Marble Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting!

Merry Christmas!

SDC14078

Well, perhaps I’m a bit early. But my holiday baking started last week! It was two of my coworkers last day before the holidays, so I had to send them home with something sweet – so I decided on Marble Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting – and some with North Pole decor!

Both the cupcake recipe and the dark chocolate frosting recipe are Martha Stewart’s (probably time for me to get a new cookbook!) while the white is just your basic butter cream with the Wilton’s Icing Whitener added.

CUPCAKES:

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 Cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and cream.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk mixture, and beating until combined.

3. To make chocolate batter, measure out 1 cup batter, and transfer to another bowl. Combine cocoa and the boiling water in a bowl. Stir into reserved 1 cup batter.

4. Fill prepared cups with alternating spponfulls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run the tip of a paring knife or wooden skewer through batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tester (i.e. toothpick) inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight container.

5. when cooled, sprinkle cupcakes with powdered sugar or frosting.

Tips:

  • I skipped the icing sugar and decided to use icing – it’s just so pretty!
  • The swirling portion was easier if I held down the paper cup lightly using two fingers
  • Don’t be afraid to get in there and really swirl in those figure 8 motions – otherwise you just end up with layered cupcakes
  • This made 18 cupcakes for me! (16 was the estimated)

ICING:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Directions:

  1. Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.

Tips:

  • Martha always recommends melting your chocolate over a pot of boiling water – me, I stick it in the microwave and stir it every 30 seconds…
  • It’s definitely a good idea to have more icing sugar on hand, while the first time around would have had a good consistency for a cake, I felt I needed my frosting to be a bit stiffer for piping

 

Something to note is that this is probably the best icing I’ve ever made. It was just SO chocolatey and good! Definitely a must for any chocolate lover in your life.

The North Pole signage was made by “gluing” a North Pole sign to the broken candy cane with icing – while the sign itself isn’t edible, it’s still a cute way to decorate! To package these, I used holiday themed cupcake boxes picked up at my local Homesense, and tied a ribbon with a name card around them.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Halloween! Cupcakes and MORE!

Halloween is my favorite time of year!

SINCE Halloween is awkwardly placed on a Wednesday this year, we celebrated with an afternoon party at work last Friday.

I of course made cupcakes!
This is another Martha Stewart gem, PUMPKIN CUPCAKES!


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Tips:

  • The cupcake stand is a Wilton one, which I got at Winners for only $7!
  • The pumpkin candy toppers are from Dollarama! (Woo, savings!)
  • I cheaped out and bought pre-made icing. It’s the last time I’ll make that mistake – it’s definitely worth the time to make your own!

Along with the cupcakes, we had many other SPOOKY TREATS including:

Nacho Dip Graveyard! Just cut tortillas into spooky shapes and bake them!

Newts Eyes! Deviled eggs with food colouring, olives and hot sauce!

Brain Fruit Platter! Peel and carve a watermelon!

Blood punch! Cranberry and soda with a frozen ice hand!

Lots of CANDY!

And of course, decor!

Since today is actually HALLOWEEN – we all dressed up!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes


Lately I’ve been obsessed with Martha Stewart Cupcakes – the best little cupcake cookbook I own.

I flipped through and found this little gem – mint chocolate cupcakes! While I appreciate all the work Martha put in on the mint chocolate leaves and the mint butter cream, I decided to cut down my work and make my own variations.

For the cupcake base, I followed Martha’s directions, but for the icing:
Ingredients:

  • Butter
  • – Icing Sugar
  • – Mint extract (in place of vanilla extract)

Basically just use your basic icing recipe! I found this worked really well and still made a delicious, minty icing.

For decorations, I just threw a mint leaf on there! Still edible, and if I do say so myself, still adorable!

 
Enjoy!

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

It’s SUMMER!

Having just celebrated the most summery holiday in Canada (yep, Canada Day), I decided to make some summery cupcakes – white chocolate with raspberry buttercream icing.

Here is the result:

The MOST EXCITING thing about these cupcakes is that color is all natural, from the raspberry sauce!

I got the recipe for the sauce from Making Life Delicious, though I modified it slightly (for one, I doubled it, which made enough for 24 cupcakes + left overs, I didn’t use any vanilla, and I probably used 12 cups of icing sugar, so make sure you have an extra bag handy!).

The cupcakes themselves I made by using a box of white cake mix, following the directions and adding one bag of melted (and then cooled) white chocolate chips.

The result was delicious! The icing was really flavorful and tart, while the sweet cupcakes balanced it perfectly. The icing may have been a lot ofwork, but it was completely worth it!



Enjoy.

P.S. The other exciting thing that happened this long weekend, I finally opened my kitchenaid mixer! Post to come…

 

Carrot Cupcakes

I’ve always loved carrot cake – but as a passionate anti-raisin-ist, it’s always risky to buy it! So I decided to make carrot cupcakes for my co-workers birthday (Happy Birthday Lorraine!).

As a first timer, I used a trusty Martha Stewart recipe and made very few modifications. (modifications are bold and italicized – I also doubled the recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots (from about 6 medium carrots) I used beautiful organic carrots that were the perfect shade of orange!

Frosting:

  • 2 packages (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Decorations:

  • 1 package of ripe blackberries
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup super fine (or “easy dissolving”) sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice; set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir in carrots. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture mixing until well combined. Divide among muffin tin. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  4. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. To frost: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth; beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes with your favorite tip (I used Wilton 1M).
  5. While cupcakes were baking (or cooling) sugar the blackberries. Dip each in egg white, and lay to dry on parchment paper. Once they are tacky (about 5 minutes) sprinkle with sugar. Repeat the process until some of the sugar remains dry upon application. Top cupcakes with these.


The result was moist, delicious cupcakes, which in all honesty could have been a little more carrot-y. While this time I grated the carrots by hand using a metal cheese grater, next time I would do that to half (some nice bigger carrot pieces) and food process the other half to get more of a carrot mush. I think this would give the cupcakes a more carrot-y taste and maybe make them a bit more moist as well (note: they were nice and moist, but with carrot cake, it can never be too moist!).

A few handy tips for this recipe:

  1. You don’t need an electric mixer! Stir these by hand and fold in the carrots, which means less mess!
  2. Make sure you bake for long enough – a carrot cake that is slightly raw in the middle will collapse
  3. The batter is thick enough, so you can use an ice cream scoop to get it into the cups! Very convenient
  4. I wish I had thought to flatten the top of the batter a bit before baking – since I didn’t, I had some lumpy cupcake (hence the excess icing!)

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough… CUPCAKES!

On my search to try something NEW for my roommate’s birthday, I searched Pinterest for cupcakes and discovered these!

While all the blogs I searched made both the cupcakes and the dough from scratch, I decided to cheat due to time constraints and use pre-made.

INGREDIENTS:

  • One box French Vanilla cake mix
  • One tube chocolate chip cookie dough
  • One container milk chocolate frosting

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut your tube of cookie dough in half. Make 24 balls of cookie dough with half of the dough – and freeze for 20+ minutes. Make 24 balls with the other half, and bake at 350 for about 8 minutes, until tiny cookie toppers are complete

2. Mix cake mix as per the box directions. Before putting the cupcakes in the oven, drop a frozen cookie dough ball in the centre of each. Cook for the allotted time.

3. Decorate with a swirl of chocolate icing and top with a tiny cookie. Enjoy!

So this version was SO easy! While it was delicious, I definitely will try it again from scratch.

Another GREAT thing I tried was filling the cupcake cups with a zip lock bag instead of a spoon. I filled the zip lock bag with the batter, and chopped a small hole in the corner of the bag. This would have been easier with a thicker batter, but it was still pretty easy! I got this tip from the “Hello Cupcake!” App I was recently given! It’s full of cute easy tips and adorable decorations.

Enjoy!

Photos courtesy of Dishan W.