Posts Tagged 'cupcakes'

You Should Just Know…

…that because of having a real job, Saturdays have turned into baking day. And I kind of go crazy after not baking for days. And this is what happens.

Be on the lookout for:

-Frangelico Nutella Cupcakes

-Homemade Ding Dong Cupcakes

-Brownie Oreo Earthquake Cupcakes

They are coming your way soon.




Wedding Testers: Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

So you may have noticed that I posted this blog once before. Well, the pictures anyway. It was basically blogging mistake #1040. Heaven knows the pictures are probably enough, but in case you wanted the recipe for these gluten free chocolate cakes that don’t taste gluten free, here are some words for you.

I made these cupcakes for couple back in July. This is the last installment of the cupcake recipes I did for them. They had decided that honey poached pear cupcakes were not enough, that strawberry cupcakes alone would not cut it, and that key lime cupcakes would not satisfy by themselves. They were missing something. What were they missing, you ask? The answer, my friends, is chocolate. And, of course, a gluten free option for those friends who are intolerant of wheat gluten. Very considerate of others, they are.

I struggle with gluten free food. It’s hard to find, very expensive and finnicky to prepare. And besides that, many gluten-free cakes are hard as rocks. No one wants a cake that is as hard as a rock. So I tried to find a recipe that was interesting and cake-like. The following pictures demonstrate my fails.

My first idea was to stir the cherry jam directly into the batter before the cupcakes were baked. This turned out to be bad news. I actually have no idea why the cupcakes bubbled up like acid and remained flat without any trace of cherry flavor.

My second thought was to drop the cherries on top of the batter before the cupcakes were baked. This way, each cupcake would have a bit of cherry in it for sure.

While these were a bit better, they still lacked zing. Henceforth, I will only use the word ‘zing’ to describe cherries and goat cheese. Goat cheese has so much zing. For real.

I was a little discouraged that night. Instead of trying a new method, I used the extras on this tester to make several regular-size cupcakes…and to practice piping shells. I’m trying to get better at piping shells. It’s a struggle. Struggles, struggles, everywhere, but not a drop to drink…yet. (Name that movie. False. I’m just going to say it. My family may have watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory too much when I was little. It comes up in my blog all the time. That is so weird.)

The day before the event, I gave it a final shot. It turned a far more effective way to fill the cupcakes. First, I cut a little cone into the top of the cupcake, then spooned a cherry piece into the hole. Once covered with frosting, the cherries are perfectly invisible and meld nicely with the chocolate cake.

It worked out in the end! Like the way most couples work out in romantic comedies and the way most stomachs work out after Pizza Ranch excursions.

For yay,


One Bowl Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cake

Adapted from

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (see recipe below)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon guar gum or 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 eggs
1 cup water
cherry preserves
Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add all liquid ingredients besides the preserves, and mix well. Bake in greased and floured 9″ square pan or lined cupcake tin at 350 F, for 30 – 35, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you are making cupcakes or mini cupcakes, check your time at about 10 minutes just to see how things are getting on. It’ll probably take them less time to bake.
Once the cupcakes are finished and cool, cut a small cone out of the top of the cupcake. Fill each hole with cherry preserves. Frost as desired.
Gluten Free Flour Blend
6 cups oriental rice flour (Thai)
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
Blend well and store in an airtight container. I had to order the rice flour and tapioca starch online. I bit that bullet and was rewarded with awesome cupcakes. You can do the same. Also, check Festival Foods or Lund’s or something. They’ll have it.

Pipe Dream #60: To Bake In Large Quantity – Brown Sugar Pound Cakes with Browned Butter Glaze

Oh but these are yummy. It is highly appropriate that I only have one picture of these delectable delights to share with you. It is representative of the fact that whenever I make these, they’re gone within 24 hours. Gone to stomachs like yours around the world and also mine.

Let’s start with the brown sugar pound cake. Delectably moist. And the moisture in the brown sugar ensures that they stay that way. And it’s pound cake. Need I say more?

Then the icing. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced browned butter, but I highly recommend it. You just have to heat it up in a saucepan until it starts to look a bit brown. Why mess with a good thing, you ask? After all, we know that regular butter is fabulous.

Survey says: We are not afraid to brown butter because butter can’t possibly get worse, regardless of what you do to it. I am now going to use another highly irrelevant analogy. Butter is like lampreys or bot flies. There are few things in this world that could make it worse. Except butter is good, not parasitic.

Bonus, these cupcakes are really easy. They work well for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, supper and late-night snack. I can testify.

This recipe also brings to my attention something you may have been wondering about. A lot of the cake recipes I post include buttermilk. It seems like such a finnicky thing to buy, especially if I don’t know when I’m going to use it all. Instead of buying it from the store, I usually make my own buttermilk.

It’s super simple, and has always worked just fine in my recipes. Either that, or I don’t know enough about baking to know if my lack of store-bought buttermilk was the singular source of my extensive collection of spectacular fails. Here is the procedure:

1) Put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a bowl.

2) Measure in 1 cup of regular milk.

3) Let stand for 5 minutes.

Here’s wishing happy eating for six meals straight,


Brown Sugar Pound Cakes with Brown Butter Glaze

adapted from Martha Stewart

For the cupcakes:

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the glaze:

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

To make the glaze:

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour butter into a bowl, leaving sediment behind.

Add sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to butter, and stir until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more milk. Use immediately. Sometimes when I use brown butter glazes, I find that the butter separates out a little bit. I don’t know why this is. Sorry.

Pipe Dream #46: To Be Super Chill Like My Fictional Antithesis

Ok, this is my new favorite photograph. Isn’t it your new favorite photograph too?

I took it at a wedding. A very lovely, classy wedding. I happened to make the cupcakes for it.

All of the decorations were darling. It made taking pictures so easy. My work was practically done for me.

I was worried that because I was doing four different cupcakes, they would look too eclectic and disorganized. I was wrong. World 2 Lauren 0.

Despite the heavy rain that hit the cardboard carriers, the heat that threatened to dislodge the cream cheese icing and the severe knots in my back that resulted from watching a box of cupcakes flip over when I had to slam on the brakes in the middle of I-94 (so not my fault), everything went off pretty well. The cupcakes in that box got totally smoked by the way. I may not recover. Strike that. I’m recovered, but the knots remain.

Incidentally, I feel that I finally understand Buddy Valastro and the stress of moving cakes. It is legitimately the most worrisome thing. And I even like baking.

It is in times like these that I think of the perfect person. It is the person who is the exact opposite of me. The grass is always greener, eh? Anyway, this fictional antithesis of myself would never get stressed out about things like this. He is super chill. Maybe he just doesn’t care what people think of him. Actually, I know that is true. It means he rarely worries about how things are going to turn out.

Despite the smoking, the remaining cupcakes were just fine. People took them anyway. I know because I was watching the table like a hawk from the corner of my eye. No, of course I wasn’t feeling the pressure. Silly.

For this wedding, I made four different types of cupcakes. I made the most delicious strawberry cupcakes with a strawberry buttercream.

I made a gluten free dark chocolate cherry cupcake with almond buttercream, the recipe for which is soon to come. I particularly appreciated this recipe. The cake was moist and happy! Unlike some other gluten free bricks of cake, which are lame.

There was also an adaption of my honey poached pear cupcakes with a cream cheese cardamom frosting and candied ginger. They were mini and cute. Anything mini is cute. Like mini tea sets. Or mini rose-colored whale pendants that you find at antique stores for two dollars.

And finally, key lime cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting. Marvy.

How happy these people look. They don’t know they are on my blog probably. I particularly like the expression of the guy on the top middle. He seems to be saying, “Whaddya know? A cupcake just did sure show up in my hand.” Smile smile smile.

Thanks forever to David and Becca. What a beautiful story and a beautiful wedding. I am excited to see them use their creative talents together. If you are ever in the neighborhood and are looking for a church, check out Mill City.

Chillaxing like a hippie until the next wedding,


Pipe Dream #36: To Be Like Willy Wonka – Sea Anemone Cupcakes

I think I’ve told you before about my family’s newfound Netflix craze. My parents had never had cable before, so getting Netflix was kind of a big deal.

You get no…You get NO…YOU GET NO COMM-ER-CIALS. Name that movie musical.

There were entire seasons of all these old cable shows uploaded on Netflix. People had been raving for years about shows like Stargate SG-1 and Deadliest Catch while we lived on in blissful ignorance, content with the standard network television offerings. I don’t regret this; it was probably good that we weren’t exposed to more media. And I particularly do not regret never seeing Spongebob Squarepants (that was such a great sentence). Sew annoying. I know I just probably lost about 50 percent of my subscribers, but I have to be honest about Spongebob.

Anyway, Cake Boss is the first show my family ever got addicted to on Netflix. Everyone would sit for a couple hours (that’s four episodes!) every day until we finished every season. The lobster pastries! The fondant! The Italian family drama! It is irresistible.

Weirdly, I don’t think we watched it because we’re so into baking or anything. It’s more the idea that the massive, realistic cakes the bakery makes are totally edible. It’s like every kid’s ultimate dream come true: that Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory would be a real place. Who didn’t want to eat those edible daffodil teacups while singing strangely atonal phrases about abstract ideas?

These cupcakes turned out to be Valastro-esque kind of by accident. They started out looking like this:

Cute, yeah? I am really happy about the little golden balls I bought to put on the top which may or may not be illegal in some states, but not Europe! so I’m not going to worry. But I felt the needed something more…

So I dyed some extra frosting and added leetle decorations.

In their little aqua holder, I thought they looked particularly like little sea creatures, hence sea anemone cupcakes. Edible anemones!

And I was pretty happy with them. It felt like the most creative thing I’d done in forever.

Try using a combination of piping tips to decorate your next cupcakes. It’s easy, and the presentation is impressive.

“Nil deperandum, dear lady. Across the desert lies the promised land. Goodbye, Mrs. Gloop. Adieu! Auf wiedersehen. Gesundheit. Farewell,”


P.S. I used a one-bowl chocolate cake recipe, and the really good piping frosting I found. Bonus, I filled these babies with some leftover peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Divine.

Wedding Testers: Lime Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

What flavors come to your mind when you think of summer?

I think berries and lemonade and greens and tomatoes and honeysuckle. At least, I can smell the honeysuckle.

The wedding couple wanted interesting flavor combinations, cupcakes that smacked of summer.

In the continuing quest for wedding cupcakes, I tried two recipes back to back the other night. Being the butter conservationist that I am, I decided to halve the recipes, making just six of each. Lemon is a summer classic, but we wanted to try out some really interesting flavor combinations, so I went with lime. Just to mix things up. I never said my life was like a Norman Rockwell painting.

I was worried (I worry about inconsequential things sometimes) that the cream cheese frosting would overpower the lime flavor of the cake, but it turned out to be a great complement, a showcase of both the lime and the coconut.

That is, it was a great complement for the better lime cupcake recipe. I tried two, one with coconut mixed into the cake batter, and one without. The first one you can find here. I’ve posted my more favorite one below. What I would really like to do sometime is stuff the lime cupcakes with a whole strawberry, like here. So cute.

I gave these to the Downstairs Girls with express instructions to let me know which cake they like better. Win-win: Getting useful feedback and getting cream cheese frosting out of my sight.

Cream cheese is my vice,


Lime Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Bon Apppetit

For the cupcakes:

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/4 teaspoon neon-green food coloring
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Whisk both flours in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients (batter may look curdled). Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Spoon scant 1/3 cup batter into each liner.
Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool.

For the frosting:

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all ingredient until smooth. Sprinkle with coconut, if you want. Also, I didn’t use lime zest in the frosting. Sorry.

Pipe Dream #34: To Be Bismarckian – Lemon Curd Cupcakes

I just made up the word ‘Bismarckian.’ adj. possessing skills enabling the creation of filled donuts, cupcakes and other confections.

I can handle filling baked goods. Savory meals, though? I think it would be really hard to stuff calzones or make chicken kiev. For some reason, now all I can think about is one night a couple of years ago when I tried making basil and goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts. The chicken turned out fine, but the writhing of my internal organs due to excessive internal “vapors” was something to behold. Perhaps it was not the chicken breasts that resulted in what has become my most embarrassing moment, but I haven’t made a stuffed meal since. Telling.

So these are summer in a cupcake. No, really. When I bit into one I thought, “This reminds me of sprinklers and hot tar and sweat.”

Ok, so I exaggerate. They actually reminded me of lemons and vanilla and perfect boiled buttercream.

To fill them, I used the “cone method,” which is ideal for chunkier fillings. In my case, I filled them with lemon curd, which isn’t chunky at all. I didn’t have a piping filler at the time. It was tragic.

I picked some flowers from my mum’s garden to garnish them with. I thought the rustic slather of buttercream showcased them nicely. A regular cupcake bouquet, this is. A profusion of cupcake flowers.

You can find a vanilla cupcake recipe here. I’ve posted a really great lemon curd recipe below (requires no straining!), but you can always use store-bought lemon curd and save yourself the trouble of standing over a pot of boiling butter and lemon zest for a million minutes. I’m just giving you the facts.

Be summery and vapor-less,


Lemon Curd

Adapted from Fine Cooking

Yields 2 cups.

3 oz. (6 tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.

In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon and will read 170°F on a thermometer. Don’t let the mixture boil.

Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.

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