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.

IMG_1481[1]

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!

 

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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

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

 

 

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

Lemon-Blueberry Cupcakes

I’ve had lemon-blueberry cupcakes on my cupcake wishlist for a while even though I’m not a huge fan of blueberries.  I do like them cooked into muffins and things but I’m not really a fan of eating them fresh.  There’s something about the weird color of their insides that freaks me out.


A few weeks ago (okay almost 2 months ago, so you really have to forgive me for that), I decided to head down to CT for my dad’s birthday and figured I’d bring some cupcakes with me.  I decided to do something off of the wishlist because selfishly, I could then write about it.  But it was also super hot and them lemon and blueberry combination sounded a little more light and refreshing than a heavy chocolate cupcake.

[Inspired by Annie Eats]

For Cupcakes

Makes about 16 cupcakes

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¾ cup cake flour 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of  1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. milk, at room temperature
  • 1.5  cups fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup all-purpose flour, the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla and lemon juice.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Blend in the milk. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.
  6. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Using a spatula gently fold the berries into the cake batter.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners, filling each about ¾ full. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Juice of about 1/2 a lemon
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • Additional fresh blueberries, for garnish
  1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Mix in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated (start with 3 cupcakes and add more sugar if needed), increase the speed and then beat until smooth.
  3. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

These cupcakes are great warm weather summer cupcakes.  They aren’t too heavy with lots of chocolate or anything and the combination of the lemon and blueberries is actually pretty refreshing for a cupcake.

I think the best part about these is that the blueberries really keep the cake extra moist, so you could keep them for a few days and they won’t really dry out too much.  I brought some extra into work on Monday morning and told everyone I was calling them breakfast cupcakes since they had fruit and cream cheese frosting.  Any excuse to eat a cupcake before 9am works for people.  And maybe I do need to come up with some real kind of breakfast cupcake.  Pancake/bacon cupcake anyone?

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes: “The perfect beginning of summer cupcake”

With nice weather and weekend BBQ’s even though it’s not officially summer, it sure feels like it.  I’ve been trying to come up with more summer inspired cupcakes to bring to these weekend events since chocolately cupcakes can get pretty heavy in the warmer weather.

When I was a kid I loved setting up my lemonade stand on the side of the road to try to make a little cash in the summer.  One time my friend and I were selling pink lemonade and someone asked us if we had made it (well we  had made it from the frozen concentrate, that counts, right?) and how we got it pink.  I told her raspberries.  Hey, I was a budding entrepreneur and I had to come up with something quickly.

Since pink lemonade is such a refreshing summertime drink, I figured, how about a pink lemonade cupcake?  This was a tough one since all of the recipes out there in the internets called for boxed cake mix, which obviously I wasn’t going to do so I had to improvise.

For Cupcakes

Makes 24

  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. milk at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 4 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tin with 24 liners
  2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended
  3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining
  4. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more.
  5. Add in lemonade concentrate, zest, and juice and beat until just combined
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and let cool

For Frosting

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
  1. Beat butter until softened and add in powdered sugar one cup at a time
  2. Once combined, add in lemonade concentrate, lemon juice, and zest.  Beat until combined and frost cupcakes
These cupcakes were super lemony and tart.  They didn’t necessarily taste like pink lemonade, but rather a lemon cake.  If I was to make them again, I might not do a pink lemonade frosting but rather a whipped cream topping so it was less tart.
Everyone at the BBQ liked them, although I think they were a little sour for the little kids.  To quote Boy Cupcake, “They were a perfect beginning of the summer cupcake.  They tasted like goodness in your mouth.  They reminded me of a pink lemonade Italian ice”.  Thanks for that one.  That’s why I love him.
Now I’m on the quest for more summer inspired cupcakes.  Any ideas of what you’d like to see at your summer BBQ?  Leave me your ideas and I’ll put them on my list!
xoxo,
~CurlyCupcake

 

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake Inspired Cupcakes: Bring on the Summer BBQ’s!

Despite the fact that we’ve been having rainy days all week, somehow the nice weather manages to reach us for the weekend.  Awesome!  I’ll take a little rain during the work week if it means we have beautiful days for weekend BBQ’s.  This weekend we had two get togethers…we’re so popular, I know.  Since I was obviously going to bring cupcakes to both, I decided to go with something that would work double duty.  It had to be a cupcake that would be unique enough for my family on Saturday so I wasn’t repeating cupcakes for them but also delicious enough for our friends on Sunday.

Originally I was thinking of a candy inspired cupcake but 80 degree weather isn’t really the time to be eating cupcakes with chocolate in them.  Nice days like that definitely require a fruit cupcake, but what?  Strawberry shortcake immediately popped into my head so I decided to go with a cupcake that was more inspired by the shortcake flavors than being actual strawberry shortcake.

[Inspried by Martha Stewart]

For Cupcakes

Makes 36 (according to the recipe but mine made 34)

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 standard cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition. Fold in strawberries.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full, about 2 ounces each. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire racks.

For Frosting

Makes about 9 cups

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks or 2 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, insides scraped out
  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 vanilla bean, 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.

I was excited about these cupcakes simply for the reason that they were frosted with my favorite frosting.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Swiss meringue butter cream is awesome!  It’s not too sickeningly sweet like some other frostings and almost anything can be added to give it different flavors.

These cupcakes were super fluffy and moist with great pieces of strawberry in the cake.  And the vanilla bean buttercream was the perfect compliment.  My family raved about them, but isn’t that what family does?  When I brought them to our friend’s party, people were all over them.  And there were a bunch of people who ate two cupcakes, so I can safely say they were fairly successful.  I think I’m going to need to start  baking more fruit flavored cupcakes since they always seem to come out nicely and almost bever become dry.  I’m hoping peach will be the next fruit inspired cupcake.

xoxo,

~CurlyCupcake