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Starbucks inspired peppermint Mocha Cupcakes Yield: about 24 cupcakes INGREDIENTS For the cupcakes: 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2-3 tsp. espresso powder 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. salt 1 cup whole milk 1 cup strong brewed coffee 1 tsp. peppermint extract 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup light brown sugar 2 large eggs For the frosting: 6 large egg whites 1¾ plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 tsp. peppermint extract 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract DIRECTIONS To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir together. Combine the milk, coffee and peppermint extract in a liquid measuring cup. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Alternately mix in the dry and liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. To make the frosting, combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more. Stir in the peppermint and vanilla extracts and mix just until incorporated. If you would like the red and white swirled frosting effect, remove about half of the frosting to a bowl. With the remaining frosting in the mixing bowl, add red gel coloring and mix until you have achieved the desired shade. Fit a pastry bag with a large tip. Fill one side of the pastry bag with the white frosting, and then fill in the other side with the red frosting (this does not need to be exact – just enough so that both colors are included.) Pipe a test streak until you see both colors coming out of the tip. Frost cupcakes as desired, refilling the pastry bag in the same manner as needed. Source: www.annies-eats.com

Contributed by Kandi Smith

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes INGREDIENTS For the cupcakes: 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 3 tbsp. espresso powder 2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg 1/8 tsp. ground cloves 1 tsp. salt 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree 1 cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup canola or vegetable oil 4 large eggs ½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing For the frosting: 2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar To finish: Ground cinnamon Caramel sauce DIRECTIONS To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Stir together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated. Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating. Let cool completely. To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed. Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually. Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat. Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Source: www.annies-eats.com

Contributed by Kandi Smith

Paula Deen's Easy Cheesecake Cupcakes: 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 tsp. butter extract 2 eggs 12 vanilla wafers 1 cup seedless raspberry jam 1 pt. fresh raspberries 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar for dusting HEAT oven to 350°F. PLACE a paper cupcake liner in each of 12 muffin cups. BEAT cream cheese with a hand-held electric mixer until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and butter extract, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. PLACE a vanilla wafer, flat-side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers. Bake for 20 minutes. ALLOW tarts to cool completely. When cool, top each cheesecake cupcake with 1/2 Tbsp. of raspberry jam and fresh raspberries. Dust with powdered sugar.

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins

Flower Pot Cupcakes!

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins

Elegant Peacock Cupcake!

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins

Bridal Shower/Wedding Cupcakes.

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins

Red, White, and Blue 4th of July Cupcakes! Ingredients Cupcakes: 1 white cake mix 2 eggs 1 cup sour cream ½ cup milk 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon lemon zest Strawberries for garnish Blueberries for garnish Frosting: 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted ½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Up to 4 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream ¼ teaspoon lemon zest (optional) Instructions For Cupcakes: Combine all ingredients until incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes. Divide batter equally in half between two bowls. Use red food coloring to color one bowl of batter to desired color of red and leave the other one white. Wilton brand gel colors have the brightest color and are good to use here. To make flag striped cupcakes alternately place a spoonful of red batter and a spoonful of white batter in the cupcake holder. The batter is thick, so it won't spread on its own. A great tip is to set out a little bowl of water where you're working. Dip your finger in the water and then gently spread the batter out. The water will make it so the batter doesn't stick to your fingers. Bake cupcakes according to the cake mix package directions. Frosting: Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting. Garnish with strawberry fans and blueberries. Tip: To make strawberry fans for garnish just slice strawberry down to the stem without slicing all the way through.

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins

Ingredients 1 box chocolate cake mix, batter prepared according to package directions 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers 1/4 cup sugar 5 Tbsp butter, melted 5-6 full sized Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars (1.55 oz each) 2 cups mini marshmallows, for garnish double batch Marshmallow Buttercream How to Make Preheat oven to 350° Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners, 24 cupcakes In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Drop tablespoon amount of graham cracker mixture into each liner and press down to form crust. Bake the crusts for 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Fill liners 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes, until cupcakes are set. Break Hershey's bars into small pieces and melt in microwave, 30 seconds on 50% power, stirring after every 30 seconds. Repeat until melted. Spoon a tablespoon amount of chocolate on top of each cupcake, spreading to cover. Chill cupcakes in fridge until chocolate is set. Make a double batch of Marshmallow Buttercream When chocolate is set, frost cupcakes. Drizzle with remaining chocolate, if desired. (you might need to reheat) To toast marshmallows, spread marshmallows on a baking sheet. Turn oven to broil. When oven is ready, place baking sheet on top rack. Toast marshmallows under broiler for 15 SECONDS. They toast VERY quickly, so stay close. Remove from oven and garnish cupcakes.

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins

Creamsicle Cupcakes • 1 3/4 cup flour • 1 cup sugar • 1/2 teaspoons salt • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder • 2 large eggs, separated and whites beaten • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/2 cup orange juice • 1 stick of butter, softened Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Cream these ingredients together thoroughly. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together in a separate mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients 1/3 at a time alternating with adding portions of the orange juice to the creamed mixture. Fold in beaten egg whites. Spoon batter into cupcake liners until 1/2 full. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Orange Frosting 1 cup butter, room temperature 6-8 cups sifted powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon orange extract 1/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh) Buttercream Icing (Cake Lady at Recipes.com) 1 C solid white shortening You can use butter instead, but it won’t be as stable, but its yummy 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 TBSP water 1 lb pure cane confectioner’s sugar 1 TBSP meringue powder (I like the Wilton brand) A pinch of Salt Cream the shortening, flavoring, and water. Add the sugar and salt on medium speed until it is well incorporated. Don’t over mix this or you will get air bubbles in it when you are spreading. This is for thick consistency. For medium consistency, add one teaspoon water to each cup of prepared icing. For thin consistency, add two teaspoons of water for each cup of prepared icing. Never color your icing with liquid food colorings, they will ruin it. Always use gel food coloring or powder food coloring. If you want pure white icing, be sure to only use clear extracts.

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins

Luau Cupcakes by "Created by Diane" Ingredients 1 box vanilla cake mix 1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks 1 container whipped white frosting 2 cups sweetened coconut maraschino cherries Instructions Prepare cupcakes according to package directions, replacing the pineapple juice for the water called for in the recipe. Bake cupcakes according to package Cool cupcakes completely. Toast coconut in a frying pan on medium-low heat until golden (be sure coconut is cool before adding it to the frosting or it will make the frosting melt.) Frost cupcakes with a spatula with white frosting Roll the edges of the cupcakes in the toasted coconut. Place a piece of pineapple on top along with a cherry.

Contributed by Alicia Kimberly Hauskins