Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Beer Frosting

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Beer Frosting

Cupcakes-on-tap….that’s right, beer cupcakes.

Cupcakes are not traditionally considered  “dude” food.  You know–too dainty, too pretty, too sprinkle-y.  Whatever!

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But these Whoa,  these are BEER  cupcakes.  Beer is in the cake, and more beer in the frosting.  I didn’t even pipe on the frosting in dainty swirls, I just plopped it on.  Very manly.  And what was the occasion for these cupcakes?  I’m so glad you asked.

One of my husband’s good friends at the office was leaving, and on his last day, everyone pitched in for a pot-luck luncheon.  So I made these cupcakes, and being that it was so close to St. Patrick’s Day I just had to scatter a little green sugar on the tops, and then finish off each cupcake with a  chocolate covered pretzel.    Beer and pretzels!

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The beer I used is Guinness, and I’ll admit I had a few sips before using it in the recipe.  Let me tell you, I know what my beverage of choice will be to go with these cupcakes (if there are any left over).

These cupcakes are deep, rich, and not the least bit dry.  They are not overly beer-y.  The frosting?   C’mon, beer frosting!!!?  It is divine.

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CUPCAKES ON TAP (BEER CUPCAKES)

Yield:   Makes 24

Ingredients:IMG_6801

  • 12 Tablespoons (  1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup porter or stout beer, poured and settled before you measure
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1  1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1  1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the frosting:

(Feel free to use all butter instead of a mix of butter and shortening.  You could also substitute part cream cheese for the shortening.)

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 7-8 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons porter or stout, poured and settled before you measure
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate covered pretzels, optional

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*f.  Line 24 muffin cups with liners.

2.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa until smooth.  Stir in the beer and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.

This is already looking unbelievably good.

This is already looking unbelievably good.

3.  With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream until smooth.

Beat eggs ad butter together.

Beat eggs and sour cream together.

Add in the cooled chocolate mixture and beat until combined.

Beating in the chocolate mixture.

Beating in the chocolate mixture.

4.  Add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt and beat on medium speed until combined.  Scrape down the bottom and side of bowl as needed.

5.  Spoon the batter into the cups, filling about 2/3rds full.

IMG_6780Bake for 15 minutes at 350* until cupcakes bounce back when lightly pressed with a finger or until a toothpick comes out clean.  My cupcakes needed 20 minutes baking time before they tested done.

These rise to about the top of the paper liners.

These rise to about the top of the paper liners.

6.  Cool in the pans for 5 minutes then remove and place on wire cooling racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting:   Using an electric mixer beat the butter and shortening on medium until combined and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, beer, vanilla and salt, mixing on low until incorporated, then beat on medium-high for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

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I used a cookie dough scoop to portion out the frosting, dropping a scoop onto each cupcake.  Sprinkle with a little colored sugar if desired and top with a chocolate covered pretzel.  These cupcakes are incredibly light, with a deep, “dark” flavor; the frosting is also light and creamy.

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SOURCE:   adapted from The Butch Bakery Cookbook

Hidden Egg Cupcakes

Happy First Day of Spring, Everyone!

In celebration of the first day of Spring, I thought I would bring you an Easter/Springtime recipe to get you in the mood if you’re not already.  We are preparing for yet another snow storm as I write this, and most everyone I know has had it up to HERE with cold, winter weather.  So let’s all think of green grass, daffodils, tulips, bright spring clothes and no more jackets and coats.

Hidden Egg Cupcakes with Peeps.

Hidden Egg Cupcakes with Peeps.

We know that Easter egg hunts are great fun for children (of all ages).     Another thing we know is that everyone loves cupcakes, and chocolate-filled eggs.  Two delish things in one cupcake?  Yes, mam!  This recipe combines a Cadbury egg baked inside a chocolate cupcake, topped with vanilla buttercream.  To take this concept one step further, after I had frosted the cupcakes I topped each one with a “peep” to give the idea of a bird or chicken sitting on an egg.

These were made and photographed last Easter just after I started writing this blog.  My photography skills were not very good back then and I have since improved quite a bit,  but I’m sure you will get the idea of what they looked like.  For the eggs I used Cadbury Eggs, the regular size ones, not the minis, and the cupcakes are a fudge chocolate recipe that I like a lot.

Chicks and ducks make us think of Easter and Spring.

Chicks and ducks make us think of Easter and Spring.

There are two secrets to these cupcakes.  They get their rich, extra-chocolaty flavor from a combination of unsweetened cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, and their soft, moist texture from a simple hand-mixing method.  The frosting is a butter cream which I have written about before and you can find the recipe here.

EASTER EGG CUPCAKES    (aka Fudgey Chocolate Cupcakes)

SERVINGS:    Makes  12  cupcakes

Count off by color!

Count off by color!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2  1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 Cadbury eggs, regular size
  • Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 12  candy “Peeps”,  your choice of color

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2.  In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan.  Stir frequently until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan;  let the mixture cool to room temperature,  10-15 minutes.

3.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla.  Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain;  do not over mix.

4.  Spoon about 1/4 – 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup.  Place a Cadbury Egg in each cup large end down.  Continue to fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter.  Bake  22 – 24 minutes or until the tops seem set and “spring back” when touched lightly.  A toothpick inserted a little off-center may come out with a few moist crumbs attached.

5.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

6.  Frost cup cakes with vanilla buttercream, and place a “Peep” on top of each one.   CUTE!

Chicks of a feather-----

Birds of a feather—–

SOURCE:  cupcake recipe from Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski

Pistachio Cupcakes

Pistachio Cupcakes

Pistachio Cupcakes

This is a very good recipe for cupcakes that just happen to be green.  If you’re looking for something to bake for that St Patrick’s Day event, or just for your family, these might be what you’re looking for.

The inclusion of Pistachio pudding mix into the cupcake batter is what gives them the green color, plus a mild flavor of pistachio.  I wanted a stronger flavor in mine so I added a tiny bit of almond flavoring, and that, for me, was just enough.  The frosting is a white butter cream that I tinted green and then sprinkled the tops with green decorating sugar.  The cupcake itself is very moist because of the addition of sour cream or yogurt.

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I plan to keep this recipe handy because I think I will try substituting other flavors of pudding mix for the pistachio, and varying the frosting to match the cupcake.  It has the potential for being a basic cupcake recipe that lends itself to many variations.

PISTACHIO CUPCAKES

SERVINGS:     Makes  12

INGREDIENTS  and  DIRECTIONS:

You will need to have ready 3  mixing bowls;   a large mixer bowl,  and 2 other smaller bowls.  A muffin pan with paper liners, or well sprayed.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

1.  In your large mixer bowl, beat together all the following till thoroughly combined.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oilIMG_3359
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond or pistachio flavoring, optional

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together—

  • 1  ( 3  1/8 oz. ) package pistachio instant pudding mix.  Sugar free is OK.
  • 1  2/3 cup flour

3.  In a small bowl, whisk together

  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt,  or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk

4.  3/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts,  optional

5.  Starting and ending with flour, alternately beat in flour and yogurt/milk mixtures, scraping down the bowl several times.

6.  Stir in chopped nuts, if using.

7.  Spoon into paper-lined muffin pans, and bake at 350*F for 18 – 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

8.  Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to a wire rack for complete cooling before frosting.

Butter cream frosting tinted green.

Butter cream frosting tinted green.

BUTTER CREAM FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup  ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavoring;  vanilla, almond, or pistachio
  • 2  1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring

1.  With an electric mixer, beat the butter till very soft and pale.  Beat in flavoring.

2.  Gradually sift in the confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition.  The more you beat at this stage, the lighter and fluffier the frosting will be.  Add milk a little at a time to achieve desired consistency for spreading or piping.

3.  To color, add drops of food coloring, and beat in to achieve desired level of color.

4.  Cover frosting with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up.  It will keep up to a week stored in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before using.

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Decorating Tips:  Green decorating sugar is a nice touch for green/ St Patrick’s Day cupcakes; or, if using pistachio nuts in the cupcake batter, a few chopped pistachio nuts sprinkled on top would also be nice.

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SOURCE:   The Cupcake,  by Angela Drake,   for Paragon Books

Apple Cobbler Cupcakes

Apple Cobbler Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

After deliberating for several days over what kind of cupcakes to make for my father-in-law’s birthday party.  I finally decided on these:  Apple Cobbler Cupcakes.  Since this celebration was the weekend before Halloween, it seemed logical to make a tie-in.  Then I thought, well no, his birthday should be the main focus, but it is Fall so something with apples would be good.  When you frost these with a caramel frosting, you get a riff on the traditional caramel apple—a Halloween treat.  Makes perfect sense, yes?  Everyone at the party thought so, and didn’t waste any time in making them disappear.   In fact, I had to hold back the crowds so I could get a picture or two.:)

Presentation on the Dessert Table

This recipe is supposed to make 12 cupcakes; that’s filling the baking cups nearly full.  I felt they didn’t need to be that big since we also had Birthday cake and ice-cream for dessert.  So I filled my cupcake tins (paper lined ) about half full and I got a total of 18 cupcakes.  Once baked they came up to the tops of the liners.  I topped them with a generous swirl of frosting, some orange colored sugar and a “gummy ” pumpkin for decoration.

APPLE COBBLER CUPCAKES

YIELD:   12 – 18 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups apples, roughly chopped

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcakes tins with paper liners or grease lightly.

2.  Whisk together the dry ingredients;  flour through ginger.

3.  Beat butter and sugars together in a large mixer bowl until light and fluffy.

4.  Beat in eggs, sour cream, and lemon extract till well blended. Scrape down the bowl once or twice.

5.  Mix in the flour mixture till well incorporated.

6.  Fold in the apples.

7.  Scoop into 12 – 18 cupcake liners.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes (18 cupcakes) or 25 minutes (12 cupcakes).  A toothpick inserted into the center of one should come out clean.

9.  Cool for a few minutes in their pans, then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

CARAMEL FROSTING

YIELD:  Makes about 2 1/4 cups

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk or light cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2  – 3 cups confectionery sugar, sifted.  It’s always best to sift your confectionery sugar for a silky smooth frosting.

1.  In a saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Add vanilla.  Cool to lukewarm.

2.  Gradually beat in the confectionery sugar till you get a spreadable consistency.  If you are piping on the frosting it needs to be a little stiffer to hold its shape.

3.  Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired.

  

SOURCES:    Cupcakes:  The Cupcake Connection

Frosting:        Luscious Bakeshop Favorites From Your own Kitchen,  Shelly Kaldunski

Red Velvet “Soda Can” Cupcakes

The end of June and beginning of July has been a very busy time with parties to celebrate various milestones within our family and  with friends.  I’ve already told you about my granddaughter’s graduation party and what I baked for that.  Today’s blog is about cupcakes that I made for a friend’s 20th anniversary in professional practice; and  since it is right around the Fourth of July, I went with the Patriotic theme.

I have been reading recently in some of the blogs I follow about a quick way to make a cake or cupcakes using nothing more than a boxed cake mix and a can of soda.  Really?  That’s what I said!  So I tried it and found out they come out really moist and kind of chewy;  The texture is not as fine as a cake’s, but for a cupcake I really liked that.  The cake and soda combo I used was Red Velvet Cake Mix and Cherry Coke.  I think it will be fun to try some other flavor combinations such as lemon cake with Sierra Mist or lemon and lime soda. So many possibilities.  If you haven’t heard about this until now, try it.  It’s a novel idea whose time has come.

For the frosting on my cupcakes, I wanted white, so I made a simple cream cheese and butter cream frosting, piped on with a large star decorating tip.  Then I sprinkled them with a “stars and stripes” sprinkle mix and topped each one with a tiny flag.  So Cute!

This is all you need:  a boxed cake mix and an 8 oz can of room temperature soda.  I poured that amount from a full-size bottle, because I couldn’t find the cans.

This is what it looks like when you start to mix it up.

Use a whisk to mix it up, working out most of the lumps.

Line muffin cups with liners and fill 1/2 – 2/3s full. Do not overfill.

After baking. I got a total of 17 cupcakes, could have gotten 18, by making them a tad bit smaller.

FROSTING:

4 ounces cream cheese

6 tablespoons butter

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

To make the frosting, put the cream cheese and butter in small bowl of mixer and blend together to cream.  Sift in the sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.  If you plan to pipe it on with a decorating tip, it needs to be quite stiff.   I refrigerated my frosting a bit after mixing just to get it stiff enough to decorate with.  Unless you are serving the cupcakes right away, it is wise to refrigerate them to prevent frosting melt in this warm weather.

Really Cute! They tasted as good as they looked.

SOURCE:  Thanks to Cookiesandcups.com

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, everyone.

Tropical Pineapple Cupcakes

The occasion—-High School Graduation.   The graduate—- my Granddaughter.  Future Plans—-Culinary school!   YEAH!   someone who loves to bake as much as I do.   I wanted to make something special,  yet cool and refreshing looking.  My  idea grew out of my finding a bag of marshmallowy, chewy candies in pastel colors that I thought would look cute as cupcake toppers.  So then I went on the hunt for a recipe for the base cupcake and its frosting, to tie the whole thing together into a theme.

I started with a yellow cake recipe to which I add chopped pineapple and a little pineapple juice.  The frosting is a butter cream with added lemon zest and lemon juice, tinted pale yellow.  The candies are pale green, peach and pale yellow.  So that is the color scheme I worked with,  and it was light, delicate and cool looking.

TROPICAL PINEAPPLE CUPCAKES

Yield:  I got 15 cupcakes, probably could have made each a tad smaller, and gotten 16.

Ingredients

  • 4 canned pineapple rings, finely chopped.  (or  1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained)
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 12 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup self rising flour***
***To use all-purpose flour, add  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and  1/2 teaspoon salt to the flour measurement.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Drain the pineapple, and reserve 2 tablespoons of the juice.  Finely chop the pineapple, or use crushed.

Place the butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Remove from mixer.  Sift in the flour, and using a large spoon (wooden?), fold into the batter.  Fold in the pineapple and the reserved 2 tablespoons juice.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling about 2/3s full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until risen, golden, and test done with a toothpick.  Cool in pan a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • about 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • tiny dot of  yellow gel food coloring

Put butter and cream cheese in a beater bowl and beat together until smooth.  Add the lemon zest.  Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the mixture, then beat  until well mixed.  Gradually add the lemon juice until the frosting is of spreading consistency. Add the dot of gel food color, and beat for consistency of color.   Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake.  Sprinkle with sanding sugar in yellow and/or green.  Top with a marshmallow candy.  ( The candy I found at the grocery store is called “Mallo-Licious”).   I also think tiny palm trees would make a great topping too.—–next time!

SOURCE:   Adapted from a recipe in The Cupcake, by Angela Drake