Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 9, March 31st 2014 ~ Heath Bar Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

It is always best to keep the boss happy! So when the boss mentions he likes heath bars and I should make a cupcake using them then that's obviously what I am gonna do! It also helps that I love toffee too! I was originally going to just make chocolate cupcakes and use toffee chips but then I thought "eh, been there done that..."I have made a lot of chocolate cupcakes so far. So then I thought of the chocolate chip cookie cupcakes I made a while ago and thought those would go good with the toffee...and that was a correct assumption on my part! The chips melted into the cake and made it moister and made the whole cake taste like toffee. Then I topped the cupcake with a layer of chocolate and broken up pieces of health bar and a salted caramel buttercream! Side note I think this might be the first cupcake I didn't fill with anything during this challenge!

This recipe made 12 cupcakes

  • The base of the cupcake is a recipe adapted from Visit that website for her chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes-which are amazing!

    • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)
    • 1/2 cup toffee baking chips (They are with the chocolate chips in the grocery store)
    • dark cocoa candy melts --you can also make your own ganache or use chocolate almond bark, I just used what I had
    • 3 Heath Bars 

  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together to blend. 
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips and toffee bits with a spatula.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. One cooled crush the heath bars and put on a paper plate and melt the candy melts as directed or use a ganache. I melted then in a container big enough to dip the cupcakes straight into.
  8. Dip each cupcake into the chocolate and then into the candy and put back on the wire rack. While the chocolate sets prepare the buttercream.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 2 Sticks unsalted butter; room temperature--you could use salted but just omit the additional salt
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce --store bought or homemade (you could use the salted caramel recipe I used for my salted caramel mocha cupcakes  if you are feeling ambitious) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  1. Whip the butter for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy
  2. Add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time until fully encorporated
  3. Add the caramel sauce, vanilla, and salt and beat for another 4-5 minutes until fluffy and it wouldn't fall out of the bowl if you tipped it upside down...try it its fun!
  4. Taste and add more salt or caramel if you want---I ended up adding a little more of each 
  5. Garnish with leftover toffee crumbs or caramel if you want!

I piled the frosting up pretty high on these...I just couldn't get enough of it!

For the fun pic of the day....the best coffee mug of all time! I love it!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 8 part 2, March 27th, 2014~ Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Two cupcakes in one week!?! I have clearly lost my mind! I made these for a friend's birthday! She loves carrot cake and she rarely lets herself indulge in sweets and all things bad for you so I obviously had to make these if she was willing to eat them. I don't know much about carrot cake I have only had it a couple of times. It has just never been something I go for-there is usually something I like better available. All I knew was that I wanted a recipe that had pineapple in it because I love pineapple and the friend I was making them for loves pineapple too. So I found a Paula Deen recipe that had pineapple in it and I thought well Paula is southern and I think carrot cake is kinda southern so this recipe must be good. The batter was a weird consistency so I was kinda nervous but these cupcakes were sooo good! They were moist, flavorful, and the pineapple candied. The friends that ate them (who love carrot cake) went crazy for these cupcakes too; so they must be good! Then the cupcakes are just topped with a standard cream cheese frosting and I was kinda lazy and just sprinkled pecans pieces on top. I wanted to go all out and put little carrots on top but I was at work for like 10 hours that day and hadn't really slept in 3 I am pretty impressed with myself. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes but I only made 6. This doesn't always work out but this one worked out fine. I divided all the ingredients by 4 EXCEPT for the baking soda and powder, I only divided those by 2. So on with the recipe!

4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 8-oz. can of crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Small pinch of ground cloves
  • 3 cups grated carrots, (I just used shredded carrots from the grocery store because I already had them and they worked just fine)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, apple sauce, sugars, pineapple and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and small pinch of ground cloves.
  4. Stir in carrots.
  5. Fold in pecans.
  6. Pour into muffin tin lined with beautiful paper or foil liners.
  7. Fill each liner 3/4 full.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 min.
  9. Let cupcakes cool completely.
  10. While cooling, prepare frosting.

  • For Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • fresh coconut, shaved and toasted for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  2. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Pile the frosting high on the cooled cupcakes and garnish with the toasted coconut if desired.

Recipe came from

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 8, March 24,2014 ~Pineapple Coconut Strawberry Cupcakes

I call these my "Why doesn't it feel like spring yet?" cupcakes...I was hoping I could will spring to come through the power of cupcakes!...Didn't work it was like 20 outside today and we are suppose to get a snowstorm tomorrow... ANYWAYS...I love anything coconut, and anything pineapple! So combined I am one happy camper! One of my favorite drinks ever is a drink from Bahama Breeze. I don't remember what it is called but it is a pina colada layered with strawberry ice. So obviously I turned it into a cupcake! I didn't use any alcohol in this one since I did that last week and I don't want everyone to think I am trying to get them drunk! I plan on doing that another time though. I will say while the flavor was good this isn't a cupcake I am super proud of...This is only the second vanilla cupcake I have made during my challenge and both have been dry, so I am still on the hunt for the perfect vanilla cupcake. The pineapple filling I made was probably the best part of the cupcakes. It was almost like a lemon curd but with pineapple. The frosting was the same one I used for my chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes but I just added coconut extract. The frosting just didn't want to cooperate though! I don't really have much else to say about this cupcake. The recipe for the coconut cupcake was an Ina Garten recipe...I don't know what I was thinking...

Makes 24 Cupcakes...I also didn't add the almond extract

For The Coconut Cupcake:

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups, shredded coconut

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
  4. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
This is the link to the recipe

For the pineapple filling: 
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C. crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 C. pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  1. In a saucepan combine all the ingredients except for the butter and stir frequently until the mixture thickens. Make sure the egg doesn't turn into scrambled eggs. 
  2. Remove from heat and mix in the butter.
  3.  Let cool completely before filling the cupcakes with it. 
For the strawberry coconut cream cheese buttercream:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz (1 package) strawberry cream cheese, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tsp coconut extract depending on preference
  • 2 tbsp freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized.  

  1.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined. 
  3. Add the coconut extract and mix till incorporated.
  4. Stir in powdered strawberries
  5. Frost how desired.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 7, March 17th, 2014 ~ St. Patty's Day Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Now these are some boozy cupcakes! I made them for people that greatly appreciate their liquor! Especially their Irish liquors. I usually make green velvet cupcakes for St. Patty's but I wanted to do something more interesting. I also want to make more alcoholic cupcakes! So whats better than Irish car bomb cupcakes for St. Patricks Day! I definitely went a little heavy handed on the alcohol! Especially with the Jameson chocolate ganache. So I would suggest adding less if you don't like the stronger liquor flavor like I do. I did find it wasn't as strong once it settled into the cupcake though. For those not familiar with an Irish car bomb (shame on you! it is a shot of Jameson and Baileys dropped into a glass of Guinness. So this cupcake is a Guinness chocolate cake filled with a Jameson ganache and topped with Baileys Irish Cream Frosting. The cake part was really moist and not too heavy but really chocolatey. The Guinness almost enhances the chocolate flavor and I am guessing the slight fizzyness from using a freshly opened beer contributed to the lightness. I have heard using soda in cupcakes has a similar effect. I do want to try cherry cola cupcakes eventually. Now I am not the biggest fan of Baileys. Had a not great experience where I drank it warm once and it was truly disgusting. It has been a while so I took one for the team and tried it again, and I enjoyed it much more in a frosting! You can't tell by looking at them since I doused them in sprinkles but I deviated from my usually Wilton 1M tip and used the Wilton 2D tip. It almost looked like frilly ruffles, which was kinda fun. The ganache was really chocolaty and had a strong whiskey flavor; which from eating the my sister has learned she probably doesn't like whiskey! She liked it as a whole though. So I would say proceed with caution!

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes (I only made 12 so if you half it half everything but the baking soda)

For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder - I use Hershey's Special Dark
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined.
  3. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly.
  4.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. 
  5. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Jameson
  1. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl. In a sauce pan bring the cream to boil then pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter. Let it sit for about 2 minutes. Stir until thick and glossy. Add in the Jameson and stir. Refrigerate for 5 min, and stir. Repeat this until the ganache is cool and is like a thick chocolate sauce.
  2. Core your cupcakes- I have a couple different gadgets for this. I have one from Wilton but it is pretty small. It works best for mini cupcakes I think. Then I have one I got from Bed Bath and Beyond that is made by Chicago Metallic. That one is pretty big, I am still undecided on that one. You can also just use a knife, apple corer, or a pastry tip. Then I slathered some across the tops of the cupcakes. You could skip this part if you don't want so much of the ganache.
For the Baileys Frosting:
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2- 100mL bottles Bailey's Irish Cream (this is .84 cups so use your best judgement if you are using a normal bottle
  • splash of vanilla extract
 Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until its mixed well. Add the Baileys and vanilla, beat on medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy. You may need to add extra powdered sugar if it is too liquidy. I think I ended up adding another 1/2 cup. Then decorate as you wish!

On a side note I was at Home Goods and saw this gem of a deal:

Why would anyone spend 1,000 bucks on a large vase covered in safari animals? And at one point they wanted 1,500 for it! Though at $500 off I probably should of snatched it up! What was I thinking?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 6, March 10, 2014 ~Snickers Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ok this cupcake was pure selfishness...My 2 favorite candies are Reese's and Snickers and I especially enjoy the love child of these which is the Snickers pb squared! I needed to make this happen in cupcake form! So I started with a dark chocolate cupcake and filled it with a caramel peanut concoction and topped it off with peanut butter buttercream! The only thing I think it could've used was a bit more caramel. I don't have any photos but I did add caramel sauce to the tops of the ones I brought to work. The frosting was light and fluffy and the cake was perfectly moist!

This recipe made 12 cupcakes!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder; Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 5/8 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 cupcake molds or muffin tins with paper liners.
  2.  In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, and white sugar. Whisk in the milk, coffee, and melted butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients. 
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake molds, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.
For the Caramel Peanut filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

    1. Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. 
    2. Without stirring, bring to a boil over high heat, swirling the ingredients in the pan occasionally. 
    3. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches an amber color (not too dark, or red).
    4. Remove from heat and add the cream in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly.
    5. Add the butter and continue stirring until completely melted and combined. 
    6. Add peanuts to the mixture and set aside until cupcakes are cool and ready to be filled. Mixture should be cooled before using.
    7. Core the cooled cupcakes and fill with the cooled mixture. 

    • For the Peanut Butter Buttercream:
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • pinch of salt
    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter for several minutes until the mixture has lightened in color.
    2. Add the powdered sugar,and mix until combined.
    3. Pour in the heavy cream and beat until smooth. 
    4. Add the salt.
    5. Beat on high for about 4 minutes until the buttercream has become light and fluffy.
    6. Frost the cupcakes and top with chocolate and caramel sauces (I melted down some dark chocolate candy melts..

    Saturday, March 8, 2014

    Week 5, March 2nd, 2014 Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes

    These cupcakes were a special request from one of my work children! I like making cupcakes out of other desserts and I love lemon so I went for it! The cake didn't come out as good as I wanted it to; it was on the dry side however I know what I would have done differently so that is the recipe I have included. I did make my own lemon curd for this however you could buy it if you don't have time or you are afraid --it can be challenging. 

    This recipe makes 12 cupcakes!

    For the Lemon Curd:

    The lemon curd should be prepared first since it needs at least an hour to cool/ thicken. You could make it far in advance and store in a mason jar in the fridge if wanted to.

    3 large eggs 
    1/4 cup butter
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice about 2 lemons
    1 tbsp lemon zest 

    1. Add lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar in a pot over medium heat until butter has melted and sugar dissolved. Whisk a little until it reaches boiling point.
    2. Remove from heat.
    3. Beat the eggs until fluffy in a bowl and slowly spoon a quarter of the lightly cooled lemon mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously because you do not want the eggs to curdle.
    4. Transfer the egg mixture back into the pot and whisk constantly over low heat until it becomes thick.
    5. If the mixture does curdle a little it is ok just strain it through a mesh strainer.
    6. Remove from heat and allow it to cool in the pan before transferring into a mason jar and storing. This made just enough for the cupcakes.

    For the Cake:

    • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 stick butter, room temp
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 cup milk
    1. Preheat the oven to 350.
    2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
    3. Beat in the butter a little at a time. It should almost take on the texture of sand once fully incorporated.
    4. Beat in the sugar and mix well.
    5. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and milk.
    6. Distribute evenly amongst the cupcake pan and bake for about 18 minutes till golden and toothpick comes out clean
    7. Let cool on a rack till ready to be filled.

    For the Meringue Frosting

    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 5 large egg whites, room temperature

    1. Bring 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the corn syrup, and 3 tablespoons water to a boil, stirring. Wash down side of pan with a wet pastry brush, and cook sugar syrup, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees.
    2. Meanwhile, beat egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
    3. Add sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream down side of bowl. Beat on high speed until thick, fluffy, and cool, about 7 minutes.
    The frosting recipe is from

    After I filled the cupcakes with the curd and spread a little extra on top of the cupcakes and then frosted the cupcakes with the meringue I put them under the broiler for a couple minutes. I would have used my kitchen torch but I don't have any butane at the moment. 

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    Week 4, February 23rd, 2014 ~ Samoas Girl Scout Cookie Cupcakes

    Seeing as it is Girl Scout cookie season, and being a former Girl Scout, I couldn't help but make a cupcake inspired by MY favorite cookie; the Samoas. Though now I think they call them Caramel Delights. Anyways I just happen to have a box of these just lying around so it was obviously meant to be! The cupcake is a devil's food cake and has a caramel coconut filling and coconut buttercream. The filling is so good I could seriously eat it by the spoonful! 

    For Cupcakes:
    1. 1/2 cup butter( room temperature)
    2. 2 cups sugar
    3. 3 large eggs
    4. 3/4 cup sour cream
    5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
    6. 2 cups all purpose flour
    7. 2 tsp baking soda
    8. 1/2 tsp salt
    9. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    10. 2-oz dark chocolate
    11. 1 cup water( boiling)
    1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180 C and lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.
    2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time. 
    3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Add half of flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract, followed by the addition of the rest of the flour mix. Stir well between each addition and mix until no streaks of flour remain.
    4. Stir the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate into the boiling water (easiest in a large measuring cup). Pour chocolate water into the rest of the batter and stir until uniform.
    4. Evenly distribute batter into prepared baking cups. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.
    Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and filling.
    For Caramel Coconut Filling
    • 3 cups shredded coconut (about 1-14-ounce bag)
    • 12-ounces chewy caramels
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
    2. Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden.
    3. Cool on baking sheet.
    4. Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave safe bowl with milk.
    5. Cook on high 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, stopping to stir a few times.
    6. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut.
    7. Fill cupcakes with about 1 tbsp filling
    Coconut Buttercream:
    3 cups Unsalted Butter, room temperature
    6 cups Powdered Sugar
    1.5 tsp Vanilla Extract
    1.5 tsp Coconut Extract
    Pinch of Salt
    For Coconut Buttercream:
    In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add in one cup of sugar at a time, mixing in between additions. Once the sugar is completely incorporated, add in vanilla and coconut extracts. Add in salt. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Restart the mixer and turn the speed up to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes. 
    I garnished with 1/2 a cookie however if you didn't want to buy the cookies you could do caramel sauce and toasted coconut

    It's just so beautiful!

    Week 3, February 14th, 2014 ~ Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

    For Valentine's Day I wanted to do something different. I usually make red velvet but I wanted to be a bit more creative...It's only week 3 after all! So than I thought about different Valentine's Treats and thought Chocolate Covered Strawberries! I could of taken this cupcakes in a few different directions but I knew I wanted more of a fresh tasting strawberry as opposed to an artificial candy flavor. So I settled on a rich dark chocolate cupcake then filled it with a strawberry compote and topped it with a layer of nutella, to put my own stamp on it and I thought it would balance everything out and offset the sweetness of the frosting (It should be known I love nutella!), then finished it off with a strawberry cream cheese buttercream. This will be my go to strawberry frosting! It was light and had a fresh strawberry flavor! The decoration is dark chocolate hearts covered in sprinkles.  

    DARK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES-makes 12 cupcakes

    • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
    • 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
    • 1/2 cup (64g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
    • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour*
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
    For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
    Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. You may also melt the butter and chocolate over low heat on the stovetop. Stir until smooth and set aside to slightly cool.
    In a medium sized bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be very thick like pudding.
    Divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
    recipe courtesy of
    Strawberry Compote
    • 2 cups of fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and chopped--frozed fresh strawberries work well too (not the ones in juice or anything)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
    In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar and cornstarch and stir.
    Bring mixture to a boil and allow to thicken.
    Remove from heat and cool completely.

    Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    8 oz (1 package) strawberry cream cheese, softened
    3 cups powdered sugar
    2 tbsp freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized

    1.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. 
    2. Gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined. 
    3. Stir in powdered strawberries
    Then lastly I spread nutella on top of the cupcake before I frosted them!

    For the sparkly chocolate hearts on top I just melted some wilton candy melts --the dark chocolate ones and put it in a candy squeeze bottle. I then made heart designs on a plate covered in a layer of red wilton sprinkles. Once you let them dry for about 10 minutes they are good to go! I have also made four leaf clovers with green sprinkles for St. Patty's Day! It couldn't be easier they chocolate doesn't really get away from you. I am not the most coordinated person so if I can do it anybody could!

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Week 2, February 2nd, 2014 ~ Maple Whiskey Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

    Look at that glorious bacon!

    So this is the moment you find out that I am a little bit crazy. The idea for this came from someone asking me to make a whiskey buttercream. So I thought "Challenge Accepted!". We thought about it for a while and landed upon a maple whiskey buttercream. The real challenge was then decided what the vessel for this potentially glorious frosting would be. So then I thought what goes perfectly with maple? Well only one of my major food groups...BACON! Then I remembered that Vosges makes a bacon chocolate and I have made bacon chocolate chip cookies a couple times and I love those! I knew this idea was just weird enough that it may work. It also gave me the perfect excuse to make candied bacon! You have not lived till you have had candied bacon. Its sweet, salty, savory, and a bit spicy! I am no expert on whiskey so I went into the liquor store I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I ended up making a beeline for the nips since I knew I didn't want to spend $20 bucks on a bottle of whiskey I was only going to use a couple ounces of. Looking through all the options I found a maple whiskey so I went with that. Looking back I would have scaled back on the maple syrup or used a plain whiskey so that the frosting would have had a stronger whiskey flavor. So keep that in mind if you recreate this recipe! Other than that it was a everything I wanted it to be! 

    Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes


    For cake:
    3/4 cup unsweetened Hershey's Special Dark (dutch-processed) cocoa powder
    3/4 cup hot water
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
    1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
    2 1/4 cups sugar
    4 large eggs, room temperature
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup sour cream, room temperature
    6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped - I just baked mine in the oven
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pans with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Remove from stand mixer and gently fold in bacon.
    Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool. 

    Maple Whiskey Buttercream
    1 cup butter, room temperature
    2 tablespoons maple syrup or extract (room temp. if you use syrup)
    1 Nip -about 2 ounces Jim Beam Maple Bourbon Whiskey 
    4-6 cups confectioners’ sugar
    1. Combine butter, maple syrup, Whiskey and 2 cups confectioners sugar in a large bowl and beat at medium-high speed until smooth.
    2. Add remaining sugar in gradually until frosting is thick enough to pipe. You might not have to use all the sugar or if you add extra liquid you might need to add more. If it gets too stiff just add a little milk. 

    Candied Bacon Topping

    6 slices thick cut bacon
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/2 tsp cayenne

    depending on how much of a kick you want you can add more or less spice or all black and no cayenne

    1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a rimmed backing sheet with foil. 
    2. Mix the sugar and peppers in small dish and generously cover top of bacon with it
    3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bacon is caramelized and almost crisp.
    4. Let cool and then chop each piece into 4's.

    I really have no business teaching people how to pipe a cupcake but I typically use the Wilton 1M tip-which is a popular choice for cupcakes. This cupcake was the start of what I think will be a beautiful friendship between cupcakes, alcohol, and myself! The three best friends that anyone could have!

    Week 1, January 26th 2014 ~ Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

    My Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes--not the best photo I know!

    I take my inspiration from everywhere! This time I took it from work! I was bringing them to a work event so I thought "How cute will this be!" I sometimes think I am a riot! So I present for you the first cupcake of the challenge: The Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcake! I love salted caramel anything; especially in the salted caramel mocha beverage form so I thought it would make the perfect cupcake. I had found this recipe long ago and pinned it to my pinterest (another addiction of mine! if your interested my name there is cait815 ) and finally was able to bust it out and it was perfect! I got this recipe from I didn't really do anything different to it I liked just the way it was! I am in no way trying to take any credit for this recipe. That site has lots of amazing recipes on it! 

    Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes 

    Makes 30 cupcakes


    • 2 cups strong brewed coffee, hot
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Makes 24 ounces


    • 1 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioners' sugar
    • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt


    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, crushed (omit 1 teaspoon for regular caramel sauce)


    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons brewed coffee

    In a medium bowl, or a two cup measuring cup, stir the cocoa powder into the hot coffee until dissolved. Set aside until cooled to room temperature, or place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
    Once the cocoa/coffee mixture has cooled, preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
    In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
    In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined; stir in the vanilla. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the bowl and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 of the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined. Repeat with reamining flour and chocolate mixtures, ending with flour. Mix only until flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix.
    Place 3 tablespoons of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
    While the cupcakes are baking/cooling, place about 3/4 cup of salted caramel sauce in a small sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to thicken the caramel slightly before using it to fill the cupcakes.
    Once cooled, fill each cupcake with about 1 teaspoon of the thickened salted caramel sauce, ice with Coffee Icing (optional), and frost with whipped cream, Garnish with more caramel sauce.


    In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the butter for 6 minutes on medium speed, until the butter is light in color and creamy.Add the sugar and cream and mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Increase mixer to medium speed and whip the mixture for another 8 minutes, until the frosting is very light and creamy.


    Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Without stirring, bring to a boil over high heat, swirling the ingredients in the pan occasionally. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches an amber color (not too dark, or red). Remove from heat and very carefully (the mixture will quickly expand and sputter) add the cream in a slow steady stream, being sure to stir constantly. Once combined, add the salt and butter and continue stirring until both are completely melted and combined. Cool to room temperature before using.


    In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla until combined. Add the coffee until desired consistency is reached (I only used 1 tablespoon). For more coffee flavor, add more coffee, but you may need to add additional confectioners' sugar to keep a good consistency.
    Ice the cooled cupcakes with the coffee icing. Allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then top with cream cheese frosting.

    Here is the link to the original blogpost:

    I never said these cupcakes weren't a lot of work. It was totally worth it though! I would highly recommend adding the cupcake icing it really amps up the coffee flavor! The stuff on its own is amazing I could of just eaten it straight out of the bowl!  The frosting was so light and fluffy and perfectly balanced out the rest of the cupcake! In addition to putting caramel on the top I also added a sprinkling of sea salt!