Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

January for me should be called Cupcake Month.  I swear I bake other things... really I do.  But between orders for birthdays and parties, and all the cupcake ideas I have been testing out with Corinne (my partner in kitchen crime), it seems like cupcakes are just on the brain recently.  (Corinne who, by the way, made a delicious Coconut Vanilla cupcake that we'll have to get up here soon... it's scrumptious.)  So here's another one of January's babies:  the Hot Chocolate cupcake.

I was trying to think of a way to transform one of my favorite wintertime treats into a cupcake and I think I've got it down.  It's a moist chocolate cupcake made with Stephen's hot chocolate in the batter.  A marshmallow frosting that looks and tastes like a giant melted marshmallow "floats" on top.  And to crown it off are a few mini marshmallows and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  And the best part?  It will never burn your tongue!  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes

Our second at bat in this week's test kitchen (and second home run) was a Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcake.  If you are a fan of sweet and salty, which I am-- BIG TIME, you'll love this one.  This cupcake is based off of a cupcake made at a bakery I like; we didn't think up this combination of flavors.  But we were very excited to try our hand at it with our own recipes for its components.

The cake is a chocolate cake made with melted bittersweet chocolate that packs a pretty strong chocolate punch.  The frosting is our fluffy peanut butter frosting we recently invented for our Elvis cupcakes.  On top of the frosting we rolled crushed salted pretzels that give the cupcakes a great crunch and that delicious salty and sweet combination.  And because one kind of frosting is just not enough, we added a chocolate buttercream blossom and kissed it with a peanut butter chip.  Ta-da!

Even cuter than the big ones?  The minis with their little chocolate buttercream dollops!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cookies 'n Cream Cupcakes

Our test kitchen day this week produced two new successes that I am very excited about.  The first one is this super simple (and super yummy) Cookies 'n Cream cupcake.

You know what I love?  Cookies.  You know what else I love?  Cupcakes.  You know what I just found out I really, really love?  When they morph into one.  We started out with a new chocolate cake recipe that I think will be my new go-to chocolate recipe.  It is made with buttermilk and sour cream to keep it moist and fluffy, and plenty of chocolate to keep it, well, super tasty.  On top is a simple buttercream recipe that tastes like the cream filling of a chocolate sandwich cookie.  And then on top of that are crushed Oreo cookies.  What could be better?  

The second success from our testing day will be posted soon.  Stay tuned...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Have a Heart

...specifically a pretzel one.  I had the idea a couple of months ago that if I did my usual chocolate covered pretzels but only covered the pretzel's borders, it would make a cute pretzel heart.  I tried to wait until February to try it out but I got too antsy.  Corinne and I tinkered with them a couple weeks ago, and I think I got the technique down this weekend.

I think these are adorable little treats.  Your sweetheart would be very impressed with you if you gave them out for Valentine's Day (after all, they've been sweet to you all year...).  Who could say no to a cute candy coated heart?

If you would like to order these Valentine's sweets for your special someone, please contact me at  Pricing information will be coming this week to the blog.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Caramel Apple Bars

Today I put together a new recipe that I'm calling Caramel Apple Bars.  They are sticky and gooey and, in my opinion, quite yummy. 

It starts with a layer of blondie batter made from browned butter and light brown sugar to be very caramel-like and decadent.  The apple part of this gooey wonder is a layer of sliced granny smith apples that have been coated with sugar and some spices (just like in an apple pie) and covered in caramel sauce.  The apples are topped with another layer of blondie batter, baked until golden brown, and drizzled with more caramel sauce.

This is not a dainty dessert.  It requires a fork (or at least a whole lotta napkins).  But I think that any caramel apple fan would say it's well worth the mess!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

In 1996, the Boston Cream Pie was named the official dessert of Massachusetts.  In 2011, I decided to make it in cupcake form.  Okay, maybe my accomplishment is not quite as interesting or notable, but it sure is tasty and awfully cute.

It's the same recipe as my bigger version, just tiny and even cuter.  It's yellow cake filled with vanilla pastry cream, topped with chocolate ganache, and drizzled with white chocolate.  Yum!

If you would like information about having custom cupcakes catered, please contact me at  Pricing information will be coming soon to the blog.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hunk-a Hunk-a Tasty Cake

My partner in crime, Corinne, and I tested out this cupcake for our weekly "Test Kitchen" day.  (We're trying out new recipes each week until she leaves for Argentina in March.  It's sort of a resolution of ours.)  This cupcake isn't just any old cupcake.  It's a cupcake fit for a king.  Actually, it's a cupcake fit for the King.  Elvis Presley, that is.

Elvis was known for eating fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  Some people say he ate them with bacon, some people say he put honey on them, and some people just say he stuck with the pb & banana.  Well, the idea of bacon on a cupcake kind of grosses us out, so we went with the pb, banana, and honey combo. 

The cake is a moist banana cake (same recipe I made last week, but without the nuts).  We used a star tip (star tip, get it??) to pipe on some yummy peanut butter icing that has a great peanut butter taste and a little bit of a lighter, whipped consistency.  And we finished them off with a drizzling of honey.  Good idea?  "Thank ya, thank ya very much!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

White Raspberry Cake

To celebrate Julie's birthday yesterday I made this yummy layer cake, per her request. The layers are fluffy white cake flavored with just a bit of almond extract for a little depth.  Nestled inside is a homemade raspberry filling made from real raspberries, sugar, and some orange zest and fresh orange juice to give it a brighter note.  And it is iced with a cream cheese icing that is lightened with some whipped cream.  (The beautiful candles are from Papyrus.)  Julie is older than 6, but her real age will not be disclosed in this blog.  She is like a good recipe-- it doesn't matter her age, just her great taste!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chocolate Orange Blossom Cupcakes

I am very, very excited about these cupcakes.  Perhaps the most excited I've been about something since the Salted Peanut & Caramel Bark I made about a month ago.  Why so excited?  Because (a) they are chocolate orange cakes, (b) they have the best doggone chocolate buttercream on top, and (c) they were my guinea pig cupcakes for this blossom frosting technique, and I think they turned out pretty darn cute.

The blossom on top is an homage to my absolute favorite cupcakery, Sugar Bliss on N. Wabash in Chicago.  You need to visit if you ever have the chance.  Sugar Bliss has the tastiest and cutest cupcakes I've ever had at a cupcake-only bakery, and they frost them all with this blossom technique.  I decided to try it out myself, hoping for the best but expecting the worst.  I must say, I'm pretty pleased.  I think they look very cute.  I can't wait to do some fun colorful blossoms this spring.  

The cake itself is a chocolate orange cake.  I took a plain chocolate batter and added orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice.  It tastes rich but vibrant from the citrus-- a great combination.  The icing is a chocolate buttercream recipe I just got this weekend from my mom.  It's a Marcia Adams recipe that is so creamy and delicious.  I think this will be my new go-to chocolate frosting recipe.  (Thanks, Mom!)  On top is a little orange jelly bean to finish them off.

Overall I think these will be a very popular cupcake in my kitchen.  If you don't like chocolate, this might not be for you.  But then, if you don't like chocolate you're leading a sad life and I pity you.  But to get my mind off that I may have to have one of these.  Or two...