Cupcake Central!!

The day I decided to learn to make cupcakes, I wanted to take two flavors to work the next day…so for seven hours I made cupcakes, filling, glaze, and two frostings…and it was all good.
 
Mocha cupcakes with coffee cream filling and chocolate fudge frosting:
 
  Cupcakes –

 Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I made it a full cup for extra chocolate oomph)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled (the stronger, the better – you want lots of coffee flavor for not much liquid!)
3 large eggs
8 oz. sour cream (I used light – sour cream is the only dairy product I will use a light version of, because I really can’t tell the difference)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used an equal amount of pure Mexican vanilla, which has a stronger flavor – it was noticeable but I liked it)

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

 In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add oil, coffee, and eggs.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.

 Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.  Back until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, for 16-18 minutes (16 worked for me).  Let them cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.  (I have no wire racks – I just cooled them in the pans, then put them on the counter.  All over the kitchen, really.)

 Coffee Cream Filling-

 Ingredients:  (this is what it calls for:)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur
8 oz. thawed ‘frozen chocolate flavored whipped topping’

this is what I used:

3 oz. cream cheese, softened by microwaving in a bowl for 15 seconds because I forgot to take it out of the fridge
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled (because I’m not buying Kahlua just for these cupcakes, cuz then I’ll just drink it with cream and it’s yummy but incredibly fattening that way)
8 oz. thawed Cool Whip – but not the chocolate kind because HEB didn’t have any.  So I added some cocoa powder and a squirt of Hershey’s syrup.

 In a small bowl, whip the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Slowly add the liqueur (or coffee/chocolate mixture) and fold in Cool Whip.

Little cupcake soldiers all over the kitchen

Chocolate Fudge Frosting –

 Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
5 oz. unsweetened chocolate (recipe calls for squares but I used chips, easier to melt)
10 tablespoons butter (as always when a recipe calls for butter…I rounded up – like to 12)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

 In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cream.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat; add chocolate and butter, stirring until melted and smooth.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Whisk in confectioners’ sugar.  Let mixture cool until it reaches a spreadable consistency (for me this was about half an hour) then top cooled, filled cupcakes.

 Construction:

 Once cupcakes are cooled, put coffee cream into frosting bag or squirt bottle.  Insert tip into cupcake and squeeze until the cupcake bulges and/or the top cracks or your hand cramps.  After cupcakes are filled, smear chocolate fudge icing to cover indentions caused by insertion of filling.

 Sprinkle toffee bits over the top just for the heck of it.

  Sincere Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  Cupcakes – recipe courtesy of www.dozenflours.com – I LOVE Julia’s recipes and blog and outlook on life!!

Ingredients: 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract (I used an equal amount of Mexican vanilla, stronger flavor but I like it)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (I bought a sifter for this and I’m sure it did…something…)
1/4 teaspoon salt (anything this sweet, I overpour on the salt, cuz that makes it extra yummy!)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature
About a pound of fresh strawberries (original recipe includes instructions for frozen berries but I’m just using fresh)
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Post-maceration

 First, rinse the berries well and remove the stems.  Quarter or rough chop them into a bowl and add a few tablespoons of water and mix to coat.  Then add a tablespoon or two of sugar (enough to coat the surface) and mix to coat again.  Cover and refrigerate the berries for several hours or, better yet, overnight.  I left mine for about 5 hours, tossing inside the sealed bowl every hour, and it would have been better to give them more time.

 Once they are soft and mushy, use a fork to mash the strawberries.  Be careful not to mash them too much (you want there to be some chunks).  Place the berries in a mesh strainer and drain as much of the juice as you can.  Reserve the juice.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin tin with baking cups.

 In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer for 3 minutes.  Mixture should be very pale yellow and fluffy.  Add one egg at a time and mix for one full minute on medium-low speed (no cheating! 🙂 ) – be sure to scrape down the bowl a few times to ensure that everything is mixing together properly.  Add vanilla and almond extract and mix again for 30 seconds.

 In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.  Alternately add flour mixture and milk, in 3 batches, starting with the flour.  Be sure to mix well after each addition and scrape the bowl down every so often.  This was the messiest part of the whole process for me.  The powdery stuff flew all over the walls, counters, etc – batten down the hatches!)

 Mix in the strawberries on low speed plus 1/4 cup of the strawberry juice.  Scoop batter into prepared pan and bake for 21-23 minutes.  The surface of the cupcakes should spring back when touched and be just a little brown.  (Mine was not necessarily brown, just golden and springy.)  You can also test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake and having it come out with just a few bits of cake clinging to it.  Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

 While the cakes are still a little warm, using a clean pastry brush (or a fork), paint the surface of the cupcake with the strawberry juice, being careful not to saturate the surface.  Let the cupcakes continue to cool completely.  Frost if desired.

 Cover and store at room temperature or in the fridge.

 Julia from dozenflours.com likes them plain; I’m a ‘frost em if you got em’ kind of girl.  So…

 Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting –

 Ingredients:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter (round up!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or Mexican vanilla, if you’re brave)
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream (seems like I used more)

 In a standing mixer, mix sugar and butter on low speed until well blended, then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

 Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

 Construction (optional) –

 Frost cooled cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and let cool completely.  Place fresh sliced strawberries on top in random patterns just to confuse people.  Smile like you do this all the time.

Is this thing on?

Just Kittie

This is who I am. Nice to meet you.

Hi, my name is Kittie…and I have a cooking problem.  I can’t seem to stop trying new recipes; my poor husband (culinary good sport of the year!) never eats the same thing twice.  Over the past 15 years I have visited at least 11 countries, and the highlights for me have always been fashion and food.  My style in both, therefore, is a crazy mishmosh of elements and ideas from all over, as well as my own quirky spin on things.

I earn a living indulging my ‘other’ passion, which is dressing people so they look and feel terrific, but when I’m not getting paid, cooking is what I do.    I’ll try anything once…and then next time, I’ll tweak it and make it better.  I like things spicy, and chocolatey, and saucy, and tangy.  Anything but bland!  I hate coconut, lima beans, and olives of any variety (though capers have been sneaking into things lately).

I spend the rest of my time, of course, shamelessly pampering the four finicky felines who graciously allow the hubster and me to serve them.  And writing bits and pieces of things here and there.

I’m going to start with a few recipes I’ve cooked lately and add more as they occur to me.  This is my first serious attempt at a blog, so please be patient with me.  My train of thought wanders often and goes weird places sometimes…so fasten your seat belt and let’s go!!