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!

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.

 

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

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

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

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