite confection”.

After doing a little research on these, I found out they are a triple layered bar…kind of like seven layer bars…with a layer of chocolate, coconut, almonds, and graham cracker, a custard layer, and a top layer of chocolate ganache.  Sounded good enough to me.  The only problem is that the filling calls for custard powder.  What?!  I’ve never heard of such a thing.  Well apparently they don’t sell it in the U.S. so I had to improvise with vanilla pudding mix.  I have a feeling it’s not exactly the same but hopefully it was close enough.

[Inspired by C&C Cakery]

Makes 18 cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers crushed (this was about 1 sleeve of graham crackers)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake tin with 18 liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham, cocoa powder, coconut, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they’re completely incorporated. Add and mix in the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the melted chocolate chips (make sure it is cooled to at least room temperature first).
  4. Add the flour mixture and the milk/yogurt mixture into your batter, alternating between the two. When your batter is just about mixed.
  5. Divide batter among cupcake liners and bake 20-25 minutes, or when your cake tester comes out clean.

For Filling

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 4 Tbsp. vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 cups powered sugar
  1. Mix butter, pudding mix, and sugar together with an electric mixer
  2. Add in milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until it is fully incorporated
  3. Core holes into your cooled cupcakes, about an inch and a half around and at least half way in. Carefully spoon the custard filling into the holes and cover with the top of the cupcake that’s been cut out

For Ganache

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Place butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals until melted, stirring between each interval
  2. Cool for at least 30 minutes before topping cupcakes and garnish with chopped almonds and coconut

These cupcakes definitely have a lot going on between all the stuff in the cake and the filling and chocolate on top but it’s a great combination.  The cake part was almost like an Almond Joy.

The birthday girl was really excited about it and had to tell everyone what nanaimo bars actually are…she even said the cupcakes were pretty close to the actual bars.  Yup, I’m brushing my shoulders off.  I can’t wait to actually try the real thing to see how they compare, especially since custard powder is nowhere to be found in the U.S.  I’m wondering if the pudding was a close substitute.  I guess we’ll see.

Until next time.

Xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Intense Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

I’ve officially become the crazy office baking lady.  At the last birthday cupcake celebration, I got word that another birthday was coming up and that chocolate was key for it.  Why are there so many fall birthdays?  It must have been a long and snowy winter for these people’s parents.  Okay, never mind.

So I knew I had to find a super chocolatey cupcake to make.  It had to be something intense.  After much searching on Pinterest…yes, I’m clearly obsessed…I saw a chocolate and raspberry combination that I thought might fit the bill.

[Inspired by The Curvy Carrot]

For Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes (it probably could have made about 30 but I filled them up a lot)

  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 and 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 Tsp. baking powered
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake tins with 24 liners
  2. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and pour hot water over them.  Let sit for a minute and whisk until smooth
  3. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  4. In the stand mixer bowl beat eggs for about a minute then slowly add in milk, oil, and vanilla
  5. Add in dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary
  6. Mix in chocolate and water mixture until smooth (the batter will be very liquidity)
  7. Divide batter among liners and cook 20-22 minutes

For Raspberry Ganache

  • 18 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 and 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  1. Place chocolate in a medium bowl
  2. In a small pot gently bring the cream to a slight boil over medium heat
  3. Remove cream from heat and pour over the chocolate, let sit for about one minute and whisk until smooth
  4. Whisk in raspberry jam until smooth
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use

For Frosting

  • 16 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  1. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals, mixing in between each turn, let cool to room temperature
  2. Beat butter until smooth and add in powdered sugar until combined
  3. Mix in raspberry jam and add in chocolate until the frosting is smooth and creamy

I once again got to use my handy dandy cupcake plunger for these.  Man is is so much easier than cutting out each cupcake center with a knife.  All I had to do was core, fill with the ganache, and frost.  Cuts down a lot of time.   I even managed to get a (not so good) picture of the delicious ganache in the middle of the cupcake.

Since the recipe made more cupcakes than I can carry on the bus to work, they did double duty for the first day of Sunday football.  I just happened to have these cute football decorations in my baking cabinet so I figured I could get some use out of them!

Now when I say these are intense chocolate cupcakes, I’m not kidding.  These aren’t for the faint of heart, I mean it’s chocolate, on top of chocolate, with chocolate in the middle.  Oh, and a nice hint of raspberry flavor.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these might be a chocoholic’s dream.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Celebration Cupcakes: Champagne and Strawberries

There’s nothing better to celebrate a special occasion with than a glass of bubbly.  And what goes better with champagne or sparkling wine than strawberries?  They’re a match made in heaven.  So when I heard that a coworker was leaving for a new job I knew we had to celebrate with some champagne cupcakes!  Champagne cupcakes are the equivalent of raising a glass of bubbly but not actually boozing in the office.

For Cupcakes

[Inspired by 20 Something Cupcakes]

Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake tin
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla and beat in egg whites one at a time.
  5. Beat in flour mixture and champagne in three alternating additions, starting and ending with dry mixture.
  6. Divide batter among tins and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

For Filling

  • About 3/4 cup champagne
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 a package of frozen strawberries
  1. Bring champagne and strawberries to a simmer in a pot until the berries are thawed
  2. Mash the strawberries slightly with a wooden spoon to break them into smaller pieces
  3. Add in cornstarch and water mixture to the strawberry mixture and bring back to a boil
  4. Process mixture in a blender so it is smoother but still has pieces of strawberry

For Frosting

  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup champagne
  • Remaining 1/2 of package of frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 a cup of sugar
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and champagne.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth and strain in a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds
  2. Beat butter in bowl of stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, beating after each addition
  3. Add in vanilla and mix in strawberry puree into the frosting
  4. To assemble cupcakes cut a small hole in the center and fill with the strawberry filling, put cake piece back on as a top.  Frost cupcakes

I was worried when I tried the strawberry and champagne filling that it was going to be too tart but once it was combined with the sweet cake and frosting it paired really well.  I did think the frosting was a little too buttery for my liking so I’d probably cut down to one stick of butter in the future.

The cupcakes were very light and fluffy from the champagne and egg whites and they paired perfectly with the strawberry filling and frosting.  Definitely a celebration cupcake do!

This was such a fun recipe because it gave me a chance to use my cupcake plunger to fill the cupcakes.  I love this thing, it takes the core of the cupcake perfectly out!  If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can see it here.  I got it as a gift and it’s such an awesome cupcake tool!

Xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

 

 

Daring Bakers: Filled Pate a Choux Swans

I’m officially a daring baker!  Daring Bakers is a challenge to bake new and challenging recipes.  Once a month a challenge is posted on their website and everyone makes it and posts it to their blog and posts pictures on the Daring Bakers website so that you can see what worked, what didn’t, what was pretty, what might not be.

August’s challenge was filled pate a choux.  The original recipe was for swans but you could make any filled shaped you wanted.  I decided to go with the actual swan since they looked so pretty and kind of challenging.

I’ve gotta say, I’ve seen people on Top Chef mess up choux dough and I’m surprised because it was a lot easier than I thought.  It’s basically a cooked dough with butter, flour, and egg yolks.  Easy peasy!  All you have to do is fill it with something delicious and people are going to be super impressed.  I used a vanilla pastry cream with whipped cream folded into it.  The classic cream puff filling.  I can’t wait to find out what the next Daring Baker’s challenge is going to be!
xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Andes Mints

You’ll have to excuse me for playing catch up here but it seems like I make lots of cupcakes and never take pictures of them so they never make it to the blog. Or I forget I take pictures since they get buried deep in my email, so a post never gets made. I was trying to clear all of the junk out of my gmail and I found these pictures from before Christmas time! But I figured I’d post about them because they were delicious (I mean, aren’t all of my cupcakes?), and festive not only for Christmas but the wintertime.

I had a long debate about what kind of cupcakes to bring to our family Christmas get together. I wanted them to be festive for the holidays but they also had to be something special. I scoured Pinterest…which I’m sure I’ve mentioned is just about the best website out there. And finally decided on Andes Mints cupcakes. Everyone likes mint and chocolate together, right? And if you don’t, Santa is going to leave a lump of coal in your stocking.

[Inspired by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe]

Cupcakes (makes about 24)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 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
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake tin
  2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Mix together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; using a handheld electric mixer or an electric stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in boiling water, the batter should be on the thinner side.
  5. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes

Chocolate mint filling

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  1. lace the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute at 50% power and stir
  2. Repeat the process until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in the peppermint extract and powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature (but don’t let it get too stiff) and pour it into a squeeze bottle or a ziploc bag.
  4. Once cupcakes are cooled, cut a hole in the middle of each and fill with chocolate mint filling

Frosting

  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 4 sticks unsalted room temperature butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. mint extract
  • Green food coloring to desired color
  • 1 package Andes Mint candy (for garnish)
  1. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth
  2. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add mint extract, and beat just until combined.
  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. Add in a few drops of green food coloring at a time until frosting reaches desired color.
  5. Frost cupcakes and top with an Andes Mint candy

Everyone at the family Christmas party loved these cupcakes. The chocolate mint really made them special, it tasted like there was an Andes Mint candy inside of them. The cake was very fluffy but really stood up to the mound of frosting on top. These are the perfect wintertime cupcake if you like chocolate and mint, and let’s face, who doesn’t? I’m putting these on my holiday party go-to cupcake list because they’re definitely not as hard as them seem with all of the ingredients and directions.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake