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

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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

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

Apples Part Two

**This post is dedicated to a Miss Nip Glit who told me to get my butt posting**

The weather is changing and fall is coming upon us, so that means fall flavored cupcakes!  I debated over pumpkin, apple, and wait for it…sweet potato and decided to go with the the pumpkin cupcakes.  Super excited to do pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, I headed to the store to pick up a few ingredients.  Well, there was no pumpkin anywhere to be found!  So sad!  After some research I found out that there’s another pumpkin shortage this year (last year the crop got flooded out) because so many pumpkins were destroyed by Irene.  First that biotch ruined my Sunday dinner when we lost electricity and now she’s messing up my cupcakes!

On to plan B…apple cupcakes!  Last year it was the caramel apple cupcakes and this year I went with apple pie a la mode.  When I was looking for the canned pumpkin, I saw some apple pie filling and decided to just go with it.  A spiced apple cake with apple pie filling and vanilla bean frosting?  Yes please!

I looked at tons of recipes to try to put this one together but there wasn’t a great spiced cake recipe to go off of so I pretty much had to work on the fly while I was making them and just make up the recipe.  It worked surprisingly well and I’d use it again for the base of another spiced cupcake.

I have to admit that I didn’t actually try the finished product but I did try the cake part and it was light, moist, and delicious.  And considering they were topped with my favorite frosting, how bad could they be??  

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 can apple pie filling (divided in half and chopped into small pieces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
  2. Beat butter until smooth and add sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy and mix in vanilla extract.
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Add in half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixing until incorporated, then add in half of the water.
  5. Mix in remaining flour mixture and then water until just incorporated.
  6. Fold in half of the apple pie filling to the batter and fill 12 cupcake liners evenly.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Once the cupcakes cooled, I cut out the centers and filled them with the remaining apple pie filling.  They were frosted with my favorite swiss meringue buttercream.  Even though I didn’t try the final cupcake put together, I’m going to go out a limb and say they were pretty good because well that’s what they tell me and I like to believe it.  Plus, the actual cake part that I did try was pretty damn good, so I can only imagine that the whole thing together was good.  Plus, my Boy Cupcake stole three from the party I brought them to, so they had to be pretty good I guess.
xoxo,
~CurlyCupcake

Shhh, My Favorite Cupcakes Come from a Box!

Yes it’s been another looooooong time, but well know I’m a pretty horrible cupcake blogger, so that’s that.

Anyway, I probably shouldn’t admit that my favorite cupcakes come straight from a box, but I’m pretty brave so I’m just going to put it out there.  Give me a choice between any homemade cupcake and a funfetti cupcake made from boxed mix (and preferably with rainbow chip frosting), and I’ll choose the boxed cupcake any day.  There’s just something enticing about the perfectness of a white cupcake specked with a rainbow of colors when you bite into it.  I mean, does it really get better than that?  Sooo, since two friends were celebrating their birthdays within just days of each other, I made a homemade version of my favorite cupcakes (and trust me, I know Mando likes them too).

Believe it or not, there aren’t really  any recipes out there for funfetti cupcakes, so I had to just go with my own here.  Starting with a basic yellow/white cake recipe and adding the pretty sprinkles seemed like it would do it but I had tried this before and it wasn’t super successful.  Last time around I made a huge cupcake cake with the funfetti and decided to put as many sprinkles in as I could.  Yeah, bad idea.  Adding a cup of sprinkles to a cupcake batter won’t ever be a good idea, so here’s your warning: Don’t try it!  This time around, I went with a mere quarter of a cup and it turned out much better.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk (I use skim but whatever works)
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles (mixed with about 1/2 Tbsp. flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the pan)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line pan for making 12 cupcakes
  2. Blend together butter and sugar until light in fluffy and beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda
  4. Alternate adding in the milk and dry ingredient mixture until fully incorporated (don’t over mix) and mix in vanilla.
  5. Fold in the sprinkle and flour mixture and divide batter among 12 cupcakes
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Now, the frosting is no rainbow chip frosting, but it’s still pretty good when you add a bunch of sprinkles on top:

Frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. milk

Blend together butter, sugar, and vanilla until mixture is smooth.  Slowly add in the milk one tablespoon at a time (adding more milk if you need a thinner consistency).

These were good cupcakes, but I’d probably use oil next time since I usually find cupcakes made with oil rather than butter to turn out lighter and fluffier.  They were a hit among the crowd, but I’m not sure my friends would ever tell me that they didn’t like one of my cupcakes.  Oh, yeah, and this happened: 

This was Susical’s doing, she clearly loves her sprinkles!  I guess they were a success afterall.

More adventures to come!

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

 

 

Little Cupcake, Big Cupcake

Don’t you love having friends or family who live in a great vacation spot?  My niece and nephew live out in Lake Tahoe, and I love going out to see them since it’s so beautiful out there.  Even better though is when they make their once a year pilgrimage to the east coast for their multiple state visit.

This past fall when they came for their visit, it was just after my niece’s 3rd birthday and we were also going to have my nephew’s Christening so it was the perfect excuse for me to make a bunch of cupcakes!  For Z’s Christening cupcakes I thought it would be best to keep it simple and wow the crowd with the presentation.  I went with the Martha one bowl chocolate cupcakes (yes, again!) with a buttercream frosting and white chocolate lettering.  For her birthday, I kind of wanted to give C a funfetti cake (my absolute favorite boxed cake), but lets face it, cupcakes are much more my thing and everyone pretty much expects me to bring cupcakes to a party.

I’m assuming at this point in the blog we don’t need to go over the chocolate cupcakes, I’ve probably posted about them at least three times now.  I told you I loved them!  I made a basic buttercream frosting because to be honest, I tried to make the Swiss buttercream for both but ran out of ingredients for a second batch.

I used the recipe from allrecipes.com but used all butter instead of putting shortening in.  Personally, I’m not too much of a fan of using shortening in frosting unless I’m using vegetable shortening in a vegan frosting.  I’ve found that the shortening leaves a funny feeling in my mouth after that I don’t like.  I think it’s okay in a vegan cupcake when there are less options out there but I wouldn’t recommend it in everyday cupcake frostings.

When I started making cupcakes, I bought some concentrated food dyes so that I could decorate in pretty colors.  These are great because you only have to use a few drops of coloring to get a nice color.  I love the color of these cupcakes; they almost came out a Tiffany blue when I colored them.

Chocolate letters look great on top of cupcakes, and are super easy to make.  All I had to do here was print out what I wanted to say and cover with wax paper.  Then just pipe melted chocolate onto the wax paper and let harden and people will be ahhhhing over your pretty spelled out letters.  Lesson: if you want your letters to be smooth, you MUST pipe them backwards so they can be turned over when put on the cupcakes.  You can see in the picture with the big Z that they are a little bumpy, which they wouldn’t have been if I had thought first to do them backwards.  

Since I love funfetti cake so much, I figured I’d make everyone else love them whether they liked it or not.  I’m going to share a secret with you here, so don’t tell anyone…I would pick boxed funfetti cake with rainbow chip frosting over almost any homemade cupcake.  Shhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!  This must NEVER be repeated outside of this blog.

Moving on.  Giant cupcakes are not as easy to make as they look.  I used a basic buttermilk cake recipe and added rainbow sprinkles to make it funfetti (pretty easy, right?).  I made this cake, took it out of the oven, put it on the cooling wrack and saw liquid cake batter dripping from it.  Obviously you’re thinking I should’ve tested the cake before I took it out but I swear I did!  The toothpick came out clean but somehow there was still raw cake in there.  I really have no idea how this happened.  

On my second attempt, I mixed everything together and got the cake in the oven baking before I realized that I forgot to put oil in the cake.  Duh!!  Sometimes you just have to go with the mistakes, so at this point I just went with it and figured I’d see how it turned out.  The cake turned out a little dense but it still tasted good, and you know what?  I hate wasting good ingredients, so I wouldn’t have been happy throwing two cakes away.

From the pictures I had seen of the giant cupcake, I just didn’t like the look of the whole cake covered in frosting.  I had found a giant cupcake candy shell on oh, sugar! and loved the look because it made it look like the cupcake was in a wrapper.  It was super easy to do too as long as you follow her directions step by step.  Cover the giant cupcake in some Swiss meringue buttercream (which was hard to pipe on in a continuous circle, hence the gaps there) and throw on some of those leftover sprinkles and you’re good to go.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the cake, cupcake, and my nephew.  How cute is that little man?? I can’t even tell you how hard it was to get him to sit there and not stick his hand in the frosting, but we got him there long enough for a photo shoot.  I’m pretty sure he enjoyed those chocolate cupcakes, as did the rest of the party.

This weekend I’m going to be diving into a new cupcake adventure…strawberry basil cupcakes!  This is going to be a great summer cupcake, I can’t wait!

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Happy Birthday Grammy!

Today is my Gram’s 83rd birthday so I traveled to CT yesterday for a little family cookout to celebrate.  I really wanted to make her something special so I looked to my new book that I got from my brother and sister-in-law for my birthday, What’s New Cupcake?.  This is the second book to Hello Cupcake and they are both awesome!  I thought some bright flowers would be perfect for her so that’s what I went with.

I made a basic buttermilk cupcake and filled with pastry cream (see basic recipes for both).  To fill cupcakes I just cut a “cork” out from the center of the cupcake and fill it with the cream which is basically like the filling for a Boston cream doughnut…and seriously, do you now anyone who doesn’t like those doughnuts?  Because I’m going to be really sad if you do because those things are the best!

Now, the book marked these as EZ cupcakes but I’ve had enough experience with Martha to know that this isn’t always true.  I was extremely surprised to find out that these in fact were really easy cupcakes, even though they they are super time consuming.  I had to cut 22 mini marshmallows in half on the bias and dip the sticky side into colored sugar.  If it wasn’t for the help of my roommate Lenny’s little baby fingers, I’m not sure I would have been able to get through this myself.  I will admit that I was a little nervous to let her help because she was drinking wine, but Lenny was a lifesaver!

Once the exhausting part of being hunched over a table of mini marshmallows and colored sugar was over, it was time to get the flowers growing.  Sadly when I made the Swiss meringue buttercream (I told you this was my favorite frosting!) I tried it out and it was horrible!  For some reason it tasted super salty and disgusting.  Turns out stupid me bought salted butter for the frosting.  Yeah, not a good thing in baking.  I had to run myself out to the convenience store down the road and pay $4.99 for another pound of unsalted butter, I was kind of hoping the butter was made from gold for that price but no such luck.

I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief and remake the frosting which turned out delicious the second time.  Spread a thin layer on top of the cupcake and you’re ready for the flowers to bloom.  This part is super easy, you’re just sticking those marshmallows into the frosting in three layers and putting a few candies in the middle (I used Good and Plenty candy for this).  And viola!  You’re done!  And you have a bouquet of pretty flowers that are going to impress the pants off your friends and family, but not literally I hope.  

I’m telling you, if you want to impress people, these are the ones to make.  The sunflowers are a real show stopper too but take a little more time and effort to make.  I have to say this adventure was a success!

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake