Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spooktastic Cupcakes

We are not doing too much for Halloween this year....just planning on handing out candy to all the cute little trick or treaters. But of course I had to use the adorable cupcake wrappers and boxes I had purchased earlier this month. :)

Last year I made Red Velvet "Brain" cupcakes for Michael to take into work and I couldn't pass up the chance to make them again. I also wanted to attempt these "Bleeding Vampire Bite" cupcakes I have been seeing around. Both were a great success!!! And gone already...

For the Red Velvet Cupcakes I used a recipe from My Baking Addiction
The fabulous part about this recipe is that it only makes 12 cupcakes!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

For the Cupcakes

1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cupcake wells with paper liners or spray pan with 
    spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sift together cake flour, cocoa powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine oil and sugar 
    until well-blended. Add egg and mix until combined.
4. Turn your mixer down to the lowest speed add vanilla then slowly add in the food 
    coloring. Note:If you are using liquid food coloring, it will take about 2 tablespoons of 
    coloring to get a dark red shade. I used about 1 tablespoon of gel dye to achieve the 
    shade in the photographs. Add the dye slowly and color according to your preference.
5. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches; scrape down the side of 
    the bowl. Continue mixing until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
6. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine 
    running. Beat for about 10 seconds.
7. Using a medium scoop (about 3 tablespoons), divide batter among between the 12 
    wells, filling each well about 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a   
    toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ¾ cups), sifted
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (to maintain bright white color, I used pure vanilla extract since I was tinting them anyways)
Red and Blue food coloring

1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together, 
    cream cheese, shortening, and butter until well combined.
2. With the mixer of low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly 
    incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
3. Use about 3 drops red food coloring and 1 drop blue food coloring to create grayish 
    brain matter color.

Next, I wanted to use a pale white cake for the vampire bite cupcakes and when I found this recipe for white chocolate cupcakes I knew it would be perfect. They received so many compliments I will definitely be making them again!

White Chocolate Cupcakes 
from Shauna Sever

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped bar or chips
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
5 large egg whites
1 can Cherry Pie Filling

For the frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 1/2 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped bar or chips
Up to 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, to taste

1. Position an oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. 
    Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners, 12 in one and 6 in the other.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until very 
    light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. When it’s just warm to the touch, stir it 
    into the butter mixture on low speed, just until combined–it may separate a bit, but it 
    will come back together. 
5. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the coconut milk in 
    three batches until well-blended. Transfer the batter to a medium bowl.
6. Clean and dry the bowl of the mixer. Whip the egg whites on medium high speed until  
    they reach soft peaks, about 4 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in 
    three additions.
7. Fill the muffin cups no more than 3/4 of the way full with the batter. Bake one tin at a 
    time until a toothpick just comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly 
    touched, about 20 minutes. 
8. Remove cupcakes from tin and place onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt together until light and smooth. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler and cool until it is just warm to the touch. Scrape the white chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and beat to combine. Taste the icing and check the texture–if you like your icing sweeter and with a bit more body, add in some confectioners’ sugar. Set aside.

To make Vampire Bites:

1. Puree cherry pie filling in a blender. 
2. Use a knife to cut a small cone shape out of the center of the cupcake. 
3. Fill center with pureed filling.
4. Frost cupcake and spear two holes (I used a chopstick) into the top of the cake to 
    create bite marks.

 I hope you all have a very Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Honey Peanut Butter Butter-Cream Frosting

I love following Sunshine and Carousels blog and I have been waiting for Oct. 12th to roll around so that I could test out these babies. Today was my friend Sandy's birthday, and I thought they would be the perfect mid-week birthday treat to help her celebrate her special day. They were to die for! The frosting didn't turn out exactly how I would have liked it to. There was a lot of air pockets as I was piping it out, so it was not as pretty as I hoped for. Oh well, darn....looks like I will have to make them again! ;)

 Banana Cupcakes with Honey Peanut Butter Butter-Cream Frosting

2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup plus two tablespoons of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 a teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 a teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 a cup of milk
3 ripe mashed bananas
1 teaspoon of honey

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream your butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one a time. Add your milk and flour mixture to your mixture alternating each addition. Add your mashed bananas and mix well. Lastly fold in your honey. Bake at 350 degrees for 19-21 minutes. Makes around 24 cupcakes.


2 sticks of room temperature butter
4-5 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter

Cream you butter, slowly add in powdered sugar (about 3 cups worth) until smooth.  Add vanilla and mix. Slowly add in honey and peanut butter and mix until creamy and smooth. Lastly add in a little more powdered sugar (maybe a cup or a cup and a half) until you find the consistency you desire. Should be thick and creamy. (Mine was a little too thick....)

You can drizzle honey over top right before serving if you wish.

I also tried out my cute bakery boxes to deliver the cupcakes in. They were fun! I hope I can find some for the holidays.

Today's Playlist:
(Loving Pandora Shuffle....some oldies but goodies made it on.)

The Way You Make Me Feel- Michael Jackson
Happy Nation- Ace of Base
Satellite- Dave Matthews Band
Only The Wine- David Gray
Merry Happy- Kate Nash
Victim of the Crime- Phoenix 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finally Feeling Like Fall, Time For Some Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

I have been so ready to start cooking some fall favorites but with all the summer like temperatures I have not felt like turning on the oven too much. However, when I received my October Better Homes and Gardens and I found a recipe for Pumpkin Mac and Cheese I knew I had to give in and heat up the kitchen. Let me tell you, it was worth it! Not only was it hit for dinner, but I think I have also found my Thanksgiving side dish.

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
2 C. dried elbow macaroni
2 Tb. butter
2 Tb. all-purpose flour
1 C. whipping cream
1 C. whole milk (I used nonfat milk)
4 oz. Fontina Cheese, shredded
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 Tb. snipped fresh sage 
1/2 C. soft bread crumbs (I used Whole Wheat Panko)
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 C. chopped walnuts
1 Tb. olive oil

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions; drain. Return to pot.

2. In medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, 1/2 t. salt, and 1/2 t. ground black pepper. Add cream and milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in Fontina cheese, pumpkin, and sage until cheese is melted. Stir sauce into pasta. Transfer to ungreased 2 quart rectangluar baking dish.

3. In bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, nuts, and oil; sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with sage.

So yummy, I am making it again this week :)