Nutella Hi Hat Cupcakes

Once again, it’s World Nutella Day!  What a wonderful time of year.  It’s been going strong for eight years, and this is now my fifth year participating!  Thank you Sara of Ms. Adventures In Italy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso for hosting this event.

World_Nutella_Day_badge

This year, I updated the nutella cupcakes from a few years ago.  What could I do to make them better? Why not cover them in chocolate!  Typically, hi hat cupcakes have a marshmallow frosting that’s dipped in chocolate.  Marshmallow frosting didn’t quite work with nutella, so I made a buttercream instead.  As usual, the little chef hovered around the photo shoot, patiently waiting for his cupcake.

Some of my other nutella concoctions:

Braided Nutella Bread

Nutella Pillow Cookies

Nutella Milkshake

Nutella Hi Hat Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Nutella Hi Hat Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 dozen unfrosted chocolate cupcakes
Frosting
½ c butter, softened
¼ c shortening, softened
3 Tbs nutella
1 Tbs vanilla
3 c powdered sugar
Chocolate Glaze
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tbs vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. For the frosting: Beat together the butter. shortening, nutella, and vanilla in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes using a large circular pastry tip. Chill cupcakes for 20 minutes.
  2. For the chocolate glaze: Melt the chocolate and vegetable oil in a double boiler set over a pot of simmering water. Mix until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into a tall, skinny container (I used a coffee mug). Dip cupcakes, frosting side down in the chocolate. Dip quickly to prevent the frosting from falling off. Chill cupcakes for another 15 minutes to let the chocolate set.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/02/nutella-hi-hat-cupcakes/

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Peanut Butter Ganache Cupcakes

You all know about my love of cupcakes, right? Especially chocolate cupcakes.  With peanut butter.  It’s one of my favorite flavors from the local food truck.  I wanted to make a cupcake with a ganache center similar to my beloved Darth Vader cupcake.  And while I’m at it, might as well make the ganache peanut butter flavored!

I made these cupcakes a few weeks ago for the baby shower of one of my dearest friends.   I suggested chocolate peanut butter, because I knew she loved that flavor combination.  She said, “I can’t have that at a baby shower…can I?” My reply, “Why not? It’s your shower!”  Why not indeed.

cupcake recipe adapted from Cupid’s Chocolate Cake

Peanut Butter Ganache Cupcakes

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Peanut Butter Ganache Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
½ c butter, softened
1 ¼ c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ c all purpose flour
½ c baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 c water
Ganache Filling
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbs creamy peanut butter
⅓ c heavy cream
¼ tsp vanilla
Peanut Butter Frosting
1 c creamy peanut butter
½ c (1 stick) butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla
2 ½ c powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. For the ganache filling: Place chocolate and peanut butter in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, warm heavy cream over medium-high heat until just beginning to bubble. Pour cream into the bowl over the chocolate. Let sit for five minutes, then gently stir until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Let ganache cool until thickened to a soft-serve consistency. (To hurry this process, chill in the refrigerator and stir every few minutes until desired consistency has been reached.)
  2. For the cucpakes: Line 18 muffin cups with a cupcake liner. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Fill cupcake liners to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes clean, about 17-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely.
  4. Scoop out a little of the top of each cupcake. Pipe ganache into each hole.
  5. For the frosting: With a mixer (hand held or stand), beat the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Frost cupcakes as desired.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/09/peanut-butter-ganache-cupcakes/

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Cupcake Cones

These were one of the most adorable treats I’ve made.  I realize that cupcake cones are not at all a new idea.  But they were a first for me.  How can you look at these and NOT smile?  They certainly won over my husband’s cynical teenage students.  They all eagerly took one after their lesson. And the cupcakes fascinated the Little Chef.

I filled the cones a bit too much in the above photo.  I recommend only filling the cones to about 1/2 an inch before the line below the edge.  This gives the cake enough room to rise without spilling over.  Another thing about the cones is that with the icing on top of them, they become very top heavy.  Just a word of caution.

I originally intended on selling these at the CFL Food Blogger Bake Sale.  Unfortuantely, they do not hold up well in the Florida heat and humidity.  The cone started soaking up the moisture from the cake, and I ended up with a soggy mess.  Since the bake sale is taking place outdoors, these are definitely not sturdy enough for the event.

 

 

original recipe

Cupcake Cones

Cupcake Cones

Ingredients

Cake
14-18 ice cream cones, flat bottomed kind
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 c sugar
4 large egg whites
Pinch kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, “room temperature”
2 tsp vanilla
Food coloring (optional)
Topping
Sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a cone in each well of a muffin tin. Carefully scoop cake batter into each cone. Fill up to about a ½ inch below the line (see picture). Bake cones until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 18-20 minutes. Remove cones from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  2. For the buttercream: Place sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Mixture will be frothy.
  3. Remove bowl from heat and attach to the mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. The mixture should be room temperature. Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbs at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated. If the mixture is soupy, stick the bowl in the fridge, chill for 15-20 minutes, and continue to beat until the mixture comes together. If the mixture looks curdled, just keep beating. Beat in the vanilla and (optional) food coloring.
  4. Frost the cupcakes (I used my favorite tip, the 1M.) Garnish with sprinkles. Serve within a few hours of assembling.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/05/cupcake-cones/

 

 

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Biscoff S’mores Cupcakes

I did it! Welcome to my new home.  Still getting settled in.  It feels like I’m learning all about blogging again for the first time.  WordPress, plugins, multiple pages, ziplist…all this is brand new to me.  I feel a little overwhelmed, but am also esctatic with how my new site looks!

To celebrate, I’m posting these very special cupcakes.  S’mores-themed desserts are some of my favorites.  I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to s’mores.  And I’m also a recent convert to biscoff.  My fabulous sister-in-law brought a huge box of biscoff (speculoos) cookies across the ocean from Belgium for me to experiment with.

Not only is there a biscoff cookie bottom, but there’s also a dollop of biscoff spread in the center of each cupcake.  Talk about double dose of flavor!

This site would not exist without the talents of Melissa of Jelly Design Studio.  She is responsible for the beautiful design and all the transferred content.  She walked me through navigating the admin board, and answered all my novice questions regarding WordPress.  I also would like to give a huge “THANKS” to Eric of Art and Ego for the beautiful new logo.  I had an idea of what I wanted, and he ran with it and made it more beautiful than I envisioned.

Biscoff S’mores Cupcakes

Serving Size: 24 cupcakes

Biscoff S’mores Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cookie Crumb Layer
1 ⅓ c biscoff cookie crumbs (about 20 cookies, crushed)
2 ½ Tbs sugar
⅛ tsp salt
3 ½ Tbs butter, melted
Cupcakes
½ c butter, softened
1 ¼ c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ⅓ c all purpose flour
½ c baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 c water
Filling
⅔ c biscoff spread
Frosting
4 large egg whites
1 c sugar
Pinch kosher salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the cookie crumb layer: in a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt. Stir in the melted butter until well mixed. Lightly press a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
  3. For the cucpakes: In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Fill cupcake liners to ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes clean, about 17-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely.
  5. Place biscoff spread into a pastry bag with a large tip (I used a #12 tip.) Insert pastry tip into the center of each cupcake and pipe biscoff spread in.
  6. For the frosting: Whisk egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water, being careful that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t reach the water. Whisk the mixture constantly until it reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat and place in mixer base fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
  7. Place frosting in a clean pastry bag. Pipe onto the cupcakes. Toast with a hand torch, or under a broiler.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/11/biscoff-smores-cupcakes/

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Homemade Sno-Balls


My husband has never eaten a Hostess Sno Ball. I know, shocking! I, on the other hand, have had my fair share. With the news that Hostess has filed for bankruptcy, I’m sure there are people fretting over where they will get their cakey, cellophane-wrapped snacks. Worry no more! Homemade sno balls coming right up.

I found this mini-ball cake pan at a local baking supply store. They made the cutest chocolate cake mounds, and were the perfect size for sno balls. I made twelve mini-cakes, and had extra batter. I probably could’ve made another 4 more cakes, but opted to do something else with the batter.

I tried to dip the cakes in the marshmallow by inverting them, but they got stuck once I they were more than halfway submerged. I ended up coating the rest of the cakes using an off-set spatula and keeping the cakes upright. To cut down a bit on the crumbs, I recommend wearing gloves during the coating process. I came to this brilliant realization when there were only 2 cakes left. Oh well, better late than never.

cake recipe from David Lebovitz
marshmallow coating adapted from Coconut and Lime

Homemade Sno-Balls

Homemade Sno-Balls

Ingredients

Cake
½ c plus 1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ c cake flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ c sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ c brewed coffee
½ c milk
Marshmallow coating
1 lb sweetened, shredded coconut
Pink gel food coloring (if desired)
1 ½ packets of unflavored powder gelatin (about 9 grams)
¼ c cold water
1 c sugar
⅓ c corn syrup
2 Tbs water
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
Creme filling
½ tsp warm water
Dash of salt
Half of a 7 oz. jar of marshmallow fluff
¼ c shortening
2 Tbs powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour the wells of 2 mini-rounded cake pans.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the coffee and milk. Stir half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir in the coffee/milk mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir to blend. Pour batter into prepared cake pans until ⅔ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 18 minutes. Let cakes cool completely before turning the pan over to remove them.
  4. For the marshmallow coating: Pour coconut into a bowl. Mix with a teeny bit of food coloring. Mix well to evenly tint the coconut. Set aside.
  5. Place the ¼ c of cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and let set. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 Tbs water. Bring to a rolling boil. Fit the whisk attachment to the stand mixer, and turn to low to break up the gelatin. Pour the corn syrup mixture into the stand mixer with the gelatin and beat on high for 4 minutes. Stop the mixer and add the salt and vanilla. Continue beating on high for another 6-8 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer.
  6. Using a fork or spoon, dip the rounded side of the cakes into the marshmallow. Quickly roll the marshmallow-coated cake in the coconut, making sure to cover the entire marshmallow surface. Place uncoated side down on a sheet to set.
  7. For the creme filling: Combine salt and water in a small bowl. With a mixer, combine fluff, shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Add the salt mixture, and beat until combined.
  8. Using a large plain decorator’s tip, pipe the filling into the center of each cake, from the bottom.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/02/homemade-sno-balls/

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Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes

Wow, that was an unexpected break from blogging. Since the new year started, we’ve replaced our computer. The technology upgrade kept me from posting for a bit. Happily, I’m back! And with some tasty cupcakes.
 

Hubs celebrated his birthday (the big 3-5) way back in December. As usual, he worked that day, teaching his usual load. I made cupcakes for him to share with the students, so everyone benefited. When I asked him what type of cupcake he wanted, he said, “Surprise me.” These cupcakes, with their triple dose of chocolate, were quite a pleasant surprise.

Adapted from cupcakes!
By Elinor Klivans

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 c all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c butter, room temperature
1 ¼ c sugar
2 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract
½ c sour cream
½ c water
Ganache for chocolate mousse and chocolate topping
1 ½ c heavy cream, divided
2 Tbs unsalted butter
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
½ tsp vanilla
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp instant coffee granules

Instructions

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 18 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is
  3. smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Mix in the chocolate on low speed.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. Add half the flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture until the batter is smooth.
  6. Scoop batter into prepared cups, and bake until set, about 18-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely.
  7. For the ganache: In a small saucepan, heat ¾ c of the heavy cream and the butter over medium-low heat until the cream is hot and the butter has melted. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Let the chocolate sit for a few minutes, then carefully stir until the chocolate has melted. Add the vanilla and stir until the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache cool to room temperature.
  8. Place remaining heavy cream in a large bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and coffee granules. Continue beating the cream until firm peaks form. Take half the whipped cream and half the cooled ganache and place in another bowl. Stir to combine. Add remaining whipped cream and gently fold into the mixture until no white streaks remain.
  9. Hollow out the center of the cupcakes. Fill the centers with the chocolate mousse. Spread the remaining ganache over the tops of the cupcakes.
  10. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/01/chocolate-mousse-cupcakes/

 

 

 

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Candy Cane Cupcakes

Merry Christmas! Hope you all are having a fabulous holiday. We are celebrating with family, lots of food, and fun. I’m trying my hand at homemade English muffins for breakfast. We’re having all the grandparents over for stuffed cabbage and pierogies later in the day. And butterscotch pie for dessert.

I made these cupcakes as a way of using up leftover candy canes. There’s no candy in the cupcakes themselves, but I used up a bunch as a garnish. And I took full advantage of the “musicians love free food” rule and had Hubs bring them in one night he worked Candlelight. Everyone in the orchestra played extra well that night!

adapted from Taste of Home, February/March 2000

Candy Cane Cupcakes

Candy Cane Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
1 c butter, softened
2 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp peppermint extract
2 3/4 c all purpose flour1 c baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c water
Peppermint Buttercream
2 c sugar
8 large egg whites
¼ tsp kosher salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, “room temperature”
1 ½ tsp peppermint extract
Garnish
Candy canes

Instructions

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bow, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and peppermint extract.
  3. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour into cupcake liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. For the frosting: Place sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Mixture will be frothy.
  5. Remove bowl from heat and attach to the mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. The mixture should be room temperature.
  6. Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbs at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated. If the mixture is soupy, stick the bowl in the fridge, chill for 20-30 minutes, and continue to beat until the mixture comes together. If the mixture looks curdled, just keep beating. Beat in the peppermint extract. Frost the cooled cupcakes.
  7. Garnish with candy canes
http://kokocooks.com/2011/12/candy-cane-cupcakes/

 

 

Place sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Mixture will be frothy.

Remove bowl from heat and attach to the mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. The mixture should be room temperature. Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbs at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated. If the mixture is soupy, stick the bowl in the fridge, chill for 20-30 minutes, and continue to beat until the mixture comes together. If the mixture looks curdled, just keep beating. Beat in the peppermint extract. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with candy canes

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes


A few years ago, I made a wedding cake for my friends Alyssa and Stephen. Just recently, Alyssa celebrated her 30th birthday. She had a get together in the park with make-your-own sundaes. I offered to bring cupcakes. When I asked her what flavor she wanted, she suggested lemon cupcakes, like her wedding cake. Awesome, lemon meringue cupcakes, here I come!

These cupcakes exceeded my expectations. I was leery of the frosting, since I had tried seven minute frosting before with disastrous results. But it whipped up beautifully, and held its shape after being piped onto the cupcakes. Using a kitchen torch instead of the broiler made toasting the meringue a lot easier to control (and was way more fun).


adapted from My Baking Addiction

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons (finely grated)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Filling
1 c lemon curd
Meringue Frosting
¾ cups plus 1 tablespoons sugar
⅓ cup water
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, room temperature

Instructions

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites.
  3. Place the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of your mixer or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is thoroughly combined. Add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
  4. Distribute the batter evenly between 24 muffin wells, filling each well 2/3 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool on wire rack.
  5. Once cupcakes have cooled, hollow out a small circle in the center of each cupcake. Spoon or pipe in a dollop of lemon curd.
  6. For the frosting: In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 c sugar with the water and corn syrup; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, beating to combine. As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.
  8. Frost cooled cupcakes. Use a kitchen torch to lightly brown the meringue frosting.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/10/lemon-meringue-cupcakes/

 

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Disney Cupcake Crawl


The Disney Food Blog is one of my prime sources for food goings-on at Disney. So when A.J. posted a Disney Cupcake Crawl Challenge, I was totally up for it. (below photo: courtesy of The Disney Food Blog.)


Disney generally tends to be a heightened version of reality, and their cupcakes are no exception – they are bigger, more elaborate, and crazier looking than the average cupcake. I knew I would need some help if I wanted to get through a cupcake crawl, so I enlisted the aid of Julie of The Little Kitchen, Jaclyn of Food Plus Words, and Jessica of The Novice Chef. Hubs and the tyke also came along.


The crawl involved 5 locations and 10 cupcakes, spanning across three theme parks and two resorts. We began our journey at the Boardwalk Bakery. They had three cupcakes available: oreo bon bon, orange cream, and s’mores.


We were informally judging the cupcakes on texture, taste, and presentation. All the cupcakes got high marks for presentation. The oreo cupcake had the a fantastic texture, and the orange cream had an incredible flavor. The s’mores cupcake was a little dry.

Next stop was Starring Rolls Cafe at the Hollywood Studios. They had four (!) cupcakes to try: chocolate peanut butter, butterfinger, marble, and red velvet cheesecake. Again, all the cupcakes looked fabulous. However, they were stored in a well-chilled cooler, and I think that affected their texture. If they had come to room temperature before eating, I’m sure they would’ve been moister.


The cream cheese frosting on the red velvet cupcake was amazing. The butterfinger topping on that cupcake tasted great, especially when combined with the cake. The dense filling of the chocolate peanut butter cupcake was a great combination of both flavors. The only disappointment was the marble cupcake. It was a layer of chocolate cake and a layer of vanilla cake, with hardly a swirl to combine them.


At this point, we were feeling the sugar, so we took a break from cupcakes and rode on Star Tours, and searched for a Star Wars collector’s set for Julie’s husband. We then headed to the next cupcake stop, the Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery located in the Africa area of the Animal Kingdom.

Here were the most impressive looking cupcakes we had seen so far – a zebra cupcake, a white chocolate elephant cupcake, and a cotton top tamarin cupcake. We oohed and aahed over these cupcakes. However, underneath the fancy tops, the cakes were okay. The toasted coconut on the white elephant cupcake was the best part.


There were still two more stops, but by this point we had reached our heat threshold and sweetness breaking point. We tried a total of 10 cupcakes, which means we added two to the original challenge. We headed for our respective homes to cool off and drink lots of water.


Never one to leave a project unfinished, I followed up a few days later to check out the cupcakes we missed. The vanilla caramel cupcake at the Germany pavilion of Epcot was sorely disappointing. The cake was dry, and the buttercream was hard. I think I got one that was past its prime.


While on our cupcake crawl, we were tweeted by a fan about a must-try cupcake at the Contemporary resort. I headed there and found two fantastic looking cupcakes: the dos leches cupcake, and the Florida strawberry cupcake.


My favorite by far of all the cupcakes I’ve had (and by this point, that was 12) was the dos leches cake. It was a moist yellow cake, with a caramel filling, topped with a creamy frosting and chocolate shavings. The strawberry cupcake was similar, but with a strawberry filling and a strawberry frosting. The tyke especially liked this one.


And I’ve saved the best for last. That was the s’mores cupcake at the Wilderness Lodge.


This was a different s’mores cupcake than the one we tried at the Boardwalk Bakery. It consisted of a graham cracker flavored cake studded with chocolate bits, topped with a marshmallow frosting and capped off by a Hershey’s chocolate square. It was the perfect balance of the three flavors. Additionally, this cupcake was a little smaller than all the others, making it more manageable (i.e. realistic) to finish.

What a challenge! I can’t imagine anyone having the stamina to make it through all those cupcakes in one day. I’ve been inspired by all the flavors and toppings, but right now I need a break from cupcakes.

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Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes


I used to not like frosting. The Wilton decorating classes had scarred me – I would leave them reeking of buttercream. Whenever I ate cake and cupcakes, I ate around the frosting. But now I have discovered Swiss meringue buttercream, and I understand the hype (and frustration) surrounding it.

I believe there are three categories of bakers: those who make swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC), those who don’t, and those try again and again without success. I used to be in the third category, but have recently graduated to the first. It took a bunch of trials, and many pounds of butter.

My many unsuccessful attempts at making SMBC always resulted in a soupy mess. I kept whipping it, hoping it would come together. No luck. I whipped and whipped, and still had a runny bowl of goop. I finally realized two things: 1) my room temperature and what recipes consider “room temperature” are two different things, and 2) butter hardens as it cools. Instead of using room temperature (for me, a balmy 75-76 degrees), I used butter that was warmed up just enough to take the chill off. If the frosting was still soupy after all the butter was added, I chilled the entire mixing bowl and whisk attachment for 20 minutes and then continued to whip. I also added a little more butter than most recipes called for, and the frosting finally attained the proper consistency.


I knew these cupcakes were a winner as soon as I had a little taste of the batter. The lime and strawberry in the cake complemented each other. And I used the good tequila for the frosting, and the flavor came through very well.

Cupcakes adapted from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles
Frosting adapted from Annie’s Eats

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
2/3 whole fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved
1 ½ c cake clour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ c whole milk, room temperature
½ c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp fresh lime zest
Tequila Lime Buttercream
1 c sugar
4 large egg whites
Pinch kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, “room temperature”
1 ½ Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs tequila

Instructions

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners. Set aside.
  2. Place strawberries in a small food processor. Process until strawberries have been cut into small bits. You should have about ½ c of strawberry puree. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, cream butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined. Reduce heat to medium and slowly add the egg and egg whites. Beat until just blended.
  4. With mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture until just blended. Add the milk; mix until just blended. Add the rest of the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl, and mix until just blended. Add the strawberry puree, vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest; mix until just blended.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared tin. You should fill each cup about ¾ full, as the cupcakes do not rise very much. Bake until tops are just dry to the touch – about 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely.
  6. For the buttercream: Place sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160°F. Mixture will be frothy.
  7. Remove bowl from heat and attach to the mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. The mixture should be room temperature. Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbs at a time, making sure each addition is well incorporated. If the mixture is soupy, stick the bowl in the fridge, chill for 15-20 minutes, and continue to beat until the mixture comes together. If the mixture looks curdled, just keep beating. Beat in the lime juice and tequila. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with slices of strawberries and limes.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/04/strawberry-margarita-cupcakes/

 

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