Cranberry Orange Cupcakes

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching…seriously, where did November go?  I wasn’t planning on necessarily making any Thanksgiving cupcakes but we were having a potluck at work so of course I was going to bring cupcakes.  Knowing that someone was already bringing a pumpkin dessert…pumpkin cheesecake which was amazing!…I started racking my brain for something that would be Thanksgivingish.  Cranberries!  And orange with cranberry is a match mead in heaven!

IMG_3127[1]

For Cupcakes

Makes 24

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries tossed with 1 Tbsp. flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake tins with 24 liners.
  2. Beat eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add in sugar and mix until well incorporated and light yellow in color.
  3. Add in oil and make sure to mix until well incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Slowly add into the egg, sugar, and oil mixture and alternate with the milk until well combined.  Then add in orange juice and zest and mix well.
  5. Gently fold in fresh cranberries.
  6. Divide batter among the cupcake liners and bake for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown and the tops are springy to the touch.

Cranberry orange

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

Cranberry orange

The bitterness of the cranberries mostly cooks out but gives it enough flavor to pair nicely with the sweetness of the batter and the orange.  This cupcake pairs very nicely with the  mostly neutral flavor of the cream cheese frosting.  But I did consider making a spiced version of the frosting with cinnamon and a bit of ginger which would probably go well.  Whatever you choose for the frosting, these will make a great end to a Thanksgiving or holiday meal.

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Pear Spice Cupcakes with Honey Mascarpone Frosting

FallFall is the best time of year.  It’s finally cool and no longer humid, boot wearing weather!  Plus it’s leaf peeping time!  Looking at the beautiful colors of the fall is one of the few times that I love the weather in New England.  

Pear

Going apple picking is one of my favorite fall activities.  If you spend any time on Pinterest you know that apples and pumpkins get all the credit in the fall recipe arena.  The apple and pumpkin definitely dominate most of the recipes you see at this time of the year.  But everyone forgets that fall is also pear season!  I love pear picking just as much as apple picking.  Plus pear recipes at this time of year seem so much more unique than an apple or pumpkin recipe.

For Cupcakes

[Inspired by Annie Eats]

Makes 16 cupcakesPear spice

  • 3 medium pears peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of ginger
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla bean paste (found on Amazon)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of water in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the pears, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook mixture until the pears are fork tender, about 7-8 minutes.  Set pear mixture aside.
  3.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light in color.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and mix to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  6. Add in half of the flour mixture into the sugar, butter, and egg mixture and mix to combine.  Add in half of the milk.  Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Fold in cooked pears until well combined in the batter.
  8. Divide batter among the cupcake pans and cook the cupcakes for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For FrostingPear spice

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk (as necessary)
  1. Cream together butter and mascarpone cheese until combined.  Add in honey.
  2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time until well combined.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, add in a little bit of milk at a time until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Frost cupcakes.

These cupcakes taste like a bite of fall!  The pears make it so these cupcakes almost can’t dry out.  I had one when they were fresh and one from the freezer a week later and they tasted just as good as the first day.  The honey mascarpone frosting is pretty sweet but the actual cupcake isn’t super sugary so it balances out when you eat them together.  I brought these cupcakes into work and someone told me the cupcakes reminded her of her childhood.  She couldn’t quite pin point why but I’m going to assume that is a good thing!

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.

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.

 

Pumpkin Bourbon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bourbon Frosting

I’m a little late here trying to play catch up with my cupcakes but this is just in time for Thanksgiving!  My work has this awesome thing called Pumpkinfest where everyone brings in some kind of pumpkin food.  It can be sweet or savory and lots of people get to try all of the pumpkin deliciousness.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to show off my cupcake skills but I knew it couldn’t just be a regular pumpkin cupcake.  So I decided to take a standard pumpkin cupcake recipe and give it a little zing!  There’s just enough bourbon in these mini cupcakes to give it that something extra.

The unfortunate thing was that I completely forgot the cupcakes at home that morning so I didn’t get to take part in Pumpkinfest.  So sad!  I did bring them in the next day though for all to enjoy.

[Inspired by Martha Stewart]

Makes about 75 mini cupcakes

For Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 Tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tsp. allspice
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 sticks butter (melted and cooled)
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1- 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 nip  bourbon of your choice (I used Red Stag honey bourbon)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar , granulated sugar , butter, eggs, and bourbon
  4. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Fold in pumpkin puree
  6. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway.  It’s easiest to do this with the mini cupcakes if fill up a ziplock bag with the batter, cut off a corner, and use it to fill the cupcakes
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean

For Frosting

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 5 egg whites
  • 4 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • Bourbon to taste (I used about 3 Tbsp. of Red Stag cinnamon spice bourbon)
  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 vanilla and bourbon, 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.

My pictures are a little blurry because I was trying to be all artsy putting the little cupcakes on a pumpkin.  But these little cupcakes were a hit.  They had just enough bourbon taste to give it a little something extra and the frosting was different than the typical cream cheese frosting that’s usually on a pumpkin cupcake.  And the best part about them is that since they’re mini, it gives you an excuse to eat at least 4 cupcakes to make up for the fact that they’re so small!

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