Category Archives: Cupcakes

Coconut, Curry, Basil and Cupcakes

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I’ve always been fascinated by India.  No doubt part of this is because it is an ancient nation with so much history and culture that is quite beautiful.  I’ve enjoyed exploring India through various media and hopefully someday I will be able to visit.  For now, I will just provide a nod with baked goods.

I was thinking last week about what a cupcake inspired by Indian cuisine would contain.  Curry was an obvious flavor.  But it has such a distinct flavor I wanted to add something to make it lighter and decided upon coconut.  Coconut curry is already a normal dish, so why couldn’t it work as a cupcake!?

The one tragic side of my decision to make this cupcake cake is that I can’t actually eat Indian food, the smell of the spices make me nauseous, especially the smell of curry.  So I spent a bit of time trying to get accustomed to the scent and then finally just decided to hold my breath. [I also went with a Thai curry paste, which surprisingly didn’t bother me as much!]

It was a risk well worth it!  These cupcakes are wonderful.  The coconut plays well with the curry.  It is not an overly sweet cupcake either, which is nice.  I decided to make a chocolate basil buttercream for the icing.  It provides a nice cleansing herbaceous mix to the curry.  So if you have fears the spiciness of curry will kick you, the chocolate basil buttercream rectifies said situation.

You are probably also thinking, basil buttercream?  I know, it sounds weird.  But seriously, it is amazing.  I have never loved a buttercream more than this one.  I don’t actually like icing, I find it generally overpowering for most baked goods.  But this one?  I’m tempted to eat it without a cake to put it on.  The buttercream is more invovled than a regular recipe, so you will want to start making it before you start the cupcakes and then finish it while the cupcakes are cooling.

So how does one make this dessert?

Whatcha’ll need for the cupcakes:

½ cup – coconut flakes
1 ¾ cup – flour
1 ½ tsp – baking powder
½ tsp – salt
¾ cup – butter, softened
½ cup – sugar
½ cup – brown sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup – coconut milk
1 tsp – curry
½ tsp – thai red curry paste
½ tsp – paprika

Mix it together:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, brown sugar, curry powder, curry paste and paprika together.  Cut butter into pieces and mix in to flour mixture using a beater.  Beat in eggs.  Beat in coconut milk.  Mix in coconut flakes.  Spoon into cupcake tray.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  (Makes 24 cupcakes)

Now on to the chocolate basil buttercream!

Exactitudes for Happiness:

1 ½ cups – coconut milk
⅓ cup – heavy cream
1 cup – fresh basil leaves, packed
1 ½ cups – sugar
⅓ cup – flour
1 ½ cups – butter, soft and cut in pieces
1 tsp – pure vanilla extract
¼ cup – cocoa powder

Blending Together for Splendor:

Combine milk, heavy cream and basil in a saucepan.  Heat until simmering, then remove from heat.  Let cool and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Remove from refrigerator.   Remove the basil leaves from the milk mixture, squeezing the leaves to add any excess juice to milk mixture before discarding basil leaves.

In a saucepan, whisk together the flour and sugar.  Add the basil milk mixture and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened (around 10 minutes).

Transfer mixture to a bowl — if you have  stand mixture this process will be much easier, if not, a bowl and beater will work.  Beat mixture on high until cool (around 10 minutes).  Reduce speed to low and add butter, one piece at a time.  Mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).

Add the vanilla and cocoa powder and continue mixing for 1-2 minutes.  If the mixtures seems too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill and beat again until is the correct consistency.

Top cupcakes with frosting and add a bit of coconut flakes as garnish.

Enjoy!

As American as Apple Pie

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Apparently road trips are great ways to think of cupcake ideas!  A drive through Arkansas provided me with the inspiration to create apple cinnamon cupcakes filled with caramel and topped with apple cream cheese frosting.

Anyway!  The friend I made these for proclaimed that they reminded her of her grandmother’s apple cake and that the finished product was delicious.  So I hope you find them just as tantalizing! They are a little more time consuming because of the filling, probably budget about 3 hours.  Again though, you can do it in stages or adjust the recipe how you like.

What You’ll Need:

If you do not already have cream cheese, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, walnuts, caramel or apples you will want to purchase these for the cupcakes.  You will need 4 oz. of cream cheese, 2 cups of powdered sugar and about 3-4 apples.

For the apples, you will want to locate sweet apples – such as Red Delicious or Golden Delicious.  For the garnish you will need to about 2 apples, these you will want to be semi-sweet, like Gala or Fuji.

For the caramel, you could purchase caramel candies and melt them or if possible caramel bits you add water or milk for melting.  If you want to make home-made caramel sauce I will include the recipe below.

Ingredients:

2 cups – diced apples
1 1/4 tsp – ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp – apple juice
1 pkg. – french vanilla pudding
1 pkg. – white cake mix

additionally you’ll need the ingredients listed on the cake mix

Stir Up Some Goodness:

Prepare cake mix as directed on package.  Add pudding and cinnamon, mix well.  Stir in diced apples and apple juice.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners and fill with batter (about 3/4 full or more if you want a larger top).  Bake in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, remove and let cool.

Caramel Sauce:

There are two choices – get a bag of caramels and melt them in 2 Tbsp of water (about two minutes) or you can make the sauce.

For the Sauce:

1 1/2 cups – sugar
1/3 cup – water
1 1/4 cups – heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp – vanilla extract

Set out ingredients in easy to grab areas around the stove.  The process is very fast, slow moving could end with a burnt mess rather than caramel sauce.  Heat sugar and water in a saucepan on low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat and boil sugar until it turns medium-brown.  Watch the sugar carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn as it reaches this point.  Gradually add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract.  *Watch that it doesn’t spatter on you!*  Simmer until sauce becomes smooth and thick (about 2 min).   Let cool.

Fill the cupcakes!:

Using a melon baller, knife or other utensil, create hole in middle of cupcake – going about 1/2 to 2/3 the way down.  Fill a icing bag with cooled (room temp!) caramel and fill cupcakes.  (A helpful cheat here is to fill a ziplock bag with the caramel and cut off a small bit of the corner if you don’t have icing bags).

Apple Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 tsp – apple juice
4 oz – cream cheese, softened
4 oz – butter, room temp
2 cups – powdered sugar

Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Stir in apple juice.  If your kitchen is warm and the frosting has gotten too soft to frost the cupcakes, let it cool in the refrigerator until firms up.  Top cupcakes with desired amount of frosting.

Garnish to Complete:

If you want to make the cupcakes look elegant you can add garnish.  Make up some cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle on top of the frosting.  Slice the semi-sweet apples (pretty thin) and place a slice or two on top of the cupcakes.  Add chopped walnuts to finish off!

Enjoy!

T.G.I.F.

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In celebration of Friday’s I have a wonderful cupcake worthy of any celebration — and not to worry, it is safe for kids to consume, the alcohol is either baked off or in such small quantities it does not have any lasting affects.  You could alter the recipe to create a more significant affect if you wanted to, your choice there!

The T.G.I.F. cupcakes are a chocolate & Irish cream liqueur chocolate cupcake with a Kirschwasser ganache filling with an Irish cream buttercream.  This lovely confection came about one Thursday afternoon as I was making lunch and considering baking a treat for a weekend out with a friend.

What you’ll need:

Time – these cupcakes can be very time consuming, if you don’t have a couple of hours to spend  I’d suggest either making them in phases (bake the cupcakes, do the ganache the next time and finish off with icing some other time) or wait.

Irish Cream, Chocolate liqueur, and a whiskey or schnapps – you don’t need a lot, but you’ll need to have a least a cup of Irish cream and chocolate liqueur and a couple of tablespoons of the schnapps/whiskey hanging around.  Kirschwasser is just a cherry brandy

Piping bag/couplers/tips – okay so you might have your own way of inserting the filling, but I find it easiest to use icing tips and bags to fill the cupcakes and to frost them.  It makes for quick work.

As a note: I do have a cake recipe, but I’m lazy and always grab a cake mix.  If you want the recipe, let me know, I’ll give it out.

Irish Cream/Chocolate Liqueur Cupcakes

1 – chocolate cake mix

1 – package chocolate pudding
1/2 cup – chocolate liqueur
1/2 cup – Irish cream liqueur

Follow the recipe on the back of the box to make cake.  Stir in chocolate pudding mix after fully incorporating cake ingredients.  Add liqueur and stir.   Using 1/4 cup (or 1/3 cup if using 6 cupcake pan) place batter into cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool to room temperature.

Kirschwasser Ganache Filling

8 ounces – bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup – heavy cream
2 Tbsp – butter, room temperature
3 tsp – Kirschwasser(or any kind of schnapps/whiskey of your choosing) — optional

Chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream until simmering and pour over the chocolate.  Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth.  Add the butter and liqueur and stir until combined.

To fill the cupcakes, let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.  Using a round cookie cutter, apple corer or vegetable peeler, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes.  Go about half to 2/3 down.  Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes  in each cupcake to the top.   To add a little extra ‘uomph’ you can spread a thin layer of the filling on top (careful though, because it will be rich to taste!).

Irish Cream Buttercream

3 3/4 cups – powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) – butter, at room temperature
4 Tbsp – Irish cream (or milk or non-alcoholic Irish cream, if prefer)

In a large bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar, letting it incorporate, until the butter becomes thicker and stiff.  Slowly drizzle the Irish cream (or substitute) and whip until combined.  If still too stiff, add additional tablespoon as necessary.  Using piping bag and  prefered tip, ice the cupcakes.

You can add a little extra flair and decorate the cupcakes with items of your preferences.  I added almond slivers, dark chocolate curls and a cherry on mine.  An extra bonus is that the cherry picks up the Irish cream flavour! 

Lime-olada Cupcakes

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Here they are!

As mentioned in the previous post, Coconut Lime cupcakes were the order of the day.  After a quick trip to the grocery store to stock up on supplies (you’d be surprised how quickly the coconut extract goes with this recipe!) I arrived home from work and got down to business. 

I decided to change up my recipe slightly by adding a lime zest whip cream filling to add a little more summer flair to the cupcakes.  My little sister and I had great fun making a huge mess in the kitchen to make these delicious cakes.  They do take a bit of effort, as my sister loves to point out, because zesting is a process (which I always heft off to someone else, much to every one’s irritation).  Luckily, she grinned and bore the pain!  

These cupcakes are gluten free (yay!) and because of that it is really easiest to use a cake mix.  Gluten-free flour is something I am still working at, I’ve run into many not so tasty flour mixes and am still playing with blends.  Someday, I’ll walk without the crutches!  Until then, cake mixes it is.  I would recommend the Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mixes.  Pamela’s is also quite good.  Bob’s Red Mill is my least favourite by far, however, the garbanzo bean flour used is a strong flavour.  To make the cake more moist and to add a little extra flavour I add pudding mixes, but it isn’t necessary. 

To make ’em:

Cake:

1 – vanilla cake mix

1 – pkg. coconut cream pudding

7 tsp – lime juice

3 tsp – coconut extract

3 Tbsp – coconut milk

1 tsp – lime zest

Prepare cake mix according to directions, subbing vanilla extract for coconut extract.  Add pudding mix, lime juice, zest, and coconut milk and mix well.  Let cupcakes completely cool.  Create a hole for filling in middle of cupcake (I use a vegetable peeler).

Whipping cream filling:

2 tsp – lime zest

1 c. – heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp – powdered sugar

Combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and zest in bowl.  Using an electric whisk, blend until thick and fluffy.  Fill cupcakes with whip cream once cupcakes are cool.

Coconut Milk Buttercream

3 3/4 c. – powdered sugar

1/2 c. – butter (room temperature)

4 Tbsp – coconut milk

3 tsp – coconut extract

In bowl cream butter.  Gradually add powdered sugar until fully incorporated with butter.  Add the coconut extract and mix.  Add coconut milk Tbsp by Tbsp until buttercream is creamy but still slightly stiff.  Ice cupcakes.

Lime Curd:

1 c. – sugar

2/3 c. – lime juice

2 tsp – lime zest

2 eggs

2 Tbsp –  butter

Combine sugar, lime juice and zest in a sauce pan using wire whisk.  Add eggs and butter.  Stir constantly over medium heat for about eight minutes – until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon.  Do not let boil.  Cool and drizzle over cupcakes.

The cupcakes can be topped with coconut flakes, nuts or anything of your choosing.  They also taste great without any other additions.

I would recommend refrigerating the cupcakes, since the butter in the icing can get soft and because of the whip cream filling.

Enjoy!