Saturday, October 03, 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cocoa Buttercream

I made these cuppycakes the same night that I made the already-posted Red Velvet Cuppycakes. What happened was that I was going on a trip with two friends and asked each one for a request.

Magnolia's Famous Vanilla Cupcakes (with a little help from me)

This has become my default vanilla cupcake recipe. I substitute heavy cream for the milk that the original recipe calls for. This makes the cupcakes nice and moist and a little richer. This time, I only made half a recipe.

1 ½ cups self-rising flour
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 if using nonstick pans). Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk cream and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.

Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

I stole this recipe from here. If you are like me and want tons of frosting per cupcake, you should double the recipe below.

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup milk (plus a few tablespoons to adjust consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat butter and cocoa until smooth, then add sugar 1 cup at a time, beating with each addition. Add milk and vanilla and beat for about 3 minutes.

Here are the cupcakes in one of my cupcake containers.

More cuppycakes!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red velvet is one of my favorite types of cake. Despite what some people may say, it is NOT just a chocolate cake with red food coloring added. I firmly believe that red velvet is a classic example of a whole that is more than the sum of its parts, because seemingly small modifications (adding vinegar and buttermilk) make it much different (to me) from a chocolate cake.

Because I lovelovelove red velvet, I am painstakingly picky about it. As a result, I have always been afraid to attempt baking it myself. However, last week I finally sucked it up and gave it a shot.

I was making these cupcakes for a friend, so I did a trial run first (not pictured). For my trial run, I used this recipe. I chose it because it used a traditional cooked-flour frosting that I was curious to try (even though I was planning to use cream cheese frosting on the final batch, at my friend's request). I loved the frosting (though I think I need to mix the flour and milk together more before cooking next time because there were a few lumps). However, the cupcakes were a little on the dry side.

For my second and final run, I used a recipe adapted from the above recipe and this other recipe. As you can probably tell, the two recipes are very similar, but the first one has more cocoa and uses butter, while the second one has less cocoa and uses oil. I wanted the moistness of an oil cake recipe while keeping the slightly dense texture that comes from using more cocoa.

This second batch came out almost exactly the way I hoped it would. I still think I could increase the amount of cocoa slightly, which I may try next time.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces red food coloring
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 325 degrees if using a nonstick pan).

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Line two cupcake pans and fill about two-thirds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting (I made a double recipe)

1 pound cream cheese (I always use it straight from the refrigerator)
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cuppycakes

I made these cuppycakes about 2 or 3 weeks ago for a community theme. However, having just moved to a new house, I have been crazy busy and never got around to posting them here. So here I am, squeaking in (hopefully) just before the theme deadline.

I stole this recipe from here, but modified it so that the jelly was baked into the cuppycakes rather than injected afterward. I stole that idea from another blog, which is here.

These cupcakes came out great! Mike says that they may be the best ones I have made yet. I personally think they could have used more jelly. I'd have to fill them a little less full to make that happen, because a few of them did explode a little bit.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Insert 24 liners into a medium cupcake pan.
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well. Mix in the vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix well.
5. Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 - 2/3 full, and make an indentation in the center of each one. Drop jelly onto the indentations (I used 1/2 tsp per cupcake). Then drop a little more batter on top of the jelly pocket.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops start to crack like peanut butter cookies (you can't really insert a toothpick in the center, but you can try to get near the center, I suppose). Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Peanut Butter Frosting

3/4 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons milk

Combine the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer beat until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar along with the milk, and beat until well combined.

The cupcakes before they were frosted.

One of the "oops" cupcakes that exploded a little.

A full tray of fully frosted cuppycakes! Nom nom.