Archive for the ‘Cakes – Cupcakes’ Category
Candy corn are one of the most iconic Halloween candies out there. Some people love them, and some people hate them, but everyone seems to know exactly what the orange, yellow and white triangular candies are. I happen to be a fan of the slightly honey-flavored fondant candies, and put them out in candy jars both as a snack and for their colorful look.
These Candy Corn Cupcakes are candy corn in cupcake format. They’re orange and yellow miniature cupcakes (because candy corn are so small!) with a point of white icing on the top to give them that signature candy corn shape. They taste like regular vanilla cupcakes instead of candy corn, so everyone can enjoy them even if they don’t like the candies that inspired them, but definitely capture the colors of the season.
I made these by dividing up vanilla cupcake batter and dying one portion yellow and one portion orange. I piped the orange batter into mini cupcakes pans and topped it with the yellow batter, then baked them. Once the cupcakes baked, I cooled them and unwrapped them before frosting, and flipped them upside down so that the wide, yellow portion of the cake would be the base of my candy corn – just as it is in the real candies – and the cupcakes would have a more recognizable candy corn shape. Make sure to store these cupcakes in an airtight container once you’ve unwrapped and frosted them. Since the sides of the cake are unprotected, they will dry out a bit on the edges if they sit out for too long. As long as you store them in an airtight container, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Make sure to use enough food coloring that you get bold, bright colors in your cake. Gel food colorings will give you the darkest colors, while you will need to use more regular (liquid) food coloring for the best color. Be generous with the colors and you’ll get great results.
These cupcakes can also be made as full size cupcakes, layered and decorated the exact same way as the mini cupcakes. They look great as full size cupcakes, but the mini cakes will always look a bit more like actual candy corn because they’re so much closer in size to the real thing. Still, if you do opt for the larger cupcakes, just put the batter into full size cupcake liners and add 3-4 extra minutes or so of baking time.
One of the most common requests I get when asked to bake something is for red velvet cupcakes (the others are for “anything chocolate” or “those really good cookies that you made that one time”). I also find that people often ask me how to make red velvet cupcakes turn out well, as they seem to be a stumbling block for many bakers. So, I wanted to make sure that I have a reliable Classic Red Velvet Cupcake recipe up for everyone to try.
Red velvet cupcakes get their name from their color, which is a bright red that makes them stand out in any bakery. A basic red velvet cake is a buttermilk cake that has a hint of cocoa powder and a generous dose of red food coloring in it. In theory, cocoa-kissed cakes will take on a reddish hue due to the interaction of cocoa powder and buttermilk, but the reality is that only red food coloring is going to produce the extremely vibrant shade that most of us associate with red velvet cake (there are natural dyes available – I prefer gel dyes). A good red velvet cake should have a nice buttermilk flavor, a bit of vanilla and slight hint of cocoa to it – and it should be topped with cream cheese frosting.
These Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes are very moist and fluffy, with a light and soft crumb that almost melts in your mouth. They have the buttermilk-with-a-hint-of-cocoa flavor that you want to find in a red velvet cake, and are a very bright shade of red. The cream cheese frosting is rich and sweet, with a hint of tang from the cheese, and it really compliments the flavor of the cupcake well. These cupcakes keep well when stored in an airtight container for a few days, but they rarely last more than one or two days if you have a couple of volunteers around to help you eat them.
When strawberries are in season and my local farmers markets are overflowing with them, I can’t resist taking home basket after basket. The problem with this is that I can end up with almost more berries than I know what to do with! Fortunately, I haven’t quite run out of ways to use strawberries yet, and these Fresh Strawberry Mini Cupcakes are my current favorite application.
The cupcakes are bright pink and have a strong strawberry flavor. With a dollop of vanilla buttercream on top, they taste like strawberries n’ cream. All of this berry flavor comes from pureed strawberries, which serve as the liquid in this recipe (where most cupcake recipes will call for milk). Choose fresh, flavorful berries that have a deep red color to them for the best results because there is no food coloring in them, just a lot of fresh berries!
These cupcakes are very moist and tender. That moistness comes from a mixing method that is a little different from that of other cupcakes. For these, cold butter is rubbed into the dry ingredients to create a very sandy mixture, then the eggs and dry ingredients are added. This creates a tight, fluffy crumb and delicious texture to the cupcakes. This can be done with a hand mixer or a stand mixer, but I find that the process goes very quickly if I whip up the batter in the food processor, so you might want to try that option when making these at home.
I made these as mini cupcakes and the recipe will yield two dozen miniature cupcakes – the perfect bite-sized treats (they also happen to be strawberry-sized) for a party. You can also bake these as full sized cupcakes, but the recipe will yield about 9 full sized cupcakes, not a full dozen.
Refreshing isn’t a word that you often associate with cupcakes, but these Lemon Lime Cupcakes definitely have a refreshing element to them. The cupcakes are bright with both fresh lemon and lime zest, and have a lemon lime buttercream on top. It is sweet, light and surprisingly palate cleansing, for a cupcake. They’re quite different from most cupcakes, as the combination of lemon and lime doesn’t show up that often in cupcake form, and that also makes them a very nice change of pace for those of you getting bored with chocolate and vanilla.
The cake for these cupcakes is very moist and tender, with a soft, tight crumb. The lemon lime flavor comes from fresh zest that is grated into the cupcake batter. Zest – the colored, outer portion of a citrus fruit – is extremely flavorful because that is where all of the intense citrus oils are. . I used one large lemon and one large lime to get enough zest for one batch of cupcakes, but you might want to have an extra lime on hand in case yours turn out to be a bit small. A microplane is the perfect tool for easily zesting your fruit. Don’t skimp on the zest when making these to get the best lemon-lime flavor in the finished cakes – and if you have to cut back, you can boost the flavor with some lemon or lime oil, which you can buy bottled.
The cupcakes are topped with a lemon lime buttercream, where I used the juice from the fruits I zested for the cake to give the frosting a bright citrus flavor. The lemon and lime juice blend well together, and this frosting is one that you could easily use to make a batch of yellow or vanilla cupcakes more exciting. If you find that you don’t have quite enough juice from your zested lemon and lime, and you don’t have any more fruit on hand, you can add a little bit of water to the frosting to make up the difference.
Chocolate and strawberries make an excellent pair – especially when you’re talking about chocolate covered strawberries. I switched around the chocolate and strawberries to make these Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream. They’re rich chocolate cupcakes topped off with a creamy frosting made with fresh strawberries that are just starting to come into season.
The chocolate cake is one of my favorite cupcake recipes. The cakes are very moist and tender, with a tight crumb that gives them a velvety mouthfeel. And, of course, they pack in a lot of chocolate flavor. That chocolate flavor comes from a large amount of cocoa powder in the cake, so don’t be alarmed by the large amount of sugar required in the recipe, as it is needed to balance out that unsweetened cocoa. The cupcakes need to be baked and cooled before they can be filled. I always use the cone method for filling cupcakes, where you have to cut a small cone of cake out of each cupcake to create a large cavity that can hold a lot of filling.
For the strawberry buttercream, I simply pureed a bunch of fresh, hulled strawberries in the food processor until the mixture was very smooth. I added it to butter and confectioners’ sugar and beat it until the frosting was thick and fluffy. If you get ripe, flavorful strawberries, you’ll get a dark pink frosting with a great strawberry flavor. You can add a few drops of food coloring to make the color of your frosting a little more distinct, if you prefer. It is used as the filling and the frosting of these cupcakes, adding a bright berry flavor to every bite of chocolate cake.
These are great summertime cupcakes, with great flavor. Serve them plain or garnished with a fresh strawberry. When making the puree for the frosting, be sure to puree some extra berries and you can use that as a base for daiquiris, margaritas or other summery cocktails to serve along with the cake!