Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black Forest Cupcakes - Recipe #7

Black Forest Cake, also known in Germany as Schwarzwälder Kirsch torte is one of my personal favorites. I am a sucker for cake filled with any type of fresh fruit and custard filling but this one takes that over the top. In order to bake this cake correctly the way they do in Germany you have to soak the cake with Cherry Brandy or Kirsch. In America we commonly see this cake soaked with maraschino cherry juice which in my opinion loses it's flavor in the chocolate cake. The Kirsch has a smooth, robust kick that pairs nicely with the cherries and chocolate. When baking this cake you have several options for cherries; if you take the canned route you will find black cherries in syrup (think cherry pie filling) or you will find tart cherries in water. If time is not an issue you can make your own with a few simple ingredients: a pound of fresh pitted black cherries, a cup of sugar and cornstarch. I wanted to bake a traditional German Schwarzwälder Kirsch torte so I purchased the tart cherries. In my opinion the tart cherries are more pleasant with the sweetness of the cake, brandy and hyped up whipped cream.

For the recipe I used my go-to dark chocolate cake recipe. I lined the tins with greaseproof red glassine wrappers from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Bakery and Supplies.

Whipped Cream:
  • Whip 1 cup heavy whipping cream until you have soft peaks.
  • Add in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon of Kirsch. Continue whipping until you have stiff peaks. Do not over beat, it will separate.
Once you bake the cupcakes and they are cooled cut out the centers. Place 1 teaspoon of whipped cream in the center and top with roughly 3-5 cherries. Cut the cone part of cake tops off and place tops back onto the cupcakes. Pipe whipped cream on with desired tip (I used a round tip). Garnish with chocolate shavings or sprinkles and a chocolate covered cherry.

Perfect for Valentines day, holiday dinners or just for that someone special!

Rocky Road Cupcakes - Recipe #6

Rocky Road ice cream was one that we always ate as children, I would like to say it is one of my Mother's favorites or maybe she just loved the ice cream for all of it's yumminess. I would swirl the ice cream around until it was all melted so I could eat the nuts and marshmallows at the end. These cupcakes are super-marshmallowy and extra chocolaty. For the recipe I just winged it, literally. I made my dark chocolate cake recipe and then eye-balled the frosting: a cup of dark chocolate cocoa powder, a cup of powder sugar, one stick of butter and about a teaspoon of vanilla. For just throwing some yummy ingredients into a bowl it came out amazing and so chocolaty.

Okay, here's what I did:
  • After the cupcakes were cooled I cut out the center and filled it in with marshmallow fluff. I cut the cone part of the cake off and just stuck the tops back on.
  • Frosted the cupcakes with the yummy frosting and placed marshmallows, pecans (should have been walnuts but I was out) mini chocolate chips and then drizzled melted chocolate chips on top.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PB&J Cupcakes - Recipe #5

I'm not going to lie, I have baked these before for a mommy & me get together. My dear friend loves these cupcakes and has been begging me to bake them for her for months. So being a great friend I finally did and now I am at my parents in what appears to be a blizzard and will probably be here until Sunday as we are expecting 7-10 feet of snow. I originally found this recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcake book. The peanut butter flavor isn't overbearing, the cake is slightly tinged with peanut butter; this time lacking the crunchiness of peanuts because I forgot to purchase them. The frosting is light and fluffy, using cream cheese, peanut butter and freshly whipped cream. I could eat an entire bowl of this frosting because it tastes just like the filling of a reese's pieces peanut butter candy. Martha's recipe calls for strawberry jam, but I have been on a grape kick for a long time and I personally think it tastes better for this cake.

My Tip:
  • If you decide to bake these you need to adjust the bake time. I forgot to make a note in my cookbook last time I baked these so I went with the suggested 18 minutes, plus an additional 5 because the cake tester came out gooey. They should have only cooked for 20 minutes. The recipe online is slightly different than the book, suggesting the oven temp at 375, it should be 350.
  • Another tip, if you bake or cook something from a recipe and you modify it or think it needs a modification make a note on a post-it or in pencil on the page so you remember the next time you go to that recipe.

Danielle H. and Danielle S. I hope you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

S'mores Cupcakes - Recipe #4

I stumbled upon this recipe last Sunday when bakerella posted her weekly concoction. They looked very yummy and honestly who doesn't love s'mores? The cake consists of seven yummy layers: graham cracker cake, graham cracker crumble, half of a jumbo marshmallow, chocolate cake, graham cracker crumble (I skipped this layer), half of a jumbo marshmallow and finally homemade chocolate ganache. This seems like a lot but once baked you would have no idea that there was a marshmallow and graham cracker crumble baked into the cakes because it literally melts away. The cake is great idea and it's stage presence definitely gets an 'A'; perfect for that summer barbeque or winter get-together when you yearning for those warm days.

My tips:
  • If I were to bake these again I would make sure to add in that seventh layer, however, I would bake the cupcakes for ten minutes, remove them from the oven, then add the graham cracker crumble so it doesn't melt into the cake. Continue to bake until the edges look firm. **These cupcakes will ooze like bakerella states, so prepare your oven. Luckily for me I use a 24-cupcake pan so I put them in the middle of the pan to avoid spillage.
  • I have a torch, but of course the one time I really wanted to use that handy-dandy device it was out of butane. So, I turned my oven to the low-broil setting and placed the rack one below the flame. I placed the cupcakes on a small cookie sheet and placed them in the oven with the door open to watch the marshmallows while they got their scrumptious toasty-ness on. I then topped the cupcakes with the gooey chocolate ganache!
  • I baked them in liners, but you could do without.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cheesecake Cupcakes - Recipe #3

For my third recipe I decided to go with a cheesecake cupcake courtesy of Kraft Recipes. I had an order for new york cheesecake bars and I thought I would do a test run with this recipe to check it out. The cheesecake consistency is very light, fluffy and moist. I love the chocolate crust versus the traditional graham cracker crust, this is usually something I always change in any cheesecake recipe. Whether it's using ginger snaps, oreo's or shortbread cookies I just love the difference in texture and it typically provides a more dense crust that will not crumble when you slice your pie. The benefit of baking cheesecake cupcakes is that you don't have to worry about slicing and it makes for a pretty presentation on any dessert bar.

Since I used a chocolate crust I decided to use my Houndstooth Cupcake liners that I purchased from my friend at Sweet Cuppin Cakes Bakery and Cupcakery Supplies. The butter from the crust will not bleed through these liners and are perfect for a traditional cupcake as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Queen's Cakes - Recipe #2

Queen's Cakes are defined as small, light and rich cakes studded with dried fruit.

I found this recipe in Susanna Tee's: 1001 cupcakes, cookies & other tempting treats cookbook. The recipe is fairly simple and I whipped it up within ten minutes. I researched Queen's cake recipes and this varies from other recipes as it calls for fresh lemon juice over the use of lemon and orange extract. I switched it up a bit and added fresh juice as it calls for and added the zest of one lemon. The recipe also calls for raisins, I used golden because that's what I had on hand and honestly I think golden suits a Queen's cake over the traditional purple raisin. As the definition states this cake is studded with dried fruit; you could make this with any dried fruit. I had actually contemplated using cranberries but I also stumbled upon a recipe that called for currants, I believe those little jewels would have a better fusion of flavors with the fresh lemon. These cakes would be perfect for an afternoon tea, bridal shower or luncheon with a tad of lemon curd, softened butter or a simple glaze.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes

Recipe number one has been completed as promised. Now, I need to get my butt in gear with the remaining fifty-nine recipes!

Again, this recipe is from Anne Bryn's: Cupcakes: From the Cake Mix Doctor.

I came upon this recipe from my friend Jerome who had brought this book home from work and said I should photocopy a few of the recipes. Well, I didn't. I went straight out to Barnes & Noble with my Grandmother and she purchased it for me. This is the first recipe I have made from the book and I have owned it for a year. I am assuming I strayed away from this book for so long because I try to bake all my cakes from scratch. However, circumstances have slightly changed around here with the arrival of Payton so this recipe was perfect for my first bake since her arrival.

This little cake definitely packs in the butterscotch flavor, bringing back memories from childhood and honestly this cake would win over any child because it is very sweet and moist. My friends stated that this is the best cupcake they have ever eaten; sadly, I have to disagree (sorry guys). It is good, don't get me wrong, I think the frosting would taste better on a homemade chocolate cake.

Doug rating: (Doug if you read this before I tell you, I am asking you to give me an honest opinion of every cupcake I bake since you'll be more honest than Jim. Also, since the office will be receiving all these cupcakes I figured you should work for them. ;) )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

maternity leave bake-off challenge

Well folks, I am giving myself a challenge. It's not an original concept but I have been wanting to take this challenge for over a year and now that I am no longer pregnant I can actually see it come to fruition. What I am talking about is a cupcake bake-off of my very own that will not work through an entire cookbook like Julie Powell did in Julie and Julia, but rather give myself the ultimate challenge of taking the next 90 days of maternity leave and baking sixty, yes you read correct,sixty cupcake recipes. Some of you may think I am nuts especially since I have a newborn at home to take care of but heck, I haven't taken it easy one day since my c-section so why not start off 2010 with a bang?

As many of you can imagine, I own almost every cupcake cookbook out there. Where shall I begin? I have baked some interesting little cakes since I began this blog
and I am looking to you for some inspiration.

What is your favorite cupcake combo?
Is there a flavor you have never seen and would love for me to bake?

Leave me a comment with your ideas.

First up: In honor of my fab friends The Boroff's and Anne Byrn's Cupcakes! From the Cake Doctor:
Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes.

Keep checking the cupcake blog; I plan on doing some cupcake giveaways throughout the bake-off.