Saturday, January 26, 2013

What makes a cupcake a cupcake?!

According to Dictionary.com, here is the definition of cupcake -
noun.
"a small cake, the size of an individual portion, baked in a cup-shaped mold."
According to my husband, -
"anything with frosting on it."

This was very relevant indeed this morning at 6am as I was baking Cinnamon Sugar-Puff Cupcakes, from the amazing book cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans



I swear to you, gentle readers and cupcake afficionados, what came out of my oven in the wee hours of the morning was in actuality muffins not cupcakes!

muffin
noun.
"an individual cup-shaped quick bread made with wheat flour, cornbread, or the like and baked in a pan containing cup-like forms."

hmmmmmmmmm.
Cupcake or muffin, these little treats are delicious! And even more wonderful, easy-peasy to bake! Prep time is a quick 15 minutes, and with few ingredients they are the perfect "BREAKFAST CUPCAKE" or a lite afternoon tea-time Cupcake for the baker who does not actually enjoy baking :-)

Cinnamon Sugar-Puff Cupcakes 
These medium-sized cupcakes puff up in the center while baking. Rather than frosting,the tops of the cupcakes are rolled in melted butter and cinnamon sugar right after they are baked. That crunchy coating plus their light texture gives them the air of a doughnut.
(doughnut. noun. "a small cake of sweetened dough fried in deep fat, typically shaped like a ring or ball.") 
I prefer to bake these without paper liners - they remove cleanly and easily from the pan and without liners, the sides bake to a nice golden brown.)
- Elinor Klivans

prep time 15 minutes
350* for 18 minutes
Yield 12

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) room temperature butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large cage-free egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk



Coating 
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

Coat cupcake pan with shortening (I prefer this to nonstick spray, but that will do as well.)
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended and creamy. Beat in cage-free egg. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until smooth and creamy.
Fill tins 1/2 full - I found this recipe only yielded 8 cupcakes. As it is just my husband and I eating them, I felt somewhat relieved :-) but if you are baking for more, I would definitely double the ingredients!!!! And in turn, there was far too much coating for these 8 little treats - half of the coating ingredients would have sufficed.)
When done, cool for 5 minutes then remove carefully onto a wire cooling rack (Elinor is correct - they slid easily out of the cupcake pan!!!!!) 
While cooling, make the coating. Melt butter and pour into a small bowl. In another small bowl, stir the sugar and cinnamon together.


While still hot, roll the cupcakes upside down first in the melted butter, then in the cinnamon sugar mixture until coated completely. Serve warm.
They are utterly delicious!!!!!!! and I am so convinced that they are actually muffins that I ate 2 for breakfast oops :-) Do try these at home pretty please and let me know immediately your impression/definition of these cupcakemuffindoughtnut wonders!!!




Monday, January 21, 2013






 CUPCAKE CONTEST!!!!!

February is my favorite time of year - Valentine's Day!!!!!!!!!!!! Known in my house as The High Femme Holy Holiday, a time of great celebration!
Valentine's Day is the perfect time for Beloved Cupcake's very first special Cupcake Contest!
In honor of Valentine's I will bake chocolate cupcakes for the entire month of February - and you, dear readers, are called upon to submit to me your very favorite chocolate cupcake recipes! My favorite recipe submission will be featured here during Valentine's week and baked in my very own kitchen! Send recipes (and photos if you wish) to stiletto.femme@yahoo.com - deadline February 1st!
Yippeeeeeeee - I love a new recipe and am very excited :-) I hope you will be, too!!!!!!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013


 

What SWEET-heart could ever resist the Strawberry Cupcake???!!!!

Sweeter-than-sweet, moist, and naturally PINK!!! Strawberry Cupcakes are a dreamers dream come true. For the girly-girl at heart, I bring you TWO Strawberry Cupcake recipes this week!

My favorite, from the kitchen of the Kitchen Goddess herself, Martha (we are on a first name basis after several blogs ranting and raving about her)

Strawberry Cupcakes
Yield 24
Preheat oven to 350


            2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
            1/2 cup flour
            1 tablespoon baking powder
            1 teaspoon salt
            8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
            2 1/4 cups sugar
            3 large cage-free eggs
            1 large egg white
            1 cup whole milk
            1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
            2 cups finely chopped strawberries, plus small strawberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
Reduce speed to low. Mix remaining wet ingredients (including egg white) in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Add chopped strawberries to batter and stir. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each full.
Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.


Perfect for a girl's afternoon, with a variety of frostings and icings to decorate!

You may also cheat. but just this once. And shhhhhh, you did not hear this from me!
This recipe is from the mini-cupcake booklet that comes with the mini-cupcake-maker Babycakes (for more on this delicious Easy Bake Oven for the modern Queen, see my previous blog for Red Velvet Cupcakes)

Strawberry Cupcakes, cheater's edition

1 Package White Cake Mix
1 egg white
1/2 Cup Frozen Strawberries, thawed

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, omitting water and substituting with thawed strawberries. Beat for 2 minutes.

* a wee hint - if you thaw frozen strawberries with a tablespoon of sugar sprinkled over them, you get more JUICE!!!!!

Strawberry Frosting

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup frozen strawberries, thawed in much syrup!
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

( I had to double the frosting recipe to frost all 24 cupcakes!)

Garnish each with strawberry half



- if you would like to go all out and be the Goddess of your own kitchen, I found these darling cupcake liners at Michael's! Too sweet!!!!!!




Monday, January 14, 2013



These Cupcakes Need a Disclaimer

I am not a fan of a disclaimer on principle. However, I want to preface this baking session but stating for the record that historically, I despise a Carrot Cake Cupcake. They are simply just not sweet enough for my sweetly-sweet tooth cravings, especially when paired with the requisite Cream Cheese Frosting. Why, then, you may ask dear readers, did I arise at 6am and bake Carrot Cake Cupcakes this morning? I was coerced. Total peer pressure all the way. My lovely co-workers at the doggie daycare where I work (Kirkwood Bark and Lounge - check them out if you live in Atlanta, they rock!!!! http://www.barkandlounge.net) begged and pleaded for Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting to be served at our monthly staff meeting tonight, and I gave in!!!!

Behold, my very happy puppy also begging, for she adores nothing more than carrots for a treat. I may have allowed a few carrot pieces to fall to the floor. Quite so.



Carrot Cake Cupcakes


 For The Cupcakes:
            1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
            1 teaspoon baking powder
            1/2 teaspoon baking soda
            3/4 teaspoon salt
            1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
            1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (I cheated and used ground nutmeg)
            3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
            1 cup packed light-brown sugar
            1 large egg
            2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt (I used Vanilla Greek Yogurt)
            1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
            1 1/2 cups grated carrots (from about 4 medium carrots) (takes forever+a day to grate these babies, so prep early!)
           
For The Frosting:
            1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
            1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
            1 cup confectioners' sugar
            1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
            1 teaspoon grated orange zest (I cheated and used Pure Orange Extract)

                                                        Even the prep looks so pretty - all that bright orange!!!!!!     
Directions       
.                 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
.                 In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.
.                 In another large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir in carrots. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture mixing until well combined. Divide among muffin tin. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
.                 Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. To frost: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and confectioners' sugar until smooth; beat in vanilla and orange zest. Top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons of frosting and spread to cover.

Now it is time for the disclaimer - even with all of the cheating that 
commenced in my kitchen this morning (or maybe because of!!!) 
These Cupcakes are actually QUITE DELICIOUS!!!! I won't go so far as 
to say I love Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, but I 
actually did enjoy one :-) And that orange zing in the frosting??!! Lip-licking 
goooood!!!!



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Shall we begin with the FROSTING?????!!!!!




I love frosting with all my heart, second only to my husband. Also, I love Martha. So much so, I'm gonna marry her. She is the goddess who has created the most exquisite Chocolate Frosting known to humankind. Seriously. It is soooooooo creamy, soooooooo moist. The creamy-moist lasts for DAYS, and as all you bakers out there can attest, frostings are very quick to harden/dry, even if kept in the fridge.
This morning, I have arisen bright and early to bake Yellow Cupcakes for our NFL Sunday afternoon treat (and my breakfast!!!!!!) and topped them with Martha's most deliciously yummmmiest Chocolate Frosting! I only hope my sugar crash is delayed until after I finish blogging ;-)

(before we start baking - here are my new measuring cups and spoons, which make cupcake-baking all the more SWEETLY SWEET for me!!!!!!!!)



Chocolate Frosting
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup cocoa
12 tablespoons butter (this is 1 1/2 sticks, so night quite as buttery as it sounds ;-)
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla (never use imitation Vanilla - I'll say this a million times like the hen-pecking hen I am!!!!!!!!!!!)
In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients together
Add the wet and mix until the creamy-moist-dream appears before your very eyes!!!
Lick lick LICK the beaters!!!!!!!!

Yellow Cupcakes
Yield 12
350*
20-25 minutes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large cage-free!!!!! eggs
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside
Mix milk and Vanilla
Beat together butter and sugar until blended thoroughly,
Add eggs 1 at a time and beat,
Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and beat,
Add the milk and Vanilla mixture and beat,
Add remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth
(yes, you may now lick the batter UP to your heart's content!!!!!!)

- If a recipe asks you to sift or whisk or add ingredients in a certain way, PLEASE DO SO!!!!!! It actually makes a significant difference in the way the ingredients blend together and in the end result. I have learned this lesson the very hard way :-(

TA DAAAAA!!!!!!!!



(I should mention here that my husband has a THING for candy sprinkles, so you will find them bravely garnishing the peak of many a cupcake I bake)

Happy Hubby Watching Football -


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

THIS I COVET

(a wee teeny smallish hint to friends and family.....)

Red Velvet Cupcakes

After 3+ years of baking an assortments of delights for my darling, Red Velvet are ever his favorites. They are truly in a league of their own! Classic, elegant, decorative - a perfect offering for a Holiday party, special dinner, or, our personal favorite - FOOTBALL SUNDAYS!!!!!!!!

For Christmas, our friends gave us (read: ME) a Babycakes maker, which is a mini-cupcake-cooker that bakes 8 minis at a time in just 5 minutes! It's the modern-girls answer to Betty Crocker Easy Bake Ovens from the 70's. I ADORE it, although I fear I lost a batch during my initial experimentation.

I also, of course, made a dozen cupcake-sized cupcakes as well for our New Year's Eve feast. We have 5 left. I am not ashamed.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

yield 24, pre-heat oven to 350, bake 20-22 minutes

prep - 2 eggs and 1 cup buttermilk must be room temperature

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda (baking soda is a bride's bff!!!!)

1 teas. salt

1 teas. cocoa powder

sift together and set aside

beat the following wet ingredients -

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature (mmmmm, so richly creamy)

2 large cage-free, vegetarian-fed eggs, room temp

2 tablespoons red food coloring (be careful here, it stains and splashes about - I use a very large stainless-steel bowl for mixing and beating)

1 teas. distilled white vinegar

1 teas. vanilla (a bride's second bff - and never use imitation)

After thoroughly beating wet ingredients, add dry slowly and mix completely until smooth. You may now lick the beaters. Learn to embrace paper liners, for they will make clean-up so much more efficient plus they just LOOK SO PRETTY. After 20 minutes, test cupcakes with a toothpick. If you have used paper liners, they can be moved immediately onto a wire rack to cool....If not, let them cool a few minutes in the cupcake tins before removing.

I am not fond of the typically-paired-with-Red-Velvet-cupcakes cream cheese frosting, so I use a deliciously and sickeningly sweet frosting of my mother's -

Momma's Delicious and Sickening Sweet White Frosting

2 tablespoons Crisco shortening

cream together with 1/2 a package of confectioner's sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon Marshmallow Fluff (yes, folks, I said MARSHMALLOW FLUFF!!!!)

Add splashes of milk (the buttermilk is fine) slowly as you beat all together until it becomes smoothy and creamy - do not get carried away with the milk!!!! - it will become too runny too quickly and you will need to add a million pounds more sugar!!!

I also add a drop or 2 of red food coloring to make the frosting a very pretty PINK. I ADORE PINK!!!!!!!! And I find it to be quite flirty when I am handing a cupcake frosted in pink to my husband with a curtsy ;-)

and YIPPEEEEE - more beaters to lick!!!!!!!!

Top with little sprinkles or lovely flowers if you are creative or leave as is, the red and pink - or white - contrast is just darling!

TA DAAAAA!!!!!!

CUPCAKES ARE COMING!!!!!!! a haiku of sorts....

Classic sweet delight

The way to my husband's heart

Loving yummy bite

An Entire Year's Worth of CUPCAKES!!!!!

Baking cupcakes has become a symbol of devotion, a sacred ritual that I not only enjoy, but savor for its love and delicious scents and gooey sticky creamy wonder. Ahhhhhh, to celebrate the New Year by sharing this ritual with those of you who are also in the know with a weekly recipe of tempting delight. Yes, I will bake a dozen or so cupcakes a week for all of 2013 and celebrate with you the goodness of these mini-cakes!!!!!!

My favorite part of baking cupcakes is not the enraptured expression on my husband’s face when I present him with a freshly homemade batch covered in swirls of pink frosting; no, it is licking the beaters. I LOVE BATTER!!!!!!!!! Acceptance is the first step. I lick the spoons, the beaters, the spatula, nothing is sacred in my kitchen. (I’m sorry dear friends for whom I have given cupcakes a ‘many!!!!!!) Often if the recipe calls for a dozen, we end up with 9. Yes, I seem to have a habit of licking up 3 cupcakes worth of batter every single time.

I also love the aprons. Vintage 1950’s are my favorites, but then I do consider myself the June Cleaver of our times. I carefully choose my apron for the task depending on my mood, or for whom I am baking. Obligatory party-cupcakes for my husband’s holiday work staff? The red and black flowers. Friends coming for Friday night dinner who have requested chocolate cupcakes? Cherries and ruffles. And of course the apron I save special for when I am baking for my husband – pink yellow and blue ruffles and cupcakes!

I didn’t always bake cupcakes. My grandmother’s recipes were passed down to me from my mother, with nary a cupcake to be seen, baked, or eaten. In the 70’s my mother and I baked Jiffy cupcake mixes, adding crazy fillings and frostings. This is how the cupcake craze transpired - several years ago, my now-husband Lucky wrote me a very old-school email requesting I bake him cupcakes – this was prior to our first date! I showed up at that first date with a plate exploding with both chocolate AND yellow cupcakes, for I had no idea which Lucky’s favorite might be and I did not want to choose incorrectly! I think he fell in love with that very moment ;-) Several months later, he presented me with a cupcake of his own – a beautiful charm (from Tiffany!!!!) on a slender chain and I was the goner. Since this fateful cupcake-exchange, Lucky has been forced to succumb to an endless parade of delectable treats and sweets and many a cupcake-flavor!!