Category Archives: Cupcakes

Man Cupcakes

Hello! Ben is back with his guest post column entitled One Tablespoon Testosterone, or OTT for short. Enjoy!

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The dog days of summer are the worst.  It’s not the heat or the constant reminder that I’m getting old because I don’t get a summer break; it’s the fact that football season is tantalizingly close, yet still outside my grasp.  So in order to build anticipation for the slew of meaty and manly foods I’ll be making for those thrilling fall weekends, I decided to make a manly dessert.

Now it’s fair to say that cupcakes are hardly manly.  They’re delicious and I would never turn one down, but they’re often decorated with icing flowers and other colorful and aesthetically pleasing designs.  So I set out to make cupcakes that were none of those things.  There’s nothing froofy about these cupcakes.  They’re not aesthetically pleasing, unless you consider a strip of bacon to be beautiful (and I do).  But they are delicious and can be appreciated by anyone (except maybe small children).  They make a great dessert for a Super Bowl party, or any old time.

Man Cupcakes [cupcake recipe from Betty Crocker, idea inspired by a newspaper clipping from my mother-in-law]
click to print

Ingredients:

for cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 12 ounce dark beer, like Guinness
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs

for frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 ounces whiskey

toppings

  • chocolate chips
  • crispy bacon
  • salted peanuts

Directions:

We need to start by making the cupcakes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all those delicious cake ingredients together in a bowl, starting on low and then increasing to high until smooth.  When choosing your beer, I recommend Guinness Extra Stout as it blends wonderfully with the cocoa.  I can imagine that any chocolate stout variety would also be fantastic.  Pour the very devilish food cake batter into your cupcake papers (it should make two dozen-ish) and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  While these are baking, lick the beaters and bowl.

Once the cupcakes are baked, remove from oven and allow to cool.  Now let’s make the frosting.  Combine the ingredients in another bowl and mix together until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar if it’s too thin (or more whiskey if it’s too thick!).  1-2 ounces of whiskey is enough to flavor it, but feel free to add more if you want your cupcakes to burn a bit going down (yum!).

When the cupcakes have cooled frost them and add toppings.  Peanuts and chocolate chips are good options; but sticking with the manly theme, we should add some bacon.  Cook a few strips, cut/tear them into pieces, and add it to the top of your cupcakes.  Now stand back, admire your work, and hold back the tears of joy that will inevitably want to come; there’s no room for crying in manly cooking.

Time: 1 hour active [plus cooling].

Yield: 24 cupcakes

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Margarita Cupcakes

Ahh, summertime! As of this weekend, it finally has started to feel like summer to me. My summer classes are over and my only responsibilities this summer are my part-time job and my internship. Freeeeeedom!

And what better way to celebrate freedom than a baked version of a classic cocktail? I actually made these Margarita Cupcakes for a Cinco de Mayo party but am just now getting around to sharing the recipe here. These cupcakes were a hit in both taste and appearance. It’s a fun treat to bite into the “salted” rim and experience an explosion of lime flavor, thanks to real lime juice and margarita mix.

My version was non-alcoholic but you could easily make an adult version if you are so inclined. I’ve actually never [!] tried a real margarita–I’ve only had the virgin version, but after this tasty treat, I think that is going to have to change ASAP.

I must admit, before making these Margarita Cupcakes I was a tiny bit skeptical about all the lime flavoring and considered subbing lemon juice for the lime juice and using strawberry margarita mix instead of lime. But I am so glad that I didn’t, because of the use of lime is what really makes these cupcakes stand out. It has been my observation that limes seem to be one of the most under-rated and negleted citrus fruits, at least for baking purposes. Why is that? Perhaps they are just seen as the smaller, tarted cousin of the lemon, best used for garnish or a hint of flavor in Mexican cuisine. But no! Do not buy into the propaganda! I won’t anymore. Rest assured, these cupcakes have moved limes front and center in my radar and I’m sure you will be seeing their presence again soon. Enjoy!

Margarita Cupcakes [from The Brunette Foodie]
printable version

Ingredients:

for the cake:

  • 1 – 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons super fine sugar [can be purchased or you can just pulse regular sugar in the food processor/blender to achieve the same result]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 can of frozen lime margarita mix [thawed for about 15 minutes before using]
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

for the icing:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 4- 1/2 to 5- 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • green food coloring
  • white or green sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pan with 18-20 liners or grease with Crisco/butter, as desired.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Next, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together egg whites, margarita mix, canola oil, and lime juice. Then, fold in dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Batter will be quite thin and runny.

Spoon mixture into prepared pans, filling liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks before icing.

When cupcakes are cooled, make icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter on medium until well blended. Add powdered sugar in 1/3-1/2 cup increments, blending fully in between additions. Ways to decide how much powdered sugar to add depends on the desired level of sweetness as well as level of thickness. Add a little bit of green food coloring to dye the icing pale green. [Note: my food coloring was more of a yellow-green, not green-green.]

Then, pipe icing around the outer edge of the cupcake and sprinkle the sprinkles [ha!] over the icing. Then fill in the center. I used a Wilton 32 tip to ice these cupcakes but feel free to use whatever tip you like. Serve and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

One day about a month ago, I just felt like cake. Ever get that vibe?? I’m not normally one who needs cake to live and breathe but when the weather started cooling down and the semester started heating up, I had no choice but to whip these little bites of joy up on a Saturday afternoon.

And I am so glad I did… because you have to try these babies.

They’re like Reese’s, only 10 times better. Each bite fills your palate with moist chocolate cake, melt in your mouth peanut butter filling, and rich chocolate frosting. They are so satisfying that one really will be enough. And men complaining that cupcakes are too girly because you can eat them in one bite? Ummm, no; these definitely require a fork.  I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe and made some peanut butter balls to serve as rich, gooey filling, then topped everything off with fluffy frosting. In the interest of full disclosure, I did try a new frosting recipe that I do not recommend. It was melty and hard to work with, and frankly did not taste all that wonderful. So I’ve just provided a previous frosting recipe that is amazing, so feel free to use that or your own personal favorite.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes [by Martha Stewart & The Pajama Chef]

makes 20

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 3/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons oil [Martha suggests safflower, I used canola]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter [regular, not all natural]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Frosting:

  • 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/8 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3 ounces fat free sour cream
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 20 paper liners.

In an electric mixer, combine 3/4 cup cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs one by one, mixing in between to fully combine. Then gradually add in buttermilk and mix to fully incorporate. Repeat with water, oil, and vanilla. Once all ingredients are added, mix on medium speed until smooth and batter is free from any lumps.

Pour batter into paper liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooking, make peanut butter filling. In an electric mixer, combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy, then gradually incorporate powdered sugar. Shape into 20 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet, and freeze until ready to use. There will likely be excess peanut butter mixture… save it to dip in chocolate like Buckeyes candies or just to eat. Yum!

Then, use a serrated knife to cut a small hole in the top of the cupcake.

Scoop out a little filling and stuff peanut butter ball in the hole.

Repeat for each cupcake and then allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile… make that frosting.

In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add cocoa mixture to cream cheese concoction in 1/3 cup increments, mixing until fully incorporated. Pour in the chocolate [it helps to melt it in a glass measuring cup with a spout] while mixer is turned on low, then add sour cream and beat until combined, scraping the sides as neccessary.

Frost the cupcakes once cooled and enjoy!

Click here for the printable version: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite kind of cupcake? I have to admit, I’m really partial to funfetti. :)

Maize and Blue Cupcakes

Maize and blue cupcakes

Cupcake tower!

My dad’s birthday was last weekend, and to celebrate, my parents and sister came down to Bloomington for the weekend. We hung out at home and went to the Indiana/Michigan football game. My dad is a huge Michigan fan [born in Ann Arbor; it's in his blood!] so when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he said, maize and blue, kind of as a joke, I think.

My initial thought with that request was something lemon and blueberry. However, I quickly nixed that idea because my dad isn’t the biggest fruit lover you’ll ever meet, so I thought I should find a recipe that he would love. It was for his birthday after all. After spending some time researching recipes and scouring cake supply stores, I finally found something that would work: food coloring.

I chose to make cupcakes out of a simple white cake and buttercream frosting, and use gel food coloring to dye the cupcakes and frosting. I dyed half the cupcakes and half the frosting maize, and the other half of each blue. Frost the maize cupcakes with blue frosting and frost the blue cupcakes with maize frosting… and you have a true Michigan cupcake dream! Next time I’ll have to be more adventurous with the decorating. I can’t say I am an expert cupcake decorator but these did turn out pretty cute if I do say so myself… and they were tasty too!

The cupcakes were moist and rich, even a week later as I was finishing up the leftovers. The frosting was sweet but not overly sweet, which is a welcome change from the frostings that leave you in a sugar coma. Paired with vanilla bean ice cream, this is the perfect birthday dessert.

Dad

The Birthday Boy!

Maize and Blue Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting [cake from The Taste of Home Cookbook and frosting from Good (Cheap) Eats]

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups half and half

Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pans with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray. This recipe should make 24 cupcakes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg whites, one by one, mixing in between each addition. Mix in vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to butter/sugar/egg mixture gradually, alternating with half and  half; beating well to combine after each addition.

If desired, divide batter in  half and add food coloring to desired shade. I used gel food colorings, which provide more intense color. :)

Fill individual tins 2/3 of the way full, then bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine took about 17 minutes to bake. They are done when they spring back when lightly touched in the center. Remove from tins and let cool on cooling rack, frost, and enjoy!

For the frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, half and half, and vanilla. Mix on low until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Adjust with additional sugar or milk, depending on your desired consistency.

Frost when cupcakes are cool… otherwise you’ll have melty frosting! And no one likes melty frosting…

Here are some more photos of game day! :)

Ben

My husband shares his name with the IU quarterback. Ben is such a good name! Interestingly enough, my Ben is a huge OSU fan. Needless to say, he was rooting for IU... just like the IU Ben. However, Michigan won--a present for Dad!

Ben and Sarah

Ben thought my hat was gross. It did clash with my sweatshirt...

Indiana Marching Band

IU Marching Band before the game.

mom and daughters

With my mom and sister, freezing and getting wet in the rain at the game!

Ice cream and cupcake

A cupcake enjoyed with ice cream after the game!

Are you a sports fan? I’m not, except for running… but going to the game was more fun than watching football on TV! How about you?