Friday, December 26, 2014

Week 39 , October 27, 2014 ~ Candy Bar Cupcakes

As you can see these were my Halloween week cupcakes. I wish I had done something a little crazier but I wasn't really feelin it...I instead did something that reminds me of a candy bar. No specific candy bar just all the things i like in a candy bar. The cake is a Hazelnut Devils Food, I love all things Nutella so I really like it. Then I threw some peanut butter chips inside and I think I also threw some Heath bar bits in to ( I honestly can't remember but it sounds like something I would do and couldn't be a bad thing). I then topped them off with a caramel cream cheese frosting. I wish I had more to say about this cupcake I just don't remember it very well unfortunately. Luckily I have an abundance of time off over the next few weeks so I can actually take a day and get completely caught up! In real time my year is almost up! I know everyone would like me to continue on the cupcake train I think I will expand my horizons and make other things but still keep to making something every week! I'm not cruel I wouldn't cut people off completely :) 

This recipe makes 16 cupcakes:

For the hazelnut devil's food:

  1. 1/4 cup butter( room temperature)
  2. 1 cups sugar
  3. 1 egg + 1 yolk
  4. 6 tbsp sour cream
  5. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup all purpose flour
  7. 2 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  10. 1/4 cup nutella
  11. 1/2 cup water( boiling)
  12. 1/2-1 cup various chips (depending on ow much you like and what flavors you want - I did peanut butter and toffee)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. 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. 
4. 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.
5. Stir the cocoa powder and the nutella into the boiling water (easiest in a large measuring cup). Pour chocolate water into the rest of the batter and stir until uniform. Add the chips and gently fold into the batter.
6. 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. Cool cupcakes on wire rack before frosting

For the caramel cream cheese buttercream:

  • -1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 
  • -4 ounces (½ 8-ounce package) cream cheese, softened
  • -½ cup  homemade or prepared caramel, thick at room temperature--I usually make my own but I used store bought this time
  • -2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • -4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add cream cheese, caramel and vanilla; beat until fully incorporated.
2. Gradually increase mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary with rubber spatula.
3. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating on low speed (stir), until well combined. Beat on high speed until well combined and smooth while scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, about 2 minutes.
4. Decorate anyway you want!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 38 ~ October 19, 2014 ~ Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Cupcakes

I wish I could take creative credit for these cupcakes but they didnt not come from my brain even a little bit. I mean I guess I can take credit in that some of the components are things I have made before but that's about it. I do take requests but they are usually broad but nope not this one. This is pretty much a direct quote- " I want a vanilla cupcake filled with chocolate pudding and topped with chocolate ganache and vanilla mascarpone whipped cream swirled together, are you taking notes?". I can really only take credit for the execution and they did come out excellent. And if it didn't want to do it then I wouldn't have! This is a perfect chocolate and vanilla cupcake and a more sophisticated approach to a classic. I will say it was difficult to get the whipped ganache and mascarpone to come out at the same time because the ganache is a lot heavier but I eventually got the hang of it. I had to squeeze harder on the chocolate side but once it got going to was easier. 

This recipe makes 12-15 cupcakes:

For the Chocolate Pudding: 
  • 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half, divided
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a medium saucepan, stir together 1¾ cups of the milk, the sugar, chocolate and salt, and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup milk and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for an additional minute, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
3. Pour the pudding mixture into a clean bowl, and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pudding until completely chilled, at least 4 hours.
For the Vanilla Cupcake:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1¼ cups flour, 1¼ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp salt. Set flour mix aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 2 eggs with the whisk attachment on medium speed
  3. Add ¾ cup sugar and continue to beat on medium speed 
  4. Add vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed 
  5. Reduce mixer speed to medium/low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mix and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl. The batter should be thin.
  6. Pour batter into a lined muffin pan. Fill to about ½ full.
  7. Bake for 12 -14 minutes at 350°F. Let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove.
  8. Once cool fill with the Chocolate pudding.

For the Whipped Chocolate Ganache:

  • 2 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
  1. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer. 
  2. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips. Let it stand for a couple minutes to melt the chips and then stir until smooth.
  3. Let it cool to room temperature then whip with a mixer until it is firm enough to hold shape.
For the Vanilla Bean Mascarpone:

  • 8 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
In a bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream and vanilla bean. Gradually increase the speed over a few seconds till on medium-high.  Slowly pour in the sugar. Beat on medium-high until soft peaks form--this should not take more than a minute or 2...gradually lower the speed until you turn off the mixer.

Now comes the super technical part! You need:
  •  two 12' pastry bags
  • one 16' pastry bag
  • a pastry tip- I used Wilton 1M 
  • You don't NEED it but a large coupler makes it easier
First fill the 2 12' pastry bags with the two frostings and then set up the larger bag like you would normally and then cut the tips off the bags filled with frosting and carefully place them in the larger bag next to each other. Test the bag and squeeze until both frostings come out at the same time! It is like a soft serve swirl ice cream in frosting form! It is honestly not that hard and it looks cool...Though you could also pipe the ganache first and then the whipped cream on top. I do wish I topped the cupcakes with jimmies or chocolate curls but oh well!