Posts Tagged 'cupcake'

Pipe Dream #119: To Keep My Family Living – Mini Key Lime Pies

I found this juice in my fridge. It was expired. I still used it.

I mean, come on, I figured that it was citrus juice–how rotten could it get, four months after the expiration date? It won’t kill anybody, anyway. And besides, my family needed a little pick-me-up, clearly. Something to get them through the middle of the week.

So I whipped up some key lime pies, and stuck the leftover juice in the fridge…

I reduced some sour cherry syrup we had lying around (perhaps from last year?) and used it as a garnish.



Mini Key Lime Pies

Adapted from Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key Lime Juice bottle

For the crusts:

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Line a cupcake tin with paper liners. Mix the crumbs, sugar and butter together, then press into the cupcake liners. Chill for 20 minutes.

For the pie:

3 egg yolks

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup key lime juice

Combine the yolks, milk and lime juice in a bowl. Whisk until smooth, and pour into chilled cupcake liners. Smooth out the tops of the pies with a spoon. Bake until pies are set and just golden at the edges, about 10 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then refrigerate.

Before serving, garnish with lime zest, lime slices, whipped cream or sour cherry syrup.

Pipe Dream #55: To Be Brave Like Amber

I was privileged to be a part of my dear friend’s wedding in July. We’ve been friends since we were real small, perhaps even in the womb. Womb-friends we are.

I made vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream. I was tempted to fill them with raspberry curd, but between doing the rest of the cake and being a bridesmaid, I found that my time was short. It’s ok though; the cake was filled with raspberry curd, and the cake is the important part. Seriously, one of the best vanilla cakes I have ever made.

She married the boy from across the street, so I guess it was only appropriate that the girl down the street should do the cake. It was a regular neighborhood wedding.

Seen here is the bride and her fabulous cousin having the time of their lives, obviously.

I also have to say, Amber is one of the bravest people I know. She is in the Army, which is enough by itself, and now she gets to move to Germany. That’s a foreign country! Where the people don’t speak English! I would be scared a little. Maybe just for a little while. She is not scared, and it is admirable.

All in all, a very fun day filled with lots of memories. Best of luck and Auf Wiedersehen, my dearest Amber.


P.S. I apologize for the poor photo quality. I could make excuses, but who wants to spend their time listening to my excuses?

Pipe Dream #50: To Pipe Creatively

So I made this perfect frosting right? Which coincided nearly perfectly with the reception my new piping tips. And I figured that it would be baked injustice served on a platter if I didn’t try out some pretty piping.

The classic cupcake swirl, just fine on its own, or a pretty foundation for the quins, the pearls, the dragees.

The “bouquet.” I made this one up, but I like it. I felt like I was giving myself flowers. Edible flowers (bonus!)

And finally, the rose with optional mini flower. This one is probably my favorite. It is so elegant.

Try these on your own! It is a really forgiving technique and they look fabulous. Another neato thing–I used Wilton’s 1M tip for all of them. The versatility! Let me know if you come up with more creative swirls; I would love to see them.

Happy piping,


P.S. I didn’t even know I could dream 50 things in my life.

Pipe Dream #22: To Make Uncrusty Frostings – Maple Pecan Cupcakes

I worked at Pier One Imports for a year in high school. Ah, Pier One. Those were happy days. I got to spend my time organizing glass into straight rows and chatting up customers about whether the Patchouli reed diffuser was too 1995 for their new home. In all cases, it was too 1995, but some people still bought them. It was a great job to have at that stage in life. I learned a little about interior decorating, a lot about sales and perhaps too much about the importance of being careful with box cutters…nostalg over.

I think my romance with cupcakes began there. I used to look through the above book when I was supposed to be dusting when I was on break. It is full of beautiful photos and interesting flavor ideas for cupcakes. I was inspired.

These are my 2009 interpretation of the pistachio cupcakes on the cover. And by “interpretation” I mean “attempt to copy exactly.” That failed, obviously. But they are still cute, methinks.

Psych! I’m not going to give you the pistachio cake recipe; these cakes are like the Woman Folly– enticing on the surface, but full of noise and ignorance on the inside. Or in this case, a crusty royal icing on the outside and a dry crumb on the inside. Not what you want to be making.

When I first started baking cupcakes, this one was my favorite. It rully were.  The sugar is half replaced by maple syrup, making for the most moisty, buttery cupcake you ever did see. And there are pecans. Have I ever told you about me and pecans? Ok. Sometime I will. And then you will know.

The frosting is an old-fashioned buttercream that leaves something to be desired–it gets crusty pretty quick. But that doesn’t usually matter in my case. Ahem. I can’t even make these anymore because they get eaten too quickly. Plus, I’m trying to get away from crusty frostings. If you were really cool (me, not), you could caramelize 12 pecans to decorate with, but I didn’t want to fuss. We all know I’ve only made good caramel once.

Please enjoy these in my name,


Maple and Pecan Cupcakes

Adapted from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake

For the cupcakes:

1 stick butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 eggs

1 cup self-rising flour

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until creamy, then beat in the maple syrup. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then dump in the flour and fold in. Fold in the nuts and spoon the mixture into muffin cups. Bake for about 17 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting, beat the butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar together until pale and fluffy. Spread the mixture over the cupcakes and top with a pecan, or a caramelized one.

Pipe Dream #12: To Blog Fruits In Season – Blood Orange Cupcakes

Another citrus cake post, Lauren? Yes.

I like the idea of blood oranges more than I like blood oranges. This is likely due to the fact that I have never had a really good blood orange. They are only in season for about two weeks. Don’t let your neighborhood Rainbow deceive you–I know they carry them from December to July. But somehow, one in three blood oranges I buy looks like this on the inside, when they should look more, well, bloody.

That is not my hand, by the way. My nails are nubs compared to that slender elegance.

Also, I just decided that I don’t mind that “blood oranges” sounds kind of gory. It’s romantic.

Anyway, as in other posts where I’ve blogged about seasonal recipes, I regret to admit that this one is not in season either. But you can’t blame me, right? Not when blood oranges have a two-week season?

These cupcakes were an experiment. A fabulous experiment. I got the idea partly from seeing blood oranges at the grocer, which triggered memories of eating those chocolate oranges at Christmas. Do you remember those? My dad always used to make a big production out of SMACKing them on the table so they would break up into slices and then dole them out ceremoniously. (We’re never dramatic ever.) I was always fascinated at how the individual slices could have molding like a real orange.

So, my logical mind thought, “Well, we already know that chocolate and orange pair well together–let’s do blood orange and chocolate.” And I acted on my thought, to the general pleasure of my roommates and The Downstairs Girls.

I used my standard one-bowl chocolate cupcake recipe, a mint version of which you can find here. Instead of mint extract or vanilla, I added in the orange zest. The blood orange flavor was delicate and unique–so worth a try. I tried it the next week with a Cara Cara orange, and my palate didn’t quite flare up the same way, but they were still good. You could adapt it to any type of orange you have on hand.

Enjoy this eight months from now…


Chocolate Blood Orange Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon blood orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and zest, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

For the frosting:

3 cups of powdered sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk or cream
2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 teaspoon blood orange zest

Beat butter and powdered sugar together until well-mixed. Ad 1 tablespoon of milk, the juice and the zest and beat on high until light and fluffy (three or four minutes). If the frosting is too thick, add more milk, a little at a time, and beat until incorporated.

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