Spooky Ghost Cupcakes

October 31, 2020

Yay! It’s Halloween! And to celebrate the day, I have baked up a batch of these delightfully spooky Ghost Cupcakes! What we’ve got here is a dark as your soul chocolate chip filled fudge cupcake frosted with a silky pale as moonlight vanilla buttercream frosting. I adorned half of the cupcakes that I baked with marbled chocolate curls and the other with black sanding sugar (yeah, I know for some reason it looks green – just think of it as graveyard grass). Next, I topped them with an oh so scary, yet very delicious, little meringue spirits. Yeah, I do realize that these little ghouls lean more towards cute than creepy, but considering all that has gone on this year, I’m ready to take a big ole helping of cute.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact, all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Sadly, this year is definitely going to be a bit different. Don’t get me wrong – there is a whole bunch of downright scary, some would say absolutely terrifying, things lurking about out there. Things you definitely do not want to encounter. Not that we are venturing out. Like everything else so far in 2020, nearly all social Halloween events have been pretty much cancelled. Rightfully so, yet nevertheless disappointing. So, I’ll be staying in with the Husband and we’ll be dressing weird (actually we’ll likely be in our quarantine clothes…i.e. pajamas), boozing it up and binging on candy, all on our lonesomes.

Our modern holiday of Halloween, actually has Irish origins. Today’s 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. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

Roasty Toasty Cocktail

A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes.

And last year a had a howling good time making these little rascals:

Reese Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

Which brings me to this year’s offering: Spooky Ghost Cupcakes!

Just look at these ghastly little ghouls! The cupcakes are rich, fudgy and shot through with chocolate chips. They get their dark sinister shade from the black dutch process cocoa that I used. This cocoa gives baked items a REALLY dark chocolate flavor. To tame it down a bit, mix a little of it in with regular dutch process cocoa. That way you will get a deeper darker shade, but less of the bold, intense flavor.

The frosting is a fluffy vanilla buttercream which I have adorned with some marbled chocolate curls for some of the treats and with black sanding sugar on the rest. And finally, those adorable…ahem…frightful fiends perched on top are made from meringue.

Making meringue is pretty easy if you follow some helpful tips. Firstly the bowl and whisk that you use must be super clean. It can have no oily residue or the egg whites simply will refuse to whip up properly. To ensure it is grease free, you can put a bit of vinegar on a paper towel and wipe the inside of the bowl. The egg whites need to be at room temperature when you start to mix them. Begin at a low speed and slowly increase until you reach medium to medium high. Once the egg whites reach soft peak stage, start to slowly add the superfine sugar to the bowl. Stop mixing when you reach the stiff peak stage. Use a piping bag fitted with a round tip to make your ghosts. Once they are completely cooled you can add the eyes and mouth with a food marker, decorating icing or mini chocolate chips. The mini chocolate chips were pretty easy to use. I just gently pushed the pointy end of the chip into the dry meringue. I must say these meringue cookies are pretty fun as well as tasty. If you are short on time, you could even skip the cupcakes and just make a batch of ghost meringue cookies.

I will warn you that humidity is a terrible thing for meringues! They will absorb any moisture in the air and go from delightfully crisp and airy to sticky and chewy abominations! I had quite an issue with this in steamy old Virginia! The regular day to day weather here is not ideal, but I had the adding difficulty of making these meringues while enduring torrential rains from a hurricane that was passing by! I still managed to make it work, but I would be lying if I said no “colorful” language was heard on the day. So for those of you in cooler and drier climes, this should be easy peasy. But to be safe, once your meringues are cool, put them directly into an airtight container and put that container in a cool place out of any direct sunlight. I would recommend not placing the ghosts atop the cupcakes until right before you are ready to serve.

So what are you waiting for? These spooky specters are just perfect for any Halloween gathering. Ooops! Yeah, that’s not happening. But, I have no doubt that your family or quarantine pod will be delighted to be haunted by these little apparitions. Next year you’ll be ahead of the game and can unleash these unearthly revenants on the rest of society. Happy Halloween ya’ll!

Spooky Ghost Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour for the Bake Sale Fudge cupcakes and Buttercream frosting. Inspired by Baking Addiction for the Ghost Meringue Cookies.

For the Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (85 grams) Dutch-process Cocoa
  • 2 1/3 cups (283 grams) All-purpose Flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (354 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional but tasty
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (255 grams) chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar, cider or white
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) vegetable oil (can substitute 1/2 cup butter if you prefer)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, oil, and vinegar. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until everything is well combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling the cups about 3/4 full. I always use a 1/4 cup muffin scoop for this.

Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of one of the middle cupcakes comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and as soon as you can handle them, remove them from the pan, and transfer to a rack to cool. Store cooled cupcakes airtight.

For the Fluffy Buttercream frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) boiling water
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (454 grams) sifted confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
  • 32 tablespoons (454 grams) unsalted butter
  • black sanding sugar or marbled chocolate curls for the top of the cupcakes (you could also use chocolate jimmies)

Directions:

Dissolve the sugar (and salt, if you’re using it) in the boiling water, and cool to room temperature.

Use a mixer on low speed to beat in the meringue powder, until the powder is dissolved and the mixture is foamy.

Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form.

Beat in the vanilla, then the confectioners’ or glazing sugar.

Add the soft butter a few tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Frost cake immediately; or store buttercream at room temperature, covered, for a few hours before using.

Once the cupcakes are frosted, add the marbled chocolate curls or sanding sugar as you prefer.

For the Ghost Meringue Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 4 large Egg Whites (room temperature!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
  • 3/4 cup Superfine Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract (can be omitted)
  • mini chocolate chips, melted chocolate or black decorator’s icing for ghost eyes and mouth.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

In a large spotlessly clean bowl of a stand mixer beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla. Start with lowest speed and slowly increase until you reach medium speed and the whites hold a soft peak.

Gradually add in sugar and increase mixer to medium-high speed. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Spoon meringue into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  Pipe swirls of ghost shaped meringue onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for about 1.5 hours or until the meringues are dry and crisp to the touch. Turn off the oven and allow the meringue ghosts to continuing drying in the oven for a few hours.

Decorate meringues with ghostly eyes and mouth and then move immediately to an airtight container for storage.

Wait to top the cupcakes with the ghost meringue cookies until you are ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Spooky Ghost Cupcakes brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Spooky Ghost Cupcakes:

 
 
 
King Arthur Double Dutch Process Dark Cocoa Powder
 
Meringue Powder or it is a bit cheaper here: King Arthur Flour
 
Wilton Graveyard Bones
 


Reese’s Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

October 29, 2019

 

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There is absolutely no way you won’t have a howling good Halloween if you make up a batch of these terrifyingly adorable Werewolf cupcakes! And, not to toot my own horn or anything, but this year, just like last year, I am blogging about a Halloween recipe, prior to the actual date of the holiday. So yeah, I guess I’ll just say “Toot Toot!” Not only do these werewolves look irresistible, but they are also made with multiple Reese Cups – full size and minis, so they also undoubtedly taste irresistible to boot. I love Reese Cups, so I am totally psyched about these naughty little treats. Also I must say, Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact, all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day!

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Halloween actually has Irish origins. 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. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

 

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Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

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Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

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Roasty Toasty Cocktail

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A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

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And last year was all about the whimsy with these

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes.

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I guess I’m still in the whimsical mood this year because I absolutely could not resist these Reese’s Cup Werewolves when I saw them over at Hungry Happenings.

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She makes the most amazing creations there, so you should definitely take a peek. These little devil dogs were not terribly hard to make, but I will say they were a bit fiddly. You had to have a steady hand and plan ahead by piping out all the fangs ahead of time so that they would harden. But would you just look at the end result!! I don’t think I’m barking up the wrong tree when I say these werewolves are just perfection!

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So, I’ve given you enough time to gather all your supplies to make these lovely lycanthropes. What are you waiting for? I just bet that you and your friends will be howling at the moon come Thursday night! Happy Halloween ya’ll!!!

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Reese's Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 Cupcakes
  • Print

Werewolf Cupcakes inspired by: Hungry Happenings

Chocolate Frosting Recipe from: Sally’s Baking Addition

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cup (290 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (420 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup (65 grams) dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 – 5 Tablespoons (45 – 75 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Werewolves:

  • Full Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • White Cookie Icing or White Candy Melts
  • Wilton Candy Eyes
  • Chocolate Candy Melt Wafers (for ears)
  • Whoppers (malted milk balls)
  • Candy Bones (or make them using white candy melts)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (for eyebrows)
  • Valhrona Chocolate Crunchy Pearls (for nose, you could also use a mini M&M)

Directions:

For the Reese Cup Werewolves:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the full size Reese Cups flat. Put a dollop of cookie icing on the top of a corresponding number of mini Reese cups. Attach the mini Reese cup “snout” to the full size Reese Cup. Place in fridge to harden.

Using White Cookie Icing or white chocolate melts, pipe “teeth” onto a sheet of parchment paper.  If you are making the bones from chocolate melts, pipe these out as well. Place this in the fridge to harden.

Cut unmelted chocolate melts into triangle shaped “ears”. Set aside.

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line your cupcake tins with paper liners.

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, add all the wet ingredients. With your mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix for 2 minutes. The batter will be quite soupy – this is ok!

Pour batter into the prepared cupcake tins, filling just slightly more than halfway. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and then remove from pan to cool completely.

While you’re waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make your frosting.

For the frosting:

Place butter in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat it on medium speed until it is light and fluffy – approximately 2 minutes. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. Add this sugar/cocoa mixture to the creamed butter 2 – 3 Tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add 3 Tablespoons of the cream, the salt and vanilla. Beat on low speed initially, increasing until you reach high speed. Beat for 1 -2 minutes. Add more sugar or cocoa is frosting is too thin or add cream if it seems too thick.

Werewolf Assembly:

Frost  the cupcakes with enough frosting to hold the Reese Cup “wolves” upright.

Remove the Reese cups from the fridge. Using a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #233 tip, pipe frosting fur all over the prepared Reese cups. If you don’t have this tip, you can paint some frosting over the Reese cup and use a paint brush to give it a rough, fur-like texture.

Carefully put the eyes, nose and teeth in place.

Place the Reese cup on the frosted cupcakes. Push two malted milk balls (paws) in front of the decorated Reese cup and pipe “fur” frosting over them.

Add a bit more fur to the top edge of the Reese Cups so that you can attach the candy melt ears.

Place bone between paws.

Enjoy!

Reese’s Cup Werewolf Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Reese’s Werewolf Cupcakes:

Wilton Mini Candy Eyes 
King Arthur Double Dutch Process Dark Cocoa Powder
Ghirardelli White Candy Melts
Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melts
Valhrona Crunchy Pearls
Wilton Graveyard Bones
Wilton #233 Decorating Tip
Wilton Cookie Icing

 

 

 

 


Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes

October 26, 2018

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So woooo-hooo! This year I am on it! I am actually blogging about a Halloween recipe, prior to the actual date of the holiday. Last year I didn’t get my Halloween Cupcakes up on my blog until November, so quite an improvement. Now just look at these adorable Frankenstein Cupcakes I have for you this year!

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And these cupcakes aren’t only cute…no siree! They are absolutely delish! The cupcake portion is a decadent Black Velvet cupcake, which is so moist it practically melts in your mouth and it is frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting, which is my all time favorite frosting. Unlike American or Simple Buttercream icing which can be very heavy and taste somewhat greasy – this frosting is perfectly sweet light and fluffy.

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Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Halloween actually has Irish origins. 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. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

img_8703

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

img_3482

Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

img_3499

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

IMG_5094

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

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Roasty Toasty Cocktail

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And last year’s Halloween treat which combined whimsical and boozy altogether with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening – Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

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But let me get back to what’s on the Halloween treat menu this year: Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes.

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I was inspired to make these when I saw Your Cup of Cake’s blog featuring them. You should definitely take a look at her blog before you decorate these little monsters. She has a video that shows exactly how she did it. However, she used a different cupcake for her cake portion, as well as a different frosting. I really adore these Black Velvet Cupcakes. Not only are they the perfect darkest of dark shade of black, but they simply taste amazing. And I’ve already told you how I love Swiss Meringue Frosting, so smooth and silky! So I made a few changes to the ingredients to suit my taste, but credit Your Cup of Cake for the perfect design!

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All if all, these cupcakes are pretty easy to make. Decorating them is a bit fiddly. Getting the frosting smoothed to the correct shape for the Frankenstein head took some attention. The candy scars took a bit of time the way I did them, but I like the taste of white chocolate better than that gel frosting you find in a tube in the supermarket. Unwrapping all of the Rolo candies was a bit of a pain….But just look at these little monsters! The end, without a doubt, justifies the means here. Folks will go mad for these and you’ll be the belle of the Halloween ball! Sooo…I’ve actually given you enough time this year…what are you waiting for? Get into your laboratory – errr kitchen – and create a batch of these Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes today! Happy Halloween!!!

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Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes

  • Servings: 18 cupcakes
  • Print

recipe: Frankenstein Design by Your Cup of Cake, Black Velvet Cupcake recipe: Craftsy

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1½ cups butter (room temperature)
  • 2 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons black gel food color
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa powder (dutch process)
  • 2 pinches of salt (approx. 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of white vinegar (distilled)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder

For the frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • green gel food coloring

For the decorations:

  • Wilton googly candy eyes – unless you want to make eyes with Ghirardelli white chocolate melts and M&M’s as described below.
  • Rolo Candy
  • Chocolate Jimmy Sprinkles
  • Ghirardelli White Chocolate Candy Melts
  • Red gel food color

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350° F and fill the wells of a cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. Add black food color until desired shade is reached. Remember – once baked the cupcakes will have a darker color. My batter looked more grey than black, but once baked the cupcakes were very dark.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla paste and mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa and salt together.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, adding buttermilk between each addition. Mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, mix the baking powder and vinegar together. It will bubble and fizz. Add it to the batter and mix until just incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for  20 – 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low-speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add green food coloring gel to frosting until it reaches desired hue.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to assemble the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with a large round tip & pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Use a knife or offset spatula to flatten the frosting. Turn the cupcake upside down and press into a bowl/plate filled with chocolate Jimmy sprinkles. Press on the eyes (see note below) and use an extra sprinkles to make the eyebrows and mouth . Use Rolo candies to make the bolts. You could also use chocolate chips, bits of a Tootsie Roll or maybe even a mini marshmallows. Press the bolts into the side of his head. Put on a little “stitch” (You can use red store-bought frosting, I used a gel food color to color Ghirardelli white candy melts.

I used Wilton Candy eyes on these Frankenstein cupcakes, mostly because I was a bit pressed for time. There is certainly nothing wrong with those candy eyes, and they don’t really taste bad, but for more tasty eyes you can melt some of the Ghirardelli white candy melts. Place the melted candy into a piping bag and then pipe out little white eyes onto parchment paper. Place M&M candies into the white chocolate before it hardens to make the “iris” of the eye and voila – There you have it – tasty candy eyes. For the “stitches” I colored the white chocolate with red gel food color and then piped it onto parchment paper. Once it hardened, I transferred the stitches to the Frankensteins.

Enjoy!

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes:
Wilton Mini Candy Eyes 
Wilton Large Red Candy Eyes
King Arthur Double Dutch Process Dark Cocoa Powder
Ghirardelli White Candy Melts
Wilton Icing Color – Gel Food Color

 


Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

March 17, 2018

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Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, the last post of my St. Patrick’s Day recipe run features a cupcake. Well, not an American style cupcake, but what is known as a Butterfly Cake or also sometimes as a Fairy Cake in Ireland. Butterfly Cakes consist of a light Victoria sponge style cake that has a circle carved out that top, the resulting hollow has been filled with jam, topped with whipped cream and then had the halved top circle reinserted so as to resemble butterfly or fairy wings. Then the whole shebang is dusted with confectioners sugar. Butterfly Cakes are staples at children’s birthday parties. What I’ve got for you today is the adult version. My whipped cream is heavily laced with Baileys. Yup…these Butterflies are a wee bit tipsy!

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And I did say that you might see that delicious homemade Strawberry Jam that I mentioned in my very first post this St. Patrick’s Day season – Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream. And it has indeed made an appearance again filling these adorable little butterfly gems. The recipe for that Strawberry Jam comes from my friend Theresa’s cookbook Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa runs, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. She grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

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Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents.

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Theresa definitely knows her way around a jam jar. Every single creation of hers that  I have tasted has been exquisite and her Strawberry Jam is no exception. Simply divine! So I knew that it would be the perfect filling for these Butterfly Cakes.

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It is strange that as popular as these lovely treats are in Ireland, they never really made it across the pond to the States. American cupcakes generally are piled high with very sweet buttercream frosting. Now don’t get me wrong. I love cupcakes, pretty much all of them. But I will say that my least favorite of all of the frostings is American Buttercream. It is often grainy and toothachingly sweet. As I’ve said in many previous posts, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the way to go. If that is the frosting you’ve got, go ahead and pipe a mini mountain onto each cake! The Husband, who really doesn’t care much for chocolatey type sweets, but loves any fruit based dessert, thought these treats were the bees knees. Not too sweet and just bursting with jam and fresh cream. I’m sure the Baileys presence didn’t hurt either! A delight on St. Patrick’s Day but a great recipe to have in your arsenal for use the entire year through.

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Well it looks like I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 12
  • 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 topping:

  • strawberry jam – I just made up a batch! See the recipe here. or use store bought if you are short on time
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 -2  Tablespoon Baileys (optional)
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Directions:

Line cupcake tin with liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)

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.

When ready to decorate, cut out the center of each cupcake, angling the knife at a 45° angle. The piece you remove should look like a cone. Cut the cone top of the cupcake in half so as to resemble butterfly wings. Fill the hollowed out part of the cupcake with strawberry jam. Top the jam with a dollop of Baileys whipped cream, or you can pipe the cream on as I did. Place the “wings” upright at an angle in the cream.

Dust generously with confectioners sugar.

Enjoy!

Butterfly Cakes brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Butterfly Cakes filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

Oxo Good Grips Baker’s Dusting Wand


Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

November 1, 2017

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So what in the world?!! I’m posting again so soon! Usually months go by between my posts. It must be some sort of Halloween miracle! It is just that I couldn’t wait to share these adorable Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider cupcakes with you. I made them for our Halloween festivities last night, but then ran out of time to actually post the blog about them. So even though Halloween is over, I’m sharing this recipe anyway. You’ll be all set for next year.

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These cupcakes not only look fantastic, if I must say so myself, but they also taste amazing. The cake portion is a moist Guinness chocolatey, coffee cake. And then it is frosted with a smooth and velvety Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Oh be still my heart…I am in Cupcake Heaven! No wait….I mean to say the torturous depths of Hell (it is Halloween right?).

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Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Halloween actually has Irish origins. 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. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

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Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

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Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

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Roasty Toasty Cocktail

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This year’s Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes combine the whimsical and boozy together in one perfect Halloween treat! The little spider darlings (I mean horrible, terrible scary spiders) are fairly easy to make. I used two malted milk balls for the body and head (turns out Maltesers -the body- are slightly larger than Whoppers – the head), but you could also use a malted milk ball and a chocolate covered peanut. You get the idea. The legs are made with black candy melts. I piped them out onto parchment paper, let them harden and then attached them to the body with more candy melt. Then I used Wilton mini Candy eyes for their googly eyes. You could also probably use mini M&M’s here. And There you have it…. Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes!

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Truth be told I am terrified of spiders, so it is a bit weird that I decided to make these cupcakes. And  I’m not one of those girly girls that is scared of all bugs and mice and snakes. Nope, I pretty much like most bugs – mosquitos excepted – but it’s more hate where they are involved rather than fear. Snakes are pretty cool and I love mice. But spiders….no way!  I keep trying to make a treaty with them in which I will leave them alone as long as they are outside, but they are not allowed to come into my house. Rather than squish spiders that do venture inside despite the treaty, I show them mercy by capturing them and escorting them outside- all the while telling them that they must spread the word of our treaty to their friends. Those jerks agree at the time (spiders are full of deceit..), however once they get outside unscathed, I think they tell their little spider friends that I’m a softie and they shouldn’t worry about going into my house. Sigh….spiders are the worst! I’m just saying!

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Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

  • Servings: 20 - 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cake portion of the recipe from: Wife in Progress

Frosting recipe from: Handle the Heat

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

  • 3/4 cups Guinness
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee (or King Arthur Espresso Powder works well here)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream (or you could substitute Kahlua or your favorite)
  • green gel food coloring

For the Spiders: 

  • 24 Maltesers or Whoppers (Malted Milk Balls)
  • 24 chocolate covered peanuts or raisins (or just use another malted milk ball as I did)
  • 6 ounces Black or Dark Cocoa Candy Melts, melted
  • 48 (or more if you prefer – spiders sometimes have lots of eyes!) Candy eyes (small size)

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a large saucepan heat Guinness, coffee and butter together until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs vanilla and sour cream.

Once the Guinness/cocoa mixture has cooled, add it to the egg/sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add Baileys slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

Add green food coloring gel to frosting until it reaches desired hue.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Melt 6 ounces of Candy Melts in the microwave. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pipe “L” shapes onto the parchment to form spider’s legs. Let harden.

Place a Malteser “spider body” on the center of the frosting. Place the chocolate peanut “head” in front of it. Pipe dots of melted chocolate on the side of the spider’s body to hold the legs in place. Gently place 3 – 4 legs on each side of the spider. Use a dot of the melted chocolate to stick the eyes onto the head.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes:
Maltesers
Wilton Mini Candy Eyes
Merkens Dark Cocoa Confectionary Melts

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

March 17, 2017

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Oh my gawd! It’s here, it’s here!! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, my last post of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon features cupcakes. And today I’ve got not just any old cupcake…no siree! What I’ve got here are Irish Coffee Cupcakes. Can’t get much more St. Patrick’s Day than that!

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So obviously, I’m giving you that classic Irish cocktail in cupcake form. It is surprising that the Irish Coffee is fairly young when one considers coffee cocktails. It was invented in 1943. Way back in 19th century France,  folks were already quaffing “Glorias” which were a mixture of “coffee & strong spirits”. And Viennese Coffee Houses had been serving Pharisäers, sweetened coffee, rum & whipped cream, for quite some time at that point. So fast forward to 1943, Joe Sheridan was the chef at Foynes Port in Limerick when he invented this warming drink and served it to a gaggle of cold and wet tourists. Eventually Stanton Delaplane, an american travel writer, encountered the drink at Shannon airport and brought it back to the US, writing about it extensively. And what do you know, it caught on. Folks loved it then, and still love it now.

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The classic Irish Coffee consists of hot coffee, Irish Whiskey and sugar and is topped with thick cream which is floated on top of the coffee/whiskey mixture. Soothing, warming and utterly decadent, you just can’t go wrong with this elixir. Serve it on a luxurious holiday morning or as a lovely nightcap – perfect every time. And these cupcakes…yeah, they’re worthy of their namesake.

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Tender, moist coffee flavored chocolate cake – filled with a creamy dark and decadent whiskey chocolate ganache and then frosted with a light and airy Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream and topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean…

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Dear Lawd! This is not only perfect on St. Patrick’s Day, but awesome year round. So what are you waiting for, you can have these ready for tonight’s shindig in two shakes of a lambs tail.

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Now me, I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Recipe from: Wife in Progress

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

  • 3/4 cups Guinness
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee (or King Arthur Espresso Powder works well here)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon Jameson Whiskey

For the Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1 small carton of whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Whiskey

Espresso powder (I used King Arthur Espresso Powder, but you could also use cocoa powder or even freshly ground nutmeg in a pinch) and chocolate covered espresso beans to garnish

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a large saucepan heat Guinness, coffee and butter together until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs vanilla and sour cream.

Once the Guinness/cocoa mixture has cooled, add it to the egg/sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Whiskey Ganache:

Heat heavy cream until just shy of boiling.

Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Do not mix. Cover with lid and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir the mixture starting from the inside and working to the edges. Add the whiskey and mix until incorporated

Let sit for 10 minutes or so at room temperature. The ganache should thicken a bit. You can pop it into the fridge for a bit to speed this process up.

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:

Pour cream and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until Cream forms stiff peaks. Add Irish Whiskey to taste.

For Assembly: 

Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut out the center of each cake with an apple corer, knife or special cupcake corer tool, taking care not to cut all the way through the cake.

Place the whiskey ganache into a pastry bag and pipe into the cored cupcake to fill.

Spoon the whipped whiskey filling into a pastry bag and frost cupcakes.

Dust with espresso powder and top with chocolate covered bean.

Enjoy!
Irish Coffee Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Coffee Cupcakes:
Cuckoo Luckoo Gourmet Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans – This link is for a 1 pound box of these beans. To be honest, I got mine at my local Starbucks. They sell them in little 1/75 oz snack packs!

 

 


Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

February 14, 2017

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February 14th….yup, you guessed it…It is Valentine’s Day. Does everyone know what amazing dish they’re making for their sweeties to celebrate the day? I tell you, I think I’ve got a real winner here with these Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes. The husband loves a good G&T. The two places which he ranks as making the best G&T’s out there are the Slippbarinn in the Marina Hotel in Reykjavik Iceland (kind of difficult to get there for us…) and Saison in good old Richmond Virginia (Dangerously close to us if you know what I mean!). Although each version of this classic cocktail has very different flavor profiles, they both share the use of grapefruit juice and garnish in their mix rather than the traditional lime. So that is what I did here. Bring on the grapefruit I say. Wow! These boozy little cupcakes are just perfect.

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So refreshing with bold citrus flavors and floral gin notes. And I should also mention that I frosted them with a pink grapefruit/gin swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Yeah, swiss meringue frosting rules. So fluffy, so light. It is everything you could ever want in a frosting.

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It is actually strange for me to say that recently I am really into grapefruit. I absolutely hated it as a kid and was at a loss as to why anyone would eat one. Can’t get enough of it now. I’m even sipping on a grapefruit flavored fizzy water as I write this. And G&T’s are also something I never cared for in the past. To me drinking any kind of gin was like licking a Christmas tree. But my opinion has definitely changed since I took a taste of the husband’s G&T at Saison. I couldn’t wait to order my own! Saison is our favorite restaurant in Richmond, which says a lot because Richmond is just chock full of fantastic eateries. A real foodie destination I tell you, but it is actually pretty difficult to tempt us away from Saison when we are in town. Not only has every morsel of food we have ever gotten there been delicious, but their cocktails are also simply superb – especially their G & T’s. One of the things that makes Saison’s G&T so remarkable is that it is a hopped G&T. They actually make their own hopped tonic. Now they used to sell little bottles of this magical tonic, but their G&T is such a popular cocktail for them, that they had trouble making enough tonic for both the bar and take out market. Here is where we totally lucked out. We happened to be there last week and the bartender had just made up a brand new batch of tonic. Not only were we able to enjoy it in a Hopped Gin and Tonic or two…we were also actually able to buy a little bit of the hopped tonic to take home with us. I used it in these Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes. That’s right…the ones we are scarfing down here are actually Pink Grapefruit Hopped Gin & Tonic cupcakes! OMG! So delicious! The hopped tonic is slightly bitter but also citrusy which pairs so well with the sweet grapefruit notes. Now I know not everyone can get ahold of that amazing elixir. Like I said, we really lucked out. But you can use regular tonic water and the results will still be stellar!

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So I don’t know if your Valentine is anything like mine….he is not so much into chocolate, but loves fruit desserts. And he loves G&T’s, so these Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes are a Valentine’s Day dessert match made in heaven for him. I’d wager you’d love them too. And don’t forget, if you are ever in Richmond, you must grab a bite to eat as well as a Hopped G&T at Saison! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

  • Servings: 15 -18 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe inspired by: Globe Scoffers

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 180 grams unsalted butter
  • 180 grams caster (superfine) sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 large pink grapefruit
  • 180 grams self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 4 Tablespoons tonic water
  • 2 Tablespoons Gin (plus more for brushing over cupcakes)

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons Gin
  • grapefruit zest for garnish

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line muffin tins with cupcakes papers.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and grapefruit zest until light and fluffy.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Add the flour/baking powder and mix until it is just incorporated. Take care not to over mix.

Stir in the tonic water and gin, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide the mixture between the cupcake wells. I use an ice cream scoop.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool cupcakes on a metal rack. While they are still warm, poke several holes in each cake with a skewer. Brush liberally with gin and let cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add the grapefruit juice and gin slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Garnish with grapefruit zest and wedges as you prefer.

Enjoy!

Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools and Ingredients for Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

King Arthur Self Rising Flour – You can also find this on Amazon, but have to purchase several bags of it.

India Tree Superfine Caster Baking Sugar

Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Tonic Trio – I have never actually tried these, but if you are into the idea of artisan tonics these might be fun to experiment with. Just add soda water to these syrups for a unique flavor profile.

 

 

 


Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

March 17, 2016

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It’s here, it’s here! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m going to be celebrating the day with these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. Oh be still my heart! I’m sure ya’ll know by now that I absolutely love cupcakes. And that chocolate and peanut butter combination? Om nom nom nom! Yup these cupcakes are right up my alley. They are even topped with a Malteser, which is another personal favorite of mine. (Maltesers are malted milk balls. The closest thing we have readily available in Virginia are Whoppers. But you better believe I keep a secret stash of emergency Maltesers squirreled away.)

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I’m not so sure though, upon reflection, that peanut butter is very popular in Ireland. In fact, when I was living there, which was quite a while ago now, I remember having to search high and low to find a jar of peanut butter. And when I finally found it, it wasn’t “Jif” or “Skippy” brand that I was familiar with. It was called “American Peanut Butter” and was covered with red, white and blue and stars and stripes. And Reese Cups, which I’m pretty much addicted to, were nowhere to be found either, much to my dismay. I should say though, there was an abundance of other really tasty food readily available. I certainly was not in any danger of losing weight while in Ireland. The pints alone would see to that!

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So, considering the whole peanut butter scarcity issue, the Irish pedigree on these cupcakes is probably a bit shaky. I did dress them up with some requisite St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks. Well…at least I did dress one up with the shamrock sprinkles. I don’t think any folks out there over the age of three like to eat those crunchy sugar crumbles really. Though they do look adorable!

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And they do have the whole Guinness thing going for them, which is pretty dang Irish, so there is that. Not to mention the whole delicious thing. That is certainly worth a bunch of St. Patrick’s Day points I should think. The cake is dark, rich and oh so moist. And that Peanut Butter frosting is simply to die for, light, silky and fluffy as a cloud.

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These cupcakes are my St. Patrick’s Day dream come true…all sweet and boozy…just like The Husband! Bake a batch before you head out to your St. Patrick’s Day parties. Folks will be so glad you did. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

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Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 18 - 21 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe for cupcakes from:Life As a Strawberry

recipe for frosting from: Handle the Heat

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup Guinness Stout
  • ¾ cup dutch process cocoa
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • maltesers -for topping (optional, but not if you are making them for me! Mini Reese cups would also work well as a topper.)

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add Guinness and bring mixture to a simmer.

In the meantime, place sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat them together until incorporated. Add salt and flour and continue to mix. The mixture will be relatively dry and resemble coarse biscuit dough.

Add baking soda to buttermilk. Careful, it will foam up and out and all over the counter if you take your eye off of it for a second. Add the baking soda when you are ready to start streaming it into the batter. 🙂

Stream buttermilk/baking soda mixture into batter and mix until combined.

Add vanilla extract to batter.

Once stout and butter mixture has come to a simmer, stir a little of the stout mixture into the cocoa and mix until it is smooth and creamy. Add the cocoa mixture into the hot liquid and whisk to combine. Remove the Guinness/cocoa mixture from heat and stream it slowly into batter while mixing. The batter will be thin – that’s okay!

Pour batter into standard sized cupcake liners. Fill about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake at 375° F for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Set cupcakes on wire rack to cool. Remove cupcakes from baking tin after 5 minutes. Continue cooling.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add peanut butter slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Top with malteser if you desire. (Oh yes! You know you do!)

Enjoy!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Useful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting:

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Malteser’s Candy– If you prefer you can substitute Whopper’s Candy for the Malteser’s

 

 


Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

October 31, 2015

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Happy Halloween! And just look what I’ve got here…h’OWL’oween Cupcakes! Or I guess you could call them OreOwls! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But really, aren’t these Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes adorable!

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Almost too cute to eat…but who am I kidding?!! I love cupcakes. So believe me they only got a very short pass before I gobbled them up! Last Halloween I baked up a batch of Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes that were pretty fantastic. Just look at these tiny terrors!

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But back to these little owls… They are so easy to make that you could still get a batch done before this evenings festivities. Or maybe you could make them for Thanksgiving. They definitely have an autumn vibe.

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I give you a recipe for some very moist and chocolatey Cookies & Cream Cupcakes, but if you’re in a rush you could just make a box mix and fold some crushed Oreo cookies into the batter before baking. The chocolate ganache frosting is super easy to make. I dipped the cupcakes rather than actually frosting them. To be honest, the most difficult part of these cupcakes were trying to separate the cookies so that all of the white frosting cream remained on one cookie. Cutting the frosting-less Oreo to make the owl’s tufts was a bit challenging as well, but a few choice words later and Voila! Owl nirvana achieved! Happy Hauntings!

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Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

  • Servings: 14 -16 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Once Upon a Chef (cupcakes) and Arctic Garden Studio (ganache)

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee granules (optional, to enhance chocolate flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chopped Oreos
  • 28 -32 Oreo cookies for decorating
  • 28 – 32 brown, blue or green plain chocolate M&M’s (I used Mega M&M’s but regular sized are fine)
  • 14 – 16 yellow or orange white chocolate M&M’s (or plain chocolate M&M’s if you prefer)

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons corn syrup

Directions:

Prep Work: Count out 28 -32 Oreo cookies. Divide these cookies in half and attempt to keep all of the cream on one of the cookies. Using a small icing spatula helps. If you end up crack a few cookies, don’t despair – you can crumble them even further and use them in the cupcakes. Once you have the cookies successfully separated, cut 14 -16 of the non-icing side Oreos in half to make the owl tufts. 

Preheat oven to 350° F and line two 12-cup muffin tins.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring in between, until about 3/4 of the way melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate completely. (If necessary, place the chocolate back in microwave for a few seconds.) Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, instant coffee (if using), baking soda and salt until well combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lukewarm chocolate.

Add the dry ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the crushed Oreo cookies.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until about 3/4 full (I think it’s easiest to use an ice cream scooper with a wire scraper). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops look dry and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: Heat heavy cream and chocolate over medium low heat stirring constantly until chocolate has melted. Stir in corn syrup. Let ganache cool for about 10 minutes before assembling cupcakes.

Cupcake Assembly:

First complete the owl “ore-eyes” (the Oreo halves with the icing). Place brown, green or blue M&M’s into the inner edge of the white part of each owl eye. Press down gently (if you push too hard you will crack the cookie) to stick M&M to the cream filling. Or if it seems like it doesn’t want to stick, a little bit of ganache to the bottom of the M&M to “glue” it in place.

Now for the cupcakes. Dip each cupcake in the ganache so that the top is frosted. Place eyes just slightly below the center of the cupcake, this will make sure you have enough room for the tufts. Then place the tufts above the eyes. Add a sideways orange or yellow M&M for the nose. Repeat with each cupcake until complete.

Enjoy!

*These cupcakes are best on the day that they are made as far as looks go. The Oreo tufts do get moist on the following day and tend to break off easily if you are trying to transport cupcakes.

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats. (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


Malted Scáiltín Cupcakes

March 17, 2015

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Woohoo! Today’s the day and I’ve got a great St. Patrick’s Day recipe all ready for you…Malted Scáiltín Cupcakes. For those of you who have been following along with me for any time now know that I simply adore cupcakes. So for St. Patrick’s Day I decided to make a cupcake version of Scáiltín (Irish Milk Punch), which is a drink made with hot milk, Irish whiskey and spices.

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It has been taking the chill off folks in Ireland since the middle ages. I told you all about it a couple of years ago and if there was ever a winter to inspire one to imbibe a few of these, it was the one we just had and are hopefully now seeing the back of!

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I adapted a Hot Milk Cake recipe for the cake bit of these cupcakes, seeings how hot milk plays such an important role in Scáiltín and added a bit of Irish Whiskey into the mix. The frosting is a delightful combination of marshmallow creme, butter, whiskey, Baileys and spices. And just as you do with the drink, I have garnished the cupcakes with a bit of freshly ground nutmeg.

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The result is one fantastic boozy cupcake! The cake is moist and tender, sweet but not too sweet. Oh and that frosting…creamy and addictive I tell you! Cupcake perfection for St. Patrick’s Day!

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So I guess that’s it. I have managed somehow to once again complete my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. I wasn’t sure there a couple of times, but there you go, that’s seventeen…count ’em…SEVENTEEN… tasty Irish-y recipes done and dusted! I may have to take a bit of a break from the old blog now for a few days to recover, but rest assured, I’ll be back. In the meantime, I hope you get out there and enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day festivities, after you make up a big batch of these Malted Scáiltín Cupcakes of course! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

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  • Servings: 18 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipes adapted from: The Cupcakes from: King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, The Frosting from: F&B Department

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Frosting:

  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Marshmallow Creme
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 1/2 Tablespoons malted milk powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey
  • 3 teaspoons Baileys
  • freshly ground nutmeg to sprinkle on top

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease or line two 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until very thick; the batter should fall from the beaters in a thick ribbon. Beat in the vanilla.

While you’re beating the eggs and sugar, heat the milk, butter, Irish Whiskey and honey in a small saucepan to just simmering. Add the hot milk to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream as  you continue beating.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Don’t overmix!

Fill the cupcake wells using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from oven and cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Cream together the marshmallow creme and butter until smooth and fluffy.

Sift the confectioner’s sugar, malted milk powder, salt and cinnamon together. Turn stand mixer on low and add the sugar/malt mixture to the marshmallow by the tablespoon, waiting until sugar is completely incorporated before adding the next tablespoon full. Add the Irish Whiskey and Baileys and mix until smooth.

Fill pastry bag with frosting and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Just prior to serving, garnish with fresh ground nutmeg.

Enjoy!

Malted Scáiltín Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


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