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!

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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.

Happy Halloween!

 CupcakeHappy Halloween to all!  I didn’t get a chance to carve pumpkins this year but the picture above is from a friend’s pumpkin carving contest last year.  Can you guess which one is mine??  I’m sure it’s pretty obvious.  And I won the contest!

I’m not making any cupcakes this year for Halloween but came across these cute ones from Bakerella:

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Maybe next year I’ll have to try out some of these decorations.  The pumpkins and spider webs are particularly cute!

I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

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.

Lucky Charms Cupcakes: They’re Magically Delicious

Seriously, it’s been over three months since I’ve posted?  That’s horrid.

And I have so much to update, especially my giant baking project in January but that’s for another time.  I have to start with the most recent.

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As we all know, this past weekend was St. Patrick’s Day and I like to believe that no one celebrates it better than we do in Boston.  My wonderful friend Nip lives on the parade route so the whole weekend is a party at her place.  I’ve done a few St. Patrick’s cupcakes like car bomb and green velvet but I wanted something new this year.  What better than Lucky Charms cupcakes?  They’re Irish, right?  I forgot how much I liked Lucky Charms when I started making these.  I’m not usually into sugary cereal but there’s something about this one.

For Cupcakes

[Inspired by The Cupcake Project]

Makes 36 mini cupcakes

For the crust:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups crushed Lucky Charms
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 FIMG_1484[1]
  2. In a small bowl, mix together crushed Lucky Charms and melted butter
  3. Divide mixture evenly between the mini cupcake liners.  Pack it firmly into the bottoms of the liners
  4. Bake for 10 minutes

For the cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup corn syrp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. cake flour
  • 3/4 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Lucky Charms
  1. Mix together all flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder
  2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, corn syrup, and oil
  3. When these are well mixed, beat in egg and vanilla
  4. Mix dry ingredients into the wet alternating with the whole milk in two batches
  5. Fold in the Lucky Charms
  6. Divide among the mini cupcake liners that have the pre baked crust and bake for 11-13 minutes

IMG_1483[1]For Frosting

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. milk
  • Green food coloring (optional)
  1. Beat butter in a mixer until soft
  2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time
  3. Mix in 2 Tbsp. milk.  If the frosting is too thick, add in more milk one Tbsp. at a time
  4. Mix in green food coloring if using and frost cupcakes.  Decorate with Lucky Charms marshmallows

You know how Lucky Charms has those crunch little marshmallows?  Of course you do! They melt into the batter for a nice swirl of color and taste.  And the dry cereal pieces give the cake some texture.  I thought these tasted a lot like the cereal.  They should be breakfast cupcakes, right?

I’ve got to leave you with my favorite St. Paddy’s Day flare I got to wear.  How can you not love an Irish cupcake tattoo??!!?

IMG_1514[1]The necklaces, stickers, and glow bracelets were all good and fun but this has to be the best!  Thanks to Nip’s sister Kathy, this might be my annual face decoration!

 

St. Paddy’s Day: Green Velvet

Happy St. Patty’s Day!  Okay, about two months too late.  I apparently wrote out the entire recipe for these cupcakes but never finished the post or published it, so here are my St. Patty’s Day cupcakes.  

Since I’ve done the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, I wanted to bring a different kind of cupcake to the Southie St. Patty’s Day parade.  Why not a green velvet cupcake in honor of the day?  Lots of people are all about the red velvet and all you have to do is change up the color for a different kind of cake, so why not?

[Inspired by The Cupcake Project]

For Cupcakes (Makes about 24)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. green food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 250 and line cupcake tins with 24 liners
  2. Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl
  3. Beat eggs and sugar together until light and golden
  4. Mix in food coloring and cocoa powder until well combined
  5. Alternate mixing in flour mixture and butter milk until just combined
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes

For Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. whiskey
  • Green food coloring
  1. Cream together butter and cream cheese until well combined
  2. Mix in powdered sugar one cup at a time
  3. Add in whiskey and mix until just combined
  4. Mix in green food coloring for desired color

The verdict on these cupcakes?  Well even though people told me that they liked them, I wasn’t really a fan of these.  They had a really strange color pattern in the cake with the mixture of the cocoa and the green food coloring.  I just didn’t find the color appealing.  Maybe less cocoa next time?  Also, I wasn’t a fan of the flavor.  Everyone at the parade ate them and when I brought the leftovers to work, they went like hot cakes.  I was actually surprised because I thought they almost had a bitter taste to the cake.  But some people are just into cupcakes and will eat any kind.  I think I tend to be a little pickier than the average cupcake eater.  I did have a drunk Southie woman stop me while we were walking back to the car and offer my money for a cupcake.  I gave her free cupcakes and for some reason my phone number because she wanted to buy cupcakes but I didn’t have business cards, stupid, I know (on a side note I am working on business cards, so if anyone wants to make me a cupcake logo, that all that’s holding me back).

Would I make these again?  I think I would with a few tweeks to the cupcake part.  I would probably use gel food coloring so that I could use less coloring.  I tend to think that that could possibly eliminate the taste I didn’t like because I had to use almost an entire bottle of green food coloring to get the color.  I might also use a little less cocoa powder if I wanted to make sure the color was better in the cake.  I wouldn’t call these cupcakes a failure by any means since they did have some good parts to them.  Try them for yourself, maybe you’ll like them a little more than I did.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Peppermintyness

It seems like I’ve been on a cupcake making hiatus lately…the last cupcakes that I’ve actually made were the caramel apple ones waaaay back in September.  That’s pretty sad huh?  I’ve made a lot of cupcake promises to people lately but haven’t lived up to them at all.  I promise all of you that you will get your moving cupcakes, engagement cupcakes, and those just because I love you cupcakes.  They really will get to you, I swear!

I got one foot wet getting back into the world of cupcakes when Lenny, Susical, and I had a roommate bonding and holiday decorating night last Friday night.  There’s nothing better than snuggling with your roomies after work and putting up a ridiculously sparkly Christmas tree, right?  Yeah, we clearly have a special roommate relationship.  Anyway, I wanted to make the roomies a little treaty for our holiday decoration celebration and what says winter and holidays more than peppermint?  When I think of peppermint, I see chocolate…these two are a match made in heaven (almost as good as chocolate and peanut butter, but not quite there).  I don’t think it can get much better than a brownie cupcake stuffed with a peppermint patty and topped with fluffy peppermint buttercream frosting.  Yum!

Ingrediants

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 sticks melted butter (plus more room temperature butter to grease cupcake tin)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 12 mini peppermint patties

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Liberally grease a 12 cup cupcake tin with room temperature butter…no need for cupcake wrappers here, they just get in the way and stick!
  2. Mix together melted butter and sugar until well combined.  Add eggs one at a time until the mixture is fully combined and golden yellow.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder.  Slowly mix into the butter, sugar, and egg mixture until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Divide half of the batter among the 12 cupcake tins.  Place peppermint patty in the middle of the batter and top with remaining half of the batter divided among the 12 cupcakes.  Bake at 350 for 18-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out fully clean.  Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

To go along with these pepperminty brownie cupcakes, I thought a pepperminty Swiss meringue buttercream would be the perfect compliment.  We all know that Swiss meringue buttercream is my favorite frosting but I mess this stuff up ALL THE TIME!  I seriously don’t know what my problem is with this frosting that it turns out to be such a hit or miss, or at least I didn’t know until now (and now, I only think I know…but I can admit that I’ve been wrong once or twice in my life).  Apparently when you mix in the butter to the meringue, it turns a little liquidy at first.  If you keep mixing and mixing it will eventually stiffen up to the perfect fluffy consistency.  Be patient!  It will definitely pay off.

I used a half recipe of my basic Swiss meringue buttercream but instead of adding vanilla extract in there, I replaced it with 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract instead.  This was the perfect amount of peppermintyness (yeah, that’s clearly not a word but it sounds good, right?) to top the brownie cupcakes.  As Susical put it, it tasted like delicious mint ice cream…she thought it was my best frosting yet, and who am I to argue with such a smart woman?  Topping the cupcakes off with some cutesy little candy cane sprinkles and you have a finished product.

I loved these cupcakes because the actual brownie part of the cupcake isn’t very sweet at all but once you get a bite of the peppermint patty in the middle and a little bit of that frosting, you have a perfect bite.  I’m even going to admit that I’ve eaten 4 of these cupcakes since Friday (that’s almost one a day people)!  Now that I’m hopefully back on the cupcake train, I’ve clearly got to keep working on getting people their cupcakes.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Yet Another Drink Made Into A Cupcake

People in Boston love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s all about wearing green, drinking, and going to parades, and in my book that’s a pretty good holiday.  Let’s face it, it’s pretty much just a giant drinking “holiday” but if you’re going to be spending the day drinking in a bunch of Boston bars, you might as well be drinking for a good cause.  We like to attend an annual St. Patrick’s day pub crawl in Southie that goes by the name Tipsy for Tatas; it raises money for breast cancer.  I love a cause that lets me start drinking at 9am and walk bar to bar, and even better when it’s related to the best drinking holiday.

I’ve learned that cupcakes are a great way to make friends.  I mean, who doesn’t like to bond over a sugary, cakey, deliciousness?  The Tipsy for Tatas pub crawl would be a perfect time to test out the best St. Paddy’s day cupcakes ever…Irish Car Bomb cupcakes.  Ah, the Irish Car Bomb!  If you’ve never had one (which I can’t believe), you have a3/4 of pint of Guinness the you drop a shot glass in filled with 1/2 Irish whiskey and 1/2 Bailey’s.  Chug as fast as you can before the mixture curdles.  I know this sounds absolutely disgusting, and it kind of is gross but boy does it make a good cupcake.

I followed the recipe above and made them into mini cupcakes, the recipe says it makes about 40-48 minis but I got closer to 60.  Let me tell you that carrying around cupcakes on a St. Paddy’s day pub crawl will make you instantly popular.  People seriously loved these things and they tasted just like a Irish Car Bomb but so much better because they were deliciously sweet.  The Guinness cake stayed really moist and delicious and when you bit into it, the Jameson ganache made it perfect.  The only issue with the filling is that I had to cut a little cork out of each and every mini cupcake to be able to fill them.  This was pretty tedious and time consuming but left me with 60 cupcake corks which were perfect leftovers to dip in the extra Bailey’s frosting and chocolate ganache.  To make them extra festive, the green sprinkles were put on by my special little helper friend Pando.  This was her first (but not last) time helping me with cupcakes and her baby fingers did such a good job.

I know these were a hit, but I’m told that they do not taste good the next morning when you’ve had too many actual Irish Car Bombs the night before.  Thankfully I don’t have experience with this so I’ll just have to take other’s word for it.  Regardless, it was a fun cupcake adventure!

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake