Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

October 31, 2014

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Are you my Mummy? Ha! I couldn’t resist! Happy Halloween ya’ll! I thought I’d celebrate with some adorable Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes. These little devils are actually pint-sized rich and chewy brownies chock full of mini chocolate chips and all wrapped up in Vanilla Buttercream “bandages”. Spooky in an adorable sort of way and definitely delicious!

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I really love Halloween! I think it might actually be my favourite holiday. I know last year I was lamenting that the husband and I have not attended a proper Halloween party since 2010 and I am sad to say that we have no Halloween plans yet again this year, Booo! (Ha! get it….”boo”) aside from these delightful little Mummy Cupcakes, that is. I have actually made quite a few fantastic Halloween treats in years past. Probably my all time favourite was the Soul Cake.

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It might just be the historian in me that makes me love it so much, because truth be told, unlike most sugar laden, tooth-achingly sweet candies found in abundance on Halloween, these little cake like cookies are only mildly sweet. There is not a speck of chocolate to be found in them, only a few currants top the cakes arranged in a cross pattern. What can I say, sometimes less is more. Here is a little bit from my Soul Cake blog post which talks about the origins of Halloween and the Soul Cake connection.

Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. As Christian beliefs took hold, Samhain celebrations became re-branded as All Soul’s Eve. By the eighth century beggars, rather than the spirits from the other world, would travel door to door on this night. In exchange for their prayers for the family’s departed, they were given a small cake, known as a Soul Cake.

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Last year I did some very tasty Cookies & Cream Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars.

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But enough reminiscing. Lets talk about these awesome tiny terrors from this year, the Mini Mummy Brownie Bites.

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They are actually very easy to make from scratch. In fact I would recommend making up the brownie bites the day before you need them and then making the frosting and decorating them the next day. I chose to go with the smaller brownie bites baked in a mini cupcake tin. I find mini bite sized things go over much better at a party. And they are super cute….And that you can eat more than one and not feel any guilt about it… after all, they’re just a wee little tiny bit of a thing. But you could also go for full size manly mummy cupcakes baked in a regular cupcake tin. Whatever you prefer. This is a very versatile recipe. Indeed, if you are really pressed for time, you could even throw the recipe to the wind and whip up a box of brownie mix and use some store-bought frosting for decorating. Likely no one but you and I will know and I’m not talking!

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Happy Hauntings!

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

  • Servings: 48 - 52 Mini Mummies or 18 Big Kahuna Mummies
  • Difficulty: easy to ridiculously easy
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Recipe from: A Baker’s Field Guide to Cupcakes by Dede Wilson

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Cupcakes:

  • 8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into squares
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips ( if you are making the big mummy cupcakes you could use regular sized chips)

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar; plus an additional 1/2 cup if necessary
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Decorate:

  • 96 mini chocolate chips to form the pupils of the eyes (36 regular chips if you are making big mummies)
  • food coloring to tint the buttercream for the eyes
  • round piping tip
  • Ateco or Wilton tip #47 (basketweave tip – use the smooth side rather than the ridged side, for bandages or wraps)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place paper liners in all wells of cupcake tins

Melt chocolate and butter together in top of large double boiler or in large bowl in microwave; stir until smooth and combined, then cool to lukewarm.

Whisk in brown sugar until well blended. then whisk in eggs one at a time, allowing each one to become incorporated before adding the next one. Whisk in vanilla extract and salt. Add flour and mini chocolate chips, if using, at the same time and fold in until no streaks of flour remain.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows moist crumbs. The tops will be dry and crackled in appearance.

Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar gradually. I usually do about 1 -2 tablespoons at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding the next tablespoons. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add 1 more cup of sugar slowly and then half of the milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add 1 more cup of sugar, again slowly, then add the remaining milk. Beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the final cup of sugar and the vanilla extract. Beat on high speed until very light and creamy. Evaluate the texture of the icing. If too soft, add remaining sugar until desired texture is reached.

To Assemble the Mummies:

Place cupcakes on clean work surface. Place frosting in a pastry bag fitted with tip #47. Pipe frosting onto cupcake to form mummy’s bandages or wraps. (Make sure you reserve a bit of frosting to tint for the eyes).

Tint remaining frosting whatever color you prefer for the mummy’s spooky glowing eyes: red, yellow, green or blue all work well. Fit another pastry bag with a round tip and pipe eyes onto each mummy cupcake. Insert chocolate morsels, tip side down, in the center of the eyes.

Enjoy!

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


Scotchmallow Cupcakes

October 23, 2014

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Scotchmallow Cupcakes! That’s right…you heard me. Stop the presses now because I’m telling you that I have managed to create a Scotchmallow Cupcake! So ya’ll better listen up because this delightful little pastry boasts a moist vanilla cake which has been filled with the most decadent Salted Caramel Sauce, frosted with a fluffy Marshmallow Meringue and dipped in a divine Tipsy Dark Chocolate Ganache. If you aren’t instantly smitten, I just don’t know what it will take.

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A few of you folks out there who have apparently been living a secluded life out under a rock in some meadow may not know where that Scotchmallow part of the name comes from. (Ha! Who am I kidding? The husband and I just found out about them last year!) Some might have expected a butterscotch kind of vibe. But no…no butterscotch here. Scotchmallows are one of the most popular treats at See’s Candies, a SanFrancisco based confectioner. These little bites of heaven consist of a delicious layer of creamy caramel covered by a layer of honey marshmallow which is then enrobed in rich dark chocolate.

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One taste and I guarenteed you will be hooked for life! (I’ll let you in on a little secret…even if you don’t have a See’s store near you and aren’t planning a visit to the Bay area, you can order Scotchmallows by the box at the See’s Website. Or even order a box on good old Amazon. If you have Amazon Prime you could be scarfing these little devils down before you know it! You can curse thank me later :) )Even the husband, who is usually inexplicably indifferent to chocolatey treats, never turns one away. Without a doubt, they are a bit of an obsession in this household. So I had been dreaming of a culinary creation that would be combination of two things I loved, cupcakes and Scotchmallows, for quite some time. At first I just thought of making a cupcake with a Scotchmallow Candy perched on top. But that would’ve been a bit too easy. And then I made up that stunning batch of Salted Caramel bliss the other day and thought hmmm…

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Before I knew it, I had conjured up this masterpiece. These cupcakes are nothing short of divine! But don’t take my word for it, whip up a batch today. Let the addiction begin!

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Scotchmallow Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 Cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

For the Salted Caramel Filling:

For the Marshmallow Frosting:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Tipsy Dipping Chocolate:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons Marshmallow Vodka

Directions:

Prepare Salted Caramel Sauce. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line wells of 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Whisk egg white and buttermilk together in small bowl. Set aside.

In bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat butter until pale and creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar, scraping down the bowl as needed and continuing to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla paste and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions alternating with the buttermilk/egg mixture, beating only until just combined.

Using 1/4 cup scoop, divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted shows a few moist crumbs.

Cool cupcake tin on wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes from pan to finishing cooling on rack.

Once cupcakes are cool, using a cupcake corer or apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, cutting down 2/3 of the way through the cakes. Take care not to cut all the way through the cake. Fill hollowed out section with salted caramel sauce. You can do this with a spoon, or a piping bag. 

Prepare marshmallow frosting. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low-speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined.

 Place frosting into pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. I use a large round tip. Pipe frosting over the top of cupcakes.
Place cupcakes into refrigerator to chill prior to dipping in the Chocolate Dipping Sauce.
Prepare the Tipsy Chocolate Dipping Sauce. Melt the chocolate with the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the Marshmallow Vodka. Set aside to cool.

Dip the tops of the frosted cupcakes in the glaze right to the edge of the cupcake paper, let excess glaze drip off before turning upright. 
Let cool, right side up, until the glaze is firm.
Store cupcakes in the refrigerator, remove and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before serving. This recipe makes more glaze than you need, but a deeper amount of chocolate in the pan makes it easier to dunk the tops of the cupcakes. Store remaining glaze in the refrigerator, it will form a delicious tipsy ganache that can be used later as an ice cream topping. Or a quick pick me up eaten by the spoonful when no body is looking. :)
Enjoy!
Scotchmallow Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


Margarita Mini Cupcakes

June 19, 2014

 

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Well, Easter has come and gone. It has been quite some time since my last post. I don’t know what in the world I’ve been doing! Currently I seem to be glued to the telly. It’s World Cup time and although neither my husband nor myself are usually big sports fans, we suffer a change of personality every four years when the Cup gets underway. Luckily, we can watch all of the matches from the comfort of our air conditioned living room (who am I kidding…air conditioned local pub :) ). And thank God for air conditioning because that swampy Virginia summer weather has settled in quite comfortably around here and thus entrenched seems unlikely to be dislodged for quite some time. Yeah, we had been enjoying a lovely Spring, but recently the temperature has been hovering right around 90° F ( 32° C) with around 80% humidity or so. Anyone who has spent one damp and soggy minute hanging around here in the summer will tell you “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. Never truer words were spoken. Humidity, we’ve got tons of it! Needless to say, it is most definitely margarita weather, either frozen or on the rocks. Anything to bring your core temperature down. I think it was my craving for that delicious sweet, salty and blessedly icy drink that inspired me to make these Margarita Mini Cupcakes. They have all of the great flavours so reminiscent of that wonderful cocktail such as tequila, fresh limes and you will even find that the fluffy swiss meringue frosting is sprinkled with just a touch of salt. That’s right they’re sweet and salty, tart and boozy. Could they get any better?

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Well perhaps only in that they are bite sized, easy to pop right into your mouth without exerting a lot of effort…which should be avoided at all cost in heat advisory conditions like we’ve been experiencing. They would be a very welcome addition to any cookout, picnic or potluck. And definitely keep them in mind for the next time Cinco de Mayo rolls around. I think we’re going to be in for a long and steamy summer, and it is only just beginning! Guess I’ll just have to take comfort in the little things…( well the little things and some nice ice-cold, boozy and refreshing drinks…)

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Margarita Mini Cupcakes

  • Servings: 86 mini cupcakes (or 24 regular sized)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Source: Tide & Thyme

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup tequila

For the Tequila Lime Buttercream:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Tequila
  • lime zest and wedges, for topping
  • fleur-de-sel, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare mini muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lime zest and lime juice. Add vanilla.

Turn mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes (25 minutes for the full-sized cakes) or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point.

Allow cupcakes to cool 5 minutes in the pans before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila or tequila/orange mixture if desired.

To make the frosting, place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160°F  with a candy thermometer.

Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high-speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes).

Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back together.

Add lime juice and 1 Tablespoon tequila. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy. Beat in remaining tablespoon (or “spoons” – no judgement :) ) of tequila, if desired.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream.  Garnish with lime zest,  lime slices, and fleur-de-sel.

Enjoy!

Margarita Mini Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 


Pints of Guinness Cupcakes

March 17, 2014

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My Goodness – My Guinness! What do we have here? Little Pints of Guinness Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day! Yup, today is the day! I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to here, but somehow, seventeen Irish-y recipes later, here we are! I’m finishing my countdown today with these delicious little boozy cupcakes. Are you kidding me? Of course they have booze in them! The cake portion of these edible pints are made with a moist and rich blending of chocolate and  Guinness. The “head” of these pints are formed with a smooth delectable and dreamy Baileys buttercream frosting. Yum, oh yum!!!

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Truth be told, I’ve made a version of these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with a Swiss Vanilla Baileys Buttercream Frosting before and they were a big hit. In their first incarnation, they looked just like regular little cupcakes and were topped with crumbled chocolate covered pretzels.

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This time around, I thought I’d like to have a little fun with the shape and since they were Guinness cupcakes, I thought I’d really try to capture the look of a pint of that wonderful elixir. I am very pleased with the results!

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In order to get that pint glass type shape, I baked these in popover pans, rather than the usual cupcake tins. Then I piped the Baileys buttercream frosting onto the top and smoothed it a bit with a spatula to get the appearance of that creamy Guinness head.

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What fun huh? Now you can drink your pint (pints…) and eat one too! Just perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities. So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and have some fun! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

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Pints Of Guinness Cupcakes

recipe from: Lea and Jay (yours truly :) ) who originally adapted it from The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick and Allison Eats

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (  3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup Guinness, poured and settled before you measure it out
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream

For the Swiss Vanilla Baileys Buttercream Frosting:

  • 5 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups (4 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

Directions:

First, bake your cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two (6 well) popover pans. Take care to really butter them well so that the “little pints” will slide out easily once baked. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt your butter and set aside to cool slightly, then add in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the stout, then set aside to cool completely for another 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream, then whisk in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture. Whisk in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, combining until just moistened. Fill each popover cup with 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of batter. (Each well of my popover pan held 3/4 cup of liquid total, so I was filling them 1/2 full). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes are set and a toothpick comes out clean (mine took about 24 minutes). Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then carefully remove them from the pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Now for the frosting. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter, few pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.

Add the salt and Baileys Irish Cream and beat for 5 seconds to combine.

Place frosting in piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. Take spatula and smooth frosting until it resembles the head on a pint of Guinness.

Enjoy!


Blue Moon Orange Slice Cupcakes

October 18, 2013

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I have a very important question for us to ponder today. What is the true way to a man’s heart? I’m not 100% sure, but what I do know is making these cupcakes spiked with Blue Moon beer and topped with Orange Slice candies will certainly get you pointed in the right direction! I mean come on, made with beer and candy, these are truly “manly cupcakes” if  such a thing exists.

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These little devils were quite popular with my husband to say the least. He is definitely a fan of craft beer, to the point that he actually has started brewing his own. (Stay tuned for more on that story). And Blue Moon Brewing Company’s Belgian White is a craft beer high up on his list. You’ve probably noticed it being served when you’ve been out and about before. It is the beer that is served garnished with an orange slice. This is done to heighten the taste of the Valencia orange peel which is used in brewing. So I thought you just couldn’t go wrong using this particular brew in these orange themed cupcakes. I actually used Blue Moon Brewery’s summer ale, Honey Moon, which is brewed with honey and orange peel. I am sad to say that this particular seasonal has been discontinued. But don’t despair!  As I mentioned their old standard, Belgian White, contains orange peel as well and would work wonderfully with this recipe. Their Spring Ale, Valencia Grove Amber, would be wonderful as well. Or you could consider trying these cupcakes with their current Summer Ale, Agave Nectar Ale. This offering uses agave nectar in the mix which is sweeter than honey and has a nuttier taste. Really, you just can’t go wrong with any of the Blue Moon brews!

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I originally came across the recipe for these Blue Moon Cupcakes on Spoon Fork Bacon and was instantly inspired. In their version, the cakes are frosted with an orange cream cheese frosting and topped with orange zest. I wanted to play on the usual orange slice garnish found on Blue Moon pints, so I decided to garnish my cupcakes with Orange Slice candy. Plus, I knew how fond my husband was of this particular sweet. I also used an orange infused Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting, rather than the Orange Cream Cheese one. Just a personal frosting preference. I did include the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe below for all you cream cheese lovers and you can go with your favourite. Either way, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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These Blue Moon Orange Slice Cupcakes really are delicious, tender, moist and bursting with orange flavours.  I think they’re a great summer/fall transitional cupcake having the citrus-y summer notes and the wonderful orange colours of fall and Halloween. And don’t forget those tasty Orange Slice candies. I know the husband won’t. Believe me, with these little gems I have managed to score some serious points with him!

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Blue Moon Orange Slice Cupcakes

recipe adapted from: spoon fork bacon

yield: 15 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2/3 cup Blue Moon beer
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 15 cupcake liners.
In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream butter for 1 minute. Add sugar and cream together with butter for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down after each addition.
Add vanilla and orange zest and mix until just combined.
In a mixing bowl whisk together beer and milk. Alternatively add beer mixture and flour mixture to butter mixture until fully incorporated.
Fill cupcake liners 1/2-2/3 full. I always use a large cookie scoop to make sure they are all a uniform size.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Orange Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 Large Egg Whites (I know it may be difficult to get an exact 1/2 of an egg white from an egg, just eye-ball it :) It should be approximately 5 Tablespoons if you must measure)
  • 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cups (2 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 3 teaspoons orange extract

For the topping:

  • 15 pieces of Orange Slice Candies
  • Orange sanding sugar

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.

Add the salt and orange extract and beat for 5 seconds to combine.

Place frosting in piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. Top with Orange Slice candy and sanding sugar.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

For the topping:

  • 15 pieces of Orange Slice Candies
  • Orange sanding sugar

Directions:

In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese. With motor running add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until all sugar has been added, scraping down sides of the bowl after each cup of sugar. Stir in the orange juice until fully incorporated.

Place frosting in piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. Top with Orange Slice candy and sanding sugar.

Enjoy!


Sunflower Cupcakes for our Anniversary

June 30, 2013

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Hmmm….Talk about laziness. I made these adorable little Sunflower Cupcakes for our anniversary! Yup…our anniversary which is way back in April! April 26th to be exact, and I am just now getting around to posting about it. Oh well, better late than never I suppose and I definitely wanted to share the recipe for these little gems with you. I Love, Love, LOVE cupcakes. I’m sure that comes as no surprize to anyone who has been following my blog for any time now. Indeed I love them so much that when my husband and I were married, 4 years ago now, we decided to forego the traditional wedding cake and have a tower of sunflower cupcakes instead.

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So I thought I’d do up my own version of sunflower cupcakes for this year’s anniversary. Mine looked a bit more rustic than our wedding version. But on the plus side, I did not use fondant at all, but my all time favourite frosting, Swiss Meringue Buttercream. And the center of my cupcake sunflowers was an Oreo cookie!

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Who doesn’t love Oreos?!! If there are some Oreo haters out there, which I simply can’t imagine, but then again folks never cease to amaze me, you could sub out the cookie for a bit of chocolate frosting with some chocolate sprinkles or mini chocolate chips sprinkled over top of it for texture. We were quite pleased with the Oreos. It was like having a cupcake and a cookie all at once, which is a definite win if you ask me.

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Every year we dream about spending our anniversary in some exotic locale. It never seems to work out that way for some reason or another. Though to our credit we did actually manage to get away from home this year. We went off to a lovely little cabin retreat in Fayetteville West Virginia.

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I know I’ve blogged about Fayetteville before, but I just adore the place. It has an abundance of hiking trails with drop dead gorgeous views.

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And although it is a pretty tiny town, it has several top-notch restaurants. I know I’ve mentioned Diogi’s before, which is our all time favourite Mexican Restaurant. Pies and Pints serves up stunning handmade pizzas and plenty of delicious craft beer to wash it down with. And this year we visited the Secret Sandwich Society for the first time. Let me tell you, it completely knocked our socks off! After a long day of hiking we were able to relax out on their breezy deck with some unbelievably tasty sandwiches served up with homemade ketchup and pickles…oh and perhaps a couple or four or so bottles of beer.

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And although we are always sad to leave, we are consoled somewhat by our usual stop by Tudor’s Biscuit World for some ginormous breakfast biscuits on our way out-of-town. That’s right! A veritable WORLD of biscuits. And when I say ginormous, I am not exaggerating. Basically you have a huge biscuit wrapped around hefty portions of egg and sausage with a serving of hash browns thrown on top as well!

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You can hardly get your mouth around this monster! It is a wonder I can get my husband, or puppy, to leave that town at all! (see all of our Fayetteville Photos here)

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But back to my adorable Sunflower Cupcakes. I won’t fib to you, these guys took a bit of work.

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The baking of the cake part was easy and tasted superb. The vanilla bean really shined through. Though I suppose if you are a fan of chocolate cupcakes, you could substitute your favourite recipe in here. The dark colour of a chocolate cupcake base would look a whole lot more like dirt, but I really like vanilla cupcakes and they were for my anniversary, so decided to indulge myself here. It was the decorating of the cupcakes that was a bit time-consuming and fiddly. Let me just say M&M’s are pretty small, as if you weren’t aware of that fact, and getting those lady bug spots on them was really interesting. Not to mention it took me a little bit of practicing with the Wilton tip #352 to get those flower petals done properly.

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A little patience goes a long way here. I’d recommend doing things in an assembly line sort of way. You know, all the lady bug spots, stick all the Oreos on the center of the cakes, then pipe all the sunflower petals on, then perch all of the lady bugs up on top. Get some good tunes queued up and the time will go by pretty fast. That is if you don’t get pastry bag induced carpal tunnel syndrome in your hand by the end of it. But they were so worth it! Not only a visual delight but also really delicious and reminiscent of our wedding day as well. They went along famously with our Veuve, but then what wouldn’t?!! Just perfect for our  4th anniversary! Keep your fingers crossed for us for next year’s travel plans…I’m eyeing St. Petersburg, Russia or maybe Positano, Italy. Any suggestions?

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Sunflower Cupcakes

recipe adapted from: Damn Delicious (for the cupcakes) Runcible Eats (for the frosting)

yield: 21 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

for the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

for the frosting:

  • 5 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups (4 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Directions:

For the cakes:

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream and egg whites.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in vanilla until well combined. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients and sour cream mixture alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.

Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting:

Now for the frosting. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.

Add the salt and beat for 5 seconds to combine. Add food coloring to frosting until desired shade of yellow is reached. I used Wilton’s Gel food coloring in the Lemon Yellow shade.

Place frosting in piping bag with a Wilton #352 tip attached.

Cupcake Assembly:

Set out 11 Oreo cookies. Carefully pull each cookie apart, like you may have done when you were a kid, taking care not to break either cookie half.

Pick red M&M’s out from bag and set aside. Using chocolate decorator’s frosting pipe on a little head, line down the center of the back and a few spots on either side of the line to turn each M&M into a lady bug. I have also seen this bug decoration done with black food colouring and a small paint brush.

Pipe frosting around the underside edge of cookie half and place in the center of the cupcake. Pipe petals of frosting going from the edge of the cookie out to the edge of the cupcake. Place the petals right next to each other. Once one row of petals is done, add a second row slightly off-set from the first.

Put a little dot of frosting on the underside of each ladybug M&M and stick it on top of each flower.

Enjoy!


Chocolate Whiskey Dipped Irish Cupcakes

March 17, 2013

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Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!) Woohoo! It’s finally here! Everyone is Irish today! I’m sticking with my blogging tradition and featuring a tasty Irish-y cupcake on St. Patrick’s Day. Two years ago it was Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, last year brought you Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with a Swiss Vanilla Baileys Buttercream Frosting and today…(drumroll please….) we have these deliciously decadent Chocolate Whiskey Dipped Irish Cupcakes. And just like all of my previous St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes, these little devils are a bit boozy. In fact, they have a perfect trifecta of Irish Booze. The cake portion of this treat is a rich chocolate Guinness creation, which is then topped with a velvety Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting. That sounds great all on its own right? I could’ve stopped there, but oh no….I then dipped the whole thing into a Irish Whiskey spiked Chocolate Ganache! Be still my heart!

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I was inspired to make these when I saw Arctic Garden Studio’s Irish Coffee Cupcakes. I loved the idea of piling on all of that creamy Baileys frosting and then dipping the cupcake into the whiskey chocolate. It reminded me of those dipped soft serve ice cream cones. You know like the ones at Dairy Queen, or from a Mr. Whippy truck or a 99 Flake ice cream for all of you in Britain and Ireland.

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For those of you unfamiliar with a “99” it is a soft serve vanilla ice cream cone which has a piece of a Cadbury chocolate bar which is called a “Flake” stuck into it.

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You can find them at all the shops etc. in Ireland. I even managed to find a Flake candy bar in good old Virginia, no small feat, and stuck it in one of my lovely cupcakes as a bit of an homage to the “99”.

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Even without the added Flake, these cupcakes are so reminiscent of dipped soft serve ice cream, albeit rather boozy – perhaps there is an adult ice cream truck – that my husband has christened them “Whiskey Whippy Cakes” which I like, but thought it might leave a lot of folks confused, so I went with Chocolate Whiskey Dipped Irish Cupcakes officially, but around here it’s another story! I don’t know what it is about us and ice cream cones recently. Perhaps we’re just ready for Spring, but since we don’t have those Spring temperatures yet, I guess we will just have to make do with these little boozy cupcake imposters.

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Ha! Everyone who knows me, knows I LOVE cupcakes so I’m not making much of a sacrifice here! These Whiskey Whippy Cakes will definitely make our St. Patrick’s Day all the more festive.

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Which reminds me, I think it’s time for a little celebratory drinky. I have managed to blog about an Irish-y dish everyday from March 1st up through today. Phew! I’m probably going to have to take a few days off after today’s publication, but don’t worry, I’m already planning out some great tempting future treats. In the meantime, check out some of my favourite blogs which come to you from Ireland to see what they’re cooking up, like: The Green Apron, I married an Irish farmer, Edible Ireland, Warm&Snug&Fat and The Daily Spud. And when you’ve finished browsing, get busy baking some of these mouth-watering Chocolate Whiskey Dipped Irish Cupcakes with their Guinness and Baileys and Whiskey (Oh My!) Just the ticket for a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope everyone has a great time!

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Chocolate Whiskey Dipped Irish Cupcakes

recipe adapted from: Runcible Eats (the cake part of the cupcake) and Arctic Garden Studio

yield: 30 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (  3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup Guinness, poured and settled before you measure it out
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream

For the Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Two – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur, such as Bailey’s Irish Cream

For the Chocolate Whiskey Glaze:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons whiskey

Directions:

for the cupcakes:

First, bake your cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with muffin liners and spray lightly with non-stick spray. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt your butter and set aside to cool slightly, then add in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the stout, then set aside to cool completely for another 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream, then whisk in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture. Whisk in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, combining until just moistened. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter, so that the cups are 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes are set and a toothpick comes out clean (mine took about 24 minutes). Allow to cool completely before frosting.

for the frosting:

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the Irish cream liqueur.
Pipe frosting on top of cupcakes using a pastry bag or spread on with a spatula. You want a nice thick layer. Place cupcakes in the refrigerator while making the glaze. This will make them easier to dip.

For the glaze:

Melt the chocolate with the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey.
Dip the tops of the frosted cupcakes in the glaze right to the edge of the cupcake paper, let excess glaze drip off before turning upright. Let cool, right side up, until the glaze is firm. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator, remove and bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before serving. This recipe makes more glaze than you need, but makes it easier to dunk the tops of the cupcakes. Store remaining glaze in the refrigerator, it will form a whiskey ganache that can be used later as a hot fudge ice cream topping by slowly heating or added to hot milk for a whiskey hot chocolate.

Enjoy!


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