Archive for the ‘Cakes – Cupcakes’ Category
There are few things that are more refreshing on a very hot summer day than a slice of cool, sweet watermelon. It’s even better if you top it with a sprinkle of sea salt to make the melon seem even juicier. These Watermelon Cupcakes don’t have quite the same cooling effect as fresh melon, but they definitely capture the look! They’re fluffy, tender and will put a smile on the face of everyone who bites into one.
The cupcakes look like miniature watermelons thanks to the help of some red and green food coloring. I added mini chocolate chips to the red portion of the batter to mimic the look of the seeds of the real melon. You can get the look with any flavor cupcake batter just by using some food coloring, but I took it a step further and infused my cupcakes with some actual melon flavor. I added Midori, a melon liquor, to the cupcake batter. The liquor is sweet, with a very pronounced melon flavor to it, and it works nicely with the vanilla that is already in the cupcake and really ties in well with the look of the finished desserts. The liquor does have a slightly greenish tint to it, but since there is food coloring in this recipe anyway, you won’t see it in the finished cupcakes.
I used my Wilton Two-Tone Cupcake Inserts to make these cupcakes, which allowed me to center the red batter within the green cupcake. If you don’t have the insert, you can still make the cupcakes, but your red batter might not be as perfectly centered. I’ve included instructions for centering your red batter below, although you can make things easy on yourself by putting the green batter on the bottom of the muffin cup and the red on top and going for a half-and-half look, too. I topped them off with a little green frosting. You can opt for vanilla or melon-infused frosting and both will be tasty, but don’t skip the green food coloring that ties the frosting in so well with the cupcakes.
Midori was the best way that I found to get some melon flavor into the cake. If you don’t want to put any alcohol into your cupcakes, they do make melon and watermelon extracts (you may be able to find them at your local market, depending on how large the baking section is) that you can use instead. If you are using an extract, simply replace the Midori with more buttermilk and add in a teaspoon of your extract. Alternatively, you could make a plain vanilla buttermilk cupcake – again substituting more buttermilk for the melon liquor – and just keep the look of the watermelon.
When citrus is in season, I do a lot of baking with lemons, but lemons aren’t the only citrus out there and I think limes don’t get used as much as they could be. Limes have a bold, tart flavor to them that makes them a lot of fun to bake with, because even a small amount of lime can have a noticeable impact on a recipe. These Vanilla and Lime Marble Cupcakes have a swirl of zesty lime in the batter that makes the cupcakes bright and perfect for the springtime, without being overwhelmingly lime flavored. They’re moist, fluffy and well-balanced – so they should be a hit with anyone who loves a good cupcake, as well as citrus fans.
The base for these cupcakes is a simple vanilla buttermilk cupcake recipe that is one of my favorites. After making the batter, I took out a portion and added lime zest and a little green food coloring to it, to make sure that you could see – as well as taste – the difference between the two flavors of cupcake batter (and because St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner). The lime is bright and a nice contrast to the mellower vanilla cake, and the cupcakes look very fun with a bright green streak running right through them! I used a vanilla buttercream that I also swirled with a little bit of green to top the cupcakes, but didn’t add lime to the frosting so that the lime in the cupcakes would stand out on its own (although lime-lovers could certainly add some lime zest to the frosting as well!).
To marble two batters together, whether you are using two colors or two different flavors, is to first layer them in your pan and then give them a little swirl with a knife. Layering the batters gives you a nice distribution of color/flavor and a gentle swirl will create a nice pattern. Don’t swirl too aggressively or the colors will become muddled. You could also use this recipe with the Wilton Two Tone Cupcake inserts, which give you a fun way to separate colors and is what I used here (full review coming soon).
A peanut butter cup is nothing more than chocolate enrobing a salty-sweet peanut butter center in a small paper cup. This version of a peanut butter cup is still in “cup” format, albeit a larger cupcake size! These Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cupcakes should appeal to anyone whose mouth waters at the thought of a peanut butter cup and doesn’t mind a supersized package.
These are chocolate cupcakes topped with salty-sweet peanut butter and chocolate frostings. The cupcake recipe is a great basic chocolate cupcake that has a very strong chocolate flavor and a wonderful dark, decadent-looking color to it. They’re moist and tender, and good enough to go with any type of frosting you could want to put on top, even though they do go especially well with peanut butter. For the frosting, I used a national peanut butter brand (JIF) and got great results. Make sure to taste-test your frosting while you’re making it, since the frosting should have a hint of salt and you might need to add in a pinch if your peanut butter is a low salt variety.
When I was putting these together, I considered putting the peanut butter filling in the center of the cupcakes and topping them only with chocolate frosting to make them look like a regular peanut butter cup. When I did that, I found that I wanted more peanut butter than I could fit in the cupcake, so I switched to a thick layer of peanut butter frosting on top of the cake. This way, you get peanut butter cup flavors that are in better balance – and that means that you will have peanut butter and chocolate in every single bite of cake that you take.
I’m not sure that anything could be a more festive dessert for a holiday party than a big batch of these Mini Santa Hat Cupcakes. Each one of the mini cupcakes is topped off with a santa hat made of red and white icing that gives them a bright, festive look sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
I used a white chocolate cupcake batter for the base of the cupcakes, although any white cake batter will work if you have a favorite. This cake batter is easy to make and has a smooth vanilla flavor and a tender crumb. Although there is white chocolate in the batter, the cupcakes aren’t too sweet, so they are a good match for the pile of cream cheese frosting on top of them.
For the frosting, I made a big batch of vanilla cream cheese frosting and divided it into two bowls. I left on bowl white and colored the other bowl red. I put the white icing into a piping bag and piped one big circle of frosting onto the top of each cupcake to serve as the base of the hat. I piped the red frosing in a peak on top of that, then used a ziploc bag with a small hole cut off of one corer to add a little dot of white to the top of each hat. The cream cheese frosting is less stiff than buttercream icing is, but when the cupcakes are finished, the hats will have a very soft, natural look to them that makes them even more charming.
These cupcakes can be baked as full sized cupcakes if you are looking for something larger. You’ll get about 18 cupcakes and you’ll need to bake them for about 25 minutes. I highly recommend sticking with the mini cupcakes, however, as you need quite a bit of frosting to get the look right for these and you may need two batches to get enough for a bigger cake. The cupcake wrappers I used had santa belts on them and were made by Wilton, but plain red or white cupcake wrappers are good options, too, and will go well with the santa hat frosting.
Banana bread is usually the first thing that people think of when they want to do some baking with bananas. It’s satisfying, easy to make and a good all-purpose baked good. But even though you can eat it for dessert, it’s not really the same as having a nice slice of cake or a good cupcake. Banana bread is heavier and tends to be less sweet than cake, and it almost never comes with frosting. These Banana Cupcakes capture the flavor of a good banana bread in true dessert form. They’re easy to make, but are also light, fluffy and perfect with a smear of cream cheese frosting on top.
The cupcakes have a little more sugar and butter than you will find in many banana bread recipes, although the batter still includes a lot of mashed banana. The sugar and butter help to tenderize the cake and give it a nice tight crumb, while the eggs in the cake batter keep the whole cupcake light and fluffy. The overall texture is more like that of a chiffon cake than a dense banana bread, though the cupcakes are still extremely moist. They also have a terrific banana flavor that I just can’t get enough of! Be sure to mash the banana very well or puree it in a food processor, since you really don’t want big chunks of banana in the cupcakes.
You could use buttercream frosting or a cream cheese frosting on these cupcakes. I opted for a cream cheese frosting, since the tangy cheese goes very well with the sweet banana cake. I like a simple vanilla flavor to the frosting, but a nice variation for this recipe is to make a spiced cream cheese frosting by adding a little bit of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to the frosting for a little extra dimension that still goes well with the cake.